On freedom of speech

So many people seem to think “freedom of speech” simply means freedom to be abusive. Others – like our friends on the left – think it means freedom to say anything, as long as they agree with it.

 
I think a lot of people don’t respect FOS, because we take it for granted. In reality, FOS is something that millions of people will never truly experience. In most
civilisations it has been won over by century upon century of struggle intertwined with torture, suffering, ridicule and combat. The monks in Burma are going through these stages right now, and they probably won’t see the end results in their lifetime.

 

For me, FOS is more than just a licence to be abusive. It is absolutely crucial to progress and development. I can give a perfect example. In my other home of Thailand (no I’m not half Thai, I just work here) there is a strictly enforced Lese Majeste law. Under the first law of the constitution, nobody can criticise The King.

 

Last year The King began to profuse his theories on sufficiency economy. It is a theory that is loosely defined and simply does not work in any country for this day and age. But, because nobody can criticise the king, this idea cannot be removed. Now Thailand’s economists have to a least pretend to be advocating sufficiency economy.

 
The point is, it’s not what’s best for the country, and people are suffering from restrictions on their free speech.

 
This of course is just a mild example. I’m sure we can think of some far more horrific ones.

 

What about restrictions on free speech? Well, I thought the best summary came from Nick Griffin at the Oxford Union.

 

To paraphrase Nick: “Common Law is just about acceptable because it is based on experience. Some restrictions are unavoidable ….my right to swing my fist ends where this man’s bloody nose starts. These are unavoidable but we must accept Common Law and not one step further.”

  
This line from Griffin (it was a brilliant, stirring argument by the way) exposes two of the hypocritical lines from the left. First, the line: “BNP should be censored because they incite hate”. If this was true, we could be punished by law. Yet, how often does someone touting this line go to a police station and register a complaint? They don’t do that because they know what they say isn’t true. The real sentiment behind this line is that the far left hate the fact that they do not get to decide what is “hate speech”. They cannot accept the rule of common law overrides their own bigotry.

 

The second line I hear a lot is: “Ah, but would you allow Al Queda free speech”? This nonsense makes me laugh. Most AQ members don’t live here and those that do are (usually) smart enough to keep their mouths shut. If they did speak, they would expose hate that would be instantly punishable by Common Law, like our friend Abu Hamza al-Masri.

 

When people start to talk about “banning” and “censorship” for anything above Common Law, I start to wonder why. It nearly always boils down to fear, either fear that their own myths or opinions are under threat or fear that someone will say something that scares them. We all feel like this sometimes but it doesn’t give us the right to muzzle others. That is simply the reaction of an animal: attack and silence what you fear.

 

Censorship is part of a totalitarian mentality. It is nearly always enforced by an unelected elite or political mob – often under indirect control of the state – as a tool of oppression. Ultimately it is a form of thought control, and it is a very, very dangerous weapon to be handed to anyone, let alone a group of unelected, self appointed thought police.

 

We have many faults in Britain, but our systems of democracy and free speech protected by common law are far over and above those of many other countries in the world. It is a precious, wonderful gift and the day we hand that gift over to a screaming, hate filled hypocritical mob will be a sad day indeed.

 

No platform must forever stay no more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Response to “On freedom of speech”

  1. Send me all your money!

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