Update: For dispute over the accuracy of some of the details of the following story, see this post, though the essential outline seems to be true to some extent (weasel words pending further info!).
In the following letter, Jim Davidson explains why hes boycotting Freedom Fest. Evidently event organizer Mark Skousen favours abolishing reasoned debate in favour of trial by combat which seems a little odd in a movement supposedly dedicated to upholding persuasion over force, but then after all Skousen is a
thug asshole upwardly mobile Klingon maverick thinker:
So, Mark Skousen has again invited me to speak at FreedomFest.com
The last time he invited me was in November 2004, and that was for his event in July 2005. I had initially agreed to speak, but was very concerned by something he arranged in New Orleans at the Blanchard show.Doug Casey had spoken out against the war in Iraq. In particular, he had said that while it was wrong to demonise the soldiers returning from Vietnam, it was also wrong to deify the soldiers in Iraq. Some Vietnam era veteran took offense, for some reason. Probably because the vet was a thug and thought Doug should be beaten up for being an atheist and an anarchist.
Skousen and Doug were both on the dais for the Saturday night banquet. First, Skousen came out with a jesters cap, called it a dunce cap, and put it on Dougs head. Doug took the time to correct him. Then Skousen called the Vietnam vet Bill forward and introduced him to the audience. He then insisted that Doug go off the dais and wrestle Bill. Doug did so, in spite of recent injuries from being thrown by a horse, and actually won the wrestling match.
After the event, I asked Skousen why he arranged for a physical confrontation between a speaker and a member of the audience. Skousen said that because what Doug said had offended the vet, Skousen felt that there should be a physical contest to resolve the matter of honor.
Naturally, I then asked Skousen if I were to say anything in Las Vegas at his event in July 2005 which someone felt was offensive, or pretended to be offended by, would he arrange for a grudge match. He said that he would, and that he believed it was a principle that any time someone is offended by what someone else says, they should be able to beat that person up.
So, I withdrew my consent to be a speaker.
This year, desperate for someone to talk about science fiction, Skousen has again invited me. I have again inquired about the matter of the wrestling match. Here is his latest thought on the matter.
The vet was expressing outrage by Doug in his insensitive comments about veterans, and thats all. If you cant stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Clearly, Skousen is a moron who thinks that speakers should be afraid of the audience. He wants to intimidate speakers into speaking a mainstream point of view. He does not want speakers to say anything radical, interesting, or offensive. And if you do encounter someone who is offended by you, Skousen wants to arrange for that person to beat you up.
It is all very tedious. So, I suggest that people avoid his nasty event.
What I want to know is: if Im offended by Skousens view that you have the right to beat up anyone who offends you, does that mean that I do get to beat him up or that I dont get to?