Umm, but why?

Anyone who criticises Sharia law or gay marriage could be branded an “extremist” under sweeping new powers planned by the Conservatives to combat terrorism, an alliance of leading atheists and Christians fear.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, unveiled plans last month for so-called Extremism Disruption Orders, which would allow judges to ban people deemed extremists from broadcasting, protesting in certain places or even posting messages on Facebook or Twitter without permission.

Mrs May outlined the proposal in a speech at the Tory party conference in which she spoke about the threat from the so-called Islamic State – also known as Isis and Isil – and the Nigerian Islamist movement Boko Haram.

But George Osborne, the Chancellor, has made clear in a letter to constituents that the aim of the orders would be to “eliminate extremism in all its forms” and that they would be used to curtail the activities of those who “spread hate but do not break laws”.

He explained that that the new orders, which will be in the Conservative election manifesto, would extend to any activities that “justify hatred” against people on the grounds of religion, sexual orientation, gender or disability.


If they’re
not breaking the law then they’re not doing anything wrong, are they?

We’ve got robust laws about incitement to violence and the rest. And the thing about this free speech stuff is the “free” that’s in the phrase. I am and should be allowed to say “lock up the filthy homos” however stupid, impolite or hateful it would be for me to say this. Just as Abu Hookhand is at liberty to discuss the finer points of stoning them or pushing a wall over on them. What neither of us may say is let’s go stone that filthy homo over there.

That’s just what free speech means.

39 thoughts on “Umm, but why?”

  1. So Much for Subtlety

    Theresa May, the Home Secretary, unveiled plans last month for so-called Extremism Disruption Orders, which would allow judges to ban people deemed extremists from broadcasting, protesting in certain places or even posting messages on Facebook or Twitter without permission.

    Well there go TW’s comments section. Most of us would get a ban.

    Britain’s liberal society is dead. The Communists began to rise in the 1960s. They may not be Marxists any more but they have retained the Stalinist mind set and now they run the bureaucracy. We have the remains of a free society but not for much longer. Soft totalitarianism is not a joke.

    He explained that that the new orders, which will be in the Conservative election manifesto, would extend to any activities that “justify hatred” against people on the grounds of religion, sexual orientation, gender or disability.

    Oh please do. If anything is going to drive more voters into the arms of UKIP it is making the views of most British people illegal.

  2. It appears conservative views that are robustly expressed will be deemed hateful, and that we will all be obliged to be polite. You’re right: it’s the end of the comments section.

  3. Tricky chap, your freedom of speech. The orders would ‘would be used to curtail the activities of those who “spread hate but do not break laws”’.

    So, is it a fair summary that, currently, to say ‘strangling rabbits is a disgusting activity’ is legal but to say ‘rabbit stranglers should be shot’ is not?

    Assuming that it is, where does some intermediate position, such as ‘children should be taught at school that strangling rabbits is wrong’ or even ‘rabbit stranglers should be shown the error of their ways’ stand? And how would such statements fare under this proposed legislation?

  4. What happens if a gay activist and an imam have argument? Does who gets prosecuted depend on who call police first?

    Oh well, business as usual, then.

  5. It’s strange that “extremism” is the bogeyman; that the acceptability of one’s variance from some arbitrary norm is assessed on its degree rather than its direction. I am extremely opposed to rape and murder and extremely supportive of personal liberty and hand-pulled beer. Would it be better if I were only slightly opposed to rape and murder? Or slightly in favour?

  6. It’s a funny thing. “Extremism” is just radicalism. We live in a society formed by radicals and extremists. If this goes ahead, it is the literal end of free speech and debate in this country. How have we reached this point?

    Well, at the risk of somewhat blowing my own trumpet here, Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance just gave a speech to the HL Mencken Society in the USA that not only mentions my good self but sums up what led us to this condition-

    http://thelibertarianalliance.com/2014/11/01/sean-gabb-on-the-european-right/

    Hence, now that we live in a society dominated by extremists, it is time to ban that which is extreme defined by themselves.

