The influential left-wing writer Laurie Penny has admitted that, when she has the chance, she actively discriminates against conservatives.
Writing in The Guardian (where else?) Penny stated that ‘I discriminate against people who are rightwing and conservative. I’m entirely happy to say so’. She also wrote ‘Let me explain, then, why it’s all right to discriminate against conservatives’ before arguing that because conservatism is a belief system, rather than a fixed biological characteristic, discriminating against its adherents is legitimate.
Penny doesn’t offer a definition for ‘conservatives’, which presumably could include everything from Cameron/Osborne type liberals to right-wing traditionalists, but she does helpfully provide a caricature. She associates conservatism with the view that ‘people who die young of preventable diseases because they are unable to afford private healthcare have only themselves to blame for not working harder’ which is a point I’ve literally never heard a conservative make.
Conservatives believe that having an economy largely based around the free market is the best means of producing wealth, and that this is in the interests of the vast majority of the population (seriously – can you point to a country where socialism has worked?) If Penny thinks people should be discriminated against for holding these beliefs then I’d say it’s fair to describe her as a bigot.
Penny’s comments represent a sad strain of thinking on the hard-left, which prefers to shut down its opponents and drive them out of the public arena rather than debate them. They make Senator Joseph McCarthy look like a model of tolerance.