The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Discussion Group

Question with a Vote

Debate 20C With the current and growing practices of "public shaming" , ostracism and threats of violence, will people in the public eye be reluctant to express opposing views in future?

Please answer Yes, No or Undecided and add a sentence or two why you have voted the way you have.

I will add replies to my website as soon as possible after they are received so that you can see what other people are saying.

Please reply by Friday and I will circulate the Group’s answers on the Wednesday following.




1. Yes. The current fascination with the social media could be having a insidious effect on the freedom for some of those in the public eye to express themselves on matters of controversy.

Although there are celebrities in sufficient quantity who are willing to stand up for what they believe.

At this point in time I don't believe it is a problem but it is certainly one should be watched over the not too distant future.

2. Yes. There have always been examples of visiting controversial speakers being banned from Universities and/or protests organised against them.

The current organisation of campaigns to discredit relatively mild opposition from individuals is of a different order.

It goes beyond political correctness and reminds me of George Orwell and police states.

Unfortunately social media gives the opportunity for people to whip up frezied attacks.

You are still free to give your views at Discussiion Group. (But we may not agree with you!)

3. I would defend the right to free speech, even if their views do not agree with mine.

4. Yes definitely. If the Government in the 50s had been more assertive a lot that is happening now would have been avoided.

5. Yes. Excessive political correctness will stifle ‘high profile’ people, preventing them from openly expressing their views,

especially when it could cost them their job, or threaten their safety.

6. Undecided. Unless we can return to free speech even if someone is upset, social media will continue to hound anyone they disagree with.

Universities seem to be unable to persuade students to listen to all opinions (and maybe change their minds).

7-8 Frightened to express views. Particularly in public sector jobs. PC stifling journalism

9. Needs to be a careful balance. People should be accountable for their views but opposing views should be heard to enable challenge.

10.There are 2 sides to this. I believe in freedom of speech provided it is expressed in a civil non-threatening way but sometimes that is not the norm as violence is inferred or explicit.

We need to ensure that views can be expressed without being subject to intimidation or abuse.

On the other hand people are being prevented from fulfilling speaking engagements such as at universities because a majority disagree with them and aren't tolerant enough to listen and possibly question.

11. Too many will not but they should - the notion of free speech is being undermined. Open and honest debate is essential for greater understanding and tolerance.

12. No.

My general comment is we are a democracy with freedom to move around.

Review of Week

Most of the Group thought that people in the public eye will be less likely to express personal views, that oppose those of campaign groups, as a result of public shaming and social media activities.

If people are afraid to engage in constructive debates and discussion:

1. it would be a further assault on freedom of speech

News would not be reported fully by journalists/broadcasters

2. People would keep quiet for fear of ridicule, even losing their jobs

3. There is the danger that extreme views and/or behaviour are promoted as the norm

4. Opportunities, to find out what a cross-section of the population think, would be limited

Colin Bower
24 July 2020

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