‘Eppur si muove.' The cover illustration is Cristiano Banti’s “Galileo facing the Roman Inquisition.”
In 1633 Galileo was ordered to stand trial before the Inquisition on suspicion of heresy “for holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the sun is the center of the world.” He was interrogated, threatened with physical torture, and found guilty. He was sentenced to house arrest, which he remained under for the rest of his life. Legend has it that after his sentencing he muttered: “Eppur si muove” (“and yet it moves”).
Many see conservatives and Christians as Galileo was seen by centuries-old liberals. The man pointing to the book is the establishment media. To his left is the Liberal Party. To his right, academia, and mainstream media. Most suggest that we shout the truth to the New Left’s Inquisition.
Karl Popper's ‘Paradox of Tolerance'. Although Karl Popper advocated toleration, he also warned against unlimited tolerance. In ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies' Popper argued:
“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.
In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols.
We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”
I choose to show Popper looking to his left and right for a specific reason. He is looking to his left for the obvious reason that, although we thought that we delegitimized leftwing extremism in 1989, the Left just kept “progressing” in accordance with the clichéd definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
He is looking to his right for the less obvious reason that, although we did delegitimize rightwing extremism in 1945, the Right may be tempted to respond to the Left in kind, as if in accordance with Newton’s Third Law of Motion which states that, “When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.”
This is indeed a lesson of history. Historically fascism rises as a response to the rise of socialism and communism, as it most noticeably did in the 1920s and 1930s.
So this is the problem and challenge we are presented with today and it’s best to keep one of your eyes cocked to the right rather than both to the left.