The Participator

A group of bloggers (including myself) have recently launched a political opinion website. The aim is to host differing opinions on a wide range of topics, our sole uniting concerns are explained in the About page:

This site is bringing together writers on politics and social issues who are united in concerns about creeping authoritarianism and encroachments on the freedom of speech, and the erosion of equality before the law. Beyond those uniting concerns, many differing opinions are represented here on other issues.

We are welcoming articles from readers. We are using Disqus as the comment platform.

Recent focus was on the French election including these articles:

War In Paris: Who’s In Control? Not The Cops

(John L. Work shares his thoughts about the predicament of France’s riot policemen.)

Civilization’s Fulcrum Moment

(Jillian Becker describes how civilization itself is at risk.)

But we are also asking bigger questions about government policy throughout the West, for example:

The Gulf Between What European Voters Want And Immigration Policy

(I call out the hypocrisy of European governments who claim to be showing compassion in the migrant crisis).

Pianists In A Brothel

(Dr Tim Morgan criticizes neo-liberalism.)

The Welfare State We’re In

(I ask some difficult questions about the welfare state.)

BBC Daily Politics: Shining A Spotlight On Student Illiberalism

(Political blogger Samuel Hooper criticizes the trend towards increasing illiberalism on university campuses, and asks whether under 21s should lose the vote).

Brexit Day – The People’s Victory

(Tom (British Awakening) celebrates the glorious event of the triggering of article 50.)

We have also re-published a number of articles previously featured at:

Not the Daily Telegraph

You may wish to comment on those if you missed them first time around e.g.:

The Fake Spectrum

by British Awakening

Lies, Omissions and False Narratives – It’s Nothing To Do With Islam

by Seymour Clare

Hope you can find some time to visit. This is the link to the front page:

http://participator.online/

Thanks
Chauncey

Advertisements

A Post-Truth Era? Part 2 – A Fake “Fake News” Epidemic

[This post was originally posted on the Disqus channel “Not The Daily Telegraph“]

There used to be a phrase you heard a lot, “you can’t believe everything you read in the newspapers”. Well nowadays of course we need to update the phrase to say “you can’t believe everything you read on the internet“. Journalism used to be something that only professional journalists could do, because printing newspapers was an expensive business. Now of course anybody can publish words/images/video on the internet, at no cost (once you own a computer and you have an internet connection). Since there are literally a few billion people who are all able to publish on the internet then obviously it makes sense to look at the “information” there, especially from untrustworthy/unknown sources, from a highly skeptical point of view. It may seem to some readers that I am wasting my time stating the obvious here, but it seems we are being expected to believe that this is not obvious.

As I was researching (i.e. reading stuff on the internet) for this blog post, I began to feel a little bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of “news” and opinion articles that are now being published that are concerned with the subject of “fake news”, at well known news and opinion sites. What the heck is going on, I wondered? Is there really suddenly an epidemic of “fake news” taking place? Have these writers suddenly realized that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet? Neither of these explanations really had the ring of truth to them to my mind, but rather a third explanation seemed to me the most plausible, that this story of an epidemic of “fake news” was in fact itself fake. Furthermore that there was a deliberate purpose behind the pushing of this story that “fake news” was taking over the planet, namely it was a rather transparent and feeble attempt by the established mainstream media (MSM) to discredit the rise of alternative media sites that were challenging and undermining their narrative. In this post I am going to take a closer look at some of the claims being made to see if my theory holds water.

AN EXAMPLE OF “FAKE NEWS” REPORTING – A RIOT IN DORTMUND

Breitbart picked up a story from a German local news site Ruhr Nachrichten about an (alleged?) riot in Dortmund on New Years Eve:

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/01/03/dortmund-mob-attack-police-church-alight/

A number of MSM sites then started making claims that Breitbart had “greatly exaggerated” the story. Politico.eu opened their article with a claim that the Dortmund police had described the night as ‘average to quiet.’

http://www.politico.eu/article/germany-fires-back-at-breitbart-for-report-on-new-years-riot/

Quote 7 Jan 17:

German politicians, press and police officials say news report from the U.S. right-wing news website Breitbart that suggested a “mob” had “chanted ‘Allahu Akhbar’” and set fire to a church in Dortmund have been greatly exaggerated.

Local newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten, which published reports on events that happened on New Year’s Eve, said its online reporting had been distorted to produce “fake news, hate and propaganda.”

The Independent also reported that the German police had “shaken their heads in disbelief” at Breitbart’s reporting (tut, tut):

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/breitbart-news-dortmund-police-new-years-eve-fake-news-germany-angela-merkel-syrians-refugee-crisis-a7514786.html

Quote 7 Jan 17:

However, according to local journalists, there was no mob and the St Reinold Church – which is not Germany’s oldest – did not catch fire.

Breitbart have since admitted the church was not Germany’s oldest, they got that wrong, as for the fire well the Independent describes it:

The brief fire on scaffold netting near the church was reportedly caused accidently by a wayward firework.

This does pretty much match what the Ruhr Nachrichten had reported. Hm, so there was a fire started by a firework then, it was just possibly a little bit exaggerated?

Here is a video of some of the celebrations from Ruhr Nachrichten:

You can see fireworks being set off in a reckless (and illegal) manner near buildings, and riot police and the fire brigade are present. Well, perhaps riot police are present on most “average to quiet” nights in German city centres nowadays, its quite normal these days. Some members of the crowd were waving a flag which looks like a Free Syrian Army flag.

Breitbart hit back and stood by the rest of the story:

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/01/08/fake-news-fake-news-media-sow-division-with-dishonest-attack-on-breitbarts-allahu-akbar-church-fire-story/

A bizarre feature of this story is the reaction of Ruhr Nachrichten to the Breitbart coverage, yet in their own coverage Ruhr Nachrichten had this to say:

http://www.ruhrnachrichten.de/staedte/dortmund/44137-Dortmund~/Silvester-Boellerverbote-und-Platzverweise-Die-Lage-in-Dortmund;art930,3185532

Erste Anzeichen für eine unruhige Nacht erhielt die Bundespolizei am Silvesterabend bereits um 18.35 Uhr, als eine Silvesterrakete in eine Gruppe von Obdachlosen geschossen wurde und einen 32-Jährigen schwer verletzte (siehe Eintrag 11.23 Uhr). Um 19 Uhr feuerte eine Gruppe von Männern von der Katharinenstraße aus mehrere Leuchtkörper auf den Hauptbahnhof. Die Männer wurden überprüft, Pyrotechnik sichergestellt. 25 Minuten später bewarfen mehrere Tatverdächtige zur Sicherheit abgestellte Bundespolizisten und beleidigten sie mit den Worten “fuck you” und “scheiß Polizei”. Ähnliche Vorfälle wiederholten sich immer wieder.

I pasted this into Google translate, which turned it into this:

First signs of a restless night the federal police on New Year’s Eve already at 18.35 clock, when a New Year’s Eve rocket was shot in a group of homeless people and a 32-year-old seriously injured (see entry 11.23 clock). At 7 pm, a group of men fired a number of lanterns from the Katharinenstrasse to the main station. The men were checked, pyrotechnics ensured. 25 minutes later, several suspects protested against federal police officers and offended them with the words “fuck you” and “shit police”. Similar incidents were repeated over and over again.

My impression from all this is that Breitbart did exaggerate the story slightly in at least one respect, particularly the phrase “set fire to a historic church” suggested the actual church was on fire, when only some netting on the scaffold caught alight. However in general I don’t think they greatly miss-represented what Ruhr Nachrichten had reported. That footage looks pretty riotous to me, I would not have wanted to hang about in the square with fireworks going off in all directions like that. If the fire brigade had not responded as quickly as they did, then the blaze could possibly have spread to the roof and burnt the whole church down I would guess!! Hats off to the fire brigade then..

Quite a lot of evidence that illegal firework displays are now quite normal in Germany can be found on Youtube, for example:

Nothing to see here, its quite normal, move along, move along…. Just an average, quiet little riot then on the whole….

You may also recall there was a similar firework display during the NYE celebrations in Cologne 2015/16, that the MSM chose not to report on at all until the news was already well and truly going viral on alternative and social media.  Once again, these stories are the kind of stories that the MSM doesn’t want to publicize, for fear of seeming “politically incorrect”.  Could it be that by attacking Breitbart in this way the MSM are trying to cover up the fact that they didn’t report the story AT ALL?  This is an example of what I think we should call “lying by omission” (aka propaganda by omission), a subject I will be returning to look at in detail in a coming post.  This omission should be seen as a far more significant case of misleading the public, than the slight exaggeration that Breitbart appear to be guilty of.  Of course the significance of this “celebration” and others like it is that the German people have welcomed these migrants believing them to be needing help.  Now these migrants are ignoring Germany’s laws and creating an intimidating atmosphere in German cities, and insulting their police, its scarcely a show of gratitude.

CLAIMS THAT “FAKE NEWS” IS SWAYING ELECTION RESULTS

Probably the most serious allegation about the “fake news” “epidemic” is that it is influencing the results of political elections in the US and in Europe. Consider this article in the Forbes site:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidschrieberg1/2017/01/09/fake-news-threatens-critical-european-elections/

Here the claim is made that fake news had influenced several recent election results including the US presidential election and Brexit:

In critical elections in 2016, fake news played a critical role in the stunning and unexpected outcomes.

This is obviously not verifiable one way or the other since we don’t state our reasons for voting on the ballot paper. Forbes must have truly spooky and stupendous mind-reading abilities to reach this conclusion. This is at best an attempt to present mere conjecture as fact.

The article goes on to paint a picture of a dumb US electorate having its strings pulled by teenage pranksters and Russia, the latter impression seemingly backed up by a report published jointly by the CIA, FBI, NSA:

https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf

The article also refers to the by now famous group of teenagers in a town called Veles in Macedonia who propagated fake news during the US presidential election. Also quoted is a by now famous fake headline:

Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President, Releases Statement

If you read my earlier post on the “post-truth” phenomenon, you will remember that the BBC also made a big thing about this very same silly prank fake news headline. This is yet another case of “saturation” in use (a technique also used to propagate politically correct ideas). If you repeat the same daft thing over and over again eventually people start to take it more seriously. In this case they are promoting the daft notion that this prank headline about Pope Francis might have somehow influenced the US election.

Some of the fake news was published by “newspapers” that you’ve never heard of before, such as the “Denver Guardian”. According to the “Denver Post”, there is no such thing as the “Denver Guardian”:

http://www.denverpost.com/2016/11/05/there-is-no-such-thing-as-the-denver-guardian/

A spokesperson for the Denver Guardian was unavailable for comment (and their website link doesn’t appear to be working either). Something fishy going on there. On a more serious note, readers will probably be wondering why a supposedly reputable site like Forbes is making a big thing about these teenage internet pranksters in Macedonia. I’ll tell you why, its because they don’t like Donald Trump and they think the EU is really great, and they are clutching at straws to make their point.

Here is some “statistical analysis” of the fake news impact on the US presidential election from Buzzfeed:

This Analysis Shows How Viral Fake Election News Stories Outperformed Real News On Facebook

Quote:

During these critical months of the campaign, 20 top-performing false election stories from hoax sites and hyperpartisan blogs generated 8,711,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook.

They then contrast this with what they imply is comparable data about Facebook content about real news stories:

Within the same time period, the 20 best-performing election stories from 19 major news websites generated a total of 7,367,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook.

Now if taken at face value these numbers might seem a little disturbing. FAKE NEWS STORIES ARE BEING READ MORE THAN REAL NEWS, we might be inclined to think!

However I see a number of problems with concluding very much at all from this data:

1. We don’t know if the people reading these fake stories actually believed them, or whether they just thought “ha, some funny fake news LOL!”.

