Back here, we mocked the idea that "free speech" had anything to do with the rude reception afforded an anti-choice fanatic at McGill recently. And now, via Dammit Janet, we learn that said anti-choicer(s) were being given every opportunity to not act like blithering, disengenuous assholes and still came up short:
EDITORIAL: Choose Life crossed the line with Ruba event
At 6 p.m. tonight, Choose Life, the Students' Society's pro-life club, will host a presentation by Jose Ruba, a co-founder of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, titled "Echoes of the Holocaust." Ruba's speech will attempt to draw parallels between abortion and the Holocaust, by arguing that "dehumanization and denial of personhood has justified some of the greatest affronts to human dignity that the world has seen." The presentation refers to abortion as a "mass human rights violation" and includes graphic imagery such as photos of dead bodies at concentration camps followed by photos of supposedly aborted foetuses.
On Thursday night, SSMU Council voted to censure the event and to make Choose Life ineligible to receive funding if they go through with tonight's presentation. We commend them for that decision. The comparison of abortion to the Holocaust is not only horribly offensive and inaccurate, it is deliberately designed to be inflammatory. This event is not intended to foster debate - it is designed to be provocative and to distract from meaningful discussion of abortive rights.
How about that? People recognizing that event for what it really is -- a transparent attempt to be insulting and offensive, as opposed to actually trying to impart any information that might contribute to anything resembling intellectual discourse. And what's even funnier is that those yahoos were being given every opportunity to act like grownups, and they still fucked up:
Last October, when Choose Life was applying for interim club status, the Tribune editorialized that SSMU Council should approve their application. We still stand behind that decision. Although many who opposed the club have adopted an "I told you so" attitude in light of Choose Life's recent actions, they miss the point of our original argument: you cannot preemptively censor a club based on what you believe they might do. Choose Life could have fulfilled their mandate by hosting informative events that presented the pro-life position without sensationalizing the issue or attempting to induce guilt among pro-choice believers. A pro-life belief is not, in itself, oppressive. Even though Choose Life had the potential to behave inappropriately, it was necessary to give the club some rope, and see if they used it to hang themselves.
And hang themselves they did. Gloriously. Spectacularly. Predictably. But, really, here's the larger point that no one seems to recognize.
We have no further need to listen to the anti-choice warriors, because they have nothing more to add to the debate. We know what they believe. They hate abortion. They think it's murder. They think fetuses are human beings. Yes, we get it, we get it, dear Lord, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we fucking get it!! Do you think telling us 101 times as opposed to 100 will suddenly constitute a compelling and persuasive argument?
We know what you folks think. Seriously. So if you have nothing new to bring to the table, no one really has any obligation to continue giving you a forum to simply repeat the same dishonest, inflammatory swill over and over and over and over.
We get it. You hate abortion. Now go away until you have something new to say.
AND HERE'S WHERE WE JUXTAPOSE: Curiously, the same folks who yammer on and on about "free speech" and ask why anyone's scared to listen to someone else's opinion apparently have no problem with this sort of government-driven intellectual blackmail and abuse of power. Strangely enough, I don't recall any of Canada's "free speech" warriors leaping to free speech's defense back then. Perhaps context had something to do with it.
A POINT OF DISAGREEMENT: I'll take issue with this position:
... you cannot preemptively censor a club based on what you believe they might do. Choose Life could have fulfilled their mandate by hosting informative events that presented the pro-life position without sensationalizing the issue or attempting to induce guilt among pro-choice believers.
And what were the chances of that happening? Seriously, how hard would it have been to have initially asked those shrieking yobs to give a few examples of the sort of thing they had in mind? Brochures they were thinking of handing out? Films they wanted to air? Public presentations they intended to give? How hard would it have been to check whether those dingbats had anything that would have qualified as "informative" or in the public interest?
It's one thing to be tolerant and give someone else every benefit of the doubt. It's quite another to have a pretty good idea what they're going to be up to, and be too lazy to take a few minutes to confirm it.
It's quite another to have a pretty good idea what they're going to be up to, and be too lazy to take a few minutes to confirm it.
The Tribune is completely right in saying that this club should not have been subject to preemptive censoring.
The fact that Choose Life proved themselves to be sensationalistic and incapable of intellectual discourse is irrelevant ... and completely unsurprising. The important thing is that the SSMU was open and fair-minded and Choose Life was anything but (also not surprising).
And now everyone knows it.
I appreciate your position, but I'll still disagree with it. These "pro-life" (and I use that term with as much dismissive contempt as I can muster) student groups have been given countless opportunities to act like grown-ups, and they've pissed away every one of them by being insulting and offensive. At some point, it's not unfair to simply assume that they're going to continue to behave the same way, and demand that they present evidence to the contrary.
While I appreciate your appreciation, we'll have to agree to disagree.
Preemptive censoring, imho, is unacceptable in any form -- people cannot and should not be judged on the basis of their potential actions. Slippery slope? Anyone?
If we indulge ourselves in such actions, professional martyrs like Choose Life would (for once) be completely justified in climbing up on their collective crosses and shrieking endlessly about being oppressed.
I don't know about you but I've no intention of giving them an actual leg to stand on.
I agree with Lulu.
As the folk at the SSMU said, they had to be given enough rope. And if they brought positive debate to the table, then it would have been progress.
Instead, they brought this, and had their club status revoked. Predictable? Definitely. But not in any way justifying preemptive discrimination on the grounds that they might do it.
I agree with Lulu too.
The thing about universities is that the students are changing all the time. This group, I think, acted responsibly, maybe even taking note of what happened in the past and at other universities.
They've set a good precedent for how to deal with fetus fetishists in the future and at other universities.
In other words, don't give them a leg to stand on when you ban their retarded asses.
Not that that will stop them from shrieeeeeking about their trampled 'freedom to lie, make outrageous analogies, show faked-up gory pictures and shame and intimidate people'.
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