Monday, 26 November 2007

The Oxford Debate

For some, the problem with freedom of speech is that anyone then has the right to freely say things we may find abhorrent, such people as the convicted Holocaust denier David Irving and BNP leader Nick Griffin.
Both have been invited to address a meeting tonight on the freedom of speech at the Oxford Union, much to the exasperation of many who are calling for the event to be cancelled.
Presumably they would prefer to pretend such extreme views do not exist and would prefer the students were not exposed to the views of the BNP, rather they spend their educational lives in a the protective bubble of academia.
To my mind there is no doubt that the debate ought to take place. Such poor ideas have to be aired in order to be repudiated by argument and debate. We need to ridicule the outlandish and dangerous outpourings of the likes of Irving and Griffin because repressing or pretending that they don't exist is not an effective answer.
A quick trip around the blogosphere will show just how many offensive and downright idiotic views there are out there spoken by the ignorant, deluded or just plain misinformed and although we can ignore them on this medium, it proves that these views do exist in our societies.
Let the likes of Griffin and Irving speak and let us debate them in order to defeat them and hold them up as ridiculous fabrications of unreasoning minds.


Cheezy said...

I absolutely agree.

Almost everyone says that they believe in freedom of speech... but I reckon there's a tendency to forget that this belief of your's is never tested when people are saying things that you agree with. The strength of your belief is only ever examined when someone says something that you disagree with - or even find repugnant.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, Irving and Griffin haven't been invited to talk about the BNP or the Holocaust; but merely their thoughts on the subject of freedom of speech and its practicalities. Reading what you've written, you'd probably agree with most of what they're likely to say.

Paula said...

I agree, though I can't help but have a very negative emotional reaction toward those who give these assholes a forum for their own agenda, such as publicity for their school or whatever.

Cheezy said...

"you'd probably agree with most of what they're likely to say."

Well if that's the case then, from my point of view, they're particularly welcome to exercise their freedom of speech! ;-)

Daniel said...

'The ignorant, the deluded or just plain misinformed' just about covers the bulk of people in the world I reckon, Lucy. It demonstrates clearly the failure of education.


Falling on a bruise said...

you'd probably agree with most of what they're likely to say.
I imagine what they are going to say Lee is that they have freedom to speech and can say what they want so yes, i do agree with them on that point.
I might not like what then comes out of their mouths but i would prefer they said it and got shouted down rather than ignored.
I understand what you mean miz uv and i would say that there probably is a degree of publicity in this.