John C. Wright, Catholic science fiction writer and blogger, dislikes monarchy. While much of his commentary about politics and culture are spot on, his disagreement with the monarchical tradition continues to surprise Catholic fans of the Social Kingship of Christ.
In July of 2017, Wright penned a blog post titled “Unanswered Equality Challenge.” For the most part, Wright expressed disappointment in the responses to his challenge. To this day, he remains against the institution of monarchy, extolling our Americanist democratic republic over that form of government.
My purpose with this series is to answer the “Unanswered Equality Challenge” in full, responding not only to his main challenge question, but also responding to many claims in his essay.
I speculate that this series is unlikely to convert Wright to be convinced of monarchy’s superiority. That being said, as a fan of Wright’s writing, I cannot help but feel duty-bound to use my talents to produce some kind of a public response to his claims. This I will now do.
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Just to remind readers, in my last article in this series, we discussed how John C. Wright believes a man has a right to speak folly and error. He believes everyone should have access to a free press.
A poor man has the same natural right to own his hovel as the rich man his mansion, and your natural freedom of speech is not less or more if you speak folly or wisdom.
This is wrong.
Everyone does not have a right to speak folly and error. Not everyone should have access to a free press. However, in these troubled times that we live in, these things are willy-nilly available to any reckless person with a keyboard. Including yours truly. Be that as it may, I’ll continue.
In the previous article, I discussed how this idea of “uncontrolled enjoyment of the rights and privileges of the Law of Nature” stems from John Locke, and according to him, we are to adhere to a doctrine of perpetual war, in which we destroy our enemies whenever we can, serving as executioners of the Law of Nature. I’ve also pointed out that free speech isn’t even real, that speech MUST be painted onto a canvas of what is silenced–an idea that pretty much throws dirt in John Locke’s eyes.
So, there’s two options when it comes to allowing speech:
Option #1. Pretend that everyone should be able to say what they want, say it whenever they want, and fight their opposition, and that’s free speech.
Option #2. Free speech isn’t real. There must be something excluded from social commerce.
The Left has come at “free speech” from both angles, demonstrating their dishonesty and the complete recklessness of the idea as a whole.
Leftists Used The Idea of “Free Speech” To Win Ground In The 20th Century
The idea that the Left was all about people having a right to free speech is nothing new to most readers of this blog. However, perhaps a few years from now, more of the reading audience will have been born after the turn of the century. It may very well be that the next generation will have no idea the depth of treachery the Left sunk to between 1900 and 1999.
Basically, the Left screamed for their right to have free speech throughout last century.
The nearly hegemonic influence of relativist conceptions of democracy in mid twentieth-century liberal circles contributed to the contemporaneous expansion of the civil libertarian constitutional defense of free speech.
-Mark Graber, Transforming Free Speech
Cultural Leftists have always been relativists who’ve put no stock into morality or religion. In the beginning, they could only gain to benefit by having a voice. “We have a right to have our say!” they would argue. From liberal hippies of the Berkeley era to the faggots of the later part of the century, having a right to Constitutionally-protected free speech was a magical idea that opened many doors for the Left that can now never be shut again.
By 1964 student radicals all over the United States were far along the path of political agitation, and attempts from any quarter to restrict their activities would naturally elicit their strong resistance. In this sense, free speech was the real issue in the FSM [Freedom of Speech Movement] but not only because free speech was valued in the abstract; free speech was also fundamental to the purpose of building a radical youth movement that could, along with the Civil Rights Movement, change America. In this way the FSM is part of the American tradition of left-wing civil liberties advocacy that stretches back to the free speech fights of the IWW [Industrial Workers of the World] in the early twentieth century. Typically in the 1960s this issue was phrased in terms of democracy.
-Doug Rossinow, The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960s
Yes, indeed, there was a thing called The Free Speech Movement. And it was used to great effect. Berkeley is known for being ground zero when it comes to having a right to be heard. The Left has made many gains from the idea that they can shout out whatever troubles them.
And, really, the Left has taken an inch and run a mile. Whatever whim they have must become Law. All of society must accept whatever perversion or deviancy they concoct, and only bigots would disagree with them. Verily, only those who agree with them, endorse them, and celebrate Leftist degeneracy are fit to live.
