And censorship **is** free speech.
Activism on behalf of the human rights of men and boys is difficult for several different reasons. One of the most obvious is a public narrative which takes the following form.
- We live in a patriarchy;
- Therefore women, and not men are oppressed;
- Men are elevated and advantaged;
- Therefore anyone advocating male human rights is really driven by misogyny;
- And so, men’s rights organizations are hate organizations.
And besides, Morris Dees and Arthur Goldwag of the Southern Poverty Law Centre said so. So there!
Following the inept grasping after relevance and funds by the SPLC, and after the wider media including Reason Magazine, American Spectator and even Business Insider called them irresponsible fearmongers – Goldwag has backpedalled and claimed that no no, they’re nota hate group, no, oh no, that’s not what we at the oh-so-responsible and prestigious SPLC meant at all.
To quote Goldwag himself:
It should be mentioned that the SPLC did not label MRAs as members of a hate movement; nor did our article claim that the grievances they air on their websites – false rape accusations, ruinous divorce settlements and the like – are all without merit.
In the same statement, Goldwag also makes vague suggestions of violent intent – but as ever, fails to substantiate them.
However, for some people, the SPLC said it once, and thus, it must be true; The men’s rights movement – or maybe just AVfM is a hate group.
Furthermore, because we are, by this so-called logic a hate group, public censorship and censure of any public posting or speech of this so-called hate group is correct, proper, and admirable.
And after all, it’s much easier to justify hatred against a group, to silence them, threaten them with violence and generally spread poisonous lies about them as long as we cling to the notion that they are the bad people, and we are the good people. It makes us feel good when we’re the good guys and by golly it makes us feel damned near heroic when we gather together with 25 to 30 of our closest friends into an angry mob, armed with paint scrapers and box cutters and swarm a postered construction hoarding, tearing down and erasing any and all postings which offend our group consensus of who’s right and who’s wrong. Not just wrong posters, wrong thinking, wrong speech and wrong people. This kind of group action makes us feel like defenders of justice, freedom and uplifters of the downtrodden. Where’s my cape?
Except for the minor detail that the angry mob in question is engaging in the silencing of unpopular opinion: The silencing of dissent. It’s the most totalitarian of all impulses. On September 1, 2012, when verbally challenged on the issue of censorship – one bright spark quipped that the Canadian Charter listing of freedom of expression as a fundamental freedom” only applied to government censorship, and not, apparently to groups of cutter wielding vandals in the midst of destroying posted political speech on private property.
That’s right, the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms, section 2 listing fundamental freedoms – in the mention of freedom of expression, really means that only the government cant censor free speech. A mob, a collective, a corporation, a person with a paint can – all that’s fair game. If you see something which offends your eye, paint it black. Of course, none of that is actually mentioned. The charter simply says:
Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
- freedom of conscience and religion
- freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
- freedom of peaceful assembly; and
- freedom of association.
I guess the bit about this only applying to government-sponsored censorship is subtext, eh?
Another point of apparent confusion, is that the construction company owns the plywood hoarding on which the contested posters were hung, and the construction company, through their safety officer had granted both permission to apply posters, and rejection of anyone’s right to tear postings down. Of course, such minor details like property rights and fundamental human rights like free expression don’t matter when you’re a member of the Justice League, busy battling evildoers.
Let’s, just for a moment pretend that the movement engaging in activism, and focusing on human rights concerns impacting men and boys, was in fact, a hate movement, or that groups within it were hate groups. Let’s pretend that this site and it’s members are a hate organization.
Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the
press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
If we’re a hate organization, we still own the fundamental freedom of thought, belief, expression including freedom of the press and other media of communication, such as posters on private property placed with the express permission of the property owner’s employees.
But lets dial the what-if back to reality. The men’s rights movement is a human rights movement, and AVfM is an extension of that human rights activism into the media. The continued repetition of imputations of hate, or of misogyny or whatever other ill-conceived boogeyman-image by those attempting to silence, censor, to intimidate and to physically harass individuals in this movement advocating the human rights of men and boys, and clearly denouncing hate on the posters being torn down – appears from here to be the behavior of what would classically be called a hate group.
“You don’t fear and hate women do you? No, because you are a decent human being”.
This is rhetoric taken directly from the posters which, according to opponents represent the hatred informing the men’s rights movement and AVfM.
By this logic, assuming the claim of “hatred of women” we, by our own posters, are declaring ourselves to not be decent human beings.
Are these people just fucking retarded?
Or, are they so deeply submerged in their own ideological view of reality that the glaring contradiction of their own claim escapes their notice; hate coloured goggles worn so that no matter what reality offers in evidence, offering the conclusion that is both the beginning and the end point, MRAs are woman haters. I wonder if the two women who co-host AVfM-Radio’s weekly show with me have figured out that we hate them yet?
And in this upside down view of reality – an angry mob of 30, armed with box cutters, becomes a group of concerned, civic minded responsible citizens. And a short, balding man with a poster reading “men’s rights are human rights” is a terrifying threat to public safety.
In this bizzarro-world, vandalizing and defacing and destroying human rights posters isn’t censorship. No, tearing down a poster denouncing hate and advocating human rights – that tearing down and silencing **is** the protected political speech, but the poster itself – isn’t.