If you’re a leftist who believes in free speech you aren’t homeless
Free speech is a fundamental value of the left.
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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.
The Stepford Wives was a movie that came out in 1972 and might not be very well remembered today but which nonetheless contributed a useful metaphor for describing certain aspects of our society. Briefly, the Stepford Wives were the possessed and submissive versions of their original human selves, surreptitiously transformed one by one and reappearing as empty husks of what they had once been.
A decade ago for a brief moment following the 2008 global economic crash, there was a world-wide wave of angry emotion when the unbridled greed of the dominant capitalist elite was suddenly laid bare. Here in the US this engendered a movement called Occupy, which started in Zuccotti Park in the New York City financial district and spread quickly throughout the country.
Occupy, with all its imperfections, was widely viewed as a genuine populist movement. The movement focused on issues of economic inequality and coined the phrase ‘we are the 99%.’ Chris Hedges said at the time in an article on Truthdig that “Occupy articulated the concerns of the majority of citizens.”
Occupy set off a powerful emotional surge that swept across the country and genuinely frightened the elite. The State moved quickly to ensure that Occupy was effectively quashed. Under Obama, the federal government and local police forces joined to dismantle, often brutally, Occupy encampments across the country. No effort was spared in terms of mass arrests, surveillance, and other forms of State powered repression to ensure that Occupy couldn't metastasize into anything lasting or inspire any actual challenges to power.
On June 23, 2022, the Canadian government officially made Holocaust denialism a crime. This amendment to the Criminal Code was secretly tucked away in Bill C-19, Canada’s budget implementation act. Canadians hardly noticed it was there — we were too distracted by the budgetary provisions that we were promised would make life more affordable for us.
Forty years after the Communist Manifesto eviscerated capitalism and predicted its demise, a relatively unknown American writer shot to fame with a fascinating blueprint for its replacement.
Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward 2000 – 1887 was a literary, cultural, and political sensation. First published in 1888, it was an international hit and only the second U.S. novel to sell a million copies.
Free Speech is a core value of the Left
Genuine support for free speech means it must apply to speech you don’t like
Pro Free Speech Doesn't Mean Absolutist support for all speech
Blasphemy–a notion that crystallizes so many of the issues around free speech
marginalized groups benefit the most from free speech protections
If leftist values have actual moral standing they can and should stand up to scrutiny and questioning
Speech is not physical violence, it’s an alternative to violence
Successful challenges to power build on a foundation of free speech
Free thought depends on free speech: censorship leads to a culture of fear where people learn to hide their real opinions
Free Speech protection for all is inherently anti-authoritarian
Let’s hear the Arguments against free speech