I find myself becoming ever more anxious about the direction in which this country is heading. If we don’t speak up soon, we will be living in a totalitarian society run by progressives who think themselves morally superior to everyone else. Thus, they will dictate how we ought to behave, how we ought to think and what opinions we ought to hold. We are already half way there; the rise of political correctness is the first step in this transformation. They will not stop until they rule the world.
Okay that might be a slight exaggeration, and I know they are not consciously ruining our country, and I know their hearts are in the right place. But it is worrying nonetheless. I am progressive in the sense that I strongly believe in movements such as feminism and LGBT rights, I lament the class system and other such things. Where I differ is that I am also liberal. I believe that liberty is the single most important asset we possess. We need it in order to prevent the government from becoming too authoritarian. Now, while most progressives might call themselves liberal, many of them are not. For while they believe in equality, they do not really believe in liberty.
A fantastic example of this is the recent outrage around Katie Hopkins’ article in the Sun in which she labelled refugees as “cockroaches” in the aftermath of a tragedy which saw 700 of them drown in the Mediterranean. The fact that she is a ghastly woman who’s ramblings are reminiscent of some pre-genocidal regimes I could mention is beside the point. By all means call her out and embarrass her as much as possible, but I begin to worry when hundreds of thousands of people sign a petition calling for her to be sacked. The Sun is not owned by the Government, it does not claim to represent the people. It is privately owned so should have complete autonomy over what it prints. There have been similar petitions in the USA involving CEO’s of powerful corporations who have espoused homophobia. Okay, if you don’t like it then challenge them on their backwards views, put it on them. But don’t try and get them sacked from a job which you have absolutely nothing to do with because they have an opinion that differs from your own. These organizations are independent, autonomous and free, they should (within reason) be able to do whatever they want, and as soon as one tries to restrict their liberties then we go down a dangerous path.
I emphasize the need to argue with and challenge people whose opinions differ from one’s own. My worry is that many progressives do not do this. There seems to be a great reluctance to engage in reasonable discussion. Increasingly, I see left-wing commentators and journalists shutting down uncomfortable conversations on TV by labelling their right-wing opponents as fascists, Nazis, xenophobes, racists etc. Alternatively, they are compared to the BNP, UKIP, the National Front and other such unpopular organizations. Whether or not these people are worthy of these titles is irrelevant. The progressives shout these things as if this wins them the argument. Well it doesn’t. It’s no more useful than calling someone an idiot. Show them how they’re wrong if you’re so sure of yourself. Engage in their points. It is worrying how easily conversations are shut down in this manner, and how people who express controversial opinions are dismissed so readily. By doing this, they are preventing topics that they don’t want discussed entering the public discourse. Note the taboo of mentioning immigration in left-wing circles now that UKIP have gained a modest following.
The idea that some subjects can be off-limits, or taboo just because people don’t want to talk about them is ridiculous. The illegality of holocaust denial in France illustrates the kind of restrictions we do not want infiltrating our legislature. While you’re a moron for denying the holocaust, it is completely unjustified to criminalize someone for holding an opinion.
There is a massive sense of superiority in the progressive outlook. Particularly in regards to the Right’s agenda. I am happy to concede that people who disagree with my ideologies or beliefs are sincere and genuine. Many on the Left however seem to believe that the right are disagreeing with them simply because they are evil and want as many people to suffer as possible. They cannot conceive how anyone could possibly disagree with their outlook other than being purposefully cruel. It could just be that they believe an alternative system would work better. While it is more convenient to see people as goodies and baddies, it doesn’t really work like that. Most people have good intentions. Engage in good faith, hear them out and rebut. This assumption of evilness leads to great intolerance and aggressiveness towards those expressing non-conventional views.
The rise of political correctness means we must censor not only what we say, but also what we think. This is the definition of totalitarianism. Is no-one else concerned that one can no longer really say what one thinks without fear of repercussions? Free-speech and free-thought are fast becoming outdated concepts. The world is moving past these pillars of liberty. We cannot let it happen.
By Olly Tozer