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Notice how they’ve twisted this thing — Step 1..Identify everything they disagree with as hate speech. Step 2..Having done that, they are then on a glide path to shutting you down as a racist, bigot, homophobe and whatever other “ist” “ism” and “phobe” they can dream up.

READ ON —- The free-speech crisis is not a right-wing myth

“…In a piece entitled ‘The myth of the free-speech crisis’ Guardian journalist Nesrine Malik waves away people’s ‘overblown fears of censorship’, and argues that those defending the principle of free speech are only doing so because they want to normalise ‘hate speech or shut down legitimate responses to it’.

As she sees it, her attack on free speech is really an attack on the ‘racism and prejudice’ that is supposedly advanced in its name.

It is a mode of argument we’ve seen before, in relation to political correctness during the 1980s and 90s. Then, as now, the clear policing of language and the invention of a new, acceptable vocabulary was dismissed as a product of the right-wing imagination.

Yet it would be wrong to see this long-standing denial of the free-speech crisis as part of a concerted, conscious effort on the part of a deceitful clique of self-styled progressives.

Those who dismiss the free-speech crisis as a myth possess a shallow, instrumental view of the value of free speech. They simply do not take it seriously. And they certainly do not regard free speech as an inviolable moral good. Hence they can voice their nominal support for it in one breath, before, in the next, calling for the censorship of views they despise.

The first argument rests on the assumption that the ideal of free speech belongs to an earlier age. It is therefore effectively out of date. To prove this, proponents will point to the development of social media and the proliferation of disinformation, for instance. Or, as numerous legal scholars and constitutional lawyers in the United States questioning the First Amendment’s validity are now doing, they will point to the explosion of bad ideas circulating in society. And they will conclude from this that free speech is now playing a corrosive, dangerous role in society.

The regulation of speech and the flow of information is therefore justified in the name of protecting society, and democracy in particular.

This is not a new argument. The portrayal of free speech as a threat has long been a key component of the anti-democratic imagination. It is based on the premise that the demos lack the requisite intellectual abilities to participate in public life. People cannot be trusted to distinguish between truth and lies. They are likely to be misled by populist demagogues. They are at the mercy of propaganda, advertising and the media. As one commentator puts it in the New York Times, ‘good ideas do not necessarily triumph in the marketplace of ideas’. Which is another way of saying that if our ‘good ideas’ don’t sell, we need to prevent the ‘bad ideas’ from reaching the market.

The second argument justifying the moral devaluation of free speech is that it needs to be curbed because of its harmful impact on different identity groups. Enshrined in the ever-expanding categories of hate-speech legislation, this argument rests on the assumption that free speech poses a threat to the wellbeing of certain identity groups.

Such a view is most vociferously voiced by proponents of trans culture. They claim that just debating the idea that gender trumps biology amounts to an attack on ‘trans people’s right to exist’. Free speech is therefore presented as a threat to trans people’s lives.

The power that the cultural elites now have to decide what language is out of date, and what language people should be punished for, is not unlike the power once possessed by the Church, which could determine what was blasphemous or profane. But at least the Church was a publicly recognisable institution. One knew where one stood.

That is not the case today. Cancel culture appears as an invisible power without a name. Hence its practitioners can deny its existence, just as they deny the existence of the crisis of free speech. That they do so while cancelling and censoring with impunity makes the task of defending free speech more urgent than ever…”