Fascism is ineradicable. It lies like a virus in the body politic. All we can do is try to prevent the virus breaking out, and when it does, at the first stage, deal with it swiftly and ruthlessly. Fascism is back. I have written before on how Trump hits most of the markers for fascism. Here we have, so far, been spared the direct outbreak that has infected the USA but we must not be complacent. Fascism, like any disease, has its epidemiology, its vectors of transmission, its symptoms and its cures. Corrosive hate speech weakens the body politic and allows the virus to reemerge. When journalists enable, for the best of intention, such hate speech then we have to ask – do we allow freedom of speech to fascism or its agents and proponents?
One of the symptoms of fascism reemerging in the body politic is the rise of hate speech. All too often this is allowed under the aegis of balance, or in a hope that exposing it might cause its withering. Those that engage in same may not even be themselves fascist, merely passing on the virus while remaining uninfected.
Hate speech, such as we have seen validated and reified in the USA, hate speech such as that which pours out of the alt right in a neverending stream, hate speech cannot be ignored. Nor can it be tolerated. Its a symptom and a vector of fascism, and while most sentient beings will see if for what it is, some will alas succumb. They will open themselves to infection, and boom. Another lost to the virus.
There is no absolute right to free speech. Just as you cannot shout fire in a crowded theatre and get away with it, just as we dont give platforms to paedophiles and cannibals to promote their side of the argument we should not give media space or time to the proponents of fascism or hate speech. No matter how well meaning the journalist, no matter how appealing is is to “let them speak”, the vectors of fascism should not be allowed speak, for to do so is to allow them infect. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and the road to fascism with well meaning journalists who though they could tame the beast.
Once we accept that some forms of discourse are beyond the pale, as is the case in most countries, we are then in a discussion not on the principle of censoring speech but its practice. My opinion, and its just that, is that fascism and its outriders should never ever be given freedom of speech. It spreads through the media, written social and broadcast, and thus needs to be tackled there.
Just an opinion.