2. We don’t know if the people reading these fake stories were in any way influenced by them, let alone if they would have voted differently if they had been duped by them. If people are going to believe any silly story they see on the internet, then there’s probably not much hope that they are going to vote sensibly anyway.

3. We don’t know how many of the reactions/comments were skeptical.

4. The number of people eligible to vote in the US is 231,556,622 apparently. The same people might have reacted/shared/commented on the stories multiple times so 8+ million shares/reactions/comments might equate to significantly fewer people, maybe even less than 1% of the electorate.

The originator of the “Pope backs Trump” story is alleged to be this website (its also been alleged the originator was another website):

http://southendnewsnetwork.com/

They are now reporting: “Seafront is on lockdown after Somali pirates take over Southend Pier”:

http://southendnewsnetwork.com/news/seafront-on-lockdown-after-somali-pirates-take-over-southend-pier/

A spokesperson for Southend Pier has denied the presence of Somali pirates on the pier but confirm they have posted lookouts to reassure the public.

GROWING CALLS TO CENSOR “FAKE NEWS”

Returning to the same Forbes article, we read of a truly alarming proposal by Italy’s “antitrust authority Chairman”:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidschrieberg1/2017/01/09/fake-news-threatens-critical-european-elections/

In an interview late last week with the Financial Times, Giovanni Pitruzzella proposed that European Union member countries create an institutional framework modeled on their current antitrust agencies and centrally coordinated out of E.U. Brussels headquarters, to identify fake news stories, pull them offline and fine their creators and propagators.

Note the phrase “pull them offline” – meaning no doubt to censor first and ask questions later. Do we have even the tiniest hope that this “agency” that would be “centrally coordinated out of E.U. Brussels headquarters” could be relied on to act impartially? I think not, please note that apparently Signor Pitruzzella also had this to say:

“Post-truth in politics is one of the drivers of populism and it is one of the threats to our democracies,” Pitruzzella argued.

,further confirming that Signor Pitruzzella has a heavy bias against what he calls “populism”. Once again we hear the ominous Orwellian phrase “post-truth”. Of course we can be sure such an agency will be missing a sense of humour, so anybody foolish enough to publish satirical content will run a risk of legal actions from the EU. Much business for lawyers will be generated and hilarious scenes will unfold in courtrooms all across the EU, if this agency gets the go-ahead.

Germany of course is leading the charge to censor “fake news”:

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/12/24/germany-set-ministry-truth-ahead-2017-federal-election/

However the UK parliament seems to be thinking seriously about jumping on the bandwagon as well:

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/01/16/uk-parliament-set-launch-fake-news-inquiry/

ACADEMIA JUMPS ON THE BANDWAGON

Some academics are adding their voices to the growing chorus of voices claiming there is an epidemic of “fake news”.

Fortune reports that a Professor Jonathan Albright has produced an astonishingly scientifically accurate map of the “Fake-News Ecosystem”:

http://fortune.com/2016/11/28/map-fake-news/

In the diagram you can see Breitbart and the Daily Mail represented as big red circles, whereas the proper news sites (e.g. the BBC, the Independent) are shown as grey-green circles. Seriously though the old phrase “garbage in – garbage out” does spring to my mind as I look at this map. I identified at least one case of the Independent publishing fake news and some probable fake news from the BBC in a previous post:

The “Trump Hate Surge”

Could it be this diagram really just shows us which right-leaning websites have been classified as biased by left-leaning websites which are themselves biased?

Apparently a list of fake and misleading websites has “gone viral”:

Melissa Zimdars, an assistant professor of communications at Merrimack College in North Andover, MA, published the list Monday that’s currently being shared across social media by students, non-students and journalists alike.

http://www.kmov.com/story/33713839/professor-compiles-list-of-fake-misleading-news-websites

The list:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/10eA5-mCZLSS4MQY5QGb5ewC3VAL6pLkT53V_81ZyitM/mobilebasic

She accuses the websites of preying on people’s “confirmation bias”. Readers will be relieved to know that newsbiscuit and theonion are correctly listed as “satire”.

CONCLUSIONs

A seismic shift is taking place. Thanks in very large part I believe to the emergence of alternative media and social media on the internet, ordinary people are beginning to wake up to the fact that they have been misled by the MSM since the very dawn of time. Ever since the printing press was first invented and mass media became a feature of life, those who controlled the publication of news and opinions have been shaping our view of the wider world. Far from presenting an unbiased view of what is going on in the world, the MSM have been presenting to us a distorted version of events, and telling us what we should think about it. Now we can all “fact check” news stories, and share our information and opinions with each other and with the whole world. In a desperate attempt to retain control of the “narrative”, the MSM are trying to falsely smear news outlets that challenge that narrative. With each such attempt they further undermine their own credibility.

The really alarming thing about this battle is that governments seem increasingly willing to act on these slanderous accusations, and consider enacting legislation against so-called “fake news”. Of course the current elected politicians are almost exclusively members of political parties that were elected with the support of one or more existing news outlets. Consequently the established political parties have much to lose when the narrative of those news outlets is challenged and successfully undermined. I don’t think its particularly fanciful to even suggest that some of the policies of those political parties were to some degree shaped by the bias of those news outlets.

So, the next time you read a story about “fake news”, remember – you can’t believe everything you read on the internet!

RELATED POSTS

Political Correctness Was Always Mad

A Post-Truth Era? Part 1 – Trump and Brexit

ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB (SEE IF YOU CAN SPOT THE FAKE NEWS):

Fake News Site Southend News Network Claims Full Responsibility for Donald Trump Victory!

Man Called Brian Mistaken For Jesus!

Italians Plan to Make Mockery Illegal!

Sherlock Holmes Is Still Alive!

New York Times is Fake News Site!

Martians Attack!

Spoof news site ‘becomes official’ after Facebook and Twitter success!

BBC Solves Fake News Problem!

Political Correctness Was Always Mad

WHAT IS POLITICAL CORRECTNESS?

Merriam Webster provides us with this definition:

conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated

I would describe political correctness as a set of ideas relating to race and gender that are accepted as indisputable truth, and that therefore can “legitimately” be defended from all criticism by any means fair or not fair. It is this latter aspect of political correctness that is the most troubling and dangerous, this idea that it is not necessary to defend the set of ideas purely with reason and evidence. It is this aspect of political correctness that leads me to say political correctness was always mad, because I don’t believe any ideas should ever be protected from being questioned. These are some of the ideas that I think form part of this specially protected set of ideas (of course this is a broad generalization):

  • Racism is very bad.
  • Some words are inherently racist and therefore should never be used (the set of words thereby excluded seems to grow ever larger).
  • Opposing immigration is racist and therefore opposing immigration is also very bad.
  • Diversity is strength.
  • All races are exactly equal and therefore employers must hire exact numbers of each race to match the local population or applications.
  • Only white people are racist (contradicts the above idea suggesting that white people are uniquely inferior to other races). This idea was summarized by the catch-phrase “racism is the white man’s disease”. This leads to further ideas such as the idea there is nothing for white people to fear from white populations becoming racial minorities.
  • “Positive” discrimination is necessary to force the racist white employers and educational establishments to hire/accept the right numbers of other races.
  • Dislike of Islam (Islamophobia) (or other minority beliefs) is racist and therefore is also very bad.
  • Overt displays of the host’s nationality – flags or religious symbols, may upset ethnic minorities and therefore should be suppressed.
  • Different genders should be exactly equally represented in all professions.
  • Women can perform just as well as men if they are not discriminated against.
  • Women should be paid exactly the same as men for the same occupation.
  • Women who choose to have no children as a lifestyle choice should be celebrated for their decision.
  • Homophobia is very bad.
  • Opposing gay marriage is homophobic and therefore is also very bad.
  • Opposing the teaching in schools of things that must not be opposed (the above list) is also very bad.

WHAT ELSE IS WRONG WITH POLITICAL CORRECTNESS?

A major problem with many of these ideas is that they vastly over-simplify realities. For example, men are physically stronger than women in general and therefore better suited to certain occupations. If women have children this will necessarily impact their ability to pursue careers on an equal footing with men, therefore enforcing equal gender pay may inhibit employers’ competitiveness. Racism can be seen in many races, not just among white people. The way the Japanese treated Chinese people after they invaded parts of China in the early 20th century can be seen as just one example of evidence of this.

All races are not necessarily equal in all aspects at all, this can be seen in athletics where certain groups often do better in running events.  Here is a BBC article on the subject. They point to the athletic prowess of the runners from the Nandi region of Kenya. They also point out that the African Bambuti tribe have a certain advantage in the sport of walking through low doorways, that is obviously a genetic advantage:

Is it wrong to note 100m winners are always black?

Of course, since this is a BBC article, they are pushing the politically correct idea that racial discrimination is bad. The objective of the article is to point out that athletic prowess is particular not to black people in general but to particular African groups, and that therefore generalizations about black people (and other larger racial groups) are illogical. The agenda here is to promote the idea of “positive” discrimination – the article then cites a study that they claim proves that employers discriminate against people purely because they have African names. They then reach the conclusion from this study that irrational discrimination is behind black performance in “economic development”, quote:

For many economists, this assumption, which gets under the radar of our conscious thought, explains why black people still lag behind white people in economic development more than four decades after the introduction of race-relations legislation.

There is a huge leap in thinking going on here, from a single study involving 5,000 fake CVs to a conclusion about black people’s economic performance in the Western world in general. There is for one thing plausibly another large factor that the BBC have overlooked entirely, beyond discrimination – that black people might actually have lower AVERAGE intelligence than white people. In fact, the only studies that have been done on the subject suggest just that – the famous (or infamous if you are politically correct) studies of Richard Lynn for example.  It is perfectly possible that this may be the largest reason “why black people still lag behind white people in economic development” (although most probably there are more than one factors at work).

Something the BBC also seem to be overlooking (no doubt due to the fact that they are left-leaning employees themselves), is that people can also set up their own businesses, and become employers themselves.  It is also perfectly possible that there may be other factors at play in employers’ hiring decisions, that are not well described by the simplistic phrase “racial discrimination”.  The question of whether “positive” discrimination is a good idea or not is a large one (I will come back to that on another occasion), I am merely pointing out here that when arguments are made within the strait jacket of politically correct limits, then the conclusions are likely to be wildly over-simplistic.

Of course it is intelligence that is the biggest factor in economic success in today’s world, not running ability or the ability to walk under low doorways. Conformity to political correctness is preventing the BBC from even mentioning the question of IQ and race here, which is obviously crucial to the question of racial discrimination in the modern technology-driven workplace. The believers in political correctness should put their efforts into trying to prove professor Lynn’s data is wrong rather than simply slandering him/calling him names, if they are serious about challenging his theories.  Are the employers who discriminate really doing so just because they are “racist”, or because they are facing an economic reality that will negatively affect their business if they ignore it?

There are too many problems with these individual ideas in the politically “correct” set to discuss them all in a single post, I will come back to them in detail in future posts. Even considering just these few objections it quickly becomes clear that our Western societies have NOT in fact arrived at a perfect set of ideas about equality. It also becomes clear that many of these current ideas negatively impact competitiveness. If Western societies implement government-enforced recruitment policies based on these ideas, while other societies do not, then Western societies may well begin to lag behind those other societies. Also, the strait jacket of political correctness creates inertia in thinking, and thinking needs to be dynamic to meet the challenges of an ever changing world.

DEROGATORY WORDS AND PHRASES WITHOUT CLEAR DEFINITIONS

A particular problem with some of the ideas is that the terms used have never been well defined by those using them. What, exactly, is a racist? Is the BBC author in the above mentioned article a racist for suggesting that some African groups may tend to statistically perform better in certain athletic events? Richard Lynn was widely accused of racism (and fiercely vilified) merely for conducting a study into IQ and race, yet his conclusion was not that his own race (white Europeans) were the most intelligent – in fact he concluded that some Far Eastern groups had the highest IQ!  If his statistical data turns out to reflect reality, will he still be considered a racist for publishing it, or does the charge of racism only apply if he is wrong, or if he can be shown to be deliberately lying?

