I don't get it. Free Speech Under Threat At University? (Added Extra)

K12

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Are the "free speech" advocates in this case trying to argue that every single person who asks to speak at every University must be invited to do so otherwise the University is fascist?

Are they saying that there is nobody who's (already well publicised and freely available) views shouldn't be treated like they have nothing to offer to the discussion (or that they do far more harm than good) because it's so full of misunderstanding, misrepresentation and outright lies?

Should we be inviting AIDs dissidents to speak to medical students? Holocaust deniers to speak with history students? Flat earthers to speak with geology students? That history channel "Aliens!" guy to speak with archaeologists?

I'm perfectly willing to accept that some people are being denied a platform unfairly but when this stuff comes up no one ever seems to bother to justify the value of the speaker in question. It jumps immediately to "boo censorship!". Either "censorship" can be ok in some circumstances or this isn't really an example of censorship.

This debate about what is and isn't free speech is itself part of the process of free speech and democratic pluralism. It's kind of annoying a lot of the time but it's a permanently on-going thing. There will never be a time when everybody all agrees about where to draw the line for this stuff... that's kind of the fucking point!
 

K12

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Zontar said:
Here are some prominent examples of fascism in action by left wing students:

[snip]

This is what the censorship that is no platforming is, this is what it looks like. This is what you are defending.
Christ I really wished I hadn't watched these videos because now my youtube suggestions are completely full of "feminists are evil and stupid" videos by the million and one youtuber guys with an axe to grind.
 

Siege_TF

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K12 said:
Should we be inviting AIDs dissidents to speak to medical students? Holocaust deniers to speak with history students? Flat earthers to speak with geology students? That history channel "Aliens!" guy to speak with archaeologists?

I'm perfectly willing to accept that some people are being denied a platform unfairly but when this stuff comes up no one ever seems to bother to justify the value of the speaker in question. It jumps immediately to "boo censorship!". Either "censorship" can be ok in some circumstances or this isn't really an example of censorship.
Unless you can find examples of people like that being invited to universities I'm going to go ahead and assume these people aren't being invited to speak at universities in the first place, and your statement goes beyond hyperbole and is just nonsense.
 

Kameburger

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MarsAtlas said:
No platforming is not censorship. A university is an organization that has debts to every student and should ideally work to accomodate as many students as it can with its limited resources. If I wanted a speaker to show up at my university for a speaking event and there were an astounding two other people who agreed with me while dozens others would prefer to use the auditorium some other way, well, its going to go their way. While they're not going to violate student rights for the comfort of others like, say, not allow black people in a dorm because some of its occupants are racist, but students at the university don't exactly have the right to their preferred speaker show up and a bunch of outside speakers definitely don't have the right to be given a platform at the university. If the speaker really is oh so concerned about speaking to the students they can organize a speaking event elsewhere. Funny, I notice that they never actually do that. Hmm, its almost like guest speakers care more about getting paid than actually speaking. Funny that. Anywho, this practice of students organizing is a practice of civil ethics, something a lot of people expect to learn about when enrolled at a university. You don't have neo-nazis denying the holocaust on university campus for the same reason you don't have them use city hall to do it or discuss it to a bunch of fourth graders in a student assembly.

Julie Bindel was barred from speaking (not "banned" as the article inaccurately describes) because more students didn't want her to appear on one of their platforms and get paid with by their tuition than students wanted her to speak. Her feminist school of thought is incredibly toxic towards transgender people, describing gender transition as "gender approrpriation" at best and "rape", yes, "rape" at worst. So in addition to being an inherently toxic ideology towards transgender people its also incredibly disrespectful towards men and women who have been victims of rape. If Julie Bindel was really so concerned about speaking she would've organized something not too far off of university property, but she didn't do that because all she cared about is green.

The article also deliberately misrepresents what a safe space is for the sake of knocking it down easy. We call this "strawmanning". Safe spaces don't serve anybody and a six year old can see why thats impossible. They serve "x" people and specifically disallow "y" people. A safe space for LGBTQ people would disallow Jerry Falwell sorts and a Muslim safe space would disallow Richard Dawkins types. I would say its "common sense" that you cannot be inclusive towards everybody but common sense isn't a real thing and critical thought isn't actually taught in schools, so thats how we end up with homophobes decrying that they're not allowed in LGBTQ support groups to be dickheads and say that they're being oppressed and censored.

The article also misdescribes "zionist" among many other things. Frankly the article is chock full of inaccuracies, so much so that its hard to take it seriously. Its a sloppy, rushed article that didn't even get a lot of things accurate and is too short to really make its point meaningfully. Funnily enough, the articles headline question is never actually answered because it never actually addresses the free speech of students.
I feel like you're representing these things as though they are something that is happening through the democratization of university policy. University is not obligated to provide students with a representation of the world as they want to see it but rather to educate. Student's are by definition there to learn, and while it is anyone's choice to decide that they don't like what they are studying, students dictating what is taught to them based on what is uncomfortable to them or not. It is important for students to hear from Julie Bindel because she represents a point of view that people actually hold. Saying that her point of view is toxic may be a valid critique, but people that agree with her exist, and those people vote in a democratic society and their vote counts just as much as yours or anyone else's. Not clearly understand what she believes does the transgender student who might be offended by her, the MOST disservice. Ignoring problematic viewpoints doesn't mean those people go away, yet that's the precedent these universities are setting.