The Left takes John Locke’s advice. They punish the offender. They are the executioner of John Locke’s “Law of Nature.” The Left agrees with Locke that they have “a title to perfect freedom” and “uncontrolled enjoyment.”
“Free speech” has served them well, and they used the concept for all it was worth, sucking the marrow out of it. After all, as black icon Frederick Douglass once said: “To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.” Who can argue against Frederick Douglass, right? Free Speech was an effective weapon, enabling the Left to create legions of followers to serve as uncontrollable agents of chaos in every quarter of society.
In the 20th Century, the Left went with Option #1. Here in the 21st Century, the Left is shifting their strategy to Option #2: the reality that free speech is an impossible fantasy.
Leftists Now Acknowledge “Free Speech” As Bullshit
Ryan Born writes the following in The Daily Princetonian:
When conservatives appeal to “free speech,” it is actually a calculated political move, designed to open up avenues of political discourse while shaming others from moving in active political opposition.
This is true. The Right wants to overcome the Left, and vice-versa. They are both always fighting. It’s not rocket science. And of course, the Right wants to have the ability to speak in order to extol their viewpoint and put down the viewpoint of their opponents. Water is wet, what else is new? I wonder if anyone on the Right said this about the Free Speech Movement coming out of Berkeley in the 60s? (Send it my way if you find something.)
Previously in the article, Born says the following:
In its own way, “free speech” has become conservatives’ rhetorical weapon of choice, defended by right-leaning groups and thinkers both on and off campus.
Ha! What hypocrisy! This is precisely what the Left has been doing for over a century! So deliciously wicked. Are they not perfect villains? Their shamelessness knows no bounds! Let’s hear more from the undergraduate:
Indeed, there is something insulting and condescending about conservative appeals to free speech, and appeals to “free speech” make conservative arguments sound weak. It is as if they think, “If only the poor children listened to our ideas! If they didn’t simply reject our ideas out of hand, they would be listened to! We are right!” This, of course, ignores an obvious possibility: that conservative ideas have been listened to, that they have been weighed, and that they have been rejected. If conservative arguments were strong, they would be convincing, and if they were convincing, they would not meet political opposition. If conservative arguments were strong, they would stand without desperate appeals to the idea of “free speech.”
Once more, Born rambles on either neglectfully ignorant of the Leftist’s use of the Free Speech Movement, or he’s simply disingenuous and is now ignoring the Left’s “appeals to free speech” throughout the past 100 years. The exact same criticism could have been leveled at the Left’s protests and arguments last century. Heck, those criticisms may have been utilized by the Right. Although, to my knowledge, the history of the Right in the past has been that they’ve sold out every. Single. Time.
When dealing with ultra-conservative factions (those on the alternative right, such as Nazis or white supremacists), “free speech,” or speech without fierce and unrelenting opposition, must be rejected entirely. There is no need to hear the arguments of hate, to engage in a “dialogue,” or to “hear the other side.”
Born is on a roll. Unrelenting opposition “must be rejected entirely.” He’s got it. He’s correct. Born is right. The Leftist is correct, and it’s the Right that is 20-30 years behind. Stanley Fish backs up Ryan Born in his interview with the Australian Humanities Review:
“[F]ree speech cannot be permitted to flourish. The “free speech zone” emerges against the background of what has been excluded. Everyone begins by assuming what shouldn’t be said; otherwise there would be no point in saying anything.”
The kid is right on this issue. Something must be excluded from social discourse. Something must be taboo. I think his whole recourse to blaming these Nazis, white supremacists, unicorns, elves, and space aliens is ridiculous, please let me know when you see one of these mythological creatures. But other than that bit of ignorance, I agree with the degenerate Leftist. Appealing to free speech is silly. And Born is on the cusp of figuring this out.
Other Leftists have come to this realization as well. Consider that the staff of The Daily Princetonian have decided to dissolve their conservative-leaning editorial board, and that one of Princeton’s Constitution Day Lectures was titled “F*** Free Speech.” Consider that Harvard students have protested a free speech event as a hate speech event. Heck, let’s leave academia and come to realize that the majority of California Democrats oppose free speech. And need I remind my readership that Google, Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook all could care less about your freedom of expression and that they are happy to ban you for daring to expose your traditional views on their ever-progressing Leftist public spaces? It makes me laugh that Twitter once boasted: “We are the free speech wing of the free speech party.”
