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The concept is nicely summed up here:
Free speech-even speech you don't like; especially speech you don't like-is one of the things that literally makes America great https://t.co/G6M3PZTdjk— Richard Dreyfuss (@RichardDreyfuss) April 29, 2017
Brendan O’Neill - editor of spiked
It’s time to get serious about freedom of speech. It is unacceptable to repress the expression of ideas. It is unacceptable to repress the expression of hatred. ‘Hate speech is not free speech!’, people say. But it is. By its very definition, free speech must include hate speech. Speech must always be free, for two reasons: everyone must be free to express what they feel, and everyone else must have the right to decide for themselves whether those expressions are good or bad. When the EU, social-media corporations and others seek to make that decision for us, and squash ideas they think we will find shocking, they reduce us to the level of children. That is censorship’s greatest crime: it infantilises us. Let us now reassert our adulthood, our autonomy, and tell them: ‘Do not presume to censor anything on our behalf. We can think for ourselves.'
This point on tolerance is also very apposite:
Tolerance demands conditions, something that the great Catholic preacher Fulton Sheen knew a century ago. The following piece is an excerpt from his 1931 book, Old Errors and New Labels, and is provocatively titled “A Plea for Intolerance.”
I’m sure his words were timely then, but perhaps moreso today. This line sums up his argument:
“Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to truth. Intolerance applies only to truth, but never to persons. Tolerance applies to the erring; intolerance to the error.”
What a crucial point! The greatest barrier to dialogue is our failure to separate people from their ideas. When that happens, people become afraid to challenge bad ideas because they feel like they’re demeaning the person who holds them. But people are not their beliefs—they have beliefs, but they are not identical with their beliefs. That’s a vital distinction, which Sheen helps us see.
This professor also makes the valid point: ‘Hurling labels doesn’t enlighten, inform, edify or educate.’
What those of us in academia should certainly not do is engage in unreasoned speech: hurling slurs and epithets, name-calling, vilification and mindless labeling. Likewise, we should not reject the views of others without providing reasoned arguments. Yet these once common standards of practice have been violated repeatedly at my own and at other academic institutions in recent years, and we increasingly see this trend in society as well.
One might respond that unreasoned slurs and outright condemnations are also speech and must be defended. My recent experience has caused me to rethink this position. In debating others, we should have higher standards. Of course one has the right to hurl labels like “racist,” “sexist” and “xenophobic”—but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Hurling such labels doesn’t enlighten, inform, edify or educate. Indeed, it undermines these goals by discouraging or stifling dissent.
This article on how language manipulation can be used to manipulation beliefs:
How language manipulation distorted national identities
Not all indoctrination is bad. Helping someone understand their own thought processes to help quit smoking or other addiction, for example, is arguably also a form of brainwashing. But in this instance, the intention is to help the individual. Crucially, the individual is aware of what is about to take place.
What should be of concern is when this takes place without our conscious awareness. Because, and you don’t need me to spell this out, that if it’s being done deceitfully we can pretty much guarantee that it isn’t in our interests. So how do we know? It can be difficult, but here are some pointers:
- When you see or hear a headline, first ask yourself why this story is being aired? Or how much air-time it is getting? Who benefits from you buying into the narrative? There are endless stories all over the world the media can choose from, so why did they choose this one?
- What and how is language being used? Are there any words or phrases that are being repeated often? This is important because if this is the case, you will notice people around you repeating the same phrases as their own
- Spend time on numbers 1 and 2 before you get involved in the story. The moment you delve in and get involved in the arguments, you are psychologically much less able to step back and evaluate with the same effectiveness. It is, literally, the perfect example of: ‘Can’t see the wood for the trees’.
Finally, this legal blog makes some very interesting points on the laws currently used to monitor 'hate' speech in the UK.