No-platforming: good or bad?

The threat to stop universities from no-platforming speakers shows how little people really understand about free speech

I must admit, I’ve found this entire argument hard to follow or understand, on either side. Apparently, people from the opposite side of a political divide are so obnoxious they must be banned from speaking, because their speech insults folk opposed to their opinions. And that’s ok, because we need to insulate ourselves from insults.

Speech is not just about the words. Nor is the issue anything to do with offence. Rather, as the last example makes clear, it is the statement you make by a dogged insistence on being heard in places where you are unwelcome. Few, if any, of those who have hit the headlines as “no platforming victims” have been present to advance great new intellectual arguments, or debate.

As the trans community has often pointed out, the presence of a speaker such as Germaine Greer seems to guarantee no more than a rehash of arguments made and answered decades back. Which makes one wonder, if debate really is so vital to the advancement of learning, why Greer has learnt so little from it.

Ooooh… the evil Germaine Greer. Frankly she isn’t rehashing argument any more than anyone else. One may get tired of it, but no-platforming?

There are a few sides to this issue, where no-platforming is extant. First, the trans side. It’s beyond argument that there are some men who identify as women, and some women who identify as men. Apparently they have brains of one gender born in the body of another. I don’t think its an issue we can really ignore. The problem is, what do we do about it? Do we accept their gender identification and take it from there.? Or do we squabble irrationally about it?

Second, what about the women who for various justifiable reasons, just don’t trust men? They’ve been abused, raped, mistreated, betrayed… they have good reason not to take men at their word. Now they are being asked to accept men who identify as women into their bosoms? As equal women? C’mon, don’t these women deserve a platform? They should trust a trans man to woman just because they say so?

There is a fair amount to say on either side of this … argument… debate … no-platforming discussion. One thing is clear. Neither side is listening to the other.

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