Conservative party to kill free speech in Great Britain?

November 11, 2014
And he's driving, too.

So speak only approved thoughts.

First it was the police raiding your home for telling politically incorrect jokes on the Internet.

Now, under a law proposed by Home Secretary Theresa May to control “extremist speech,” people who say things others find offensive could be served with an “Extremism Disruption Order” and be forced to clear with the police first anything they want to publish online or say in a public forum — even a simple tweet or a Facebook post:

Last month, May unveiled her ambition to “eliminate extremism in all its forms.” Whether you’re a neo-Nazi or an Islamist, or just someone who says things which betray, in May’s words, a lack of “respect for the rule of law” and “respect for minorities”, then you could be served with an extremism disruption order (EDO).

Strikingly, EDOs will target even individuals who do not espouse or promote violence, which is already a crime in the U.K. As May says, “The problem that we have had is this distinction of saying we will only go after you if you are an extremist that directly supports violence. [This] has left the field open for extremists who know how not to step over the line.” How telling that a leading British politician should be snotty about “this distinction” between speech and violence, between words and actions, which isn’t actually some glitch in the legal system, as she seems to think, but rather is the foundation stone on which every free, democratic society ought to be built.

Once served with an EDO, you will be banned from publishing on the Internet, speaking in a public forum, or appearing on TV. To say something online, including just tweeting or posting on Facebook, you will need the permission of the police. There will be a “requirement to submit to the police in advance any proposed publication on the web, social media or print.” That is, you will effectively need a licence from the state to speak, to publish, even to tweet, just as writers and poets did in the 1600s before the licensing of the press was swept away and modern, enlightened Britain was born (or so we thought).

What sort of people might find themselves branded “extremists” and thus forbidden from speaking in public? Anyone, really. The definition of extremist being bandied about by May and her colleagues is so sweeping that pretty much all individuals with outré or edgy views could potentially find themselves served with an EDO and no longer allowed to make any public utterance without government approval.

So you won’t have to incite violence to be labelled an extremist —in May’s words, these extremism-disrupting orders will go “beyond terrorism.” May says far-right activists and Islamist hotheads who have not committed any crime or incited violence could be served with an order to shut the hell up. She has also talked about people who think “a woman’s intellect [is] deficient,” or who have “denounced people on the basis of their religious beliefs,” or who have “rejected democracy”—these folk, too, could potentially be branded extremists and silenced. In short, it could become a crime punishable by gagging to be a sexist or a religion-hater or someone who despises democracy.

In other words, say or write something someone in government (or who can pressure government) doesn’t like, and you’ll find yourself smacked with a “Speak Only When Allowed” order. This in the land from which we inherited our beliefs in free speech as a natural right of all humans, the dogma that no person could truly be free without the ability to speak their mind without fear of reprisal, regardless of the subject and regardless of how offensively put. Once you set government up as the arbitrator of what may and may not be said, you’ve then gone from being a free-born citizen to a servant of the State, speaking only when Master gives leave.

I can see why the Conservative (1) government might want to do this; they have a hell of a problem on their hands with radical imams recruiting for jihad against Britain and the West, as well as encouraging young Muslims to go join ISIS. But you don’t deal with the problem by threatening everyone for speaking their minds. All that does is force people to guard their thoughts and “go underground.” It’s the same flaw –the criminalization of thought and opinion– that lies behind so-called “hate crime” legislation here in the United States.

Rather, the way to deal with so-called extremist, hateful speech is to expose it in the marketplace of ideas and show how fallacious it is. Tolerating people saying things we don’t like is a small price to pay when compared to what we lose when we repress the right to speak freely at all.

Great Britain is the land that gave birth to free speech; it would be a shame if she were also the first Anglospheric nation to put a stake in its heart.

Footnote:
(1) The irony is knee-deep here.


