16 February 2018

Orwellian blurring

An ominous trend in speech is the tendency for taboo themes to keep widening their catchment areas. If you criticise any aspect of feminism you must be a misogynist. Finding the movie Idiocracy funny must mean you favour eugenics. And so on.

A recent instance is the attempt to classify criticism of George Soros as being a form of covert antisemitism.

If it is legitimate to criticise Vladimir Putin for allegedly trying to promote Brexit then it is legitimate to criticise George Soros for trying to prevent it. Not everyone thinks of Mr Soros as Jewish. I didn’t — until I read this Guardian column accusing his critics of being antisemitic. Previously, I had associated Soros with being Hungarian, wealthy, making money out of Black Wednesday, supporting post-communist scholarship, and being anti-American.

Trying to bring antisemitism into the Soros/Brexit issue does no one any favours — except those looking for confirmation that we need to have more restrictions on speech.