Law Professor: International Court of Justice should silence global-warming skeptics

September 21, 2015

Climate science experts. The rest of you shut up.

I suppose I should be grateful; some climate thugs want people like me prosecuted under the RICO statutes for our skepticism, while others have likened us to Holocaust deniers or even called for our death.

In comparison, Professor Phillippe Sands QC, a professor of International Law at University College London and a multiply published author, merely wants the International Court of Justice to curb-stomp our right to free speech:

False claims from climate sceptics that humans are not responsible for global warming and that sea level is not rising should be scotched by an international court ruling, a leading lawyer has said.

Scientific bodies such as the UN’s climate science panel have concluded that climate change is underway and caused by humans, Prof Philippe Sands QC told an audience at the UK’s Supreme Court. But a ruling by a body such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would carry much more weight with public opinion and help pave the way for future legal cases on climate change, he said.

“One of the most important things an international court could do – in my view it is probably the single most important thing it could do – is to settle the scientific dispute,” Sands said, on the eve of a three-day conference on climate change and international law in London.

“A finding of fact on one or more of these matters [such as whether climate change is man-made], or indeed on other pertinent matters, would be significant and authoritative and could well be dispositive on a range of future actions, including negotiations.” Scientifically-settled questions such as whether climate change is even happening are still being challenged by “scientifically qualified, knowledgeable and influential persons”, he said.

I have a two-word response to Prof. Sands that isn’t printable here, so I’ll settle for a sincere “Go to Hell, buddy.”

This is an example of “Lawfare,” using the law to silence or otherwise punish opponents. I originally came across it in cases wherein (usually Saudi, wealthy) Muslim sympathizers with jihad would use the UK’s ghastly libel laws to punish critics of Islam. It seems that climate alarmists, in their frustration, have learned the same lessons: if you can’t win the argument, use the law to harass your opponents into shutting up.

And Professor Sands’ arguments are just chock-full of what’s wrong with climate alarmism: not just involving the law where it doesn’t belong –deciding scientific questions– but failing to recognize the weaknesses and even corruption on one’s own side. The “UN’s climate science panel” (IPCC)? Report summaries are altered to push preferred alarmist conclusions, and the organization relies on computer models of at best questionable accuracy.

What is this garbage about “‘scientifically qualified, knowledgeable, and influential persons'” disagree with the ‘settled science’ of climate change, and we just can’t have that?” If these people are so qualified, shouldn’t we be listening to their criticisms and giving them serious consideration? No, instead we must silence the heretics via court order!

What’s next, an auto da fe?

And as if most Americans could give a tinker’s cuss what the ICJ has to say.

via WUWT

(Video) Does Free Speech offend you?

August 31, 2015

Yesterday I wrote about politically-correct silliness at Wesleyan University, head-shaking but largely harmless identity politics.

Today’s video, however, takes a look at a far grimmer trend at our colleges and universities: the assault on free speech in the name of not hurting anyone’s feelings.

What were once places of free inquiry and defenders of intellectual liberty are more and more becoming places where speech –and, by extension, thought– is controlled by a progressive “PC police.” The irony is rich, because it’s the intellectual descendants of the free speech movement of the Sixties who have become the new enemies of freedom of speech.

Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss.

via Prager University

RELATED: The narrator of the video, Greg Lukianoff, has written two books about the assault on free speech at our universities — Freedom from Speech and Unlearning Liberty.

Sweet Cakes By Melissa Refuses to Comply With Gag Order

July 7, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

Good for the Kleins. Seriously. This bureaucrat’s decision was just appalling on so many levels.

Originally posted on Nice Deb:


As you might have heard, the state of Oregon has decreed that Sweet Cakes by Melissa  must pay $135,000 to the lesbian couple whom they (apparently) “mentally raped” by refusing to bake their wedding cake.

Via Rachel Lu at the Federalist:

The final judgment, which came last Thursday, came with another twist. Aaron and Melissa Klein have also been given a “cease and desist” order, which effectively decrees they must refrain from stating their continued intention to abide by their moral beliefs.

