Free speech, woke trolls and bridgeless chasms

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Free speech, woke trolls and bridgeless chasms

 

I suspect that most of us love & support the sentiment of Voltaire's quote: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

But our admiration and boundless tolerance is sorely tested when the idea is challenged. Here's two such challenges.

First, Voltaire appears to have never said that! It was his biographer that coined the phrase (1906), and it has been misattributed to Voltaire pretty much ever since. (https://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/06/01/defend-say/)

Second, we show very little tolerance of those who use their free speech to silence us. Those who use free speech to hate or silence others we might sooner condemn than defend to the death.

Free speech - yes or no? Any takers to present 3-5 minutes argument for one or the other side of this argument?

QUESTIONS

Are we willing to extend free speech to bigots, idealogues, and others unwilling to change their mind? Are we obliged to extend free speech to those who seek to end free speech?

Are social justice warriors justified in shutting down opposing views?

When do the claims of disadvantaged groups (e.g., women, minority races, LGBTIQ+, etc) end? What outcome would justify the disbanding (or at least heeding less the demands) of the cause? Equal opportunity? Compensation for historical/intergenerational wrongs? Can the inequalities/deprivations ever be fully resolved?

THOUGHT STARTERS

A positive review of Douglas Murray's book _The Madness of Crowds: gender, race & identity_
https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/books/the-madness-of-crowds-by-douglas-murray-review-a4241046.html

A guarded review of Murray's book
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/sep/19/the-madness-of-crowds-review-gender-race-identity-douglas-murray

An angry review of Douglas Murray's book by Tatiana McGrath
https://unherd.com/2019/09/why-ive-reported-douglas-murray-to-the-police/

Is free speech being muzzled on university campuses in Australia?
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-14/free-speech-or-troll-bait-university-campus-provocateurs-right/10895628

A journalist is schooled on the merciless power of free speech that is offered through Twitter
https://www.theguardian.com/global/2019/sep/22/how-to-survive-a-twitter-storm-tanya-gold-fat-shaming

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