Millennials don’t fear censorship because they plan on doing all the censoring

Millennials don’t fear censorship because they plan on doing all the censoring, by Lionel Shriver.

It’s a universal given that young people think they are young. That is, youngness feels central to their very essence. They’ve yet to have the consternating experience of waking up to find they’re 45. …

Accordingly, the young casually assume not only that they’re the cutting-edge, trend-setting arbiters of the acceptable now, but that they always will be. The students running campuses like re-education camps aren’t afraid of being muzzled, because they imagine they will always be the ones doing the muzzling — the ones dictating what words we can use (cis, not heterosexual), what books we can read (Tom Sawyer is out), what practices we can embrace (white people may not wear dreadlocks). These millennials don’t fear censorship because they plan on doing all the censoring.

You’ve no need for free speech in order to uphold the certainties of your own time. In Galileo’s day, no Bill of Rights was required to proclaim the world is flat. Thus the present reasoning on the left seems to mirror the right’s in relation to privacy: why worry about the state tapping your phone or reading your emails if you have nothing to hide? Likewise, what need have people for free speech if what they say is respectful, sensitive to the feelings of marginalised groups and in line with the demands of social justice?

‘Freedom of speech’ is only thorny in relation to sentiments that you find obnoxious, stupid, wicked, false or outright appalling. …

Yet suppose that over the next two decades our pert contemporary young person is inexorably demoted to middle-aged slob. During those years, having been paying attention, this still socially aware crusader has concluded that religions are more a force for ill than good — that most religions promote joylessness, superstition, scientific ignorance, polarisation, persecution, a retrograde obsession with sex and oppression of women. The many faiths exerting a drag on human progress include Islam. But thanks to our former young person’s earlier activism, the expression of views offensive to minorities has been criminalised, and Islam in particular enjoys protected status. Any ‘hate speech’ about it tars you as an Islamophobe, a designation that by 2037 lands you in the slammer for ten years.

Former young person keeps mouth shut.

hat-tip Stephen Neil