Time and a Place for Everything, Including Language

There’s a saying, “there’s a time and a place for everything”. This can often be applied to things such as behaviour, when it is and isn’t appropriate to act childish or professional, such as at work or with friends, but can it be applied to more subjective things such as Freedom of Speech, when is it appropriate to not speak your mind? Is it right to not allow people to say certain things because of how others may react to it?

The line between freedom of speech and censorship can be very thin in places, with the term political correctness not too far behind, and with certain places, especially in UK Universities trying to prevent a certain political view from being expressed, should more be done? Should more be done to publically challenge these views rather than silencing them? The idea that denying a certain viewpoint is a means of preventing that viewpoint from existing is somewhat unfounded. It was this attempt not to challenge but to simply not allow these viewpoints from being public that failed to stop some of the worst examples of these views from existing.

With anti-immigration and hate crime figures having increased after Brexit, this showed that these far-right, racist views were there despite constant demonising of them by media and pop culture. Simply trying to brush racism under the rug by passing laws banning hate speech did little to actually stop these views from continuing to exist in secret, how do you combat racism when no one knows who the racist is?

Therefore, perhaps we should not look at simply silencing these views that can be expressed in secret in the polling booths where judgement cannot be directed at an individual and instead simply plastered against any group and instead focus on discussing them publically? The public should not feel held back by the media or the government for what they say, freedom of speech should perhaps be handled more on the individual level, where the offence can be dealt with between the speaker behind a statement and the person who becomes offended?

This case may help combat the narrative of political correctness where people often falsely, but also rightly, believe that certain statements or viewpoints cannot be held or expressed simply because some unknown, unspecified individual may be offended. Should really hold a strictly subjective opinion hold more weight than the objective statement that may be made?

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