The irony of identity politics is that it ultimately leads to people like Southern & Molyneux.
I’m going to ignore the absurdity of someone who once boasted of being the ‘Trolls Troll’ lecturing on why civility is weak, and I’m going to ignore the clumsy hack of the english language his writing represents or the dull headache he causes any sense of joy after reading him, but Wellington Twitteratti head cheerleader David Cormack sums up all the self righteous ‘punch-Nazi’s-in-the-face’ rage that elite woke Twitter is indulging in as they collectively turn on any proponent of free speech as a fascist.
The argument against civility is worth examining to appreciate its full absurdity. According to Cormack and his echo chamber, Civility is a weakness that stops progress…
Because that’s the thing with civility, it’s a covert way to entrench power. As I said above, it’s a way to silence those who are only just finding their voice. It’s people who are more focused on keeping it polite than making it fair.
…beyond this civility argument, we’ve had Karl Popper quoted across social media to justify why we need to stop people like Southern and Molyneux from speaking.
I acknowledge everyone is angry and righteous, but we are all failing to appreciate who civility is actually protecting here. While civility has always been demanded of radicals who broke the mould, and politeness can rob the sting of truth to gain change, let’s also be honest about who it ultimately defends.
We, the thinkers, the justice seekers, the progressive free dreamers, are the ones who need the shelter and protection of civility – Nazi’s desperately want violence.
Those who would weaponise difference and seed resentment require brutality, civility is a guard against that. I’m not saying turn the other cheek when a Nazi strikes you, confusing civility with refusing self-defence isn’t a solution, but by strangling off freedom of speech, we only add to their cause, we don’t counter it.
I also think holding up Karl Popper’s ‘Paradox of tolerance’ as some sort of gospel justification for taking away free speech is a grotesque miscalculation.
People appreciate that Popper wrote that in 1945 right? After the Nazis had become a full blown death machine.
Comparing the Nazi State with crypto-fascsists like Southern & Molyneux is just absolute sophistry!
Don’t get me wrong, if we start seeing organised violence and the rise of an actual Nazi Party, I’m all for stepping things up to the next level – but we aren’t anywhere close to that and risk actually feeding this rather than defeating it.
We are entering dangerous waters. With a looming economic collapse unlike anything any generation under Boomers have ever experienced, the far right feed on this economic dissolution. Debating them to stop their recruitment drive is a thousand times more preferable than political violence in the streets.
Attacking free speech proponents and labelling them white supremacists is depressingly ignorant, thin skinned and tribal all at the same time – if this is the intellectual courage trigger free safe spaces with emotional support peacock playpens produces, the fascists are already winning.