Silence the Troll

A special, timely Twelve Enough Episode

Scott Paeth has been pulled into a Twitter/Internet storm because he wondered and questioned the actions of one Milo Yiannopoulos and those who follow and support him in response to an event that happened at DePaul University.

First, read his blog posts about the event and some of his thoughts afterwards:

“Free Speech, Offense, and Academic Discourse” – speaking about the event itself

“Can We Infer the Intent to Offend?” – giving some of his own thoughts

Jonathan and Scott talk about the notion of free speech, intent, and when it is appropriate to push and provoke in order to make a point. Is it ok to speak if the intent is only to offend and there is no deeper point to the offense? And at another level, is it ok to question the appropriateness of such offense?

It is interesting that the response of the Yiannopoulos Trolls is to silence Scott’s question and wondering about Yiannopoulos’ tactics, and that they do it claiming that Scott is against free speech. Such a shouting and crying in an infantile way is an attempt to remove the right of free speech and free thought of someone else. Beyond that, is it appropriate to invite someone into an community who will deliberate other members of the community. This demonstrates a brokenness in the community when one group of people look to make others angry. It is a demonstration of one showing a lack of compassion and humanity towards others. It is an immature expression that one would expect to see exhibited by toddlers, but not adults. Or at least one would hope.

We need to be free to question and to voice our questions even if our questions may be interpreted as offensive, but if there is no depth or reason, then at that point, the offensive is inappropriate.


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Next Episode – the deep conversation with Alexis Donkin on being in relationship with people of other faith traditions.