By Bosco (Irish Sentinel Contributor) –
The “freedom of expression” debate tends to be poorly understood by most nationalists. That said, is comprehensible why nationalists would take a decidedly affirmative position on the issue. Nationalist voices have been ignored, denied, subverted, or distorted. New attempts under the colour of “ hate speech” legislation will attempt to censor dissenting voices even more so. The globalist government, aided and abetted by their media propaganda wings and NGO lobbyists, don’t want the public to disturbed from their participation of their own demise. The cabal in power only know too well the whimsical nature of the general public. Nevertheless, the debate in nationalist circles is naïve and misinformed.
Never has the law, in a proper functioning society, recognised unlimited freedoms. The most obvious is that prisoners have many ( not all) rights abrogated. No prisoner can demand a right to freedom of movement as it could make his incarceration redundant. The right to own property too has had limitation imposed on it. These limitations were a product of the common good. This explains why compulsory acquisition exists. Imagine a road linking a port and a city was necessary to promote commerce and the necessary land sought to be developed for a road was in private ownership but the owners didn’t want to sell. The law can, and has been, interpreted in such a way that the land would be seized but just compensation offered to the owners for the seizure. It doesn’t sound fair to those dispossessed, I hear you say. Imagine also, owning those parcels of land for generations, having toiled in the land, and defended it, having to now relinquish it under pain of governmental confiscation. The court, a branch of the government who will decide the matter, will attempt to weigh the individual landowner’s interest against the State’s. Of course, the acquisition needn’t even concern private ownership. Perhaps the same road was to be built on a historical site which would cause it irreversible damage, its priceless contents lost to time if developed. The court would similarly weigh up the considerations between losing priceless heritage versus the benefits to commerce with the necessary road. Accommodations and compromises might be forthcoming whereby the road might be diverted to avoid displacing and destroying the heritage site or indeed, the road might be considered secondary in importance, the commercial benefit considered disproportionate to the loss of heritage, and thus the project shelved. Suffice to say, the absolute rights are attenuated by different factors informed by legal reasoning, the very corruptible concepts of “public interest”, “ common good” and “common interest”.
Similarly, a nudist might argue that he has a right to express himself publicly in accordance with his sincere beliefs whereas others would object to the display on account of upholding public morality, especially around children. The law is battle ground between competing interests and those interests are usually resolved in favour of what is considered in the best interests for the public. This then leads to an altogether different debate concerning how the’ best interest’ is understood. Sadly, we all appreciate that the ‘best interest’ if most often ‘vested interest’.
Another example to provide some clarity would be the issue of pornography.. Pornography is considered by its proponents, a fundamental right of expression. Historically, the government has tried to regulate materials perceived as obscene and offensive as such products can undermine the moral framework of a society. However., the way materials can be defined as either obscene or offensive can be mitigated against based on reasonable assertions of artistic value. Therefore, a book like ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, albeit sexually graphic in content might pass the muster of the courts as an example of artistic intent. Michael Angelo’s nude stature, ‘David’ would be a more apt example. According to some opponents of censorship, using the law to censor pornographic material tends to restrict the expression of ideas and conduct thereby violating essential human rights. Others would argue that free speech should not involve incorporating demeaning immoral materials that downgrade the freedoms of those depicted, who tend to be on the margins of society who can be exploited, e.g. prostitutes etc. Others too would make the case that prurient nature of pornographic content offers no societal benefit. In fact, they would opine, its existence and proliferation destroys the moral fabric of society. There is a lot of truth behind this claim and we are seeing the libertine effects of it daily.
Absolutists, who claim that there must be complete freedom of expression, whether it be pornography or otherwise, are quickly taken to task given their cause, one articulated without limits, legitimises all freedoms of expression. This would mean that, under absolute freedom of expression, verbal threats, child pornography, defamation etc are all to be permitted. Contingent absolutists believe that people should be allowed say what they want, whether it be defaming someone, or verbal threatening them, but must equally face the legal consequences of their own actions. The latter argument tries to promote the idea of freedom of speech but suffer the consequences thereafter. However, this is simply a restatement of the status quo. After all, criminals who threaten, casual defamers, and evil peddlers of disgusting child pornography continue to exist and ‘do as they do’, until they are brought to task by the law. .
