Oxford Debate Tackles ‘No Platform’ Issue, And Their Defense of Free Speech is GOLD! (Video)

Written by Wes Walker on July 16, 2019

Every American college should watch this and learn something about the nature of free speech.

The Oxford Debate was in response to the uproar of Steve Bannon being invited to speak in Oxford.

The snowflakes, predictably, didn’t like it. They staged a protest.

This set up a question for debate — should it be decided that some people’s ideas are so unacceptable that they should be forbidden from speaking them among respectable people, such as addressing the august institution of Oxford?

The Oxford debate, each side fielded four speakers tackling the question of the day. You can find the entire debate on YouTube, as well as the ‘offensive’ Bannon address here.

The formal forum and logic-based arguments are a refreshing change of pace from the all-too-emotional political tug-of-war we so often see in today’s political scene.

Those supporting no-platforming had fairly routine defenses of shutting down speech. You can play them if you like. Clash editors, not surprisingly, found the robust defense of free speech far more interesting.

Here’s a short recap of those arguments.

The first speaker, Harry Deacon, opposed to no-platforming built his case on three ideas. That platforms allow discourse to challenge and expose controversial views; that no-platforming implicitly assumes that audiences cannot be trusted to exercise judgment; and that no-platforming sets a dangerous precedent regarding the limitation of free speech.

The second to defend his premise, Toby Young makes a strong argument for the importance of letting ideas collide in the public square where good ideas can knock down weaker ones, then went on to argue that all ideas are offensive to somebody, which makes the entire no-platforming project self-defeating before closing with a citation from ‘the Coddling of the American Mind’ which suggests that protecting people from exposure to ideas with which we disagree makes them less able to grapple with ideological conflict in adulthood.

Links to the first two speakers are provided and they are good, but the pro-Free Speech side continued on with each speaker better than the last. We include the best of below. If you can only watch two, watch these.

If you only have time to watch one, it’s a tough call, but we’d give the nod to the Ann Widecombe.

Third up was Katie Hopkins — a very entertaining DGAF firebrand, funny AND ruthless. Her response to being asked to sign a form that she ‘wouldn’t offend anyone’ was epic. She is fantastically entertaining in her takedowns, making Ann Coulter’s punchiness look positively genteel. Her arguments about taking offense were absolutely top-notch, and she never apologizes or explains anything. Here’s a taste of what you might expect: ‘Because apologies and explanations never appease this lot. An apology only encourages the bastards, quite frankly.’

Batting clean-up was an amazing woman, who served as Privy Counsel to the Queen of England herself — Ann Widdecombe. She’s a tough old lady that only a fool would want to cross swords with in a debate.

She took on the extreme examples of free speech, arguing it should even be extended to Nazis, Communists and people sympathetic to the IRA (despite having lost a close friend in the Bristol Bombing, and nearly getting caught in it herself).

She put on a clinic on how to defend free speech. Grab your favorite snack and beverage for this one and enjoy it!

‘You succeed by defeating your opponent, not by wishing him away.’

Preach it, sister!

Meanwhile here in America, what are we seeing?

We’ve got leftist outrage mobs calling for anyone they dislike to be silenced, online, in college, in business, and sometimes even in person.

Some, like Antifa, even resort to threats of force to bully people into silence.

We’ve all seen the dishonest games the left have played with the power they’re entrusted with, they’re obviously unworthy of that trust.

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