FREE SPEECH AND THE LEFT – A few days ago I wrote about a Scottish lad Mike Meechan, who’s been convicted by a Scottish court (a judge, no jury) of a hate crime of being “grossly offensive”. The response to this ruling, which is grossly offensive to the freedom of speech, has been rather mooted. One of the few exceptions has been the ever dependable Jonathan Pie (warning: language):
Freedom of speech is not a joke: https://t.co/sHP6vUjjKQ
— Jonathan Pie (@JonathanPieNews) March 22, 2018
Jonathan Pie is a leftie. So is Ricky Gervais, who likewise jumped to Meecham’s defence (or, rather, the defence of Meecham’s right to say what he wants to say without going to jail), and so are most people at “Spiked”. But this, by and large, has been the extent of the left’s defence of the Enlightenment ethos and values. Most of Meecham’s other champions come from the conservative side of politics (and the alt-right, wherever it actually fits on the spectrum).
In the past it was the left that prided itself on being the defenders of free speech. So what happened?
It’s pretty simple, actually. In the centuries and decades past, the left used the fight for free speech as a political battering ram against the conservative establishment. Now that the left is the establishment (at the very least culturally), they fight against free speech in order to defend their commanding heights and to kneecap the right’s cultural counter-revolution. It’s not about the principle, it’s about the side. Except for the few like Pie or Brendan O’Neill.
The sound you are hearing is Voltaire slowly spinning in his grave. Sad.
P.S. “New Statesman” has a go at Ricky Gervais for his defence of free speech.