FREEDOM OF SPEECH is a subject close to the heart of every National Liberal. We regard it as a fundamental right for everyone. In many respects it puts National Liberalism on a completely different ideological level from both ‘left’ and ‘right’ which (at heart) are dogmatic, undemocratic and totalitarian in nature.
With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that the National Liberal Party has been helping to promote issue 1 of Free Speech. This has been produced by a new Facebook group called Free Speech: How do we protect it?
However, we’re not the only supporters of the concept of ‘Civil & Religious Liberties For All’. The following review of Free Speech recently appeared on the Facebook page of Fourth World Review – 4WR. We understand that it will also appear in next issue (issue 156) of 4WR. In the meantime check out their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/288486767860011/
The Importance Of Free Speech
If you are a free thinker and non-conformist you’ll love reading Fourth World Review - 4WR - and Free Speech. To get hold of your FREE pdf copy of issue 155 of 4WR, simply e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org To get hold of your FREE pdf copy of issue 1 of Free Speech, simply e-mail email@example.com
4WR is a passionate supporter of total free speech. It’s an essential element of our ideology – encapsulated in our slogan Small is Beautiful! We’ve also supported the right to free speech in practical terms as well. We’ve interviewed folks from right across the political spectrum. Some we agree with – some we disagree with. However, we’re prepared to let everyone have their say. Indeed, 4WR feels that debate is a vital element of true democracy. Indeed, how else are we going to come to rational decisions?
Formed earlier this year to mark the 800th Anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta on June 15, the group have just produced issue 1 of their broadsheet, Free Speech. The lead article appears to take its cue from Mick Hume’s new book Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech?
Here Liam Clarke reviews issue 1 of Free Speech for 4WR.
I HAVE to say that I am thoroughly impressed with a brand new publication called Free Speech. It strikes at the very heart of what I – as a true liberal – believe in: namely that you cannot pick and choose which forms of speech are acceptable and which are not. Unfortunately that includes some particularly vile messages. But for me the importance of free speech is far too great for it to be allowed to be put into some sort of ‘pick and mix’ stand. Hume is not saying anything that I would determine as radical or revolutionary. He’s merely echoing what true liberals have been saying for years.
I recently saw a video on Facebook of an ISIS terrorist beheading a prisoner. It sickened me so much that I intended to abandon my liberal principles in order to pursue a more ‘hard line’ approach to fundamentalism. I was beginning to feel that liberalism (which, for many people, is a ‘wishy washy” ideology) couldn’t deal with the increasing threats in our world. Essentially, I became convinced that liberalism was fine in a perfectly nice well functioning society. However, the world we live in is not that, and I felt that being a liberal merely meant that I was ‘absent’ from the real world. I was beginning to think that I lived in a sort of unreal utopia.
However, after more reflection I realised that the one thing that animals like ISIS despise the most is freedom of speech and thought. Indeed, I believe that it’s not just this band of barbarians that despise the idea of free speech – but every government, every ‘leftie’ and those on the far ‘right’. They loathe the idea of true liberalism because they object to being upset by total free speech! Ironically, they will be the first to defend the right to free speech of someone they agree with. However, they will be the first to complain when the likes of Jeremy Clarkson or Frankie Boyle says something that offends them.
This hypocrisy seems to bypass many people. I find it particularly fascinating what Hume says about students (I’m a student myself) and I can see very clearly that students “…often fight for freedom from speech”. Indeed recently Cardiff University was petitioned to prevent Germaine Greer speaking at the university due to her views on the transgender community. With this in mind I always recall Voltaire’s attitude – ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’. (And Greer is definitely in this category for me).
Years ago students – particularly during the Thatcher era – would have been fighting with all their might to get ‘controversial’ figures to speak at their university. Here they would held great debates about everything from politics to environmentalism and so on. How times have changed!
Today I’m subjected to fellow students handing out leaflets protesting against someone speaking at the university, or opposing what some politician has said. By doing this, I feel that they sacrifice the sanctity of free speech in favour of defending the ideal of human rights for some minority community. To me, whilst their intentions are sometimes good, they forget that the most basic human right is the freedom to offend (‘free speech’). Rather than debate they develop a pack mentality and vilify those who disagree with them. As a liberal this sickens me to the core. Indeed, it makes me even more militant in my desire to protect free speech – a fundamental human right.
The author and journalist Peter Hitchens echoes Hume’s idea of “Illiberal liberals” however the former calls them the “Liberal bigots.” Both of these terms aptly suit what I see in this so called ‘liberal’ society of ours. People with ‘far right’ opinions in particular are hounded and attacked purely because of them. As a true liberal I don’t condone ‘Illiberal liberalism’ or ‘liberal bigotry’ – indeed, I counter both with true liberalism. To me, defending everyone’s right to free speech is a fight which every liberal needs to join. We need to take up the flag and wave it proudly in every corner of the nation. Free speech for all isn’t a concept of promoting argument for arguments sake – it is what separates us from those who have an uncivilised and barbaric history.
The issue of free speech for all should be considered sacrosanct by all liberals and all true liberals should read Free Speech. It should also be read by those fake liberals who occupy powerful positions within the big three parties. They should pay heed to its message – as should every student and political activist throughout the country. This first issue of Free Speech should take pride of place among liberal literature as it serves to point out that the voice of true liberalism has not disappeared from the political arena – although I’m sure that many would think – and indeed hope – that it had.