Proponents of free speech in Britain and throughout the West have become “complacent” in defending the fundamental value in the face of social justice-led movements to restrict speech, a peer of the House of Lords told Breitbart.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart London, the Baroness of Buckley, Claire Fox, said that there is a need for “fresh arguments” in favour of free speech to combat cancel culture and compelled speech codes being pushed by the far-left.
The former Brexit Party MEP said that during the Chinese coronavirus lockdowns, the pro-freedom movement has learnt “rather brutally” that freedom and democracy were not something to be taken for granted.
Baroness Fox warned that it isn’t good enough to quote arguments from John Stuart Mill or to cite the Constitution in the United States, as other people have been indoctrinated to seeing restrictions on liberty as advancing the cause of social justice.
“Other values have come to the fore, and I think that people on the side of freedom, myself included, have been too complacent about working at new fresh arguments to win over new generations to the free speech cause,” she said.
“The pressure from the far left has developed from soft political correctness into a much harsher phase, that of cancel culture… [it is] very worrying, and is more reminiscent of bolshevik standards than democratic ones.” https://t.co/Yg2ako2cWy
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 2, 2021
One of the more worrying aspects of the recent attacks on freedom of expression, according to Baroness Fox, is the attempts to forcibly impose “mandated speech” codes, famously brought to light in Canada by Dr Jordan Peterson in his opposition to the now-enacted Bill C16 which pressures people to use others’ preferred pronouns.
“The massive problem at the moment is that you’re asked to go against your conscience and kind of repeat the orthodoxies of the day, whether that’s in relation to Critical Race Theory, whether that’s in relation to trans rights,” Fox said.
She argued that the Black Lives Matter phrase “silence is violence” is particularly dangerous, as it has taught a whole generation of young people to be “complicit” in their own oppression by following a “script” of prescribed thoughts.
While tempting, Baroness Fox argued that those on the right who favour free speech should not engage in “tit-for-tat” acts of cancel culture, saying that it allows the practice to become a “legitimate form of operating” which she said is a dangerous road do go down.
‘Neo-Marxist Idea’: Free Speech Activists Slam Proposal for Hate Crime Laws to Cover Conversations at Home https://t.co/5XWT2y5rPn
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 4, 2020
The government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson have made some positive steps towards combatting cancel culture, with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson threatening to levy fines against universities that fail to protect free speech for students.
However, the United Kingdom, which unlike the United States does not have a written constitution or indeed First Amendment-style protections for speech, has embarked on a campaign to record tens of thousands of so-called ‘non-crime hate incidents’ in police criminal databases which are visible on background checks, despite the supposed perpetrator not actually having committed a crime.
The effort to combat “hate” in the United Kingdom has also seen police forces call upon the British public to snitch on their fellow citizens if they have made “offensive or insulting comments, online, in person or in writing”.
The government’s long-planned Online Harms law would also mandate Silicon Valley tech giants to censor “trolling” as well as the spread of the vaguely-termed “disinformation”.
UK Police Tell Public: Report 'Hateful' Behaviour 'Even If It Isn't a Crime', 'You Don't Even Need Evidence' https://t.co/qzTTp3vFot
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 21, 2019
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