As the right to free expression continues to be eroded in the UK, with right wing activists being barred from entering the country, increasing demands for censorship on social media, and talk of shutting down news stations such as Russia Today, InfoWars and Aljazeera; and dog owners facing jail time for training their animals to act like a nazi, it is worth thinking about what causes speech to be shut down in the first place.
It is not the majority that deems what is and what is not socially acceptable to say and do, but instead, a small minority of people who are vociferously vocal about their particular moral and social perspectives. By demanding that certain words be banned, and acting petulantly until they are, these moral activists are able to make large scale societal changes. To see how, look at the cases all over the UK of Muslim rape gangs abusing thousands of children over decades being covered up by authorities for fear of being called racist by the vocal minority; or how feminist activists were able to get grid girls banned from Formula one, despite there being next to no public support for the decision; or the writing into Canadian Law of bill C16 on gender pronouns, pushed through by a small but determined group of activists.
In the realms of speech and expression, the majority is often not in charge.
And so, to defend our right to free expression, these minority groups must be challenged at every turn, and in every arena. Today, I’m going to talk about something quite different from the cases mentioned previously - edgy greeting cards.
That’s right, the moral outrage that has been sweeping through so many cultural spheres has now hit familial greeting cards. Artist Samuel Hague has been designing and selling greetings cards on the online marketplace Etsy, and his artistic efforts have not gone unnoticed. The NSPCC, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, has decided that his edgy pieces of art depicting Joesph Fritzel on a Father’s day card is not the funny illustration that you might think it is, but may actually perpetuate the sort of abuse that Joesph committed – namely creating a soundproof basement in Austria, locking your daughter inside it and forcing her to bear seven of your incestuous children.
Now, the majority of people I’m sure will agree that merely joking on a father’s day card that at least you weren’t locked in the basement and raped for your entire childhood, is quite unlikely to cause someone to be held hostage.
Or that thanking your parent’s for not letting prolific paedophile and daytime BBC presenter Jimmy Saville abuse you, is quite unlikely to cause someone to sneak into children’s hospitals and secretly abuse children recovering from cancer.
But not the NSPCC. They are quite clear that these cards are not actually funny, but are instead “vile”, “thoughtless” and “irresponsible”.
So to counter this, I thought I’d give him a bit of extra advertising. In the description below you will find a link to his Etsy page, where in addition to the cards mentioned already, you will be able to find and purchase cards thanking your mother for not aborting you with a wire coat hanger, or celebrating how C-Section births keep a woman’s vagina nice and firm. If you like any of Matthews work, check out the page and consider giving him some custom. And remember, do not let the vocal minority tone police your speech and expression.
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