Free speech in universites

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Herainestold
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Re: Free speech in universites

Post by Herainestold » Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:44 pm

Millennie Al wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:49 am
Fishnut wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 12:11 pm
This is an excellent thread. The tl:dr is that the UK government has a long an consistent history of silencing people they don't like. From video nasties to Section 28 the government has censored speech it doesn't like. They're is continuing this tradition of silencing voices they don't like, the only difference is this time they're trying to hide their motivations (poorly).
Indeed. And there's nothing unique about the UK government. All the more reason why any government support for free speech should be seized upon with enthusiasm, advancing it far beyone what the governement thought they were letting themselves in for.

Governments and institutions like universities need to be able to regulate harmful speech. The campaign to remove all restrictions on harmful speech is something the right wing is working on so they can further oppress minorities.

Millennie Al
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Re: Free speech in universites

Post by Millennie Al » Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:35 am

Herainestold wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:44 pm
Millennie Al wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:49 am
Indeed. And there's nothing unique about the UK government. All the more reason why any government support for free speech should be seized upon with enthusiasm, advancing it far beyone what the governement thought they were letting themselves in for.
Governments and institutions like universities need to be able to regulate harmful speech. The campaign to remove all restrictions on harmful speech is something the right wing is working on so they can further oppress minorities.
That's rather a non-sequitur. Governments and institutions may have such a need, but that relates to speech which is harmful to them. For example, the Catholic Church attempted to ban the publishing of Bibles in people's own languages rather than in Latin. This was on the (perfectly correct) grounds that it would allow people to think for themselves and they would have a reduced need for a religious institution as an intermediary between them and God. The failure to suppress this speech allowed the rise of Protestantism, which was of consideranble harm to the Church.

If you think that any form of censorship can help the weak and oppressed, you are seriously deceived. Censorship always favours the oppressors and those already powerful because they have so much more control over how it operates.
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Woodchopper
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Re: Free speech in universites

Post by Woodchopper » Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:00 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:49 am
Fishnut wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 12:11 pm
This is an excellent thread. The tl:dr is that the UK government has a long an consistent history of silencing people they don't like. From video nasties to Section 28 the government has censored speech it doesn't like. They're is continuing this tradition of silencing voices they don't like, the only difference is this time they're trying to hide their motivations (poorly).
Indeed. And there's nothing unique about the UK government. All the more reason why any government support for free speech should be seized upon with enthusiasm, advancing it far beyone what the governement thought they were letting themselves in for.
I agree. Hitherto government has tended to rail against ‘looney left’ academics and try to silence opinions they didn’t like. There’s a long history of academics developing and promoting radical ideas, and academic freedom has been an important part of why that could happen.

I realize the political motives behind the current proposals. But they could just be another misstep by a government which hasn’t thought about the implications of what it wants.

Herainestold
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Re: Free speech in universites

Post by Herainestold » Sun Feb 21, 2021 7:38 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:00 am

I agree. Hitherto government has tended to rail against ‘looney left’ academics and try to silence opinions they didn’t like. There’s a long history of academics developing and promoting radical ideas, and academic freedom has been an important part of why that could happen.

I realize the political motives behind the current proposals. But they could just be another misstep by a government which hasn’t thought about the implications of what it wants.
We need a situation where "loony left" opinions are not censored in any way, but harmful right wing speech is curtailed.

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Martin_B
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Re: Free speech in universites

Post by Martin_B » Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:57 am

Herainestold wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 7:38 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:00 am

I agree. Hitherto government has tended to rail against ‘looney left’ academics and try to silence opinions they didn’t like. There’s a long history of academics developing and promoting radical ideas, and academic freedom has been an important part of why that could happen.

I realize the political motives behind the current proposals. But they could just be another misstep by a government which hasn’t thought about the implications of what it wants.
We need a situation where "loony left" opinions are not censored in any way, but harmful right wing speech is curtailed.
No thank you. Some loony left opinions can be just as harmful as radical right opinions (eg, Khmer Rouge, the Great Leap Forward, Stalin). IMO, free speech should always be tempered by responsibility for the outcomes; you have to prepared to be subjected to the worst outcome from your opinions.
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Re: Free speech in universites

Post by secret squirrel » Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:18 am

Martin_B wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:57 am
No thank you. Some loony left opinions can be just as harmful as radical right opinions (eg, Khmer Rouge, the Great Leap Forward, Stalin). IMO, free speech should always be tempered by responsibility for the outcomes; you have to prepared to be subjected to the worst outcome from your opinions.
I can't entirely agree here. The Great Leap Forward ended up being a humanitarian catastrophe, but industrialization and collective farming, however misguided and badly implemented, is not intrinsically offensive in the way something like purging your country of Jews is. Also, someone talking about how 'Stalin was good actually' might be wrong on point of fact, but neo-Stalinist violence, say, is essentially a non-issue today, at least in the West. The same cannot be said for the violence of the far right.

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Tessa K
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Re: Free speech in universites

Post by Tessa K » Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:53 am

secret squirrel wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:18 am
Martin_B wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:57 am
No thank you. Some loony left opinions can be just as harmful as radical right opinions (eg, Khmer Rouge, the Great Leap Forward, Stalin). IMO, free speech should always be tempered by responsibility for the outcomes; you have to prepared to be subjected to the worst outcome from your opinions.
I can't entirely agree here. The Great Leap Forward ended up being a humanitarian catastrophe, but industrialization and collective farming, however misguided and badly implemented, is not intrinsically offensive in the way something like purging your country of Jews is. Also, someone talking about how 'Stalin was good actually' might be wrong on point of fact, but neo-Stalinist violence, say, is essentially a non-issue today, at least in the West. The same cannot be said for the violence of the far right.
The 'loony left' is usually what the right and far right call anyone who disagrees with them and is different from the 'extreme left'.

