Is #Charlottsvile the beginning of the end for free speech?
George Orwell once said that if liberty is to signify anything at all, it entails the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
Orwell said this and so too did Salman Rushdie, or words to that effect.
The point of all of this-in the wake of Charlottsville, Trumpville, KKKville, ANTIFAville, is that counter protesters mean nothing in the wider context of their protests if they deny free speech to those they disagree with, whether left-wing, right-wing, those with confused ideologies or those who even espouse hate. They might not be welcome, but who are you to deny them the right to advocate an opinion?
These days the press and politicians are happy to whip up a frenzy even when one doesn’t exist, but if it does as it did in Charlottsville, then it’s suddenly time to shut everybody down, because they said so.
The interesting parallel here is the activity of the far left in stifling dissent and that propagated in China during the Cultural Revolution as envisioned by Chairman Mao. Anybody who has an opinion, no matter how venal, is obviously going to take their ball and go home in the wake of rabid counter protesters who are all too handy with bottles and foreign objects when they need to be.
But what are counter protesters afraid of, whether in Charlottesville, London, Paris, New York or anywhere around the world?
It’s especially worrying when you come across free-speech nationalists who aren’t dressed up to the nines like Adolf or with Halloween masks; the point is you don’t know what the hell they want to say if you don’t allow them to speak.
What’s also interesting is when the political class-or are so happy to tell us how liberal and warm and cuddly they are when television cameras are on-tell us that these people who look racist don’t need to be heard because their message is not what we want to hear.
Well, how do we know what they are going to say?
It won’t take long for the counter-protesters to simply close down free-speech rallies around the world (notwithstanding the Middle East) without hearing a word about free speech.
This entire scene is reminiscent of the start of Mao’s madness in China during the Cultural Revolution in the years 1967–1976. That is when mindless mobs, at Mao’s urging, attacked “rightists” and “counterrevolutionaries.”
Created by Mao, millions of young people, workers and peasants, calling themselves the Red Guard, were mobilized to carry out Mao’s hysterical program of communist dogma.
Mao wanted to eliminate “old ideas” from the nation, like old customs, old culture and old habits.
The Red Guard, with a free rein, took to the streets and spread terror across the land, as police authorities looked away.
They attacked, shut up, beat up, humiliated and killed an untold number of fellow Chinese suspected of being “rightists” or “counterrevolutionaries.” They especially singled out teachers, professors, intellectuals, former landowners, shopkeepers and anyone else who was suspected of being a Chinese traditionalist.
Thousands, maybe even millions, of people were beaten and publicly jeered by chanting mobs as they were paraded through the streets. Thousands committed suicide rather than face the viciousness of the mob.
They destroyed antiques, Buddhist temples, ancient texts and statues, and they nearly destroyed China before saner Chinese Communist leaders reined in Mao and the mob he had created.
Could the thrashing of Civil War statues and the shutdown of free speech on the Boston Common be signs of things to come?