New survey reveals Australians are holding back their opinions because of cancel culture.
New survey reveals Australians are holding back their opinions because of cancel culture.

Freedom of speech falling victim to PC intimidation

Freedom of speech is yet another victim of cancel culture, based on the results of a survey, Australians Together, carried out by Mark McCrindle and Mainstream Insights.

Instead of everyone having the right to express an opinion and engage in the battle of ideas, politically correct intimidation and groupthink prevail.

According to the survey, 77 per cent of people under 25 are so anxious about cancel culture they self-censor when talking about controversial issues involving race, gender and sexuality, Black Lives Matter and gay conversion therapy.

When it comes to Australians of all ages, about 65 per cent feel cancel culture limits their ability to say what they really think.

A second survey involving 55,000 Australians carried out by the ABC also concludes free speech is being curtailed, with 68 per cent agreeing political correctness has gone too far.

Evidence of how destructive cancel culture is abounds.

JK Rowling is attacked and vilified for arguing against transgenderism, and last year the Melbourne International Comedy Festival scrapped the Barry Humphries award because the comedian committed the same offence.

Universities and government departments now have diversity guides and toolkits designed to enforce left groupthink and ensure everyone uses the same politically correct language. Pronouns like "he" and "she" are replaced by "they" or "zie" and descriptions like "wife" and "husband" condemned as homophobic.

Among the worst examples is the Victorian government's legislation making it illegal to disagree with using puberty blockers and undergoing surgery to change one's sex.

The Conversion Practices Prohibition Bill even cancels "carrying out a religious practice, including but not limited to, a prayer-based practice".

One of the cornerstones underpinning Western democracies like Australia is freedom of speech and the right to engage in vigorous debate where not all might agree. As argued by George Orwell, author of Nineteen Eighty-Four, "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear".

A principal strategy used by totalitarian regimes throughout history is to enforce mind control and groupthink by controlling language. Given the origins of cancel culture can be traced back to the emergence of cultural Marxism and the left's march through the institutions, it should not surprise it employs the same strategies.

Dr Kevin Donnelly is a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University

Originally published as Freedom of speech falling victim to politically correct intimidation


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