Let’s be clear on why this is so sinister. There are times when speech rights conflict with other legitimate social goods. The public’s right to know can conflict with individual privacy rights. Sometimes threats to public safety warrant keeping secrets. There can be interesting debates about intellectual property rights. These cases can get tricky, and we should all understand that speech rights necessarily do have certain pragmatic limits.

 None of…

View original 508 more words

Free Speech: I find your lack of faith disturbing, America.

May 24, 2015

Do we need a refresher?

Via Tom Nichols, here’s Charles Cooke on the results of a survey showing a majority of Democrats and a significant minority of Republicans effectively favor repealing the 1st Amendment:

Depressing news from YouGov:

“YouGov’s latest research shows that many Americans support making it a criminal offense to make public statements which would stir up hatred against particular groups of people. Americans narrowly support (41%) rather than oppose (37%) criminalizing hate speech, but this conceals a partisan divide. Most Democrats (51%) support criminalizing hate speech, with only 26% opposed. Independents (41% to 35%) and Republicans (47% to 37%) tend to oppose making it illegal to stir up hatred against particular groups. Support for banning hate speech is also particularly strong among racial minorities. 62% of black Americans, and 50% of Hispanics support criminalizing comments which would stir up hatred. White Americans oppose a ban on hate speech 43% to 36%.”

What’s disturbing is that the speech in question doesn’t directly incite violence. It doesn’t urge people to go right now and burn the shops of those unliked people “over there.”

Rather, the “hate speech” referred to is a vague term (1) meaning “hurtful things you said that I don’t like.” To give a personal example, I’m very clear regarding my dislike for Islam: I think it an antisemitic, misogynistic, and bigoted faith with aggressive imperatives that lead it to demand supremacy over other faiths and to make war on their adherents until they submit. I have serious questions about whether it is or can be compatible with liberal, post-Enlightenment societies, at least with regard to Muslims who choose to live it as Muhammad intended.

For some, that would qualify as “hate speech”under the standards of that survey, because I would be “stirring up hatred” against Islam, though I would never advocate violence against Muslims, no matter how strong my criticisms of their faith. As Cooke explains, that standard is nevertheless exactly what would get me in trouble in the UK, where free speech protections are dying on the vine under the assault of laws such as the Public Order Act.

That a majority of the self-identified adherents of one of our two major parties would favor laws to criminalize the expression of thought — and that a large portion of the supposedly conservative party would agree with them! — is profoundly disturbing. I hope, indeed, I pray, that this is simply because people agreed with something they thought “sounded reasonable” and didn’t think through the implications thereof, rather than indicating a fundamental change to something that has made us, as a nation, truly exceptional.

Otherwise, we’re in deep trouble.

RELATED: While a number of Republicans have lost their way when it comes to free speech, let’s not forget that it was the Democrats who actually proposed an amendment effectively gutting the 1st Amendment.

(1) This is a great analysis of the increasing calls in the MSM for censoring free speech. Well-worth reading. (h/t Charles Cooke)

UK: Labour leader promises to criminalize “Islamophobia”

April 26, 2015

“Big Brother as a young man”

Great Britain is holding a general election on May 7th, and it’s clear that Ed Miliband, the Labour Party leader, is getting desperate. In an interview with the Muslim News web site, Her Majesty’s would-be first minister promised to outlaw Islamophobia:

“We are going to make sure it is marked on people’s records with the police to make sure they root out Islamophobia as a hate crime,” he said, adding: “We are going to change the law on this so we make it absolutely clear of our abhorrence of hate crime and Islamophobia. It will be the first time that the police will record Islamophobic attacks right across the country.”

Now, lest you think “attacks” just means physical assault, bear in mind the UK has a growing problem with the tolerance of free speech. Given these and other examples, it’s clear that what Mr. Miliband has in mind includes the punishment of free speech, which is the expression of a person’s thinking. In other words, Ed Miliband would make “incorrect thinking” a crime — thoughtcrime.

George Orwell, call your office.