My own idea of what constitutes a racist would include someone who thought that ALL non-white people were inferior to ALL white people in every way, which is an idea that is clearly false – some black people are clearly very intelligent and some white people are clearly very stupid. A racist would typically be someone who would like to see all non-white people deported from their country, or worse. A racist would be someone who felt no shame in shouting out racial epithets at people of other races.

Clearly my definition here is a very long way away from this writer’s at the National Union of Journalists who seems to include at least a third of the UK population (including 12 million UKIP supporters) in his definition:

Quote:

And it’s true; UKIP aren’t necessarily openly racist. But neither are Pegida. Instead they seek to capitalise on a fear of ‘an other’ who they claim is becoming more powerful even though the reality is that minority communities overall remain just that.

Of course these words and phrases suppress the nuances of a person’s opinions and throw lots of people with widely different views into the same category. Is an “Islamophobe” someone who puts a pig’s head in a mosque doorway AND also someone who is critical of the Islamic religion in an intellectual way, such as Richard Dawkins or the Reverend Canon Gavin Ashenden (a chaplain to the Queen)? Is it really even sane to lump all these opinions in the same category?

Its a very sad reflection on the last and current UK Prime Ministers, that they bandy words around without ever it seems even thinking about what they mean by them, let alone telling us what they mean by them. “We must stamp out extremism in ALL its forms” said these dimwits. David Cameron also for example used the phrase “sickening Islamophobe” without giving us the slightest hint what he meant by the word.

DEROGATORY WORDS AND PHRASES WITH EXPANDING MEANINGS

Sometimes words that previously had been reasonably clearly defined began to expand greatly in their meaning, at least in their usage among the PC brigade. As many others have pointed out, these words have been so over-used and misused by now that they are becoming practically meaningless. If a racist now includes everyone who wants to limit immigration because they are worried about the impact on wages for their peers, then blimey that’s quite a broad definition of the word racist, so broad in fact the meaning is practically actually now a different meaning.

Those people who are still concerned about ACTUAL racism should be worried about these trends towards greater vagueness in language, because people are beginning to rebel and consider the tags “racist” and “far-right” as badges of honour, a sign that they are willing to speak out against the strait jacket of political correctness.

The phrase “far-right” was always misleading because it was used to describe people with strongly racist and nationalistic viewpoints whose politics were not particularly right-wing at all, and often were in fact left of centre. The phrase “National SOCIALIST” is a bit of a giveaway here. By sheer persistence of use the phrase eventually stuck, a phrase that casually slanders the right wing by suggesting there is something right-wing about racism. The true economically “far-right”, the libertarians, are in fact often open borders advocates who are not troubled by questions of race at all.

A new phrase the “alt-right” has arisen to describe people with a particular view-point that is generally fairly closely associated with the libertarian view-point rather than racist-nationalist groups. Lately however there seems to be an unconnected but simultaneous effort from those on the left and those of racist-nationalist tendencies to conflate the two terms, for example consider this quote from the Guardian:

It may be that Gab becomes an online sanctuary for the far right. It’s not clear whether anyone else will join the party. The question then will be: will isolation in such a bubble simply intensify and normalize alt-right views?

In this single paragraph in an article about the twitter alternative gab, the Guardian writer simultaneously slanders the gab site as “far-right” (i.e. they are hinting that its users are racist/nationalist), and also conflates the far-right and alt-right as indistinguishable from each other.  By slandering gab in this way they are (not subtly) hinting that their readers should not go there, lest they be deemed racists.

“POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD”

Political correctness has not stood still, it is a movement that has grown and gathered momentum as it went. The phrase “political correctness gone mad” emerged as the first challenge to the prevailing and it seemed ever expanding reach of political correctness. An example of this trend was Oxford city council’s proposal to rename Christmas to the ‘Winter Light Festival’ on the grounds that it would be more “inclusive”

A number of attempts to ban the cross of St George contrasted with failure to ban the ISIS flag:

Why are we ’embarrassed’ to fly the Cross of St George but the vile ISIS flag is FINE?

Words previously in widespread usage such as “coloured” were being outlawed as someone had now ridiculously decided they were inherently racist – the actor Benedict Cumberbatch was vilified for using the word in a well-meaning way. So eventually the PC monster had begun to eat its own silly parents and children.

Much more troubling still was the fact that the rules of political correctness were beginning to be enshrined in law. Politicians had begun clamouring for laws to stamp out homophobia and Islamophobia before they had even properly defined what they meant by these words. Vague laws were being passed that could be (and have been) used against anyone who challenged the ideas of political correctness. The thought policing we were warned about by George Orwell was becoming a reality. This could be seen for example in the conviction of one Mr. Stephen Bennett, prosecuted for making some “grossly offensive” general remarks about Muslims and women on a Facebook page.

Harriet Harman, UK politician, proposed a so-called “Equality Bill” which was in fact discriminatory against white males.

Under the proposals, employers would be legally allowed to discriminate in favour of a job candidate on the basis of their race or gender where the candidates were otherwise equally qualified.
….
Michael Millar, writing in The Spectator, was of the opinion that, “The Equality Bill before parliament today gives employers the right to choose an ethnic minority candidate or female candidate over a white male, specifically because they are an ethnic minority or female.”

ENFORCEMENT OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

Political correctness has been enforced in society by its supporters who have for some time  formed the majority in all the elite institutions that have influence over our beliefs – government, the judiciary, the police, the media, academia, teaching, the unions. They have also long formed a majority in the arts – film, theatre, music.

TECHNIQUES

In a brilliant essay on the subject, Stella Morabito identifies 2 main features of the psychological manipulation practiced by the propagators of “politically correct” ideas – saturation and suppression:

Public opinion is often molded through a calculated process of psychological manipulation that takes two main forms: saturation and suppression.

I strongly advise readers to read her article in full:

Dissecting Political Correctness

Saturation involves persistently repeating politically correct points of view, and suppression involves preventing other points of view from being heard, and suppressing facts. Suppression of opinions is achieved often by ostracism and slander when it is otherwise difficult to silence them completely. A form of slander I discussed above that is used in suppression is the deliberate confusion/blurring of the meaning of different phrases such as far-right, alt-right, racist, anti-immigration.

MAINSTREAM MEDIA

The mainstream media throughout the West has long suppressed non-PC viewpoints simply by not broadcasting these viewpoints, or at least by only rarely broadcasting them. Sometimes other views are occasionally presented but usually with cues such as “look out, what this person is about to say is racist/sexist”! TV and radio presenters in the UK will often adopt a particular tone of voice when speaking to those they deem racist/sexist, and sometimes be quite rude to their guests. For example, in a recent interview on the BBC TV with Nigel Farage the presenter persistently rustled papers near her microphone whenever Mr. Farage was speaking. In another example the BBC TV were interviewing a Donald Trump supporter and they cut the supporter off mid sentence at the end of the interview. Of course either of these incidents on their own could have been a trivial simple mistake, but after you watch BBC TV politics programmes for long enough you start to see there is a definite pattern.

Another much more significant thing is the way the mainstream media has also adopted subtle techniques to suppress facts. For example, mainstream media has been routinely suppressing the fact that most of the migrants coming across the Mediterranean from Africa in the ongoing migrant crisis are fit young men. This was accomplished by repetitively publishing pictures of very young children and women in articles on the subject, rather than outright misinformation.

This example demonstrates just how dangerous political correctness can become. The motives of the migrants were obscured and Europeans were encouraged to think that they were welcoming in desperate refugees whereas they were in fact welcoming in large numbers of opportunistic economic migrants and criminal elements, many of whom have gone on to commit crimes including rapes and murders and even terrorist attacks.

If large numbers of young men travel long distances without females accompanying them, then it can be easily predicted that some of those young men will be sexually frustrated and some will commit sexual crimes as a result. Political correctness discouraged the mainstream media from informing the general public of these realities, for fear of being called racists for portraying this wave of immigration in a negative light.

In the UK, all the broadcast TV channels are quite obviously subscribers to politically correct ideology, and the BBC especially has a uniquely powerful position having several terrestial TV channels and 4 FM radio channels. The Islamic religion has almost never been challenged to any significant extent on any mainstream TV channels in the UK. Only very rarely have opposing voices been heard. On one episode of Newsnight the critic of Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali was interviewed by a presenter who behaved as if she were disgusted by Ms. Ali and rather spoke to her in the same manner that a BBC presenter would speak to a member of the BNP.

The only newspapers that fall outside the politically correct sphere in the UK such as the Daily Mail and the Daily Express are routinely vilified/derided by the rest of the mainstream media with phrases such as “the gutter press”. During the migrant crisis the Daily Express became my newspaper of choice because it routinely publishes important stories revealing the character of this wave of migration that were almost never seen in the politically “correct” mainstream media, for example:

Squalor on the streets of Paris as migrants turn capital into ‘APOCALYPSE’

In the Daily Mail some inconvenient claims were made about the father of a child migrant in Calais, who pop-singer Lily Allen had shed tears over and apologized to:

The father of the Jungle boy who made Lily Allen cry

This is the same Daily Mail that the BBC routinely derides on political and comedy shows such as “Have I Got News For You”. The story has neither been published nor disputed by the rest of the mainstream media.

Of course the emergence of the Breitbart news website has helped to stir things up quite significantly. This website has been rapidly gaining readership, much to the consternation of the mainstream media, who have been routinely slandering it as “far-right”, “ethno-nationalist” etc..

It won’t be long before Breitbart IS the mainstream media, and papers like the Guardian begin to lose ground to them, because the suppression technique of slander is NOT WORKING against Breitbart.

NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS (NUJ)

I mentioned an article published on the NUJ’s website above, also in this article it says.

We provide support to those actively fighting racists and fascists on our streets.

We must call on our politicians to explain why they allow racists on our streets and challenge them to not allow that in the future.

When we hear that demonstrations are taking place to “rid these islands of Islam”, we should all be very concerned.

Now why is a union of journalists getting involved in politics like this? Ever heard of the impartiality of the press? Surely journalists should be filming and writing about fighting on the streets, not SUPPORTING it? As I mentioned above the article seems to also tar the UKIP party as a racist organization. Is this NATIONAL union of journalists really sure they ought to be openly opposing (and slandering) a party that represents 12% of the UK electorate (at the last election).

There was a time when the NUJ had quite a lot of influence over journalism in the UK:

http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/3rd-may-1986/20/end-closed-shop-journalism

The good news is that this union is rapidly losing support among the younger generation of journalists, at least if this is anything to go by:

https://www.journalism.co.uk/news-commentary/is-the-nuj-still-relevant-to-new-generation-of-journalists/s6/a553385/

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

I already mentioned the creation of laws to enforce political correctness in the UK above. The laws include laws which have been used to prosecute non-politically correct speech, and so-called “equality” legislation that is in fact discriminatory against white males.

Perhaps the high-water mark of the era of political correctness in the UK has been the rise of Theresa May to be the (unelected) UK Prime Minister. The coverage of the leadership contest in the mainstream media was brazenly biased against the non-politically correct candidate, Andrea Leadsom. Leadsom was vilified in a series of phoney scandals which included “babygate” and “gaymarriagegate”. Leadsom had dared to mention the fact that she was a mother (contrasting with the childless Theresa May), this was the “scandal” called “babygate”. Leadsom had also dared to suggest that she might have doubts about gay marriage, this was the “scandal” called “gaymarriagegate”. Of course the mainstream media was also opposed to Leadsom’s candidacy because she had campaigned for the UK to leave the politically correct monster called the “European Union”.

