Death to the thought criminals!

No free speech here, please. We're British.
No free speech here, please. We’re British.

You’ve probably heard of the concept of “no platforming” but it would appear there are some people who want to take it just a little bit further than the stage of your local university lecture theatre.

There’s a petition on change.org that is calling for the media to “Stop giving Nigel Farage air time on television, in the press or the Internet.” 

The idea some people have come up with is that if you don’t like someone’s political views then they shouldn’t have the right to expound them in a way you might possibly be exposed to them. 

This kind of approach to life in general, and politics in particular, worries the crap out of me. I also think that it’s mad, insane, stupid and cretinous all at the same time.

Why?

  1. If all you ever read, hear or watch are just echoes of your chosen political ideals then you aren’t going to learn or grow as a person. You might as well stick your head in a bucket and talk to yourself for the rest of your life. You need to listen to what other people say, especially those who don’t happen to agree with your world view. Sometimes, oh yes, they have ideas that are worth bloody listening to. Sometimes they might just be making a point that is actually bloody important. Different viewpoints open up new vistas of thought and debate. They force you to reevaluate your own position and attitude to the world around you.
  2. Any group which is banned from publicly talking about their political viewpoints can justifiable claim to be persecuted. That’s not a good thing. It helps to build resentment and the kind of emotions that sublimate into violence. Just remember that human beings are not angels, or born with some sort of moral compass. They are animals and if they feel threatened then they will behave in an animalistic manner. That includes fighting like a cornered rat. Does anyone want that? I know I don’t.
  3. It is a step towards a world dominated by censorship of thought, word and deed. Where thoughtcrimes (thanks for that term Mr Orwell) attract heavy penalties and those out of favour with the political leadership soon find themselves consigned to the gulag. Now, at the moment, it’s the lefty pro-EU anti-Trump anti-right-wing parts of the political world who feel that they need to shutdown the nasty righty scumbags. They see a way to halt the right-wing surge through the use of name calling (bigot, racist, homophobe, misogynist etc) and by denying the righties the oxygen of publicity. It could easily be lefty groups being targeted by right-wingers to deny them media access – it cuts both ways. 

This desire to block a political opponent from being heard just because they happen to disagree with your pet beliefs is something our society needs to fight against. 

Listen up to some wise words:

“I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

This quote, attributed to Voltaire, puts into words a vital cornerstone of any free society.

I would like everyone to take these words to heart and be ready to fight against those who’d silence someone just because they hold an opposing view.

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