Monday, November 26, 2007

Free speech

There is a discussion of the Oxford Union debate at Harry's Place.
The issue basically comes down to this question: Are fascists entitled to free speech?

As Timmy says: the answer is "yes". To deny them free speech would be... well... fascist.
Moreover, why should fascists be given free speech when they would, if given half a chance, deny free speech to others?

Because we are not fascists.

Next.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

And why shouldn't the Left be denied free speech because they do, even when given no chance at all, deny it to others?

Anonymous Coward said...

Because we are not the left?

Roger Thornhill said...

The Left know they are right.

Anonymous said...

To deny fascists freedom of speech we'd have to gag the entire government.

poohbear said...

It suits the leftists to smear and tell lies doesnt it?
The BNP are and never were "Fascists" they are a legal political party with legal views and policies BUT the leftists dont like them do they? SO they tell lies and smear them to justify their anti democratic streak! I ask a simple question and it is a damning one, WHO IS NEXT IN LINE? when the BNP have been silenced by these lefist thugs, who will they go after next? because IF they are allowed to spit in the face of democratic freedom then like all bullies they WILL seek another enemy and another still!
If you wish to find a REAL FASCIST all you have to do is scratch a leftist and the more left wing they are, the more FASCIST they are! plain and simple?

Anonymous said...

I often wonder what people mean when they describe the BNP as fascist. Whenever I've read any article on their website I've never come across anything remotely resembling fascism. Indeed their expressed desire is to bring democracy down to the lowest level of local government possible. The closest thing to fascism I've come across is those on the Left, such as the laughably named Unite Against Fascism, who through intimidation and aggression seek to deny others their basic freedoms. Their behaviour during the furore of the ballerina Simone Clarke was apalling.

Henry North London said...

I welcome debate... I havent posted anything about it yet...

I would support their ability to say it in a convened debating chamber but we have to face facts. Free speech means just that. I may not agree with it but I'll defend their right to say it in a debating chamber...

I also know that the BNP has a Sikh division so its not racist at all...

Some people need to do a little research first before condemning free speech into the bin

Rory Meakin said...

Poohbear - broadly agree with the gist of your post but this phrase gave me the creeps: "legal views".

Anonymous said...

Socialism has murdered many tens of millions more human beings than fascism ever has, assuming that you accept the distinction between them ( which I personally don't). When we get all this sqwark about who has a "right" to speak why is that fact not mentioned?.

Anonymous Coward said...

Well, legal and nice are different things. This is generally the point where Voltaire is mis-quoted; instead I'll just say that I do not respect Nick Griffin or the BNP, I do not respect their views, and the thought of them getting pushed slowly through some immense, byzantine cheese-grater gives me a nigh-on sexual thrill.

However, the workshy bastards are only there to talk, and I'll try to bear that in mind.

Expressing racial hatred may well be an offence against all common decency, but to make it a criminal offence would be an outrage. Sadly, if we want to live in a tolerant society, we actually have to be tolerant, even to patent wastes of skin such as Griffin and Irving.

Not happy with the Oxford chappies, though.

Juan said...

To say the BNP are anything other than racist party is patently ridiculous. Should they be allowed ‘freedom of speech’? Again the obvious answer would be yes. However, did a post on this website not say that that Libertarianism, in theory, was basically the right to one’s life, liberty and property? Racism language and ideas can deprive a person of their emotional health and happiness and thus their liberty (in my opinion). How does this sit with your ideas of libertarianism?

I do not personally believe that freedom of speech is an absolute. You have to find a balance between a) the right of expression and b) the right to remain free of abuse or oppression from others. That is not an easy thing to do but to say that anyone should be able to say anything they want to anyone they want is too simplistic.

coming back to the situation in question I didn’t think the argument was whether or not Nick Griffin and David Irving should be allowed to say the things they do but whether or not they should be given the stage the Oxford Union provides. It is a high profile and influential platform. Should it be given to racists and holocaust deniers? No, I don’t think so. There’s a clear difference between tolerating someone expressing their repugnant views and handing them a megaphone with which to do it.

Trooper Thompson said...

Juan,

your key point is to question whether the Oxford Union should give a platform. The answer is to be decided by the Oxford Union, not by a baying mob.

Anonymous said...

Two faced leftist bastards--the hands of the Left are stained with far more blood than those of the right. That does not mean that Hitler was anything other than scum but his crew were matched and over matched by Soviet, Chinese and a dozen other kinds of Socialist scum. How is denying the Holocaust one jot any worse than the decades long conspiracy of leftist lies and silence about the Socialist butchery of 150 million human beings in the 20th Century?. If the BNP/Irving have no right to speak then there legions of lying, sanctimonious leftist dross who deserve to have their tongues cut out.

poohbear said...

Dear Rory Meakin,

I fully understand and have the same feelings as you BUT the BNPs policies are legal and they are a legal party.
I have seen nothing in the BNP manifesto which would justify the leftists attempts to sabotage whats left of our democracy.

Pastor Neimoller said it best,

"First they came for.....and I said NOTHING"

Anonymous said...

Err, surely if Ocford want to invite these guys to a debate then they're not giving them a platform - they're giving them a chance to debate.
If their policies are convincing then they will win the debate. However, I'd put my money on them losing.
The opinions of those who will not even bother going to the debate are all worthless.

David Gillies said...

The BNP are fascists inasmuch as Fascism should be interpreted as an economic theory. In its pure form, fascism has very little to say about racial issues, except in general to promote the idea of a strong national consciousness. The exterminatory policies of the Nazis were distinct from their fascist policies; there was very little persecution of Jews under Mussolini, for example. Fascism-as-economic-theory is essentially little more than an extreme form of corporatism. It is totalitarian in that while it nominally permits private ownership of the means of production (which is what distinguishes it from socialism) the uses to which those means of production can be put is subordinated to the will of the State. The BNP's economic platform reveals itself to be strongly Leftist in orientation without advocating wholesale nationalisation and thus, ceteris paribus, fascist.