These days, most politicians in the UK receive abuse through social media platforms – some more than others. Understandably, they don’t like it. Unsurprisingly, politicians are keen to shield themselves from nasty name-calling by further restricting free-speech with more laws or by strengthening existing illiberal laws.
But do today’s politicians understand that the root cause of the problem is their own choices and behaviour? It seems not.
Politicians (via the coercive apparatus of the state) spend other people’s money and impose their economic and social choices upon other people. Having your money spent on things you disagree with and people you don’t like, and being forced to live according to the choices of others. THAT is what causes such deep-seated resentment and anger in people. It’s a rational and legitimate response to someone else forcibly disposing of a portion of the fruits of your labour in ways you don’t like and to not being free to live peacefully according to your own choices.
Any politician that is surprised, shocked or hurt when the people whose money they’re spending and whose lives they are controlling express hatred towards them is entirely deluded about what it is they do. Like a mafia boss who runs a protection racket believing he supplies a legitimate insurance service.
Furthermore, politicians can have no moral justification for demanding that their victims refrain from expressing their ill-feeling towards them, merely because it upsets them or their family or because they find it disrespectful.
It’s much more disrespectful to force other people to fund things they don’t want to. It’s far more upsetting to be forced to live according to someone else’s economic and social choices and beliefs. It is politicians who should be apologising for their behaviour, it is they who need to be more respectful – not the people they rule over.
Today’s politicians crying out to be treated with respect is like a flea demanding its canine host stops angrily scratching itself. “I’m a living being too! I deserve dignity!” cries the flea. Social parasites demanding that either society loves them or else refrains from expressing how it truly feels about them.
I mean, it’s ridiculous. But they don’t realise how ridiculous they sound because politicians labour under the delusion that their relationship with people in society is a consensual and mutually beneficial one. Like a flea believing that the dog wants it on his back and is benefiting from its presence.
If politicians and government workers want respect, then the first step to earning it is to do the respectable thing and resign from their post.
Any flea with an ounce of respect for the property rights of living beings would hop off of its host, never to return! Of course, this would literally be suicide on the flea’s part. Not so for politicians and bureaucrats, however. They can survive and thrive in free and peaceful society. All they have to do is walk away from the state.
If every politician and government bureaucrat were to quit their job, then that would amount to the conceptual suicide of the interventionist state. However, this is about as likely to happen as Donald Trump giving away all his wealth and becoming a monk, but it’s a nice thought none the less.
Figuratively shouting and screaming at politicians through social media won’t achieve anything. It’s not a wise course of action and it’s rather uncivilised, but at the same time, it’s not a criminal act. It’s a form of expression and freedom of expression is a basic human right.
However, that doesn’t mean that the owners of the means of communication being used, i.e. social media companies, don’t have the right to prevent users from abusing MP’s and to provide victims with ways to block other users. Which they already do.
Politicians and anyone wanting to be a politician must simply accept that being abused is part and parcel of being someone who has ultimate decision-making power over many aspects of many people’s lives; it’s an inevitable consequence of wielding this illegitimate and unjust power.
Politicians spend their lives promising other people they can have their cake and eat it, but in this instance, it’s politicians themselves wanting to do so. They want to act with no regard for an individual’s rights and yet be treated with regard. They want to disrespect human freedoms and yet be treated with respect.
They want to abuse people’s property and yet be shielded from abuse themselves. They want to treat people badly and yet not be treated like the bad guys. Well, that ain’t going to happen. As long as politicians keep doing what they do, their victims will keep getting angry and continue expressing that anger through the most convenient medium.
Making it a crime to verbally abuse politicians online would be a perversion of the law. The purpose of the law is to make individuals face the legal consequences of their immoral actions. It isn’t and shouldn’t be to enable politicians to avoid the social blowback of their actions just so their feelings don’t get hurt.
Politicians want to be treated nicely and with respect, but the truth is they don’t deserve to be.