The UK-based Guardian newspaper explains this week that silencing unpopular opinions is not a violation of free speech because “some debates should be shut down.”
While insisting that censorship of ideas is greatly exaggerated by free speech advocates, writer Martha Gill goes on to make the very argument that defenders of free speech criticize: that the wardens of groupthink have the right to silence opinions that they disagree with.
Coming to the defense of “those who might want to shut down a debate,” Ms. Gill insists that such a measure is not a “mark of intolerance” because “some debates should be shut down.”
“For public dialogue to make any progress, it is important to recognise when a particular debate has been won and leave it there,” she declares in her article, suggestively titled: “Free speech isn’t under threat. It just suits bigots and boors to suggest so.”
Reading between the lines, the lesson becomes: “We are the judges. We will tell you when the debate is over and then you are no longer permitted to express your dissenting opinion.”
As example of debates that are definitively over, Ms. Gill offers absurd positions that she trusts will garner a broad consensus: “whether women should be tried for witchcraft, or whether ethnic minorities should be allowed to go to university, or whether the Earth is flat.”
But Ms. Gill and her editors know that these are not the issues being debated today, and these are not the positions that the Guardian and others of the self-anointed sacerdotal caste decry as heretical.
The real debates that the Guardian and its ilk would like to shut down center on real questions such as abortion, climate change, same-sex marriage, mass migration, gender theory, religious freedom, and sharia law, to name just a few.
If you hold the incorrect position on these and other issues the censors will silence you, because they believe you have no right to hold such benighted views.
“No-platformers are not scared – they simply think certain debates are over. You may disagree, but it does not mean they are against free speech,” Ms. Gill explains.
In other words, our new ideological gatekeepers are pro-free speech, as long as that speech does not contain ideas they find unacceptable, inappropriate, or unenlightened.
You are free to hold and express any opinions you want, as long as they agree with ours.