Tolerance, Bigotry, Freedom of Speech, and the Pursuit of Liberty

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As we see our freedom of speech and First Amendment trampled upon, we also hear the word “bigot” with greater frequency. The word has become a favored pejorative of ideologically radical collectivists and leftists. They use it mainly to bash conservatives or anybody whose views they do not condone.

The term is derived from the German or Nordic ‘Bei Gott’ meaning ‘by god’. French Normans pronounced it ‘bee got’. The French wrote it ‘bigot’, pronounced it (‘bee go’) and made it into a negative term to refer to self-righteous Christian Normans or Germans, who would start every sentence with “Bei Gott, ….” calling on God as the witness to their self-righteousness and virtue. Bigotry then is a form of sanctimony, which is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as “Righteousness accompanied by an unwarranted attitude of moral or social superiority; smug or hypocritical righteousness.”

For the bigot it’s my way or the highway. Typically, a bigot is a person who is utterly intolerant of any creed, belief, or opinion different from his or her own. I have made up my mind. Don’t disturb me with facts.

The bigot is a hypocrite, who pretends to have virtues, moral, or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, a person whose actions belie stated beliefs, a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially a person whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

These days, we have people who undermine the integrity of our democratic voting system in the name of democracy.
We have people who destroy our freedom of speech demanding that social media must be censored in order to protect the feeble egos of our compassionate collectivists.
We have people who tell us that our society will be strengthened by allowing millions of illegal mostly uneducated, often sick and/or criminal aliens uncontrolled into our country.
We have people who tell us that democracy demands that a normal majority must succumb to the lifestyle and values of a perverted minority.
We have people who are about to destroy our economy, society, and civilization in order to save “the climate”.
We have people who declare violent BLM and Antifa riots in our cities to be acts of “social justice” that must be tolerated to allow the disenfranchised to let off steam, while those who protested patent election fraud on 1/6/22 still are imprisoned, against the law, and a policeman, who shot an unarmed protester in the head is decorated as a courageous defender of democracy.
And we have a president who accuses his predecessor of illegally holding secret documents when he himself not only did the same but also stored those documents in a facility of an organization that is controlled and financed by the Chinese Communist Party.

“Difficile est satiram non scribere.” (Iuvenal)

These people are virtue signalers who give lip service to values, which their actions belie. Seems to me, they are the true bigots of our days.

Undeniably, we have seen a renaissance of collectivist and totalitarian thinking over the past 40 years (all under the banner of democracy and social justice, of course). Strangely, collectivist ideology has given birth to a new type of weak, hypersensitive, self-centered personality that is easily offended, experiences liberty mainly as risk and danger and is therefore mainly interested in safety and protection. Often, these folks do not know the difference between a man and a woman and insist on being addressed with strange pronouns e.g. in the plural when “they” are just one person.

This reminds me eerily of the old times of absolutism, when the monarch insisted on being addressed in the plural and the crime of lese majesty (crimen laesae maiestatis) allowed the king to throw anybody in the dungeon who dared criticize him. Any inconvenient speech could be declared an insult of majesty and be prohibited and punished. And the king determined what speech was inconvenient.

Our modern censors have not really understood that to curb freedom of speech in order to eliminate hate speech is throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Just like one cannot be a little bit pregnant, we cannot have just a little bit of government controlled free speech. The founders of our Republic knew that. They knew that once you start regulating speech, by prohibiting ”hate” speech or “offensive” speech, speech is no longer free and increasingly so, since anything you or I might say might offend somebody or could potentially be interpreted as hate speech by somebody.

Speech, regardless how well-intended, can always be declared or interpreted as inconvenient by somebody. If we go this route, in the end, we won’t be able to say anything anymore, because anything we say might offend somebody.

The founders of the American Republic knew that censorship of inconvenient speech is the slippery slope that leads to loss of liberty and ultimately to serfdom.

It is the inconvenient speech that is protected by the First Amendment, not the convenient speech. Just like liberty includes the option of making mistakes and wrong decisions, freedom of speech includes the option of offensive speech – sauf intentional slander and libel. If we may no longer hate, offend, ridicule, or despise each other openly, we have lost all freedom of speech, thought, and expression.

The new egomaniac collectivists, as they internalize their moral superiority, appear to lose the ability to tolerate rejection, critique, and ridicule and, as a consequence, we are about to lose our freedom of speech. Someday, when their own views and opinions may become inconvenient to the powers that be and may be oppressed and censored by means of the very same oppressive tools, they themselves helped to forge, they will shed bitter tears.

If you can no longer make mistakes or wrong decisions, you can be sure that you lost your liberty. If you can no longer offend anybody, you can be sure that you lost your freedom of speech. Loss of freedom of speech destroys liberty and loss of liberty leads to the road to serfdom, aka slavery.

Resist. Resist. Resist.

(And read: Friedrich A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, Routledge, UK, 1944)

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