The crescendo of intolerant screeching from the liberal-left about ‘hate speech’, micro aggressions, white privilege (ironic as most of the screechers are privileged and white,) and even the most reasonable criticism of their sacred cows is one of the more bizarre aspects of the culture war currently being fought on university campuses, internet opinion and comment sites and in mainstream media. These people rant and rave about diversity and multiculturalism, sing the praises of equality — and routinely shout down anyone who tries to offer a differing opinion.
Believers in democracy and freedom of speech and expression are far too familiar with they hypocritical double standards of self-styled liberal progressives who embrace fashionable causes such as same sex marriage, race politics, abortion on demand or the promotion of transgender agendas to children in junior school, and preach of the need for diversity immediately before demanding ideological conformity, who talk of unity then promote identity politics thus dividing communities into increasingly fragmented groups and encourage those groups to segregated themselves from the mainstream and pursue group interests to the detriment of the wider community.
One need only observe the mob mentality of the social media chatterati to understand how this unrepresentative minority reacts when any challenge to its dogma appears. While the abuse of those deemed to be xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic or simply typical right wing ‘white supremacists’ is fairly routine and predictable, the most toxic and damaging hate — fests target not opponents, but at cult members who deviate from the paths of righteousness and commit the unforgivable sin of thinking for themselves.
A case in point is the treatment of Vanity Von Glow, a drag queen played by comedian Thom Glow, who is now faced with the very real rosk of losing his livelihood after appearing at the ‘Day for Freedom ,’ a rally in support of free-speech organised by Tommy Robinson, a popular hate symbol for Britain’s unthinking left and former head of the English Defence League (EDL), wrongly branded by opponents of free speech as a fascist group. In fact they were simply opposed to the bias towards Islam shown in the municipal politics of British towns and cities. The kind of thing Robinson and his colleagues objected to was the persecution of Christian groups for promoting themselves by displaying crosses while supporting Muslim events at which fundamentalist preachers would call on Muslims to “Kill the infidel.”
Because of the link to a symbolic figure such as Robinson, the event was unjustly referred to as a ‘far-right rally’ by many in the media, especially BBC reporters. The biased coverage meant anybody who took part in the event, even if they had an unblemished track record for supporting ‘right on’ causes became a target.
Thom Glow holds to the principle that free speech is not a partisan issue, that those who exercise their right to express their own views should not seek to restrict the right of free expression for others. He bravely decided to perform in his professional persona, (Vanity von Glow is a theatrical character, Thom does not ‘identify’ as a woman). The backlash from liberal and left wing activists was only surprising in its intensity. Since the event in May, Glow has been banned from various London venues and is finding that where he is booked his act is being disrupted by people calling him a fascist, right wing extremist and much worse.
“The problem is that the far left don’t just go for calling you names,” Glow said on TV when interviewed by Sky News after the boycott began. “Their party trick at the moment is to go for your source of income. At the moment they’ve been making sure that my shows are cancelled. They want to see me unemployed, possibly they want to see me homeless. It’s quite an aggressive tactic.” One cabaret venue, Her Upstairs, claimed that ‘her alignment with such an event calls into question her motives’. Not content with cancelling all future bookings, it sought to smear her reputation through the fallacy of guilt by association.
It is far worse than an aggressive tactic, it is a cowardly and despicable tactic, and demonstrates the ignorance of of those who call Tommy Robinson a Nazi but are happy to use tactics favoured by Nazi SS officers to deny Jews the right to earn a living. They have even become anti Semitic themselves, targeting businesses and homes of British Jews who have nothing to do with Israel, and might even be supporters of Israel’s opposition parties, in protest at the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli government. The self righteousness of these ideologues really has no limits.
Vanity Von Glow will break the London-wide boycott later this month with a gig at Comedy Unleashed, a monthly comedy night that does not screen performers according to their politics.
The contradictions here are obvious. While those on the left are quick to scream about equal rights for minorities, like the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm they want some of the animals, i.e. those who conform to the strictures of politically correct groupthink, to be more equal than others. Human Rights is a fine sounding cause but we must tread carefully when we get into the labyrinth of conflicting rights, that protecting one group does not infringe the equally valid right of another. If it is OK for gay activist groups to promote gay interests then it has to be OK for those who think homosexual relationships are immoral and homosexuals need help to overcome their affliction to advertise their view.
As Philip Johnston wrote on the topic, “Just as gays are entitled to extol their own sexual identity, so people who take another view, on whatever grounds, should be allowed to state their opinion, shouldn’t they?”
