Quivering with sensibility

On the one hand down with hate speech, on the other hand “suck my dick you transphobic cunts” is just strong feelings. Libby Purves in the Times:

Several evangelists have been convicted for lumbering around with placards against homosexuality, a chap got six months suspended for leaving a stupid cartoon in an airport prayer room and a peerlessly silly YouTube comedian got arrested for teaching a pug to do a Nazi salute. Quivering with sensibility, we proudly cherish our disapproval of “distressing” anyone, even if that distress is theoretical and caused by some harmless stranger’s moral opinion. There is little backing now for the tough old saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me.”

Unless it’s about women defending their boundaries.

Yet as we have been rightly reminded by weary MPs after the killing of Sir David Amess, real and explicit death threats are commonplaces of public life. Every few weeks Tulip Siddiq finds herself informed by some random fellow citizen that she will be raped and murdered, her family butchered. Jess Phillips has to report similar messages “all the time” to the police. The mayor of London needs 24-hour security and Rosie Duffield missed the Labour conference because of the danger posed by transgender activists. Elected officials at every level and public health scientists have had their addresses published with explicit violent menaces, often mentioning or involving their families…

Being gender critical deserves all the abuse it gets, but genuine explicit death threats are ok.

Only very occasionally is someone brought to book for such threats: only four prosecutions can I find from last year. Meanwhile the learned, thoughtful academic philosopher Kathleen Stock, who again wields no actual power, has been advised by the police to teach online, install CCTV and take bodyguards on campus.

The people bullying her, on the other hand, wear masks.

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