The current day sees large numbers of people insistent that they are the holders of the absolute truth. Even, that those who disagree should not be given the oxygen of publicity. Thus we get to the idea of no platforming, something which is increasingly prevalent in academia. Have those wrong views – the insistence will be spouting untruths but often enough it’s the wrong view – and you’re not allowed to speak at a university, for example.
At which point we get this:
Feminist academics have complained that their new union boss cannot uphold free speech because she has refused to listen to opposing views in the transgender debate. Dr Jo Grady, who was elected on Friday as the new general secretary of the University and College Union, used a controversial “Terf-blocker” which is a tool on Twitter that allows users to block a list of accounts.
Terf, which stands for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists, is generally used as a derogatory term to describe those who believe that “identifying” as a woman is not the same as being born a woman. It can also be used to refer to people who are deemed to hold “transphobic” views. Ms Grady has defended her past use of a “Terf-blocker”, which she said is an “easy mechanism for blocking large numbers of accounts that have been identified as articulating transphobic views”.
Prof Selina Todd, an expert in modern history at Oxford University, said that she and many colleauges consider “Terf” to be an “abusive term”. Refusing to debate with people whose views you disagree with is not a suitable approach for a representative of academics, she said.
Now the actual accusation is that xe refuses to deal with boring shit from monomaniacs. Seems a reasonable enough desire to me even if I might disagree over the points and details of the monomania. But the underlying point being made is much more interesting. That people are wrong doesn’t mean they should be silenced. Far from it, this means that they should be debated so as to be refuted.
Which is interesting, isn’t it? At a time when the BBC says that climate deniers shouldn’t get on air? When the Senior Lecturer at Islington Technical College, that great polymath, has insisted that he’ll not take part in any public discussion that includes a climate denier?
For the insistence here really is that no platforming should not happen.