“Former” British Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, is at it again.
Following on the heels of an August essay he posted via Fast Company in which he exhorted corporate elites to stop advertising on platforms he thought promoted “hate” and “division,” Harry (real name: Henry Charles Albert David) now appears desirous of harsher and more overt censorship in his adopted home of America.
The amplified call comes via a January 22 interview with the same website, an interview in which Fast Company repeatedly refers to Harry as “Prince Harry” or “PH”, despite the fact that he and his wife dropped their royal titles a year ago, an interview that reflects Harry’s evident lack of self-awareness, an interview in which he exhibits a bias towards applying the label “misinformation” to any information or opinion with which he disagrees, and an interview in which he makes very clear his desire to muzzle people expressing this evil “misinformation.”
So, after referring to a “collective” more than once, then calling on social media platforms to silence what he sees as unacceptable information or opinion, and after telling users to “fact-check” (evidently never considering that is precisely what we do, which results in our skepticism of biased “news sources” and government propaganda that contains no tether to reality), Harry offers this:
Finally, there’s a responsibility to compassion that we each own. Humans crave connection, social bonds, and a sense of belonging. When we don’t have those, we end up fractured, and in the digital age that can unfortunately be a catalyst for finding connection in mass extremism movements or radicalisation.
This call for compassion through collectivism and censorship coming from a guy with the “compassion” to wear a Nazi Swastika armband to a party in 2005, for which he later apologized after coming under fire for the costume.
This coming from a guy with the “compassion” to participate in the British Empire-style occupation of a foreign country after joining the tax-funded British military, and who, while in said military, was caught using derogatory terms for Pakistanis and Muslims.
This, from a chap whose former teacher at Eton claimed she wrote an art paper for him at his request, and succeeded in backing up her story with a recording of her conversations with the then-royal.
If Harry is actually serious, he’d be making a foolish spectacle of himself, especially coming from the family ruling a “United Kingdom” which recently saw the Scottish branch arrest and attempt to imprison Mark Meechan, aka Count Dankula, the funny and insightful comedian and YouTube commentator, merely because he video-recorded his pug in mockery of Hitler.
If Harry is serious, he’d look the fool for the added fact that legendary British comedian John Cleese recently left the U.K. in part because of its growing censoriousness and he has subsequently called our cancel culture in the U.S. as well.
And Harry sure would look silly calling for even more censorship when pitted against the wise offerings of British actors, producers, writers, and comedians such as Ricky Gervais and Rowan Atkinson, both of whom have spoken out in favor of wide-open free speech.
As I noted in an earlier piece on CNN and Brookings Institution figures calling for government censorship, it was the U.K. itself that John Stuart Mill called home when he wrote “On Liberty” in the 1800s, a text in which Mill recognized that most western nations had constitutions made to supposedly hold back government fro infringing on things like speech, but that the populations in those countries often clamored for their governments to act in anti-liberty ways, ways that circumvented the supposed constitutional barriers, in their attempts to shut down dissent.
And let’s get it straight. That is what this is about. As Mill noted, we should not fear free speech. We should embrace it. Freedom of speech allows us to test our assumptions, evidence, and conclusions. It lets us hone our own arguments, and it is integral to the life-long search for truth on which God-given free will is based.
In 1776, an American offered a message to guys like Harry. His name was Thomas Jefferson, and, focusing on all men, in the Declaration of Independence he wrote, in part:
…when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Sorry to say, Harry’s statements about free speech are reckless abuses of people with whom he disagrees. One need not become bombastic and make references to the American Revolution to offer him a suggestion that he tone down the calls for the silencing of differing ideas.
After all, Mill's and Jefferson’s words are wise and their sentiment about freedom can help Harry at a time like this.
As long as those words aren’t censored because they don’t conform to Harry’s idea of truth.
(Cover Photo: Mark Jones)