Why are we allowing student unions to veto speech?

There is no duty to provide a platform. But the banned speakers have already been given a platform, by a student society. We already have laws against hate speech and promoting violence. And the idea of having Teresa May define extremism scares me.

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of free expression is increasingly under threat across the Western world. Speech that might upset or annoy someone is being categorised as “hate speech” and thus placed beyond the pale in acceptable society. According to a recent Pew poll, 38% of British people now agree that the government should be able to prevent people saying things that are offensive to minority groups. Worryingly, even fewer support free speech in the rest of Europe.

Pew Poll on Free Speech

And of course it would be entirely up to those minority groups to tell us what they deem offensive, which would allow them a veto over all public discourse. Nor are such concerns merely theoretical. Currently we have a preacher being prosecuted for describing Islam as “Satanic”. Whatever happened to the very bedrock of Western liberties, Voltaire’s: “I disagree with everything you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it”?

In the…

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About Paul Braterman

Science writer, former chemistry professor; committee member British Centre for Science Education; board member and science adviser Scottish Secular Society; former member editorial board, Origins of Life, and associate, NASA Astrobiology Insitute; first popsci book, From Stars to Stalagmites 2012

Posted on November 30, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Paul, just catching up on some of your posts here. Thanks for reblogging this article – -this is an important issue of our day. Fascinating graphic of commitment to freedom of speech in different countries. Happy holidays…

    Like

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