Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
by Jason Wilson
“… Free speech in the Bill of Rights is not freedom from criticism or disagreement. But this was not what Christian appears to have had in mind.
Rather, the kind of “free speech” that Christian is alleged to have brutally asserted is of a kind that would allow a white American man, such as himself, to yell racial and religious epithets at two young women without any interference or constraint.
It is the kind of “freedom of speech” that would allow him to monopolise public spaces and render them utterly hostile to women, people of colour, Muslims, or whoever he might choose to make a target of.
It is the freedom for him to convert any challenge to this definition of freedom of speech into a boiling resentment, and to in turn, at a time of your choosing, convert that resentment into violence.”
Excellent article. For me it comes down to a quote from one of the great legal minds of the 20th century 🙂 :
Trump has laid out for many of his followers a bait and switch method of deception that would be laughable were it not so effective. I’m just waiting for the day when members of the KKK tell us the white sheets and hoods are to protect them from the wind, and the burning crosses are actually to keep them warm during their meetings.
There’s an interesting and different angle to the discussion here (by Jeffrey Tayler) – he focuses more on what he sees as the limiting of debate (regarding Islam) allegedly enforced by left-wing figures. As anti-Muslim (and anti-Arab) sentiment is exceedingly well represented all over the media, in politics and in society at large, the idea people are being silenced doesn’t seem entirely credible. Not being given the platform one would like doesn’t qualify as being silenced.
The other mistake I think he makes is giving free speech higher priority in modern democratic societies than the equality between citizens. Is not proposing a system of aristocracy where classes of people are deemed inferior to others (Blacks, Muslims, Women, LGBT people) not much more of an attack on our liberties than moderating some forms of speech?
The people whose presence students are protesting at universities all seem to have one thing in common, and it’s that they propose some variation of dehumanisation of their fellow citizens. Dehumanisation being the ultimate attack on civil liberties/rights.