There has been a new petition out to block Donald Trump from entering the UK. Now, as a Classical Liberal, I hate his comments as much as anyone. I am pro-immigration and am frustrated by his current efforts to control migration, which would not only affect peoples’ ability to enter the UK, but could even potentially limit our ability to leave as well. But ultimately we have to remember this one thing: he has a right to an opinion even if his opinion is monstrous.
Not only this, but it seems slightly ironic that in order to protest Trump’s hateful comments of peoples’ right to move, we want to block his right to move. One way to really take the moral high ground there!
All of this is a continuation of recent efforts to ban anything that people don’t agree with and people wanting to create a public space where only their views are heard. Just a few weeks ago there was the ‘controversy’ that a Church of England ad showing people saying the Lord’s Prayer was banned from showings of the new Star Wars film. This of course led people to go on to social media and either applaud the decision saying that on no accounts should religion be allowed in the cinema and others who claimed that it should, seeing that the U.K. it is a ‘Christian Country’.
For me both sides are the same. Both sides want their opinion enforced, with the opposition just rolling over and accepting it. The obvious answer to this ‘issue’ is that it is none of your damn business what the cinema does; this is a private property issue. If you own a cinema and want to play the advert, you have every right to. Just like if you own a cinema and don’t want to show it, you have every right to. Respect other peoples’ beliefs and realise that an advert of people praying being shown/not being shown doesn’t hurt you in any way!
We see this on University campuses as well. Recently here at the University of Warwick, there was a movement to try and not allow BP to come onto campus. In addition to this, the Student Union blocked Maryam Namazie from speaking to students here at the start of the academic year in a clear violation of free speech. Following on, my old University, the University of York, cancelled International Men’s Day due to people not agreeing that it should be a thing. Either way I have had it with people banning everything! How are we expected to progress and learn as a society if we are willing to sacrifice our freedom of thought and speech and want to give authorities the power to enforce a certain narrative? Any restriction on speech or thought just gives those in charge more power to use against us. For anyone who has read a history book they will realise the danger that comes with this.
I get how people are offended by what ‘The Donald’ says. I get how his views are monstrous, racist, islamophobic and so on. But don’t indulge him in his fantasy that he is important, just ignore him. Like any extremist he will get joy out of thinking that he and his followers are the persecuted ones. They believe that they oppose some ‘PC state’ who wants to control what people say and think, just think what banning him would do. It would reinforce the delusion that they believe. A quote I like from Noam Chomsky is, ‘Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech.’
So I ask you to stand up for the liberal democracy that we have. It is this that gives us the freedoms that we enjoy, the freedom to move and learn from one another; to form bonds that transcend national barriers and old prejudices. Don’t fall into the trap that those like Donald Trump have set. The best way to counter mad people like him is to carry on defiantly living the life that he hates, one where we live in an open and free society which allows people the freedom to move.