Thursday, December 21, 2006

Censorship scares me more than anti-choice nuts

At least, that's the title I would have chose for this column. But instead, my dear friend/editor made it sound like I'm terrified of student activists. Sigh ...

But I do expect some letters from the pro-choice activists from Carleton who sponsored the anti-anti-choice motion on campus. In fact, I would love to debate this issue with y'all.

The key point that I was trying to make in this column is that censorship is an idea that always comes back to bite our community in the ass. While the Carleton activists' hearts were in the right place, I believe that the action they took was the wrong one.

Okay, discuss.


Dr. Dawg said...

CUSA didn't "censor" anyone. It declined to fund anti-choice activity. There's a difference.

Dr. Dawg said...

While editorial choice isn't censorship, precisely--it is your site, after all--I do think that refusing my fairly mild comments reveals a somewhat contradictory position on freedom of expression.

Ariel said...

Hey, give me a break! I am out of town and haven't been checking email ....

I think you make a really good point, but I would argue that on a university campus, denying official "club status" to a group actually functions as censorship, because it means that certain groups can't organize effectively, use campus space, etc. and given that all students pay into the student union, funding should be given to any valid student group.

Now, this argument does make me cringe, because I hate the thought of giving even a cent to an anti-choice group, but the Conservative government made a similar argument when they cut the Court Challenges program. Their logic was -- why fund groups to sue the government that we don't agree with?

And the answer is that in a functioning democracy, people should get equal access to the ability to express their views. And if the left wants to win arguments, we shouldn't just shut them down. We should come up with better arguments, show up in force, and fight to win.

At least, that's how I see it.

winter_coat said...

Sorry, I am going to jump in.

The reality is that many anti-choice groups are already funded in addition to the funding that they get from the university. Cutting their funding does not cut their access to resources, it just says that a student union can choose not to fund groups which go against a publicly stated goal. It does not get in the way of those student's access to their student union or vote etc.
It is not like the cuts to the Court Challenges Program. The cuts to the CCP are a bit different because it funds individuals and groups to equal access the law as protected by the Charter.

Free speech arguments sketch me out a little bit since the speech that is often being legislated quiet is marginlized voices which challenge the state and the speech we in the left are often forced to debate is speech that is supporting state practices and systemic oppressions.
I have no answers but acknowledge the difficulty in making an argument either way.