Today, we live in a world where the lingering shadow of censorship is just around the corner. Today’s society doesn’t seem to want freedom, favouring comfort and conformity. Enforcing this new wave of conformist hostility towards freedom are the social justice warriors who lurk in the internet, and the Stepford students in universities who work to silence debate. And then there are politicians who want to censor anything that offends the norm (fetish porn, politically incorrect thoughts, swear words, etc.), and whatever they can’t censor, they’ll decide that they may as well just ban. All the while, the media continues to fog our minds with an ever-increasing volley of distractions, and social media websites like Facebook and Twitter allow for a vicious atmosphere of conformity to thrive.
Personally, I think we’re living in what I call a “Stepford age”, where society now has more power to make us conform than ever. However, the key difference between this and a real life version of Stepford is the values. In days gone by, we were all being made to accept conservative Christian dogma, along with the patriarchal concept of the nuclear family. Today’s fashion, however, seems to be a venomous combination of left-wing social justice, materialistic secularism, and guilt-based political correctness, with some remnants of conventional morality.
Another key thing to remember is that sex is still a major bogeyman for most people, but it’s gotten to a point that for boys to even have lustful thoughts is a social sin. Advertisers can rarely show the female body without provoking a wave of feminist tongue lashings. It’s as though the body has now become a source of shame being pincered in a two-pronged issue. On the one hand, the media is trying to force an ideal body onto the minds of impressionable young girls, but on other hand, silencing them means curtailing freedom of speech, and so the social justice warriors are wrong as well. Speaking of advertisements, censorship has gotten so paranoid that advertisements can be pulled if only thirteen people complain about them. Advertising is so heavily policed that every ad we get to see is extremely bland and boring.
It’s not just advertising that has taken on a fear-based self-censorship. In this country, you can get arrested just because something you said on Facebook or Twitter got taken out of context. Thus, people tend to censor themselves more online even with online anonymity. The long arm of the law isn’t the only fear facing today’s online Brits. There’s also the army of vindictive social justice warriors keen on striking lady liberty with their censorious daggers as they spend their energies punishing people just for speaking their minds. In universities, various student unions have silenced opinions that don’t match theirs, and banned anything that the majority of students find offensive.
For me, the greatest damage to liberty is a climate where we are engaged in relentless self-censorship. I should know this because, for a while, it happened with me. During my mid-late teens, I found myself having to watch my mouth until I arrived in college (thankfully I’m safe, because much of the self-censorship happens in English universities). I find it rather horrifying that much of the Tumblr generation’s students have turned their backs on the free-spirited open-mindedness that defines youth.
As we in Britain are becoming ever more inclined towards fear-based political correctness and self-censorship, what is to become of liberty? If we cannot say, do, or even think as we feel, then we can only pretend to be a modern, liberal society. In actuality, if things don’t change, we’ll be living in a Stepford nightmare – a nanny state run by a shadowy men’s association hell bent on making us into subservient drones for their convenience. We can either have that, or we can choose in favour of liberty, and overthrow the culture of fear that currently pollutes the air of a once-open forum. I think it’s time the people really thought about what they would rather have. Do we want liberty, and an environment where we can say what we really want, or do we want to continue living in a poisonous cage as we wallow in fear-based political correctness?