I’ll be frank, Eddie, this is pretty damned disgusting. For a major party leader in the land that gave the world the concepts of individual liberty and natural rights –including free speech– to advocate the creation of a crime based on the holding of abhorrent thoughts is, well, almost unspeakably sad. Shall Great Britain, patriarch of the Anglosphere and the font of our liberties, cast off its heritage and become tyrannical out of fear of hurtful words? Do you, Ed Miliband, seriously propose policing people’s thoughts just to pander for votes among the Muslim community?

If Labour had any sense, they’d toss you to the curb for even making the suggestion.

PS: It’s not as if we don’t have a growing problem here, too, with Leftists and their allies assaulting free speech on our college campuses. And the “hate crime” in general is a troublesome concept, criminalizing a person for his or her thoughts, if they can be known with any certainty, and not just their actions. It also creates privileged classes of victims: declare hatred of red hair a crime, and suddenly assaulting a redheaded person is a worse offense than assaulting a blonde person in the exact same manner. That’s not treating all citizens as equal, as the law should.

(Video) Police State of Wisconsin: ‘I Thought It Was a Home Invasion’

April 22, 2015

Following up on my earlier post about the Left’s fascist abuse of the law to intimidate and terrorize political opponents, here’s an interview Dana Loesch of The Blaze TV conducted with David French, the author of the National Review exposé, and the head of the Wisconsin Club for Growth, one of the victims in this:

Someone needs to be fired over this, at the least.

Journalism Dean: “There are limits to free speech”

January 21, 2015
"Free speech means the freedom to offend."

“Free speech means the freedom to offend.”

It’s a measure of how craven and corrupt our political culture has become that even the Dean of a journalism school in a nation founded on free speech and freedom of the press should say “there are limits, however:”

Charlie Hebdo has gone too far.

In its first publication following the Jan. 7 attack on its Paris office, in which two Muslim gunmen massacred 12 people, the once little-known French satirical news weekly crossed the line that separates free speech from toxic talk.

Charlie Hebdo’s latest depiction of the prophet Mohammed — a repeat of the very action that is thought to have sparked the murderous attack on its office — predictably has given rise to widespread violence in nations with large Muslim populations. Its irreverence of Mohammed once moved the French tabloid to portray him naked in a pornographic pose. In another caricature, it showed Mohammed being beheaded by a member of the Islamic State.

While free speech is one of democracy’s most important pillars, it has its limits.

So says DeWayne Wickham, Dean of the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Wayne State University. In a very limited sense, he’s right: I cannot go yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater (1), for example (2). Nor can I incite to violence by, for example, standing before a crowd and telling them to go now and beat up a certain person or persons.

But that’s it. All other political speech is within bounds, regardless of whom it offends. You cannot have a free society unless the it includes the right to freely criticize those in authority — and not just criticize, but to satirize and mock, too. If I as a Catholic want to question Original Sin and the need for Divine Grace, or that Jesus was not Divine until adopted by God, then the Church might well denounce me as a heretic and excommunicate me, but the law cannot punish me for my beliefs, nor should I fear physical violence. If I want to be truly outrageous and place the Crucifix in a beaker of urine, I would be a jackass, but I still should not have to fear either legal sanction nor physical violence.

And the same is true of any religion. If I want to question Muhammad’s status as a prophet, or even if he existed at all; if I want to argue that his earliest biography shows he was a bandit, a warlord, and a torturer; and if I want to criticize Sharia, Islam’s divine law, for calling for the execution of homosexuals, that is my right as a free man — even if I want to draw questionably funny satirical cartoons.

This is the right of any human being and well-within the “limits” of free speech.

Let’s be honest. It’s not a regard for the proper limits of free speech that motivates Mr. Wickham. If he or one of his students offended some Amish who then complained, I’m willing to bet he’d be on his soapbox screaming about “free speech” and “freedom of the press.”

And that leads us to the truth. Amish might shun you. Catholics won’t invite you to Bingo Night. A Buddhist would probably just decide you’re an annoying illusion and don’t really exist.

But all too many Muslims would be quite willing to kill you for insulting their Muhammad. Just ask the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, or Theo van Gogh.

The limit to Dean Wickham’s freedom of speech is his fear of punishment, and thus he is not free at all.

via Michael Walsh

(1) Popehat points out the serious flaws with that particular justification for censorship.
(2) When it’s not true, that is.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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