Students Keep "No Platforming" Contentious Speakers. Should They Stop?

Perspective Writers' Votes
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No-platforming hinders productive discourse.

Pros
Cons
  • The meaning of productive discourse is to present opposing views. If no-platforming removes those with oppressive views from participating, their views remain unchallenged, thus being more likely to convince those who may be persuaded by that kind of rhetoric.

  • If no-platforming is a policy and not an exceptional act of civil protest, it continuously allows and normalizes to rule out unwanted opinions. As a policy it over-generates exclusion from discourse and loses its political expressiveness.

  • No-platforming assumes offensive speech before it occurs, which leaves no room for rehabilitation and progress. It would be more adequate to publicly oppose speakers, also by university officials, if a discriminating statement is made.

  • In each case of no-platforming, there is room for both protest and productive discourse. If critical masses of activists approach situations with either goal, both will add to productive discourse rather than detracting from the opportunity.

  • No-platforming can backfire by limiting the speech of moderate voices to the benefit of more extreme ones, if the no-platformers boycott or cede the event to the speaker they are protesting.

  • No-platforming is itself suppression of the purpose of free, plain and clear...sometimes brutally honest speech with an informed populace, thus encouraging clever, dumbed-down re-packaging of hate into softer, more palatable politically correct labels not as plainly identifiable as to what it actually is. A honest populace appreciates honesty, a dishonest one prefers denial.

  • When people start to relinquish someone's right to speak — before actually knowing what they are going to say — they create an environment based on political, emotional or personal judgements rather than free and fair communication. To discover new and interesting truths there should be no dressing down of a person's identity before actually listening to them.

  • This implies that those being no-platformed are interested in productive discourse. But this is not always the case. Many of them are provocateurs who have no intention of engaging in real dialogue.

  • The loss of some productive discourse is a reasonable cost to avoid spreading hateful speech.

  • Speakers who are no-platformed at a particular university can find alternative platforms (like Bindel's video), fostering productive discourse through other channels.

  • There is no opportunity for productive discourse with a fascist whose main goal is to mislead, distract, manipulate, and take advantage of any semblance of reason. Fascists benefit from leading others to believe they are reasonable and then spreading hateful, false ideas.

  • Attention is scarce resource. There is not enough time to expose students to constructive views and ideas to give time to destructive ones.