Monday, November 19, 2007

a question of free speech

in the wrong exam that i took yesterday, i had to write a brief essay about whether or not universities in the usa should place any limits on free speech on campus. luckily they said "any", which made the argument much easier for me. anyway, now comes the following news from oxford university:

"Police are bracing themselves for violent clashes between university students and far-Right groups after the Holocaust-denying historian, David Irving, and the leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, were invited to speak at the Oxford Union. ... The speakers were invited by Luke Tryl, the president of the union and a former chairman of the Halifax branch of Conservative Future, the Conservative Party's youth wing."

the details of the story are here, in the telegraph online.

i am an utter idealist at heart, who hopes that the individual will be able to make up her/his own mind based on the ethics and reason that underpin the culture and civilisation that i believe are most likely to lead to tolerance and peace in our world. i am always being told to be realistic, and sometimes i even am.

nu - what does one do with holocaust-deniers and fascists? and is there a difference between institutions of education, i.e., those that hope to shape and develop young minds; and other, public, forums? of course i do not know. i feel that if these people are not inciting others to violence and hatred, there are few grounds upon which to ban them. according to the article, the real problem is the people beyond the university who are planning to go up to oxford to fight for their guys. *sigh*

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