To put it simply, Western nations appear to have fallen out of love with free speech and are criminalizing more and more kinds of speech through the passage of laws banning hate speech, blasphemy and discriminatory language. Ironically, these laws are defended as fighting for tolerance and pluralism.
After the lethal riots over Dutch cartoons in 2005 satirizing Muhammad, various Western countries have joined Middle Eastern countries in charging people with insulting religion. And prosecutions are now moving beyond anti-religious speech to anti-homosexual or even anti-historical statements. In Canada last year, comedian Guy Earle was found to have violated the human rights of a lesbian couple by making insulting comments at a nightclub. In Britain, Dale Mcalpine was charged in 2010 with causing "harassment, alarm or distress" after a gay community police officer overheard him stating that he viewed homosexuality as a sin. The charges were later dropped.
Western countries are on a slippery slope where more and more speech is cited by citizens as insulting and thus criminal. Last year, on the Isle of Wight, musician Simon Ledger was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated harassment after a passing person of Chinese descent was offended by Ledger's singing "Kung Fu Fighting." Although the charges were eventually dropped, the arrest sends a chilling message that such songs are voiced at one's own risk.
Some historical debates have now become hate speech. After World War II, Germany criminalized not just Nazi symbols but questioning the Holocaust. Although many have objected that the laws only force such ignorance and intolerance underground, the police have continued the quixotic fight to prevent barred utterances, such as the arrest in 2010 of a man in Hamburg caught using a Hitler speech as a ring tone.
In January, the French parliament passed a law making it a crime to question the Armenian genocide. The law was struck down by the Constitutional Council, but supporters have vowed to introduce a new law to punish deniers. When accused of pandering to Armenian voters, the bill's author responded, "That's democracy."
Perhaps, but it is not liberty. Most democratic constitutions strive not to allow the majority to simply dictate conditions and speech for everyone — the very definition of what the framers of the U.S. Constitution called tyranny of the majority. It was this tendency that led John Adams to warn: "Democracy … soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.''
Legislators in the United States have shown the same taste for speech prosecutions. In June, Tennessee legislators passed a law making it a crime to "transmit or display an image" online that is likely to "frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress" to someone who sees it. The law leaves free speech dependent not only on the changing attitudes of what constitutes a disturbing image but whether others believe it was sent for a "legitimate purpose." This applies even to postings on Facebook or social media.
Judge Martin's comments are disturbing because they reflect the same emerging view of the purpose and, more important, the perils of free speech. Martin told Perce that "our forefathers" did not intend the 1st Amendment "to piss off other people and cultures." Putting aside the fact that you could throw a stick on any colonial corner and hit three people "pissed off" at Thomas Paine or John Adams, the 1st Amendment was designed to protect unpopular speech. We do not need a 1st Amendment to protect popular speech.
The exchange between the judge and the atheist in Mechanicsburg captures the struggle that has existed between free speech and religion for ages. What is different is that it is now a struggle being waged on different terms. Where governments once punished to achieve obedience, they now punish to achieve tolerance. As free speech recedes in the West, it is not sharia but silence that is following in its wake.
This is being driven by the Left and its gaggle of Minority Identity Groups. Minority Identity Groups arent interested in anything by their own empowerment via any means. They arent interested in equality before the law, they support laws and policies that discriminate on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity, and religion. Diversity promotion instead of Meritacracy or Liberty.
[Marcuse] characterizes tolerance of repressive speech as "inauthentic." Instead, he advocates a form of tolerance that is intolerant of right wing political movements:
"Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left."
"Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc"
Just a note hate speech codes first were proposed and implemented on university campuses which came about under pressure from Leftist groups. These policies are being driven by the Radical Left and minority Identity Politics Radicals....which have mainstreamed themselves so much as to have MSM journalists sneering at people for calling them Radical(s). [See recent Breitbart video with regards to Derrick Bell and Critical Race Theory - BTW a branch of Marxist Think Tank the Frankfurt Schools Critical Theory]
To round out these thoughts of the radicalization of the Mainstream Left this about a recent article in the New York Times which discusses the radicalization of the Mainstream Left.
And currently a Blue Dog Democrat is as hard to find as Hen's Teeth in Congress (not to mention the White House).
But back to the issue of Free Speech. Muslims are happy to impinge upon Western Free Speech, but they dont have the power to do so. The Left however much it desires to push Repressive Tolerance, cant do so without a compliant European Christian majority (or in the case of Europe, Indeginous as well) population. That population that is afflicted with cultural doubt and guilt, is much more pliable, with regard to laws that they flagellate themselves with. Embracing diversity, moral cultural relativism (Multiculturalism, Diversity Promotion)......which is all part and parcel with the Moral and Cultural Nihilism that permeates European Christian societies.
Last edited by EscapeVelo; 03-11-2012 at 11:31 AM..
Blessed is the man, who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly. - Psalms 1
Tocqueville believed that Democratic despotism would be the most intense form of despotism b/c it would strike at the soul and not the body.
The “vice of specialization” entails the denial of intellect. “It is a denial because it rests on the superstition that understanding is identical with professional skill. The universal formula is: ‘You cannot understand or appreciate my art (science) (trade) unless you practice it.’ ” - Jacques Barzun
Let me summarize the rant: Sixty years ago, Germany drafted a constitution which outlawed Nazism and references to Nazism. Sixty years ago.
Since then, politicians have tried to ban all sorts of speech. President Bush banned health care providers from telling a patient where to get an abortion. Ed Meese pressured stores into taking Playboy off the shelf. School boards burned copies of Huck Finn. By and large, such efforts fail, because they inevitably draw more attention to the banned speech than the speech itself receives.
That's a topic that writer Mark Steyn had written about often. In other western countries hate speech laws have been created such that if someone is offended by what is said, that person can be prosecuted. Anyone from politicians, writers, to even comedians, who make a living offending, have been subject to government fines, and then being more of less black listed. One of his articles on the topic ~
In Australia, the columnist Andrew Bolt is on trial for the crime of “offending” prominent members of the taxpayer-remunerated “professional Aborigine” elite. One of the complainants simultaneously “offended” a fellow Aborigine by comparing her recent appearance on TV unfavorably to an act of equine bestiality, but that’s not actionable because no formally designated white people were involved — which was kind of Bolt’s point in the first place: Collective rights based on race, sex, orientation, and ideology (ie, religion) destroy the concept of equality before the law.
In Denmark, despite an earlier acquittal, Lars Hedegaard of the Danish Free Press Society is to be re-tried by the State for the crime of “offending” Muslims by discussing Islam’s treatment of women in a private conversation.
And in Canada the British Columbia “Human Rights” Tribunal has just fined a stand-up comic, Guy Earle, $15,000 for the crime of “offending” lesbians at a comedy club. They were drunk and were heckling him, and he unburdened himself of some putdowns. But they were homophobic putdowns, and so he must be punished. Earle was working for a fifty-buck bar tab and doesn’t have 15 grand, and no comedy club in Vancouver will hire him ever again. He donated money to a gay charity in atonement, but his fellow liberals abandoned him anyway....
Im afraid the equality sham is up. It's a good con, but that is all it ever was. It is about power and interests, not about upholding lofty principles. Like Communists hiding behind Free Speech....when they wouldnt extend the courtesy to you or anybody else for that matter....and as we can see from the full on assault on Free Speech via Hate Speech codes and laws....the Radical Left cant even wait for the Police State. Lawfare works just as good.
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