In the recent months I noticed a very alarming trend (or should I say epidemy?) in American discourse, pushed by those people who may be called intellectuals (if judged by their positions on other themes), on the Free Speech. Here is the typical example of the narrative: http://xkcd.com/1357/
Just FYI: you, guys, are parroting, word in word, Putin’s authoritarian narrative: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oSIj0z2daw (starting 8:50)
What does this narrative result in? You’ll be “surprised” – in arrests of those people who wanted to attend exactly the very press-conference where Putin was talking about the “consequences from the society (of course no goverment agencies involved)” for those who wanted to exercise their Free Speech rights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxgoER1vnpI
The apologists of the acceptability of non-governmental speech retribution are fond of the personal responsibility for the one’s speech consequences. I have a news for you, guys: by creating your narrative, you gave the tools and weapons to Putin’s regime to create the atmosphere of fear, to suppress the opposition, to create the propaganda bubble for the majority support for its war in Ukraine.
The atmosphere of fear was created by the campaign of non-governmental organisations on behalf of the Kremlin: all these private businesses, university administrations, non-profits, just-for-cause organisations, actors/writers associations, etc… People were called Nazy for their support of Ukrainian revolution, fired from their jobs, their concerts/exhibitions were cancelled, books banned, media ran smear campaigns against them, they were harassed by their colleagues.
Is it a sincere, authentic, open-hearted outrage of the simple-minded common people, perhaps? Hardly so – this is what Mr. Putin was advocating for a long time. It is the non-governmental organisations which have to take a lead in suppressing enemies of the nation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxA7ya0D_cc (8:55-9:50)
Now, the opposition voice is not heard in Russia – before you even get an “honor” to be arrested and get a criminal case opened against you (nothing political – just and “extremism”, vaguely defined), you’ll get a “pleasure” of the non-governmental retribution for your free speech. Nobody to blame – “it’s all your responsibility, you should have thought about the consequences before you have opened your mouth”.
As a result, many lives of opposition thinkers were broken in Russia, while the war against Ukraine was protracting for months, shedding blood and killing number of thousand people on the Russian-Ukrainian border. This blood and deaths are on your consciousness, too. Personally. Now, deal with that.