It’s been a slow day here at the site. I’ve kinda just been sitting back and absorbing all the news, while thinking about what I wanted to write for today. First on the agenda is this editorial from The Globe and Mail last week (thanks to @ItalyGG for pointing it out). If you’re not familiar with that newspaper, you probably don’t live in Canada. It’s the second largest newspaper there in The Great White North. So when I see a fairly well-known feminist shitting all over safe space culture in their pages, it makes me smile.
The column was written by Meghan Murphy, and can be found here. I’ll excerpt some of it for those of you too lazy (or busy) to go read the entire thing. Keep in mind, this woman is a feminist, and not the of the C.H. Sommers variety. Even so, she can’t keep quiet about this growing problem:
As a feminist, I understand that ideas and words are not harmless. But the recent pushback hasn’t targeted people pushing racist or misogynist doctrine. Instead, people are arguing that the very act of questioning positions they consider to be “right” constitutes hate speech. Academics and journalists, even ones who are advancing long-standing feminist and anti-imperialist arguments, are finding themselves blacklisted because their ideas challenge a liberal status quo…
It’s not just campuses, though, where people are using the “safe space” concept to silence those they disagree with. The Block Bot is an online incarnation of “safe space” – it’s a website whose service aims to protect Twitter users from “trolls, abusers and bigots.” Put aside the point that any Twitter user can already block anyone they wish at any given time – the way the application has been put into effect shows that its professed purpose does not match its actual impact…
She goes on to talk about how she was added to The Block Bot herself, and slams the inherent dishonesty of these tactics:
Rather than weeding out users who aim to harass or threaten, the application seeks to compile a list of political dissidents, labeling users who step out of line with a variety of slurs. I myself was added to “Level 2” for expressing polite disappointment that a sexual-assault centre had taken a position in favour of decriminalizing the purchase of sex.
Thousands of others, including noteworthies such as New Statesman deputy editor Helen Lewis, physicist Brian Cox, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and feminist activist Caroline Criado-Perez, are listed on the Block Bot – guilty not of trolling, harassing or abusing but of having opinions “blockers” disagree with. The entire site, as a result, has recently faced libel warnings…
Pathologizing disagreement is an intellectually dishonest way to cope with challenging arguments. It certainly doesn’t support critical thinking.
When will people learn that free speech means free speech for everyone? I’m sick of these phony progressives enforcing their radical dogma onto everyone else through their shady and sometimes even criminal methods. It’s a damn shame that they have to resort to this. I was always raised to cherish argument. It’s been instilled in me all my life. Through argument and discourse, we can (hopefully) find common ground. Dishonest scum, people like the Block Botters, make me sick.
It’s great that even feminists are starting to call out this dangerous trend towards silencing opposing views. A speaker having a supposedly offensive opinion is not grounds to stop them from speaking at a university or event. Murphy gives several examples of this well-documented phenomenon in the piece, so I encourage you to read the whole thing. We aren’t the only ones turning on this bullshit. There’s a growing realization that safe spaces are totally incompatible with free and open debate. This is a good thing for anyone who doesn’t put ideology over every other consideration.