Youth Protecting Youth

Defending the Dignity of All Human Life



I find it interesting, although not entirely surprising, how often events in university student politics call to mind the work of George Orwell. Maybe it started back when board members asserted that no one was discriminating against YPY because of our beliefs: after all, we still had club status, our funding had just been denied (at that point without even pretending to follow the Harassment Policy) – can anyone say “All clubs are equal, but some clubs are more equal than others”? Recently, I’ve had the urge to refer to the UVSS Organizational Development Committee meetings to change Clubs Harassment Policy as the Ministry of Truth. Their changes to the policy have made it less about preventing actual harassment, and more about preventing people from saying anything that those in charge think is politically incorrect or offensive.

“The enemies of intellectual liberty always try to present their case as a plea for discipline versus individualism. The issue truth-versus-untruth is as far as possible kept in the background.” – George Orwell in “The Prevention of Literature”, Polemic (January, 1946)

This is what I keep hearing over and over again at UVic and in Canada as a whole. We’re told that of course, there should be freedom of speech, but there have to be limits. And those limits turn into attempts to prevent people from saying anything that might, maybe, offend somebody. That kind of thinking is what has so damaged the credibility of Canada’s Human Rights Commissions (see Ezra Levant’s Shakedown).

This kind of thinking is why YPY is told not that what we say is wrong, but simply that we aren’t allowed to say it. In the fall, we were told the issue of abortion was not up for debate. That makes no sense given the significant numbers of people holding opposing views on the topic. But some people at UVic don’t want to talk about it (or hear about it), so apparently the debate doesn’t exist. This brings to mind the image of a small child with her hands over her ears screaming “LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” when someone says something she doesn’t like.

After our free speech protest, someone made a comment suggesting that we shouldn’t have had signs saying “Abortion ends a human life” and “Some choices are wrong”, essentially because such statements upset people. Excuse me? The signs’ statements are objectively true. If we want an intellectually healthy society, we can’t allow the potential emotional impact of something to become more important than whether or not it’s true.

“If large numbers of people are interested in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it; if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.” – George Orwell in “Freedom of the Park”, Tribune (December, 1945)

Pro-life activists fit rather well into the category of “inconvenient minorities” in Canada. And their (our) free speech is being taken away, even though the law should be protecting it. Recent events at the University of British Columbia show this all too clearly. Free speech means free speech for everyone. Things would have been dandy at UBC if the pro-life and pro-choice groups had stayed within their booked display areas and allowed one another’s messages to be heard. Instead, a group who could perhaps be described as anti-pro-life stood in front of Lifeline’s display and shouted uncreative slogans. The right to speak freely and express one’s beliefs does not extend to actively censoring the speech of others.

The chanting/yelling/screaming censorship is nothing new – it happened at St. Mary’s in Halifax, and then it happened at McGill (where the pro-life club just got their club status back, but only after agreeing to all sorts of conditions about what they are and aren’t allowed to say). My issue with this tactic is this: it does nothing to present an argument as to why the protestors believe the things the pro-life side is saying are wrong, and simply brings back that image of the little child going “LALALALA NOT LISTENING! AND I’M GONNA BE SO LOUD NO ONE ELSE CAN HEAR YOU EITHER!”

We need to defend and uphold our right to express our beliefs in the face of opposition. We need to be able to tell the world that abortion kills human beings, and we can’t let those who don’t like that message shut us up.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” – George Orwell in the Preface to Animal Farm

6 thoughts on “LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!

  1. While I support your choice to be pro-life, I will never support your choice to force that belief onto others. You come from a place of incredible privilege to say that abortion is wrong, therefore you shouldn’t have the choice to do what you feel is best for yourself and your body; you should not have bodily autonomy.

    I get it, your trying to save all the lives of the ‘unborn’. Really, it’s simple. But do you ever stop to think about how many lives you will/are inevitably ending or taking away by promoting the idea that abortion is wrong or working towards criminalizing abortion? WOMEN WILL DIE. That much is certain. Making abortion illegal will not cause the number of abortions performed to decrease. All it will do is decrease the number of safe abortions performed and increase the number of unsafe abortions performed.

    Be a little more critical of the situation and be thankful that you’ve yet to be in a position where you need to make this very personal decision.

  2. No one is forcing anything, Brandy. The censored events are not things people are FORCED to go too. You are not FORCED to read this blog, or read or pay attention to anything any pro-lifer has to say.

