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“If publishers and editors exert themselves to keep certain topics out of print, it is not because they are frightened of prosecution but because they are frightened of public opinion. In this country intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face, and that fact does not seem to me to have had the discussion it deserves.”
“Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban…At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was ‘not done’ to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.”
“I know that the English intelligentsia have plenty of reason for their timidity and dishonesty, indeed I know by heart the arguments by which they justify themselves. But at least let us have no more nonsense about defending liberty against Fascism. If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. The common people still vaguely subscribe to that doctrine and act on it. In our country — it is not the same in all countries: it was not so in republican France, and it is not so in the USA today — it is the liberals who fear liberty and the intellectuals who want to do dirt on the intellect: it is to draw attention to that fact that I have written this preface.”
originally posted by: hunamongyou
"When we talk of political correctness and intellectual cowardice, we cannot forget to mention comedians."
I agree. Comedians often point out our foibles and foolishness. Song writers/musicians provide another scrying glass for looking into our collective soul.
originally posted by: MaxTamesSiva
a reply to: LesMisanthrope
None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. They feed them on falsehoods till wrong looks like right in their eyes.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Maybe living within the bounds of relative freedom or relative enslavement is still, for lack of better term, not a bad thing?
Political correctness- The avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.
Freedom of expression- also known as freedom of speech. Includes free press. The right to say what one wants through any form of communication and media, with the only limitation being to cause another harm in character or reputation by lying or misleading words.
originally posted by: LesMisanthrope
a reply to: Wang Tang
There is a good quote by Czeslaw Milosz that reads "Irony is the glory of slaves." Sometimes we need irony to make bearable the things we cannot not change. I suspect some cognitive dissonance is at work in stand-up comedy and sitire.
In an unrelated note, in his book The Captive Mind, Milosz couldn't believe that Animal Farm (or was it 1984?), described perfectly the communism he was living under at the time in Poland. And he knew Orwell never went to a Communist country, which blew his mind. The Captive mind is a great read.
originally posted by: LesMisanthrope
Inconvenient Facts Kept Dark
No, if children were illuminated to the facts of our free societies and their core tenet, namely, that many died for speaking against the blasphemy laws, the book burnings, the superstitions, the divine rights of kings, slavery, racism, sexism—all of them demystified by the voices of fearless men and women—there might be at least a morsel of respect towards freedom of speech and the blood it was founded upon, instead of the torpid ambivalence we have since grown accustomed to.
For some time, free speech has succeeded coercion and force as the foundation of many societies. But as the interest in it wanes, and education in it subsides, the momentum towards coercion and force returns. The right with which we defend all other rights, and upon which all other rights are built, is becoming an anachronism in some minds, if not outright forgotten. It won’t be long before language becomes a means of concealing thought instead of expressing it, with unpopular opinions silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark.
Thank you for reading,