Britain Announces Emergency Measures To Prevent Winter Blackouts

October 28, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

This is where the cult of “Green energy” leads — brownouts and blackouts. By heavily subsidizing inefficient, unreliable wind power and eschewing new coal and (until recently) nuclear facilities, Britain has to take draconian steps to avoid a climate-caused disaster: not warming, bit freezing to death in winter. And if the Enviro-radicals have their way in the US, we won’t be far behind.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

MODIS_UK_SnowFrom the GWPF: Cold Winter Could Cause Britain’s Lights To Go Out

Emergency measures to prevent blackouts this winter have been unveiled by National Grid after Britain’s spare power capacity fell to just 4 per cent.
–Emily Gosden, The Daily Telegraph, 27 October 2014

The capacity crunch has been predicted for about seven years. Everyone seems to have seen this coming – except the people in charge.
–Andrew Orlowski, The Register, 10 June 2014

National Grid has warned that there has been a significant increase in the risk of electricity shortages and brownouts this winter after fires and faults knocked out a large chunk of Britain’s shrinking power station coverage. The grid operator admitted that in the event of Britain experiencing the coldest snap in 20 years – a 5 per cent chance – then electricity supplies would not be able to meet demand during two weeks in January.
–Tim…

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On the contrary, Mr. Cameron, ISIS *is* Islamic

September 15, 2014
Seal of the new Caliphate

Seal of the new Caliphate

Sigh. What was I saying the other day about our leaders being in denial? Right on cue, the UK’s Prime Minister provides a stunning example:

“They (ISIL/ISIS) are killing and slaughtering thousands of people, Muslims, Christians, minorities across Iraq and Syria,” Cameron said of ISIS. “They boast of their brutality. They claim to do this in the name of Islam. That is nonsense. Islam is a religion of peace.”

“They are not Muslims. They are monsters. They make no secret of their desire to do as much harm not just in the Middle East, but to any countries or peoples who seek to stand in their way or dare to stand for values they disagree with.”

No, Prime Minister, Islam is not a religion of peace. Its founder commands unending war against the unbelievers (that’s us, by the way) until “all religion is for Allah” and sharia law is imposed on us all. It has been the most consistently aggressive religion of the last 1,400 years, because its sacred texts (the Qur’an, the hadiths) and tafsir (learned commentary) repeatedly command and endorse aggression against non-Muslims. As Roger Simon wrote:

The Islamic State is not only Islamic, it is the very paradigm of Islam, Islam distilled to its essence as practiced by Mohammed, massacring local tribes, raping and enslaving their women, and making war against everyone in his way until he had subdued as much of Arabia as possible.  Who knows how many beheadings were involved, but can we assume the total significantly outstrips the Islamic State’s, at least for now ?  Islam is far from the only violent religion — almost all have had their moments — but it is unquestionably the most unremittingly so.  If Islam is said to have been hijacked, it is not by the thugs of the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, al Qaeda, al Nusra, Ansar al Islam, Ansar al Sharia, al Shabaab, Boko Haram, Jemaah Islamiyah, Hamas, Hezbollah and on and on.  They are the true practitioners of the faith, following in the footsteps of Mohammed and obeying the prescriptions of the Koran and the Hadith to make the whole world Islamic or else. They don’t need to communicate with each other.  They just  do their thing, because the playbook has been written for them and they have studied it well.  It is they who have been temporarily hijacked by a few whirling pacifistic Sufis or other moderate outliers before getting down to the unfinished  business of finally crashing through the Gates of Vienna or defeating Charles Martel at Toulouse and returning Al Andaluz to its rightful owners.  As one will recall, that was the stated intention of the al Qaeda maniacs who blew up the train at Madrid’s Atocha station just a few years ago.

It goes without saying that not all Muslims are monsters like the jihadis of ISIS, al Qaeda, and so many other jihad groups. But neither is it impossible to be both a Muslim and a monster. Stalin, for example, killed thousands of Socialists, but that did not make him any less of a Socialist for also being a monster.

ISIS is Islamic. What it isn’t is shy about acting on its Islamic beliefs.

RELATED: Many Muslims, jihadist or otherwise, hope for the return of the caliphate, abolished with the end of the Ottoman Empire after World War One. They see its end as the great disaster of the Muslim world. If you want to know what its return would mean for non-Muslims in such a world, I suggest you read this piece about the Armenian Genocide. Hint: the Ottomans made ISIS look like amateurs.


Another Brutally Disturbing Example of Government-Run Healthcare from the United Kingdom

September 6, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Want to see the future of health care under Obamacare? Just look to the motherland…

Originally posted on International Liberty:

It’s time to add to our collection of horror stories from the U.K.’s government-run healthcare system (previous examples can be found here,herehereherehereherehereherehere, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).

