Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Censorship. A coward's instrument.

There has been an increased frequency recently of events such as these where individuals take it upon themselves to prevent another human being from engaging in simple debate. The latest ban features Milo Yiannopoulos and Julie Bindel. The topic which you won't find in their announcement? Free speech.

The only reasonable request one can make of Manchester's Student Union is that they resign. In this world, you're going to find people who disagree with you. Educational institutions have been the epicentres of debate for countless generations. It's where bad ideas go to die. At least it's where they did, until lately. Now, you have a selective group of opinions which will never have the luxury of standing up to scrutiny because in this day and age, offering a rebuttal to someone's opinion is as bad as rape. They flat out call Milo a rape apologist in an official announcement. If this is the image of a person who's sheer presence causes you  to deny him entry in a debate, then you are a coward and your opinions are fragile to begin with.

One of the ways intellectual human beings discover truths is by putting their opinions out there, in the public eye, to test their validity. The Internet offers an even more valuable platform, because people are more likely to disagree with you and provide sourced statements defending their point of view. It's one of the reasons I go about writing on a regular basis as a form of truth seeking. It's why I'm ridiculously intelligent as well as confident. Without this, the next generation will simply pale in comparison. If a pile of infantile, insecure paroquets void of the ability to rationalize their beliefs and environment is what you're looking for, then look no further than Manchester U. Unfortunately, they're not the only culprits. Even President Barack Obama had to take some time to offer words of wisdom. Without debate, there is no chance to recognize your own faults and evolve your opinion to reflect the truth. Otherwise, enjoy being ignorant.

Keep in mind that, in practising censorship, there's always the chance that it will backfire. We already have several examples of what regressives with extremely different opinions do to those who oppose them. Raif Badawi is one among many who is paying a heavy price for exercising free speech. I'm sure like-minded individuals like the Manchester's Student Union would never condone the lashing of another human being. But that's how these things start, with one voice silenced to promote and enforce one idea over another. This is why that as long as I draw breath, I will fight so everyone has the ability to represent their beliefs, regardless of my personal feelings towards the opinions expressed.

Censorship is one of the critical steps towards totalitarianism and the loss of humanity. One of the key arguments favouring censorship is the psychological impact certain speech and actions can have. I myself was not immune to this. However censorship doesn't make that problem go away. Kids are still going to be singled out, made fun of and have their confidence compromised. When it happened to me, there was no Internet to speak of. When a human being is feeling insecure, they don't need protection. They need to be elevated to a position of importance. They need to be shown that even in the worst situations, that they're not helpless. That they're not alone. And in extreme cases, there are harassment laws. In no way does censorship do any of that.

One of the key ways to build confidence is to engage in debate. Some people will inevitably call you a moron for having a different opinion. There is however a feeling of accomplishment once you realize that the person calling you an idiot no longer has any other course of action. You've systematically disarmed them to the point where slander is their best option. It's through this endeavour that you realize exactly just how insignificant an insult is. It, like censorship is the instrument of the intellectually bankrupt.

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