The Left’s Assault on Free Speech
Written by: Nicholas Babaya
The majority of countries in the Western world as well as many others across Africa and some in Asia are blessed with a right which forms the bedrock of a free society: freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech, governments wouldn’t be able to be criticised and so kept in check to ensure that they were not becoming corrupt or violating the laws of the land. Freedom of speech allows us to express our own ideas and criticise ideas and actions which we don’t like. This is vital in a free society, for without it, one’s own ‘freedom’ (in any sense of the word) is put in question.
Because of this, I have been disgusted by the increasing trend by the radical left currently on the rise who have continually tried to shoot down any sort of views that disagree with the all-too-common social justice warrior narrative. It has now become impossible to rationally question leftist movements such as #FeesMustFall and #EndOutsourcing without being called ‘racist’ and having your views instantly de-legitimised. It certainly appears as if the people in these movements have simply rejected the notion that a person could genuinely disagree with them and have reasons for doing such without having some kind of racist, privileged or counter-revolutionary agenda, or any other equally ridiculous and unfounded accusation for that matter. It is even more frustrating if you happen to have been born with genetics belonging to a certain haplogroup indicating that your prehistoric ancestors might have originated in the region of Asia Minor where the Caucasus Mountains can be found. Yes, I’m talking about white people.
In my discussion with people from various left-wing movements I have been told a myriad of ridiculous things designed to de-legitimise my views simply because they are in dissent. They include:
- I am naturally going to be biased because I am white
- White people don’t deserve to have a say and need to sit back while the ‘revolution’ takes place
- It’s impossible to be racist against white people
- My views criticising vandalism and robbing people of the ability to study and right exams in peace is racist
There are a few other anecdotal examples, but it shocks me now to see how many people are blindly believing such unfounded pieces of ridiculousness which are utterly devoid of any sort of logical inference. It is an attempt to reason with emotions. At times it can be hugely frustrating debating with people who are simply intent on finding some way to discredit your voice rather than respond to your arguments.
What’s more, such axioms that the left has created are inherently self-defeating as well as being ad hoc to a laughable extent. I will explain why that is in another article, but for now, I’m sure that it’s not too hard to believe that you can be racist to white people, provided that you accept: a) that ‘white’ is in fact a race of people and b) you haven’t changed the definition of the word ‘racist’.
While the left may claim that their cause is for social justice, really the only tactic they have is limiting freedom of speech. Once a person has been labelled as being a ‘racist’, often it doesn’t even matter whether or not they really were racist. The mere accusation seems to be enough to silence their voices in the name of politeness, not-being-offensive and the greatest cancer to society in the 21st century: political correctness.
Political correctness arose as some kind of feeble attempt to make sure that certain groups of people would not be offended. Immediately, there are four major problems with this:
- No person is guaranteed the right not to be offended
- Even if they did have this right, it would be impossible to realistically enforce
- There is no way of forcing people with different views to not offend one another without infringing on their freedom of speech
- What exactly is and what is not ‘offensive’ is hugely subjective and it would be impossible to keep everybody from being offended about everything
- There is also an enormous double standard with perceived hate groups e.g. Ku Klux Klan might find Martin Luther King offensive but because most people hate the KKK – no one takes notice of this
Political correctness can never coherently and fairly work for these and other reasons. Ultimately all it does is infringe on civil liberties enshrined in our constitution by trying to enforce another civil liberty which is (thank goodness) not enshrined in our constitution.
On the other hand, an ability to freely express one’s self and have no concern for offending other people will allow us to make actual progress by questioning the establishment. It allows us to bring forth beliefs which may not be held in the mainstream and so stimulate thought and debate.
Ultimately though, I think absolute freedom of speech has never been more important to the free world than at this moment. As an example, Europe faces an enormous ideological threat to their freedom of speech, despite them not subscribing to this ideology. I refuse to tip-toe around it as some have done for the sake of political correctness. The time has come to throw political correctness into the garbage dump of history, where it belongs. Today, Europe’s greatest threat to freedom of speech is that which too many have been afraid to call out. I speak of course of politicised Islam, also known as Islamism. When a satirical magazine decides to lampoon a religious figure, people should laugh. Instead, certain Islamists have taken it upon themselves to enforce the law of Islam in a non-Islamic society. The mere fact that the Charlie Hebdo attack occurred has instilled a fear of criticising this one specific ideology. Why is it that outspoken anti-Islamic politician Geert Wilders has had to live under 24-hour security for the past 10 years? Why was Theo van Gogh murdered by a Dutch Muslim after making a movie about the treatment of women in Islam? Why is it that CNN decided to blur out the Danish cartoons at the time of their controversy?
This new kind of politicised Islam is now affecting freedom of speech in Europe like no other ideology ever has. Christians and Jews are constantly made fun of (and one could argue offended) with no backlash. This double standard can no longer be swept under the carpet just because it has become the elephant in the room.
This tragedy of left idealism means that now, more than ever, we need to be speaking our minds. We need to be exposing fallacies, and engaging Those Without Logic or Reason (#TWLR, I wonder if this could catch on?). People with false views need to be called out because their false views are now affecting the ability of other people to express true ones.
So don’t be afraid of voicing your views. Be proud that you live in a free society. Offend as many as you can, provided that the offense is simply a symptom of the truth.
Author: Nicholas Babaya matriculated from Rondebosch Boys High School in November 2015, and will be pursuing an undergraduate degree in law at Rhodes University in 2016.