AKA your precious Freedom of Speech is not being stolen from you
The point of this blog is to display that I sometimes get really, really angry about history. One thing that makes me really, really angry is the phrase “THIS MIGHT AS WELL BE COMMUNIST RUSSIA!!!”
This phrase is usually uttered within some context of a person being called racist for their (blatantly racist) speech. It’s like when someone tells you that you shouldn’t say something it’s suddenly like we’ve got another Red Scare on, and quite frankly I find the phrase to be incredibly inappropriate.
Let me break down why this is bullshit for you.
- What you’re saying to me:
"Help I’m stuck in the 1950s and can’t get up!!!"
When a lot of people say ‘communism’ I know the first image that springs to mind is probably Stalin or Lenin, or more generally just Russia. Just big ol’ Russia hanging out painted red with the sickle and hammer.
Except the Soviet Union doesn’t exist anymore (and wasn’t comprised solely of Russia BY THE WAY, I know no one can tell the difference between any of the Eastern European countries but christ they are all different countries). It hasn’t existed for over 20 years now! While the Russian Federation still has some major issues in the political system (which, for your sake and probably my own we won’t discuss here), it isn’t the Soviet Union!!!
- Ok we get it. But what does this have to do with free speech?
Well, lets discuss freedom of speech in an American-centric way. The freedom of speech is protected under the first amended of the constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
So basically what that means is that CONGRESS can’t limit what you say, and in 1925 state legislatures were prohibited from making laws to limit what you say. That’s not to say that there aren’t laws that do censor, but they fall under things that can be outlawed for morality reasons (things like child porn)
Where does that say “I can be a racist douche bag and yell at people who disagree with me using FREEDOM OF SPEECH as a defense”? Because unfortunately if you use that excuse then people are also able to use their freedom of speech to disagree with you.
It means that you can’t go to jail for saying things, and it means that you CAN say things but you know… you really shouldn’t.
- But why can’t I say that?! Didn’t the communists have laws restricting what people said?
Well you’re right, but that’s precisely why it’s inappropriate. The Soviet Union had an incredibly oppressive regime.
I mean, take someone like Joseph Stalin for example.
Ah, good ol’ Uncle Joe. He was seriously terrible man who basically viewed himself as a god which meant he could (in his mind) do whatever he wanted.
While this anecdote is not necessarily about censorship, it does display what kind of asshole we’re dealing with who could literally make people disappear.
Once upon a time (1934) in the Soviet Union there was a secret police organization known as the NKVD. When people stepped out of line and did things that Uncle Joe didn’t approve of, they kidnapped them, tortured and executed them.
The first leader of the NKVD was a man named Genrikh Yagoda, who was later arrested and executed by his own organization… but this story is not about him. It’s about the man who replaced him. A man by the name of Nikolai Yezhov.
Now, Yezhov was very good at his job. He followed all his orders obediently and kidnapped and murdered and tortured everyone he was told to. His coworkers liked him and he was well respected.
Uncle Joe did not like that Yezhov was well liked and respected, because only HE was supposed to be well liked and respected!!!
Stalin saw that Yezhov wielded too much power than he liked, so Yezhov one night… disappeared! He was tortured and executed on false charges. He was taken in the middle of the night, no one knew what happened to him for a long time.
But lets talk about what I meant about literal disappearance. Stalin wanted no evidence of his existence, so a photo that originally looked like this:
Now, that is some scary shit. And it wasn’t really an uncommon occurance for Stalin to have these kind of photo edits made. People disappeared ALL the times for things they said, things they did, and things that someone had imagined they did.
This is the kind of thing you are comparing your experience to when you say ‘THIS SHOULD JUST BE A COMMUNIST COUNTRY IF WE CANT SAY WHAT WE WANT!!!’
Now stop and think.
Is it really the same? Is someone on the internet disagreeing with you even close to this?
Is it really even close to a member of your family being murdered by the NKVD for disagreeing with the political system of your country?
No, no it’s not. Now stop that shit.