We seem sold on the whole idea that freedom of speech means we are obliged to amplify hate and give bigots a platform. We don't owe bigots a platform. You are right, they're free to say what they want but giving them a platform to the detriment and regression of others is irresponsible... The latest scandal has seen alt-right professional troll, Milo Yiannopoulos, immersed in criticism for his latest statement on "cross-generational" sexual relationships between boys and older men. For some people, this has been the last straw, but many people are pointing out that the last straw should have been issued a long time ago. Yiannopoulos has a history of well documented bigoted behaviour that many have chosen to ignore.
The pro-Safe Space brigade always give the same defence for their restrictive policies, claiming that implementing rules on what language is acceptable and how people should interact, allow greater freedom of expression for marginalised, oppressed groups. The argument that more censorship equates to greater free speech is nothing short of Orwellian.
It has been possible for several years, on most social network platforms, to purchase accounts with a specific intention of increasing follower counts or support for certain opinions. This doesn't have massive impact in the context of isolated cases. When Twitterbots begin to influence elections, brands and shares, the real threat becomes clear.
In a bid to stem the tide of digital radicalisation by terrorist groups such as Islamic State, the European Parliament has approved plans for new legislation which will allow rapid and widespread removal of extremist content from the internet. Digital rights activists are up in arms over the decision, which they fear will lead to private organisations policing and censoring internet users with impunity.
We simply cannot do this if we obsess over this new victim mentality, seeking offense where none is intended. We cannot do this if we refuse to allow those we disagree with to speak. This is a generation of intellectual cowards; whether the NUS disaffiliation campaigns are successful or not, nothing will change until we do.