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Free Speech

(102 Posts)
NanKate Fri 21-Mar-14 15:56:16

What has happened to Free Speech ?

I was reading in the paper yesterday about someone who disagreed with breast feeding in public, but was scared of saying anything in case the PC Brigade came down on him like a ton of bricks.

I disagree with this view, but I think he should be able to state it.

Are there any topics you feel you can't talk about openly, because your view may not be the popular one ?

HollyDaze Fri 21-Mar-14 15:59:50

I think a lot of us are affected this way - I suppose it depends on how strongly you feel about something whether you're prepared to run the gauntlet by saying it.

Of course, there are the professional 'I'm offended by ....' type and I think they may have been the driving force behind this recent phenomena.

Personally, I'm happy for others to have a different opinion to me as long as the opinion isn't malicious and confrontational.

Nonnie Fri 21-Mar-14 16:15:06

Yes, criticism of any 'minority' group makes me feel uncomfortable. I don't feel that I can say anything which could, quite wrongly, be construed as racist, sexist etc. On here some time ago I suggested that mixed race people should celebrate their whiteness as well as their blackness and it was not well received. I don't understand why not and a dear friend who is mixed race agrees with me.

I've noticed on Facebook that I see quite a lot of stuff about being gay from a gay friend but I wouldn't feel it was OK to mention that I am straight let alone ask people to support me for being so.

NanKate Fri 21-Mar-14 16:24:24

I think we speak from the same Hymn Book Nonnie, if I am allowed to say Hymn Book. wink

TriciaF Fri 21-Mar-14 16:59:00

Not a topic which is discussed, but the way it is diffused.
Not long ago speaking freely about something you feel strongly about just went out to your close surroundings.
Now the whole world knows about it and can agree or disagree, attack or not. And can even provoke riots and national rebellions etc.
Best to think twice before you post something controversial.

annodomini Fri 21-Mar-14 17:13:45

Good reason for not being on Twitter!

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 21-Mar-14 17:50:29

"Best to think twice before you post something controversial."

Please don't! So long as it's not racist, just say it. Gransnet can get a little bit boring

Eloethan Sat 22-Mar-14 01:10:49

Someone who disagrees with the view that breastfeeding in public is distasteful should not be written off as being part of "the PC brigade", which I think is a term often used to sneer at someone else's opinion.

It's OK for people to dislike breastfeeding in public and to express that opinion, but others also have an equal right to express a different view.

NfkDumpling Sat 22-Mar-14 07:38:15

All this PC stuff and not voicing opinions for fear of offence is making life far duller. It shows in our politicians making them appear bland and grey - except of course for Boris.

Aka Sat 22-Mar-14 07:59:14

It's the idea in the OP that people 'come down like a ton of bricks'. There are those who will argue their point of view rationally and try to sway your opinion with logic and eloquence. A bit like debating.

Then there are the others who, convinced that they are right, will tell you you are wrong and therefore stupid (not in so many words but of course you are entitled to your stupid views opinion) hmm. More like bullying that debating.

janeainsworth Sat 22-Mar-14 08:12:02

Speech can never be completely free, can it?
We are all subject to the laws of libel and slander, and the laws forbidding the incitement of hatred against religious or other groups.
If you are talking about GN, then we have to abide by the rules, whatever opinion we may have.

janeainsworth Sat 22-Mar-14 08:12:31

I would not want it any other way.

MiceElf Sat 22-Mar-14 08:12:53

I'm perfectly prepared to express my views on anything. And I'm often in a minority. And I don't feel scared. Or bullied if anyone disagrees with my opinions. But I do feel very vexed with these who make snide remarks about a person rather than addressing the matter under discussion.

petallus Sat 22-Mar-14 08:50:26

I do agree with Aka. It's just like that.

Also, it's not really a question of being scared to post against the majority view, more a case of 'can't be bothered'.

I personally find it irritating when people hold views with so much conviction that there is no room for debate.

janeainsworth Sat 22-Mar-14 08:55:35

Well said MiceElf

ffinnochio Sat 22-Mar-14 09:09:06

A good thing about expressing an opinion is that it opens up understanding about how others view the issue being discussed. It doesn't mean that one is right, nor the other wrong, popular or unpopular. How it's debated is what matters. A bit of humour and understanding goes a long way in rational debate.

