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Here we return to the subject that has stirred up so much debate lately, and I believe there is a vital aspect to understanding what is happening.
Individual freedoms, such as freedom of speech, religious freedom, freedom of education and freedom of association, were not first conceived in abstract and then embodied concretely. They arose from a historical circumstance in which there was a generalized, tacit, but very basic consensus, as a cultural horizon, where almost everyone (except criminals) assumed mutual respect for different ways of living and thinking, and that regarding the subject of rights they were for an individual or one freely associated with others.
This was the founding context of the United States, where thousands of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish. and free-thinking immigrants fled from a Europe gone mad to live in peace under the common law. It is what used to be the civil “concord.”
They did not know it, but in this way they laid the foundations for what was to become the Declaration of Independence, the Federal Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. At that time, there was an understanding of what “free speech” meant, beyond the dichotomy between private and public. It was a cultural consensus of respect for the “dissident,” that is, the one with a different worldview. Of course, we all know about the dark side of the story: the pact began badly, with the issue of slavery, which we continue to pay for to this day.
That kind of classical liberal political pact, is cut off when one group assumes the monopoly of the nation, the state, the superior race or the exploited class against the exploiting class. In all these cases, coexistence with “the other” is impossible, because the other is precisely the one that does not allow coexistence among “the just.”
These are the ontological collectivisms that prevent a free society. The “exploited collectives” by definition, cannot admit coexistence with the exploiter. It is an all-out struggle where the exploiter must be eliminated.
Sometimes these groups clearly state that freedom of speech, among others, no longer makes sense. At other times, as is currently the case, the exploited groups apparently maintain the terms, but the substance changes. The alleged hate and discrimination crimes allow them to persecute the “exploitative capitalist hetero-patriarchy.”
That is what has been happening from 1945 onward in the United States as that way of thinking spread. Regardless of the dichotomy between private and public, the persecution of the dissident, that is the exploiter, intensified.
Classical liberals, conservatives, believers in conservative religions, gradually lost their position. They were systematically persecuted, not by a state, but by people who believed themselves to be in the exploited collective, and when the criminal system incorporated “hate and discrimination” crimes, they were persecuted with related criminal charges.
The federal government and the states did not necessarily, (although now they do), do so. Publishers, universities, clubs, among others, were in charge of doing so. If you are the exploiter, you’re cancelled. This is what Axel Kaiser has called the neo-inquisition.
And now, finally, big tech.
In this cultural drama, in which the original political pact has already been lost, the dichotomy between the public and the proven, according to Rothbard, to diagnose what is happening, is already insufficient. Throughout the West today, not only in the United States, those of us who think differently from the dominant Marxism no longer have free speech as it was understood before, because we have become the exploiting collective to be eliminated.
Whether the exploited that persecutes you is public or private, depending on what is legal, is not enough to understand what is happening. What is happening is that the classical liberal agreement, according to which free speech made sense, has been cut out.
Of course, under all that, the moral and legal persecution of Trump as an intolerable white supremacist is the icing of the cake, but there will be other icings and other cakes of equal cultural meaning.
Free speech and religious freedom, as understood in a classical liberal context, are already lost.
Let’s face it: without a new original political pact, these rights no longer exist. Dissidents will be tolerated to varying degrees. Hopefully, tolerated. Never accepted as part of the new Biden-China-UN Pax Romana, along with its European partners.
How do we start over? God only knows.
Gabriel Zanotti is a Ph.D. (UCA). B.A. in Philosophy (Universidad del Norte Santo Tomás de Aquino (UNSTA). Head of the Epistemology Seminar at Eseade and co-head of the same seminar at CEMA and Universidad Austral.