    Also, you are very misguided. WOMEN DIE NOW. Why? Because abortion is legal. Botched abortions happen, and complications arise from past abortions. There is so much evidence to support abortion as bad that it’s astounding our culture is so dim-witted as to want to keep it because of “choice” and “my body my rules”.

    Making abortion illegal actually WILL decrease the number of abortions, why? Because it will be extremely risky, and not covered by any governing body.

    You seem to think that everyone getting an abortion will just get one anyways, that is not the case. It’s convenient now, if it’s outlawed then it won’t be and not to mention probably be extremely expensive.

    Be a little more critical of the situation yourself and stop spouting fodder-fed lines we’ve all heard before. The logic that outlawing abortion means more people will die is absurd and holds no water in any debate.

  3. This is simply an issue of the UNBORN = HUMAN BEING. When is it ok to take a life? Brandy, there is NEVER a safe abortion because in each one, A BABY DIES… 1,000,000 each year… you cannot surpass another INDIVIDUAL’S right to liberty and LIFE simply out of “convenience” for a MOTHER. In 2010, there are MANY MANY ways of accessing contraceptives, and abortion should NEVER be one of those forms. Martin Luther King Jr said- ” THERE COMES A TIME WHEN SILENCE BECOMES BETRAYAL”… this is sooo true. When you look at an abortion photo at 6, 8 or 10 weeks or beyond, one cannot deny the TOES, SPINAL CHORD, EYES, FINGERS, ARMS, INTESTINES. Only a human and a human can have a human, not a horse or a cat…. so WHY should the VERY UNIQUE INDIVIDUALS be DENIED the very basis of humanity? The constitution counts blacks as 3/5 of a person. Are the people of America STILL that ignorant to believe that! There must be a time when people realize that THIS IS GENOCIDE and it is wrong. Abortion is done at a rate of every 20 SECONDS in the USA alone. SOMEONE MUST SPEAK OUT. Science has proved time and again that the MOMENT of conception marks the beginning of a life, genetically a unique being. BUT!! BUT!!! should someone disagree and try to deny life at this point, then ask yourself WHEN does life begin and deserve to be protected. EVERY pregnancy is produces a HUMAN, and nothing else. Just ask yourself this question…

  4. Thank you all for taking the time to read and respond.

    Brandy, especially, as someone who obviously disagrees with my position, I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

    You say I come from a position of privilege. First of all, I’m not sure how you know this considering the only thing I know you know about me is that I wrote some things on a pro-life club blog. And regardless, I’m not sure how my position of apparent privilege is relevant. Yes, I am extremely lucky. I have enough food to eat, and clean water to drink. I have a bed to sleep in indoors at night, and enough clothes. I have a job that I like, and that allows me to pay for my education. So in that respect, yes, my life is extremely blessed, and I believe that that leaves me with the responsibility to try to make the world better for those who aren’t so lucky.

    My point, though, is that what makes the things a persons says true is not how privileged or not privileged that person is. Statements, especially moral positions, have truth value independent of who makes the statement – they are either true or not. I am privileged compared to many, many people in this world, but if I say something that’s true, it’s truth value doesn’t change because I said it. Likewise, if someone more or less privileged than me said something that wasn’t true, it wouldn’t be true, regardless of their privilege, or even level of privelege as perceived by other people.

    You say that women will die if abortion is made illegal. As a previous commenter pointed out, women still die from abortions even though it’s legal. Also, abortion rates were significantly lower before abortion was made legal, and based on that I would suggest that were it made illegal, the rates would probably decrease from what they are. This is not to deny that women dying from any sort of medical procedure gone wrong isn’t a tragedy. But the argument that abortion should be accepted because people will do it anyway and get hurt or killed doesn’t hold. People break laws. There are all sorts of examples of people breaking existing laws in Canada and getting hurt or killed by doing so. The solution to that is education, prevention, etc. – not making things legal and safe if they shouldn’t be legal. The question is not what will happen if we make this law and people break it, but rather, should this law exist?

    So what determines whether abortion should be allowed? Is abortion an acceptable action? You probably already know what I’m going to say – if, as I maintain they are, the unborn are human beings and persons, then abortion is wrong. Actions which harm or kill another human being are wrong. Yes, there are tough situations and people living in extremely difficult life circumstances, but our response should be to help ALL the people involved, not to eliminate some of the sufferers as a means of trying to alleviate the suffering.

    Once again, thank you for your comment. Feel free to continue the discussion.


  5. Pingback: Freedom of Expression Update: New Policy of Censorship « Youth Protecting Youth

  6. Thanks for your great article friend

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