Vive Charlie Respond To Criticism About Paul Weston

Vivie Charlie 19th issue responds to criticism of Paul Weston, Chairman of Liberty GB, being invited to the Mohammed Cartoon event as a guest speaker. They confirmed they were “happy” for him to speak. This was at odds with the hopes of one of their contributors who hoped they would express their disgust. As I mentioned prior to the 19th issue:

Will Vive Charlie publicly mention how “disgusted” they are at Paul Weston’s presence? Possibly not. Jihadist Joe is not into that “marxist labelling” he told another blogger. Rather, I suspect it will be more on the lines that free speech means that we should listen to everyone and any attempt to close off anyone’s access should be resisted. Also, that hosting in support of free speech is not the same thing as supporting what a guest speaker thinks or has to say. I suspect the language will be a tad more colourful in making these points against the PC brigade.

The problem is the difference between free speech – I have on this blog given everyone a chance to hear what Paul Weston has to say in a youtube video about white genocide and his Andrew Neil interview – and giving a solidarity platform that emboldens the far right. Rather than the right for all to draw what the hell we like and those offended will just have to get over it, this is about ensuring we do not condone a politician that wants to ban all muslims from public office.

In the 19th issue of Vive Charlie, they mention “criticism has steadily increased because Paul Weston is due to speak at the event after being invited to do so by Sharia Watch.” They do not spell out why people are so critical of Paul Weston and Liberty GB – suggesting instead  “the desire by some to control who gets to have freedom of speech and who doesn’t.”

The difference of opinion from me is that the far right are pariahs for civil society, just like clerical fascists, and deserve eternal opposition for those that value liberty and freedom – which they both seek to destroy if they obtained power. It makes a mockery of free speech having someone who is so against it speaking, who himself would control who gets to have freedom of speech, by denying public office to muslims.

It is very difficult to stand by someone without also being shoulder to shoulder with them. As the co founder knows having linked to my articles, the problem with Paul Weston talking on free speech is his “white genocide” narrative for the UK saying muslims will kill white people, and banning all muslims from public office. What helps feed such paranoia and totalitarian policy response? That islamic extremists will kill cartoonists. Hence, by giving him a solidarity platform at this event of all things, it is emboldening the far right.

Free speech means we can disagree with one another. My hope is that those willing to participate in the event will at least reflect on what Paul Weston stands for, and then decide the matter for themselves. Vive Charlie does not even hint what these disagreements might be – especially on their being anti free speech. I trust they will use google and see what has been said about Weston and Liberty GB. No cause is so big that you betray the very principles you claim to be upholding at the same time.

“By co-hosting this event we are not supporting, sharing, or legitimising anyone’s views other than those regarding the right to depict Mohammed and oppose blasphemy laws.” Just giving a platform to someone with repellent, obnoxious, racist views which they use to deny free speech.

“It would be hypocritical of us to claim we support freedom of expression and then pull out of the event because we don’t agree how someone has exercised that freedom.” Notice how it suddenly does become about more than the freedom to draw Mohammed? If it is about free expression in general, than the anti-free speech position of Paul Weston becomes a legitimate point to bring up.

Liberty GB is the sort of group that can write about maintaining western liberal democracy and then in the same paragraph “We must stop the building of mosques and remove all Islamic institutions. National culture must come first.”

So much for free speech and freedom of expression for everyone.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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11 responses to “Vive Charlie Respond To Criticism About Paul Weston

  1. Dave

    A few years ago I was called a Nazi in a TED post. I responded politely, but within a day or so realised by post had been pulled. I enquired of TED staff why it had been pulled, and was told that the whole thread had been pulled because I had been called a Nazi. As I pointed out, better to leave the thread and show what people really think than delete their posts when we find them unpalatable.

    Another example was pastor Rick Warren giving a talk, based on his (at the time) new book. While many people disagree with the man’s views, he was allowed to speak, as he should be allowed to do… but then Daniel Dennett responded, pointing out the fallacies in what Warren had to say… just as it should be.

    Whilst the views of some are deeply unpleasant, if we censor those unpleasant people, then we also censor those who would respond to what they have to say. We deny everyone the opportunity to challenge the views of thoroughly unpleasant people and also deny us as a community the opportunity for discussion and rational debate about important and challenging issues.