  7. “Anyone who criticises Sharia law or gay marriage could be branded an “extremist” under sweeping new powers planned by the Conservatives”

    That’s the end of judges and juries, then. Anyone who relies on English law is making an implicit criticism of sharia. And they’ll be had up in court. Hold on, I’m getting confused here…

  8. SMFS

    “Britain’s liberal society is dead.”

    The same thing seems to be happening in most western countries. The Fabian version of quasi fascism achieved notch by notch.

  9. Well, at least it means that anyone who was planning to vote Conservative to keep The Labours out is now going to have to vote UKIP.

  10. Pat Condell is stuffed then.

    “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!” – Barry Goldwater.

  11. I think some of you talking about bans or the end of free speech are forgetting that we all know that the internet simply does not care about geography.

    For example, Tim’s site is hosted in California (a two second google search). Already with regard to this site, that’s quite detached (from the UK) for this purpose.

    And if someone accessing this from the UK wanted to be ultra cautious and were instead to access it via a cheap or free VPN (say based in a third country), then very quickly all of this becomes completely irrelevant and just more pointless politics from Dave.

    I totally agree re “own goals” – the Conservatives really do seem utterly determined (with regard to UKIP) to be the gift that keeps giving. It’s actually quite hard to understand; I can’t personally believe myself that they really are that imbecilic. And if they are not, then what is the real game being played here?

  12. The Conservative Branch of the Communist Party is steaming ahead at full speed.

    It’s carrying on the good work performed by the Labour Branch of the Communist Party, who were well advanced in their mission to make everyone guilty of something so that they could be tried in a secret court should the need arise.

  13. PF-

    The real game being played here is one of cultural hegemony. There is only one set of moral values acceptable to the Establishment, so they all feel driven to articulate it. They all believe in it.

    One crudely similar model is the Christianisation of Rome in the 4th century, which has similar characteristics to the rise of PC in the modern West. Prior to Constantine, Christianity was a marginal and generally illegal or at least despised sect. In 313, Constantine legalised it. It then became gradually unthinkable to be anything but a Christian, until by the end of the century it was illegal to be anything else (other than a Jew).

    With regards to PC, we are in the transition from “unthinkable” to “illegal”.

  14. BiF “Anyone who criticises Sharia law or gay marriage could be branded an “extremist” under sweeping new powers planned by the Conservatives”
    In computing we call such statements deadly embraces – those nasty things that cause blue screens. In this example Sharia law criticizes gays (by requiring their death) and gays (married or otherwise) must criticize Sharia law.
    So we should support this measure since it will cause the Fabians to crash.

  15. Ian B,

    I understand where you are coming from.

    But, even if I were to accept the argument, I can’t see how proposed laws like this succeed in pursuing that agenda. “The establishment” – is this the UK we are talking about – does not control the internet, whatever fascist or authoritarian nonsense Dave or Tess might aspire to?

    Hence, unless the internet is somehow substantially chopped down to size, too many clever people will push back (in my opinion), and on behalf of the many.

    Even cutting back the conventional internet is probably increasingly becoming impossible, with Wi-Fi mesh (bypass the wires / ISP’s), encryption and VPN possibilities increasingly available or possible, in addition to the likes of TOR and similar. I am not sure I can see any of this going back “into” the bottle?

    Jeremy T

    You are right. After a few BSOD’s – it’s popcorn and crack open a beer, watching the contortions as they try to choose trumps.

    Ironman

    It’s ironic. A good chunk of our parents’ (or grandparents’) generation risked their lives for precisely that principle – to enable the likes of you, me, SMFS, etc, as you so eloquently put it. And this lot increasingly look like they simply want to flush that sacrifice straight down the toilet.

  16. PF,

    The government controls the people who use the internet. The law does not control the internet. It controls the people. These are different things. I’ve often seen people confuse the ability for technology to do something with the capacity of the law to stop it.

