Freedom of speech is defined by the Oxford dictionary as the ‘power or right to express one’s opinions without censorship, restraint or legal penalty’. It is even written into the UN as resolution number 217 which is the Universal Declaration of human rights (UDHR) in 1948 using the same principles in the definition above so why are people and governments getting this issue so confused.
Freedom of speech, in my opinion, is allowing all individuals with all opinions regardless of how heinous they are to express them openly and fairly without being censored but must be open to debate and opposition from people who disagree, this way you can either continue to state your case and argument, defend your opinion or adapt and grow as an individual but this is not allowed anymore in our society I feel.
From ‘safe spaces’ at universities to self-censorship due to social pressures, this surely is not the way to go about things, speak your mind, expect to be challenged and flourish as a society
You have the creation of safe spaces in universities which would be fine if that’s what they were ‘spaces’ but they are not spaces entire campuses are being turned into safe spaces.
An example of this being perversely used is in the case where Peter Hitchens was invited to speak at Liverpool University on the topic of the war on drugs, nothing inflammatory there but no, the students guild (student union) said that Peter could only be a guest speaker if they could approve his speech beforehand, keep a list of all attendees along with other requests why is any of that necessary for the general premise of the university grounds?
Universities are meant to be a place of freedom for all regardless of belief but with that freedom for all does come the freedom to disapprove of other people’s beliefs without censorship and restraint so why do a certain group of people (and I’m referring to people with a left-wing disposition) feel it’s their god-given right to disregard all of that and impose restraints on people they disagree with.
Ponder on this for a moment, What if I was to create a safe space, what would it look like?
A place I could go to cry and whimper at all the things I saw and heard which I disagree with, what would it look like? Here is the thing though I have no business imposing that on anyone.
This should not be happening not in our society, we British pride ourselves on being an open and tolerant nation to all people and all cultures so why So why does the left do it in my opinion? they do it because they are conformists who now have the control of the culture and so if anyone is to disagree with them then you are projected into obscurity because they do not want to argue with you and this goes against what John Milton said “ I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat” and what he means by this is if you cannot face the heat and the dust an argument creates you should not be in it.
Now I will point out that the right is no better for it either whilst in my opinion, the right do not suppress free speech they do confuse it with some of the actions they do. In this instant I am referring to the ‘Punish a Muslim day letters’ sent out across the country calling for people to attack any Muslim they see, offering a points-based system dependent on how they were attacked. This is not free speech, this is inciting hatred and violence but this is where the confusion I feel starts to happen.
The far left use these examples to create safe spaces, censor anyone with opinions with what they deem to be fascist using words like racist, homophobic etc. I have had these words flung at me when I have tried to discuss topics such as immigration and multiculturalism or in some cases, they use violence to suppress opinions they don’t approve – an ironic juxtaposition though.
What is the solution though?
The problem is that this is much more entrenched in our society than anyone would want to believe, the millennials are being educated at universities that do not allow freedom of thought, if you do not follow the status quo then you are outcasts leading a lot of them to just suck it up and accept to they are not social outcasts, older people outcast because they think differently to the brainwashed in society.
We need to embrace all of our differences as a good thing stop trying to put people into boxes with certain categories stop turning one section of society into a minority to appease another minority section of society because all that does is breed the resentment we see.
Talk through all issues that this country face without the fear of being harangued with a “ist” title and be open to talk, think and expand because if we keep closing down discussion, closing down debate the section of people that no one wants, they go underground collecting themselves and coming back to the surface even darker than first expelled, Britain First, EDL all spring to mind.
Be open to discussion, be open to the disagreement the world is not a nice place but hiding the problems with censorship will never solve the problem because eventually, it all rears its big ugly head again.