One of our members, Bill Etheridge MEP, was booked to be the first speaker at the newly formed 'Liberate the Debate' Society at Sussex University. According to the Telegraph, the society has been set-up by politics students who want to promote free speech and discuss controversial or “conventionally taboo” topics. Instead be being allowed free debate, the Students' Union gave the society a list of instructions that they must obey. One of those instructions was that Bill's speech must be approved by a panel in advance. The Telegraph goes on to say:
"The society was told that Mr Etheridge’s talk about Libertarianism and free speech had been deemed “medium/high risk” and so was only allowed to go ahead if it complies with a series of measures “to ensure the safety of the speaker and of students”. These included submitting a list of topics that will be discussed, as well as an advance copy of the speech so it can be checked to see if it complies with the students’ union’s “zero tolerance” and “safe space” policies."
There is something Orwellian about a free speech society being censored. The irony, though, appears to have been lost on the little Hitlers at Sussex University Students' Union. They like to use the argument that they cannot have any student at the university upset by nasty people spouting out opinions that would violate their safe space. They hide behind the facade of caring for the well being of students. Many students will be snowflakes who have never had their opinions challenged. That's hardly their fault, though. It is the way they have been brought up to think and behave. It has been indoctrinated into them throughout their education. But what's going on in Sussex and other higher education institutions throughout the country is sinister.
Shutting down debate is what fascists do. Anyone who seeks to restrict the freedom of others by no-platforming speakers, threatening that there may be violence if someone remotely controversial speaks, or by censoring speeches before they are delivered, should be called nothing else.
Their arguments are generally weak and they can't bear to be challenged. They like to use the power they have to remove freedoms from others, and because university authorities across the land are so frightened of them, they cave in to their every whim. Tucked away at the bottom of the Telegraph article, we learn that "Sussex University said they support the students’ union on this matter." What spineless invertebrates they are.
Universities are supposed to be bastions of free speech. They are places where young minds are supposed to be challenged. They are instead places where anything remotely controversial is banned; where young people retreat into their own little airy fairy world.
As every year goes by, more and more of our young people will enter the world of work, assume positions of responsibility, and have children of their own whom they bring up to think in the same narrow way. Around 450,000 students join UK universities each year. If the current policy of safe spaces continues; if students are no longer allowed to challenge ideas, then in just another ten years, millions of young people will have joined the real world unable to challenge, debate, and think for themselves. Some, of course, will disagree with safe spaces, but I would wager that a clear majority will not. Think about it. One one hand we have Islamist evil wishing to wipe Western Civilisation off the face of the earth, and on the other you have millions of young people graduating university devoid of the ability to do anything about it. Indeed, it's worse than that. In many ways because they believe that we shouldn't challenge ideas, they act as useful idiots for those who wish to do us serious harm.
This is why the 'Liberate the Debate' society at Sussex University is vitally important. I wish them every success in their endeavours. They are needed now more than ever.
Photo Credit: Newtown Grafitti