Free Speech: Timothy Stanley On The Death Of Thinking At Oxford University
WHEN the Oxford University’s compliant, scared, iliberal wimps and bigots censored an abotion debate, anyone sane should have noted that “Free speech is under assault on campus”. Tim Stanley was one of the speakers who was shut down by the unenlightend, ignorant mob.
…someone was outraged that we dared to discuss this issue at all. A protest group of around 300 people called “What the f**k is ‘Abortion Culture’?” appeared on Facebook that promised to “take along some non-destructive but oh so disruptive instruments to help demonstrate to the anti-choicers just what we think of their ‘debate’.” We were guilty of promoting “really sh*tty anti-choice rhetoric and probs some cissexism.” The foul language indicates how sophisticated the protesters were, while the accusation of cissexism had me reaching for my online urban dictionary. Was I being called a sissy by homophobic feminists? Mais non. Apparently a “cis” is someone who identifies with the same gender that they were born with. So that’s a thing now.
The university’s students’ union also issued a statement that took aim at Brendan O’Neill and me for being so offensively attached to our God-given genitals: “The Women’s Campaign (WomCam) condemn SFL for holding this debate. It is absurd to think we should be listening to two cisgender men debate about what people with uteruses should be doing with their bodies.” Next, the Christ Church Junior Common Room (posh talk for “the committee that run the students’ bar”) passed a motion asking their college to decline to room the debate. Eventually, the college caved-in on the grounds that, “there was insufficient time between today and tomorrow to address some concerns they had about the meeting”. The pro-life society tried to find an alternative venue but everyone else said “no”. I believe that two colleges agreed only to later rescind their invitations…
What it also proved is that elements of the Left are working hard to define new parameters for freedom of speech. You are free to speak so long as it doesn’t offend certain sensibilities, which of course amounts to no real freedom at all.