Talking about freedom of speech is like flying an Australian flag. On paper there’s nothing wrong with it. You can be a perfectly nice person just trying to get into a bit of community spirit. In reality though, I’d bet a hundred bucks, more often than not, that the flag-waver is a bit of a racist. It’s rare for me to see a white Australian displaying a flag without also finding a “Fuck off we’re full” sticker somewhere nearby, and it’s equally rare to hear someone bang on about freedom of speech without then going on to say “and that’s why white people have higher IQs”. The second you hear the words “freedom of speech,” you’re in the vicinity of hearing something really fucking cooked.
Conservatives love to push the agenda that the left hate freedom of speech. George Brandis famously said that it’s important for Australians to have the “right to be a bigot”. Andrew Bolt has been outspoken in his criticism of what he sarcastically refers to as the “tolerant left”, and famed neo-conservative and adult baby Ben Shapiro and other shitbox commentators like him have sarcastically used the words “so-called tolerant left” so much that it’s literally a meme now.
Now, people on the left often argue we’ve never been attacking freedom of speech, simply that freedom of speech does not equal freedom from consequences. And for the most part I totally agree. If Andrew Bolt is free to say that states protecting themselves from Covid is tantamount to ideological extremism, then I too should be free to say that if Bolt died of coronavirus, drowning in his own fluids in a hospital car park, it would be very, very funny. Freedom of speech in that case is a two-way street, and I support that.
It also doesn’t violate freedom of speech for Twitter, Facebook, and any social media company to deplatform idiots who spread lies, misinformation, or honestly, any opinion they don’t like. If a person comes into my house and says some bullshit I don’t want to hear, like coronavirus is made up, Trump is a hero, or that tomato sauce belongs on a meat pie (IT DOESN’T THE PIE IS ALREADY FULL OF GRAVY WHICH IS A SAUCE, YOU ANIMALS) then I can show them the door and politely tell them to fuck right off.
And the Bolts and Shapiros of the world will probably read that paragraph and say, “Oh look! The so-called ‘tolerant left’ in action!” To which I would reply: I never said I was tolerant. In fact, I wear “intolerance” as a badge of honour. I have no time for your stupid little bullshit conservative opinions based on gobbledygook or junk science. As Shapiro himself always says “Facts don’t care about your feelings”. And the fact is: bigots are morons.
If they want to run around screaming “global warming isn’t real” or “abortion is baby murder” or “George Christensen isn’t human trash,” they are fine to believe it but I won’t tolerate it anywhere near me.
Because there’s a big difference between discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, genetics, etc., and discrimination based on political beliefs. No one is born with those beliefs; they aren’t something over which you have no control. And I have zero tolerance for someone if their beliefs are dogshit.
I still think, generally, that on your own platforms at least you should be free to express those beliefs – unless you’re a Nazi. If you’re a Nazi, without irony, without hyperbole, I sincerely want you to be locked up. You should never be free to be a Nazi in our society and we should change the law to make it illegal, just like it is in Germany.
In Germany, section 86a of the criminal code means it is illegal to show a Nazi flag, perform a Nazi salute, form a Nazi party, or greet each other with Nazi slogans. And that’s a very cool law that we should have here. A law that could have really helped us a few days ago when a bunch of neo-Nazi white supremacists gathered for a camping trip in the Grampians.
These pathetic manlets gathered in the bush for a boys weekend, chanting “white power”, licked the boots of their daddy Adolph, and nothing could be done. Police Superintendent Ian Milner said that “Our members deployed to that group and spoke with them and identified that they weren’t breaking any laws, and that was the extent of our involvement.” Brandis was right: there is no law against being a bigot. But I would argue that at a certain point, there really should be such a law. In a juster, wiser society, simply gathering publicly as Nazis would have been illegal – and every one of these scumbags would be behind bars.
