When does freedom of speech become oppression?

Tonight saw the Oxford Union surrounded by protesting students.  They were up in arms against the appearance of two right wingers, a politician and and a ‘historian’, at a debate.  So far so good.  But the protesters stopped the debate going ahead.  People protesting against fascism stopped an open, public debate.  I’m sorry but I don’t get it.

You want to stop fascism?  Win the argument.  Have the debate, on TV, and argue the case and let’s get rid of this nonsense for ever.

I disagree with what the two guests stand for (hence no names) but I believe they have the right to be wrong and I have the right to tell them so, but they still have the right to disagree.  That’s called democracy.  It means having to put up with people saying things you find abhorrent because to ban them from speaking is fascism, the very thing the poor misguided smart kids were trying to stop.

The protesters were also trying to stop the debate getting publicity.  Well done.  Gathering a large crowd with placards and banners and megaphones never attracted any attention, right?

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One Response to When does freedom of speech become oppression?

  1. bclc says:

    I agree with you, it’s a good point you make.
    However the protesters, under our democratic system, have every right to protest.
    Unfortunately our democracy isn’t as neat as we would like it to be and any debate would be lost in the general noise of media hype and hysteria.
    I remember reading somewhere about whether God is democratic, a notion I have been mulling over with no real conclusion.
    I do think that democracy is sometimes seen as something that is to be fought for and preserved above all else. Is it really that important, does being able to disagree with someone else publicly really make you free?
    I’m with Marley – emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds….

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