on free speech ...
I sympathize with your campaigns against the knife block but I am a great
believer in free speech. I know from your work that you also believe in free
speech so how can you reconcile this contradiction?
There is no real contradiction between my views on this cursed knife block
and a belief in free speech in the sense that, when it comes to 'social' issues,
there is no black and white. There is no 'truth'. It is always a question of
And so when I say that I believe in free speech I do not really mean that all
speech should be totally legal. And my guess is that you feel the same way.
Should it be legal for a woman to make a false
For example, do you think that it should be legal for a woman to go around
accusing an innocent man of being a child abuser or a wife beater? - perhaps
simply because she wants a better deal in a divorce court. Should it be legal
for a woman to make a false accusation of rape? Should it be legal for an
influential person - or newspaper - to lie and lie about others and, for example, encourage
others to kill them?
I suspect that you would agree that such speech should be illegal.
My concern about free speech is mostly to do with the censorship typically
associated with political correctness; i.e. that one should not say certain
things - even when true - simply because others might be offended in some
way; or - just as likely these days - pretend to be offended in order to
stop others from putting forward a perfectly legitimate, but opposing, point of
This nonsense has gone way too far - with 'men' being just about the only
group about which people can say anything - no matter how offensive or untrue.
My concern about free speech has also had much to do with the way in which
lofty individuals such as politicians, judges, academics etc seem to have been
protected in the past from strong direct criticism about their various nefarious
activities; such as downright dishonesty, corruption and lying.
For example, it was not so long ago that the mainstream media never dared to
accuse such people of such things.
And, indeed, one of the main purposes of Angry Harry in its early days was to
help to break down the unwillingness of people to come out in open verbal
hostility toward those who well deserved to be on the receiving end of it. I
wanted to encourage MRAs to be forceful and, quite frankly, to be rude toward
those who were walking all over men with impunity and treating them as if they
were completely worthless.
I was not bundled off into oblivion
And the only way to encourage MRAs to do such things was to do them myself
and to show them that I 'survived'; i.e. I was not bundled off into oblivion
somewhere. In other words, I could get away with it, and, hence, so could they.
True, I did have problems with my webhosters and also with Google and Amazon
in those days as a result of my outspokenness, but I am still here!
But I think that your email reveals an issue that I have wanted to address
for some time, and it is the notion that there is some kind of 'absolute' that
one can adhere to when determining what one's viewpoint should be over any given
For example, the idea that, "I believe in free speech," and that,
therefore, all speech must be legal (no matter how unfair, how dangerous etc
etc) does not seem to be a good idea.
Similarly, "I believe in the death penalty," would probably have so
many qualifiers associated with it that the statement on its own would be
My point is that such grandiose statements do not usually remain valid under
more careful scrutiny. There are always boundaries, exceptions and complications
that curtail them in some way.
And the issue of 'free speech' is no exception.
there are no simple solutions.
And as you search and search for 'solutions' to the various problems that we
commonly address round here, you will find that there are no simple solutions.
They just do not exist.
And so when you find yourself boldly saying,
"I believe in A, B or C," as being a 'solution' to a given social
problem, the chances are very high that you have not thought deeply enough about
the problem, because such problems are usually so inordinately complex that they
are much too difficult to grasp; let alone solve.
And one of the reasons that MRAs need to take
this on board is that, in my view, too much time is spent on trying to figure
out relatively simplistic 'societal solutions' to the hugely complex problems that
they face when, in fact, it would be far better if they simply became 'activists'
(rather than 'academics') e.g. see my pieces The
Truth About The Truth and Generating
So, Yes, I, too, "believe in free speech". But only up to a point!