The Silencing

BY MANDY BALDWIN

What is it with Twitter?  As a forum for public speech – which it purports to be – it’s inadequate, when you think about it.  Anyone worth their salt gets suspended eventually and staff have been covertly filmed gleefully discussing their tactics for crushing dissent, or wrongthink, which, along with Hate Speech, must stand as a concept scary enough to have the ghost of George Orwell saying “told you so.”

I have a personal axe to grind here, because I have now been ‘permanently suspended’ for the third time: most recently for publishing an article entitled A Class Act, which had Momentum fascists out in hysterical force.

Previous ‘offences’ included responding to an American who believed she was ‘resistance’ with pictures of French Maquis women being hanged by Gestapo, and Gulag prisoners being beaten. I make no apology for this: it’s time doughnut-munching fantasists learned the difference between ‘whining because they didn’t get their own way’ and ‘opposing the might of a monstrous tyranny’.

The banning before that occurred as a result of the humour bypass suffered by the Twitterati, when a group of fellow free-thinkers declared our sexual identities for that particular day, and I just happened to have chosen to identify as a pork chop between the hours of 7am and 2.30pm, which received much support from a group of sistahs who declared they would don ‘fanny hats’ as a gesture of solidarity. The hashtag ‘fannies out for the pork’ was rather popular with we naughty rebels, but caused wailing and gnashing of teeth among some who evidently hate pork or fannies or both.

It used to be that, when suspended, a profile showed as such, but now – like the widdly-knickered playground cry-baby trying to stir up trouble between the more popular kids before running away to hide in the toilets – the Twitter Shut-ins show individual followers as having been ‘blocked’ by the suspended account.

I believe there is a reason for the fear of dissent suffered by the IT Crowd, which goes beyond the desire for political supremacy and is both simple and tragic: too many of them have never actually had a social life in the true sense of either meeting people and engaging face-to-face, or being truly alone (in which case, they would come face to face with themselves.)

These are of a generation who, from the start, have communicated via apps, and for whom everyone – including themselves – is an avatar.  They are not prepared for beings who don’t respond to the click of a key and they are outraged and terrified by any living creature which they can’t control.

They are, in short, social and emotional inadequates whose natural habitat is their Mum’s back bedroom, but who, like pallid pod-people in some fictional dystopia, have been given power far beyond their capabilities. For the time being, the freaks have inherited the Earth.

Thanks to those who have all the symptoms of what is recognised as personality disorder, people are actually being tried and imprisoned for speaking. Not rioting, or arson, just for saying things which a variety of saddos disagree with.

Just wrap your head around this, and – if you are over 45 and remember what it is we found most repulsive about the Communist regimes – reflect that in many respects that is what we are nearing now: too many fully accept that ‘someone’ should monitor the expression of ideas.

This fear of being punished for simply being who we are, has devastating results: after the collapse of Communism, the Czechs, for example, were widely found to register on psychological tests as being clinically paranoid.

Writers have always been the bête noir of oppressors.  The first president of free Czechoslovakia, playwright Vaclav Havel, had been forbidden to write, and forced to work as a municipal gardener. Writers from Solzhenitsyn to Voltaire have suffered persecution for spreading ideas. Ideas, as Stalin admitted, are more dangerous than bullets. But we are all writers now: each time you post a Tweet which offends the Shut-ins, you join that proud company who have ensured what rights we have remaining. And we scare the hell out of those who prefer the Silence.

There is no debate over this: free is free, without qualification. Not ‘free as long as you approve.’ Too many quietly acquiesce with the Silence because of the pay-off when they happen to disagree with the ideas which are suppressed. You may not, for example, like Britain First, but that is irrelevant: on principle, you should defend their right to say what they like, where and when they like.

In Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie wrote that, each time a child denied belief in fairies, a fairy dies. Well, each time you collude in the Silence, you murder your own right to expression.

The crushing of free-speech is now so frenzied that it is destroying those who would previously have been Left Wing darlings.  I just watched a documentary on the worst jobs in history, starring Tony Robinson, who is possibly the very definition of a ‘90s-style Left Wing Luvvie: he would now be pilloried for his open declaration of revulsion at the idea of dressing in drag.

All tyrannies manage to convince some that their tyranny is justified, and this particular bunch firmly believe they hold the moral high-ground.  But the gold-standard of Human Rights is that there are as many opinions as there are people, and all must – not should, but must – be allowed to speak their truth.

The Shut-ins don’t study history in any meaningful sense – that would involve images which would make them swoon – but if they did, they might consider how closely they resemble the Puritans of the 17th century in their attempt at absolute social and spiritual control. These misery-merchants were swept away by the ‘pretty, witty King whose word no man relies on’ with his entourage of expensive mistresses and his dubious religious affiliations, in a glorious Restoration swiftly followed by an outbreak of licentiousness, exposed cleavages and outrageous wigs – anything, just anything, rather than the draconian joylessness of the previous regime.

Article Nineteen of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

As with every one of the Thirty Articles, those who offend against it are recognised as guilty of a Crime Against Humanity – no matter how many new ‘offences’ they concoct to legitimise their own criminality.

All offenders are caught and punished eventually, so my question is, how long do the Social Media Shut-ins think they can get away with their attempted Silence, bearing in mind that each suspended account will stand as an indictment at their inevitable prosecution?

 

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