In the most ominous sign of a drift towards a thought-police state, Theresa May had recently advanced a “Counter-Extremism” bill that included a measure called “Extremist Banning and Disruption Orders“. These orders were clearly designed to enforce political correctness through the law courts, particularly to suppress politically incorrect “Islamophobia”, but also to suppress other politically incorrect opinions – one conservative MP even suggested that the orders should be used against school teachers who dared to express doubts about gay marriage.

THE UK POLICE

Peter Hitchens wrote an article about political correctness in today’s police force in the UK:

http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2016/05/the-origins-of-political-correctness-in-the-police-force.html

Some other views:

http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.co.uk/2009/10/multiculturalism-has-destroyed-british.html

http://www.personneltoday.com/hr/white-applicants-rejected-in-police-diversity-bid/

IMPACT OF THE INTERNET

These techniques of suppression and saturation however could only be applied as long as media was restricted to a relatively small number of organizations and (delivery platforms – printed papers/tv/radio) – and the PC brigade largely controlled the mainstream media. Now, thanks to the internet, anyone can publish ideas that the whole world can read. Also very importantly, smart phones are now widely available that enable people to easily record video footage of events on the spot that contradict the mainstream media narrative and expose their suppression tactics:

More and more people are beginning to openly question the mainstream media via blogs and social media platforms. The anonymity that is possible on the internet makes it easy to evade the suppression techniques of vilification and ostracism. A true revolution in human thought is beginning to take place. It should be welcomed and allowed to flourish, because it will become the greatest enabler of human progress of all time, in all spheres, if it is freely allowed to develop. Most people are not evil, believe it you “elites”, they do not need to have the truth hidden from them like this, they will not suddenly turn into ogres.

Sensing that they are losing their grip, some of the leaders are now trying to control the social media platforms and harvest data about individuals using mass surveillance (ostensibly under the guise of the combatting of terrorism and paedophilia). This is only likely to result in

  1. More suspicion of the leaders, more erosion of trust in politics.
  2. New social media platforms arising (such as the Twitter alternative gab.ai mentioned above) whose main motivation is simply to avoid censorship.
  3. Use of encryption techniques that bypass national governments’ control such as Tor. Ironically the Internet and Tor were first created by the US govt.

We must not underestimate what lengths the leaders will go to suppress dissent:

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/12/17/germany-threatens-sue-facebook-arent-deleting-hate-speech-fast-enough/

Outside Germany at least we should now see the rise of alternatives.

In the longer run, the only way that national governments will be able to stop this explosion of individuals publishing their ideas and (e.g. video) evidence will be to physically separate their countries from the rest of the internet and then heavily censor internet publication.

For smaller countries the impact on ecommerce will be too great and I do not expect that most countries will in the end even attempt such separation, although they will probably contemplate it when it becomes clear to them just how hopeless attempts at censorship will be otherwise.  Another route they may attempt is to outlaw encryption that they cannot break, in fact e.g. the UK govt. has already mooted this.

TURNING THE TABLES

As Ovid once said, it is right to learn, even from the enemy. One of the tools of political correctness enforcement – saturation – can and should be used to turn the tables. Every time someone shouts “racist Islamophobe”, shout back “Islam is not a race”! Repeat this every time, never be afraid of repeating yourself. Also, keep repeating the truth about Islam – that it incites violence and condones child abuse.

Our goal should be to use the truth to fight back – suppression of the truth should be met by exposing the truth. The truth will always be more powerful than lies. We have the greatest tool mankind has ever had to combat falsehood – the internet. Use the freedom it brings or lose it, and oppose all attempts at censorship, even of opinions you don’t agree with. As Noam Chomsky put it:

If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.

(I’m not a huge fan, but he is spot on about that).

CONCLUSION

The tyranny of political “correctness” has been exposed for what it is but there is now a danger that the ruling elites will try to silence dissent with greater censorship and further restrictions on freedom of speech. Join the fight using reason and evidence to undermine the mainstream media’s PC narrative. If you haven’t already, start blogging, join conversations on social media, anonymously or in person, say what you think, spread information and ideas, write to your MPs. The very idea of political correctness needs to be utterly discredited and freedom of speech needs to be allowed to flourish once more.

RELATED POSTS:

The Principle of the Thing – Equality Before The Law
Groupthink In Action

ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_correctness

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_China#Current_methods

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journalistic_objectivity

Incitement and Religion

[Fourth in a series of 4 posts about “Freedom of Speech”]

[Trigger warning – this post contains a few modest proposals and references to terrible religious incitements (don’t blame me I didn’t write them), those of a sensitive disposition are advised NOT to read this post.]

In this post I am going to take a look at the 3 Abrahamic religions to decide whether any of their religious texts should be considered as direct and credible incitements to violence according to the framework that I set out in the previous post. In so many debates that I have listened to about whether these religions encourage violence, historical acts carried out supposedly in the name of each religion have been used as “arguments”. I regard these “arguments” as non-arguments because often the historical acts were carried out in opposition to the actual religious teachings, and so instead I am here going to focus purely on the religious texts.

The only “history” that is relevant in this discussion is the story of the actions of the main characters in the religions, as told by the religious texts. The actual historical truth of the religious texts is also not relevant, because it is the religious texts that form the basis of the religions, not what may or may not have actually happened. The truth about the events described in the religious texts is at best either historically disputed or unverifiable in any case.

ISLAM

Note – when I refer to apologists here I am referring to all those who try to excuse the incitements in the Islamic texts, both Muslims and non-Muslims.

AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE?

One of the central ideas in the Islamic religion is that the life of the man that Muslims regard as the last prophet was an excellent example for Muslims to follow. This is stated for example in this Koranic verse:

033.021

YUSUFALI: Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.

SHAKIR: Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much.

Apologists have claimed that this pattern of conduct does not include the violent deeds of Mohammed. However there is nothing in this verse to suggest that those violent deeds should be excluded. This claim becomes particularly ridiculous when you look at the immediately preceeding and following verses which are clearly referring to a warlike campaign that Mohammed was involved in at the time. Consider this following verse particularly, which is almost certainly supposed to be Allah’s blessing for the Banu Qurayza massacre or at least a very similar event, where Mohammed’s forces executed hundreds of defenceless prisoners and enslaved their women and children:

033.026

YUSUFALI: And those of the People of the Book who aided them – Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts. (So that) some ye slew, and some ye made prisoners.

SHAKIR: And He drove down those of the followers of the Book who backed them from their fortresses and He cast awe into their hearts; some you killed and you took captive another part.

In the modern world such an action would be considered a war crime – the execution of defenceless prisoners who had surrendered without a fight at the end of a siege. This is the sort of thing the Nazis used to get up to in occupied Europe in WWII. The apologist defence of this massacre is that the people of this settlement had helped Mohammed’s enemies in violation of an agreement that they had with Mohammed. Even if this was really the case however, it could scarcely excuse the execution of all the men of the settlement, including adolescent boys, and not just the leaders of the settlement. As for the enslavement of the women and children then again this is a criminal act in the modern Western world, by the example of his conduct the Islamic texts incite Muslims to enslave civilians captured in war, another direct and credible incitement which encourages slavery (including sexual slavery, some of the captives were taken as wives).  While the above verse refers to the taking of “prisoners” rather than slaves, later in this section slavery is justified explicitly:

033.050

YUSUFALI: O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Makka) with thee; and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her;- this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large); We know what We have appointed for them as to their wives and the captives whom their right hands possess;- in order that there should be no difficulty for thee. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

SHAKIR: O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who fled with you; and a believing woman if she gave herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desired to marry her– specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers; We know what We have ordained for them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess in order that no blame may attach to you; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Note also the reference to terror in the 33:26 verse – “cast terror into their hearts”, which flies in the face of those who claim terrorist acts have nothing to do with Islam. There are other references to terror in the Koran as well, for example:

008.012

YUSUFALI: Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”

SHAKIR: When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

You see – “strike off every fingertip”, its not really very nice is it?

The second half of Mohammed’s career, known as the Medina period, was essentially a campaign of war to establish Mohammed’s rule and consequently to establish the Islamic religion. Apologists have tried to claim that this war was purely defensive, but this is also an utterly ridiculous claim in light of the fact that Mohammed went from having just a small band of followers to ruling the entire Arabian peninsula by the end of his life. Clearly it was an expansionist campaign designed to establish Mohammed’s rule.

There are numerous incitements to violence in the Koran, supposedly Allah’s encouragements to Mohammed to wage war against the unbelievers, for example:

009.029

YUSUFALI: Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

SHAKIR: Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

Although these incitements are quite enough evidence on their own, readers unfamiliar with the Islamic texts should understand there are many more in the Koran and Hadiths, as well documented here:

http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/violence.aspx

In summary then the Islamic religion incites its followers to wage war against the non-Islamic people of the world until they submit to Islam, because Mohammed did the same, according to the instructions he claimed to have received from Allah which are recorded in the Koran, and Muslims are supposed to follow the example of Mohammed’s conduct. This is not only a direct and credible incitement to violent propagation of the Islamic religion, it is also an incitement that has been heeded through the ages, and continues to be heeded in the present day. We should be glad that most Muslims do not act on these incitements most of the time, but we cannot escape from the fact that the Islamic religion incites violence against the unbelievers, and that it does so in a direct and credible manner. I therefore rule that the preaching of the Islamic religion, and construction of mosques should both be illegal under my legal framework.

It appears that the Reverend Gavin Ashenden, a chaplain to the Queen, agrees with me that Islam incites violence:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/islam-invites-people-to-violence-queens-chaplain-reverend-gavin-ashenden-claims-10104445.html

Note particularly:

Reverend Ashenden said in response: “If they are offended by my quoting the Koran they are not offended by me, they are offended by the Koran.”

This is a good way to answer those who try to suggest that telling the truth about Islam somehow “radicalizes” vulnerable people. No, its the Islamic religion that radicalizes people. It appears that a former “Islamist” also agrees that Islam incites violent conflict with the unbelievers. The fact that he now claims to interpret the texts in another way does not alter the fact that the texts clearly CAN be interpreted in this way, and that he DID once interpret them in that way.  Quote:

“In the Koran and the Hadith (the compiled sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), I found an abundance of verses that I believed justified heinous violence in support of the establishment of an Islamic state for the whole world.”

The full article is here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/i-believed-al-qaeda-when-they-said-911-was-justified-15-years-on/

The fact that many Muslims somehow manage to interpret their Islamic texts differently does not alter the fact that those texts contain direct and credible incitements to violence that can be interpreted as such.

CURRENT LEGAL SITUATION

It is my belief that the preaching of the Islamic religion is currently in violation of UK law against incitement to violence. The failure of the UK law enforcement authorities to prosecute those who preach the faith should be a matter of the gravest concern to all UK citizens. This failure is in fact an act of appeasement of the religion. This failure is an act of cowardice by the UK authorities.

I do not believe that the preaching of the Islamic religion is currently in violation of US law because of the requirement established in Brandenburg v. Ohio for the incitement to be likely to lead to imminent unlawful action.

I humbly suggest to the people of the USA your current law is misguided. The failure to use the law to act against the Islamic religion is simply inviting more bloodshed for example in the Orlando gay nightclub massacre and Fort Hood massacre and San Bernandino massacre.

The danger of escalation of conflict can most probably be seen in the arson attack that occurred against the local mosque in the Orlando case. Armed militias are also now staging protests against mosques in the US. Surely it would be better for the law to intervene and close down all the mosques before any more incitements to violence can be made within them.

A PROPOSAL TO “BAN” ISLAM

Obviously it would be impossible to ban religious thought. We can scarcely start arresting every person who declares themselves to be a Muslim either, this would be impractical.

