Free speech means literally anything you like

That’s its power

If you’re thinking of making an off-colour joke in modern Britain you’d be better off joining ISIS writes Douglas Murray in the Spectator. The point he makes is a good one. Whenever some idiot gets it into their head that it’s the right and proper thing to do to go and join an Islamist death cult in Somalia, Syria or Iraq – fully aware of the brutality that this will entail and of the innocents they may well be required hideously and ruthlessly to murder – we are expected to indulge them as hapless, brainwashed victims: nice, warm, caring, wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly types who were just led astray.

So says the wonderful James Delingpole at Breitbart. Source: Welcome to Modern Britain Where Sexism is a Greater Crime Than Violent Jihadism – Breitbart

Losing your job for making a bad joke or an off-colour joke, or even an offensive joke, is an act of oppression.

The holding of any opinion is explicitly protected by the law in England and in New Zealand. We can voice our opinion in public without fear of arrest or prosecution. Why? Because words cannot hurt us, though they may offend, sicken or disgust us if we let them. Nothing can disgust us unless we are disgusted.

Remember that we all have a right to free speech. If someone promotes a course of action or belief you find offensive, raise your voice against it. Don’t call the police or appeal to the Parliament to pass another law. Do it yourself: call for support, refute what they say with unassailable logic, destroy them with wicked humour.

Our opinion may be offensive, hideous or barbaric, but the law explicitly permits us to hold it. You may not like this, and that’s precisely why it’s been protected, because one day you will say something that others think abominable, but you will be safe.

We call it free speech. We are fortunate to have it. If you agree, thank a soldier.

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11 Thoughts on “Free speech means literally anything you like

  1. Yet another Richard on 20/06/2015 at 9:38 am said:

    What was that piece of doggeral from primary school days

    Sticks and stone will break my bones
    But words will never hurt me.

    Unfortunately it appears that it has been reversed in todays society.

  2. Richard C (NZ) on 20/06/2015 at 10:37 am said:

    ‘Petition to Silence ‘Climate Change Deniers’ Gains Over 3,000 Signatures’

    Written by Donna Rachel Edmunds, Breitbart London on 19 June 2015.

    Can’t have free speech on Facebook now can we?

  3. Richard C (NZ) on 20/06/2015 at 10:40 am said:

    John McLean on the Pope’s encyclical:

    ‘The Pontiff Buys a Bridge’

    “False prophets” and “false witness” of climate science – the downside of free speech.

    And it was McLean, de Freitas, and Carter who ran foul of the Climategate journal gatekeepers.

  4. Richard Treadgold on 20/06/2015 at 11:06 am said:

    You make me think, Yet another (YA).

    Unfortunately it appears that it has been reversed in today’s society.

    The school-yard chant strengthens us against verbal assault, yet words will cause no actual harm, so why was protection given to speech since ancient times? As everyone knows, speech actually is deeply wounding—it hurts like no blade ever could, but it wreaks psychic, not physical harm. Speech wounds intellectually and emotionally when it hits the heart, though it never spills blood, yet the founding civilising principle of every society is self-control, so we’re under strong pressure to avoid violence for the good of society.

    Most instances of hurtful speech are no more vexing than the sting of a bee or a toe stubbed against a stone. We are best advised to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and walk away.

    Occasionally we suffer a more serious attack. If we know that the hurtful speech we’re hearing is lawful, no matter how hideous, we might overcome our instinct for violence and plan more considered retaliation than a mere punch, to avoid more trouble. Thus we might, in performing our revenge well, come to understand that the pen (or the word) really is mightier than the sword.

    Thanks, YA.

  5. Andy on 20/06/2015 at 3:00 pm said:

    There are several cases that I can think of where free speech is challenged by law:

    Michael Mann vs Mark Stein. Mann is suing Stein for “defamation” for $9 million. Steyn is counter suing for $30 million. This is essentially a free speech issue

    In Canada, if you suggest that the best people to raise a child are its biological parents and that the best structure for this is “traditional” marriage, you can be fined $10,000 and lose your job

    In Sweden, a man was given a suspended prison sentence for suggesting that the country’s rape epidemic might be something to do with the massive levels of immigration from countries where women are treated as second class citizens

    The suspended part was because it was a first offence. If he makes the same comments again the sentence will be custodial

    Ed Miliband, had he won the UK elections, was going to make “Islamophobia” illegal. Since technically a phobia is an irrational fear of something, I don’t really see how you can make this illegal.

