Paul Craig Roberts: Identity Politics Has Destroyed The West
Identity Politics Has Destroyed The West
Identity Politics Has Destroyed The West By Dividing Genders and Races Into Hostile Camps
In the West today free speech no longer exists. Even in the universities you can only say what Identity Politics wants to hear. Everything else is censored. The press can only tell the lies that serve the elite agendas. Science itself is under assault as “a white male construct.”
Apparently I am too dangerous to be let loose on innocent students. News to me
“It seems that, in the eyes of student protesters, there is no distinction between words and violence; words are violence.”
I was shocked last week to discover that I oppose the survival of women. As a woman, I’ve always been quite keen on survival, but members of the Intersectional Feminist Society at King’s College London think otherwise, and who am I to disagree?
In their petition calling for me to be “no-platformed” from a university event I was due to speak at, they argued I was “someone who opposes women, trans and non-binary people and their well-being and survival”, making me too dangerous to be let loose on innocent students.
Both the petition and a later statement from King’s Students’ Union, exemplify how free speech on campus is under threat today.
I accepted an invitation from the Department of War Studies to speak about the importance of academic freedom many months ago, but it was only the day before the event that some students, clearly lacking any sense of irony, began their petition.
“We ask you to redact her invitation, cancel the event and publish a public apology,” they demanded. (I think they might have meant “retract”.)
The Students’ Union statement argued that there was a “high risk” my advocacy for freedom of speech will result in “attacks on transgender people” (I have written critically of the MeToo movement and the impact of transgender policies).
Let’s put to one side the fact I wasn’t planning to talk about gender. This presumed direct link between defending free speech and attacks on transgender people suggests a very low view of King’s students: are they really so suggestible that my words will turn them into a violent mob?
It seems that, in the eyes of student protesters, there is no distinction between words and violence; words are violence.
Their argument that “there is a line between sharing a view and advocating for the dismissal of an entire demographic” is technically correct, even though it suggests I am a genocidal maniac.
However, it’s hardly a “line” that separates sharing a view from inciting mass murder – it’s a gaping chasm.
Still, the implication that I had blood on my hands (“not supporting women, trans- and non-binary people kills, and Williams knowingly endorses this”) certainly helped gather the signatures.
Just days before my talk had been scheduled, Dame Jenni Murray withdrew from speaking at Oxford after students denounced her as transphobic for arguing trans-women are not, and never can be, women.
Being invited to speak at a university is a privilege and the prospect of intellectual challenge is part of the enjoyment. But dealing with petitions and protesters is hard work: I understood Murray’s decision to withdraw.
Pedants are quick to point out that, if someone chooses to withdraw from a debate, then they have not been censored. The BBC’s Reality Check recently concluded that when it comes to no-platforming speakers or banning books, “the numbers of incidents uncovered is small”. This was enthusiastically shared on social media by those eager to portray alarm about campus censorship as a Right-wing plot to undermine universities.
Yet this focus on technicalities misses the bigger picture: there is more than one way to close down debate. When speech comes to be seen as harmful, particularly to minorities, then it is perceived as only right to remove potential risk.
Speakers are threatened and intimidated until, in Murray’s case, they withdraw. If they do not, then demands for security guards, “safe space” monitors or a neutral chairperson put obstacles in the path of those wanting to host speakers. Invitations are rarely issued to those not deemed completely safe.
Unfortunately, none of this can be written off as mere student shenanigans. Where the campus leads, the rest of society follows.
People appointed to public office, such as Toby Young and Sir Roger Scruton, can now routinely expect everything they have ever written to be pored over for phrases that could possibly be interpreted as offensive by someone, somewhere. The demand to no‑platform has migrated from the student union into media and politics.