What we could do however:

  • Make it illegal (at least publicly) to preach the Koran as the word of a supreme being, on incitement grounds. I don’t think the Koran should be banned as a book however, because for one thing people need to be able to see for themselves WHY such a “ban” on the religion became necessary. It would also be practically almost impossible to achieve and in any case the Koran is widely published on the internet. Also, it is not the Koran that directly incites violence on its own, but rather the preaching of the Koran as the unquestionable word of Allah.
  • Withdraw planning permission for mosques and force existing mosque closures. Mosques that clearly bear the hallmarks of mosques – domes and minarets could be closed and either modified for other uses or demolished.
  • Make it illegal to wear face veils. I personally think bans on hijabs and the other headgear and burkinis would be impractical to enforce. For one thing women in Europe used to wear headscarves of a non-religious kind not so very long ago, and some even still do.
  • All legislation for example on employers and schools should be removed to allow employers to discriminate against hijab etc. wearing candidates if they wish to.  A recent decision by some UK police forces to allow the hijab as part of police uniforms is of course entirely ridiculous and should be stopped.
  • Allow employers to sack any worker for taking time out of the working day for prayer.
  • Make Ramadan fasting illegal in cases where it potentially could endanger public safety.

The sheer number of Muslims already in the West means that this is going to be a very difficult and controversial position to adopt, but its better to have this conversation now than 10-20 years from now.

An exception could be made for example for the Ahmadi religion possibly as that religion does not incite violence. It would have to be established that the Ahmadi religion did not incite other crimes, from my current knowledge I don’t believe it does however. The “most perfect life” verse would have to be clarified.  I think on the whole the message of the Mahdi probably abrogates the violent verses in the Koran, but I’m not an expert on that.

Such an exception could equally be applied to any other sect where it can be shown that religious texts override the incitements to violence in the Koran. I don’t like these other “versions” of Islam but as long as something is harmless then of course we should tolerate it. Remember, we are trying to construct a watertight legal framework here.

There are growing numbers of voices across the “West” calling for such a ban:

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/08/27/geert-wilders-close-mosques-netherlands/

German far-right AfD calls for mosque ban

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/18/germanys-far-right-afd-party-attempts-to-block-construction-of-m/

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/09/14/watch-australian-senator-calls-ban-muslim-immigration-mosques-burkas/

CHRISTIANITY

There can be no doubt that the Christian bible contains incitements to violence. For example, in Leviticus 20:10 it says:

If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.

However in the New Testament, Jesus appears to implicitly contradict this ruling:

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

I think this demonstrates that the old testament is over-ruled by Jesus’s moral teachings, and since Jesus is the central figure in the Christian religion, I would say his teachings take precedence.

The only doubtful statement in the new testament is (Matthew 10:34):

“I came not to bring peace, but to bring a sword”

This statement seems not only ambiguous but also at odds with everything Jesus says elsewhere, for example (Matthew 26:52):

“But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword”.

(Jesus said this after Peter had struck one of the soldiers who were attempting to arrest Jesus. Jesus subsequently healed the soldier’s wound).

I therefore rule that the former statement in Matthew 10:34 does not constitute a credible incitement, it isn’t even direct but rather ambiguous.

In conclusion then, none of Jesus’s teachings meet the credibility test of inciting violence, and Jesus’s teachings can be regarded as over-ruling the Old Testament and so I would rule that Christianity does not overall constitute a direct and credible incitement to violence. The terrible events described in the book of revelations should be regarded I believe as God punishing the human race, not as any sort of incitement. I will deal with the old testament accounts of extreme violence in the next section on Judaism, as the old testament and Judaism are based on the same stories.

JUDAISM

The Judaic religion is possibly much more problematic than Christianity, because it does not include the later moral teachings of Jesus against violence. I don’t have the knowledge of this religion to really be sure that Judaism does not constitute a direct and credible incitement. The fact that Jewish people have not for example been stoning people to death for adultery and other sins for over a thousand years (as far as I know) should be taken into account however.

Capital punishments generally could also be seen as only being applicable under the law of the land, rather than incitements to violence between citizens. Therefore, as long as the law of the land that is either secular or otherwise overrules whatever religions advocate, then any incitements to capital punishment in the religions can be ruled not credible.

The Old Testament accounts of violence, terrible though they are (including genocide), could be regarded as mere historical accounts of what took place, or at the most indirect incitement, rather than direct incitement. As far as I can determine there is no instruction to followers of the religion to repeat these acts.

Some claims have been made that the old testament was taken as justification of the treatment of indigenous peoples during the colonial era, but since these are at worst indirect incitements, they would not constitute a reason to make the religion illegal according to my framework.

SUMMARY

In the first post in this series I called for an amendment to the First Amendment to remove all mention of religions. This clears the way for a rational evaluation of whether any particular religion incites violence. In the preceeding post I created a legal framework for types of incitement that should be deemed illegal and types that should not. Clearly there is much that is problematic in all 3 Abrahamic religions, particularly Islam and Judaism, however I am inclined to rule that Islam uniquely incites violence in a direct and credible manner and that therefore Islam should solely be considered in violation of this legal framework. Furthermore, there have now been a long succession of extremely violent terrorist attacks in Europe where the Islamic religion was known to be a major motivating factor. Such events should pragmatically carry weight in deciding that its time to ban a particular religion.

If European countries that have laws against incitement fail to ban the Islamic religion, then they are violating that most important principle of just societies, namely equality before the law.
ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunnah

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banu_Qurayza

http://www.meforum.org/2159/are-judaism-and-christianity-as-violent-as-islam

Bible and Qur’an: equally violent?

http://archive.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/03/08/dark_passages/?page=full

Violence in the Bible—How Should We Respond?

Incitement – A New Legal Framework

[Third in a series of 4 posts about “Freedom of Speech”]

This post is an attempt to define a new legal framework for which types of incitement to commit crimes should be illegal, and which should not. My definition divides potential incitement into two main categories, DIRECT and INDIRECT.

DIRECT INCITEMENT

DEFINITION

Directly encouraging another person or persons to commit any crime. As stated in the previous post I reject the requirement (that exists in the US currently) that a direct incitement should also have to meet the test that it incites IMMINENT criminal action.

A CREDIBILITY TEST

I propose a credibility test – is it credible that the incitement will be acted upon by others? Is the inciter (the one inciting the crime) for example the leader of a criminal gang, a mob boss, or political or religious leader? Where such a significant influence exists I would suggest that the credibility test would be met, i.e. that a direct incitement should be regarded as a criminal act.

At the other extreme, if the inciter is a comedian making a statement in the context of a comedy show, then its unlikely that even a direct incitement will be taken seriously e.g. Noel Fielding apparently urged his followers to stab Nigel Farage. Even such an incitement as this becomes harder to dismiss however if the crime were to be subsequently carried out. On the whole in this example I would be inclined to say that even in such an eventuality as the violent assault suggested being committed the incitement would still lack credibility due to the context.

In between these two extremes it becomes much more difficult. Should we consider a bit of banter between friends on social media for example e.g. “Why don’t you go and kill so-and-so?”, “Yes that’s a good idea I’ll go and do it” to be credible incitement or not? Such an exchange might be regarded as a mere joke by both parties, we cannot see inside their minds. Of course if the murder they mooted is actually subsequently committed then that puts the exchange in a very different light and should probably be then regarded as credible. I think on the whole in cases where no crime occurs however such an exchange should NOT be classified as credible unless say one or other of the two friends has a criminal record involving serious violence.

The problem with social media is that it is just a little bit too easy to sit down and write something that could be construed as incitement without really thinking or particularly meaning what is written literally. I think this should be a consideration, a type of mitigating factor, as we look at such incitements. Writing a letter requires more effort, more “malice aforethought”, and usually requires knowing the subject’s address, whereas communications on social media are often made between individuals who don’t know each other in the real world (another reason to rule an incitement as not credible). However, this is not to say that incitements that take place on social media should not be considered POTENTIALLY just as serious as any other type of incitement.

To summarize the credibility test –

  • Is the inciter likely to have an undue influence over those he incites to commit a crime. Such factors as – is the incited person mentally deficient, does the inciter wield undue influence e.g. is he an older brother or gang leader? Is the inciter a highly regarded authority figure in the case of incitement of groups? Even if the inciter is merely a simple peer of the incited person, there could be factors such as the fact that they both belong to the same violent gang.
  • Is the incited person known to have committed a similar crime in the past, and was this fact probably known to the inciter.
  • The distance in time between an incitement and the resulting crime actually taking place should also be considered when judging an individual case. The longer the gap in time between the two must surely reduce the likelihood that the incitement had a significant impact on the degree to which the crime was inspired by the incitement.
  • What is the context of the incitement? Obviously an incitement that takes place in a serious gathering such as a political or religious gathering is much more to be taken seriously than an incitement that takes place at a comedy show.
  • Would the suggested crime be practically impossible? For example, social media incitements where the identity of the target is unknown to both the inciter and the incited person.

We cannot describe every possibly nuance that could occur and so I fear we will have to rely on a judge and jury to decide on the individual circumstances of each case. All the above factors should be considered when making a judgement however.

For example, lets look at this speech from a US pastor, (which would not currently be illegal under US law at least by my understanding):

He comes really close here to saying that Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and chat show host Oprah Winfrey should be killed by the sword, and claiming that God is calling for this.

“you’ve got to annihilate the leadership thereof”

“to be destroyed with the edge of the sword”

“we need to annihilate black people”

“when the lord calls for the destruction of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, to be destroyed with the edge of the sword, are we ready to do it?”

This is a very borderline case but I think I would rule that he is speaking figuratively not literally, partly because he appears to call for the annihilation of black people at one point, yet he is himself black, and also partly because he is talking about the use of the sword.  It would probably be very difficult practically to kill any of those mentioned people with a sword because they have armed bodyguards, and so it is not really a credible incitement.

Here is another very borderline case, clearly a direct incitement:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/714169/John-McDonnell-REFUSES-apologise-Esther-McVey-lynching-comments

However due to the context of a UK mainstream political discussion I would tend to think probably not credible, since Labour politicians in the UK are not really known as major rabble rousers, although recent events in the Labour party since Corbyn assumed the leadership have rather altered that perception.  Mr. McDonnell was PROBABLY speaking figuratively.  Of course if such a lynching were to actually take place, then it would put a very different perspective on the comment.  The fact that a UK politician has been murdered in public since he made these remarks would tend to make such a statement more credible now I think.

GAUGING THE SEVERITY OF THE INCITEMENT

In cases where no crime is committed immediately, I believe we should still criminalize incitement particularly if the influence of the inciter is substantial. For example political and religious leaders with significant followings who incite violence within our country should be charged with direct incitement, even if no violence takes place, because of the sheer weight of influence that such people carry. The danger involved in ignoring such incitement was I believe demonstrated by the Orlando gay nightclub massacre in the US. The mosque involved has since suffered an arson attack as well, possibly demonstrating how these situations can potentially lead to retaliatory attacks (which then could lead to further escalation of conflict) if the law is powerless to intervene.

CODED INCITEMENT

A form of incitement that may appear to be indirect but which I think should probably be classified as direct is what we might call “coded” incitement. This is where the inciter uses a code phrase that is known by both parties to mean that a particular crime should be committed.

I think in cases where it can be established that such a code was known to both parties then this should be considered a criminal act of the same seriousness as a direct and explicit incitement such as “go and murder so-and-so for me”.

The phrase Henry II is famously supposed to have used “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?” is a more difficult case. We need not worry here about the historical authenticity of this incitement, we are just considering an example. Of course as the King, Henry had probably the most influence possible over his knights as anyone ever does, but there is no hint anywhere that such a phrase was a known code of his time for “go and murder so-and-so”. I think overall in this case I would be inclined to believe that Henry was merely “sounding off” and probably did not intend for his knights to actually kill the archbishop. The phrase “rid me” could also plausibly suggest a non-violent act. In this case I would therefore rule this as not an incitement at all.

