“Hate Speech” and the Liquidation of Free Speech

Bruce Bawer comments on another of the “hate speech” laws that have recently been used so effectively to dismantle freedom of speech in Canada. Bruce describes the Norwegian version:

Then there’s Norway, where I live, and where the last few days have seen yet another dark development. By way of background, permit me to begin by quoting myself. On pages 230-31 of my book Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom I sum up the more alarming aspects of Norway’s Discrimination Law, passed in 2005:

It forbids “harassment on the grounds of ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, skin color, language, religion, or beliefs,” and, in turn, defines harassment as “actions, omissions, or utterances [my emphasis] that have the effect or are intended to have the effect of being insulting, intimidating, hostile, degrading, or humiliating.”

In other words, it’s illegal just to say certain things.

Defendants may be accused not only by the individuals whom they’ve supposedly offended but also by semiofficial organs such as the Anti-Racist Center and the Center against Ethnic Discrimination (both of which helped formulate the law, and both of which exist less to oppose real racism and discrimination than to oppose political incorrectness generally) or by the government’s Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud.

Which means that a handful of far-left organizations have been given enormous power to silence those they disagree with.

Violations of the law by individuals are punishable by fine; violations by individuals in concert with at least two other persons (such as a writer conspiring with an editor and publisher, perhaps?) can be punished by up to three years’ imprisonment — this in a country where murderers often get off with less. Moreover, the burden of proof is on the accused: you’re guilty until proven innocent.

And this in a supposedly free country.

One would think that the adherents of a religion who actually believe in it themselves would not fear criticism.  If they are convinced that what they believe is true, why would they not welcome challenges to that truth as opportunities to embarrass and confute unbelievers, and to enlighten others?  If, on the other hand, they fear that belief in a God who threatens to burn the majority of human beings in hell for millions and billions of years, and, in fact eternally, for the paltry sins they commit during their short stay on earth may not be quite rational, on can understand why they would be sensitive to criticism.   

Liberty is not a ground state. You have to keep fighting for it, or it disappears.

Author: Helian

I am Doug Drake, and I live in Maryland, not far from Washington, DC. I am a graduate of West Point, and I hold a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin. My blog reflects my enduring fascination with human nature and human morality.

Leave a Reply