Andrew James Whalan

Poet Blogger Writer

Tag: Freedom of Speech

Learning Disagreement Skills

Go on, click the angry icon. Share the negative post or tweet.

Slip in and quickly criticise. Tell the other how they got it completely wrong.

They lack intelligence. Common sense. Logic.

Sit back and easily insult the unlike you.

They can’t even think. They’re Inhuman.  We should wipe them out.

Yes it’s so easy to disagree and oppose.  And easiest to offer no solution.

I thinking this as I read each tweet storm. And think even more as I click through each Facebook outbreak outrage.

I realise it is so familiar. For it was exactly the same as my experience.

For at quite close range and for quite a long time, I heard the same words for the same reason.

For to disagree, even silently through to mildly evoked white-hot anger.

Sometimes in despair, I joined in and fully embraced the proferred down spiral.

Until somebody asked, “So how did that work for you Andrew?”

I’d shake my head silent. I said no, it didn’t, it didn’t at all, it made things far worse.

“So what are you going to about it Andrew?”

(How can you make it better?).

There was the beginning of an answer.

I was learning disagreement skills.

Not the “let’s agree to disagree” cliche. That only suspended hostilities for now. And led to a ever widening DMZ!

Be silent Andrew.  Don’t interrupt the the other. Listen to the person behind the words.

Sit stock still Andrew. Don’t move and distract the other. Don’t insult them for not thinking like you.

For no-one thinks like you. Which is a wonderful thing! For everyone and you too.

Ask the question that goes beyond the question. Wait for the answer that reveals another’s truth. Not to you. To them.

Listen and bide your time, then you’ll find that it’s  the time. For the quiet and thoughtful ones to be heard.

Who speak without the intent of crushing free speech. Who speak and listen to encourage freedom of listening.

To enable those who accept truth without question (as you once did) to find their own. And others find theirs.

Otherwise it gets too dark when we all agree not to look for the light.

 

 

Je Suis Charlie (Freedom of Thought is Freedom of Speech)

Those who wielded the guns at Charlie Hebdo not only wanted to silence freedom of speech.
They wanted to silence freedom of thought.
In both they are mistaken. They don’t understand the power of the pen…
Writing is expressing thoughts and feelings out loud or on paper. Writing is the storyteller’s freedom of thought expressed as freedom of speech.
Writing’s purpose (like other creative activities) is to tell a story. The story’s purpose is so the reader may see or feel or think or hear or smell or touch something they knew or didn’t know differently.
It doesn’t matter if the story doesn’t touch that reader. It doesn’t matter if the story has not changed the reader’s thoughts or feelings or opinions. It doesn’t matter even if the reader hasn’t been changed. It’s too late for that.
All that matters is that thought has been freed.  All that matters now is that the reader comes face to face with a new thought.  And the reader has to deal with that challenge.
It’s that freedom of thought that scares those who wielded the guns. They fear that freedom of thought will challenge their beliefs and find them wanting. They must be at least unsure.
Je Suis Charlie (Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Thought).

Cory Bernardi and Freedom of Speech

Much has been made of the recent comments by Senator Cory Bernardi regarding his book the Conservative Revolution (see the reviews and Twitter). All I will say is that I disagree with him. Based on his expressed values I almost certainly won’t read his book. And like Bill Shorten I can give personal examples!

It won’t be long until comments are offered that Cory Bernardi is exercising his freedom of speech. It may look like I’m ghost writing for Andrew Bolt or Piers Ackerman. There may even be an appeal to the new Human Rights Commissioner for Freedom Tim Wilson.

And according to the framers of free speech (warning: Wikipedia reference!), he should express his opinion without fear of penalty.

Why? Implicit in the right to free speech is that it is a right for all. Freedom of speech is for everyone.

Which presents a problem for those like me who disagree strongly.

It’s way too easy to tell him to shut up or insult him. Some have already.

The problem with that is my explicit and implicit attitude : the only person who should exercise freedom of speech is me and me alone.

Which means I can enjoy my moment of free speech. And silence everyone else’s freedom of speech.

Which mean freedom of speech is lost in the long run for me and for everyone else.

© 2017 Andrew James Whalan

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