Monday, April 2, 2012

Relax, when we do it, it’s ok

A new word has made its way into the public discourse in Norway, and that word is ‘ytringsansvar’, literally meaning ‘expression responsibility’. The English word that would most accurately describe it is probably decorum.  The idea behind this new word is that people have a responsibility to express themselves in a non-hateful and non-offensive manner. The failure to show enough ‘ytringsansvar’ or decorum has repercussions in that a moral responsibility for the consequences that ensue are placed upon the transgressors, regardless of whether incitement to violence has taken place or not.

The political left in Norway which introduced the word shortly after the terror attacks on 22/7 felt that ‘hateful’ rhetoric had contributed, at least on an ideological level, to the atrocities and therefore advocated that such speech should be toned down from then on, hence the introduction of the word ‘ytringsansvar’. No legal changes were proposed, but the left in Norway have actively encouraged people to restrain themselves whenever debating ‘sensitive’ issues since. In effect what the left are doing is encouraging Norwegians to engage in self censorship; or more correctly they are encouraging those who don’t share their views on multiculturalism, Islam and immigration to shut up.
In Norway certain political opinions have already been banned. Individuals who express views that run contrary to those that the left have deemed acceptable on matters such as immigration, religion or homosexuals risk being prosecuted for hate speech, which basically means that the left in Norway has managed to outlaw opinions that they find unpalatable. There is of course a word which accurately describes such behaviour and that word is fascism. The act of banning political opinions that one doesn’t agree with and to curtail someone’s right to express themselves freely can only be labelled as fascism. The truth is that the political left in Norway are guilty of employing fascist methods in order to silence individuals with opposing views and it is quite surprising that no one in the MSM is writing about it.

The idea that a political faction should be given the task of deciding what constitutes acceptable speech and what doesn’t is preposterous and it violates the most fundamental democratic principles. The right to express oneself freely is an inalienable right which should be protected and guaranteed by a nations constitution, and no politicians should have the authority to dilute or revoke such an intrinsic right. In the USA freedom of speech is enshrined in the American constitution and it cannot be revoked by elected representatives. This used to be the case for Norway too until the left decided to make unconstitutional amendments in order to bring the constitution more in line with their own political agenda. It is important that people realize that the so-called hate speech laws wasn’t introduced out of concern for immigrants, Muslims and homosexuals, they were introduced in order to stifle opposition to the policies of the left. It’s a lot harder to oppose something if doing so can result in a prison sentence.
A couple of months after the 22/7 terror attacks a member of the AUF who was on Utøya when Breivik went berserk wrote an op-ed in Dagbladet in which he urged the leadership of the various political parties to come together and agree on the parameters of ‘acceptable speech’. One can only assume that this person believed that his presence on the island that day gave him the right to restrict freedom of speech in Norway, which is an incredible arrogant attitude.  It is highly unlikely that he intended to outlaw opinions that praised multiculturalism and Islam, which he himself is a supporter of. It is much more likely that he intended to restrict opinions that he himself found unacceptable.

The massacre on Utøya was horrible and no one on the political right in Norway contests this fact. However it is very disturbing to observe how the left is scrupulously exploiting this tragedy in order to consolidate their power and to discredit their opponents. It is completely unacceptable that they use this tragedy to introduce more limitations on free speech. Tragedies like the one that took place on Utøya occur on an almost weekly basis in other countries, and there are absolutely no grounds for claiming that the massacre on Utøya was worse or somehow more morally reprehensible than that of other terrorist attacks. Spilt Norwegian blood is no worse than spilt Israeli or Iraqi blood and the political left in Norway should take that to heart and stop elevating this incident into an almost religious like event.
There should be very few limitations placed upon freedom of speech. The courts should only consider those cases that clearly incites to violence, defamation cases and copyright violations. Political speech concerning religious matters, ethnicity and alternative lifestyles don’t belong in a court of law unless they advocate violence. The courts and the authorities have no business censoring political views. Such restrictions may be part and parcel in a dictatorship, but they have no place in modern western democracies.  


  1. Despite the fact i don't live in Norway, i know very well this fact. Yesterday i talked about this with my mom.

  2. Thank-you for this new "phrase" - I think it is quite interesting and very appropriate that we do this as so many of these "old words" fail to accompish this. In fact, many are being twisted. In Canada, Ezra Levant as taken to called the new, politically-correct so-called "Human Rights" - Counterfeit Human Rights. People basically make them up whenever they feel offended - this seems similar. ‘ytringsansvar’ basically seems like a "Speech Code" that tells people they must be careful to self-limit - because they will be guilty of incitement IF something goes wrong. That is crazy as it should be the person who acts who bears responsibility for his/her actions. But don't we have laws AGAINST "criminal incitement" that counsel against outright violence? Or are we speaking about "coded speech" like that heard in radio broadcasts before the 1996 Rwandan Genocides?