“They look so young”, I said to a colleague.
“They all look younger as you get older”, she said.
I showed her the picture in the newspaper.
“No”, I said. “They are young”.
We were looking at a picture taken (I can’t use it for copy write here) of loud protesters that were disrupting a debate about free speech and political correctness on a university campus. Which followed on from the shutting down of a debate at another campus earlier in the same week.
I have noticed this sort of thing happen at College campus’s in the USA however I did not think it would happen here. Well, I hoped it would not happen here.
Freedom to me, is extremely important. Freedom is choice, what to buy, where to live, who to associate with, what to think, and, if someone is brave enough in these sensitive days of political correctness, speak. By speak I also mean within reason that I’m not causing harm harm to others or being libel or shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre when there is no fire.
What prompted me to write this was thinking about WWII and why that particular war was fought and what the Allies were against. Also, the cost of the victory over tyranny.
We should never forget that freedom has come at the ultimate price for so many people. Freedom is why there is fighting today against extremist elements that want to destroy the Western way of life, indeed any way of life that they don’t agree with. There are people that have had their lives taken fighting for the freedom that we have today, something that they did not get the chance experience themselves. Never forget that.
I always keep in mind the quote attributed to Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
I was young and naive and ignorant however back then information wasn’t as easy to hand as it is today so I had at least the excuse of ignorance compared to today’s young people. I wish I had taken history at school. Today more than any time, ignorance is no excuse.
It is good that young folk / students are taking an interest in things other than their own latest selfie. I support their freedom to protest. I just wish the people trying to shut down speakers they protest against would do some homework first and look back on history to learn what happens to societies that do not have freedom we have. Protest is OK however reasoned, open, debate must be allowed too.
If the protests and actions of the past week or so regarding Don Brash are anything to go by then it will be interesting to see what happens when Nigel Farage and Jordan B. Peterson show up in the not too distant future.
For references to the history of Freedom of Speech there is a good Wikipedia page for that.