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Little waster
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Re: Free speech in universites

Post by Little waster » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:00 am

Tessa K wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:53 am

The 'loony left' is usually what the right and far right call anyone who disagrees with them and is different from the 'extreme left'.
Yep.

Example
A socialist, Livingstone's administration advocated measures to improve the lives of disadvantaged minorities within London, including women, the disabled, homosexuals and ethnic minorities, who together made up a sizeable percentage of the city's population; what Reg Race called "the Rainbow Coalition". The GLC allocated a small percentage of its expenditure on funding minority community groups, including the London Gay Teenage Group, English Collective of Prostitutes, Women Against Rape, Lesbian Line, A Woman's Place and Rights of Women.[58] Believing these groups could initiate social change, the GLC increased its annual funding of voluntary organisations from £6 million in 1980 to £50 million in 1984.[59] They provided loans, most notably to the Sheba Feminist Publishers, coming under a barrage of press criticism, who claimed the press' works were p.rnographic.[60]

In July 1981, Livingstone founded three groups; the Ethnic Minorities Committee, an organisation with a budget of £2.9 million, the Police Committee, and the Gay and Lesbian Working Party. 11 months later, in June 1982, a Women's Committee was established.[59] Believing the Metropolitan Police to be a racist organisation, he appointed Paul Boateng to head the Police Committee. Considering the police a highly political organisation, he publicly remarked that "When you canvas police flats at election time, you find that they are either Conservatives who think of Thatcher as a bit of a pinko or they are National Front."[61]

The Conservatives and mainstream rightist press were largely critical of these measures, considering them symptomatic of what they derogatorily termed the "loony left". Claiming that these only served "fringe" interests, their criticisms often exhibited racist, homophobic and sexist sentiment.[57][62] A number of journalists fabricated stories designed to discredit Livingstone and the "loony left" in the eyes of the electorate, for instance claiming that the GLC made its workers drink only Nicaraguan coffee in solidarity with the country's socialist Sandinista government, and that Haringey Council leader Bernie Grant had banned the use of the term "black bin liner" and the rhyme "Baa Baa Black Sheep" because they were perceived as racially insensitive
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JQH
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Re: Free speech in universites

Post by JQH » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:13 am

Tessa K wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:53 am
secret squirrel wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:18 am
Martin_B wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:57 am
No thank you. Some loony left opinions can be just as harmful as radical right opinions (eg, Khmer Rouge, the Great Leap Forward, Stalin). IMO, free speech should always be tempered by responsibility for the outcomes; you have to prepared to be subjected to the worst outcome from your opinions.
I can't entirely agree here. The Great Leap Forward ended up being a humanitarian catastrophe, but industrialization and collective farming, however misguided and badly implemented, is not intrinsically offensive in the way something like purging your country of Jews is. Also, someone talking about how 'Stalin was good actually' might be wrong on point of fact, but neo-Stalinist violence, say, is essentially a non-issue today, at least in the West. The same cannot be said for the violence of the far right.
The 'loony left' is usually what the right and far right call anyone who disagrees with them and is different from the 'extreme left'.
Back in the 80s the term "looney left" was applied to those Labour councils which had policies against racial, sexual, homophobic and disablist harassment. Not only by the Tories either.


Now of course everybody pretends they were always against harassment.
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Tessa K
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Re: Free speech in universites

Post by Tessa K » Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:19 pm

JQH wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:13 am
Tessa K wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:53 am
secret squirrel wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:18 am

I can't entirely agree here. The Great Leap Forward ended up being a humanitarian catastrophe, but industrialization and collective farming, however misguided and badly implemented, is not intrinsically offensive in the way something like purging your country of Jews is. Also, someone talking about how 'Stalin was good actually' might be wrong on point of fact, but neo-Stalinist violence, say, is essentially a non-issue today, at least in the West. The same cannot be said for the violence of the far right.
The 'loony left' is usually what the right and far right call anyone who disagrees with them and is different from the 'extreme left'.
Back in the 80s the term "looney left" was applied to those Labour councils which had policies against racial, sexual, homophobic and disablist harassment. Not only by the Tories either.


Now of course everybody pretends they were always against harassment.
Lots of places now have policies against discrimination, harrassment and abuse but there's a big difference between policy and practice.

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snoozeofreason
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Re: Free speech in universites

Post by snoozeofreason » Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:55 pm

Meanwhile, Merseyside Police seem to be muddying the waters regarding free speech.
Merseyside Police has apologised for claiming "being offensive is an offence" as part of a campaign to encourage people to report hate crime.

The force came under fire over the weekend after the message appeared on a billboard in Wirral.

It has since clarified that while hate crime is an offence, "being offensive is not in itself an offence".

I imagine that quite a few people would have looked at that sentence before it appeared on a billboard. It's surprising that no one pointed out that it obviously isn't true.

ETA Wasn't quite sure if this belonged in this thread, given that it's about free speech but not specifically about universities, please feel free to move or delete it as you see fit.
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