February 26, 2014

Political correctness is the worst form of censorship, Ctd

For too long a climate of fear has installed a culture of passivity and submission and obedience among the moderate and the middle classes in Northern Ireland. It is almost universally accepted that any moderate who speaks out will do so under pain of recrimination, likely intimidation and possible physical attack. 

However when any person, group or entity wields power, there must be a check and constraints, a counter-factual, opposition and adversary. Power must be held accountable whoever wields it. All power should be mediated. 

But all we have seen is the promiscuous, indiscriminate and wilful abuse of power. Year after year. After year. After year. 

A counter-factual, counter-narrative, adversarial press and adversarial public has been missing in Northern Ireland. Too many weasel-worded metropolitan-left liberals have chided myself and other for not ‘respecting’ loyalism, as if people firebombing police and rioting were worthy of respect rather than contempt. 

It is because we are scared to admit that we are afraid that loyalists and republicans dissidents are still able to use the cloak of victimhood to pursue perpetual dysfunction and violence. We must do two things. 

One, fight the culture of censorship established by the liberal thought police. 
By smearing people like me as a "snob" and a "toff" they seek to whitewash loyalist extremists by smearing me. This is bottom of the barrel stuff. As Robert Green Ingersoll said during his Lecture on Thomas Paine (Chicago, January 29, 1880) here:
"Whoever attacks a superstition will find that superstition defended by all the meanness of ingenuity. Whoever attacks a superstition will find that there is still one weapon left in the arsenal of Jehovah—slander."
In the present day the main threat to free expression comes from public opinion. Public pressure can be the greatest censor. The threat of being labelled a snob will silence and censor people. You can be accused of being elitist, a racist or intolerant if you simply say something they don't like or even criticise the most extreme. The irony is that this phenomenon amounts to reverse bigotry. The casual dismissal, without cause, without evidence and without counter-argument, of sincerely held beliefs. 

Two, as Ed West said, "Once we all admit this depressing truth [that we're afraid], we’re halfway there. So let’s all just say it – I’m afraid!"

The first step out of this cycle will only begin once we speak out. As MLK Jr. said: "Our lives begin to end the day that we become silent about the things that matter." As Nick Cohen said:
"Some arguments matter more than party politics. The right of democratic representatives and democratic publics to speak their minds without fear of retribution is one of them."
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