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Freedom of Speech!

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  • Freedom of Speech!

    Nice and simple...

    Here's the story today as reported by the BBC. The links to the right of the story should provide you with further info should you need it.

    What do you think?


  • #2
    Both sides of this issue bother me. Obviously I don't like the hate speech people.

    But at the same time I am very uncomfortable with the trend of University students using protest and obstructionism to prevent people from speaking whom they do not agree with. Universities should be the bastion of free speech and the free exchange of competing ideas, but they are becoming less and less of this.


    • #3
      Well, you don't have to like freedom of speech. That's the whole point of it.

      And if a venue decides to provide a channel for speech of one kind or another, that is their choice. Likewise, it is the right of the students or whomever else to speak out against it. *Speak* out against it. The moment it turns violent, it is just as bad.

      How would it look if the situation were reversed? Picture a small liberal university in a country where the government is oppressive. Two men are invited in to debate human rights, or representative democracy, or some other equally "controversial" topic, only to have it disrupted by the student chapter of an ultra-right-wing militaristic organization? (Or, optionally, the police/military/etc...) Suddenly looks a lot worse.

      Shame on those men for thinking what they do. And shame on those students for trying to keep them from saying it.
      "I am not an atomic playboy."
      Vice Admiral William P. Blandy


      • #4
        Idiots like Irving have a right to free speech. They do not have a right to the forum of their choice; nor do they have the right to a receptive...or even polite...audience. The protestors did not break any laws and were expressing their own rights of free speech. This was not a private event – like a funeral. It was a debating event that was apparently open to the public – or at least the student body.

        The protestors may have been rude…or even thuggish…and they were almost as irresponsible in their behavior as the University was in inviting David Irving to speak on campus.
        Thames Valley Police said the majority of protesters were peaceful, and added that though a "small number" of people entered the Union building, no criminal offences were committed.

        Ch Insp Dennis Evernden said: "I am pleased with the way the policing operation went. The vast majority of protesters were peaceful.

        "A small minority seemed intent on causing problems but police intervention prevented any criminal acts or disorder."

        Anti-racism campaigners had said the two men should not be given a platform to speak at the debate in St Michael's Street, Oxford.
        Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.


        • #5
          No country allows total freedom of speech, even the USA.
          It is a misnomer and is all cases is rightly restricted.
          If there was total freedom of speech there would by no slander or defamation laws; I could accuse any poster here of being a paedophile or a murderer and get away with it. So, freedom of speech is limited to statements of fact or the expression of ideas or thoughts but does not allow us to tell lies with impunity.
          In that context I see no reason why, like in my country, incitement to hatred legislation cannot be enacted. This would limit the flow of hate filled crap from idiots like Irving and other bigoted fascists and extremists, be they religious, secular, communist or ultra-right.
          "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their
          validity." - Abraham Lincoln.
          "Nothing's going to change while one side it lying about the cause and the other is lying about the solution" - Me


          • #6
            I saw the name Irving, and to be honest, I had a knee jerk response.

            Screw him and his unwanted opinion.

            But to be honest, universities are expensive. I would be less than pleased if my high tuition fees were being wasted on such worthless individuals as Irving, so that he could spout off his worth garbage on University premises.

            Irving is a proven scumbag. So who cares what the topic is. And who cares if the talk is invite only or public.

            I'd be happy to buy the protesters a beer.
            Life is change. Built models for decades.
            Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
            I didn't for a long time either.


            • #7
              The tricky bit - as always - is in who gets to decide which speech is "hate filled crap" and which isn't.

              I think the "marketplace" handled this particular situation quite well.
              Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.


              • #8
                yupper they what's next.......anybody got any gin?


                • #9
                  The most disturbing thing was the comment by the president of the Oxford Student Union that "the way to defeat Fascism is through debate." I didn't realize until now that Oxford no longer teaches world history.
                  Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?


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