Jeremy Corbyn has been a very naughty boy indeed. From failing to condemn racist artwork to attending radically left-wing events condemning Israel, it would appear, if we follow the reporting by almost all the mainstream media, that he is forming a Labour led faction of the KKK. He is a dirty, filthy racist, hell bent on hating Jews and all things Jewish. An ironic conclusion in the face of his defending art and criticising a regime he disagrees with.
The initial dangers of this aggressive smear campaign should be obvious; clearly, as an astute politician (and in spite of his pathetic ideological trajectory, it must be acknowledged that he is) he wasn’t trying to be racist. He was defending artwork, freedom of expression, something to be revered and held sacred in a society that supposedly champions individuality and personal freedoms.
Whether you agree that a select group of Jewish men rule the world is irrelevant, commenting on art work and defending its preservation should not qualify one as a criminal. Indeed, were we not criticizing ISIS just three years ago for doing the exact same thing? Were we not making that exact same point, as a united continent, when France was rocked by a despicable act of intolerance to the western value that is freedom of expression? Or has all memory of this event and the rhetoric surrounding it disappeared with our Facebook filters?
Beyond that, the hidden semantics of these accusations are much more nefarious, much more sinister; the media are asserting that it is anti-patriotic, undesirable and dastardly to criticise anything but that which neo-liberal centrism suggests we can criticise. The media is suggesting that Corbyn is anti-Semitic purely through his critique of a regime he completely disagrees with.
More than that, I think it’s an enormous shame that the right-wing media has nothing better to do with its time than run a campaign against Corbyn that they would dismantle should it have been run, in exactly a parallel, against them, with say criticism of Saudi Arabia, or the Central African Republic, or Russia. It is weak politics at best, and blatant hypocrisy at worst.
Flip it for a moment; consider Boris Johnson criticising Saudi Arabia for their regime, or Nigel Farage condemning the atrocities in Zimbabwe. Surely we can see the parallels here? Surely we can see the sentiment? We MUST be free to criticise, we MUST be free to challenge, with promise of measured debate and without fear of being hung drawn and quartered, and as conservatives we MUST remember this principle, this cornerstone of freedom. Free speech and free expression cannot be limited to an acceptable schema, a selection of guidelines and boundaries which must be uniformly adhered to; that is, by definition, oppression.
The artwork so criminally defended by Corbyn was as it turns out, quite good. And Corbyn’s point was an astute one: we cannot destroy art and human expression simply because we disagree with it; that is, unless we yield to our increasingly totalitarian societal trajectory and explicitly censor it. We are sleepwalking into a dystopic manifestation of what we assumed would be an impossible world of liberalist totalitarianism.
In attacking Corbyn for making these points, and not directly challenging the points themselves the tone of conversation is cleverly engineered to criminalise the thinker, not ridicule the thought. Thinking cannot be a crime, and hatred, as much as love, should be allowed and even implored if fruitful, interrogative debate is to be had; simply dismissing a distasteful idea because of its content without interrogating it through stimulating, passionate, engaging discussion creates nothing but ignorance and stupidity.
The left, having been masters of this craft for decades, have provided us with a perfect example of how not to be, how not to approach discussion and information. Their disgraceful use of identity politics to divide people, and their despicable ignorance of measured, well articulated argument has been a spectacle for the ages, the gulag of our time.
We must defend peoples’ right to comment without the fear of vicious and useless personal backlash, and we must preserve the majesty of free thought within our society- it is something many people before us died to enshrine in civilised existence and it is as fragile now as ever before.