It’s their ways to detain,
Their ways to disgrace,
Their knee in your balls
And their fist in your face.
Oh, and long live the state,
By whoever it’s made.
Sir, I didn’t see nothing.
I was just getting home late.
Leonard Cohen, A Singer Must Die
[M]ulticulturalism is bringing on a new Dark Age of scientific obscurantism, moral fanaticism, and political repression.
Greg Johnson, The Persecution of American Renaissance
A few years ago I attended a freedom of speech rally in Trafalgar Square. Points were made by speakers that seem platitudinous today, at least if you believe in free speech. To those who don’t – the political class, their media courtiers, the police, the Left, Islam – they seemed then and seem now like dissent. And, to paraphrase Jonathan Swift, there is one, short way with dissenters. They must be silenced.
My good friend Barry Shand reminded me the other day that we were drinking in the cavernous J D Wetherspoon on Whitehall – The Moon on the Mall, is it? – before the speeches and rally, when several fine members of our London Metropolitan Police Force – sorry, Service – entered the building. They were jangling and clanking with their various appurtenances and utility belts, and it was unclear then why they were there. It is clearer now.
One of the officers came up to my group and stood very close. He stared at all of us with a look of sheer, naked hatred and contempt on his face. It didn’t improve his appearance as he had a face only a mother could love, but it did make a point. We were, if not the enemy, then an enemy.
Forward we come in time, to early Spring of this year. After the massacre at the Parisian offices of Charlie Hebdo, the next issue was released with great pomp and solemnity. Many issues were shipped to Britain so that people could express their solidarity by buying a copy. The people who bought the magazine from one particular Wiltshire newsagent would get a little more for their money than the warm glow of solidarity and the chance to wear a Je Suis Charlie badge for five minutes before the next hashtag came along. Presently, Police officers from the Wiltshire Constabulary entered the shop and demanded the owner give names and addresses of those who had bought the magazine, so critical as it is – was – of Brand Islam.
It is being made clear, little by little, incursion by incursion, what is and is not permissible to say in our brave new world. Our political gauleiters are just as intolerant as the flintiest kommissar or sternest mullah when it comes to dissenting speech, and this includes criticism of themselves and their favoured victim groups. The denaturing of speech is a big part of the Leftist/Progressivist program, and freedom of speech is the natural enemy of the Left.
One front on which the battle for free speech is being fought – and you are involved in the battle, like it or not – is that of provenance. That is to say, a statement is a priori incorrect if it said by certain people or classes of people. Thus, if a perfectly valid point is made by a person of the Right, an unperson to the Left, the statement and the idea it represents is automatically invalidated and, if possible, criminalised. It doesn’t even matter if the point is valid or has the prerogative of validity; if the wrong person says it, it is wrong. An interesting example is Voltaire’s disputed aphorism.
Voltaire was one of the great 18th-century French philosophes. Everyone is familiar with; “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”, even if the Left have debased the sentiment. Another of his memorable aphorisms has swum in the currents of the internet for the last couple of years; “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise.” It is not quite apposite in our modern communication arena, resembling as it does a vast library with Socialist martinets hissing “Sssssshhh!!!” every three seconds, because Islam does not quite rule over us yet, but it contains an undeniable truth. Ah, those philosophes.
Except it is now claimed that Voltaire didn’t say or write it. Now, regardless of its provenance, the phrase resounds, is undeniably a participant in at least a truth. You’ll find it in management every bit as much as in wider society. And so, in a rather gleeful little online feature from earlier this year, it was sneeringly claimed that a white supremacist called Kevin Alfred Strom coined the phrase – or one very similar – in a 1993 book entitled All America Must Know the Terror That is Upon Us. Of course, for the Left, anything said by a white supremacist – the bogeyman par excellence for the Leftist – is not only false but pure evil. The idea, the statement, itself becomes secondary; the source becomes everything.
I know, or knew (I’ve had a spring-clean of my acquaintances) Leftists who believe this. Thus, their reasoning runs, because Nigel Farage is a white man who made money in the City and has been critical of endless immigration, everything he says at any point is invalid and morally disgusting. It is a feeble, pathetic argument, but the great shame of the Right is that it is winning.
You are going to miss free speech when it has gone from us, and it has gone from us already. There are off-limits areas now just as there a ‘safe spaces’ on modern university spaces. The outlawing of criticism of Islam inches ever closer, and your political masters will not be defending your corner when the issue comes to a head. This is truly a mad world, my masters, and sanity will not return while its spokespeople are persecuted. If a certifiable lunatic who always opposes reality tells you it is raining, you should still take an umbrella.