Thursday 15 February 2024

McCarthyism as a protected philosophical belief

Jim McCambridge, a 'public health' zealot whom we have encountered before, is involved in a strange employment tribunal after York University found him guilty of bullying and harassment. He now claims that his dogmatic, anti-industry opinions are protected philosophical beliefs under the Equality Act.

I have written about this for The Critic.

McCambridge has taken his behaviour a worrying step further at the employment tribunal by portraying McKeganey’s association with York University as a real and present danger to people’s health. His argument, as summarised by the judge, is that:

The impact of Mr [sic] McKeganey’s relationship with the University of York would be to impact adversely on the health of some unidentified people in society. This was explained in two ways: firstly, that Mr [sic] McKeganey’s association with the University would improve his credibility. Because he (allegedly) supports tobacco companies, an improvement in his credibility will add greater weight to any support he gives to tobacco companies, thereby increasing the risk that more people will smoke and thereby impact on the health of those (unidentified) people. Secondly, that an association with Mr [sic] McKeganey by the university would undermine their criticism of tobacco companies thereby increasing the risk that more people might smoke similarly presenting an increase risk to those unidentified people.

Leaving aside the question of whether the tacit endorsement of an obscure academic by York University is ever likely to influence an individual’s decision to start smoking, this takes no-platforming to a new level. The clear implication is that anyone who might inadvertently increase the chances of an unidentified, theoretical person to start smoking is a health and safety risk. Furthermore, anyone who fails to ostracise such a person is also a threat to public health. The same presumably applies to alcohol and any of the growing number of adult activities that are now considered to be “public health” issues. This is a recipe for blanket censorship and cancel culture on steroids.


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