A cool look at heated discussion

Anyone who has been in a heated argument knows that people seldom change their minds. Indeed, politics sometimes seems to be reduced to appeals to our baser emotions of either nurturing or fearing. While emotions are essential motivators to start thinking about a topic, I will try to make the case that when evaluating proposition we should aim for cold rationality, the live-long-and-prosper kind. As a die-hard liberal I will propose classical liberalism as a framework for rational evaluation.

A cool look at heated discussion

You are (probably) wrong

Why is free speech important? There are many areas for which it is important, such as political discourse, but here I would like to focus on one specific aspect: knowing and the need for constant challenges to our knowledge. There are many ways in which we can end up holding a mistaken belief and one does not have to look far into the past to find examples. As orthodoxies get established quickly, the freedom to question and hold (perceived) wrong views is essential for advancing the state of knowledge. To illustrate this point, let us consider the difficulties of knowing.

You are (probably) wrong

The Fiction of Absolute Free Speech

When one engages in a discussions of free speech and censorship, it is inevitable that someone will bring up the idea of free speech as an absolute right. There are many variations on the theme, be it that academic freedom is absolute or that free speech is a human right. These profession of belief are taken as conclusive argument, often in an angry voice.

The Fiction of Absolute Free Speech

Facts and hysteria in Germany

On Monday evening, Akif Pirinçci, a Turkish born German author and professional Provocateur, took to the stage in front of a Pediga demonstration. Pediga, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident, is a German protest movement somewhere between UKIP and Britain First depending on whom you ask. Pirinçci, known for his vulgar language full of hyperbolic comparisons, did what he did best, reportedly shocking even some of the Pediga demonstrators.

Facts and hysteria in Germany

The Snoopers Charter is illiberal and pointless

The government is brandishing its illiberal credentials with the announcement of the so called snoopers charter, the Investigatory Powers Bill. This bill would force providers of instant-messaging services to give the government access to communications between people. Thankfully, end-to-end encryption is becoming the standard for instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp. This means not even the company can read the messages. Under the proposed legislation, the government could ban these services that are unable to provide the messages.

The Snoopers Charter is illiberal and pointless

Liberty, Children and Flags: A different view on parading the IS flag

On July 6th, a man, with a small child on his shoulders also holding a flag, walked passed Houses of Parliament while draped in the flag of IS. A discussion ensued asking why the man was not arrested for carrying the flag. As John has aptly pointed out, it is an illiberal move to punish someone for an act of free expression that causes no harm. Boris Johnson has made a similar argument.

Liberty, Children and Flags: A different view on parading the IS flag