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LETTER: Disagreement does not equal censorship

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor

Speaking as an “intellectual lightweight” and card-carrying member of the “so-called progressive smart set” referred to in Barry Imhoff's letter (“Tired of the lectures on correct-think and correct-speak”) on June 29, I feel compelled to take a few moments away from my daily regimen of moralizing and proselytizing in order to smugly condescend to Mr. Imhoff — smug condescension being the preferred method of the “self-appointed censor,” i.e. me.

My lecture today deals with the expression of ideas.

It will be brief, partly because the lesson is so simple, but mostly because Prime Minister Trudeau allows only a single 10-minute break per 12-hour day for all of us enlisted in his secret Department of Social Justice Warfare.

So, my thesis: disagreement does not equal censorship and, as was drilled into me during my education in the liberal incubator known as Topsail Elementary School, though sticks and stones may break my bones, names will never hurt me.

I recall during those heady days of boxed juice and arithmetic a disagreement I had with a fellow burgeoning liberal over a cloud we happened to spy.

I said it looked like a dinosaur; he disagreed vehemently, saying it was actually a dump truck. I called him a low IQ individual; he called me a big jerk. I attempted to censor him by telling him to shut up. He would not.

I was stymied.

So, my thesis: disagreement does not equal censorship and, as was drilled into me during my education in the liberal incubator known as Topsail Elementary School, though sticks and stones may break my bones, names will never hurt me.

Though we couldn't have known it then, the spectre of free speech was actually looming all around us.

We both expressed our opinions and then fought like children over whose was correct, never once considering that our childish name calling was in itself the freest form of speech.

No teacher arrived on scene to haul us away, never to be heard from again.

I will admit, however, that I did burn with righteous anger when my application to present my opinion to the wider student body was denied by the principal, and I did consider myself a victim of censorship.

I did.

But I realized much later, when my liberal indoctrination was complete, that I had already exercised my right to free expression by simply voicing my opinion, and that I was not owed a venue from which to broadcast my views.

I was free to stand in the schoolyard and stamp my feet and yell until I was red in the face, as children do.

So, in the spirit of democracy and in the holy name of free speech, I shall wait here in my wallow with the rest of Orwell’s pigs, happily waiting to be disagreed with.

Grant Loveys,
Mount Pearl


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