Free Speech with Dr Ginsberg

Viciousbutfair, Going Postal
Sergio SantosLicence CC BY 2.0

I had a rare opportunity to speak to one of the foremost advocates of free speech recently, Dr Ernst Stavro Ginsberg, this was just some of the insight from this conversation.

Q I understand that you are passionate about free speech and tolerance?

A There is no current table for passion regarding free speech or tolerance but if there were, I would normally be somewhere between 5th and 20th in the global passion tables for both tolerance and free speech.

Q Wow, that’s pretty impressive!

A Yes it actually is, I believe so strongly that everyone, irrespective of creed and colour, has the right to be heard, it is the foundation stone of our democracy. If we lose that then we have nothing.

Q Are you aware of some of the posts on the radical, ultra right wing site Going Postal?

A I don’t generally read comments on such sites, I mean who does? However, I was waiting for an electric taxi to collect me from a symposium I recently attended in Geneva on the plight of the Slovakian Beaver, we really are not doing enough for these poor creatures, and I had a few spare minutes. I read an interesting article regarding the eating habits of an Al Junior, I found it rather distressing. Frankfurters with curry sauce and pickled onions, I’m sure that even Hitler or Stalin would have not allowed such a diet amongst their people.

Q Yes, I saw that, I wholeheartedly agree. Even left to the imagination such things are terrifying but to actually photograph some of it, it could fall into the wrong hands, even young children could be exposed to this!

A Exactly, however some of the comments under the article troubled me even more. There were numerous references to racist ideology, the vilification of Muslims and even females cleaning behind refrigeration equipment.

Q I’m sure that some of that may be, as we say here, tongue in cheek, but in any case, it is just free speech, it must be tolerated surely?

A This having a tongue between cheeks, as you call it, can lead to other things, more dangerous things.

Q It is just a matter of opinion but it is an opinion, it is free speech surely? All ideas are equal, they must be debated, discussed, some consensus must be reached, as you say, the foundation stone of democracy.

A Not when the ideas are dangerous, I have many tolerant friends, all advocates of free speech but I can’t think of one single person amongst them who would consider this acceptable. These ideas are not for discussion. These are bad ideas.

Q If they are bad ideas then they can be discussed, your ideas can be put forward, opposing ideas can be challenged and debated, some form of compromise can be reached surely?

A Not when the ideas are bad, we agree or tolerate most things but certain things are simply outside of the margins of free speech.

Q Free speech does not have margins, free speech is exactly that, it is a personal opinion, it may be correct or not, it is acceptable for you to question it, to challenge it but you can never declare it to be beyond
discussion. That is exactly why it is free speech.

A Some ideas can not be tolerated and may not be a subject for discussion.

Q Who decides what those ideas are?

A People whose thinking is correct, of course. If everyone started having all sorts of ideas, where would that end?

Q Yes, I can see too many people having ideas would cause you problems. Exactly who decides what is correct thinking though, you or them?

A I would just remind you, somewhere between 5th and 20th for both free speech and tolerance, who do you think?

Q Self appointed 5th to 20th, as far as I can see. So, we can’t comment on mass immigration in the UK, we can’t comment on organised rape jihad, on climate misinformation, on gender studies for six year old children in
schools, on feminists damaging women’s rights, on LGBT damaging gay people’s rights, on Al Junior’s diet?

A I think the debate on Al Junior’s diet is acceptable and is even indeed necessary but such other things are outside of the parameters of tolerance and free speech.

Q Thank you for taking the time to speak to me, I’m certainly clearer about tolerance and free speech now, thank you for your time. One final question which I’ve been dying to ask you, who do you fancy for the
Champions League this year?

A If there are any German sides still left then one of those, Bayern Munich if possible.

Q Thank you Dr Ginsberg.

Ed. A postscript from WorkingClassPost on the Hearts of Oak launch: UK: Whose side are you on?

© Viciousbutfair 2020

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