LGBTQ people may not have to socialize with Jerry Falwell types of people, but they do have to vote with them, and trying to sweep them under the rug is what created movements like the religious sect of the Tea Party in the US. If a speaker draws no crowd, and no one want's to hear them speak that's one thing, but barring them from speaking etc, undermines education, because it hides a point of view from the world that actually exists.

Safe spaces in the manner in which you describe them, don't sound much different to me from the manner in which the BBC describes them, their language is just more colorful. That being said I don't really mind so much. Having a support group is important, absolutely. But PTSD is a serious disability and applying the word to everyone who gets upset when they're confronted by bigotry, or less cheapens what that actually is. Rape victims suffer from PTSD. Being bullied in school? It would have to be pretty bad to induce real cases of PTSD. What's happening now is more mass hysteria than anything else.

But let's say I didn't want to hear Anita Sarkeesian speak because she makes endless strawman arguments about male gamers, I'd be doing myself a disservice. On the contrary I want to here Anita speak BECAUSE I don't like the way she constructs her argument. Because people argue like she does. If I don't know how she think's and argues than I can't properly disagree with her, because I'm ill informed and I will not be taken seriously by anyone.

Any student is entitled to find a way to feel as safe as they need to feel to get through their day, and I would never make an argument to the contrary, but there is a line, and whether you agree with this article or not there hasn't been a significant argument made by people who support banning speakers and erecting safe space rooms, that addresses the cold hard reality that the world has a vast array of opinions and you'll be at a severe disadvantage when you're no longer in college and you have to function in the real world.
 

Zontar

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K12 said:
Christ I really wished I hadn't watched these videos because now my youtube suggestions are completely full of "feminists are evil and stupid" videos by the million and one youtuber guys with an axe to grind.
So it's not because of the fact the people in those videos who where no platforming people where being fascists who are pushing for censorship of opinions they disagree with that you take issue with, but the fact that now you're going to have to deal with a few videos you don't like showing up in your recommended feed, something next to no one even uses?
Pluvia said:
I mean I know conspiracy theories and getting offended is the crux of your argument
You have absolutely no interest in debating me and you don't want to counter a single one of my points, I get that, but if that's the case why don't you simply not respond to my posts instead of insulting both our intellects (in different ways)?
 

sageoftruth

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I think what's really important to me here is the question of what we're protecting the students against. I agree that the college is free to choose whom it gives a platform to, but these sound like cases where that decision was influenced by activism. Someone wanted to silence those voices. I know I cannot answer this myself, since I don't identify with any targeted groups, but it would help me if someone could clarify what one accomplishes by petitioning to deny someone a speaking platform. If it's about people feeling threatened, it sounds just as effective to give those who may feel uncomfortable the option of not attending.
 

Zontar

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monkeymangler said:
But by all means, keep repeating the slanted article about students "voting to recall the first amendment" when the reality had no such basis.
See the problem with many students being against the first amendment is that it's true [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3363482/Video-shows-Yale-University-students-signing-petition-calling-Amendment-Constitution-repealed.html]. Yes it's not all of them, hell it's only a vocal minority, but the fact it is as large as it is is shocking, and while you may try and insult me by comparing my views to those of Rush Limbaugh, the fact of the matter is there is a shit ton wrong with our generation.

There is a real problem with entitlement and narcissism, that is a fact [http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2013/01/15/are-millennials-deluded-narcissists/#15a3a4bb5ac2]. It's a well documented problem [http://www.livescience.com/53635-why-millennials-are-narcissistic.html]. Hell just look at your own post, you claim "We are the first generation to majority support gay rights. The first generation to acknowledge being transgendered as a personal trait and not an illness", despite the fact that's categorically not true, as we are the second generation for which that applies, and we are simply the first to see that shift translate to law and the medical community.
 

Zontar

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Pluvia said:
Nice try, but you not liking my responses doesn't mean I'm not addressing it.

So feel free to tell me why we should be offended about people being happy and how powerful some 20 somethings are over both the law and their university.
See that's the problem, your first line says one thing and your second line immediately contradicts it.
 

Areloch

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Dec 10, 2012
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Kameburger said:
I feel like you're representing these things as though they are something that is happening through the democratization of university policy. University is not obligated to provide students with a representation of the world as they want to see it but rather to educate. Student's are by definition there to learn, and while it is anyone's choice to decide that they don't like what they are studying, students dictating what is taught to them based on what is uncomfortable to them or not. It is important for students to hear from Julie Bindel because she represents a point of view that people actually hold. Saying that her point of view is toxic may be a valid critique, but people that agree with her exist, and those people vote in a democratic society and their vote counts just as much as yours or anyone else's. Not clearly understand what she believes does the transgender student who might be offended by her, the MOST disservice. Ignoring problematic viewpoints doesn't mean those people go away, yet that's the precedent these universities are setting.

