Suppressing free speech has a long and bloody history. To see how violence and intimidation can be used to silence opponents, just look at the record of any tyrannical regime that’s ever existed.
And then there are more subtle methods. ‘Cancel culture’ is spoken of as if it were something new. It isn’t. You don’t need social media to whip up a mob. And as for attacking your getting opponents fired, that too goes all the way back. Administratively competent dictators usually sack their enemies before jailing or killing them. The same goes for ‘no platforming’ — another new name for a very old practice. If you control the public square then you can deny dissidents a voice.
This article is about the less obvious threats to free speech. I’m not referring to the constant bellendery of what happens online (and, increasingly, in the TV studio). Nor is this an article about the way in which spurious accusations of bigotry are used to tear down decent individuals (latest victim: Trevor Phillips).
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