    Last but not least, Holocaust Denial is illegal in many countries. As odious as I find the concept of “denying” the Holocaust (whatever that might mean), I really can’t see how making this illegal is going to help.

  6. Richard C (NZ) on 20/06/2015 at 4:45 pm said:

    >”Ed Miliband, had he won the UK elections, was going to make “Islamophobia” illegal”

    That would have been problematic for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation:

    “Conflict in Iraq and Syria has seen ISIS seize vast territory. Charting the group’s rise, Peter Welby says that future dangers lie in the appeal to Islamists worldwide of their claims to a caliphate.”

    Gosh, Islamophobia. This must be prosecuted.

    Reaction to ISIS (enough to take military action against – or send military trainers) is fear of an Islamic caliphate, murderous of anyone against it in accordance with Islam – Period.

    >”technically a phobia is an irrational fear of something”

    Nothing irrational about fear of a murderous regime so no, not a phobia Andy. I guess the phobia arises when reaction to an ISIS-type caliphate is via the typical peaceful Islam-believer-next-door.

    Except a caliphate is, variously:

    Succession to Muhammad
    “successor to God”
    “successor of the messenger of God”
    “successor selected by God.”

    Ongoing since 632


    And unbelievers (infidel, kafir) are not acceptable in the caliphate:

    In the earliest recited verses of the Qur’an, such as Al-Kafirun, the term kafir simply divided the Meccan community into believers and unbelievers. In later recited verses, particularly those recited after the Hijra in 622 AD, the concept of infidel – kafir – was expanded upon, with Jews and Christians included.[22] The expanded term kafir refers to anyone who satisfies one or more of the following conditions – practices idolatry of any form, does not accept the absolute oneness of God, denies Muhammed as Prophet, ignores God’s ayah (evidence or signs), or rejects belief in resurrection and final judgment.[22][23][24] Jews were condemned as infidels for their disbelief in God’s ayah, Christians were condemned as infidels for their belief in the Trinity, which the Qur’an declared as a form of polytheism.[22][23][24][25]


    Now it gets tricky for the typical peaceful Islam-believer-next-door in respect to the infidel living in the caliphate:


    “If the person who defames him [Prophet Muhammed] is a non-Muslim living under a treaty with the Muslim state, then this is a violation of the treaty and he must be executed, but that should be left to the authorities” – Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Barraak, Majallat al-Da’wah, Muharram, issue no. 1933. Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 14305

    Classic Islamic Law

    Non-Muslims do not have freedom of expression or speech:

    o11.5 Such non-Muslim subjects are obliged to comply with Islamic rules that pertain to safety and indemnity of life, reputation, and property. In addition, they:

    (6) are forbidden to openly display wine or pork, (A: to ring church bells or display crosses,) recite the Torah or Evangel aloud, or make a public display of their funerals and feastdays;

    o11.10 The agreement [with the state] is also violated (A: with respect to the offender alone) if the state has stipulated that any of the following things break it, and one of the subjects does so anyway, though if the state has not stipulated that these break agreement, then they do not; namely, if one of the subject people:

    (3) leads a Mulim away from Islam;

    (5) or mentions something impermissible about Allah, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), or Islam.

    o11.11 When a subject’s agreement with the state has been violated, the caliph chooses between the four alternatives mentioned above in connection with prisoners of war (o9.14). [See information below.]

    o9.14 When an adult male is taken captive, the caliph (def: o25) considers the interests (O: of Islam and the Muslims) and decides between the prisoner’s death, slavery, release without paying anything, or ransoming himself in exchange for money or for a Muslim captive held by the enemy. If the prisoner becomes a Muslim (O: before the caliph chooses any of the four alternatives) then he may not be killed, and one of the other three alternatives is chosen.

    Islam and Freedom of Speech

    # # #

    Not a lot of wriggle room for the typical peaceful Islam-believer-next-door but the same whom we should have no phobia even though his/her religion stipulates death to unbelievers once Islam is in control.

    In other words, if you do not believe in the precepts of Islam, Islam requires your death.

    Maybe not phobia but more than a little nervousness I would have thought.

  7. Richard C (NZ) on 20/06/2015 at 7:23 pm said:

    Matt Ridley,

    ‘The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science’

    “Rob Honeycutt [“Skeptical Science”] and his allies knew what they were doing. Delingpole points out that Honeycutt (on a different website) urged people to “send in the troops to hammer down” anything moderate or sceptical, and to “grow the team of crushers”. Those of us who have been on the end of this sort of stuff know it is exactly like what the blasphemy police do with Islamophobia. We get falsely labelled “deniers” and attacked for heresy in often the most ad-hominem way.”

