A couple of weeks ago, the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump went on the Full Send Podcast, hosted by members of the popular youtube channel Nelk. The podcast was roughly an hour long, and there was not one single bit of controversy throughout the entire duration. The podcast was uploaded to Youtube, and had amassed a whopping five million views in under 24 hours before Youtube took it down for ‘violating terms and service’ and ‘misinformation’. This highlights something extremely dangerous that is becoming ever more common in today’s society: censorship.
If you are up to date with the current political landscape and social climate, then you know cancel culture has become a very prominent force. The woke mob as they are often referred to as, constantly go out of their way to demonize those they disagree with and try and find any small chinks in someones armour to tear them down and deplatform them. It feels like everyone is trying to walk on eggshells, hoping they don’t stir up the mob. Social media platforms are caving in to the pressure from the wokist and are constantly removing and deplatforming people from their platforms. This climate of censorship and cancelling is a huge attack on the fundamental right of freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech is one of if not the most fundamental right society has. It is the right to freedom of expression that has helped build western civilisation as we know it today. It is how society has advanced so much over the years. The debates, ideas and discussion that free speech sparks is all crucial to helping humanity progress. Shockingly, this seemingly essential right has come under attack the last couple of years, and is edging nearer and nearer to being a thing of the past.
The most common rebuttal to freedom of speech that the radical wokist use is that it allows for ‘hate speech’. This is a very weak argument as the definition of ‘hate speech’ differs from person to person. No-one is denying that there are countless examples of reprehensible speech out there. It is the question of who gets to determine what ‘hate speech’ is. Let’s call it for what it is. The radical wokist only wants to silence those they disagree with, so they go out of their way to try and find examples of right wingers (anyone who has a remotely different opinion for that matter) using ‘hate speech’. The definition of ‘hate speech’ in this instance is very convenient for the woke mob, as it means they get to eliminate prominent voices that have influence on the other side. What happens though if the roles were reversed? What if radical right wingers had control on the monopoly of speech and ‘truth’? It would end extremely badly, as we have already seen from the Fascist Nazi Reigime earlier last centuary. This is no different. Censoring opinions you don’t agree with and deplatforming those on the other side is textbook fascism. It is very troubling that this is becoming ever more prominent.
Big Tech and the radical woke brigade aren’t the only ones guilty of this unfortunately. Governments around the world are now pondering ‘hate speech’ laws themselves. This is the case here in New Zealand as well. The Labour party was very close to passing through hate speech laws throughout this past term. Fortunately they came under scrutiny for doing so. Prime Minister Jacinda Adern and Justice Minister Chris Faafoi (who wrote the bill) couldn’t even give a clear explanation of what ‘hate speech’ was and how they would go about regulating it. It was extremely embarrassing. Thankfully they have given up on the reforms for the time being, but it was a close call and something voters should be very mindful about come the 2023 election. This highlights just how sticky the term ‘hate speech’ is and how dangerous all this censorship and cancel culture is.
Everyone in a civilised democracy should be allowed to have an opinion and a right to voice that opinion. As a common saying goes, “I disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. As hard as it sounds, even the most evil of people should have a right to say what they want. Censorship is a slippery slope that you don’t want to go down. It has absolutely catastrophic consequences for society. The alternative is so much better. Instead of cancelling those you disagree with, try engaging in a civilised discussion with them. That not only challenges their views, but your own as well. Your opinions would then be so much more sharpened, and you would both be better because of it. This is how society progresses, and has progressed over the last couple of hundred years.
In conclusion, it is very troubling to see so much censorship going on online and through legislation. This is a direct attack on freedom of speech, one of the most fundamental rights that has built the West to be so prosperous. We must fight each and every day to preserve this right, as life goes downhill faster than you think when you start getting rid of it. Censorship has grave consequences for society.