All views with justification for why you feel this way are welcome. Please do not abuse this opportunity for freedom of speech by using derogatory or prejudicial language that targets someone on the basis of their race, religion or sexual orientation.
Here is a safe space for discussing contentious topics; with a new topic coming into the spotlight every week! Feel free to suggest topics for future discussions by contacting me. Please note that any unkind language will not be tolerated here; but, you may freely share and justify your opinions as I do not believe in no-platforming.
Cambridge Dictionary definition of ‘no-platforming’:
“The practice of refusing someone an opportunity to make their ideas or beliefs known publicly, because you think these beliefs are dangerous or unacceptable”Cambridge Dictionary
Providing people with a platform allows for views to be out in the open, where they can be debated and critically evaluated and challenged by those from different backgrounds; free from echo chambers that only reaffirm bigoted, hateful views. On the contrary, some people may argue that platforms allow for people with harmful views that perpetuate racist, homophobic or discriminatory ideals to dangerously influence the public and provoke social unrest at the expense of certain sectors of society. While one can completely understand this fear, providing platforms allows for open discussion, the ability to contemplate different perspectives and understand what needs to be done to tackle these issues that cause division whether they are publicly broadcasted or not. If these people do not have a platform, they sit with their unchanging views, able to preach to people who share in these hateful beliefs. This lack of discussion means people cannot be held accountable as they cannot explain why they, and more than likely many others, think the way they do; instead pushing the hatred they possess underground, failing to publicly challenge their views and alert others to the flaws in these systems of belief. This only leads to a lack of understanding and an absence of the realisation that not everyone shares in the same opinion due to differing experiences. This results in further polarisation and a lack of human connection to initiate real change by appealing to human empathy and common humanity. Not to mention that it obviously threatens free speech and the ability to rise up against injustice; democracy relies on discussion, by silencing human beings rather than questioning them and treating them like humans, how can we expect a precedent for silencing any sections of society to not be set. Discussion is necessary to reflect on how to improve society and make it more socially inclusive, more cohesive, as opposed to exclusive and resentful.
However, I have taken the issues that come with providing certain people a platform into consideration, which is why I will not allow for any comments that are inciting hatred based on the identity of another human. Opinions require justification; any form of trolling will be deleted. There is a difference between discussion for the sake of pushing your rigid opinion on somebody else and then defending your opinion to the ends of the earth, and discussion for the sake of actually hearing somebody else’s view and considering how this may affect your own view. Please do your best to engage in the discussion by directly responding to each other’s points. This is, in a way, a place to show that conversations can lead to progress if you forget about pride and allow yourself to entertain the ideas of somebody else, bearing in mind the differences in your backgrounds; then, explaining why it is that you think the way that you do about the world and encouraging them to contemplate or even accept this view.
The decision to allow this page is in itself is a highly debatable issue, as it allows for people to freely share their opinions; hence why freedom of speech is going to be my first topic for discussion.
Here are some questions to bear in mind when you write your response:
(I do not necessarily have a steadfast view on any of these questions, but I am extremely curious as it is such a heavily debated, seemingly unresolvable issue. Feel free to take your own course and ignore these questions! Do not be afraid to have a controversial opinion, as long as it can be justified.)
- What are your general opinions on no-platforming?
- Should there be exceptions to disallowing no-platforming if the person wishing for a platform is, say, a religious or political extremist?
- At what point does free speech become hate speech?
- Does no-platforming endanger free speech or is it necessary to protect people from discrimination?
- Does freedom of speech give people the right to use hate speech?
- Is hate speech against the person being no-platformed to be tolerated?
- Is there a hypocrisy in that free speech is often supported until it allows for a view that one does not share in?
- Are people entitled to share discriminatory views that are part of their own personal belief system? Is there a line that has to be drawn?
- Can a person even be blamed for their views if this is how they were conditioned to think?
- Does freedom of speech actually only exist for one to openly criticise a supposed oppressor, as was the reason for which freedom of speech was fought for in the first place?
For more ideas on this topic, have a look at some of the arguments presented in this Oxford Union debate on no-platforming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nm9qFjqJ7as&list=PLOAFgXcJkZ2zjXNz89oRBj_3O5RSYvqDV
Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Here are a few more quotes to inspire you to think more deeply!
“If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise we do not believe in it at all”Noam Chomsky
“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”Voltaire
“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.”Aldous Huxley
And finally…a controversial quote that provides some food for thought and is definitely one to address if you have any opinions on whether censorship can be a good thing:
“Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners”George Carlin (I would also recommend having a mooch around George Carlin’s ideas in video form on youtube, so you can decide to what extent you agree with him.)