PRIVATE INCITEMENT AND GANG VIOLENCE

The hardest kind of direct incitement to deal with of course is those incitements that take place in private. The US authorities struggled for many years to convict the gangster Al Capone despite the involvement of his gang in a large number of murders. They eventually convicted him of tax evasion instead, such was the difficulty involved.

In the UK the problem of gang violence has been addressed by the use of the Joint Enterprise law which meant that even bystanders at a murder were convicted of the crime of murder. The use of this law has been controversial however:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/6638287/Police-using-300-year-old-law-to-target-gang-violence.html

I think we would need to study this law separately as it is a big subject in its own right.

The difficulty with gang related incitements that are not usually witnessed outside the gang will always exist, the authorities will continue to have to use undercover policing, wiretaps and confessions in cases like these.

RELIGIOUS INCITEMENT

A great issue that is dividing our society today is the problem of religiously inspired violence. I believe strongly that religions SHOULD NOT be excluded in any way from incitement law. No special privileges or “protections” should be granted to religions. Of course this question becomes more debatable with some religions that appear to incite violence do not have any recent history of violence among their followers that could be associated with this incitement. As this is a very big subject I will cover it separately in the next post.

INTER-STATE INCITEMENT

One particularly controversial subject has been the use of drone strikes against British nationals who have joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Are our politicians inciting violence when they order such drone strikes? I consider such drone strikes legitimate however because the individuals have joined a foreign state that this country is at war with, and so the normal rule of domestic law need not apply.

Generally speaking, when politicians call for the initiation of force against foreign powers or individuals, they are inciting violence. We should have high standards for the justification of the use of such force. I think on the whole we will leave international incitements involving states for another time, as it is a huge subject in its own right.

INDIRECT INCITEMENT

DEFINITION

By indirect incitement I mean any speech that could conceivably inspire or indirectly encourage a person or persons to commit a criminal act where that speech does not explicitly urge the incited person to commit the act. In my opinion INDIRECT incitement should not be criminalized. Many of the examples I give here of INDIRECT incitements should most probably not even be deemed incitements at all. The reason I list them is because I have come across claims that they do constitute incitement in the past.

GLORIFYING TERRORISM

In 2005, in the wake of the London terrorist attacks on 7 July, the UK govt. proposed new legislation that criminalized indirect incitement in the form of praising terrorist acts, quote:

“For example, saying isn’t it marvellous this has happened and these people are martyrs – not direct incitement to do something but something that could be construed by someone as giving an endorsement of terrorism.”

Quite apart from anything else I suspect the sheer number of people expressing such views, and the impossibility of identifying them all, makes this an absurd thing to try to criminalize, much though it may be tempting to punish those who express such views.

CRITICIZING GROUPS – CONTAGION OF IDEAS

There appears to be a notion among some politicians that even merely derogatory (non-threatening) comments about particular groups or individuals should be suppressed. The reason given for the need for such suppression seems to come from the idea that such ideas could become contagious and lead to acts of violence against the mentioned group – people “egging each other on”, a sort of spiral of hatred. One problem with such suppression is that its not possible to prove that the one thing necessarily leads to the other.

Another larger problem with this idea is that it effectively makes it impossible to criticize any group’s behaviour, because such criticism might incite violence against that group. For example, if a religious sect was advocating child abuse, then we should be free to criticize that group in the strongest terms without being accused of indirect incitement to violence against that group. Only if we were to actually start shouting out say “Kill the followers of the child abuse sect!” (a direct and credible incitement) should we be guilty of incitement.

Even in the case of a racial group we should be free to criticize the behaviour of that group because, for example, that group might be disproportionately involved in crime. Only by a frank discussion of such behaviour are we likely to understand what is causing that behaviour, or discover alternatively that the behaviour is not real but imagined. Merely suppressing the views is unlikely to change anybody’s mind but rather increase suspicions that the truth is being suppressed.

Here are a couple of examples of such suppression from Germany:

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/07/08/german-couple-sentenced-migrant-critical-facebook-group/

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/05/04/pegida-founder-bachmann-found-guilty-of-sedition/

INCITING HATRED OF GROUPS

It becomes harder when we look at more extreme cases where people are inciting hatred of groups, as opposed to merely criticizing them.

Consider this case, where images of dead Jews and other material was prosecuted:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/two-jailed-for-inciting-racial-hatred-online-1741921.html

However I maintain that as long as people are not directly inciting criminal acts then more extreme expression should be allowed, as long as other laws such as privacy laws are not transgressed. If we don’t draw a very firm clear line between indirect and direct incitement then we leave the door open to more subjective sentencing and important conversations could be inadvertently prevented from taking place. It is therefore better to err on the side of greater freedom of expression than the side of censorship. It is also more likely that the dividing line will shift over time if it is not thus clearly defined.

To quote Noam Chomsky:

“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

ACCUSATIONS OF INDIRECT INCITEMENT FOR POLITICAL ENDS

During the EU referendum campaign in the UK there were many accusations made against the Leave campaign that they were inciting hatred of foreigners by their opposition to immigration. Many politicians even attempted to blame the murder of the MP Jo Cox on the Brexit campaign:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/681005/labour-mp-anger-jo-cox-murder-eu-referendum-debate

The hypocrisy of these claims was starkly exposed when there was no corresponding condemnation of incitement of hatred towards Leave campaigners, for example consider these incitements to murder Nigel Farage:

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/06/20/shoot-and-stab-nigel-farage-hundreds-of-social-media-messages-urging-attacks-on-ukip-leader-revealed/

These politicians would be more believable if they applied this notion consistently.  Their argument could be turned on its head as well, when the Remain side of the campaign were arguing that the Leave campaign were “project hate” for example, were they then indirectly inciting violence against the Leave campaigners?

Consider this absolutely ridiculous claim from a UK Labour politician called Chris Bryant who accused the Brexit referendum campaign of responsibility for inciting a Turkish coup:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/690072/Turkey-coup-map-military-turkish-fco-Chris-Bryant-Brexit-EU-referendum-campaign-MP

A TV presenter accuses Nigel Farage of stoking hate, tries to make a connection with the Nice terror attack where 84 people were killed:

http://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/689742/Nigel-Farage-GMB-Ranvir-Singh

Clearly there was a political motivation behind all these accusations, which shows us how open to abuse the very idea of indirect incitement really is.

In another example of hypocrisy, we have yet to hear any politicians or mainstream media pundits blaming anti-Trump views expressed in the UK media of inciting this alleged attempt to assassinate US presidential candidate Donald Trump:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/13/briton-charged-with-attempting-to-shoot-donald-trump-pleads-guil/

FIGHTING TALK – INDIRECT INCITEMENT AGAINST YOURSELF

The Pope famously said if you insult someone’s mother then expect a punch. Through this statement the Pope was condoning anybody who felt insulted by mere words who then committed an assault. Very problematic coming in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. I would not argue that the Pope himself was directly inciting violence here, because he didn’t suggest that you MUST hit someone who insults you. He was I think more just suggesting that it wasn’t wise to insult people. Therefore the Pope’s statement would not itself constitute incitement to violence in my view, however reprehensible it was in the context.

One problem with “fighting talk” is that it is not possible to make a sensible definition of what constitutes “fighting talk”. By the context of his comment, I believe the Pope was implying that the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were wrong to offend the followers of Islam by drawing cartoons of Mohammed. Were the Hebdo cartoonists inciting violence against THEMSELVES? I find this argument utterly preposterous. I feel that people need to grow up and stop taking offence at mere words and pictures. If you deliberately attack somebody except in self defence, then you are guilty of assault. I reject the idea that “fighting talk” should be unprotected speech.

SATIRICAL FILMS

A short film called “The Innocence of Muslims” was blamed by White House officials for provoking an attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya in which 4 Americans died.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/03/22/benghazi-scandal-what-happened-and-what-does-it-mean-for-hilary/

It later transpired that the attack was a pre-planned terrorist attack, that in all probability had nothing whatever to do with the video. The video was merely a satirical/critical look at the Islamic religion, it did not incite violence at all.

VIOLENT FILMS

Some violent films have similarly been accused of inspiring people to commit random murders. The film “Natural Born Killers” was one such.

It seems to me that to be so inspired by such films would require someone to already be in a very disturbed mental state, and so it would be very difficult to be certain that the murderer would not have just found some other excuse for their actions.

COMPUTER GAMES

Computer games are often very violent and sometimes the violence is so evocative of real life situations that it must be considered. For example some video games have allowed the player to take the role of a terrorist killing innocent civilians. However I think the argument that playing computer games like these leads people to commit murder is very dubious and no evidence can prove this is the case. At the most it could be considered as a very indirect incitement and as such would not meet my criteria for prosecution. Again anyone who was so inspired would have to already be in a seriously disturbed mental state.

RADICALIZATION THROUGH CRITICISM OF RELIGION

A truly absurd claim of indirect incitement is when people with anti-Islamic views who try to tell the truth about Islam are accused of radicalizing the followers of Islam. The Muslim was peaceful until this Islamophobe persuaded him that the Koran instructs him to kill the disbelievers (so goes this cranky theory). He then felt he had no choice but to join the Islamic State and kill some disbelievers.

Obviously this argument would make it impossible for anyone to criticize the Islamic religion truthfully, because the religion can be proved to incite violence, as I shall argue in the next post. Criminalizing such indirect radicalization could in fact then be seen as a step towards submission to Islam, because it could in effect create a de facto blasphemy law only applying to Islam (or any other religion that can be demonstrated to incite violence).

Quote from a speech by President Obama:

“Groups like ISIL and al-Qaida want to make this war a war between Islam and America, or between Islam and the West. They want to claim that they are the true leaders of over a billion Muslims around the world who reject their crazy notions. They want us to validate them, by implying that they speak for those billion-plus people, that they speak for Islam. That’s their propaganda. That’s how they recruit. And if we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush, and imply that we are at war with an entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists’ work for them.”

This sort of argument I believe demonstrates how trying to include indirect incitements leads to a great many absurd claims.

HOLOCAUST DENIAL

Some countries have made denial of the Nazi holocaust illegal, but I think this is a big mistake. Archaeological discoveries often come to light which change our understanding of history. We must always be able to challenge accepted wisdom about historical events. Let us argue against holocaust denial with evidence, not law.

An example of a claim that holocaust denial incites violence can be found here:

http://jcpa.org/article/expanding-holocaust-denial-and-legislation-against-it/

Quote:

An additional consideration is that deniers use Holocaust denial to incite hatred against Jews. They usually claim that Jewish demands for reparations and restitution for property stolen during the Nazi era are specious and based on a falsification of history. There was no Holocaust, or the consequences were much less serious than Jews say they were, hence Europeans and European governments are being conned by the Jews. Almost invariably this constitutes incitement against Jews and Jewish communities, and frequently has led to violence against Jews and Jewish institutions. Again this undermines fundamental concepts of civil liberty and fundamental rights.

(Readers please note – I personally believe that the Nazi holocaust took place, I don’t want to get into a debate about that subject.  I am simply arguing against laws that criminalize holocaust denial.)

CONCLUSIONS

Incitement should be illegal only if it is believed by a judge and jury to be a direct credible incitement that is likely to lead or have led to a criminal act being committed. The set of tests of the credibility of an incitement outlined above in the DIRECT section should be considered by said judge and jury, in an effort to minimize subjective sentencing. However due to the nature of incitement there will always unfortunately be a subjective element to the judging and sentencing. All we can do beyond issuing such guidelines is try and ensure only sensible people become judges.

An incitement should be considered serious enough to prosecute even if there is some time delay between the incitement and the crime, i.e. the current US requirement that the incitement is likely to lead imminently to a crime being committed should be discarded. Even in cases where no crime has yet been committed, some incitements should be considered serious enough to prosecute if for example they are issued by political or religious leaders who are well regarded by their followers. In short, the set of considerations outlined here should be weighed up together to decide on whether a direct incitement should be prosecuted, and what the severity of the sentence should be if so.

