Despite all its flaws, the United States remains one of the freest nations on the planet. Given this status, it’s not at all surprising that the progressive left attempts to insult, mock, belittle, and denigrate it at every opportunity, usually pointing to Canada and Western Europe as shining utopias of progressive enlightenment, standing in stark contrast to America, a land where racism and sexism and homophobia run rampant, and where everyone is a stupid bible-thumping Christian who hates anyone who looks, sounds, or acts different from them.
So just file this story away in your memory in preparation for the next time some progressive starts telling you how wonderful and tolerant Europe is in comparison to America. You see, last weekend in France, the most trending topic on all of Twitter was, roughly translated, “gays must die.” How is it possible that such a thing happens in an enlightened and progressive nation such as France, but not in evil, gay-hating America?
Is it possible that the notion of an enlightened and tolerant Europe is just another progressive myth, right up there with “debt is good for the economy” and “the minimum wage helps the poor?” Why has a hashtag calling for the summary execution of all homosexuals never trended in evil, barbaric, conservative, religious, America? An interesting question to ponder I’m sure.
But the story doesn’t stop there. You see, a “gay rights” group is now demanding Twitter release the user information of everyone who participated in this hashtag. To publicly shame them? Why no, you silly libertarian, so they can turn them over to the state, which will prosecute them for “hate speech.” I found the quote a member of the gay rights group particularly amusing. He says “”We support free expression,” … and then immediately blasts Twitter for not deleting the offensive tweets and removing the offensive hashtag. The article also notes that there is precedent here, and Twitter has previously turned over the user information of users who have posted “offensive” tweets in order to enable the French government to prosecute them for “hate speech.”
Freedom of expression is a natural right, and hate speech laws are inherently political by nature, offering special protection to some groups at the expense of others. “Hate” is a subjective idea, and no bureaucrat is qualified to define what speech is and is not hateful. Either you are free to speak, or you are not. There is no middle ground here, not even “fire in a crowded theater.”
I do have a theory on this matter, though. I don’t think the left is lying to us about “progressive” Europe, rather, I think they are ignorant. They really truly believe in a more enlightened and civilized Europe. I think the main reason for this is that European governments are more socialist than America. What more evidence could you possibly need that they’re progressive and enlightened and intelligent and reasonable human beings who don’t fall victim to prejudice and irrationality? Aside from that, European governments generally do in fact adopt all the policies that the left is typically in favor of, whether it’s a value added tax or massive subsidies for windmills or a law that allows you to be thrown in jail for bad karaoke.
Individuals on the left, being convinced that democracy is just super swell, that “we are the government,” and that government is the answer to any and all of our problems and could easily usher in a new socialist utopia if only those evil rich people would allow it to, are making the classic mistake of confusing the government with the society. The individuals that comprise European society are just as (I would suggest more) racist and sexist and homophobic as Americans are, but since when did the left care about individuals? No, you see, European governments are progressive, which makes Europeans themselves morally superior to us lowly Americans. There is just as much racism, but the government’s authoritarian response to it gives the impression to those who only watch the government that society is harmonious and peaceful.
In assuming that socialist societies are automatically less racist than market-based societies, the left makes a grave error. They are confusing the authoritarian and draconian policies of a leviathan state with a true feeling of acceptance and brotherhood among the populace as a whole. It’s probably worth noting that all major Communist regimes repeatedly claimed to have completely abolished racism within their borders. American progressive dupes believed the Soviet Union when they said there was racial harmony in their society decades ago. In the present, the same dupes believe the same thing, so long as it comes from some EU bureaucrat who spends his days policing twitter, looking for teenagers to jail for the crime of making politically incorrect jokes.