Have you noticed lately (well, since 1919 perhaps!) how the news media and the academic system have become the medium of divisiveness? Maybe it’s time for a temporary ban, a sun-setting Media & Academic Bill of Rights, on the media and teachers, in restricting any transfer of information that incites divisiveness. Here is perhaps the first section of that Bill.
MEDIA & ACADEMIC BILL OF RIGHTS
s.1 Things not to be noticed, implied or alluded to in media articles or academic teachings
- The race* of an individual
- The natural, transgendered or conjured genitalia of an individual
- The tendency of an individual to use their genitalia in a certain way on another individual
- The God, religion or ideology of an individual
- The political tendency of an individual
- The heritage or culture of an individual
- The physical capability of an individual
* A 1930s ‘Nuremberg Laws’ Nazi affectation, but let’s go with it for now because it’s so “populist”
The reason for this ban on free speech rights is that these attributes are literally and practically used to promote certain individuals (and collectives), demote certain other individuals (and collectives) and to favour certain ideologies. Without this ammunition media and academia would be forced to talk in simpler terms. This mode of communication would perhaps be boring by today’s standards but the ultimate effect would be to enforce the transfer of information, not ideology.
If this ban is temporary, then for how long? Perhaps time for current teachers in universities to slide into pensionable obscurity, time for current media personalities to become old and redundant, time for current students to stop being indoctrinated, time for new graduates to enter a world full of employment opportunity, time for non-theories such as ‘white privilege‘ to become risible, and time for all people to once again entertain a sense that we live in a society where we are allowed to feel that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a powerful system that is anathema to the stains of divisiveness and hate that currently permeate all of the media, all of academia. And all of government too.
No conservative wants to see the diminution of free speech; if there’s another way, great. The tradition of English laws that started with the Magna Carta and continued over many centuries into the colonies with the Constitution: apparently these legal traditions are useless for the haters out there. The promise of individual liberties promoted by the rebellious English in the 1600s and finally guaranteed so eloquently by the Founding Fathers in the 1700s: well, apparently they mean little to some as well. The grand legislative system of common law and precedent, equity and justice: it seems for certain members of today’s society these are just “things”, mutable and replaceable, “living” as it were.
I say much of this with tongue in cheek, and perhaps what is really needed is to move the discussion into a mode that free-speech believers and truth-tellers would naturally understand. A mode where the hate and divisiveness becomes repulsive through a natural evolving of how information is transferred and received. But I think we are in dire times, one where in the UK speaking your opinion, however truthful, is a criminal offence, one where in the US speaking your opinion, however truthful, is a cultural offence. Perhaps this is a start. A start perhaps before all speech ends.