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Merrick
Merrick
2148 posts

Re: Youse barred!
May 08, 2009, 12:58
I find free speech the toughest issue of all. I defy anyone to have a hard and fast position that can be justified.

On the one hand, I feel that we have to trust people, that we aren't so daft as to be convinced by wingnuts and that, as you say, give em enough rope. If your arguments are so great then reasonable people will be convinced you're right and the wingnut's wrong.

Also, many ideas we cherish today were once heretical and would've been gagged in the name of protecting people from 'extreme views'.

Then again, we have laws and taboos about using insulting, aggressive and threatening words against people for good reason. People have a right to freedom from persecution.

Where does an extreme political or ideological view become threats and intimidation?

In the UK, the Protection from Harassment Act, a law designed to defend women from stalker ex-boyfriends and whatnot, has been used over and over again to get injunctions to defend poor vulnerable multinational corporations from peaceful protesters. Any power we hand away will be used against us.

The only other issue where I agree strongly with two completely opposing views is the use of political violence. It's a related thing, in that we have to maintain freedoms, yet to be absolute about it gives free rein to those who would abuse that freedom to bully and intimidate.

There are anti-fascists who, rather than try to debate with boneheads who are out for blood, meet them on their own terms and clear the streets. This is intimidation and violence, yes. But so's what the fascists are doing if we leave them there. Whereas when anti-fascists have taken their racist newspapers and told them to fuck off, with fists and boots if it comes to it, people of all ethnicities are safe on the streets. It takes a strange and remote view to say that it would've been better to leave the fascists to escalate.

"From pacifist to terrorist, each person condemns violence - and then adds one cherished case in which it may be justified."
- Gloria Steinem

Getting back to the case in hand, I agree Sanshee that with this shock-jock tosser, leave him to it. He's getting more airtime now than if we'd never banned him.

sanshee wrote:
we do still have alot of intelligent thought out there and it will always win.


I'm not so sure it will. And even on the occasions when it does, it comes after a lot of damage. Hitler himself said the Nazis could never have come to power if the Communists had challenged them in the streets. Instead, they were always in meetings.

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