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Oxford Union and freedom of speech

Karma

War Hero
BBC Article

Hundreds of people have gathered outside the Oxford Union to protest at the invitation of two controversial figures to a debate.

Whilst I find the views of both Griffin and Irving pretty distasteful, personally they have as much right to express their views as anyone. I find it laughable that there are efforts to silence them.
 

onions

GCM
I'd go along with that Karma. They may be two detestable people, but they still have the right to speak. If you disagree with what thay say or write, don't go to listen or by any publications that they may write in.

Semper Strenuissima
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Surely the best way to ridicule a figure of hate is by engaging them in debate, rather than preventing them from appearing? By staging an aggressive protest they have only brought attention to their appearance; had the debate gone on as originally intended then it is likely the event would have passed by without media coverage. Or perhaps that was the point..? 8O
 

slim

War Hero
How can it be a debate if all sides may not put forward their points, no matter how abhorrent?
 
Karma said:
BBC Article

Hundreds of people have gathered outside the Oxford Union to protest at the invitation of two controversial figures to a debate.

Whilst I find the views of both Griffin and Irving pretty distasteful, personally they have as much right to express their views as anyone. I find it laughable that there are efforts to silence them.

I agree totally. I fully support the Oxford Union's decision here. Free speech ceases when we decide that certain types of speech should be prohibited whilst allowing often equally as obnoxious opinions to be expressed by "respectable" others. I also hope the Stephen Green fails in his action against the BBC's Director General, in his attempt to invoke the common law offence of blasphemous libel to silence the lampooning or criticism of Christian ideology - especially as he is the first to invoke the right to free speech when he is articulating his obnoxious opinions.
 

chieftiff

War Hero
Moderator
I think Anne Atkins has hit the spot:
controversial views should not be silenced but exposed.
&
"I am not for a moment saying that I agree with David Irving or Nick Griffin but I am saying that once you start having truth by democracy you risk silencing some of the most important prophets we have ever had."

This was a debate on the subject of FREE SPEECH, the irony that such a debate isn't allowed to go ahead because a gang of people decide their opinion is more valid is beyond a joke. As vile as the opinions of these two morons are they do have some experience of free speech and its consequence, a few children masquerading as grown ups have decided that opinion is invalid, you couldn't make it up!!
 

dunjamon

Lantern Swinger
I think idiots like this should be given a chance to debate. Banning them outright only furthers their cause. My grandparents told me that anyone with Nazi views must be heard as it's only by listening to their backward views you can denounce it for what it is. They had the misfortune of living under Nazism and understood what happens if you force it underground.
 

chieftiff

War Hero
Moderator
dunjamon said:
I think idiots like this should be given a chance to debate. Banning them outright only furthers their cause. My grandparents told me that anyone with Nazi views must be heard as it's only by listening to their backward views you can denounce it for what it is. They had the misfortune of living under Nazism and understood what happens if you force it underground.

Your grandparents were right, and speak with the voice of experience. These two weren't invited to voice their opinions on racism or Nazi history though, they were invited to express their views on free speech, one having been imprisoned for it and the other having been tried and found not guilty (twice) It is their experience of free speech which is relevant to the debate not their bigotted views on race relations. :whew:
 
The ulimate irony: We support freedom of speech (except for anyone with whom we strongly disagree). It illustrates the danger of any form of extremism, no matter which end of the political spectrum it originates.
 
Racists usually get ripped to shreds in debates by sane people, let their views be shown for what they really are, utter rubbish.

You need to see both sides of the argument, no matter how flawed the other side is.

But when does Free Speach become incitement to hatred? When does it become a calling for violence? Who decides when it reaches such a point?
 

w.anchor

War Hero
Let them debate anyone with a I.Q.over plant life will rubbish them in half a sentence.I think some big wig once said.I will defend anyone's right to disagree with me with my life. Seems fair to me
 

dunjamon

Lantern Swinger
I agree that they should have been allowed to speak. The removal of freedom of speech is fundamental to any tyrannical regime and shouldn't be tolerated within society. Of course contentious views should be heard within informed debate. The decision by Oxford union comes as a shock TBH.
 
I can only agree with everything already said here.

I do find it slightly irritating, though, that the extreme left seems to be viewed more benignly than the extreme right. When I lived in Gosport, I tried to borrow Mein Kampf from the Library. My only motive was to know what was in it in the hope that it would provide me with a greater insight to the origins the 2nd World War. It wasn't possible. On the other hand, Das Kapital was freely available.

If people are spreading shite, let them debate it calmly and intelligently. The flaws will soon be picked open and exposed.
 

dunkers

War Hero
Potential_Officer said:
You need to see both sides of the argument, no matter how flawed the other side is.

Furthermore you can only expose how "flawed" the other side of the argument is, by letting them first express it. Then rip it to shreds.
 

w.anchor

War Hero
I would love to see the debate live on the T.V.Say with Jeremy Paxman in the chair, but thats not going to happen.I wounder why
 

2badge_mango

War Hero
I have no sympathy with the BNP and their ilk, but agree with all foregoing posters who have said that they should be allowed to express their viewpoint. I personally do not agree with a lot of what is said on this web site, but I do agree with the sentiment that those who say it should be allowed to do so. This was supposed to be a debate, in the Oxford Union, about free speech. What does it say about the sort of people who can only shout and object to a debate?
Future members of niew labour?

2BM
 
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