I have always identified with the left. For the longest time me and my friends within our political ranks have thought against the authoritarian right. Whether it be the religious theocrats or the drivers of the war machine, we have fought against the oppression and murder of our fellow man. Little did we know of the treachery within our own ranks. For some, it appears, that they have gazed long into the abyss, and the abyss has gazed back into them. Authoritarianism has metastasised within the left and we must halt its spread, lest we be destroyed.
The authoritarian right has got itself mixed up in the religious freedom debate. With the number one topic being Islam and how it fits into western society. Countries within Europe, such as Germany and France, that have been hit hardest by the mass influx of refugees and migrants have seen the biggest rise in the far right. I fear it won't be long before it isn't a fringe minority within the UK. We have just had the Brexit vote and I know that there are many reasons that people voted to leave the EU, such as democratic worries and sovereignty issues, but it would be unwise and naïve to think that anti-immigrant or even anti-Muslim sentiment had nothing to do with how some people voted. Mainly within poor communities they have extrapolated the high crime rates of the Islamic communities to the individuals.
However, although I see the people doing this as a threat to my liberal values, they are most certainly not the gravest threat here. That honour is now crowned to those who I once called allies. These authoritarians are far more sinister than their right wing counter parts as they come to take an even greater prize from us. Our freedom of speech. When they take away the freedom of speech for one, even one that is the most hateful and vile, they take it away from us all.
The no-platforming strategy that is rampant in universities is but one of a string of censorious actions these people have implemented. It may have started off with good intentions but as the common saying states, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It started off as a combative tool against those with fascist ideologies. But you can't fight fascist tactics with fascist tactics. Fighting fire with fire just makes the whole world burn. Free speech is a human right, and these people no matter how much you may disagree, despise and disdain their views, they are still human, deserving of the same rights as anyone else. Even if they would deny them to others, we must not become the monster we are fighting.
Do not think that this practice is held solely within the confines of universities. If it was it could be hand waved away as just some young students with too little experience of the real world or too much zeal. But alas it all too often mirrors what we see in our day to day life within the UK. People who put hurtful and "offensive" comments on social media are being expunged or even more Orwellian imprisoned. I put the word offensive in quotation marks as this word is far too dilutable and far too malleable to the will of the person using it to have any real meaning. It renders an action both legal and illegal because it is entirely based on the subjective reaction to the individual.
A man was placed on trial for making offensive comments about Syrian refugees being resettled on the Isle of Bute on Facebook. This is unacceptable censorship in the extreme. I struggle to find the right words as to how angry this makes me. A man can go to prison purely for expressing his frustration at the world he lives in. He may have said it crudely or offensively, and you may not agree with him, you may not like him but I'll be damned if we are going to deny him his basic human rights. We as a society need to be better than this. We must hold the moral high ground.
It saddens me. It saddens me greatly. The people who do this think they have the best intentions. But you cannot use the tools of tyrants. They are damned. They will only bring about pain, misery and oppression. I write this as a warning to those on the left. The path of liberty is narrow and it is easy to fall prey to fascism. Deals with the devil always look good to start, but you will soon learn that there is a higher price that you pay. Your soul.