Either a country allows free speech or it does not. There is no in-between. There are no qualifiers. ‘I believe in free speech but…’ No. Stop there. You do not believe in free speech. You believe in approved speech. It is not the same thing.
Free speech means that, sometimes, people will say things you find unpleasant but there’s a way out of that. Don’t listen. Just because someone has free speech does not mean they have the right to force you to listen.
You do not have to agree. You have free speech too, you can tell the speaker exactly what you think of their opinions. And criticise their fashion sense and general hygiene at the same time.
Does this mean that we’d be bickering all the time? Well, you can if you want to. Or you can just not listen. Just walk away. Ignore the idiot. You can still filter through your own preferences by listening to the speech you agree with and ignoring the ones you don’t. You can still have that echo chamber if you want it.
Free speech means you can say whatever you want. It does not mean anyone has to listen, or agree, or publish or disseminate your speech. If you want to write a book filled with antismoker bile and Puritan crap, fine. Under real free speech you are free to do so (actually it would be approved by the current Puritan regime anyway). You do not have the right to demand Leg Iron Books publish it, nor to demand this blog even mentions it.
A couple of years back, there was a troll who insisted I was denying his ‘free speech’ because I blocked him. He was, and probably still is, incapable of understanding that being blocked here does not affect his free speech at all. He can speak all he wants, but I’m not giving him a platform. Similarly on Twitter, blocking/muting someone does not stop them speaking. It just means you’re not listening any more.
Actually, blocking on Twitter works the other way. The person you block can’t see your tweets any more. You have basically muted yourself on their timeline. It’s your own voice that is silenced by blocking. I wonder if all those Righteous Ones who mass-block pre-emptively will ever work that out?
Recently we have seen three people banned from the UK for holding right wing views. They have no history of violence, they just say things some people find uncomfortable. So our government have removed them from the country because our government are idiots. These people are not silenced – far from it. I had not even heard of them and their views before they were banned. I bet there are many people who could say the same but now the internet is abuzz with the news of this Orwellian idiocy perpetrated by, of all things, an allegedly Tory government.
Then we have all this stuff about Jezza Corbyn and his antisemitic Facebook groups. Should he be silenced for saying the things he said? No. If you have free speech it has to work both ways. If I now say ‘I believe in free speech but that kind of talk is hate speech and must be silenced’ then I would be as bad as the screaming harpies of the ‘progressive’ lunatic fringe.
I don’t say Jezza, or anyone else should be silenced. However, if there is any downside to free speech, it is this: what you say can have consequences.
If you go around saying the UK is rubbish, the IRA are the good guys, Muslim terrorists should be celebrated, all white people must die, etc, then you are basically making clear that you are totally unfit to be put in charge of anything.
This doesn’t seem to work though, does it? MPs who state that ‘white people are a problem’ are not even called out on it by their parties. MPs who support anti-Jew groups are excused. There really don’t seem to be any consequences of ‘free speech’.
That’s because we don’t have free speech in the UK. We have approved speech. And approved speakers, who can say things with impunity that the rest of us would be arrested for saying.
Incidentally, what we have here is another of those ‘charities’ that depend on a constant client base. It is not in their interests to declare any child isn’t transgender. You take your son to them and you will bring home a daughter, and vice versa. These ‘charities’ are very dangerous groups of people and the scope of their activities now goes way beyond the ostracism of smokers and the nagging of fat people.
Note from the article that the police take their policy advice from a charity with a vested interest in keeping themselves in a job. It is no surprise that they use the police to silence dissent and criminalise wrongthink. And why not? Everyone else does.
There are those who have long referred to the UK police as ‘gestapo’ or ‘thought police’. I used to laugh that off as exaggeration. I’m not laughing now. The police do not work for the public now. That is undeniable. They are enforcers for vested interests.
If you are a champion of free speech in the UK you are not fighting to keep it. We used to have it, we don’t have it now. You are fighting to regain it.
It won’t be easy, and you can fully expect to be arrested for it. Wrongthink is a very high priority in the police now. A far higher priority than burglary, shoplifting or the mass rape of children.
You can stick to approved speech and blend in with the herd or you can stand up and say ‘I’m not going to take this any more’. If you stand up, be prepared to be knocked down and then stand up again. Otherwise, resign yourself to the cattle life.
There are many who see this but who stay silent, afraid to break ranks. Their resentment is building and this constant needling over petty things is going to make that resentment explode at some point. It can take a very long time to push the British, especially the English, to go beyond a mere disapproving look here and there. But when they do, they’ve built up such an internal rage that there will be no slow transition. No warning signs. They’ll simply explode.
It can be avoided. All it takes is for the authorities to stop acting like total dicks.
The trouble is, I don’t think they can.