To the Left, a sense of irony has always been over-rated.
Socialists and others, proclaiming themselves anti-fascists, proceeded to use fascist tactics to shut down an Oxford Union debating club forum recently.
An eyewitness reports:
I was one of over a 1,000 protesters from all walks of life that gathered outside the Oxford Union debating club on Monday of this week to try and stop it from hosting a “forum” featuring two leading Nazis.Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party(BNP) and Holocaust denier David Irving were to be two of the speakers at the debate. Neither is an appealing figure, but they weren't the only speakers who had their plans disrupted that night.
Their scheduled opponents never got to argue their cases either, thanks to the quick wits--and arms and legs--of the brave watchmen of British liberties.
The atmosphere at the protest was electric as people thronged around the Union building, arguing with those trying to attend the meeting.The real debate of deciding if a real debate gets to take place. The witness has a real future if the Soviet Union is ever reconstituted.
The air was full of real political debate – in sharp contrast to the superficial rituals that the Union prides itself on.
Or Nazi Germany.
Getting to decide another's actions, or what is heard or said: it's enough to stir the blood of Socialist and Nazi alike.
People kept up a noisy presence by chanting and singing, when suddenly a gate swung open. Around 60 of us pushed our way into the Union compound past a pair of security guards that tried to rugby tackle us.
Eventually around 35 of us made it into the debating chamber – fending off attempts to physically block us by the Oxford Union’s champions of “free speech”.
We argued with the people inside, telling them that what went on in their chambers had real effects in the outside world.
At this point they decided to walk out of the debating chamber and hold their meetings with Nazis in two separate rooms elsewhere.
The atmosphere was getting ugly, so we negotiated to be let out.
One might remark that the atmosphere was plenty ugly well before that. But then that would spoil the mood.
The witness then recounts how he exited the building, "rejoining the protest outside to cheers."
Irony was not among the well-wishers, having long since departed.
It's disturbing whenever free and open debate is strangled. There's little doubt that had Griffin had 1000 of his cohorts and true-believers present, while the witness had tried to address a crowd, that the same results would have occurred.
Shout them down, shut them up: they're Nazis, they're Socialists, they're Jews.
The end justifies the means. What would Stalin do? Or Hitler or Mao or Che? What is Chavez doing at this very moment?
Tactics are tactics and totalitarian methods are totalitarian methods, no matter what the label.
The witness can slap some lipstick on his Nazi-like actions and pretend that they're now pretty and noble; just as he slapped some quotation marks around free speech and pretended that it wasn't.
The Brown Shirts excelled at disrupting the speech of anyone they disagreed with: breaking up meetings of opponents, shouting them down, hounding them in public until they silenced them. Physical violence shortly followed and grew.
As did the list of those whose speech they found disagreeable.
Once a group gets to decide who speaks and who is silenced, they develop a taste for it. Today's allies become tomorrow's enemies. And there's always a need for an enemy: a target's just the thing to produce an "electric atmosphere" among the faithful.
At least it can't happen in America. Can it?
Liberal zealots spend their days crafting Internet screeds against the coming Bush police state. The rants are so many, one would think they'd have time for little else.
But there's always time to be found to rush down to the College Union to fling a pie at the occasional conservative speaker who wanders on campus.
It's not really police state tactics if the target is Ann Coulter. After all, she's such a bitch.
A squelching of free speech is a squelching of free speech.
There's a reason that Nazis and White Supremacists and Socialists like our witness mainly flourish in the shadows with their cronies: when they come out into the light, most people can see how insanely ridiculous they are.
The issue of political elites not listening to their constituents is always a wild card in Europe, but I'll take the regular guy's good sense every time, Jerry Springer notwithstanding.
Give David Irving three hours of prime time every week and in less than six months, both he and his loony views will be as unpopular as any of the politicians who now hog the BBC's airwaves. As if they aren't already.
There'd be a line of historians from Oxford to Moscow forming up for a chance to debunk the nut.
If the Socialists are really interested in stamping out the BNP, they'd take up a collection so Nick Griffin could get his prime-time slot too. The British see through him. Let Nick have his chance to humiliate himself.
But then, that would be letting ordinary folk make up their own minds about what to hear.
Source: Socialist Worker, "1000 Anti-Fascists Wreck Oxford's Sham Debate"
Death by 1000 Papercuts Front Page.