Oxford Unions Debate about No Platforming

«Do you really want to give someone else authority over what you are allowed to hear? If not, why do you want to give that person authority over what others are allowed to hear?»
Person arguing against «no platforming», i.e., censorship

Not that much of a fan about the Oxford Union debates. Not after they deleted Kate Brooks debate clip in “Freedom of Speech and the Right to Offend” (which you can still find online).

But recently they had a debate about «no platforming», and giving it was an issue in a recent debate concerning the European election at my university, it might be worth watching. So here are the clips:

Celeste McGinley | We Should Support No Platforming (1/8) | Oxford Union

Harry Deacon | We Should NOT Support No Platforming (2/8) | Oxford Union

Robert French | We Should Support No Platforming (3/8) | Oxford Union

Toby Young | We Should NOT Support No Platforming (4/8) | Oxford Union

Jack Solomon | We Should Support No Platforming (5/8) | Oxford Union

Katie Hopkins | We Should NOT Support No Platforming (6/8) | Oxford Union

Mariah Idrissi | We Should Support No Platforming (7/8) | Oxford Union

Ann Widdecombe | We Should NOT Support No Platforming (8/8) | Oxford Union

To sum up my position in one paragraph: I think proponents of no platform think that platforms are given, not earned. But people *earn* the public’s attention. Nobody has a right to it, but they speak to something that the public is concerned about. Maybe they are wrong regarding the issue or the solution, but this doesn’t change the fact that this is an actual issue. And you ignore what the public is concerned about at your own peril. Denying them “a platform” — seriously, they don’t need it. They wouldn’t have been invited unless they were already public enough to warrant an invitation. If you think they are wrong, show some intelligence and ask challenging questions. Beat them with evidence and arguments, not with fire alarms and protests.

Seriously, we are not living in an “Clockwork Orange” world. Nobody can for you to watch or listen to anything. That is not the issue here. It’s not about “1984” mandatory hate sessions. It’s about trusting the public to make up their own mind, no matter what they listen to. Everything else is censorship. It might be from the best of intentions, but this doesn’t make it less authoritarian.

People should be free to listen to anyone they want to listen too, no matter how obnoxious, no matter how racist, no matter how sexist, no matter who deplorable some people think these speakers are.

And fuck those “kindly inquisitors”.

Categories: Gender, Generating Ideas, Improving your Creativity, Inspiration, People


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