Freedom of thought

I received my first subscription copy of Private Eye yesterday. The same day journalists and cartoonists in Paris were gunned down in the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Like Charlie Hebdo, Private Eye has poked fun, ridiculed and exposed hypocrisy of thought word and deed. This ability to hold politicians, religious extremists and the influential is a long and hard fought right. This right to freedom of speech is as sacred as the democratic right to vote.
Freedom of speech is not just that though. To speak freely one just first be able to think freely. This is under threat. Writers, satirists and broadcasters are scared. They cower under the threat of reprisal from extremism. It’s not just Islamic extremism but political extremism. The noise and threats of the bully are winning.
We are being controlled by those who seek to impose their ideologies upon the majority of the population. It’s not as simple as terrorist threat from Islamic state or Al Qaeda. The rise of mainstream far right politics in the form of UKIP breeds intolerance and mistrust. They peddle fear and hatred. Hatred of moderation, inclusion and society. Why is this any different to Islamic extremism ? Why is this any different to Fascist thinking?
The minority of society is spreading fear and hatred as a means of controlling the majority. The majority placidly watches but does not stand up to them.
Any religion that promotes the killing of innocent writers and cartoonists would be a warped and sick religion. Islam does not demand this any more than Christianity, Buddhism or Hinduism.
Power hungry bullies are at the root of this climate of intolerance not politics or religion.
The time has come for the moderate majority to stand up. We shall not be told what to think, to fear others beliefs or to blame others for our society’s failings.
We cannot fight armed terrorists with armed force. This has failed so comprehensively. We must fight them with solidarity , peace and acceptance. We cannot solve our countries problems by blaming immigrants or racial diversity. We can only solve them by cooperation and moderation.
The moderate liberal majority must now stand up and work together. A society is only a society if it behaves with unity. Cooperation and free thought are not polar opposites. The freedom to think independently can only come if they are allowed to do so by others in society. You can have radical thoughts, you can be extremist. Just don’t assume the vast majority agrees with you or would support you.

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