Letter: A defense of speech

Editor, the Gauntlet,

To all the people advocating for the assassination of Tom Flanagan’s career, I hope the irony and hypocrisy is not lost. If professor Flanagan cannot speak freely even in jest, then neither can you advocate for his termination. In essence what you are saying is much worse because you all mean what you say, while Tom Flanagan made a joke. All of you are doing the very same thing Flanagan has done but you still don’t realize that both of you should be allowed to. Either you allow what both him and his attackers have said or you allow neither because they are saying the same thing. His attackers want to condemn him in the harshest manner possible, which they are allowed say but only because Flanagan also has this right. To say he does not have that right means you do not have it either.

All this is talk and that is all it should be, no one should be fired or killed. Anything more means that freedom of speech in Canada is a myth. Flanagan’s comment should spark debate and conversation about the topic of assassinations and the whole WikiLeaks issue, nothing more. All that should be said is, “I disagree with what you say but you have the right to say it,” and that should come from both sides.

As far as damaging the U of C’s reputation goes, it has done more to hurt itself in the past few years by silencing free speech through such instances as banning Campus Pro-Life and the Facebook comment court case. This will damage it even further if it goes through with any action taken towards Flanagan and unfortunately add to the creation of an ever present nation of silent, scared and dull citizens.


Thomas Wenger

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