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The Irony of Socially Acceptable Intolerance

I’m not on Facebook much.  These days I sign on once every few months when I need to get a hold of someone for whom I have no current contact info or if I receive a notification that someone’s messaged me through Facebook.  Occasionally I’ll get an email saying that I have received an invitation to join this group or that, and most of the time I just delete the email and ignore it.

The other day, though, I received an email saying that my friend Will had invited me to join the group “1,000,000 to Petition to ban the BNP“.  Now, for the sake of the following blog post, I will concede within reason every evil thing ever said about the BNP.  They very well may be homophobic, racist, and bigoted.  Hell, they could be lizard creatures from another galaxy.  I don’t really believe they’re as bad as all that, but then again, I don’t have a horse this particular race.  All of that could still be true and it wouldn’t change the fact that banning the BNP is an act of totalitarian madness.

The point is that, if Britain is maintain its status as a free society, such affiliations of villains and scum must be tolerated.  They needn’t be “respected”, their views needn’t be given any sort of credence or credibility, but the organization must not be outlawed.  A free society is not a pasteurized society.  It’s not an intellectually or emotionally “safe” society.  Such easy social avenues are, in fact, inimical to freedom in many ways.

But what startled me more than the vague prospect that banning an unpopular party might be an issue was the gut-wrenching notion that it was supported by so many people of my generation.  While the group in question currently only has 900 followers, there’s a general ground-swell of anti-BNP sentiment, a large minority of which trods off in gleefully fascistic directions, whether they be calls for the banning of the group or approving comments on YouTube videos depicting BNP supporters getting physically assaulted.

Does the Statist drive really run so deep in Britain’s youth that their response to emotional and political disquiet is to demand that the government step in and ban the source of their ill-ease?  Are they really so quick to dehumanize those they disagree with that they genuinely think that seeing them beaten in the streets is a great way to run a society?  Maybe there’s something I’m missing, some key element to which I’m deaf, but the more I clock my generation’s reaction to groups like the BNP the more worried I become that we are, as a whole, a deeply Fascistic, deeply intolerant generation.  And one that sees violence (state-sponsored is preferred, but we’ll back a good ol’ down-home beating if that’s all we can get) a viable solution to political and social problems.

The irony of leveling such violence against people for the crime of intolerance (the charge so often leveled against the BNP), is so darkly dystopian that it would be grimly amusing if it weren’t so terrifying.  So please, don’t ban the BNP.  Deride them, ridicule them, scream that they’re racist, homophobic asshats.  But if Britain is to remain a free society, it’s imperative that the BNP are free to be horrid.

Posted in Politics.