Defenders of free speech are destroying free speech.

The very people who decry the loss of free speech in modern society are destroying the ability of people to speak freely. Extremist views stifle reasoned discussions on important social issues and this prevents problems from being properly addressed or solved.

Extreme commentators at both ends of the political spectrum complain that their opinions and right to free speech are being quelled in modern society, while their own words stigmatise anyone who attempts to raise legitimate questions regarding a contentious issue.

Free speech crusaders throw around phrases such as ‘political correctness’ and ‘cancel culture’ and complain that they’re “…not allowed to say anything anymore.” They claim that the ‘thought police’ are denying them their right to express a personal opinion. In most cases, however, those opinions are blatantly racist and are often disguised as humour and casual racism which is borne of ignorance, and is deeply hurtful.

It was never right to be racist, it was just more accepted.

Immigration

Immigration is a perfect example of the death of free speech at the hands of extreme commentators. Extremists have hijacked the issue, and anyone else who attempts to publicly discuss the topic runs the risk of being branded as a racist or a bigot.

Donald Trump used racism. He famously promised to stop Muslims from entering the United States and to build a wall to stop Latinos entering the country, and these views contributed greatly to his election victory in 2016. He expressed the views that many extremists held in the United States, and he discussed immigration as a threat to the USA, to white Americans and to American values and their way of life.

Extremists have equated immigration with racism and xenophobia.

It is consequently difficult for anyone to raise the issue of immigration in the United States and other countries. Anyone who questions current immigration policies, for whatever reason, will be labelled a racist or a bigot. But mature, intelligent and measured discussions about immigration need to take place. Leaders and citizens need to ask how many people can safely live in a particular area. People need to ask if a landmass has enough resources to support a certain number of people, taking into consideration birth and death rates, existing infrastructure, employment opportunities and other factors which determine the success of immigration policies. These discussions are made difficult or impossible due to the hijacking of the issue by ignorant extremists.

Donald Trump is also famous for shutting down discussions with people who opposed his views. There is no better example of killing free speech.

LGBTQI+

The LGBTQI+ community also bear the brunt of intolerance and hateful speech. Issues such as gender fluidity, trans culture and same-sex marriage draw endless commentary from free speech crusaders, and prevent issues from being discussed.

Same-sex marriage is a contentious issue. Every country which has raised the prospect of legalising same-sex marriage, including those which succeeded, endured a divisive debate on the issue, and the defenders of free speech once again destroyed free speech.

Two prominent Australians weighed into the debate in Australia. Tennis legend Margaret Court and footballer Israel Folau exercised their right to free speech but consequently tarnished the debate. Court and Folau opposed same-sex marriage, and declared this publicly. This in itself was not a problem. However, they supported their views with statements claiming that all gay people will go to hell, that same-sex attraction is the work of the devil and that same-sex marriage is a dangerous threat to the social fabric and the family unit.

Anyone else who expressed opposition to same-sex marriage was accused of sharing the views of Court and Folau. Anyone should be allowed to express an opposition to same-sex marriage, but that is difficult to do when the likes of Court and Folau dominate the topic.

Trans athletes also provoke strong debate. Should people who are born male be allowed to play sport with and against females – if they identify as female, or if they have physically transitioned to female? This is a complex debate including issues of fairness and safety, and any decision must be made after a mature, evidence-based and open discussion. This discussion is impossible to conduct when some people label trans people as the devil’s work, an abomination, a disgrace and subhuman. When such hateful views are expressed freely, reasonable people cannot express their views on the topic, for fear of being associated with the bigots.

Gender-neutral language also divides the population. Gender fluid people prefer to use the words ‘they’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’ and ‘them’ instead ‘him’ and ‘her’. A problem arises because they and them are plural pronouns, but they’re being used in a singular context – to refer to one person.

Linguists will point out that this is grammatically incorrect and confusing, while bigots will claim that is is outrageous, unnecessary…and worse. As a result, can anyone oppose the use of ‘they’ and ‘them’ to refer to individuals, without being labelled homophobic or transphobic?

Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the threat to free speech at the hands of those who claim to defend it. Anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists abound online and express views contrary to expert medical advice. Extreme bloggers and social media influencers, celebrities and even elected politicians are expressing wild and unfounded theories about the pandemic, while defending their views as free speech. In reality, they are putting human lives at risk.

Free speech is a foundation of democracy and an open society. It must be defended. It must also be conducted with evidence, acceptance of opposing views and reason.

Image: Christian Bruehner

Can Gay people save the world?

gaypeople

The biggest problem facing the world at present is overpopulation. Gay people could help us solve that problem.

The number of people on the planet is placing enormous strain on resources and population numbers look set to increase. One solution to this problem is to limit the number of children being born, and gay people could play a large part in this.

