Is Free Speech Compatible with the Achievement of Social Justice?

Thus Spake Zarathustra
Thus Spake Zarathustra

Thus do I speak unto you in parable, ye who preach against EQUALITY! Scorpions are ye unto me, thou secretly alt-righteous ones! But I will soon bring your hiding-places to the light: therefore do I tear at your web sites, that your rage may lure you out of your den of alt-truth, and that your tolerance of reactionary views may leap forth from behind your word “liberty.” Because, FOR MAN TO BE LIBERATED FROM FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS—that is for me the bridge to the highest hope, and a rainbow after long storms.

Otherwise, however, would the scorpions have it. “Let freedom ring that the world might become full of unconstrained and uncensored intellectual discourse”—thus do they talk to one another. “Freedom will we use, and tolerance, even for those whose views are not like ours”—thus do the scorpion-hearts pledge themselves. “And ‘Struggle for Liberty’—that itself shall henceforth be the name of virtue; and against all that insist on trigger warnings and safe spaces will we raise an outcry!” Ye preachers of liberty, the tyrant-frenzy of impotence crieth thus in you for “free speech”: your most secret tolerance of bigotry and inequality disguises itself thus in virtue-words! Fretted conceit and suppressed reactionary views—doubtless inherited from your bigoted baby-boomer parents: in you break they forth as flame and a frenzy of tolerance toward all manner of inappropriate and potentially offensive forms of speech. What the father hath hid cometh out in the son; and oft have I found in the son the father’s revealed secret. Inspired ones they resemble: but it is not the heart that inspireth them—but the false consciousness which imprisons and blinds.

And when they become subtle and cold, it is not spirit, but misguided tolerance, that maketh them so. Their love of liberty leadeth them astray; and this is the sign of their tolerance—they always go too far. In all their lamentations soundeth bigotry, in all their eulogies is the facilitation of hate speech; and being open to the expression of controversial opinions seemeth to them bliss.

But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to tolerate free speech is powerful! They are people of predominantly white race and lineage; out of their countenances peer the imperialist and the jingoistic nationalist. Distrust all those who talk much of their support for liberty! Verily, in their souls not only honey is lacking. And when they call themselves “the good and just,” forget not, that they are the facilitators of racism, fascism and every kind of phobia!

My friends, I will not be mixed up and confounded with others. There are those who preach my doctrine of life, and are at the same time preachers of freedom of speech, and scorpions. That they speak in favour of life, though they sit in their den, these poison-spiders, and withdrawn from life—is because they would thereby do injury to the oppressed victims of unconscious and institutional bias. To those would they thereby do injury who have power at present: for with those the preaching of death is still most at home. Were it otherwise, then would the scorpions teach otherwise: and they themselves were formerly the best suppressors of minority rights and opponents of multiculturalism. With these preachers of inequality will I not be mixed up and confounded. For thus speaketh justice UNTO ME: “All persons are equal; just some more equal than others.”

The above is written as an (inverted) modern-day parody of Friedrich Nietzche’s Diatribe against the Tarantualas: the preachers of equality. References to Zarathustra are an allusion to the eponymous protagonist of Nietzche’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” and not to the Iranian religious reformer and prophet, traditionally regarded as the founder of Zoroastrianism.

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By Colin Turfus

Colin Turfus is a quantitative risk manager with 16 years experience in investment banking. He has a PhD in applied mathematics from Cambridge University and has published research in fluid dynamics, astronomy and quantitative finance.

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