Nazis, fascists, and other white supremacists are not the same as other political ideologies. You could certainly argue there have been atrocities committed in the name of all kinds of different governments, and you would be right. People have been killed in the name of Kings, Emperors, religions, democracy, socialism, capitalism, and every other “ism” you can think of. But the thing that separates the fascist from all of these other ideologies is that fascism REQUIRES killing.
When Joseph Stalin went on one of the biggest killing sprees in human history, it wasn’t because socialism demanded it – it was because he was a massive cunt (which is to put it mildly). But Adolf Hitler, on the other hand, whilst also being a massive cunt, was doing exactly what the Nazi party was designed to do: exterminate inferior races. The core part of Nazism, and to a larger extent fascist ideology, is that so-called “mud-races” must be wiped off the face of the earth. Killing is not a bug in the Nazi system, it’s a feature. It’s why Nazis exist, and it’s why they should be outlawed.
You can’t reason with them, talk to them, or make them understand. Because either through brainwashing or willful criminality, the Nazi mind is too far gone. You might get through to one or two individuals who will go-on to give talks at school about how being bigoted is very “uncool”, but for 99 percent of cases, you will be having an argument with someone who doesn’t care about reason or logic. They don’t want to learn or understand, they want to seize control, and then kill you. Their goal literally is death, and they are driven by hatred. That’s not even a slight exaggeration.
When you let them speak openly about their ideas, you get the Christchurch Massacre. When you let them organize and unify, you get Auschwitz. The end result of allowing Nazis the freedom to express themselves is massacres and death and violent oppression – and countries like Germany know this all too well.
It’s what philosopher Karl Popper was talking about with his “Paradox of Tolerance”. If we are tolerant of all beliefs, including those which preach intolerance, then intolerance will win. It might sound hypocritical to say “I support free speech” but then also say “but this speech over here should be banned”, but in this case, it really isn’t. In fact it’s essential.
I am already anticipating dumb-ass backlash to this statement. Online trolls, conservatives and general Nazi sympathisers typically make bad faith arguments like, “Well then you could just make any political opinion you disagree with illegal”. This is a bullshit “slippery slope” fallacy, and it’s like saying “well you made it illegal to use a knife to stab someone in the face, what’s next, making it illegal to use a knife to cut watermelon? Is that what leftists want? They want to ban eating watermelon????” You can’t even upload a funny meme of a fascist being punched or egged without these slack-jaws chiming in with their hot takes about how you’re just as bad as the Nazis you say you hate…
We LITERALLY already have many legal restrictions on speech. That’s a GOOD thing. I can’t knock on an old lady’s door and say “give me your credit card details and my uncle the Nigerian King will give you a million dollars”. That’s fraud. You can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theatre, and you can’t threaten to kill someone. And I would argue – and I mean this sincerely – that waving a swastika, white-pride symbol, and other Nazi iconography, constitutes a direct, implicit threat to a section of the population. Because these symbols don’t exist in a vacuum removed from their meanings.
Humanity has seen what the Nazis did. My granddad saw what happened when intolerance was tolerated and allowed to flourish in Germany, and the end result was he had to go over and shoot a bunch of them after they murdered 11 million innocent people in gas chambers.
So deplatform Nazis, ostracize them, suppress them, and yes, lock them up. Make it a law that they cannot ever rise again. At the end of the day, Nuremberg shows us that when you don’t punch a Nazi, when you don’t throw a milkshake at a Nazi, and when you don’t lock up a Nazi, all you’re doing is prolonging the inevitable: disaster, followed by a bunch of war crime executions.
History has proved that Nazis and fascists will reap what they sow, and we are much better at defeating them than they are at defeating us. But let’s not let it get to that stage again. It’s unnecessarily cavalier, reckless even. Make these scumbags illegal, and use the full force of the law to crush them. You might say that you can’t fight fire with fire, but I say you can: it’s called backburning and it’s a super-effective fire-fighting technique. And it’s a moral, practical imperative that Nazism burns.
By Greg Larsen