    • I am not saying no one should ever let Paul Weston speak. Free speech means we can challenge and debate, and decide for ourselves what we need to hear. Part of that free speech is pointing out why it is absurd giving him a solidarity platform for this event.

      If you look at my “safe space” blog post I argue for free speech even for controversial speakers on campus.

      Quite happy to see him debated and challenged. Anyone may invite him to speak, and I would not want that banned. I am just about to answer some questions @noisykafir has asked me, to give more details.

  2. @noisykafir left me these questions as a comment. Here they are, with my answers:

    NK: It’s interesting how you’re all feeding misinformation to each other between your blogs. I think that’s termed “bottom feeding”.

    Some questions for you:

    1. Would you silence Weston?

    No – I think it’s important we can hear what anyone has to say. Which is why I included two videos of Paul Weston speaking. We cannot be against what we are not allowed to hear. My opposition to Weston for this event has been about emboldening the far right and letting a free speech agenda be used by those who are themselves anti-free speech like Weston is.

    2. What are you afraid will happen if he speaks?

    If he is given a platform, given how he is against muslims holding public office and believes in decades they will kill white people in a civil war, the event will be seen as an anti-Muslim far right love in. That will detract from what could be the ultimate aim of the exhibition that I answer in your next question.

    3. What is your ultimate aim with regards this exhibition?

    I want it to be about celebrating sacrilegious art and caricature, and be a massive fuck you to those that try to censor or kill artists. Where is the guest speaker platform for artists persecuted by Islamists? It could have been much more imaginative, and supportive of the people we want to celebrate and who Islamists want to kill – cartoonists.

    For these reasons, and more, some secularists and free speech advocates feel they cannot participate in the event.

    NK: Rather than cutting and pasting my comments into your blog perhaps you could try something outrageous and simply reply like an adult.

    No, but I appreciate the questions you asked. Pity you blocked me on Twitter really.

    • Dave

      This is something I’m coming to very recently, so don’t know all of the ‘back story’. If Paul Weston denies free speech to others, then should we do the same to him? If we do, aren’t we as bad as him? Aren’t we better than that? Shouldn’t we just point out the facts at every opportunity? I’m in little doubt that Weston is very unsavoury, but denying him freedom to speak could just give him more ammunition(?).

      I imagine we could have an interesting conversation about this over a few drinks sometime.

  3. pyewaquet

    For goodness sake, grow up, the lot of you! Left, Right, Far Left, Far Right, Centre, Muslim…whatever the label, sit together and speak freely. Whatever Paul Weston says, doesn’t mean we have to agree with him. That’s the whole point of free speech. Remember, it’s the Jihadists who want to silence everyone, except for their ilk. So to blaspheme against the Islamic prophet will only upset the maniacs, the very people we need to upset in order eventually to dilute the threat of an imposed Islamic blasphemy code. After all, a handful of violent jihadists can’t kill everyone.

    • Difference between dialogue, or debate. Different format to a solidarity platform on free speech as I outline above.

      • Yes I understand where you are coming from John, but I feel we need to rise above all this bickering and politicking. We must find all ways possible to counter the dialogue of Islamic murderers. As far as I know, Paul Weston is unlikely to kill anyone who disagrees with him, so he isn’t really a mirror image of a suicide bomber. The bottom line is that we are all in this together, or at least we should be united on the particular issue of free speech in defiance of an imposed Islamic blasphemy code. Incidentally, I like Dave’s post above.

      • I am against all forms of none violent extremism, whether by the religious right or the nationalist right.

        The enemy of my enemy is also my enemy, when it comes to human rights, free speech, and civil society.

  4. Omar Mansoor

    You seem to have a deep rooted dislike of this Joe character and other things he’s connected to. Does this have something to do with Professor Dawkins endorsing him? or is it something he’s done to you personally? Seems like it’s bordering on an unhealthy obsession. Maybe best just to ignore him and leave him to his bigotry.

    • I’ve written more about Mo Ansar and Maajid Nawaz. By your logic I must be obsessed with them. Or this is my blog, and I write what interests me and is connected to secular issues.

  5. Pingback: Charlie Klendjian Resigns From Lawyers’ Secular Society – AMW on Cancelling Event | Homo economicus' Weblog

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