The Death of Freedom of Speech

The contemporary Western cult of tolerance has claimed a new victim: Michael Savage has been banned from entering Britain after being placed on the ‘hate list’.

I think Savage is a dolt, but I cannot tolerate restricting his freedoms simply because of his views. I find Europe’s increasingly pervasive disregard for freedom of speech repulsive. We Europeans invented the notion of freedom of speech. Must we also be the ones to destroy one of humanity’s greatest achievements?

Perhaps most disturbing of all is the small importance given to the obvious dangers implicit in a government designed ‘hate list’:

Lawyers say it would be difficult for Mr Weiner to bring an action for defamation given that the list was issued with the authority of the British government.

The impossibility of overcoming the government’s dicta is precisely the reason why the government must be denied the authority to create these sorts of lists unconditionally. Hate speech laws in Europe are the equivalent of the Patriot Act in America: a blatant violation of the foundational principles of constitutional democracy inspired only by cowardice and myopia.

In the end, my entire view of the movement to curtail hate speech is summarized in Ben Franklin’s famous words:

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.