a follow up to “Free Speech and the Paradox of Tolerance”
Julia Serano

“ For starters, at the recent University of Washington event, the primary instance of violence occurred when a Yiannopoulos supporter shot a protestor.”

Was this “victim” just a protester? According to various press accounts, the “victim” is Josh Dukes, 34, a Seattle computer-security engineer and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) General Defense Committee, which describes itself as an “anti-racist and anti-fascist organization.”

The Industrial Workers of the World is a Marxist union that advances the cause of overthrowing capitalist society and ushering in a “worker-led” revolution. Fair enough as far as that goes.

Their “General Defense Committee” however, is it’s militant arm. They aren’t just protesters carrying signs. Their entire purpose is to break heads — neo-nazi and fascist heads in particular. Their primary tactic is to provoke their opponents into making a physical move and then beating the snot out of them.

A witness that was there at the scene reported events as:

Samie Frites, a nursing assistant who said he had gone to the protest “to make sure nobody got hurt,” said he saw a man pull “something out of his coat and started firing these little projectiles into the crowd.”

The law-enforcement source said it was pepper spray.

“I yelled at him to stop,” Frites said. “That’s when this other guy came out of the crowd and went after him.”

Frites said he grabbed him to try to prevent a confrontation. That’s when Frites said he heard a “muffled noise,” which he is now sure was the gunshot.

It appears that Josh Dukes was one of those intolerant people you say we shouldn’t be tolerant of…

There was also evidence (as discussed here) that Yiannopoulos was planning to target undocumented students by name in his UC Berkeley talk (thus putting their lives at risk), and that the protesters purposefully damaged the building (thus shutting down the event) in order to prevent this from happening.

You may want to check your link because the author of that piece has edited her claim that there was any evidence. There was no evidence. There was supposition in the part of those who oppose Yiannopoulos.

For reasons explained at great length here and in my original essay, the free speech absolutist position does not take Popper’s Paradox of Tolerance into account, and therefore cannot be taken seriously.

The free speech absolutist position DOES take Popper’s Paradox into account and, like most of western civilization, it rejects it.

Most of the responses to your earlier piece weren’t from free speech “absolutists” at all. That’s just a label you slapped on them and the reason they don’t take you seriously. It is Popper’s position that is absolutist.

The vast majority of the population in western countries have adopted the Rawl’s approach to tolerance and intolerance. Under his philosophy, acceptance of intolerance is much more nuanced and requires tolerance of it until such time as it demonstrates an actual infringement on the “tolerant person’s” rights. An example of that would be the USSC’s adoption of the “fighting words” doctrine.

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