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Discussion is a better form of protest

Just once I’d like for a racist or a sexist to come to town and not have to end up defending them.

Just once I’d like for a racist or a sexist to come to town and not have to end up defending them.

Jose Ruba came to SMU last week to give a speech comparing abortions to the Holocaust. I’d love to write about how asinine that is, but no, a group of protesters just had to go and shut down the event.

So once again the supposedly narrow-minded hatemonger stands there looking stately and rational, while the supposed free-thinking equality fighters look like thugs.

The same thing happened a couple years back when Jared Taylor, who calls himself a “race realist” because he thinks races should be segregated, got pushed off a stage by masked protesters.

I think Taylor’s and Ruba’s views are ridiculous and have no problem sitting politely through a speech and then tearing down their arguments in question time. But there’s a sect of Halifax protesters that have taken it upon itself to decide what can and cannot be said in this city.

As if possessed by some sort of irony demon, the protesters somehow forget that the same tactic — shutting down speech that “opposes community values” — was and is being used against supporters of women’s, visible minorities’ and gay rights.

You can see the video on YouTube. Ruba says he wants to discuss the issue. One male protestor calls him a racist and a sexist. Ruba asks when was the last time the protester heard him speak. “I’ve seen your website,” the protester shouts back.

Uh … burn?

Is it really worth sacrificing the ideal of free speech over this guy? Do I have to drag out the tired quote “if you don’t believe in freedom of speech for those you despise than you don’t believe in it at all?” Apparently, because I just did.

Now Ruba can rally more support by (rightly) claiming he’s been persecuted. Great. So now he looks smarter and has more ammunition. Bang up job, protesters.

So let’s all stop hurting our own cause and instead actually debate these people, shall we?
Because frankly, protesters, as someone who agrees with your points, I hate to be associated with you.

– Paul McLeod is a staff reporter at Metro Halifax. He is currently in rehab for being a political junkie. It’s going badly.

 
 
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