Who speaks for you? Who speaks for me? Who speaks for all of us? Do we want someone to speak in our stead? And if everyone is doing the talking, who is doing the listening? The simple Latin phrase “vox populi” can imply a number of things, most importantly that the people have a voice and that it has meaning and value.
Although we must place value on the absolute right to speak, we must also be careful that such a right does not become a means by which the enemies of that right drown out the voices that need to be heard by shouting over the top of them. And that the “voice of the people” isn’t reduced to a very select group of the noisiest of people with less than noble agendas. We must be careful in a world where it has never been more important that the right to speak be protected that we do not misinterpret volume for veracity.
The idea that people have a voice is also pluralistic, that people as a collective have a collective voice to be heard. This is where the right to speak becomes most important, the right to speak against the collective, and the right to denounce the untruths that may be presented with popular voice.
The changes to social discourse over preceding decades should serve as a warning to all of us that just because something is given the ascent of popular voice doesn’t make it any more valid. Even if popular voice is given ascent, authority and the credibility of the state that still does not ensure that what is said is true, or said with righteous intent.
We are a society beset by a growing number of ills, one of them being that a very select few of those ills are discussable and questionable and fewer still are free of competing agendas. This raises a very important question, how as a society are we to achieve any form of progress if those who call themselves progressives refuse to allow realistic critique or questioning of their mistakes and intended destination? How do we progress past the juvenile restriction on speech that is unpopularity? Even more important, how do we progress past the strait-jacket imposed on speech that is the infantile desire to remain free from discomfort?
There can be no progress without the acceptance of truth, the ability to remain resolute, and the ever important right to say no. To say that we have been frog-marched into one disastrous social experiment after another in the name of progress, and perpetuating the warped idea that liberty can be achieved without responsibility would be an understatement.
But the word progress implies that two things, that the point from which you’re beginning is in some way inherently flawed and requires alteration, and that the destination of change is worth reaching. It also in-turn portrays history and culture as meaningless stationary positions that are without measurable value, mere hindrances in the mindless strive to reach a destination that as of yet is undefined or apparently worth-while reaching.
If those that champion the virtues of progress are so sure of the validity and veracity of their intellectual rationale then why do they take every opportunity to be less than truthful? If their voice is so important that it must be heard then why must it be heard in the absence of critique? If their intellectual rationale was as robust as they claim then surely it can withstand honest assessment?
And the above is a truth for all regardless of where in the political spectrum your position, if your argument is nothing more than a shrill echo intended to drown out the other, it isn’t an argument, it is the repetition of the original lie you were told.
So let us be honest, there is no such thing as progress, all the things we seek for the future have already been in the past, it was progress that left those things we now seek consigned to the pages of history. The very concept of equality that has become the new mantra of the ideological as an idea is older than Christianity. The popular yet ideologically hollow desire to have infanticide a legal right is even older still, it may have even existed amongst the Australian aboriginal tribes well before the beginnings of what we call civilisation. So, if everything those that call themselves progressives want has already been, in reality, aren’t they attempting to take us all backward? In their misguided attempts to return us to the days of Greek or Roman hegemony and their hedonistic ways have they forgotten one important truth, that those civilisations failed?
Has “vox populi” become a concert, a cacophony of shrill voices in favour of undoing two millennia of progress, history and human achievement? Or has the voice of the people largely become a collection of the noisiest agent provocateurs inciting their fellow travellers to write religion off the page? Has that all progress has become? A never ending struggle hijacked by the dogma driven of the political left who see religion as an enemy, all that stands between them and victory? Because the only way to return to the hedonism of the past is destroy what replaced it, religion, and one religion more than others, Christianity.
The right to speak also comes with the responsibility to speak when no-one else will, silence is consent, and what do you consent to? Although the right to speak includes the right to lie it does however give all of us the right to question that lie, if not a responsibility to question that lie. It gives us all the right to question motives, agendas, ideas and ideologies. It also gives us the right to question history, those that made it, and the things that they held to be truths. But with that right also comes a responsibility, a responsibility to look deeper than the surface in the pursuit of truth and understanding, it requires us all to imagine perspective and context and form our own opinion. The greatest of all censorships is not an active filtration of what we say today, but denying the history that today itself is built upon. Those on the left decry what they see are “culture wars” and “history wars” and comically enough even “class wars” whenever anyone questions their treatment of historical truth. What we teach in the classroom today becomes the context in which the world is viewed by the learned, and one must certainly question what the learned of this nation were taught, given their level of performance in shaping the society we have today.
The out-comes of the progress demanding social revolution are there for all to see, the out-comes of history’s failings are there for all to see, yet why do so many want to repeat them? Isn’t progress made by learning from the mistakes of the past, and not wanting to make them all over again? Shouldn’t “vox populi” be our liberation, not the means by which we are sent blinded by mass delusion to discover what we did 2,000 years ago, that hedonism may not be as fun as it sounds?