If I get a knee-jerk reaction to a specific topic, I often (not always successfully I might add) try to step back and ruminate on why before wading in with what might well be just a back-lash.

thatbags Sat 22-Mar-14 09:15:38

Another good thing is that it helps one's thinking along. Sometimes I haven't formed a "solid" opinion about something and just want to talk around it to become better informed. Sometimes I remain undecided even after a discussion. So, no, it isn't about being right or wrong, more just about thinking on stuff.

thatbags Sat 22-Mar-14 09:16:44

Oh, sorry, ffinn, that's what you just said. Ah well smile

Nonnie Sat 22-Mar-14 09:57:19

Aka and petallus I agree with you both.

Debate is fine but so often it is one sided because those who have a different view are worried that they may deemed some sort of when they are not. The PC brigade have made it very difficult to say what you think without someone accusing them of something or other. sad

thatbags Sat 22-Mar-14 10:06:28

I am frequently not PC. Unthinking PC attitudes, or those I might deem such, annoy me.

But I don't find expressing my opinions means that I get "accused of something or other". Perhaps such accusations are made but I just ignore them as not worthy of my notice. I certainly don't remember them or harbour grudges about them after the moment is past.

I think that what one person regards as a "ton of bricks" may just seem like fair debate to another.

Penstemmon Sat 22-Mar-14 10:22:10

Who are the PC brigade?

Do they really exist or are they a mythical group that it is easy to use to 'blame' for things that we might disagree with when we actually don't know how to argue our point?

Is the term 'PC Brigade' a perjorative term employed to diminish or undermine another side of a debate?

Is it like blaming H&S for preventing things happening or EU/Court of Human Rights when actually they are not really the reasons things happen?

I agree there are those who always have an entrenched view and it always seems little point in presenting your opinions because you know minds are closed.
I agree too that sometimes H&S, EU/CofHR do set limitations but there are equally many occasions when these institutions have been 'blamed' when in fact it is nothing to do with them..but they are a useful scapegoat! I have a suspicion that PC brigade is often used this way too!

Penstemmon Sat 22-Mar-14 10:23:52

p.s I am very used to being a minority view.. that is why you become vociferous to be heard above the majority view!

Nonnie Sat 22-Mar-14 10:27:03

Penstemmon if felt like the "PC brigade" when I thought it was OK for a mixed race person (black and white) to celebrate their whiteness as well as their blackness and no one agreed with me!

Why do we have Asian Radio but, as far as I know, no other ethnic group?
Why do we have Ballet Black but no other ethnic group?
There are so many other things like gay groups but you wouldn't consider having a straight group.

I will not duck! I have friends in most ethnic groups and have done since long before discrimination came in and I have gay friends too. I just don't understand why they have special organisations which are not available to white straight people?

Penstemmon Sat 22-Mar-14 10:44:14

Nonnie these groups exist not to diminish any other group but to give a minority a platform. There is no ban on, for example, Chinese Radio ( I suspect it does exist somewhere!) or on any minority group getting a group together if they feel the need or desire too.

I suppose I just ask why not Asian Radio /Ballet Black etc ? Is it causing any problems for anyone? If not then where is the harm?

As someone from a dual heritage background perhaps I can say why I like to 'celebrate' my non-Englishness specifically. I live in England and the majority of people are white English as is the prevailing culture. (I know there are particular areas where this may not be the case) I can visit places that are quintessentially English quite easily, eat English food, hear English music/language, TV, the whole of England is living English history. I celebrate the Englishness in me on a day to day basis!

There is nothing around me that reflects the 'other' cultural part of me unless I actively seek it out or make it happen for myself. When I cook a traditional meal from my father's cultural heritage to share with friends, play music, share books etc etc I am celebrating my otherness and showing that it is as valuable as my English heritage. I am not ashamed of it nor proud of is just an equally important part of who I am. I don't do it to belittle my Englishness!!

Penstemmon Sat 22-Mar-14 10:45:43

'to' not 'too'! wish there was an edit button!