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By: Thomas Jones, Staff Reporter
It’s astonishing that in modern day America one of our most fundamental freedoms, the right for one to speak freely, is now being questioned; it’s even more astonishing that the ones questioning this freedom are people who would actually call themselves liberals. We have seen a pattern of this happening, mostly beginning on college campuses and now spreading into a leftist viewpoint held by so-called liberal social justice groups such as Antifa. These groups believe they’re doing a public service by silencing those with views they see as racist, sexist, xenophobic or just simply intolerant of others. Despite the obvious ironical contradiction of refusing to allow certain people’s speech to be heard on the grounds of spreading tolerance, we also see that this new brand of leftists have literally become the colonialists they supposedly despise and aptly see as a root cause of most of the major social issues we are currently facing in our society.
At the point where you force your assumedly correct and paramount ideology onto others, especially to the extent that you don’t even allow others who hold viewpoints outside of your ideology to even have a voice, you are practicing in the very core of what it means to be colonialist. You quite literally become the colonialist oppressors which you hate when you act in accordance with the very definition of colonialism, which is at its roots, the practice of seeing viewpoints that you don’t like or understand and refusing to engage with those views, instead, assuming your own intellectual and moral superiority. This practice of refusal to engage with and acknowledge other groups is what has continually allowed colonialism to exist.
The intolerance perpetrated by the left to the right's viewpoint also isn’t helping further liberal ideology, it’s actually causing the exact opposite of what those on the left would want. The biggest ad agency for the alt-right, so to speak, are liberals who refuse to engage with them in dialogue and instead just yell them off podiums and threaten them when they rally. The main attack by the left to the far right, and now even in many cases to the moderate right, has been to simply label them as racist or sexist or xenophobic or whatever label works best in a given circumstance without ever engaging with the reasoning behind the label.
This practice of unengaged and unthoughtful labeling is incredibly dangerous. It reduces the impact of what it actually means for one to be racist or sexist. If everyone is in some way labeled as a racist then no one is, and the label loses its power and true meaning. We already see this happening in regards to the growth of the alt-right. The alt-right has been labeled as a racist white supremacist movement, which in my opinion it certainly is, but it continues to grow in number. This isn’t because people are suddenly deciding to proclaim themselves as racists, after all, if you were to ask an alt-right member if they considered themselves racist they would most certainly say no. It’s because titles like that of racist are hurled with such frequency nowadays to people who aren’t actually racist but rather just disagree with certain viewpoints held by the left. As a result, these people who are labeled as racist then face social exclusion and aren’t able to put forth their viewpoints into the social arena where they can be scrutinized because every time they try to do so it gets immediately shot down as wrong and racist without ever having an explanation as to why it’s racist. This social exclusion leads to further entrenchment of their views (this is the same on the left as well, since they never have to engage in argumentation as to why their views are correct, which ultimately leads to their views no longer being logical opinions, but simply dogma) and a greater political divide which ultimately leads to social outcasts finding refuge in groups of others with the same societal labels, and thus groups like the alt-right are created.
Now to be clear, I’m not saying that the alt-right and its members aren’t racist, I’m simply saying they weren’t born racist, and that the conditions that leftist groups have allowed to flourish that don’t ever allow engagement with these groups views is exactly what causes their ideology to flourish. Just simply look at the overarching message of the alt-right. Their main view is that white men are currently oppressed in society. The anger then that comes out of this supposed oppression is what leads to the alt-right wanting a white ethnostate.
Now that logic they put forward is ridiculous, but what happens when national media coverage shows them constantly yelled off stage and even threatened and harassed by leftist groups? The actions of leftist suppression of the right's agency are exactly what gives credence to the alt-rights ridiculous claims and therefore leads to its growth or at least to others sympathizing with their viewpoints.
If you don’t believe me, look to the last presidential election. It wasn’t that half of America suddenly became radically right-leaning since the last administration, it was due to the fact that the left refused to engage in discussion and debate with the right on their concerns. They would rather just assume their own correctness and continue to dismiss those on the other side of the aisle. This led to Democrats not only losing the presidency but the House and the Senate as well. It was not Donald Trump who won the election, it was the left that lost it.
So, what exactly does a world of political engagement with the seemingly ridiculous in political belief, like the alt-right, look like? It in no way means one must accept or even sympathize with these viewpoints, but it does mean you must allow them to be heard, and that you ought to have warrants to back up your claims against them, because otherwise, as long as they have reasons for their beliefs, no matter how absurd, you are technically losing the argument.
Free speech is the central tenant of effective democracies and just societies. At the point, you give way to suppression of any speech, no matter its content, you have no right to call yourself a liberal or a progressive, at the very best you are a regressive, colonialist leftist.
Now, if you still disagree with me that speech should never be suppressed, I’ll leave you with one last thought. Don’t be angry nor surprised when the pendulum swings, as it always does, and you no longer hold the power you do as of now, and don’t be angry nor surprised when the precedent you’ve set, allowing speech to be censored, is then used against you and as a result you are forced to sit in silence and watch all the progressive achievements you once made begin to vanish with the solemn knowledge that it was you who paved the path that allowed that to be possible.