Friday, 24 May 2024

From The Liberty Wall – Free Speech: How Do We Protect It? – March Of The Thought Police (Part 3

FREE SPEECH isn’t into conspiracy theories. We tend to feel that it’s possible for wildly opposing groups to have a convergence of interests. And if their convergence of interests is against your interests then you’ve got a fight on your hands.

However, we can understand where conspiracy theorists – especially in respect of free speech – are coming from. We understand their train of thought. For instance, what are we to make of the events listed below? Are they random events or, as conspiracy theorists would claim, is there some hidden hand manipulating events via different ‘patsies’?

Some attacks on free speech seem to be ridiculous. For instance, US News reports (1) that ‘A parent in Florida is citing profanity and violence in trying to get the local school to ban Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 — itself a cautionary tale on the banning of books.’

Other attacks are more serious. A recent RT report (2) noted that ‘A press freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, has asked the Swiss Press Club to cancel a panel discussion on the “true agenda” of the controversial White Helmets group.’ This disturbs us as it sounds like some reporters are trying to stop other reporters reporting on something they disagree with! What happened to press freedom?!!

With all this in mind, Free Speech brings you part three of March Of The Thought Police, written by Dominic Sandbrook for the Daily Mail. This article follows directly on from part one and part two

As usual, our sole intention is to stimulate mature debate on issues relating to free speech. It goes without saying that there are no official links between Free Speech, Dominic Sandbrook, the Daily Mail or any other news outlets referenced here.


March Of The Thought Police (Part 3)
In fact, destroying newspapers has become something of a habit for the modern liberal Left. During the election campaign, Left-wing activists eagerly tweeted pictures of themselves burning front pages of newspapers that criticised their hero, Jeremy Corbyn.
Yes, burning newspapers: a Fascist trademark of the Thirties, when the Nazis held huge bonfires of books they disagreed with.
Incidentally, the Nazis were also great ones for demolishing statues of historical figures they disliked — rather like the student activists in the Rhodes Must Fall campaign, who wanted to tear down Oxford University’s statue of the empire-builder Cecil Rhodes.
The Nazis were also keen on rewriting history — as are student activists who want to ‘decolonise the curriculum’ by forcing lecturers to put more black and female writers on syllabuses instead of boring white men such as Shakespeare and Dickens.
The extraordinary thing, though, is that these modern-day book-burners reserve most of their intolerance not for their adversaries on the Right, but for heretics and apostates on the Left, such as the feminist writers Germaine Greer and Julie Bindel, or the columnist Nick Cohen.
And of course poor old Tim Farron, forced out for daring to hold views about gay marriage which held sway for millennia in this country. A favourite trick is ‘no-platforming’, when visiting speakers are denied the right to air their views in case they offend anyone’s sensibilities.
At Canterbury Christ Church University, the student union’s ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender officer’ refused to share a platform with veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
What was Mr Tatchell’s crime? He had signed an open letter deploring the rise of . . . no-platforming. By doing so, apparently, he was guilty of ‘incitement of violence against transgender people’.
If Mr Tatchell, probably the best-known gay rights campaigner in the country, a man who was badly beaten by Robert Mugabe’s bodyguards when he attempted a citizen’s arrest on the despot, is really guilty of thought crime, then none of us is safe. Indeed, merely by writing these words, I am doubtless identifying myself as a dangerous racist and sexist homophobe who deserves a long stretch in a re-education camp.
Still, if the revolution does come, I will be in good company. My fellow inmates will include not just Mr Tatchell but Colin Firth’s wife Livia (guilty of ‘cultural appropriation’ last week for wearing an American Indian headdress), the Star Trek actress Alice Eve (guilty of wearing ‘cornrows’, regarded as an Afro-Caribbean hairstyle), the novelist Lionel Shriver (guilty of writing about black characters in a novel) and the feminist writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (guilty of suggesting transgender women might be different from other women).
That all these people, many of them achingly right-on, have fallen foul of the new censors tells you all you need to know. For we live in an age of witch-hunts and purges, when the slightest deviation from the ultra-earnest, ultra-liberal orthodoxy invites charges of racism, sexism and worse.
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