Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hate speech legislation, or introduce harsh penalties for those who try to obstruct free speech?

In the aftermath of the failed assassination attempt on Lars Hedegaard in Copenhagen earlier this month, where an Arabic/Pakistani looking male disguised as a postman tried to kill the well-known Danish Islam critic, newspaper editors and politicians, at least those that bothered to report of the incident, talked in poetic terms about how precious freedom of speech is and that we simply can’t allow anyone to do away with this hard-fought right. It’s nice to know that individuals in powerful positions are willing to stand up for free speech following such an appalling incident, and especially considering that they normally vilify and smear people like Lars Hedegaard who use this freedom to express views that they don’t like under more normal circumstances.

Another intrepid person who uses his freedom of speech to voice opinions that the MSM don’t like is the Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.  And just like Lars Hedegaard he too is on the hit list of fanatic assassins who would love nothing more than to silence him on a permanent basis. As a result of these very real threats Geert Wilders has been given around the clock protection by the Dutch police.

Last week he got to experience close up how the Australian media treat individuals that they don’t like. Their methods are fairly similar to that of their European colleagues. Wilders also got to see how Australian leftwing demonstrators behave, and it should come as no surprise that they are doing their very best to emulate the behaviour of their leftwing brethrens in Europe. At a conference in Melbourne organized by the Q society Wilders got to see firsthand how fanatical leftwing activists critical of his views actively tried to disrupt the event and resort to violence to prevent people from entering the premises and listening to his message.

Such behaviour has unfortunately been allowed to take root in Europe without any real attempts by the authorities to stop it. Violent individuals from organized movements on the extreme left have been permitted almost unopposed to behave violently in order to silence those they disagree with and to deter others from engaging in similar activities.  The demonstrators in Melbourne accused Mr. Wilders of hate speech and of causing animosity and division between the different ethnic groups, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Wilders have repeatedly gone on record stating that those immigrants that embrace western values are more than welcome to reside in the Netherlands, those however who are incapable of doing so have to go.

The demonstrators in Melbourne are of course entitles to believe and say what they like, but what makes them think that they have the right to prevent Mr. Wilders from speaking and violently attack those who have come to listen to him?

What is worse, so-called hate speech, or individuals who are willing to use violence to prevent others from speaking? Most western Governments, with the exception of the US Government, unfortunately seem to believe that hates speech is far worse than real violence

If western authorities were serious about defending freedom of speech they would never have introduced draconic hate speech laws that have completely stifled free speech in Europe and which have given the authorities the power to arrest anyone who doesn’t approve of the official line on such contentious issues as Islam and multiculturalism. Furthermore if the authorities’ had been genuine about defending freedom of speech they would have made sure that this right was properly protected in the eyes of the law. That is not the case today.

Any action whose sole purpose is to deter someone from using this right should be dealt with in the most serious manner. Because when we get down to the nitty gritty, is there really that much of a difference between a dictator preventing his fellow countrymen from expressing themselves freely by the use of terror and intimidation and groups of fanatical citizens that are wiling to attack anyone who dare to express opinions that they find unpalatable, and that are able to do so with impunity? The end result is the same; they’re silencing others by the use of fear.

Why is it that some individuals are given the green light to violently attack others on a regular basis simply because the members of the targeted group have the temerity to express their opinions? And why are they allowed to get away with only a light slap on the wrist and minimal fines in those cases that they are actually arrested? Wouldn’t it make more sense to charge them with obstructing others from exercising basic fundamental human rights?  

How is it that the Dutch authorities can justify spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on prosecuting someone like Geert Wilders for alleged hate speech violations, which they actually did a few years ago, but practically ignore those on the extreme left that are trying to physically assault Wilders and people like him for simply voicing their opinions? Surely it would make more sense to haul the violent leftwing fanatics into the courts, make them endure lengthy trials, pay for their own defence and sentence them to lengthy prison sentences or alternatively give them hefty fines?

How about making them go through similar protracted court processes like the one that Geert Wilders had to endure? There can be no doubts that such an initiative would send out a clear and unequivocal message to others who might be tempted to engage in similar activities. It would also send out a very clear signal that preventing someone from using their freedom of speech through the use of violence and intimidation is simply unacceptable in today’s Europe.

Unfortunately it’s the other way around. Those who express opinions which haven’t been given the official stamp of approval get to feel the full weight of the law. It doesn’t matter that they have refrained from violent activities, their opinions are considered intellectual violence and thus they have to be punished. They get ridiculed and smeared by the leftwing media; they run the risk of getting socially ostracized and in some case even lose their livelihoods for speaking their minds. We’ve come to a stage in history where words are considered to be far more dangerous than a blow from a baseball bat.

In democratic society we only prosecute those who prevent others from using their democratic rights. Why not prosecute violent activists as rigorously as those that are guilty of ‘violating’ the draconic hate speech laws that are in place in most western nations today?  Apparently it’s more important to look after those that are feeling offended than it is to assist those that are being violently attacked by the offended.

Special laws apply to organized criminal gangs, such as Hells Angels and Bandidos, that are known to engage in mafia like activities. Perhaps similar tactics should be used against organized groups that are known to cause violence at public rallies and political event, such as the one that Geert Wilders attended recently in Melbourne? Their tactics are identical; it’s all about intimidation and deterring others from engaging in similar activities. Perhaps the authorities should start to issue restraining orders to know members of such organizations and arrest anyone who are in breach of these? It’s not a human right to assault other people.

Somehow I don’t believe that it wouldn’t go down too well if members from Hells Angels all of a sudden decided to target journalists for looking to closely into the dealings of their club.

Maybe the politicians and newspaper editors that were so vociferous in their defence of freedom of speech but yet so lukewarm of the activities and opinions of Lars Hedegaard should take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror and start sorting out their priorities and re-evaluate their principles? How about being the driving factor in getting such new legislation implemented?

Or perhaps they are comfortable with the way things are as long as they themselves aren’t the target of violence and intimidation?

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