Tuesday, 8 December 2015
Many of you have probably heard of Tyson Fury. Many of you won't. For the unenlightened he's recently become a boxing world champion, and for that I applaud him. However, that's where the positives end. As a member of the travelling community he has a unique take on society; many might add an outdated view. He appears to be quite the homophobe and also a bit too keen to utter phrases such as “Women should know their place”. Now you don't need me to articulate that these positions appear, to put it charitably, a bit neanderthal. I think as a society we are doing a reasonable job of ceasing to define a person by their sexual orientation or gender, give or take a few hundred million religious zealots and small sub sections of society such as travellers. Point is, I don't need to talk you through why such views are dumb, but I do need to strike a note of caution as to how we deal with them. Critically, I don't want such views silenced, because as an advocate of free speech I do believe that people have the right to talk out of their arse. Just as we have the right to point this out. I consider the free exchange of ideas to be fundamentally critical to sustaining a healthy society. You can criticise me, and I you. And lo and behold we disagree, and then go get on with our lives. Concerning the traveller culture towards women I am not a fan. I happen to think that the empowerment of women and the removal of obstacles preventing this is key to making the planet a more peaceful and prosperous one, but I can't compel everyone to think this way. I recognise also that there are many women who enjoy being in a position of submission to men, and it isn't for me to deny them this desire. Concerning Mr Fury and his silly talk about homosexuality, I actually regard it as useful. Useful because it illustrates, albeit in binary terms, how archaic such views are. So what I'm saying is that we can put away our pitchforks. Let him speak. Let him wax lyrical. And then let's point and laugh at him, before getting on with our day. I want a society where all views are heard, because society is the engine room of enlightenment. We pull and tear at the good and the bad, hopefully moving forward into a world where we have a clearer idea of what constitutes goodness and harm. So let's allow these people a voice, and let's chew the proverbial fat. To do otherwise, to seek to silence such inanity, seems to me more of a backward step than a forward one.