Indirect incitements should never be criminalized because it is too difficult to prove cause and effect, and because the serious danger of inhibiting free speech/debate is too great. As I mentioned before in a post about hate crime, the way to deal with hatred is through dialogue and debate, not prosecutions. Prosecutions merely serve to increase the sense of victim-hood and a feeling that the state is siding with those who are hated, which is more likely to increase the hatred than reduce it.

RELATED POSTS:

Hate Crime – A Terribly Flawed Concept

The Principle of the Thing – Equality Before The Law

The “Brexit Hate Surge”

Incitement and Current Law

[Second in a series of 4 posts about “Freedom of Speech”]

Note that incitement can be applied to any law including trivial laws. For simplicity I am thinking here about only serious crimes such as inciting violence, rape, slavery and child abuse.

The exact dividing line between what constitutes incitement and what should be considered protected speech has never been set in stone. Court rulings have moved that dividing line from time to time. This is to be expected because deciding exactly what a person intends by what they say is always going to be subjective. Therefore as long as we rely on a legal system for justice, and we accept that some incitement speech must be legislated against, we will have to accept that in some degree a judge or jury will ultimately decide where that dividing line is in individual cases. All we can do is to try and give the most comprehensive guidance for those making those decisions, and to ensure that this guidance is enshrined in law.

US LEGAL STATUS OF PROTECTED SPEECH

It seems that the exact definition of what constitutes protected and unprotected speech according to the US legal system has been only established over time. The US Constitution does not provide an exact definition.

It seems that only relatively recently thanks to a US Supreme Court ruling in 1969 was the qualification of “IMMINENT” added to the definition of what incitement is unprotected.

Brandenburg v. Ohio

I have to say I find this rather odd. What if someone incites someone to commit a crime say on a specified date in the future? I suppose the delay does make the crime slightly less likely, as more circumstances could intervene to prevent it. We also have the problem that a general incitement to murder could inspire a murderer some time in the future, as POSSIBLY happened in this case:

http://nypost.com/2016/06/14/hate-imam-preached-executing-gays-at-orlando-mosque-before-massacre/

FIGHTING WORDS AND MERELY OFFENSIVE (OR GROSSLY OFFENSIVE) SPEECH

“Fighting words” are currently unprotected in the US as they are regarded as a form of incitement. I feel generally that this is incorrect because people don’t have to respond to mere words, however provocative. Trying to limit speech of a merely offensive nature runs a very grave risk of fundamentally endangering the freedom of speech. What is offensive speech to some may be considered a good argument by others. However there are some particularly challenging scenarios.

For example, consider this scenario. If someone died, and then someone else insulted the deceased person’s relatives, say at the funeral, then that would be a bit of a thing. It might lead to a fight. I’m not sure that ordinarily I would agree with the idea of Fighting Words being unprotected, but a case such as this is surely pushing things to the limits. The actions of the Westboro Chapel group in the US for example led to new law:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westboro_Baptist_Church#Laws_limiting_funeral_protests

UK LAW

The UK law was changed in the Blair era:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encouraging_or_assisting_a_crime_in_English_law

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/h_to_k/inchoate_offences/

As far as I can glean from these links there is no requirement in UK law for the incitement to be immediate.

CONCLUSION

The main difference between UK and US law currently seems to be the requirement of imminent harm. I think protecting speech that encourages violence in a non-imminent way is a mistake, as seen in the example of the Orlando massacre of 49 people in a gay nightclub. In the next post I will attempt to create a different framework.

Amending the First Amendment

[First of a series of 4 posts about “Freedom of Speech”]

This post may sound like an attempt to further limit “freedom of speech” beyond current limits, but in fact this is not actually the case in  terms of UK law, which currently has irrational and inconsistent limitations that go at least as far as my suggestions and in some ways much further. My proposal would in some ways be an attempt to limit “freedom of speech” in comparison to the current US constitution however. It may seem strange that I’m talking about the US constitution while also referring to UK/European laws. The reason I am doing this is because I think the US constitution is a good starting point to try to define a practical general definition of “freedom of speech” that could be used by other countries. I cannot find a definition that exactly matches my own idea so I will create my own definition in this series of posts. For brevity I will not mention issues such as state secrecy and libel which I think are subjects that are quite distinct.

We in the West are floundering around wondering what on earth to do about the ever expanding and divisive influence of Islam in our societies. We still have principles, although not so much nowadays. It matters that we deal with this problem within sound principles, because otherwise Equality Before the Law and the “Freedom of Expression” will be endangered. However we may have to rethink our principles a bit because right now our current principles seem to be helping the threat our way of life faces more than they are helping us. Western civilization is in grave danger, not currently from the growing Islamic minority directly, but rather from the panicked and ignorant reactions to the influence of that growing minority, by our own feeble minded governments. US President Barack Obama’s ambiguous statement that:

“the future must not belong to those that slander the prophet of Islam”.

is unfortunately rather typical of the attitude of a great many Western politicians currently. (1).

GEERT WILDERS’S “BAN” ON ISLAM

In stark contrast with this trend of appeasement elsewhere, Geert Wilders has announced his plan to “ban” Islam and all mosques in the Netherlands.

Quote from the Daily Express (2):

“Sybrand van Haersma Buma, leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party, branded Mr Wilders’ plans “utterly bizarre and unbelievable”.”

He added: “The programme will further polarise Dutch society.”

What this Mr. van Haersma Buma misses of course is the problem that Islam is also polarizing Dutch society, and will continue to increasingly do so if we continue to appease the religion.  Mr. Wilders own statements (3):

“I believe we have been too tolerant of the intolerant,”

“We should learn to become intolerant of the intolerant.”

The question is however, can such a “ban” be lawful within a framework like the US Constitution?

It seems Geert Wilders is ahead in the polls as well, ahead of next year’s election. When I first heard of this “ban” I thought hurrah! It got me thinking though, especially after a debate where someone accused me of hypocrisy for wanting to “ban” Islam but also being a believer in freedom of speech. They had a point, I had not clearly enough established in my own mind exactly what I meant by “Freedom of Speech”. I decided to try to define exactly what I meant by the term.

THE FIRST AMENDMENT OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION

The US Constitution has served very well at least until fairly recently to protect freedom of expression in the US. I would like to see a similar such constitution adopted in the UK, but I believe we need to consider seriously the following modifications before we do that.

The First Amendment states (4):

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

So straight away in the first part is a statement that I disagree with:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

I disagree because I believe that if a religion incites violence and other crimes then it should not be protected by the constitution from government laws being passed to restrict it. That is not to say that governments MUST pass laws against such religions, but rather that governments should be FREE to pass such laws, if they deem it necessary to do so for pragmatic reasons. I believe that currently the existence of this statement in the First Amendment will make it impossible for the US to “ban” the Islamic religion, within the constitution.  It was written at a time when the only significant religious groups in the US were different denominations of Christianity, and so it is not too surprising that they seem not to have considered the problems posed by such a religion as Islam.

We should therefore remove the above statement so that we are left with this:

“Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or prohibiting the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Of course some might raise the objection that the reference to religion is designed to prevent theocracies developing and banning religions on purely religious grounds, just because they prefer a particular religion and think everyone should be made to follow that religion.

However I discount this objection because I think we can encompass such a protection for religious observance generally within a definition of “Freedom of Speech”.

DEFINING “THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH”

We are still left with the problem, what EXACTLY do we mean by “The Freedom of Speech”. The US constitution does not protect all speech.  There are categories that are not protected including incitement, fighting words and offensive speech, among others. I will focus on these particular here listed specific restrictions as currently I do not have any objections to make to those other exceptions.  I am going to try to draft a definition of incitement that could be used in writing a constitution, for a (hopefully) more rational age.

Every attempt to define incitement always runs into difficulty with deciding exactly where the line should be drawn. Did Henry II incite murder when he supposedly asked his knights – “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?”. This question is very hard to answer, but I think we have to try. Words do influence people, authority figures such as religious leaders can have a huge impact on the deeds of their followers. The US legal system has in fact struggled with this distinction as well over the years. As incitement is such a big subject I am going to cover it separately in the next two posts.

[The other posts in this series:

Incitement and Current Law

Incitement – A New Legal Framework

Incitement and Religion

]

REFERENCES:

(1) http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/flashback-obama-2012-future-must-not-belong-those-who-slander-prophet-islam

(2) http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/704172/Geert-Wilders-Islam-religion-Muslim-Koran-PVV-Dutch-Freedom-Party

(3) http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-11443211

(4) http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

RELATED POSTS:

https://chaunceytinker.wordpress.com/2016/08/30/the-principle-of-the-thing-equality-before-the-law/

 FURTHER READING:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_and_Religious_Hatred_Act_2006

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exceptions

 

Its NO LONGER A Free Country

You used to often hear the expression “its a free country” in everyday usage in the UK. The phrase was usually used as a response when someone said “you can’t do that” or something similar, and was usually used in a fairly jokey spirit. You seldom hear this phrase nowadays.  The fighting spirit and sense of humour that used to characterize the British people has been slowly ebbing away, gradually suffocated by a climate of overweening political “correctness”. Particularly in the area of freedom of speech our liberty has been gradually reduced, almost without a whimper from the populace. It is as though the British people as a whole no longer even really value freedom of speech very highly any more.

Its not just the mainstream media that is creating a climate of hostility to free speech, but increasingly Western governments are enacting and enforcing laws that restrict speech far beyond the very small limitations that used to be accepted. For example, lets look at the recent case of one Stephen Bennett who was prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to a 12 month community order including 180 hours of unpaid work. His crime? He had made some general remarks on social media about Asian women and Muslims, that were deemed to be “grossly offensive” under the Communications Act 2003.

Manchester Evening News reported the case. Their journalists were not apparently told all the details of what he had written that was deemed so “grossly offensive”. All that had been revealed to the press apparently is that he had written this (1):

“Don’t come over to this country and treat it like your own. Britain first.”

WHAT DID HE MEAN?

Now, I don’t know how on earth anybody could come to the conclusion that this statement alone is so “GROSSLY offensive” that it should warrant prosecution at all let alone warrant a 12 month community order. Possibly there was something much more offensive in the other things he wrote that have not been revealed. Let us examine this statement however and try to decide what he meant. I personally feel the statement is vague and could be interpreted in two different ways.

THE WORST CASE

I think the worst possible meaning of this sentence is that it could be seen as implying that Asian/Muslim people who are born in this country do not really belong here. That’s not very nice to them, a bit offensive perhaps, but if people take SUCH great exception to this then really I have to say I don’t think they are very mature people. Mr. Bennett is a cleaner, it is not as if his voice carries huge weight in our country. He does not have 1000s of followers and he is not a high profile figure, or at least he wasn’t, before the state decided to prosecute him for nothing much. In any case I find it really rather difficult to believe that this was what Mr. Bennett really meant, because apparently “His lawyer added that his mother-in-law and sister-in-law were Muslims, and that he was not racist.” (1). I am therefore rather strongly inclined to think this is not what he meant.

THE BEST CASE

I think the best interpretation is that its a statement of who we the British are. We are people who do not believe in Sharia law, we are people who believe in women’s equality, and crucially we are people who believe in FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Our Prime Minister Theresa May has reiterated that FREEDOM OF SPEECH is one of our VALUES. The Muslim culture does not believe in FREEDOM OF SPEECH, criticism of the man the Muslims regard as their prophet is strictly forbidden in Muslim culture, and indeed was forbidden by Mohammed himself. Take for example the case of Asia Bibi, who has been on death row for 7 long years now for the “crime” of blasphemy (2).  She is dying in prison. Readers should note that in her case lawyers were too frightened to talk about what she had said, i.e. the lawyers in the case COULD NOT TALK DURING THE COURT CASE ABOUT WHAT SHE WAS BEING PROSECUTED FOR SAYING. Can you not see the direction of travel that we are heading in here? Those of you who are familiar with Franz Kafka’s nightmarish novel “The Trial” will see parallels with that great novel as well.

