Under the guidance of her Christian pastors, [France] entertained herself, besides, with such humane achievements as sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off, his tongue torn out with pincers, and his body burned alive, because he had not kneeled down in the rain to do honour to a dirty procession of monks which passed within his view, at a distance of some fifty or sixty yards.So we see that the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia is now DoublePlusUngood Crimethink™, as is an off-hand joke by a Nobel Prize winning cancer scientist, as is the opinion of the CEO of the Mozilla Foundation and some poor rocket scientist who wore his lucky shirt to the comet landing of his space rover.
- Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
As are the travails of many others who find themselves on the wrong side of RightThink™ in this current Cold Civil War. They can all console themselves that they will merely lose their jobs, their houses, and their families. The Chevalier de la Barre did far worse than them, Back In The Day.
But the crime was the same.
Jean-Francois de la Barre was a punk. He and his aristocratic buddies were cut-ups and petty hoodlums in late eighteenth century France. But he went too far, showing disrespect to a religious procession. It was said that he failed to doff his hat to the Cross as it went by.
For this, he was convicted in a court of law. The Parlement of Paris upheld the sentence of death, and added (no doubt as an after thought) that he should be tortured first. And so it was written, so it was done on this very day in the year of our Lord 1766. He was an example to All Men about what not to do to cast disrespect on the Ancien Regime. To make sure that nobody didn't get the point, his corpse was beheaded and burned with a copy of Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary nailed to it.
Today's Old Regime is more merciful: you will not be killed, but will merely lose your job, your living, your flag, your history. All is for the best, Citizen, in the Best of All Possible Worlds.
And how do we know that the Left is truly ignorant of history (likely willfully so)? They know nothing of Voltaire. But it's OK. They're ever so much smarter (and nicer - remember the "no more beheading" thing?) than you or I. And rejoice, Citizen! The chocolate ration has been increased from 3 ounces to 2½ ounces! The People's Revolution is glorious, is it not?