Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

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Freedom of Speech - Ducking a Canard
Banning or not banning Donald Trump from Britain, like inviting or not inviting someone to give a distinguished address at a university, is not really a freedom of speech issue. At all. Because Donald Trump has freedom of speech by the bucketful. He plays nightly on millions of TV screens, including those in Britain. Yet that's the way it's frequently presented.

Here's my analogy, make of it what you will. It's a very middle-class one, but hey, that's my cultural milieu. You are holding a dinner party and inviting guests. You consider inviting your Uncle Donald or Aunt Germaine, out of politeness - but then you remember that Uncle Donald is a messy eater who is likely to throw profiteroles at your black guests, while Aunt Germaine is an aggressive drunk who (last time she came) ended up calling everyone "Ghastly parodies". On reflection, and considering the feelings of your other guests, you decide to leave them off the list.

The next day the headlines read: "Donald and Germaine left to starve!" Newspaper columnists line up to argue that "Food is a human right" and that by not inviting Donald and Germaine to dinner you have effectively denied them that right. This puzzles you, because the streets are full of supermarkets, restaurants and cafes, and neither Donald nor Germaine is short of a bob or two. Besides, they both get invited to dinner by other people most nights of the week. But many a column inch is devoted by journalists to arguing passionately that unless Donald and Germaine can sit themselves down at any dinner table in the land they are effectively being denied the right to food.

Ridiculous, huh? It would never happen. But when it's speech rather than food, that's exactly the argument we hear on a regular basis. And the headlines, rather than being laughed off, are earnestly debated by public and politicians alike. Why is this? Not because freedom of speech is so much more important than the freedom not to die of starvation, presumably. After all, starving tends to rob you of speech pretty effectively anyway.

In Trump's case, of course, it's more a freedom of movement issue than a freedom of speech one, but considering his own proposals involve denying freedom of movement to 1,600,000,000 people, I'm not surprised that aspect hasn't been stressed.

HMP Armley and Vicky Thompson.

Bit of a disagree here. Trump is an idiot but he is our idiot. His blackening in the UK is in large measure due to his truth telling - plod are terrified to patrol certain areas.
Germaine is different. She denies basic humanity. She is intellectually well past her sell by date.

Re: HMP Armley and Vicky Thompson.

Well, we can disagree about that, but the post is less about their views than whether their freedom of speech is being infringed.

Re: HMP Armley and Vicky Thompson.

Of course it is infringed! "Someone" got on the wrong side of the Feminazis. Free speech is only "free" fr one side.

(Deleted comment)
My goodness!

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But many a column inch is devoted by journalists to arguing passionately that unless Donald and Germaine can sit themselves down at any dinner table in the land they are effectively being denied the right to food.

It's the same mistake everyone makes about freedom of speech, which at this point I am starting to feel I must consider a disingenuous tactic. You have the right to speak on any subject you wish. Nobody has the obligation to listen to you.

I always thought that freedom of speech meant exactly that - freedom to express whatever views they hold , whether good or bad, and whether it offends or not. This is a case of our country not wanting to muddy the murky waters of American politics. The fact that his own proposal to deny the movement of 1.6 M people has somewhat been overlooked by most of the mass media - but then that is to expected as they do love to sensualize and not get at the nitty gritty of the matter.

I think you mean "sensationalize." "Sensualize" would be more like this.

Oops yes , but i just had been watching a sexy moment with Sookie in True Blood.

(Disclaimer: I'm not a Trump supporter; I'm a US Democrat.)

Briefly registering disagreement. Rather, "Bad argument gets good argument. Does not get bullet."

That is, Enlightenment values. "Freedom of speech" and "Defend to the death" are synecdoche for an Enlightenment value which included "Freedom of conscience" and "Freedom of belief".

Was there a more general term for that value?

Whose freedom to speak is being denied? I'm struggling to think of anyone on the planet whose freedom of speech is less abridged than Donald Trump's right now.

Edited at 2015-12-15 07:33 am (UTC)

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