Channel Four last night broadcast a debate about Muslims and Free Speech. At the end, after a stream of Muslim speakers attacked free speech, a vote was held: Is free speech under attack from Muslims?
And yes, the irony was that obvious.
The vote was “no”, narrowly. Why? Partly because the question voted on was badly worded. All Muslims? Some Muslims? Only Muslims?
I think people were generally voting on whether or not they thought the attacks they had just been witnessing from some Muslims against free speech were justified.
I assume (from watching who applauded when during the debate) that the large Muslim component of the audience – it looked like some 30% to judge from headscarves and obviously religious dress – generally voted in favour of the suppression of free speech.
Others feel it’s nice to be nice and were voting in disapproval of contentious speech of all kinds. Most people feel we can live without the noisy, obscene and marginalised fringes of society. (We can’t, incidentally).
“How would you feel if I insulted your mother?” asked Tony Soprano at one stage during the debate. OK, maybe it wasn’t Soprano. Maybe it was someone from Hizb ut Tahrir. It’s significant how this language of offence and revenge has spread from the New Jersey Mafia, professional gangsters everywhere, and the villages of Albania, Sicily, Corsica and the Hindu Kush into mainstream society so that a young man can stand at a podium explaining the ancient basis of the vendetta – that all insults must be avenged – with aggressive language and posture, while a nice middle class liberal presenter nods approvingly from his podium.
Unfortunately, Jon Snow is not the only person in our society to have become so degraded.
Excellent reviews of this debate at The Select Society and Oliver Kamm’s site.
Ismaeel, in the comments, points out a different view, from someone who was in the audience, the Gay Jihadi.