The current campaign to introduce "anti-hate" legislation worldwide (especially to prevent "religious vilification") is a phenomenon that dates back to the 1960s, and even before. Unsurprisingly, these draconian attacks on free speech were pioneered by Marxist intellectuals and given practical application in the Soviet Union. (Please note that this article originally appeared at the Australian Libertarian Society and is cross-posted at Majority Rights)
In searching for the intellectual foundations of the anti-free speech movement, it is necessary to look back as far as the 1960s, and possibly before. Clearly, one of the most blatant intellectual attacks on free speech is the infamous essay "Repressive Tolerance", written in 1965 by the well-known German Marxist, Herbert Marcuse. "Repressive Tolerance" is nothing less than the definitive blueprint for the "political correctness" movement that ails us to this very day.
Adopting the Gramscian model of "hegemony", Marcuse eloquently argues for "intolerance" towards what he considers the "prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions", and for the extension of "tolerance" to those policies, attitudes and opinions he deems "outlawed or suppressed".
According to Marcuse, "tolerance is an end in itself only when it is truly universal, practiced by the rulers as well as by the ruled, by the lords as well as by the peasants, by the sheriffs as well as by their victims." But the exploitative class structure of capitalist society prevents "universal tolerance", and as such, "tolerance is de facto limited on the dual ground of legalized violence or suppression (police, armed forces, guards of all sorts) and of the privileged position held by the predominant interests and their 'connections'".
Predictably, Marcuse contends that the "Right" (having now been designated the "oppressor") is deserving of "intolerance" and the Left of "tolerance"; as he continues, "a policy of unequal treatment would protect radicalism on the Left against that on the Right". Marcuse concludes, "Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left".
It must be noted that Marcuse almost certainly held these views well before his essay was published. As an associate of the neo-Marxist Frankfurt Institute of Social Research since the early 1930s, Marcuse was a prominent agent in that hotbed of cultural radicalism that inoculated the extreme Marxist views that constitute the cult of "political correctness" today.
The Soviet Union
During its 74 year reign as the greatest living (and mass-murdering) example of Marxism in practice, the Soviet Union had long enshrined the values of "repressive tolerance" in its legal framework. For example, Article 123 of the 1936 Soviet Constitution stated that "any advocacy of racial or national exclusiveness or hatred and contempt, is punishable by law".
The 1977 Soviet Constitution went much further. Despite Article 50 guaranteeing "freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly, meetings, street processions and demonstrations", several other Articles eviscerated this "right". For example, Article 36 provides that "any advocacy of racial or national exclusiveness, hostility, or contempt, are punishable by law". More ominously, Article 52 states "incitement of hostility or hatred on religious grounds is prohibited".
Tyrannically, Article 39 of the Soviet Constitution proclaimed that "Enjoyment by citizens of their rights and freedoms must not be to the detriment of the interests of society or the state..." In fact, the Article 50 "guarantee" of "freedom of speech" was intentionally snuffed out by contradictory clauses in Articles 36, 39 and 52.
Clearly, with the Left in control of the "Workers' Fatherland", Article 36 and other clauses were required to "protect radicalism on the Left against that on the Right", just as Herbert Marcuse and his Marxist associates had deemed necessary.
"Repressive Tolerance" in Australia?
Astonishingly, this blueprint for "tolerant" tyranny (otherwise known as "Repressive Tolerance") is being followed almost to the letter in Australia today.
In 2001, the Victorian parliament passed the Orwellian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act, a piece of legislation that adopts much of the Marxist/Soviet model of "repressive tolerance".
Section 4 of the Act states the legislation will try to "maintain the right of all Victorians to engage in robust discussion of any matter of public interest or to engage in, or comment on, any form of artistic expression, discussion of religious issues or academic debate where such discussion, expression, debate or comment does not vilify or marginalise any person or class of persons".
Notice the similarities with Article 39 of the Soviet Constitution where "enjoyment by citizens of their rights and freedoms must not be to the detriment of the interests of society or the state"? As with the Russian Bolsheviks, if you are deemed to be acting against the "interests of the state" or the vaguely-defined "public interest" in socialist Victoria, you will be labelled an "enemy of the people". Notice also the Marcusian invoking of "marginalisation" of any "class of persons".
Section 7 of the Victorian Act outlaws "racial vilification", while Section 8, sub-section (1) warns:
"A person must not, on the ground of the religious belief or activity of another person or class of persons, engage in conduct that incites hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of, that other person or class of persons."
This has clear parallels with Articles 36 and 52 of the Soviet Constitution, which state respectively that "any advocacy of racial or national exclusiveness, hostility, or contempt, are punishable by law" and "incitement of hostility or hatred on religious grounds is prohibited".
Once again, we see that "incitement of hatred" or "contempt" are common themes in Marxist jurisprudence, serving as convenient reasons to expunge any notions of individual liberty from the Statute books.
Incredibly, unlike the Soviet Union, the Victorian Act actually claims extra-territorial jurisdiction. Section 8 (2b) states, "For the purposes of sub-section (1), conduct...may occur in or outside Victoria." Unlike Stalin, who called for "Socialism In One Country", Victoria has dictated Socialism For All.
Are we really free?
In eviscerating the right to free speech, several Western countries, including Canada, the UK and Australia, have departed from the freedom-loving path of the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution, which stipulates "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech", and instead followed the road to tyranny, a ruinous avenue already paved by the monstrous rulers of the Soviet Empire. By "granting" us individual rights with one hand and taking them away with another, many Western politicians are consciously or unconsciously declaring their allegiance to the Marxist model of "repressive tolerance", pioneered by Marxist intellectuals and given practical application in one of the most murderous tyrannies in human history.