In Britain, Free Speech Goes Out with a Whimper

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Or so we were told as children. Of late, alas, this maxim has come under sustained fire, as the conflation of physical violence and verbal criticism has become de rigueur.

Hate-speech laws, which are now ten a penny outside of the United States, rely heavily on the preposterous presumption that opprobrium and disdain are equal in severity to battery and bloodshed, and that the state is capable of sensitively superintending their use. Once, it was accepted as a staple of the Enlightenment that any government that attempted to closely supervise speech was destined for disaster, if not for tyranny. Now, even the home of John Stuart Mill has slid backwards into the mire. In Britain each year, as across Europe, tens of thousands of people are investigated by the police for nothing more than being awful in public.

And the voters applaud like seals.

  • With so much government intrusion into speech, why does Islamic theology get a free pass?

    If would seem that fair play ought to hold Islamic theology up to the same standards of speech.

    Islamic theology clearly preaches hatred of non-Muslims. And it clearly incites violence.

    Why the free pass for Islamic hatred?

    • Xavier

      Because it opposes western civilization and Christianity, the same things the left despises. Equal standards do not apply – in their view, the ends justify the means.

    • Alain

      I wonder if deep down there is a destructive gene in people, since as soon as they obtain liberty and freedom they start accepting, even at times demanding, government/state intrusion into their lives. I reject that we were wired for tyranny, but most certainly there is some kind of sickness. As for government intrusion into speech, even thoughts, that is only the latest. We have slowly and gradually been accepting and encouraging more and more government intrusion into our private lives for close to a century.

      • Xavier

        We want for what we do not possess, and do not appreciate what we did not suffer to own.

  • ontario john

    In Canada there is no need for hate speech laws, as the media elites do an excellent job of censoring themselves. No negative comments about islam are allowed and they certainly would not say anything negative about whiny indians. The Saturday Star today is full of Liberal Party propaganda with even the publisher making one of his rare appearances touting the new “Happy Ways” of Trudeau. I’m sure his rant today is also a veiled warning to the sheep that work for him to keep the liberal propaganda going. Even the letters to the editor are carefully selected to continue the rainbows, lollipops and shiny pony atmosphere of our saviours, the Liberals.

  • ontario john

    And don’t expect the entertainment industry to promote free speech. The Toronto Star is excited that Hollywood and Communist China are developing close ties in future movie making. Good thing the current Hollywood producers were not around during World War 2 or they would be promoting the Nazis.

    • Xavier

      China is buying up radio stations all over the world. WUWT?

  • DMB

    Hate speech laws are the modern day blaspheme laws. Condemn or criticize what is sacred to the elite and other privilege groups and you get prosecuted.