7 September 2017 -
There seems to be a great misunderstanding that giving a platform to a bad idea is somehow aiding in the spread of that idea and not the spread of the condemnation of that idea.
The article I'm referencing here is one released by Owen Jones titled "Giving the 'gay cure' quack a TV platform is an abuse of free speech", where he argues not that this man (a Therapist who appeared on Good Morning Britain) must be silenced for what he believes, but that the shows presenters shouldn't have given him a platform to share his views. The reasoning behind this is that his views are "harmful". The logic that what people say in public does damage to others so that person shouldn't be given a platform whatsoever. Though Owen Jones doesn't go as far to say that speech should be limited so words don't "harm" others, many groups would. So the logical question to ask is why?
When looking at this situation I'm able to find very easy trails of thought with their version of identity politics. The idea that they see everyone in society to be racist, sexist, homophobic and the like if they are not part of that group means that to give a platform to someone whose ideas they deem to be homophobic would convince a lot of people to his reasoning. This is not the reality.
This would be reality if ideas were equal, ideas aren't like flowers where all they need is light to grow. Some are like Vampires where light is the best to cure them, to stifle the free speech of those with bad ideas only lets those ideas grow in the darkness.
The rest of the article is spent accusing those on the right of politics of being disingenuous in the debate of free speech. Though I cannot speak on behalf everyone or about every incident, most in the public eye are very clear and consistent about how to present information, how to make accusations and how public discourse should be run.
Lets take two examples of recent weeks, on one side we have the ex-L'Oreal model Munroe Bergdorf who was dropped by the company for accusing all white people of being racist, an accusation one cannot make as she personally doesn't know every white person. This case is also impossible to defend when a term often used by those defending her is "not all Muslims" when they're in a discussion with someone who is generalising about the beliefs of the followers of Islam. On the other side we have the ex-Google employee James Damore who was fired by the company after putting together a memo on "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber", questioning their diversity programs that he believed were discriminatory and based on false information to achieve an ideological goal.
People on the right are for free speech with responsibility, you can say anything you like without the government censoring you but societal consequences are inevitable. A part of free speech is the freedom to criticise and L'Oreal and Google are private companies who can fire and hire who they please. We have the freedom to criticise the companies for their actions, especially as Google literally confirmed they were an ideological echo chamber by firing an employee accusing them as such. The difference in these two instances being that one made a generalisation about a race, not to mention without evidence, and the other pulled together facts and statistics to make sense of the current situation.
The part of the article which becomes confused is when he talks about the freedom to "incite bigotry", this is where the largest clash occurs and where those who subscribe to the intersectionality trail of thought are making things worse instead of better. They take a collectivist stance on all characteristics that define an individual and associate the minority groups as oppressed and the majority as the oppressors. The problem is when one from that group does something wrong, they switch to an individualist stance, saying that you shouldn't equate the actions of one to the collective. This makes it easy for those that oppose them as they have already started the discussion treating everyone as a collective. Also, to associate the majority as the oppressors proposes that we must presume guilt, whereas in a criminal trial the presumption of innocence is a fundamental human right.
The place in which both sides clash the most is when talking about the issues faced in the minority communities and how many label anyone who speaks ill of minorities as racist is where the misunderstanding on free speech takes place. This is because of their insistence on dismissing those with valid concerns as racist as well as changing the definitions of words such as racism to fit their ideological agenda and exclude those that are suffering but are part of the majority that they don't want to acknowledge. When facts are cited about minorities, they aren't challenged, they're dismissed as uniformed bigots. If you're so right then acknowledge them and inform them. The only reason I can see not to do this would be that they have actual concerns of which you don't want to address, in that case others will do it for you.
Most of those that speak out about these concerns in the public eye formally condone violence and harassment and their speeches don't call for any of it. The speaker shouldn't be held accountable or shut down for spreading ideas that aren't being refuted because of someone unknown to the speaker does something that the speaker didn't call for.
The right don't want "The right to say whatever I like about minorities without facing any challenge." like Owen Jones says. It's the right to criticise and express genuine concerns with sufficient proof or reason for concern without being dismissed or shut down, to not have presumed guilt and to not be judged by the actions of others.