Friday, July 16, 2010

"Censorship as Tolerance"

The National Review has a very interesting and thoughtful article about the way censorship is now touted as the truest method of "tolerance". The author, Jacob Mchangama, who is head of legal affairs at the Danish Center for Political Studies, lecturer on international human-rights law at the University of Copenhagen, and co-founder of Fri Debat, a Danish-based network committed to the protection of freedom of expression.

We have moved a long way from 1670 when the great philosopher, Baruch Spinoza could proclaim that freedom of expression is a universal and inalienable right, adding: "Hence it is that that authority which is exerted over the mind is characterized as tyrannical."

Unsurprisingly, our loss of that freedom has been speeded up by the action of the various tranzis and NGOs, led by the UN in which, ever since its inception, countries with the worst records on freedom and human rights, have managed to impose their views that tolerance means more and more control, particularly through "hate-speech laws and regulations".

It is best to read the article as a whole but I do want to quote a couple of paragraphs that show the nonsensical attitude of those who tell us that it was indifference to the Nazis in Weimar Germany that caused all the subsequent problems:
The Holocaust was still fresh in the minds of those who drafted the hate-speech-related U.N. conventions during the 1950s and ’60s, and fresh memories of Nazi atrocities helped them to get those conventions passed. A lax attitude to Nazi propaganda, their argument went, had helped pave the way for Nazi rule and the annihilation of millions of Jews. But justifying hate-speech laws with reference to the Holocaust ignores some crucial points. Contrary to common perceptions, Weimar Germany was not indifferent to Nazi propaganda; several Nazis were convicted for anti-Semitic outbursts. One of the most vicious Jew-baiters of the era was Julius Streicher, who edited the Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer; he was twice convicted of causing “offenses against religion” with his virulently anti-Semitic speeches and writings. Hitler himself was prohibited from speaking publicly in several German jurisdictions in 1925. None of this prevented Streicher from increasing the circulation of Der Stürmer, or Hitler from assuming power. The trials and bans merely gave them publicity, with Streicher and Hitler cunningly casting themselves as victims.

Perhaps even more important, when the Nazis swept to power in 1933, they abolished freedom of expression. Nazi propaganda became official truth that could not be opposed, ridiculed, or challenged with dissenting views or new information. Such a mono poly on “truth” is impossible in a society with unfettered freedom of expression, where all information and viewpoints are subject to intense public debate. While Germans were being brainwashed into hating Jews and acquiescing to the Holocaust, their Lutheran brethren to the north in Denmark — which maintained a free press until it was occupied in 1940 — saved most of their country’s Jews from extermination.
Let us hope that Denmark will recover its sanity and the rest of us will follow that country's example. And let us hope, that the United States, the only country that is holding out, at least in legal terms, against this evil nonsense, will continue to do so and that, sooner or later, we shall join them in that camp.

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