If you want to fan the flames of fascism, keep doing things like this, Penn State students!
Several days ago Penn State, a top-ranked U.S. research university, known for its football team and its programs in engineering, business, and marketing, began trending on social media for something entirely different.
The event was to feature Gavin McInnes, cofounder of the right-wing organization Proudboys and comedian, provocateur Alex Stein. Student opinion was very strongly against allowing these individuals to speak, and violent protests developed.
A little over a week ago, on October 11, a young woman in France sat down in front of her video camera and earnestly recounted the story of her narrow escape from a sex trafficking and possible organ trafficking gang operating from the train station in the city of Marseille. Against the backdrop of ominous music she tells her story...
Queer theory sees the concepts of sex – male and female – and gender – masculine and feminine- as oppressive. The main objective of queer theory is to subvert these concepts and to break them down. Rejecting the possibility of there being a knowable objective reality, queer theory asserts that language creates the categories, enforces them, and scripts people into them. The boundaries are arbitrary and oppressive according to queer theory. These boundaries can be blurred into apparent absurdity and thus erased.
Today, there is intense talk of possible use of ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons by Putin in Ukraine. A recent NYtimes headline read: ‘In Washington, Putin’s Nuclear Threats Stir Growing Alarm' and the subhead went on to say that ‘U.S. officials are gaming out responses’.
Under postmodernism many ideas that were seen as objectively true came to be seen as mere constructions of language. Foucault refers to them as ‘discourses’ that construct knowledge. Consequently, since discourses are believed to create and maintain oppression, they have to be carefully monitored and deconstructed. This is not some obscure academic issue, it is the outlook that is behind calls for laws to outlaw speech which may cause offense.
In these times, leftists who espouse free speech are like wanderers in the wilderness. The political sands may be swirling so intensely that they are unable to see clearly, but the desert is actually filled with like-minded wanderers, each mistakenly thinking they are alone.
That is why it is all the more important to discover and support a site like Redline. Redline is a blog collective in New Zealand that combines original content with a carefully chosen selection of re-posted articles.
The content on Redline reinforces a consistent editorial line centered on class, worker rights and feminism, grounded in the materialism of the traditional left and on the principle of free speech.
Regardless of what anyone thinks of Kiwi Farms, it’s a step in the wrong direction to allow, and even celebrate tech oligarchs who arbitrarily decide what information should be permitted and what should be removed. This creates a dangerous precedent and assigns more power to a few people who already operate in secrecy. To put trust in the tech elite is naive at best, and dangerous at worst. It also has the unintended effect of motivating authoritarian regimes, as evidenced above, to demand other content be removed from the Internet—a move that disproportionately impacts marginalized groups and dissidents.
Free speech decisions on social networks are guided by an unknown mesh of personal predilections of tech company CEOs and their boards. They are driven by profit motive and the competition of rivals. The algorithms that enforce their censorship are based on rules that we know nothing about; we haven’t participated in their design or voted on their adoption.
Somewhere along the way, the left abandoned free speech as a fundamental value and the right has since stepped in to defend it. Leftists now lead the charge in restricting speech to protect certain sensibilities, particularly the speech of those on the right, and the right has responded in kind by protecting speech at all costs.
This marked shift has been especially noticeable in Canada where Canadians' stance on free speech is largely shaped by their political affiliation.