In the Middle Ages you were killed for speaking out. Now we just do character assassination

220px-Images-stories-Photos-roger_scruton_16_70dpi_photographer_by_pete_helme-267x397Activist campaigns, which tend to be conducted in the name of the people as a whole, neither consult the people nor show much interest in noticing them—a point that was noticeable to Burke, in considering the insolence of the French revolutionaries. Such campaigns are affairs of elites who are seeking to triumph over real or imaginary adversaries, and who make an impact on politics because they share, in their hearts, the old socialist view that things must be changed from the top downwards, and that the people themselves are not to be trusted now, but only later, when the revolutionary vanguard has completed its task.

Roger Scruton, writing in 2012

That certainly coincides with my experience, and with all I’ve read as well. I would add that Roger Scruton is a man who talks the talk very well indeed and has also walked the walk, his (correct, in nearly all cases) views have cost him much, in career terms, in recognition, and likely money as well.

Just about everything in this speech of his, speaks to me. You should read it carefully, and/or listen to the audio linked in the article, and as you can, apply it to your thinking, and actions.

Free speech is being everywhere shut down so that we will never know who is right – the heretics or those who try to silence them.

To people like me educated in post-war Britain, free speech has been a firm premise of the British way of life.  As John Stuart Mill expressed the point, ‘the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race, posterity as well as the existing generation.  Those who dissent from the opinion still more than those who hold it.  If the opinion is right they’re deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth.  If wrong, they lose what is almost as great a benefit: the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth produced by its collision with error.’

That famous statement is not the last word on the question, but it is the first word and was during my youth the received opinion of all educated people.  The law, we believed, would protect the heretics, the dissidents and the doubters against any punishments devised to intimidate or silence them, for the very reason that truth and argument are sacred and must be protected from those who seek to suppress them. […]

This takes us back to what John Stuart Mill had in mind.  It is not falsehood that causes the greatest offence but truth – you can endure insults and abuse when you know them to the false but if the remarks that offend you are true, their truth becomes a dagger in the soul.  You cry ‘Lies’ at the top of your voice and know that you must silence the one who utters them.  That is what has happened in the case of Islamophobia. Muslims in our society are often victims of prejudice, abuse and assault and this is a distressing situation that the law strives to remedy.  But when people invent a phobia to explain all criticism of Islam, it is not that kind of abuse that they have in mind.  They wish to hide the truth, to shout ‘Lies’ in the face of criticism and to silence any attempt to discussion.

In my view, however, it is time to bring the truth into the open, including the truth about the holy book itself.  The classical Islamic philosophers, the early jurists and the Sufi poets all tried to interpret the Qur’an so that it would be compatible with life in the real world.  But their efforts were increasingly disapproved and now it is widely held among Orthodox Sunnis that interpretation is no longer permitted, or as the saying is, ‘The gate of each jihad is closed.’ None of the real difficulties are to be discussed, and yet it is just now in Islam’s encounter with Western democracy that discussion is most needed.

Source: In the Middle Ages you were killed for speaking out. Now we just do character assassination

Do read and ponder the article.

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About NEO
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4 Responses to In the Middle Ages you were killed for speaking out. Now we just do character assassination

  1. the unit says:

    Not an easy read for me. Maybe it’s my attitude today. Started listening to the video, but going to have to wait until clothes dryer finishes. Too much side noise for my video audio volume.
    One thing I noticed though, going to the link, comments are closed. Two days after the article.
    I went there earlier in the morning and I think comments were still open then. Free speech???

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      It’s not an easy read, but a good one. As to comments, it likely has to do with something not seen, I’ve seen much more contentious ones there, without them closing them. just don’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        I read the comments this morning and didn’t notice any comments closed notice. I wasn’t prepared to comment anyway, so maybe I just missed seeing it.
        Just seemed odd when I noticed it this afternoon.
        I think even though I haven’t read that thoroughly yet or finished the video, I think I get the message…not nice to fool with mother elite in any era or time. lol

        Like

        • the unit says:

          I got to finish listening. I know the point is we need to listen to all points of view. Also instead of listening to mother elite. We supposed to listen to elite mothers. lol

          Liked by 1 person

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