19th century Liberal theorist, John Stuart Mill’s definition of freedom follows the tradition of Hobbes and Locke, in which freedom is identified with acting according to desire, and in which no moral or other qualifications are placed on the desire. Mill posited that every man should do what he wants as long as he doesn’t harm another in the process. According to Mill mere offense should not be abrogated. The problem here is that both the concepts of harm and offense can be misunderstood. The dangers here is that mere offense to one, might be considered hateful to another so who assesses the gravity such that mere offense raises to actual harm? The answer, government, and invariably the courts, but the courts are prone to ideological infiltration like any other institution.
Is a Christian baker being “hateful”, “causing mere offense” or neither, when he refuses to write a pro LGBT slogan on a cake with icing contrary to his own beliefs? In truth, is the LGBT customer being “hateful” or “merely offending” or neither, when he attempts to coerce the baker knowingly to attack the the confectioner’s principles? Invariably, the court decides based on concepts like the ‘reasonable man’, or ‘societal interests’ but all determined through an ideological prism which allows the judge to reverse engineer his own beliefs into a decision.
Another argument put forward by proponents of free speech, one also imagined by Mills, was that society should hear all natures of opinions and let the best ones triumph in the market place of ideas. This is naïve as it assumes that all views are treated the same and that those who hear them are informed enough to discard the absurd and dangerous and retain the beneficial. We know this isn’t the case. The public are extremely gullible. They have wholly accepted the absurd and the dangerous which explains why those in government want to ensure no dissenting views reach public ears. Those exceptionally attuned public ears may change their minds and turn on or undermine the efforts of a tyrannical government and their agendas.
The far left maintain they want to limit freedoms of expression for the benefit of society at large, to protect minorities etc. This is false. The far left want to curb freedom of expression precisely because they know that their position of power was manufactured using such freedoms that allowed the gullible public to be manipulated by left wing rhetoric and emotionalism. The left know they seized power on the back of a liberalised freedom of expression because they owned and operated all the filters of expression from the media to entertainment. The far left appreciate only too well that the gullible masses were ripe for persuasion, and accomplished it in record time but the left are also canny enough to realise they can’t give the same opportunities to the other side. The far left fear the very process they enabled and used, the process that got them where they are now and are wise enough not to relinquish it. The left are very much aware that the public, if propagandised enough, will believe anything, whether the information is left leaning or right. The left know only too well that if they control the means of inculcation they will remain in power, and if they turn over control to the person controlling knob of the radio, the control over the people follows.
Any nationalistic government would do the same because it would realise, as Walter Lipmann did or Edward Bernays, that the masses are exceptionally malleable such that a mob that can put you into power could equally be engineered to remove you from it. Nevertheless, when one is not in power it is prudent, if not vital, to call for freedom of speech because you have everything to lose if you do not. What the legal analysts fail to realise is that they only see issues of mere legality, not the real motive: the means of achieving power for oneself or divesting power from your opponent.
Unbridled freedom of expression is not present in any decent country unless you want to legitimise child pornography and incite open rebellion without censure. Those in power who got there on foot of their persuasive tactics in the marketplace of ideas, did so because the public are gullible and easy to deceive. Those who have no power want freedom of expression to exist so their ideas can be heard by the same gullible ears that put their opponents into power. Consequently, it is understandable, if not desirable, to conceive of ways to bypass reason to achieve that end. However, It is in the interests of those in power to deny such freedoms because they above all know its consequences: their successes after all, were achieved with the same freedoms of expression their opponents now seek and the public’s inherent ability to be so casually inculcated.
The truth for nationalism is thus: extol the virtues of freedom of expression whilst you are denied it. Demand it until you seize power and then deny it to your opponents because both sides know that the marketplace of ideas is nothing but a venue where simpletons congregate and are ready to be won over, even if it is detrimental to their own interest and no matter the means. Freedom of expression can be the key to unlocking your chains or tightening them around you, depending of course who controls the keys.