Freedom of speech

Have we lost the ability to speak freely and have the right to say how we feel without offending?

As a committed ‘lefty loony’ and part of the ‘liberal establishment elite,’ I’m aware that I am committed to equality for everyone and that hate speech has no place in a normal civilized world. But have we gone too far? Are we actually able to say what we feel?

In the 80s I used to watch a programme called ‘Allo ‘Allo. It was a comedy programme set during the Second World War and was extremely funny. I mentioned it to a friend who said that she didn’t watch it as it perpetrated stereotypes of people from other countries. I thought it was a little harsh and over the years I realised I just couldn’t agree with her.

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If you look at comedies and other forms of humour a lot of characterisations are based on stereotypes. The slightly racist (Basil Fawlty – Germans) the homophobic (Jack – Will and Grace – Girl Trouble) where Jack makes derogatory remarks about a lesbian couple. We delight in characters that can make us laugh about our lives and try not to take things too seriously.

In the UK hate speech is defined if someone “Using threatening abusive, insult words or behaviour …” whether it’s spoken or written and likely to stir up racial hatred. So parody of someone with the intent of humour is certainly different from someone who intends to cause a reaction whereas it will inflame hatred amongst certain groups.

Free-Speech

I don’t like Milo Yiannopoulos. I think he is an appalling person with abhorrent views. But his right to free speech turns problematic when he like others of the ‘alt-right’ make gross generalisations of certain groups. It becomes more problematic as social media and similar platforms have allowed everyone to have their say and at the moment it’s a deafening cacophony of noise. Where no one hears anything or understands it.

In watching some reaction to protests in the USA it’s interesting to see that people seem to be ‘triggered’. That the minute that someone opens their mouths to speak it seems to offend.

A lot seem to be protesting that we cannot say anything without being censored. Although the above cartoon is a parody of this, there are numerous incidents when genuine free speech has been censored. This worries me greatly and I think this, like other trends that have come from the USA, will soon arrive in the UK and increase over next few years.

I know that a lot people don’t like gay people and marriage equality. I will defend the right of people to say that they don’t agree with it. But when you try and stop someone marrying or even having a relationship with someone of the same sex then it becomes a problem.

*Gay people shouldn’t be able to marry – no problem

*Gay people should be killed for who they are – Hate speech

*White, black, interracial, old, young.

 

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Feminist views 

I have a problem with some feminist views. I have been struggling with them for some time and wondering why I have a problem with moral issues associated with feminist belief.

The term “Rape culture” was first used in the USA in the 1970s by feminists who believed a society which normalised rape as a part of the society and sees it as pervasive due to certain values it held about women’s sexual identity and gender.

So what feminists are saying that somehow society doesn’t see it as being a bad thing or even a punishable crime in a society. They believe that making excuses of what a woman was wearing beforehand is part of this “rape culture”. It is prevalent and symptomatic throughout attitudes in the society and endemic to it.

I had some discussion with a female friend and thinking about high profile cases where men had been convicted of rape or had been acquitted. I found it interesting that some on social media platforms held the view that the man was guilty even if he had not be convicted in a court of law. That the woman must be believed and the circumstances of the case were that the jury must have been made to believe that the woman was making the whole thing up something again feminists believe is part of ‘rape culture’ that society sees women as unreliable liars.

Feminists believe in ‘rape society’ is that society is teaching women not to get raped rather than teaching men not to rape. This to me is where I find the stumbling block. Not that any sort of attack on a woman is abhorrent but that despite the calls of feminists to teach people not to rape there are ways that women should protect themselves but again I reiterate that feminist would say is part of rape culture and I am contributing to it by making sure a woman is keeping herself from harm.

I had to look further into this and see how ‘rape culture’ is viewed under various classifications of morality. The feminist view is an example of moral absolutism. The idea there shouldn’t be any way in which someone who has said that they have even raped could have contributed to it. Rape is if someone hasn’t given their consent. To me there are cases where the victim isn’t able to give consent such as age but what do we decide if a woman is so drunk she has sex but afterward saying that she wouldn’t have consented at the time.

Feminists argue that there shouldn’t be grey areas and that it is clear that all sex that hasn’t been consensual is rape. Is it really this clear-cut? We don’t hear of ‘murder culture’ or ‘robbery culture’ we look at the evidence to see if a crime has been committed and that is how the law and the courts deal with each case individually. As much as feminism would like to see perpetrators of rape be punished as they should it isn’t as clear as that. Sex is still sex and if you consent to it then it isn’t a crime. But how do you prove a crime has taken place when the evidence before a jury is that it is the word against another. There are no physical signs of trauma or force but the woman states she did not give consent.

A murder takes place and usually in most cases there is a body. Some cases have been prosecuted when there has been nobody found but this is rare. We have physical evidence in front of a jury if an autopsy has taken place and cause of death can be established. It is up to the prosecution to build the case for murder or if the death was unintentional manslaughter or culpable homicide as it is known in the USA.

A crime has a victim, a perpetrator, and evidence. Some will go to lengths to cover their crime and destroy evidence. A report of the crime of non-consensual sex or rape needs to have more evidence than saying I did not consent. If life wasn’t as clear-cut as this and crimes didn’t have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt then things would be different. That isn’t how things work in the UK. There are some societies where rape has been normalised in countries that are in the middle of civil war and rape has been used as a weapon and as a form of terrorist barbarism.

We know are those men who go out on a weekend with the intention of having sex with women. It happens. Men do that and so do women. On the gay scene, it’s no different. Men and women do go out on the pretence of a hookup.

I don’t believe a woman or a man should ever have to modify their clothes to justify not being attacked but both sexes do dress to feel and look good. We have all go out in the best clothes but it’s never so we feel good we do it so we get others to notice this is what makeup is for.

If you were on a desert island you don’t get dressed up just for yourself intention is their attraction is a part of life and the natural process of humans and animals. There are ways in which everyone should protect themselves that’s why doors have locks and cars have immobilisers. We don’t live in a society of absolute morals.