Friday, February 3, 2017
About that free speech thing . . .
Someone claiming to be a member of Emerald City Antifa e-mailed me after I put up my previous post. He denied that the poster it cited was from EFA, and claimed it was a forgery by 'provocators'. He also took issue with my article yesterday about the demonstrations at UC Berkeley, and sent me the link to this XKCD cartoon. (Click it for a larger view at XKCD's Web site.)
He argued that there is no First Amendment protection for 'hate speech', and that the demonstrators were therefore justified in shutting down Milo Yiannopoulos' presentation.
I replied that although he was technically correct about the First Amendment, it nevertheless applied to all speech, not just that which is 'politically correct'. Furthermore, there's a much older law, one that applies even when the First Amendment doesn't. That law is the Golden Rule, which is found in almost every major religion and philosophy of life (see the link for more information). Briefly, it says that we should behave towards others in the way we wish them to behave towards us. That means, if it's OK for you to disrupt a presentation of which you disapprove, then it's also OK for others to disrupt presentations of which you approve. To put it another way, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. According to my correspondent's logic, if I'm confronted by (say) Black Lives Matter demonstrators, I'm therefore entitled to treat them in precisely the same way as the protestors at UC Berkeley treated Milo Yiannopoulos and his supporters.
He replied that I was a fascist, and therefore unable to understand. (He didn't put it quite as politely as that, you understand, but I won't reproduce his actual language here. This is a family-friendly blog, after all.) I simply shrugged. People like that - people from that background - are very vocal about 'respect'. They demand that their views and their persons be respected - yet they refuse to respect other people and other views with whom/which they disagree. It's got to be their way or the highway.
I invite readers to draw their own conclusions about who's unable to understand . . .