Before we continue, it is important to establish that, for the sake of this article, ‘gay’ and ‘homosexual’ refer to men in relationships with other men, and women in relationships with other women. Yes, the article does use a very narrow definition of gender, but the premise of the article is based on the simple fact that ‘gay’ people cannot naturally reproduce.

This, therefore, is the starting point for our theory.

Gay people cannot naturally reproduce, and, therefore, cannot naturally add more people to the population. Even in countries in which same-sex marriage has been legalised, biology prevents couples from creating their own children.

What about artificial insemination?

Yes, gay people can turn to modern medicine to help them start a family, and this has been successful in many cases. But, remember, effective and safe insemination services are only available in wealthy countries, and sometimes only to the more wealthy people in those countries. Most people in the world are not wealthy, most people work very hard to put food on the table every day. So, while this option helps create loving families in some parts of the world, it is not a realistic option for most couples.

Plus, artificial insemination adds another human to the planet.

What about surrogacy?

Like artificial insemination, this is another successful method used to bear children. But, like insemination, it is often only realistically available to couples from wealthy countries. Many women is poorer countries do act as surrogates, but only out of sheer economic desperation. Surrogacy can place significant strain on a woman, and lead to dire results. Furthermore, many men in these patriarchal societies are unlikely to approve of their wives carrying a child for other people – unless there is significant financial compensation.

Plus, surrogacy adds another human to the planet.

A one-child policy?

China tried the one-child policy. It didn’t work, for the simple reason that any system that is created by humans can be exploited by humans.

Interestingly, in the case of the one child policy in China, apparently, the ‘one child’ referred only to the women. If a man divorced his wife, then re-married, he was apparently allowed to have another child with the new wife – therefore bringing two children into the world.

What about adoption?

Yes, gay couples can adopt, and many of them do. Through adoption, a child finds a home and a couple is gifted a child to love. It is usually a very positive outcome for all concerned, and it is a positive outcome for the planet because an adopted child has already been born. The parents of the adopted child are not creating another child and are therefore not adding to the world’s population.

Thus, gay couples adopting children is one effective solution to reducing the number of children being born, and this is clearly the most humane solution to limiting population growth.

What are the other methods of limiting population growth?

A human cull.

Extermination of people in order to reduce the number of humans on the planet.

Yes, this is a deplorable suggestion, but it has been attempted before. It has been attempted by all of those people who filled the pages of your highschool history books – Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao Zedong…many of whom deliberately attempted to eliminate particular groups of people. Surely this could never happen again, you argue, we are now too enlightened, we’ve learned from our mistakes.

Really?

Examine the rise of extremism throughout the world, and examine how many of these extremists are unemployed, poor, displaced and affected already by overpopulation.

Natural forces

Unfortunately, if population increases as it is expected, and if the world continues to operate according to the current reality, it is natural forces that will reduce population numbers.

This is not good.

Natural forces include hunger and starvation, borne from poverty, as more people compete for fewer jobs. Another natural force is environmental destruction, which is already destroying access to clean water, food sources, clean air and spaces fit for human habitation. Some people are already dying as a result of environmental destruction, and informed projections indicate that this phenomenon will only increase.

Another natural force is conflict. Conflict is inevitable in humans, but this primal trait will manifest itself more frequently and more obtusely in a world full of hungry, disillusioned people who have become economic and environmental refugees.

If gay people can help save the world, what is stopping this from happening?

Religion

Religion is an impediment to limiting population growth. Religion stigmatises or even criminalises homosexuality and same-sex relationships which not only causes harm to homosexual people, but often forces them into marriages they do not want. These marriages produce children. Often those children are loved, and provided for, but they would not have been born if one, or both, of the parents had not been heavily pressured to conform to their society’s dominant religious belief.

We might also digress and examine the fact that religion discourages contraception and many religious families bear many children. Furthermore, religion, of any kind, is often a barrier to abortion and so many women give birth to child that they either didn’t want or can’t realistically support. Legalising and providing safe access to abortion is one way to not only to control population numbers but it helps to ensure that many children do not enter the world without the love and support that they need in order to thrive.

Men.

As long as men control women’s bodies and reproductive rights, limiting population numbers will be impossible. Men still largely control legislation, relating to issues such as abortion and LGBTQI rights. Men still control religions. Men still control relationships and, in most parts of the world, men determine if a woman will fall pregnant.

Ignorance and intolerance.

Ignorance, intolerance, hate and criminalisation of homosexuality often forces many men and women to remain in the closet. As discussed earlier, many gay and lesbian people are living in marriages they would not choose if it were not for the stigma attached to homosexuality in their societies.

Removing stigma, criminalisation and discrimination against the LGBTQI community should enable more people to live as they want to live, and may, in turn, help reduce the world’s population and create a more livable planet for everyone.

Image: Vector Stock