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I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it - unless it's on social media

(73 Posts)
LaureBerthaud Wed 10-Jun-20 17:08:31

When did our society lose the doctrine of I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it?

It feels like we can't disagree on here, Twitter, other forms of social media without insults starting to be hurled. Threats being made. People declaring YOU ARE WRONG. END OF.

Have we lost the ability to think critically, to tolerate differences of opinion and respect differing views?

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TinyGringotts Wed 10-Jun-20 17:14:16

I agree wholeheartedly. I find the trans issue so hard to talk about rationally with people.

It's a 'new' issue in that it's now out in the open. But god forbid you are anything other that 100% on board from the first second you think about it. No room for intelligent debate or a safe place to ask questions as you educate yourself on it.

zscaler Wed 10-Jun-20 17:22:12

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it?

What is your interpretation of the meaning of this phrase? Do you think the implication is that one should never expect to be argued with, disagreed with, or ignored because one has a right to speak?

Because what this phrase was actually intended to convey was an opposition to the idea that your right to express yourself can be curtailed by government. It simply means that, within reasonable limits, you should be free to say what you like without being punished or censored by the government.

It doesn’t mean people generally have to respect what you say. It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t argue with you, tell you they think you’re wrong, point out errors of fact or judgment, criticise you for holding a certain opinion, or accept your point of view. Those are all perfectly normal ways to respond to an opinion in a democratic society which protects free speech.

theonlywayisapple Wed 10-Jun-20 17:23:57

On here, if you aren't Left, you're wrong. It's pathetic

WowLucky Wed 10-Jun-20 17:25:55

I think there are a number of instances here where posts are removed because unpalatable opinions were expressed and that's wrong IMO but having someone tell you you're wrong, doesn't alter the fact that you have the right to say what you said. They also have the right to tell you you're wrong.

Stressing Wed 10-Jun-20 17:33:15

I left Mn for many years because it’s just too left leaning for my centre ground views. However, having spent time on Twitter I’ve come back because Twitter is just VILE!

potter5 Wed 10-Jun-20 17:33:34

Nobody is allowed to express an opinion these day s. You need to have a thick skin and expect to be shouted down.

SouthJersey Wed 10-Jun-20 17:39:21

I don't know about your social media, but I am tired of seeing downright false information on mine. I don't mind people sharing ideas that are different from mine because I think that dialogue is important.

However, I also think that hurling insults doesn't contribute to dialogue. And sharing easily disproved or misleading information needs to be addressed. I've got two less FB friends this week simply because they don't want to check the information and memes they share.

Stressing Wed 10-Jun-20 17:43:33

It does feel like that potter. There is ‘popular thought’. ‘Fashionable opinion’. Sadly, people brainwash themselves with other people’s ideas and fail to maintain their own stance on matters. The school of popular thought wins every time because it has the masses behind it, and is often jumped on by high profile celebs who are only there to serve their own interests. (They go where the limelight is). So the circle of shite continues and rational debate is quashed, because people get swept along on the bandwagon.

Stressing Wed 10-Jun-20 17:44:35

We are sheeple. Or some of us are anyway.

KaronAVyrus Wed 10-Jun-20 17:47:23

Can’t be doing with all this cancel culture. It would be an exceptionally boring world if we were all the same. Besides which something you thought or said 10yrs ago might not reflect who you are now.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 10-Jun-20 17:48:55

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it?

No one has to host you saying it, whatever it is. If I dont want you to say it in my house, I will ask you to leave. If you are telling a lie, no one has to publish it. If you are saying racist, homophobic, misogynistic, sectarian, "not in the spirit" things then you can be told to go elsewhere. If you are making hate speech, the law will be on your ass.
🤷‍♀️

LaureBerthaud Wed 10-Jun-20 17:52:35

zscaler - I think I interpret it the way it was intended and the way you do.

It doesn’t mean people generally have to respect what you say. It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t argue with you, tell you they think you’re wrong, point out errors of fact or judgment, criticise you for holding a certain opinion, or accept your point of view. Those are all perfectly normal ways to respond to an opinion in a democratic society which protects free speech

Respect people's right to have an opinion that differs from your own. Challenge their views, discuss, debate. We can do this without vitriol and no platforming.

