When Stephen Fry is hounded from Twitter for making a joke;
when history and free speech – the bedrock of all communication, in fact – are under attack by students in universities across the civilised world, we should perhaps ask ourselves whether we have reached the edges of Hell as predicted by Blair (Eric Blair, that is; better known as George Orwell).
Fry’s comments about Twitter are worth repeating: “A stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous who love to second-guess, to leap to conclusions and be offended – worse, to be offended on behalf of others they do not even know.”
The people to whom he refers cause corporations and politicians to make meaningless apologies. They want history erased, or edited, to suit their own beliefs, and to hell with the facts.
Cecil Rhodes must be toppled, say Oxford students. Why? What he did then was applauded and encouraged at the time. Although we are completely clear today that what he did was wrong, that is not a good enough reason to erase history.
The other Blair apologises for Britain’s part in the slave trade. Why? For at least two centuries Britain, along with the US, Ghana and other European and West African countries, were slave traders. It wasn’t regarded as wrong then and it absolutely is now. But no apology can undo the past.
This quote from Orwell warns us that people who like to post anonymously, the ‘let’s obliterate history’ Oxford students, insincere corporations and some politicians – are probably deceitful. Not to be trusted. Unable to tell the truth and communicate honestly.
“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
Rather than get hot under the collar about this nonsense, why not chuckle about it here instead.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn on 16 February