The following article is by Dr Timothy Tomkinson, a doctor currently working in the NHS.
What an interesting little parallel there is between the ignominious sights in UWE last week, and a few paragraphs in an Orwell book from 1939: Coming up for Air.
It is now a familiar sight, when someone expresses views clashing with those of the radical Left, a small number of the latter will invariably appear in balaclavas to hurl abuse and disrupt things. At face value this is clearly comical. It underlines perfectly the lack of intelligence possessed by someone if they are unable to engage in persuasive rhetoric. This is especially so as they claim that the speaker, Mr Rees-Mogg, is a “fascist”, a “homophobe” and a “racist”. If these accusations were true they would surely be very easy to defeat with simple debate and exposing the ideas for what they are. When an ideology lacks substance, only then do you defend it, as John McDonnell has done, by calling for Direct Action rather than debate.
Yet there is something more to these protests. The fact that people see the need to shout down speakers is surely telling that something in society is amiss. What is more, the perpetrators dress like the thugs they are, covering their faces – as if further evidence was needed that they are up to no good.
We must address the motivation for this behaviour. Considering the overlap in rhetoric and attendees, it seems to be the same motivation possessed by those at the anti-Trump marches, and slut-walks. Indeed, the same type of person who becomes involved in organisations such as the Femme Feral female wrestling group to “protest Tories”.
To an outsider, the overwhelming emotion these people express seems to be that of hatred.
This is where it links to Orwell. In a mark of his enduring prescience, Orwell fictionalises attending an anti-fascist talk in the run-up to World War II.
“A rather mean little man, with a white face and a bald head, standing on a platform, shooting out slogans. What's he doing? Quite deliberately, and quite openly, he's stirring up hatred. Doing his damnedest to make you hate certain foreigners called Fascists… But the grating voice went on and on, and another thought struck me. He MEANS it. Not faking at all--feels every word he's saying. He's trying to work up hatred in the audience, but that's nothing to the hatred he feels himself.
I shut my eyes for a moment. The effect of that was curious. I seemed to see the fellow much better when I could only hear his voice. It was a voice that sounded as if it could go on for a fortnight without stopping… It's a ghastly thing, really, to have a sort of human barrel-organ shooting propaganda at you by the hour. The same thing over and over again. Hate, hate, hate. Let's all get together and have a good hate. Over and over. It gives you the feeling that something has got inside your skull and is hammering down on your brain…
I saw the vision that he was seeing. And it wasn't at all the kind of vision that can be talked about. What he's SAYING is merely that Hitler's after us and we must all get together and have a good hate. Doesn't go into details. Leaves it all respectable. But what he's SEEING is something quite different. It's a picture of himself smashing people's faces in with a spanner. Fascist faces, of course... Smash! Right in the middle! The bones cave in like an eggshell and what was a face a minute ago is just a great big blob of strawberry jam. Smash! There goes another! That's what's in his mind, waking and sleeping, and the more he thinks of it the more he likes it. And it's all O.K. because the smashed faces belong to Fascists. You could hear all that in the tone of his voice.”
This image painted by Orwell has a timeless quality, and its content is very relevant to today. There are so many protests, and so many angry people being whipped-up into further anger by celebrities, fanatics and politicians alike.
Just open your mind to the signs which are out there. The Labour leadership has advocated a “day of Rage”. Protesters carry placards which talk about killing white men, and hating Trump. These people say they are about love but their actions and slogans tell a very different story. One way to look at a policy is to try and read the emotion behind it. With current actions, that emotion isn’t difficult to read. It is exactly what Orwell described that is now haunting our societies. The quest for “justice” has been usurped by people filled with hatred and a desire to smash faces.
What is more, I suspect the reason these people so readily accuse others of hate is because they are projecting their own emotions. For a person who knows only righteous hatred against an opponent, the most emotionally appealing argument against them is that their actions are motivated by an even deeper hatred.
There is a dark and ominous force lurking behind thinly veiled slogans which will triumph unless we can put reason first, and make a truly compassionate case for a society which values all people. If an ideology cannot bare even to hear a dissident viewpoint, how do you think that ideology will treat opponents if it gets to power?
All views expressed in contributions by named authors are their own and may not reflect the views of The Freedom Association.
Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2017_Berkeley_protests.jpg