A few days ago Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp attracted controversy once again. This time it was not for a phone hacking scandal or anything else which affects our impoverished and eternally persecuted ultra-wealthy celebrities. This time it was for something much, much more worrying. Although we might discount her opinion as that of only one individual, it is a distressing sign of the times that we live in, and the direction that Europe appears to be going in. A woman named Katie Hopkins described poor migrants as “cockroaches” and said that British shores should be defended against them with gunboats.
If this sounds in any way familiar to you, you might be right. A few decades ago, Europe was under threat from a destructive and decidedly evil force. While Godwin’s Law has been abused many times over recent history, this serves as a worrying exception of its implementation being justified, especially given that Holocaust day was only a few days ago. Godwin’s Law is the idea that an argument on the Internet ultimately descends into one party accusing the other of being comparable to the Nazis or who could be described as the most evil man who ever lived, Adolf Hitler. In order to justify the killing of over 6 million Jews and numerous other minorities in order to preserve some form of ideal of racial purity, the German people were indoctrinated into thinking that the Jewish people in particular, but also anybody not of pure Aryan descent were little more than cockroaches and parasites working to undermine said ultimately absurd ideal.
While it is true that everybody is entitled to their opinion. One of the characteristics of the 21st century is free speech, after all. The fact that such an opinion is not only made public, but also featured in one of the United Kingdom’s most popular newspapers is cause for concern, and a reflection of the evolving views of British society as a whole. It is true that the tougher economic times are, the stronger and more acceptable xenophobia becomes. Scapegoating and hate speech should not be acceptable today.
There has been much public backlash against Mrs. Hopkins. This is good. It means that many people do still view hate speech as abhorrent, and accept the FACT that no matter where you come from, no matter what your situation, you are a human being. That being said, echoes of 1933 are abound. Silencing Mrs. Hopkins will not resolve the underlying issue that many millions will agree with her, and ultimately act upon their xenophobic views. While they may not build battleships to sink migrant boats off the North African coast, do not be surprised if racially motivated attacks rise. It only took a minority to take Germany from one of the most tolerant societies to the most evil the world has ever known. Never forget and do not be afraid to educate, rather than shrug off these views as those of a few crazies. It only takes a few crazies to ruin it for everyone else.