Recent developments have turbocharged the process that George Orwell described a generation ago when modes of speech were coming into use to make thoughts of freedom unspeakable and ultimately unthinkable. Read his appendix to 1984 and be warned.
See in The Australian today for example.
More recently, an “anti-transphobia” protest as part of a campaign against Associate Professor Holly Lawford-Smith, a political philosopher at the University of Melbourne, featured protesters carrying placards reading “F–k off TERFS” and chanting for “TERFS” to get off campus. The acronym stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist and is used to refer to those critical of gender identity theory. Arguably, it is commonly used as a slur, perhaps even in the spirit of hate speech, since the patterns of its use often dehumanise and convey hatred, contempt and the threat of violence. In line with this interpretation, peaceful counter-protesters were abused as “c–ts”; one was doused with water.
Such episodes contribute to informal systems that make academic freedom and freedom of speech less likely to exist in practice than in policy.