Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Shut up, he explained

As Mark Steyn puts it, there's a clamour for "new blasphemy laws for progressive pieties...  Once you get a taste for shutting people up, its hard to stop. Why bother winning the debate when it's easier to close it down?"           Despite his mistreatment at the hands of Human Rights bozos in Canada, he holds up the Quebec election last week for praise.  
"A fortnight ago I was in Quebec for a provincial election in which the ruling separatist party went down to its worst defeat in almost half a century. This was a democratic contest fought between parties that don’t even agree on what country they’re in. In Ottawa for most of the 1990s the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition was a chap who barely acknowledged either the head of state or the state she’s head of. Which is as it should be".
"Free speech is essential to a free society because, when you deny people ‘an opportunity to act like normal political parties’, there’s nothing left for them to do but punch your lights out".
Steyn reviews recent depradations against free speech.  (The BBC was advised it should get special clearance before interviewing climate sceptics, liberal artists asked 
for the first state restraints on the British press in 325 years, the apalling treatment of Ayaan Hirsi by Brandeis University and more.).  This puts me in mind of Kate of smalldeadanimals' capsule quiz:  "What is the opposite of diversity?  University."

Homework question: When was controversial public speech ever free or safe?  If people whose opinions annoy you have the right to bear arms, are you more willing to let them speak as long as they keep the peace?  Discuss.

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