    I have an iron bar. Nothing can stop me beating my neighbour with it and stealing his money. The law will punish me afterwards, not stop me doing it. Likewise, the law will punish people who use the internet in ways declared illegal.

    If I publish “extreme speech” anywhere on the internet, the police will take me to a court and have me put under a control order, and if I break it I will be sent to prison. That is how the law works. That is how they control the internet. That is how they control everything else as well.

  17. And anyone who thinks laws will break down and be removed due to their internal contradictions, unenforcability or sheer insanity, please take a look at the “war on drugs”.

  18. I’m also at this point trying to remember the specific EU Framework Document thingy a year or two ago that declared the intention to introduce laws against criticism of PC under the “hate speech” banner, as I’m wondering if we’re due another one of those “oh lookie, everyone decided to have a smoking ban at the same time” “coincidences”.

  19. Ian B

    Interesting link above, thanks. You are right about Sean, he is completely and utterly wrong about holding his nose!

    If I publish “extreme speech” anywhere on the internet, the police will take me to a court and have me put under a control order, and if I break it I will be sent to prison. That is how the law works. That is how they control the internet. That is how they control everything else as well.

    I am not sure you followed what I said above?

    Let’s just take this site here, hosted out of California. Let’s pretend that an anonymous person posts something deemed (and let’s say by French law) to be abusive on this site, hosted in California.

    How does a hypothetical French law (above) take that person to court?

    The French enforcer would have to watch and monitor billions of web pages all over the world, not just those hosted in France, to find posts the French considered offensive.

    The anonymous person may have been German, French, or Chinese, or anything else? If the post was even made from France, it may have been sent encrypted via a VPN.

    I accept that, if the French state is already watching specific French individuals, and those individuals post something offensive from France unencrypted, then the French state has the capability to intervene. But that’s pretty much it, unless I have misunderstood you?

  20. Someone in the US could still say what they like here on Tims site with impunity. Unlike we Brits who could be dragged to the USA with small recourse. However the people most interested in and exorcised by UK affairs are those in the UK. And it is at us that these laws are to be aimed.

    Mass brazen defiance is the way forward. ZaNuLab would not have been able to force their ID card on the approx. 5 to 6 million who would have refused them. Continuing to speak out will likewise stop them. An endless succession of court cases will be more trouble than they can handle–just as with the ID card. It could be the euroshites on the job–but my sense it is one for the BluLabour faithful to con them that “Mr Tough” Camoron won’t stand for anymore Abu Hookhands and will stamp his little feet to stop the nasty Jihadis.

  21. So when some left-wing ‘polemicist’ calls for all bankers to be hanged, they will be prosecuted? Yes, thought so.

    Another nail in the prospect of me ever voting for Cameron. About the 33rd nail, by my reckoning.

  22. I can’t see who the Tories are trying to tempt with this lunacy. Do they think they can win a grievance-mongering bidding war against Labour?

  23. Well I was on the cusp of holding my nose and voting Tory at the next GE. This little lot has just made up my mind for me. No point voting Tory, might as well vote Labour. The practical effect is the same. Bunch of illiberal fascist shits.

    UKIP it is then. They may be a bunch of fruitcakes, but with a bit of luck they can turn the establishment upside down, and maybe something better will crawl from the wreckage.

  24. Apologies, Tim, as this is firmly off topic. Michael Howard has just written this piece in the DT.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11203602/A-reformed-Arrest-Warrant-is-a-vital-tool-in-the-fight-against-crime.html

    Howard of course was the (so called) Conservative who was desperate to enforce compulsory ID cards within the UK.

    But are the various protections he highlights with regard to the EAW genuine? And, if they are, does that deal with a good many of the problems implicit with the EAW and as highlighted by Carswell and others?

    Or is Howard simply doing again what politicians do so naturally (ie lying)?

  25. No point voting Tory, might as well vote Labour. The practical effect is the same. Bunch of illiberal fascist shits.

    That’s what I said at the last election. I think I’ve been proved right an’ all.

  26. @ MC

    Re: Model National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance

    I can’t remember why, but I watched the video for part of that debate in the Euro Parliament at the time.

