Peter Hitchens does not understand freedom of speech. There, I’ve said it. Whenever anyone has a debate about anything which he feels passionate about he immediately screams that we’re not living in ‘a free country’ because the awful liberal governments and the PC brigade keep trying to shut down debate. Which seems a bit odd to me, given that the right-wing, anti-liberal, anti-PC Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express and the Sun amongst others constantly mock the only wet, lilly-livered, liberal, PC-enthralled newspaper (the Guardian) for having a tiny circulation compared to the utterly dominant right-wing press. It seems to me that the ‘liberal elite’ are doing a pretty shocking job at shutting down debate in the way that Peter constantly suggests.
Peter’s been banging on for years about how free speech is dying out and being shut down, whilst all the while he has been paid to write precisely what he wants without censure. It seems to me that Peter doesn’t have a clue what freedom of speech or thought truly means. It seems to me that what Peter really objects to is the expression of viewpoints which differ from his very narrow and distorted view of reality.
This week a debate has taken place about rape, caused by Ken Clarke’s comments on the subject. Lots of people got offended for a variety of reasons – some just, others just opportunist political point scoring. Suffice to say a lot of people called for Ken Clarke’s head and a lot of people showed support for him. It was typical of the kind of debate in which both sides could express themselves freely because as much as Peter suggests otherwise: we unequivocally live in a free society (albeit one which is under the increasing influence of a morally bankrupt press in which Peter plays a vital, unwitting role – yet he ironically thinks he is the last remaining rebel).
I’ve already covered Richard Littlejohn’s moronic attempt at stirring-up some controversy on Friday, but its good to see that Peter Hitchens isn’t going to let one tired old hack get the better of him when it comes to writing absolute rubbish for a pay cheque. Peter – much like Richard – gets the caveat out of the way early on before commencing on the usual predictable rant about ‘liberals’, PC-gone mad brigades and feminists:
I am sick of the censorship that surrounds the issue of rape.
So I shall defy it. Of course all rapes are bad. But some rapes are worse than others.
It takes a while for Peter to actually tell us what makes some rapes worse than others, because before he gets to the point he spends ages telling us about how we don’t have the freedom to say anything anymore:
Even for saying this, I know quite well that I will get raging, lying abuse.
This is what happened to Kenneth Clarke, when he went on the radio and tried to speak his mind as if this were a free country.
As he quickly found out, it is not. I am sorry that he was in the end forced to grovel. But this is a Liberal, PC government, and I am not surprised.
Revolutionary feminism, which regards all men as predators and sees the married family as a sordid prison, has scared most politicians, most judges, most journalists, most civil servants – and most people – into accepting its nasty dogmas.
Oddly enough, Mr Clarke would normally be an ally of this cause. But ultra-feminist zealotry is bitterly intolerant of any disagreement, however gentle or thoughtful. Nothing short of total submission will do.
Just like Richard Littlejohn Peter tries to pretend that only ‘revolutionary feminism’ has a problem with rape and that somehow this ideology has control – through fear – of just about everyone. Just look at the list Peter makes, according to him ‘revolutionary feminism’ has ‘scared most politicians, most judges, most journalists, most civil servants – and most people – into accepting its nasty dogmas’.
Peter is therfore brave to speak out against such an all-powerful lobby. Except that even cowards like Richard Littlejohn have spoken out on the same topic in a similar way – and he was also paid for it, which seems odd given that censorship would normally punish not reward such behaviour. Furthermore, if the ‘ultra-feminists’ really have so much power and ‘Nothing short of total submission will do’ for them, how is it that Peter and Richard have managed to get these articles published? Do they write for some sort of revolutionary underground publisher? Are they being tracked down as I write this for crimes against ‘ultra-feminism’?
Or is Peter just talking a load of absolute shite as normal, writing as he is for one of the most influential newspapers in the country whilst at the same time trying to argue that his rabid views are being censored?
Moving on past the oft-repeated padded-cell drivel he finally gets to telling us all what rapes are less serious than others:
in this case rape does not usually mean what most people think it means – the forcible abduction and violation of a woman by a stranger. It means a dispute about consent, often between people who are already in a sexual relationship.
He’s pretty clear at least: if you are forcibly abducted and violated by a stranger then congratulations: you were raped and it was serious!
However, in any other circumstance you may have been raped, but it’s less serious.
So, logiccally, if you know someone – maybe a work colleague or a friend of a friend and they forcibly abduct and rape you, then this – according to Peter Hitchens – must be less serious than if it were a stranger. Likewise, if you are in a sexual relationship with someone and they rape you, it is no longer a serious rape, but merely a ‘dispute about consent’ – you were probably just playing hard to get.
If I’m being a little harsh on Peter or taking his words a little too literally, then may I direct you to an article he wrote in 2008 (in which he again claims that the left is trying to censor the debate):
Women who get drunk are more likely to be raped than women who do not get drunk.
No, this does not excuse rape. Men who take advantage of women by raping them, drunk or sober, should be severely punished for this wicked, treacherous action, however stupid the victim may have been.
But it does mean that a rape victim who was drunk deserves less sympathy.
Simple, isn’t it? You can hate rape and want it punished, while still recognising that a woman who, say, goes back to a man’s home after several Bacardi Breezers was being a bit dim.
Peter will be estactic that he receives attention for what he writes, because to him it proves that the ‘liberals’ are out to get him, to censor him, to shut down debate because the liberals are the ones secretly running the world.
I’d just like to remind him that criticism is not the same as censorhip. Ken Clarke was criticised for his comments, Richard Littlejohn was criticised for his comments and now he is being criticised for his comments. No censorship, no call for the abandonment of free speech, this is just me exercising my freedom to discuss a matter I care about. What Peter might want to think about is that he is paid to write for a potential audience of millions, I am unpaid and write to an audience of hundreds on a bad day, a couple of thousand on a good day. Can he still credibly claim to be censored?
Of course not. But you can bet your life savings that he will.