Free speech has no meaning in Europe

December 12, 2010

In Denmark, a member of parliament was convicted of violating Section 266.b of the Danish penal code for saying that honor killings and sexual abuse take place within Muslim families in Denmark. Truth was not a defense, nor was he allowed to present any defense, for all the law requires is that someone be offended:

On December 3, 2010 the municipal court in Randers, Denmark found the Danish Member of Parliament Jesper Langballe (Danish People’s Party) guilty of hate speech under Article 266b of the Danish penal code. In accordance with Danish legal precedent he was denied the opportunity to prove his allegation that honour killings and sexual abuse take place in Muslim families. Under Danish jurisprudence it is immaterial whether a statement is true or untrue. All that is needed for a conviction is that somebody feels offended. “With this article in the penal code,” commented Mr. Langballe, “I must be assumed convicted in advance. I have no intention of participateing in this circus. Therefore I confess.”

Mr. Langballe was sentenced to a fine of DKK 5,000 (approximately $1000) or ten days in jail. Here is a translation of Jesper Langballe’s full confession in court.

Americans zealously guard the right to free speech as an essential part of democratic government and a protection against tyranny. And it is precisely speech that offends that needs protection, for placid agreement and pleasant nothings are no threat to any would-be tyrant or dunderheaded politician.

But, in Denmark, fear of offending Muslims is enough to get one punished into silence.

As they might say in Denmark: “Ytringsfrihed? Hvad er det?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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Senator Charles Schumer: poster-child of the Nanny State

December 12, 2010

Via Jammie-Wearing Fool, the senior senator from New York is focused like a laser on the nation’s true priorities. National debt? The deficit? Terrorism? Presidents who wish they could quit?

Don’t be silly, Silly! Chuck Schumer is on the case of something far more important: retail restocking fees.

No, I’m not kidding:

Plan on returning some gifts this holiday? It may cost you up to 25 percent of the price of the item and, if it was purchased online, you may not have a clue about that “restocking fee.”

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants the Federal Trade Commission to end that. He wants the FTC to determine if failing to disclose the restocking fee is a deceptive practice and to require retailers to prominently display that the fee will be charged.

Several states including New York, Arizona, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California require restocking fees to be prominent at retail stores.

“While an ever increasing number of retailers are starting to charge restocking fees, the disclosure of these fees has hardly kept pace,” said Schumer (D-N.Y.). “Customers have a right to know that when they make a purchase they could be held responsible for up to 25 percent of the original cost of the product if they choose to return it.

Schumer said a restocking fee is an important element for consumers to consider when choosing where to buy.

These kinds of things typically fall under a state’s policing powers, and that’s where they rightfully belong. If the people of a state want to change how restocking fees are displayed (or charged at all), that’s their business. It’s what they have state legislatures and referenda for, to deal with internal matters like this. And if shoppers are concerned about a store’s restocking policy, they can ask. See, Chuck? We can take care of ourselves! (I know. You guys hate that idea.)

Okay, sure. The Commerce Clause of the Constitution give Congress authority here for interstate sales, but, um… Senator? Don’t you think you have better things to do?

No, I guess you don’t. And there lies the problem.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)