    Matt Ridley points out he is a lukewarmer and therefore not a “denier”.

    Not in that camp so in terms of validity of the CO2 conjecture I’m happy to be labelled a denier, especially given the evidential justification at hand. But in the same camp re “Those of us who have been on the end of this sort of stuff”, at “Skeptical Science” in particular.

    But point being, the MMCC/AGW blasphemy – Islamic blasphemy, “team[s] of crushers” identified by Matt Ridley. The case must be extremely weak if contra views, even of an individual, need to be crushed – by teams no less.

  8. Richard C (NZ) on 20/06/2015 at 9:12 pm said:

    Ridley on the origin of the “Islamophobe” tag:

    Clearing the middle ground

    “Much of this climate war parallels what has happened with Islamism, and it is the result of a similar deliberate policy of polarisation and silencing of debate. Labelling opponents “Islamophobes” or “deniers” is in the vast majority of cases equally inaccurate and equally intended to polarise. As Asra Nomani wrote in the Washington Post recently, a community of anti-blasphemy police arose out of a deliberate policy decision by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation:”

    The Washington Post article is this:

    ‘Meet the honor brigade, an organized campaign to silence debate on Islam’

    By Asra Q. Nomani January 16

    “You have shamed the community,” a fellow Muslim in Morgantown, W.Va., said to me as we sat in a Panera Bread in 2004. “Stop writing.”

    Then 38, I had just written an essay for The Washington Post’s Outlook section arguing that women should be allowed to pray in the main halls of mosques, rather than in segregated spaces, as most mosques in America are arranged. An American Muslim born in India, I grew up in a tolerant but conservative family. In my hometown mosque, I had disobeyed the rules and prayed in the men’s area, about 20 feet behind the men gathered for Ramadan prayers.

    Later, an all-male tribunal tried to ban me. An elder suggested having men surround me at the mosque so that I would be “scared off.” Now the man across the table was telling me to shut up.

    “I won’t stop writing,” I said.

    It was the first time a fellow Muslim had pressed me to refrain from criticizing the way our faith was practiced. But in the past decade, such attempts at censorship have become more common. This is largely because of the rising power and influence of the “ghairat brigade,” an honor corps that tries to silence debate on extremist ideology in order to protect the image of Islam. It meets even sound critiques with hideous, disproportionate responses.

    The campaign began, at least in its modern form, 10 years ago in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, when the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — a mini-United Nations comprising the world’s 56 countries with large Muslim populations, plus the Palestinian Authority — tasked then-Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu with combating Islamophobia and projecting the “true values of Islam.” During the past decade, a loose honor brigade has sprung up, in part funded and supported by the OIC through annual conferences, reports and communiques. It’s made up of politicians, diplomats, writers, academics, bloggers and activists.


    Other snippets:

    “The OIC invented the anti-‘Islamophobia’ movement,” says Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a frequent target of the honor brigade. “These countries . . . think they own the Muslim community and all interpretations of Islam.”

    [Rupert Murdoch recently tweeted] “Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible,”

    [Nomani] – “Then came the death threats. In the fall of 2004, my parents and my son picked me up after I spoke at a conference. “Somebody wants to kill you,” my father said from behind the wheel of our gold Dodge Caravan, his voice trembling. The death threat was posted on Muslim WakeUp!, a now-defunct progressive Web site. The offender told the FBI that he would stop harassing me, and he did. More prosaic taunts in the past decade have called me a “Zionist media whore,” a “House Muslim” and many other unprintable insults.”

    President Obama last year called on Muslim communities to “explicitly, forcefully and consistently reject the ideology of al-Qaeda and ISIL.” But his administration isn’t framing extremism as a problem directly tied to Islam. Last month, by contrast, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi acknowledged that there was an ideology problem in Islam and said, “We need to revolutionize our religion.”

    # # #

    Obama is blinded by political correctness. Nothing will revolutionize Islam – Islam IS the revolution.

    And “ghairat brigade” seems eerily reminiscent of Honeycutt’s SkS “team of crushers”.

