This is to use the word fascist in its wider and incorrect meaning, not just to mean followers of Il Duce. Fascists to mean people who employ boot boy tactics to drown out speech they don’t like. The point being that unless your’e prepared to rain down truncheons upon the heads of those who would use violence to drown out that speech then it will be them, the boot boys, who determine what can be said.
Which is something of a problem, whatever the political allegiances of the fascists:
King’s College London (KCL) has been accused of “no platforming” its own lecturer, after his talk on free speech was deemed “high risk”.
Dr Adam Perkins, an academic who specialises in the neurobiology of personality, was due to speak to students on Friday afternoon about the scientific importance of free speech.
But the event, hosted by KCL’s Libertarian Society, was forcibly postponed by the university following a risk assessment.
There’s absolutely no doubt that a risk assessment is an interesting and useful thing. But it’s the use to which one is put that is important:
It comes amid growing concern about threats to free speech on university campuses, with students seeking to “no platform” individuals or groups whose views are deemed offensive. Earlier this month, protesters stormed a KCL event featuring a controversial anti-feminist YouTube star.
Police are investigating the incident, which saw masked activists reportedly assault security guards as they barged into the university building, smashed windows, hurled smoke bombs and set off a fire alarm.
Free speech does mean that peeps get to stand up and say, whatever, subject to the usual libel and incitement to immediate violence exceptions. People who come along to argue against are simply exercising their own free speech rights. Those who come with violence are not. Simples.
So, what use should we make of a risk assessment? Sure, this is controversial this speech, the boot boys will be around, there’s a risk of violence. What we don’t do is then ban the speech on the grounds of that risk of violence. Instead we
mass our own boot boys to beat s**t out of the violent ask the police along to maintain public order.
Why do we do this? Because if we allow the fascist boot boys to determine which speech can be heard then the speech we can hear will be determined by the fascist boot boys, won’t it? Rather the point of their being boot boys and thus why we shouldn’t submit to it.