Censorship, fascism and scoundrels.
I find it difficult to take France seriously. There is something in the water that turns the French into the closest thing we have in the West to Stalinists or the Fasci. France is a fascist nation in the most literal sense of the word. It stifles freedom of speech and has centralized state control of not just markets but the mind, not just prices but opinions. Both controls are hallmarks of fascism.
Never forget that fascism came out of socialist parties. Tony Blair, the Labour leader of the UK, has done more to push England toward fascism than anyone since Oswald Moseley. Mussolini was a former socialist MP. The Left hates freedom and fascism is the philosophy of anti-freedom.
Let me give a recent example. Christian Vanneste is a stupid old man. He is a politician. He is a conservative. And he is a fool. He is viciously antigay. He says “heterosexuality is morally superior to homosexuality”. I never listen to a politician on morality since if they had any they would be a different line of work. Vanneste says dumb things like “homosexual behaviour endangers the survival of humanity” because if everyone were gay the world would end. Well, if everyone were a Catholic priest or nun humanity wouldn’t survive either. It is not happening, not going to happen and thus not an issue.
What is shameful is that the courts in France have punished Vannesete for making these remarks. I don’t agree with anything this fool said. But when the courts can determine what opinions one may express then we are all in danger. That three “gay” organizations were behind this travesty of justice only proves that there are people on the gay Left who are just as much a threat to individual rights as the Religious Right.
Vanneste says he will appeal. One gay site says it unlikely he will succeed because “the European Court has a long record of upholding LGBT civil rights.” I chocked on that statement. It is not the right of anyone to stifle the free speech of another person. I will say Vanneste is wrong but I will say that gays who support fascist laws regulating opinions are “morally inferior” not because they are gay but because they are fascists.
Of course conservatives are upset about the court’s decision. They think conservatives ought to have freedom of speech while others ought to be regulated. Gee, they differ so little from these “gay activists” with their jackbooted control of the thoughts of others. The conservatives attacking the ruling don’t support freedom of speech in their own countries. They usually demand more censorship especially of gay groups.
My point is that neither these gay activists (those who pushed for this fascistic ruling) and conservatives activists are advocates of individual rights. Each wants a society that they control from the top downwards so that they can impose the “group think” they support. Now both gays and fundamentalists are minorities. And such laws are most likely to harm minority opinions. It is contrary to the long-term self-interest of either group to support such measures. George Bush "defends freedom" by stripping people of freedom. And there is widespread acknowledgment that such tactics don't work. Yet groups like these gay groups defend "rights" by stripping people of their rights. That is a slippery and dangerous slope.
The mayor of Moscow wants to ban gays from holding a parade. He wants to impose his views on them and prevent them from expressing themselves. Gay groups in France want to impose their view on Vannesete and prevent him from expressing himself. The difference between them and the mayor of Moscow is marginal at best. In doing what they have done to Vanneste they have lost the moral right to condemn what is happening in Moscow. Every censor is a hypocrite since they always want the opinions of others repressed but never their own.
The very concept of legislating speech is reprehensible and a violation of the basic principle of human equality. If all people have equal rights then how is it that some people have the right to tell other people what opinions they may express?
It’s elitist. The mere process of defining what speech may be uttered is inherently fascistic. It reeks of the ubermenschen. The Fascists thought of themselves as super men with the right to rule others. As in Orwell’s Animal Farm they held to the view that “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”
It’s tempting to want to drag in Nanny State with her coercive powers to put these people down. But in doing so we surrender to the very ideas that authoritarians are pushing. It’s a victory for them in principle since their opponents adopt their methodology of operating.
H.L. Mencken wrote: “The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.”
Mencken was right. If we want to defend the freedoms of decent people we have to defend the freedom of scoundrels. If I want to make sure my freedom of speech is secure then I have to defend the freedom of speech of the Vannestes of the world.
The well known publisher Victor Gollanz, a Jew and a man of the Left, wrote in his book Our Threatened Values that fascism is “not some separate and isolate phenomenon, which can magically be brought into existence by appealing to people’s reason or playing on their prejudices”. It is the “logical development of certain traits that are in human nature”. By censoring those we see as fascists we strengthen those traits and “make fascism more probable.”
Gollancz wrote: “The strongest of all the antifascist traits is the passion for spiritual and intellectual freedom; and by so much as you restrict its play, by so much as you nourish instead the sadomasochistic elements in our nature, by so much as you introduce the first thin wedge of authoritarianism, by just so much do you bring a little nearer the very peril you are anxious to avoid.”
Photo: The photo is of Victor Gallancz, a man who defended the rights of even his enemies.