2016 is the worst year ever. That at least seems to be the consensus among observers horrified by Brexit and thrown by Trump. The world’s been turned upside down, they say, and we’re heading for horrors.
spiked doesn’t buy it. We’ve loved 2016. Not because we like everything that’s happened this year. We were as saddened by the unusual number of celeb deaths as everyone else, and while we’re Brexit to our core, we’re by no means fans of Trump.
But 2016 has been brilliant precisely because it rattled political elites that had become staid and distant and undemocratic. Because it shook oligarchies, made institutions tremble.
2016 confirms that ordinary people aren’t going to put up with a status quo that doesn’t work for them. And that they’re more than happy to defy the overtures of the political class, the bureaucracy and self-styled experts, and vote out the old and take a chance on the new. That’s inspiring.
Yet much of the political elite has responded to its drubbing at the hands of voters by calling into question the wisdom of free speech and democracy.
Maybe it’s time to tame heated speech, they say, fearing it is leading people astray. As for democracy — both Brexit and Trump were greeted with demosphobia, with many complaining about ‘low information’ voters and wondering if we should now entrust politics to experts.
In short, the best thing about 2016 — voters’ willingness to think differently and upset the political order — risks being trashed.
spiked isn’t having it. We were founded to argue for freedom, democracy, enlightenment, progress, exploration and endeavour. To defend freedom in all areas of life — especially in the realms of thought and speech — and to argue for greater democracy so that more and more people might engage in, and shake up, politics as we’ve known it.
The battle for freedom and democracy is as important now as it has been for decades. 2016 has confirmed that these two most human and enlightened of values are under threat — not from foreign mischief-makers or alien ideologies, but from intellectuals and politicos right here at home.
So in 2017, spiked will be upping the ante in our daily demand for greater freedom of thought and more, real democracy. We’ll be defending Brexit, opposing all censorship, and barricading democracy against the new army of demosphobes.
And we’ll be doing this not only in Europe but in the US too, where we’ve planned a year-long tour of campuses and other venues to discuss and defend freedom of speech, thought and conscience.
To do this, we need your help. Before the end of this tumultuous year, we need to raise £50,000, so that we can head into 2017 with the staff and resources we need to hold back the tide of illiberalism and anti-democracy, and to make the case every day for a better, freer, more enlightened, more humanist politics.
spiked has never been as necessary as it is right now. Please help to keep us fighting fit for the year ahead by giving to our freedom-and-democracy war chest today!
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