We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Debating censorship on BBC Radio 5 Live

Tonight at midnight I am to be on the Richard Bacon debate show on Radio 5 Live, arguing about censorship. My job, and that of my pro-censorship opponent, will be to poke a stick into the wasps nest that is the Radio 5 phoning-in community, thereby ‘involving’ lots of people. They hope. If no one calls, we will no doubt talk amongst ourselves, although if I know these people they will have done some preliminary poking already, and lined up some callers of appropriate extremity and craziness, for if we two official debaters let the side down by talking too sensibly.

Libertarianism, civil liberties, etc., is strictly stuff that they squeeze in when nothing real is happening (i.e. football). However, I take such chances when they are offered, and if they make it worth my while. They have promised me £80, which for me is not bad for an hour’s intermittent chit-chatting. Wish me luck.

I keep trying to get these radio shows to introduce me as a Samizdata blogger, instead of just as “from the Libertarian Alliance“, but they still do not understand about this, or perhaps fear that their listeners will not understand. I suppose the problem with writing for the internet is that, you know, anyone can do this and it is very easy so therefore it is of no importance. I mean, what on earth could ‘blogging’ possibly have to do with a debate about the official control of and suppression of information?

7 comments to Debating censorship on BBC Radio 5 Live

  • Ian

    I didn’t hear it from the start. Did anyone ask whether your adversary would ban fantasies? Mine were pretty raunchy even before I read Titus Andronicus.

    She had no objective criteria for censorship, beyond what was ‘explicit.’ And I noticed she refused to be drawn on the question of banning Shakespeare in much the same way that some islamofascist from the MCB on the Moral Maze recently (who wanted to ban anything that said nasty – basically, unislamic – things about her religion) refused to be drawn on banning The Satanic Verses. In short, these coves seem to want to ban things because they’re ‘not nice’ and fall into all sorts of snare trying to justify this.

    Hard to figure her politically, despite that fellow who accused her of being a Born-Again Republican. It’s true that the socialists want to ban as much as the conservatives, though often different things. But she shared with so much of the ‘pro-family’ right-wing that ironic insistence on statist intervention and the abdication of parental – family – responsibility in bringing up kids. So why be for the family when you hand your children’s upbringing and moral values to the State? That’s just crazy talk.

    I was impressed with how you kept saying things like “I’m in favour of people getting rich, very rich, selling other people things that they want even if I don’t like them” and how no one thought you were a lunatic for saying so. Maybe there’s hope….

  • Jack Boots

    Hope you gave ’em hell. In the nicest possible way of course.

  • As usual I found out too late about this. But it looks like it is available online.

  • Perry was once on TV representing the “civil liberties website Samizdata.net”, which perhaps sound better than a “blog”.

  • Yes the press does seem to have a wee bit of problem using the word “blog”. I think Alex is right that using a euphemism might be a good idea.

  • Simon Lawrence

    I managed to catch the last five minutes, and in an adolescent whiney manner I would like to say that I felt incredibly patronised by your opponent.

    The next time somebody says that adolescent minds are warped by two dimensional images, I might actually be inspired to serious violence.

    By the way, one clue as to where her political sympathies may lie could be in her rather pathetic last effort to get support – when she performed some mini-rant on how big business profits from ‘sick’ material and how it exploits people, and how people are weak and need the goverment to protect them from their own desires, and how etc etc………..

  • Pete(Detroit)

    I mean, what on earth could ‘blogging’ possibly have to do with a debate about the official control of and suppression of information?

    Or, god forbid, catching the major network media trying to influence an election?