Fuckin' love watchin' rich white men compare themselves to the victims of the Great Leap Forward. After all, Paul Graham could, at any moment, be sent to work the fields at a re-education camp in outer Mongolia! That's what they did to Louis CK, right? Seized all his assets, beat him with a rubber hose and set him to conquer the taiga? It's not like he ever won any accolades ever again!
"Western countries" have what Karl Popper called "open societies." In an open society you can say whatever you want, and whoever hears it can say whatever they want back. Thomas Rid made the point in Active Measures that disinformation campaigns - wherein a government lies for their own advantage - cannot adequately exploit disinformation because it harms their credibility. After all, anyone who wishes to challenge the status quo can, and any official with less credibility than the press or some rando on the Internet will find their actions curtailed and their dominance in question. "closed" societies, on the other hand, do not rely on credibility to govern. They rely on force.
"Heresy" is a crime that requires government force to punish. Full stop. Under an open society a heretic cannot be imprisoned or fined because the antidote to an unpopular idea is a popular idea. Under an open society, a heretic loses STATUS. They lose INFLUENCE. Which, if you have more money than God, is the only thing you truly crave. You want society to reward you for your backward ideas. "If you want my money for your dorm you have to get rid of the windows because windows are distracting." "Children should not be permitted to ask questions about their naughty bits before 4th grade lest they grow up to vote me out." Here's one of JK Rowling's houses:
Heretics got it good, man
There are no "western countries" that have not largely embraced capitalism. Success under capitalism is money, it's in the name - closer you are to Christ the more of a christian you are, closer to Buddha the more of a buddhist, closer to capital, the more of a capitalist. But since it's an open society? Everyone without money (and their numbers are growing) gets to argue that maybe money isn't the most important thing, and you aren't automatically worth listening to just because you're rich. It's the only meager, Pyrrhic bit of leverage the blacks have left: they may die younger, earn less money, attain lower scholastic achievement and be ten times as likely to end up in jail, but if you, rich person, say the n-word they get to take a flyer at censoring you.
Censorship is not heresy. Heresy? That's arguing we haven't always been at war with Eastasia.
Gonna be fuckin' cute watchin' all the rich-ass neoliberal fat cats insist they're being persecuted while Putin busily ships all thoughtcrime to the Western Front.