Is Freedom on the Wrong Side of History?
The provocative journalist Brendan O'Neill, writing for The Spectator, asks "Why are student-union officials censoring criticism of Islamic State?" (Novemmber 6, 2015), and he focuses on Macer Gifford (a pseudonym), who was invited by the Kurdish Society to speak at University College London on his experience fighting against Islamic State:
Macer Gifford, a former student at University College London (UCL), was due to give a talk at UCL this week on his experiences with the YPG, the fighting units of Syrian Kurdistan who have valiantly stymied the spread of Isis. But the Kurdish Society who invited him was told by Asad Khan, the activities and events officers of UCL's students' union, that the talk couldn't go ahead, because 'in every conflict there are two sides, and at UCLU [University College London Union] we want to avoid taking sides in conflicts'.Asad Khan to the contrary, allowing Macer Gifford to speak is not the same as promoting his views. University students these days seem to conflate the two - free speech and promoting views - so they protest against speakers whose views are 'controversial' and they apply pressure to have the speakers 'dis-invited.'
It's true there are two sides in the YPG v Isis conflict. One side has both men and women fighting hard to protect their homeland and people from falling to brutal Islamist rule; the other pushes gay people off buildings, stones adulterers, sets fire to its prisoners of war, and mows down anyone who stands in the way of the growth of its creepy Caliphate. If you can't 'take sides' in a conflict like that, then your moral compass is in serious need of repair.
As I asked several posts ago, doesn't anyone believe in free speech anymore? Are those of us who do still believe in free speech on the wrong side of history?