She was commenting on this tactfully evasive answer a young woman gave when asked how she felt about Queen Elizabeth II's death.
But her remarks are relevant to discourse in general, which is why I've made my comment into a separate post. We are at an inflection point and it behooves us to pay attention so we can choose our path wisely. To paraphrase Ash, starting about 1:10 (emphasis obviously added):
all these comments are being made in an environment of surveillance; if you're expressing your opinion on social or legacy media, you're more than aware that The Daily Mail, The Sun, GB News, the real bottom feeders who compile outraged lists for The Daily Express are looking for reasons to take your face, what you said and hold you up as Public Enemy #1.
So one side of the top-down mourning is an oppressive demand for everyone to grieve in the same way.
And the other side is the policing of discourse which makes the price of holding a perfectly legitimate political opinion one of putting your career at risk, putting your safety at risk, putting your mental health at risk because the newspapers are going to splash your face all over the place... I've read tweets from Piers Morgan's son Spencer calling for people who have tweeted things he finds personally distasteful to be deported.
This tells you something about the kind of reactionary mania that can surround these things where it becomes an opportunity to quite violently redraw the boundaries of legitimate or utterable opinion.
Regulars of this sub can attest to the crap they've had to endure from RightThink trolls and sometimes even from family and friends in real life for having the audacity to deviate from the approved opinion on Russiagate, mRNA vaccines and mandates, the integrity of the 2020 election — which, regardless of which candidate you favored, indisputably had more WTF? moments than you can shake a stick at — and now the Russia-Ukraine conflict. And that just brings us to the present, this Pandora's Box will keep releasing its scourges against humanity for as long as it's allowed to.
We see the results with YouTube's selective de-platforming of dissenting opinions, with Twitter's bans and suspensions, with organizations like Prop or Not, like hit pieces against this sub by news outlets and online sites. They have one aim, to corral a complacent public into RightThink on whatever the narrative du jour is. (u/Inuma does a good job of describing the new McCarthyism and its purpose in this post).
And it culminates in things like Biden's recent virulent speech declaring that voters who happen to support his political opponent are a threat to "the very foundations of our Republic.” Can anyone else recall such a terrifying declaration by a sitting US President? Our government has acted egregiously against different groups over the course of our history, this is something each of us must reckon with as we acknowledge our own history. But Biden's speech was beyond the pale and it deserves to be roundly condemned.
No extraordinary leap in logic is required to see where such "enemies within" declarations could lead. The Ukraine blacklist, for example, targets journalists and politicians and think tank participants from all over the world for failing to demonstrate RightThink on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Grayzone has pointed out that in the name of defending "democracy" in Ukraine the Kiev regime has "sanctioned a campaign of kidnapping, torture, and assassination of local Ukrainian lawmakers accused of collaborating with Russia...a blood-drenched purge of political rivals, dissidents and critics."
This goes beyond our personal opinions about Trump, Putin, Russia, vaccine mandates or whatever contentious subject is under discussion. The only real questions we each need to ask ourselves are:
- do I support the silencing of opinions that differ from mine?
- and if so, exactly how far am I willing to go? Would I condone these individuals being publicly mocked and condemned? detained and contained? prosecuted? deported?
I know where I stand. but others have said it better than I could:
It depends on us, on the choices we make, particularly at certain inflection points in history; particularly when big changes are happening and everything seems up for grabs. — Barack Obama
In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith. — J. William Fulbright
So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men. — Voltaire
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. — variously attributed