There was a time not long ago in India when anything or anybody whom Leftists and liberals didn’t like, they denounced that or them as ‘communal.’ Their counterparts in the West, especially in the US, use the term ‘racist’ to condemn anything they don’t like—and that includes almost everything civilization is proud of, ranging from art and culture to religion and philosophy (that is, art, philosophy, etc., as we know it). The latest victim of the race-baiting mafia is <em>Gone with the Wind</em>, the Hollywood classic that got 10 Oscars and remains the highest-ever grosser of all time adjusted for inflation.
HBO Max has been forced to take it off from the US streaming service by the self-appointed arbiters of truth and decency Movie moguls and entertainment tsars, when they are not complicit in promoting the liberal agenda, have the feet of clay. They are the first to surrender their freedoms.
The movie is based on a homonymous novel by Margaret Mitchell, which was set against the backdrop of the American Civil War. The novel has been accused of portraying a slave-owning society in soft focus. This brings us to the issue of freedom of expression. If the demand of a cantankerous group—and race-baiters are nothing if not cantankerous—is accepted, there would be no end to bans and restrictions on the works of literature, philosophy, art, and culture. More such groups make more such demands—and more extreme demands.
From religious texts to philosophical and literary classics, all of them have portions which would be found unpalatable if the contemporary standards of morality, decency, public order, etc., are applied.
Let’s begin with the beginning. For Plato, slavery was a natural state of affairs, something that never bothered the great philosopher. He wrote, “…nature herself intimates that it is just for the better to have more than the worse, the more powerful than the weaker; and in many ways she shows, among men as well as among animals, and indeed among whole cities and races, that justice consists in the superior ruling over and having more than the inferior.”
His disciple and another great philosopher, Aristotle, justified slavery. According to him, “But is there any one thus intended by nature to be a slave, and for whom such a condition is expedient and right, or rather is not all slavery a violation of nature? There is no difficulty in answering this question, on grounds both of reason and of fact. For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule.”
Now, Plato and Aristotle are among the greatest philosophers of all time. In fact, A.N. Whitehead (1861-1947), the English mathematician and philosopher, went on to say that the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. That may be an exaggeration but the importance and influence of the Greek duo could scarcely be overemphasized.
In India too, great authors have expressed uncharitable views about Shudras and women. Tulsidas famously said that they, along with others, were fit to be thrashed at will. The truth is that just because some thinker said something that is not in consonance with the present value system doesn’t mean that they should be dumped. Otherwise, we will have to delete all art, culture, philosophy, literature, etc., and begin history anew. This is what the Left wants. It wants to play God; it wants to undo civilization and remake mankind in its own ugly image.
The list of great authors who have said politically incorrect things about historically oppressed classes and women is long. In fact, all classics, Indian as well as Western, can be targeted for promoting improper ideas or thoughts. Dante’s <em>Divine Comedy</em> depicts the Prophet Mohammad in a bad light. Then there is a 1736 play called, <em>Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet</em>, written by French playwright and philosopher Voltaire, the man who embodied the Enlightenment. Muslims want it banned all over the world, even in France.
This is also what the rampaging racist rioters in the US and the Left-liberals supporting them want: ban and prohibit everything mankind is proud of. What they really want is just the end of the civilization so that they could impose their outlandish and egregious ideas, the ideas like defunding of police and abolition of private property..