The rule of law is one of the most, if not the most fundamental concept in Western civilisation, and therefore in conservatism too. I am not a left-leaning, socially liberal, caution-to-the-wind type “libertarian”.
I do not believe that by acting “magnanimously” towards the left over Bahar Mustafa’s arrest for tweeting “#KillAllWhiteMen” we are going to win the debate, and win the day for free speech. The left simply does not have the intellectual capacity for that.
You see in this country, in England, for the past few decades now, conservatives have been under attack.
Not only are they still under attack from the left, but also from the left which masquerades as the the right. The unholy alliance between neo-liberals and conservatives, as Gerald Warner noted, is coming to an end.
Our differences are now simply too great. From immigration to gay marriage and more, the libertarian argument – “live and let live” – is flawed. It assumes that when you create a space – a vacuum in the market of ideas, that nothing has to fill it. Everyone can have their own little view of the world, and live in a way they see fit.
Of course we actually know, as in the case of Christian bakeries, that this isn’t the case. The private sector is supposed to be just that: a free market. And pretending that no one is going to come along and attempt to use the apparatus of the state against conservatism is a fool’s game.
And the view of the vacuumers is at odds with another conservative underpinning: the idea of sovereign nations. The libertarians will call this sort of talk “statism” – but it is the state, empowered by the people, that is the guarantor of defence, freedom, and the right to life.
Don’t misunderstand me. I didn’t say it provides those things. I said it defends them. Or at least is supposed to, when it isn’t busy debating laws regarding “third genders” – whatever they are (again: overreach because conservatives fail to fight back and show the left its own ugliness).
Libertarians forget – or maybe they never knew – if they create a gap, the totalitarian Left, alongside its more palatable visages (read: The Hard Left Menace We Ignored), will rush to fill it.
Which brings me onto the subject, finally…
Bahar Mustafa did something that most of us will have found to be distasteful but non-threatening. Had she tweeted #KillAllMuslims or #KillAllBlacks or #KillAllGenderBenders she’d have been collared by the coppers almost immediately, marched to the dock, and convicted of every hate crime under the sun. You want them to learn this is wrong? Don’t let them off.
“But, but, if we’re nice to them they’ll leave us alone!” goes the argument. No, they won’t. They’ll think they have special dispensation and continue to batter us around the public square.
“But we can irritate them!” they say. Well I’m not interested in irritating anyone (I do that without trying). I am interested in winning the war of ideas.
For those of us in the real world, there is the argument surrounding proportionality, implementation, and the assessment into whether or not her threat was “real”.
No, there were no real and tangible threats in these areas either. But because the law is what it is, it should be applied in a manner that is consistent, and – without having to have the police worry about the partisan nature of political debate in this country – applied fairly across the spectrum.
I hope Ms. Mustafa does not get convicted or sentenced – and I was pleased that the bloke who “threatened” to blow up Robin Hood Airport won his appeal. But that is not to say that I don’t understand the rationale for the arrest.
Following the #ISupportBaharMustafa hashtag on Twitter, I can see that many also do, but are being shouted down (quelle surprise) by the left and their cuckservative (read: libertarian) bedfellows.
Only by holding a mirror up to the left, not by letting them off because of our own narcissistic need to feel superior, will they learn the hard lessons behind their ugly, encouraged overreach of the state, and the folly of their demands that everyone who hurts someone’s feelings should be arrested and charged – then we win the battle for free speech. And unlike the libertarians, I don’t believe this is a battle we have to emerge victorious from just once. We will have to fight them at least every generation.
Ms. Mustafa should go through her trial, and hopefully, she and others will come out the other side as free speech advocates.
If we stop abiding by laws just because we dislike them (rather than seeking to gain consensus and reform them) then we are no better than the #BlackLivesMatter activists who decide what applies to them and when.