Sunday, September 29, 2013

Canadian bigots suppressing Free Speech again

The decision earlier this month by Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario) to forcibly remove a free-speech wall erected by Queen’s Students for Liberty, on the grounds that the wall contained hate speech, has rallied troops to their respective battle lines. A much-needed intellectual conversation has turned into yet another standoff, with each side claiming to be odds-on-favourite to win in the courts.

For the defence, Queen’s Students for Liberty is backed by the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which says the removal of the free-speech wall was illegal; for the prosecution, Queen’s provost and vice principal (academic) Alan Harrison upholds the decision to remove the wall, telling reporters that the university would take the case to the Supreme Court, if necessary.

This rush to lawyer-up serves only to further distance the issue of freedom of speech from the university campus, which is where the debate over its importance should arguably be most productive.
Both Provost Harrison and Principal Daniel Woolf are on record as saying that the free-speech wall contained hate speech.

While both men have acknowledged that free speech issues are inherently controversial and that it is “arguable” where the limits to free speech should be drawn, they have categorically insisted that hate speech is demonstrable in this case.

Moreover, it seems that there are reasonable grounds to consider (or at least discuss) why offensive content on a temporary free speech wall is summarily purged when similarly offensive language and ideas are permanently accessible through university libraries. Consider, for example, The Satanic Verses, The Mischievous Nigger, Mein Kampf, or any of the 20-plus titles by Susan Sontag, who once called the white race “the cancer of human history.”

Since Principal Woolf has made it clear that “demeaning each other based on race, religion or any other affiliation will not be tolerated,” we might also consider what to do with the posters urging us to “eat the rich” that have of late circulated around campus.



Anonymous said...

There should be no argument. Either you have free speech, or you don't. If it's limited, it's no longer free. And those who truly threaten free speech are those who consider the (opinions) of others as "hate" simply because they disagree with them.

The true purpose of these so-called "centers of higher learning", usually controlled by Marxists, is to indoctrinate young minds. That is why they fear truly free speech.

Anonymous said...

Apparently "Higher Learning" does not include the freedom to think and express yourself.

Anonymous said...

"I live in America. I have the right to write whatever I want. And it's equaled by another right just as powerful: the right not to read it. Freedom of speech includes the freedom to offend people."

-Brad Thor