The Left has run with the ball of “free speech.” Now, they’re going to switch it up and stop pretending in the golden legend of John Locke. There is no natural right to free speech. The Left desires to go into full attack mode, and they will no longer play the weeping victim that simply wants to have their say.
Instead, they will quash and destroy all who oppose them. Little by little, the voices of their opposition–the Right–will become atomized and powerless. The Left plays a fantastic game, and the Right simply cannot keep up. The Right is still fumbling around, trying to play by the rules. In fact, the Right is still trying to figure out what the rules of this game are. It’s quite sad and embarrassing.
Even more embarrassing for Constitutionalist right-wing American Catholics–such as John C. Wright–is the fact that Catholic tradition also holds that speech ought not be free.
Pope Leo XIII Agrees with the Left’s Realization About Free Speech
This twenty-third part of Pope Leo’s 1888 encyclical, Libertas Praestantissimum, is pretty damning. The emphasis is mine.
We must now consider briefly liberty of speech, and liberty of the press. It is hardly necessary to say that there can be no such right as this, if it be not used in moderation, and if it pass beyond the bounds and end of all true liberty. For right is a moral power which — as We have before said and must again and again repeat — it is absurd to suppose that nature has accorded indifferently to truth and falsehood, to justice and injustice. Men have a right freely and prudently to propagate throughout the State what things soever are true and honorable, so that as many as possible may possess them; but lying opinions, than which no mental plague is greater, and vices which corrupt the heart and moral life should be diligently repressed by public authority, lest they insidiously work the ruin of the State. The excesses of an unbridled intellect, which unfailingly end in the oppression of the untutored multitude, are no less rightly controlled by the authority of the law than are the injuries inflicted by violence upon the weak. And this all the more surely, because by far the greater part of the community is either absolutely unable, or able only with great difficulty, to escape from illusions and deceitful subtleties, especially such as flatter the passions. If unbridled license of speech and of writing be granted to all, nothing will remain sacred and inviolate; even the highest and truest mandates of natures, justly held to be the common and noblest heritage of the human race, will not be spared. Thus, truth being gradually obscured by darkness, pernicious and manifold error, as too often happens, will easily prevail. Thus, too, license will gain what liberty loses; for liberty will ever be more free and secure in proportion as license is kept in fuller restraint. In regard, however, to all matter of opinion which God leaves to man’s free discussion, full liberty of thought and of speech is naturally within the right of everyone; for such liberty never leads men to suppress the truth, but often to discover it and make it known.
Once again, it is important to know what Pope Leo XIII means when he speaks about true liberty. As I’ve said before, true liberty enables us to seek God without the burdens of wicked influences. Having an across-the-board playing field when it comes to free speech pits the populace against itself. There can be no true equality with speech. Furthermore, equality is different from liberty, and liberty is different from licence. True liberty under a Catholic monarch gives everybody room for healthy expression. Unbridled license destroys society, as we see in the worsening moral wasteland that is America.
Again, while I probably disagree with The Daily Princetonian’s Ryan Born on most everything, I can agree with his assessment about free speech, and I can agree with his suggestion to conservatives:
For conservatives, I honestly believe they are better off evaluating and reshaping their arguments rather than resorting to the argument of “free speech.” They are better off without it.
Why aren’t we taking Ryan Born’s advice? Why cannot the Right stop trying to figure out the rules from 30 years ago, and realize the overall problem? Why can’t the Right re-evaluate this idea of free speech, clinging to it like a old moldy doll from childhood? Is the Intellectual Right incapable of questioning John Locke? Are they incapable of considering the words of a pope? Do they really think that the idea of an American restoration is feasible at this point?
How long will the Right continue to believe in an America of apple pies and baseball?
Error has no rights. Free speech does not exist, and it cannot exist. It is an impossibility. It is an illusion that was first weaponized by the Left, and is now cast off as they launch into a new phase of censorship. This Americanist concept of free expression has been the gateway for battalions of radicals. If the Right had the upper hand before, they certainly do not now. As long as they continue to live in a fantasy, the Left will continue to have the upper hand.