Bans and boycotts seem to be all about censorship. But could there be something else involved? Could campus censorship actually be a form of communication?
The first direct flight from the US to Cuba touched down in Santa Clara in August, and there are hopes of an end to the embargo. For now, however, Cuba remains in a strange limbo, accessible to the outside world and yet resolutely apart from it.
We know what we mean when we say something. However, language is an ambiguous beast and meaning doesn’t always accompany words . It is my impression that many disagreements are rooted, at least partially, in different definitions and understanding of words and concepts.
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.
No peaceful Muslim should feel the need to apologise or be obliged to say ‘not in my name’. They didn’t massacre those people, and they had nothing to do with the man that did. Nor do the majority condone the ideology that channelled his hatred of homosexulals into massacring fifty members of the Orlando LGBT community.
Not many people genuinely believe in free speech. They might go through the motions of professing the contrary, but when confronted with the difficulties of holding the position they normally favour a desire for peaceful coexistence. It is nothing to be ashamed of, almost every good person I know falls into this category.
Whether or not hate speech should be included within the ambit of protection offered by the right to free expression is perhaps one of the most contentious issues within the free speech debate. What is often lacking from this debate, however, is a workable definition of what hate speech is. Indeed hate speech means many different things to different societies and attempts to criminalise it are vastly different as a result.
Free speech is a very misleading term. It is neither absolutely free nor solely concerned with speech.
For many Europeans, the hijab is the visual representation of a vehemently detested societal change. One that was enforced by officials that they did not elect, and championed by the kind of person whose pampered existence will never be troubled by the negative consequences of mass immigration or state sponsored multiculturalism. Unfortunately, this widespread sentiment has seen the hijab become a repository for some of the frustrations of Europe´s disenfranchised traditional working class.
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.