A philosophy professor at Yale University has compared the Conservative’s ‘war on woke’ to key elements of fascism on social media – saying cries of supposed threat to free speech from the left are a typical far-right move.
Jason Stanley highlighted two passages from his book, How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, to demonstrate what is happening in the UK right now.
The first, relating to propaganda, reads: “The language of democratic ideals takes on corrupted, opposite meanings. Corrupt politicians run anti-corruption campaigns; freedom of speech claims are used to suppress speech.”
The second, titled “anti-intellectual”, says: “Universities are branded as incubators of liberalism, Marxism, and feminism. Expertise no longer has any value.”
Here’s what is happening in the UK right now pic.twitter.com/YAlCnYyi7N— Jason Stanley (@jasonintrator) February 16, 2021
“Unacceptable silencing and censoring”
Earlier this week education secretary Gavin Williamson warned against a “chilling effect” of “unacceptable silencing and censoring” on university campuses as he unveiled tougher measures to protect free speech.
He announced a series of proposals to strengthen academic freedom at universities in England, including the appointment of a “free speech champion” who will investigate potential infringements, such as no-platforming speakers or dismissal of academics.
A new free speech condition would be placed on universities for them to be registered in England and access public funding, and the Office for Students (OfS) regulator would have the power to impose fines on institutions if they breached the condition.
The strengthened legal duties would also extend to student unions, which would have to take steps to ensure lawful free speech is secured for members and visiting speakers.
Individuals would be able to seek compensation through the courts if they suffered loss from a breach of the free speech duties – such as being expelled, dismissed or demoted – under a new legal measure.
Similar measures have been observed in the Philippines, where president Rodrigo Duterte announced he will end a 32-year agreement barring security forces from a prestigious campus.
In a tweet relating to the latest authoritarian crackdown, Stanley said: “Have you heard that your country’s universities are filled with leftists who chill free speech and spread anti-patriotic ideology? Advance communist agenda? That’s one of the basic tools of far-right authoritarianism, coming to a country near you.”
“It’s not simply the culture wars. It’s the far-right attack on universities that UK academia is facing,” Prof Stanley later tweeted.
“The methods seem to have been developed in the US, and exported to Brazil, Hungary, India, and other places. Good luck with it.”
Have you heard that your country’s universities are filled with leftists who chill free speech and spread anti-patriotic ideology? Advance communist agenda? That’s one of the basic tools of far right authoritarianism, coming to a country near you. https://t.co/fcA1817giL— Jason Stanley (@jasonintrator) February 16, 2021