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I know it’s controversial whether Voltaire ever wrote this, but Steyn has a way with words:
As always, there are local factors at play (Catalonia) but, also as always, there is a trend, stretching from the True Finns to Trump. I first formulated it seventeen years ago in The National Post:
“Europe’s ruling class has effortlessly refined Voltaire: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death my right not to have to listen to you say it. You might disapprove of what Le Pen says on immigration, but to declare that the subject cannot even be raised is profoundly unhealthy for a democracy. The problem with the old one-party states of Africa and Latin America was that they criminalized dissent: You could no longer criticize the President, you could only kill him. In the two-party one-party states of Europe, a similar process is under way: If the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain topics, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable politicians — as they’re doing in France, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and elsewhere. Le Pen is not an aberration but the logical consequence.”
We’ve seen many variations on this theme. The Left cries racism in order to shut people up. Twitter adheres to the transgender lunacy and will ban you for using the proper pronoun for a person. Dims and the Chamber of Commerce favor open borders so the adverse consequences must be downplayed or censored. Orwell in one his essays wrote about the totalitarian tendency to eliminate unwanted words to limit thought. We’re seeing this on many fronts today.