    That is fucking terrifying.

    It was.

    People talk about the EU becoming a USE. When you listen to some of these people, you realise that an EUSSR is going to be a lot more accurate.

  27. Ian B

    I’m also at this point trying to remember the specific EU Framework Document thingy a year or two ago that declared the intention to introduce laws against criticism of PC under the “hate speech” banner, as I’m wondering if we’re due another one of those “oh lookie, everyone decided to have a smoking ban at the same time” “coincidences”.

    That will be very interesting to watch!

  28. Any “statement of tolerance” where they announce that “Holocaust denial should be a crime,” has dwindled in to the pathetic tautological mess that, is, well ECHR jurisprudence.

    How about my statement of tolerance?

    “People are allowed to say shit that you not only disagree with but feel personally offended or even revolted by. If you can’t accept that, it isn’t ‘tolerance’.”

  29. FFS!

    A “National Tolerance Monitoring Commission”? Arnald, we have, at long last, a job even you can do.

    Admittedly, we’d all prefer you failed miserably at it and, given your track record, we’ll probably be quite content but …

  30. So Much for Subtlety

    Ironman – “I will defend SMFS ‘s right to be a thick racist arsehole with my dying breath.”

    Thank you Ironman, I am touched. Really I am.

    Unfortunately it looks like you may well have to.

    PF – “How does a hypothetical French law (above) take that person to court?”

    Well they can apply for an extradition process if said person ever steps foot in Heathrow Airport. Which is what Germany did for an Australian idiot who posts Holocaust Revisionism on line.

    “The French enforcer would have to watch and monitor billions of web pages all over the world, not just those hosted in France, to find posts the French considered offensive.”

    No they would not. Look, France already makes calling your wife fat a crime. It does not have to monitor every communication between every husband and wife. It waits for wives to complain. But also they can make examples. After they grad Guido off to prison – and I do think these laws are specifically aimed at Guido – they will intimidate everyone else. Consciousness raising you know.

    I am not sure it applies, but there was another Australian case where a man in Australia sued Dow Jones for an article written in a magazine published in the US. The American company lost. So if TW’s site is hosted in California, they better not have any business dealings with the UK or any other countries with a similar law.

    This case:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dow_Jones_%26_Co._Inc._v_Gutnick

  31. When you listen to some of these people, you realise that an EUSSR is going to be a lot more accurate

    I don’t think that’s the applicable model. I think the applicable precedents are things like Calvin’s Geneva, Cromwell’s England, the Massachusetts Bay Colony, or the Taliban, or Hassidic Judaism. It’s a system where you have this intense and pettiflogging moralist legal code, administrated by a bunch of old men with beards. Or, in our case, it might be old ladies with beards.

  32. That Dow Jones case. Yes, it’s a general princciple that it’s not where something is posted, written or hosted that is important. It is he law of the jurisdiction where it is *read* that is.

    Thus, in theory, holocause denialism on this blog, if it is read by Bloke in Germany, becomes prosecutable in Germany. That’s the way libel law works at least an the general principle seems to be applied to other laws.

  33. Tim,

    Let’s say an anonymous “Nick” comes on here and denies the holocaust; and BiG gets miffed and then persuades a German prosecutor to get very miffed too.

    Who would the German state prosecute?

    Is it Nick?

    Is it the site administrator, for not properly moderating the site, and is the remedy simply to delete the post?

    Is it the hosting company, based in the US, who then tells the administrator to delete the post?

    Or are the remedies more serious? Site take down, damages?

    I’m not sure how it works? And I am not sure how it can possibly work, in reality, given all the different potential legal processes / jurisdictions?

    I’ve just read the Australian wiki piece above. Was this mainly a one-off with particular circumstances, including 1,700 “paying” Australian customers (hence yes it impacted Australia), rather than if Aussies had freely surfed to the site?

    The simple reality is that there are not masses of cross border prosecutions for all the utter crap that appears on the internet?

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