The single most important freedom in any free society is freedom of speech. There is a reason it ranks, along with freedom from a state religion, as the first among the freedoms set forth in the Bill of Rights. As George Washington said, "If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."
But the goal of socialism is not a free society. Its goal is to take power, destroy the foundiations of traditional society, and remake it under government's watchful eye to redistribute wealth and enforce a radical view of social equality. That view of equality comes straight from the pages of Marx's Communist Manifesto where he set forth his incredibly superficial and destructive supposition that all society can be classed as either victim or victimizer. The threats to socialism's goals are freedom of speech and Christianity, since it is judeo-christian values that define Western Civilization. Thus, attacks on freedom of speech and Christianity using the police powers of the state to control opinion and punish dissenting views are the norm - and indeed, have been hallmarks of socialism - since it was birthed in the French Revolution.
We see this at work in America, though it is still relatively limited, largely because of our Constitutional protections. Hate crimes legislation now makes some thought more culpable than others. Some are using anti-discrimination laws to attack speech and religion, such as New Mexico's Human Rights Commission that some months ago fined a Christian photographer who refused to accept the business of a gay couple that asked him to film their wedding. It is now threatening to move mainstream with the radical left in charge for the first time. For instance, we are faced with the obscenity of the socialist left arguing for the criminalization of their policy differences with the Bush administration.
In Britain, which has embraced socialism since electing Clement Atlee at the end of WWII, socialism is thoroughly ingrained in British political culture. The majority of once rightfully proud Brits sit quiet, sipping their tea but having no tea parties. The socialist left are much further along, across the pond, in wars against freedom of speech and Christianity. For a truly depressing glimpse at this in Hal Colbatch's article in the Austrailan last week:
BRITAIN appears to be evolving into the first modern soft totalitarian state. As a sometime teacher of political science and international law, I do not use the term totalitarian loosely.
There are no concentration camps or gulags but there are thought police with unprecedented powers to dictate ways of thinking and sniff out heresy, and there can be harsh punishments for dissent.
Nikolai Bukharin claimed one of the Bolshevik Revolution's principal tasks was "to alter people's actual psychology". Britain is not Bolshevik, but a campaign to alter people's psychology and create a new Homo britannicus is under way without even a fig leaf of disguise.
The Government is pushing ahead with legislation that will criminalise politically incorrect jokes, with a maximum punishment of up to seven years' prison. The House of Lords tried to insert a free-speech amendment, but Justice Secretary Jack Straw knocked it out. It was Straw who previously called for a redefinition of Englishness and suggested the "global baggage of empire" was linked to soccer violence by "racist and xenophobic white males". He claimed the English "propensity for violence" was used to subjugate Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and that the English as a race were "potentially very aggressive".
In the past 10 years I have collected reports of many instances of draconian punishments, including the arrest and criminal prosecution of children, for thought-crimes and offences against political correctness.
Countryside Restoration Trust chairman and columnist Robin Page said at a rally against the Government's anti-hunting laws in Gloucestershire in 2002: "If you are a black vegetarian Muslim asylum-seeking one-legged lesbian lorry driver, I want the same rights as you." Page was arrested, and after four months he received a letter saying no charges would be pressed, but that: "If further evidence comes to our attention whereby your involvement is implicated, we will seek to initiate proceedings." It took him five years to clear his name. . . .
A 10-year-old child was arrested and brought before a judge, for having allegedly called an 11-year-old boya "Paki" and "bin Laden" during a playground argument at a primary school (the other boy had called him a skunk and a Teletubby). When it reached the court the case had cost taxpayers pound stg. 25,000. The accused was so distressed that he had stopped attending school. The judge, Jonathan Finestein, said: "Have we really got to the stage where we are prosecuting 10-year-old boys because of political correctness? There are major crimes out there and the police don't bother to prosecute. This is nonsense." . . .
A bishop was warned by the police for not having done enough to "celebrate diversity", the enforcing of which is now apparently a police function. A Christian home for retired clergy and religious workers lost a grant because it would not reveal to official snoopers how many of the residents were homosexual. That they had never been asked was taken as evidence of homophobia. . . .
There have been innumerable cases in recent months of people in schools, hospitals and other institutions losing their jobs because of various religious scruples, often, as in the East Germany of yore, not shouted fanatically from the rooftops but betrayed in private conversations and reported to authorities. The crime of one nurse was to offer to pray for a patient, who did not complain but merely mentioned the matter to another nurse. A primary school receptionist, Jennie Cain, whose five-year-old daughter was told off for talking about Jesus in class, faces the sack for seeking support from her church. A private email from her to other members of the church asking for prayers fell into the hands of school authorities.
Permissiveness as well as draconianism can be deployed to destroy socially accepted norms and values. The Royal Navy, for instance, has installed a satanist chapel in a warship to accommodate the proclivities of a satanist crew member. "What would Nelson have said?" is a British newspaper cliche about navy scandals, but in this case seems a legitimate question. Satanist paraphernalia is also supplied to prison inmates who need it.
This campaign seems to come from unelected or quasi-governmental bodies controlling various institutions, which are more or less unanswerable to electors, more than it does directly from the Government, although the Government helps drive it and condones it in a fudged and deniable manner.
Any one of these incidents might be dismissed as an aberration, but taken together - and I have only mentioned a tiny sample; more are reported almost every day - they add up to a pretty clear picture.
Read the entire article. Sheep to the slaughter indeed.