Do we support free speech or revert to McCarthyism?

Do we support free speech or revert to McCarthyism? by John Anderson, deputy prime minister of Australia from 1999 to 2005.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” wrote Evelyn Beatrice Hall. …

Unfortunately, there are people with too much influence in our country who desire to turn this vitally important principle on its head. It seems their objective is to “fight to the death” to ensure that some people are so belittled and humiliated or so threatened with financial ruin that they become afraid to express or put into practice their beliefs.

They are increasingly empowered by a relentless focus on “progressive” values ­usually accompanied by a deep loathing of our Western heritage. This cuts us off from our roots and discourages us from passing on to future generations the stories of our beliefs and heroes that gave us those ideals. If we continue in this manner, the words of Karl Marx will ring true: “If you can cut the people off from their history, then they can be easily persuaded.”

The new left’s electoral strategy of a coalition of the fringes:

It seems to me that much that is described as progressive today is in fact regressive. We are reverting to a form of tribalism that is epitomised by identity politics. Instead of appealing to and identifying with our common values and our common interests, there is an increasing emphasis on those things that separate us, and making these divisions the core of our identity.

It is telling that so many ­commentators — Graham Richardson, from the other side of ­politics to me, the latest among them — are referring to it as a “new totalitarianism”. …