What makes today’s story different, though, is that the bureaucracy not only is denying care to a small child, but also seeking to prevent the family from seeking treatment elsewhere.

Check out these excerpts from a blood-chilling story in USA Today.

The parents of a child suffering from a severe brain tumor signaled Monday they would defy efforts to force them to return to Britain, days after their family fled.

So why did they feel the need to escape a presumably civilized nation?

It seems government-run healthcare isn’t exactly on the cutting edge when it…

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UK Government Study: Greens use more electricity than skeptics

July 15, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Oh, taste the sweet, sweet irony.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Story submitted by Eric Worrall

A UK government study has concluded that people concerned about global warming, on average, use more electricity than climate skeptics.

Some highlights from the study follow.

On the “benefits” of switching off appliances;

View original 227 more words


What about *your* gaffes, Hillary?

July 3, 2014

Yes, my friends, it’s time once again for one of our favorite games, “If it had been a Republican…”

Remember, how, back in the 2012 campaign, the press and the Democrat support groups (redundant, I know) hounded Republican nominee Mitt Romney over supposed misstatements and gaffes while on a foreign tour? I can recall one incident in particular, when Romney was in Poland and his campaign wanted to deal US foreign policy issues, a reporter chased after him shouting “What about your gaffes??” The purpose, of course, was to plant the idea with the public that Mitt’s minor faux pas showed he wasn’t qualified to be president.

In which case, I eagerly await Hillary being pestered about her foot-in-mouth moments:

The former Secretary of State, who’s been heavily promoting her new book “Hard Choices” in a likely precursor to running for president in 2016, appeared to state the Conservative and Tory Parties in Britain were rival political parties during a BBC interview.

“Tory” is in fact another name for the Conservative Party in Britain.

Asked by the host what she thought of the “Special Relationship” between the U.S. and Great Britain, Clinton declared it was “very special between our countries.”

“There’s not just a common language, but a common set of values that we can fall back on,” she said. “It doesn’t matter in our country whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat or frankly, in your country, whether it’s a Conservative or a Tory. There is a level of trust and understanding. That doesn’t mean we always agree because, of course, we don’t.”

As the article points out, Hillary was our Secretary of State, who had to deal with our close allies in the UK on a nearly daily basis, and yet she didn’t know “Tory” and “Conservative” were synonyms? It reminds me of the recent Obama ambassadorial appointee who didn’t know his soon-to-be host country, Norway, has a king and not a president.

For supposedly being so much smarter than everyone else and for all their claiming to know what’s best for us, progressives sure are ignorant of the wider world, no?

Of course, it could easily have been a simple slip of the tongue on Hillary’s part, saying “Conservative and Tory” when she meant “Conservative and Labor,” the kind of mental backfire we’re all subject to from time to time.

But not all of us are (probably) running for president, an office that has almost sole control over US foreign affairs, including relations with one of our closest allies.

And so I expect the MSM to grill Hillary mercilessly over this gaffe, hounding her incessantly with questions about her competence and knowledge

Just as soon as she becomes a Republican.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bookshelf update — Tories: Fighting for the King in America’s First Civil War

July 3, 2014

Renaissance scholar astrologer

I’ve updated the “What I’m reading” widget to the right to reflect the latest item on the Public Secrets lectern, Thomas Allen’s “Tories: Fighting for the King in America’s First Civil War.”

 

book cover Tories

 

 

I’m only a few chapters into it, so far, but “Tories” is an entertaining and thought-provoking history of what happened to the losers in the American Revolution: those Colonials who remained loyal to King George III and Parliament. It’s a salutary reminder that this was also a civil war, one that tore apart friends, families, and whole societies. Just as Patriots saw themselves as fighting for American freedom, the Loyalists believed they had justice on their side as they lost all defending the Rule of Law and rights of property, things we still value. I dislike moral relativism, but this may be one case in which it’s good to remember that both sides had their heroes and both their villains. Anyway, “Tories” is available in both Kindle (1) and paperback formats.

PS: Why, yes. This is a shameless bit of shilling on my part. I like getting the occasional gift certificate that comes from people buying stuff via my link. But I still think it’s a good book.

Footnote:
(1) Sadly I’ve found about one error per page in the Kindle version, in which two words will be smashed together with no space between. These are all too common in Kindle e-books.


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