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XDownwiththissortofthingX Wed 10-Jun-20 17:58:40

Yup that phrase is nuanced, and frequently used by bigots in an attempt to validate their bigotry.

Open disagreement about subjective matters, yes, crack on, everyone has a right to an opinion on things which are a matter of opinion

Going to bring it up when someone calls you out for posting 'all lives matter' nonsense, or calls you out on your racist, xenophobic, or otherwise hateful bullshit? No, get in the sea.

LaureBerthaud Wed 10-Jun-20 18:00:28

If I dont want you to say it in my house, I will ask you to leave.

Don't you ever have a discussion or difference of opinion with visitors? Or would you show them the door if they were to say (for example) "I don't think the Edward Colston statue should have been removed because he didn't do anything that was illegal at the time but used his money for the good of the people of Bristol"

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XDownwiththissortofthingX Wed 10-Jun-20 18:04:31

It's not that far removed from the 'freedom of speech' defence.

No, 'freedom of speech' does not entitle you to espouse views which are contrary to law, discriminate on the basis of protected characteristics, or promote groups or movements that have been deemed illegal.

The law is not subjective on these matters. Just because you wholeheartedly believe something and refuse to accept that belief is bigoted, does not mean you are not a bigot.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 10-Jun-20 18:04:56

I have plenty of differences of opinion with my friends, but there are somethings I simply won't host and will not have said around my children.

Nanalisa60 Wed 10-Jun-20 18:04:59

Your not aloud to say what you think anymore !! We all have to but up and shut up!!

Even university debates have stop because everyone gets offended!!

No body wants to listen to another person opinion only there’s is wright

MolyHolyGuacamole Wed 10-Jun-20 18:08:38

Depends what it is. I won't defend anyone's right to speak racist views. Racism isn't an opinion.

Nottherealslimshady Wed 10-Jun-20 18:11:43

I agree. I dont understand how people get so offended by someone having a different opinion to them.

LaureBerthaud Wed 10-Jun-20 18:12:39

And just because someone on Twitter says you are a bigot, it doesn't mean you are a bigot. Or racist, misogynistic or transphobic. It's easy to try and shut someone down with insults and accusations, it takes a level of intelligence and critical thinking to engage with them, disprove their assertions, change their mind or your own, or agree to differ.

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Nottherealslimshady Wed 10-Jun-20 18:14:00

Oh unless you're racist, homophobic etc. If your view is literally to be offensive then I have no time for you. We all have the right to be who we are without prejudice, but that right does not extend to being a wanker or a bully.

MysteriesOfTheOrganism Wed 10-Jun-20 18:18:22

Yes, it does seem that intolerance has become the norm. Anyone who holds different values or beliefs is subject to insult and abuse. Medieval witch hunts have reappeared in digital form. It's even prevalent amongst those who really ought to know better. Maybe I've just become tired and cynical after seeing it grow over the past 40+ years, but it feels that Western society is tearing itself apart.

XDownwiththissortofthingX Wed 10-Jun-20 18:21:29

@LaureBerthaud

Indeed, but at the same time, there's a hell of a lot of 'opinion' posited on Twitter that is clearly hate or phobic. It's not easy to impart nuance over Social Media, and it's quite often the case that people will post something offensive without it actually stemming from a place of hate.

To use the current hot potato, it's commonplace just now to see transphobic 'opinion' posted by people who do not consider themselves transphobes, and do not intend to be transphobic, but that context doesn't alter the content of the tweet. If somebody says something transphobic, it's understandable why some other people might get upset and attack them for being a transphobe.

If you feel someone is being overtly hateful or bigoted and attacking you or a cause particularly close to your heart, I can't imagine being restrained enough to post a considered, all-encompassing rebuttal in the heat of the moment, just on the off chance the offending party is acting out of ignorance and not malice. Certainly not on a platform where is simple to rattle off and post as response in mere seconds. In a more formal face-to-face setting, yes I agree, discussion and debate of subjective matters is great and healthy, but I don't think Social Media lends itself to that at all.

In essence, what you see is a problem created more by the nature of the media at hand, not the fact that people are simply becoming less tolerant or able to have constructive discussions or debates.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 10-Jun-20 18:24:18

It also takes a level of intelligence and critical thinking to read the room and to recognise goady fuckers and make them leave.

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