  9. Richard C (NZ) on 21/06/2015 at 10:46 am said:


    ‘Pope Francis’s Climate Encyclical: Help Poor People by Dismantling Industrial Civilization’

    by Myron Ebell on June 19, 2015

    The Vatican released Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si’, on 18th June. It is, in general, scientifically ill-informed, economically illiterate, intellectually incoherent, and morally obtuse. It is also theologically suspect, and large parts of it are leftist drivel, albeit couched in the vocabulary of Catholic social teaching.

    At least Jorge Bergoglio is free to express his opinion.


    “Francis’s thinking on these issues, as he makes clear in paragraphs 10-12, is based on the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1226). It isn’t until paragraph 82 that the Pope mentions the name of Jesus. Saint Francis took a vow of poverty, tried to live as simply as Jesus had lived, and founded the first orders of mendicant friars. This is the Pope’s starting point, but he fails to notice that his namesake had wealthy parents who didn’t require his care when they became old and sick, didn’t have children who needed to be fed, clothed, and educated, and relied for his sustenance on alms from wealthy people in a wealthy society.”

  10. Richard C (NZ) on 21/06/2015 at 11:53 am said:

    >”large parts of it are leftist drivel, albeit couched in the vocabulary of Catholic social teaching”


    “The influence of Liberation Theology on the Pope’s thinking is obvious. Liberation Theology was strongest in Latin America, and its heyday was from the 1950s to the 1980s. Gustavo Gutierrez, one of its leading exponents, claimed that Saint Francis of Assisi should be the patron saint of Liberation Theology. Recently, a former general in Romania’s secret police during the Communist era said that the Soviet KGB created, directed, and funded the Liberation Theology movement.”

    More to it than that. Wiki:

    Liberation theology has been described as “an interpretation of Christian faith out of the experience of the poor… an attempt to read the Bible and key Christian doctrines with the eyes of the poor”,[1] or “the message of the gospels”, restored from “the first three centuries [of Christianity in which] it was…a pacifist…religion of the poor.”[2] Detractors have called it Christianized Marxism.[3]

    Vatican reaction

    Cardinal Ratzinger

    In March 1983, Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), made ten observations of Gutiérrez’s theology, accusing Gutiérrez of politically interpreting the Bible in supporting temporal messianism, and stating that the predominance of orthopraxis over orthodoxy in his thought proved a Marxist influence. Ratzinger objected that the spiritual concept of the Church as “People of God” is transformed into a “Marxist myth.” In liberation theology he declared, the “people is the antithesis of the hierarchy, the antithesis of all institutions, which are seen as oppressive powers. Ultimately anyone who participates in the class struggle is a member of the “people”; the “Church of the people” becomes the antagonist of the hierarchical Church.”[40]

    Cardinal Ratzinger did praise liberation theology in some respects, including its ideal of justice, its rejection of violence, and its stress on “the responsibility which Christians necessarily bear for the poor and oppressed.”[40]………….[continues]

    Towards reconciliation under Pope Francis

    According to Roberto Bosca, an historian at Austral University in Buenos Aires, Father Jorge Bergoglio (later Pope Francis) had “a reputation as an opponent of liberation theology during the 1970s” but he “accepted the premise of liberation theology, especially the option for the poor, but in a ‘nonideological’ fashion.”[46] Before becoming Pope, Bergoglio said that “The option for the poor comes from the first centuries of Christianity. It’s the Gospel itself. If you were to read one of the sermons of the first fathers of the Church, from the second or third centuries, about how you should treat the poor, you’d say it was Maoist or Trotskyist. The Church has always had the honor of this preferential option for the poor.… At the Second Vatican Council the Church was redefined as the People of God and this idea really took off at the Second Conference of the Latin-American bishops in Medellín.”[47] Bosca said Bergoglio was not opposed to liberation theology itself but to “giving a Catholic blessing to armed insurgency”, specifically the Montoneros, who claimed liberation theology as part of their political ideology.[46] Blase Bonpane, a former Maryknoll father and founding director of the Office of the Americas, said “The new pope has not been comfortable with liberation theology.”[48]

    On September 11, 2013, Pope Francis hosted Fr. Gutierrez in his residence, leading some to comment that this was a sign of warming relations between the hierarchy and liberation theologians.[49][50] …………[continues]

    # # #

    Bergoglio must have been elected to “reconcile” (to Roman Catholicism) some essentially disparate groups including non-Christian (think Green) i.e. if you can’t beat them or don’t want to compete with them, join them or join them to you. That was Roman Catholicism’s roots and the residual symbolism remains strong at the Vatican.

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