LGBTQ people may not have to socialize with Jerry Falwell types of people, but they do have to vote with them, and trying to sweep them under the rug is what created movements like the religious sect of the Tea Party in the US. If a speaker draws no crowd, and no one want's to hear them speak that's one thing, but barring them from speaking etc, undermines education, because it hides a point of view from the world that actually exists.

Safe spaces in the manner in which you describe them, don't sound much different to me from the manner in which the BBC describes them, their language is just more colorful. That being said I don't really mind so much. Having a support group is important, absolutely. But PTSD is a serious disability and applying the word to everyone who gets upset when they're confronted by bigotry, or less cheapens what that actually is. Rape victims suffer from PTSD. Being bullied in school? It would have to be pretty bad to induce real cases of PTSD. What's happening now is more mass hysteria than anything else.

But let's say I didn't want to hear Anita Sarkeesian speak because she makes endless strawman arguments about male gamers, I'd be doing myself a disservice. On the contrary I want to here Anita speak BECAUSE I don't like the way she constructs her argument. Because people argue like she does. If I don't know how she think's and argues than I can't properly disagree with her, because I'm ill informed and I will not be taken seriously by anyone.

Any student is entitled to find a way to feel as safe as they need to feel to get through their day, and I would never make an argument to the contrary, but there is a line, and whether you agree with this article or not there hasn't been a significant argument made by people who support banning speakers and erecting safe space rooms, that addresses the cold hard reality that the world has a vast array of opinions and you'll be at a severe disadvantage when you're no longer in college and you have to function in the real world.
Indeed.

The problem is, there seem to be quite a number of students at universities right now that disagree with everything you typed.

At the time you get people that can unabashedly state "It's not about creating an intellectual space, it's about creating a home here" to faculty due to a stupid outrage tantrum pertaining to halloween costumes, sense is gone from them.


This is why this whole thing rubs me wrong, because it's people that only have an interest in being coddled wanting university turned into a little bubble of convenience, and are willing to tear down other people to get it that way. They're not TRYING to prepare for the real world, nor do they want to be exposed do different, conflicting ideas. (I mean, they got the lecturer that had commented to the effect of 'People should be able to wear whatever Halloween costumes they want' to resign over the entire thing because that lecturer wasn't "creating a safe space").
 

Erttheking

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University bars a single person from speaking, people think it's an act of censorship and an attack on freedom of speech...

You know I'm glad that this is a thing. We have so many freedoms that non-issues like this are considered problems by people because those people have never experienced a day of oppression in their life.
 

Jarek Mace

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erttheking said:
University bars a single person from speaking, people think it's an act of censorship and an attack on freedom of speech...

You know I'm glad that this is a thing. We have so many freedoms that non-issues like this are considered problems by people because those people have never experienced a day of oppression in their life.
I don't know about you, but when someone is barred from speaking at an intellectual institution because their ideology doesn't match a hyper liberal, borderline university exclusive agenda it does start to ring alarm bells.
It's almost as if people are trying to create an echo chamber of ideas.
 

Erttheking

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Jarek Mace said:
erttheking said:
University bars a single person from speaking, people think it's an act of censorship and an attack on freedom of speech...

You know I'm glad that this is a thing. We have so many freedoms that non-issues like this are considered problems by people because those people have never experienced a day of oppression in their life.
I don't know about you, but when someone is barred from speaking at an intellectual institution because their ideology doesn't match a hyper liberal, borderline university exclusive agenda it does start to ring alarm bells.
It's almost as if people are trying to create an echo chamber of ideas.
The university is not under any obligation to let whoever they want speak on their campus as a guest speaker, something that takes up university time, resources and space. They're not just stepping on campus and freely expressing their views, they're asking the university to shine a spotlight on them.

But how about this. You give me a link that shows that this university bars people because "their ideology doesn't match a hyper liberal, borderline university exclusive agenda." Because I fail to see a connection between that and denying a spotlight to a speaker that compares gender assignment surgery to rape. A speaker that could have set up an event off of campus but didn't implying she cared more about the money that came with it than expressing her views, something Mars Atlas pointed out. Do that and I'll consider the backlash against more than mass hysteria coming from people that have never experienced a day of oppression in their life.
 

Zontar

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Pluvia said:
Please, rather than spending your time doing everything you can to avoid addressing anything, actually address it. Go into great detail about how wrong I am, rub it in my face, just actually address it ok?
The problem is I can't because you're not even wrong [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong] as your posts in response to my own have had no connection in their content in that you're responding to something that isn't there, namely what you think I said in comparison to what I actually said, with your previous post being one which straight up contradicted itself by having two mutually exclusive lines that had both make claims that made the other impossible to be true.

I can't debate why you're wrong when your entire argument is predicated on the a misinterpretation of what I've written that has been repeatedly pointed out to you, yet you continue to act as though your original claims are valid despite their foundational premise being false. That makes debate literally impossible as this will continue to simply be you making your counter arguments to arguments I never made while ignoring the ones I did make.