THERE EXISTS NO PARADOX IN DENYING
FREEDOMS TO FASCISTS
BY JAMES HOLT
"We must remember that many of those that play this game do not care for freedom at all, but simply wish to play the martyr to lofty ideas of political freedoms that float well above the stinking reality of fascism and neo-Nazism."
"One must always ponder the minds of those who at the first sign of racism, fascism and intolerance, jump immediately to defending the right to free speech as oppose to challenging the intolerance and hatred of fascists."
Amidst the rise of the far-right across Europe and North America the debate over whether society should “tolerate the intolerant” dominated a large part of 2017. Not only did far-right groups claim their right to free-speech but they attempted to place themselves as the righteous defenders of such liberty. There is however no paradox in refusing to tolerate the intolerant.
The false narrative of freedom
A just and workable society can only be based on one principle. All citizens should be equal before the law regardless of the things they have no control over, race, disability, sexual orientation etc. Fascists and Nazis disagree with this.
Nazis and fascists openly believe that certain individuals, regardless of their individual actions within society, should be discriminated against. The fascist uses a narrowly defined idea of democracy as simple majority rule and that if a certain amount of people agree with them then they should be able to infringe the rights of others without recourse.
The question is not whether we believe a paradox exits between giving freedom to those who would deny it to others given the chance, or whether we should tolerate the intolerant, the question is whether you believe in a just society where people are not prosecuted for things out with their individual personal actions.
The limits of liberty
All societies place limits on individual liberty. We do not have the liberty to commit crimes against our fellow citizens without expecting consequences. If we commit robbery, assault a fellow citizen or even commit murder then we can expect our future rights to be infringed in some way. Our actions taken as individuals result in consequences for us as individuals. These consequences though are the result of our individual personal actions, not because of the things we have no choice over, race, sexuality etc.
Now if you simply plan to commit a crime, and take distinct steps towards planning to commit such a crime then you can also expect negative consequences, even within the most free society imaginable. If we plan to commit a murder, go and buy a gun, a getaway car and drive to the home of the person we intend to murder then we can fully expect consequences for planning to commit murder, even if we are caught before the final act of murder is carried out.
Like the individual who conspires commit an illegal act but fails to actually carry out the crime the fascist uses “freedom of speech” and political organisation as the precursor to committing crimes in the future (and fuels the hate crimes already committed by such groups). They desire to remove the fundamental element of a just society, equality before the law.
They plan the future crime of punishing people not for their individual actions but for those things they cannot control. Just because the fascist may not be successful in taking over the state and setting up the concentration camps doesn't mean they are not planning or willing to.
People have the choice to be fascists, they do not have the choice to be from an ethnic minority. You may disagree, and believe that majoritarian rule means that a majority of people can do whatever they wish to others as long as they are in the majority but we must question if any sensible being could ever call such a thing a ‘just’ society.
The fascist stands opposed to the one principal of a free and just society, equality before the law regardless of the things over which you do not control.
The misguided claim a paradox between restricting freedom of speech or political organisation for some and not for others, yet they would not likely disagree with restricting the rights of those who planned to commit other forms of crime. We must remember that many of those that play this game do not care for freedom at all, but simply wish to play the martyr to lofty ideas of political freedoms that float well above the stinking reality of fascism and neo-Nazism.
One must always ponder the minds of those who at the first sign of racism, fascism and intolerance, jump immediately to defending the right to free speech as oppose to challenging the intolerance and hatred of fascists.
In short, there is no paradox in being intolerant to intolerant ideas, either in day to day discourse or via the legalities of a decent society. There exists only paradox in the statements of those who desire a free and just society but allow the political organisation of those who wish to eliminate the rights, and even the lives, of minority citizens.
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