Likewise all religions must be treated equally. Ban them all or tolerate them all. There is nothing liberal about granting Muslims indulgences because ‘multiculturalism,’ while banning Christians from wearing a cross pendant outside their clothes because it may offend Muslims. There have actually been cases of people trying to have crosses banned in the workplace although I know of none where the initial complaint was made by a Muslim. The objections have all come from left wing activists who have elected themselves spokesperson for all Muslims.
It does not matter what individuals ‘feel’ about an issue. Equality means everybody is treated in the same way. It is understandable that some gay people want to promote a positive image of their sexual preference and lifestyle but it is also understandable that some Christian groups want to promote their beliefs. It is understandable that religious groups will promote themselves with the message that their belief system offers peace of mind. I believe the world would be better if all the Abrahamic religions were banned. You and I are entitled to our opinion but not to force our moral choices on others. And that is what these liberals and progressives try to do and why we must always say it is not acceptable.
The problem we face is that people of a certain political inclination think it is perfectly acceptable to gag voices not supportive of their view because, “they’re racists and white supremacists,. they just don’t like gays, blacks and Muslims and are hiding their racism / homophobia / sectarianism behind a spurious religiosity / political sophistry.”
The left have never been slow to usurp to themselves the right to think for others. In some cases it may be true that a religious stance is a front for plain and simple prejudice, but it is not the issue in the case of Vanity Van Glow: this is about free speech and tolerance.
The self righteousness and assumed moral superiority of the left, socialists and liberals, earned them a bad reputation long before the current fashion for politically correct authoritarianism ganed traction. As Schumpeter’s Warning advises us, “Socialism always leads to fascism,” and so our left leaning friends have hijacked the word “liberal,” although their aggressive, intolerant attitude along with a love of big government, regulation of everything including our thoughts, determination to shout down anybody who opposes them, their pejorative dismissals of anybody wanting to advance ideas that challenge the dogma of politically correct thinking and their absolute belief that theirs is the only ‘correct’ approach to the multi -faceted problems of modern society reveal them as the most intolerant political grouping since the heyday of fascism.
This return to intolerance should worry is all, it is worrying some academics sufficiently for research projects to be set up to investigate the illiberal mindset of people who are fanatically jealous of their status as liberals. So fanatical in their denunciations of opponents are the illiberal liberals, that throughout the developed world independent minded people, and not just those of faith, have become reluctant to express certain views publicly for fear of making themselves the target of a witch hunt by fanatical ‘liberals’.
OK, I linked to a scene from Monty Python and The Holy Grail just for mischief, but most people reading this will be aware that the treatment handed out to anyone expressing scepticism about the very dodgy scientific evidence used to prop up the global warming scare, those who question the safety of certain vaccines or people who dare to express support for President Trump is not far removed from the irrational hysteria of the linked video clip.
We all watch our words and our backs these days, diluting controversial opinions with anodyne phrases, terrified of breaking the unwritten code, handed down by Our New Unhappy Lords to the priests in those temples of progressive liberalism, the universities, and upheld by the useful idiots who act as guardians of the New World Order’s illiberal goal of global totalitarian government. The punishment is not just derision and verbal abuse; in some quarters expressing the wrong sentiment (hate crime) will result in a criminal record or a fine. One British journalist, Julie Burchill learned this to her cost when she wrote something that offended the transgender lobby and was sacked on the orders of the government’s equalities minister. Commenting on protests by the snip and tuck brigade about the reluctance of mainstream society to accept them as ‘real women’ Julie advised they should cut it out. Burchill is a witty and acerbic writer and well able to look after herself and she explained that the lefties and Gay BLTs were demanding that the issue be put on a par with those that affect ‘real women’ likes the ineffectiveness of the police in rape cases.
Being sacked for pissing off people close to the government used to happen regularly within my lifetime … to writers living in the USSR. Any expression of subversive tendency ( i.e. one that did not tally with the regime’s own viewpoint) in Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, Hitler’s Third Reich or Castro’s Cuba could end a hack’s career forever. Or land the hapless scribe in one of the unpleasant places the regime reserved for those who were not enthusiastic enough in their support. Officials in Britain, Europe and the USA cannot dispatch opponents in this way, yet. But if the decision in a recent court hearing about the Christian advertising campaign goes against free speech, we will soon be feel the cold winds of tyranny blowing in from Siberia and the steppes of eastern Asia.
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