If this interpretation was what Mr. Bennett really meant by what he said then I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY WITH WHAT HE SAID. His conviction should be overturned IMMEDIATELY and he should be compensated fully for:

  • Loss of earnings while on trial.
  • Anxiety sustained during the legal process and after it.
  • Danger to him and his family created by having his identity revealed and his picture splashed on national newspapers.
  • Any impact on his future job prospects (in perpetuity) that the case has caused (this could be considerable and he has several children to support).

I also think he should be given a book deal and invited to speak at all the major British universities who seem to have forgotten the value of freedom of speech. Any students who attempt to “no-platform” him should be expelled from their British university immediately. He should be cheered by true Brits everywhere he goes, whatever their ethnic origin, because true Brits believe in Freedom of Speech. It is who we are.

He should be given an Order of the British Empire medal and invited to Buckingham Palace to have a cup of tea with the Queen so that she can thank him from her heart for standing up for her (and our) country’s most important values. He should also be invited to no.10 Downing Street so that Theresa May can apologize to him in person for failing to defend his liberty. She was after all the Home Secretary for 5 years and now she is the Prime Minister. She has had plenty of time to revise or repeal the law he was charged under, among other things she needs to apologize for.

All of this is conditional of course – it must be revealed that the rest of what he said was also in keeping with this sentiment.

WE SHOULD BE TOLD IN FULL WHAT HE HAD WRITTEN THAT RESULTED IN THE JUDGEMENT

This is one of my biggest issues with the case in fact, the fact the details are being kept from us. I think we SHOULD be told what he said, for these reasons:

  • The words did not refer to anyone specifically (as far as we can tell from the article), so there is no danger involved in revealing the words. Its not a similar case to where you need an injunction.
  • Lots of similar comments are (probably) being made all over social media, its hardly as if the opinions he expressed are some big secret.
  • If they are not revealed the punishment will have no deterrence on others (readers please note I make this argument as it were from the point of view of those who think a person should be punished for making such a comment, obviously I don’t think so).

A counter argument to all this is that perhaps his life might be endangered if the comments are fully revealed. However there are bigger issues at stake than one individual’s personal safety here. If the authorities can silence opinions and the public not be told what those opinions are, then the authorities now have a hugely unreasonable degree of power over the citizens. We are living in an Orwellian police state already. George Orwell warned us that such a society might develop in the future in his book 1984. We should have been heeding his warning, now look at the mess we’re in.

THE AUTHORITIES ARE JUST TRYING TO MAINTAIN LAW AND ORDER

I suspect this is at least to an extent the thinking behind (or the excuse for) this kind of prosecution. However what we (including the govt.) need to remember is that freedom of speech is not easily won yet it can be very easily lost. Sometimes you have to take risks to preserve it. We must be courageous in defence of our freedom. Theresa May should remember that keeping law and order is only one of her duties as Prime Minister, defending Freedom of Speech is another that is just as important.

TO ALL TRUE BRITS

This case may not seem that significant but precedents are being set by cases like this and we need to let the authorities know that we’re not going to let our liberties be taken away from us. LAWFARE is being waged against the lovers of freedom, and we must fight back in kind. Lets set our own precedent by appealing this case right up to the Supreme Court if we can.

He is a cleaner, I very much doubt he can afford to hire a lawyer for an appeal. If there are any true Brits still out there, who believe in defending our most important freedoms, then please stay tuned to this blog as I am going to try to organize a crowdfund for his defence.

SUMMARY

A law that criminalizes statements that are “grossly offensive” is not a law that can be applied fairly and consistently, because the statement is inherently subjective. What is offensive to some people is often a funny joke to others. We need this law (Tony Blair’s Communications Act 2003) to be repealed or at the very least reworded to remove this incredibly vague statement.

I was born free, in a free country, and I yearn to live in a free country again. Please help my wish come true by linking to this post, or republishing it (with acknowledgement and a link to my site please) or write your own post about the case.

If any readers know how Mr. Bennett can be contacted, please post the details in a comment on this article (all comments are moderated – I will not publish the comment I will delete it immediately after reading).  My purpose is to establish whether Mr. Bennett would be interested in appealing the sentence if it can be funded by others on his behalf.

REFERENCES:

(1) http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/online-troll-muslims-police-facebook-11707461#ICID=sharebar_twitter

(2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia_Bibi_blasphemy_case

RELATED:

https://chaunceytinker.wordpress.com/the-ballad-of-aasiya-bibi/

 

Joint Select Committee Scathingly Dismisses Theresa May’s Counter Extremism Proposals

From the Joint Select Committee report:

“The Government should reconsider its counter extremism strategy, use the existing extensive legal framework for dealing with people who promote violence, and introduce new legislation only if it can demonstrate a significant gap.”

They echo the concerns I had expressed some time ago, some quotes from their report:

“No clear definition of extremism”

“The difference in wording suggests a degree of confusion and, in either event, these definitions are couched in such general terms that they are likely to prove unworkable as a legislative definition. In particular, the extent to which lack of “mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs” could or should be deemed unlawful is likely to prove deeply contentious.”

“The aim should be to tackle extremism that leads to violence, not to suppress views with which the Government disagrees.”

“The legal issues that we have examined are so problematic that we consider that it would serve no purpose to have a further general consultation. If the Government wishes to take forward these proposals it must bring forward a draft Bill. It is plain that a consultation which does not provide a clear legal definition of what is meant by extremism would be futile. “

To put it in simpler terms, it is not possible to “combat non-violent extremism” without abandoning our most important liberty – freedom of speech. A great deal of the government’s time is being wasted establishing this patently obvious fact.

Is this enough to sink the strategy though? Could be embarrassing for the government. Theresa May’s government.  How did we end up with this person as our Prime Minister?

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/joint-select/human-rights-committee/news-parliament-2015/counter-extremism-report-published-16-17/

RELATED POSTS:

The Pretend Strategy – From Chamberlain to Cameron

Extremist Banning and Disruption Orders

 

 

Censored!

Censored

The above comment was removed from this article:

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/06/08/farage-race-row/

WHODUNNIT?

I really doubt it was Breitbart. I suppose it could have been removed by Breitbart or Disqus at the behest of some shadowy state official.

WHY DOES IT MATTER ENOUGH TO WRITE A BLOG POST ABOUT IT?

The EU particularly but also national governments in Europe are becoming increasingly inclined to interfere with freedom of speech, one of our most fundamental freedoms. It seems to me they are particularly anxious to suppress criticism of immigration and of the Islamic religion. Right now the EU is proposing to crack down on “illegal hate speech”. But what, exactly, do they mean by “illegal hate speech”?

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-1937_en.htm

One of the bullet points in this document:

“The IT Companies to review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary.”

Have I fallen victim to this Orwellian directive? Would those enforcing this directive err on the side of “caution” and delete first, ask questions later? Is there any appeals process, any way of publicly questioning the judgement of those enforcing it? Will those enforcing it be accountable in any way whatever? Will there even be public acknowledgement of what they are censoring?

The largest objection I have to this kind of censorship is that it is going to be hard to convince others that we really are being censored at all. “Are you sure dear?” “Maybe you deleted it yourself by mistake?” Well when you delete a Disqus comment yourself it just disappears, you don’t see the red “Removed” icon in the picture above. So no, “dear”, I did not imagine it. There is the evidence.

Some people will be intimidated by this sort of censorship, because it will remind them that they are being watched by big brother and that big brother does not approve of what they are saying. Those people might have very valid and useful things to say. There is also the implied threat that if the state does not approve then they may be fined or even imprisoned for what they are doing.

COULD IT JUST HAVE BEEN A MISTAKE BY SOME MODERATOR SOMEWHERE?

Certainly, but I feel that its important to document such incidents to see if a pattern can be identified, to find out whether other people are experiencing similar, and most importantly because there may be some sort of very deliberate state censorship going on. Also, since the EU is currently devising these “hate speech” directives for social media companies, it really isn’t fanciful to suspect state involvement. I have had very few comments removed to date, only a handful. In most of the other cases (perhaps all) it was clear that the comment had been “Flagged as inappropriate” by another user, because the status of the comment was “Pending”, not “Removed” as is the case in this comment (see text in red in picture above).

DO I REGRET ANYTHING ABOUT THE COMMENT?

I fear it was a bit vague in the sense that it wasn’t clear which migrants I was talking about, rather hastily written perhaps. However in the context of the article, and the current migrant crisis, I think I could be allowed to let people put two and two together. I also specifically mentioned Islam so I think it was pretty clear that I was referring to Muslim majority countries. If there was anything wrong with the comment, people were free to question it, and challenge it with reply comments.

CAN I BACK MY CLAIM UP WITH ANY SOURCES?

Quite what constitutes commonplace is subjective I think, but a brief search in google immediately points towards quite a lot of evidence that I was justified in making the remark. There is a Wikipedia article devoted to the subject of Islam and domestic violence for example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_and_domestic_violence

For example, there is a claim in this article:

“According to HRW 2013 report, Afghanistan has one of the highest incidence rates of domestic violence in the world. Domestic violence is so common that 85 per cent of women admit to experiencing it.”

Before anybody questions my linking to Wikipedia, please note that this article is backed up with many references to its sources, so please read those instead of just dissing Wikipedia.

Mistreatment of women among the migrants has been reported by Breitbart themselves quite a few times:

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/01/19/2808190/

It seems unlikely to me that this would be happening if such treatment was particularly uncommon in their countries of origin.

Evidence of a bad attitude in Islam towards women can be found in the Koran, for example 4:34 which condones wife beating. Many other examples exist, documented much more comprehensively by people who know more about it than I do, so I have provided some links at the end of this post for those who wish to learn more.

There is also significant testimony in the above of the suppression of information about the mistreatment of women in these countries. Who for example is going to report a rape if the Islamic requirement is for 4 male witnesses? How many rapes are going to be calmly witnessed by 4 male bystanders who are later prepared to testify against the perpetrator? If they objected to the rape then these 4 males would surely intervene?

Furthermore, mistreatment of women in Islamic culture is so ingrained that women may not even regard it as mistreatment. For example, many women in Pakistan believe that the Koranic justification for beating a “disobedient” wife mentioned above is correct. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is sometimes carried out by women.

WAS I INCITING HATRED OF A PARTICULAR GROUP?

It seems to me that if you make a statement that is demonstrably true then you cannot be accused of incitement. The comment was not in any case at all inciteful, but plainly descriptive. I did not say, so and so is the case and therefore people should hate the group I’m talking about. I wasn’t even thinking like that. I’m just concerned that the migrants in question have been brutalized by the culture of their country of origin, particularly in their attitude to women.

WHAT COUNTRIES ARE THE MIGRANTS COMING FROM?

In the current migration crisis, the principle countries of origin are all Muslim majority countries to my knowledge, and include:

Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, countries of the Maghreb. Mistreatment of women under the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is of course particularly brutal, I hardly need mention all the rapes of Yazidi women and stoning of “adulterers”. Mistreatment of women is well documented for Pakistan and Afghanistan. Here is an article about Syria:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/11/world/middleeast/11syria.html?_r=0

Countries further south in Africa that have featured significantly in the number of migrants include Gabon and Eritrea. Female genital mutilation is practiced in Eritrea (1).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_migrant_crisis#Origins_and_motivations

SUMMARY

I think this experience illustrates exactly what is wrong with trying to suppress “hate speech”. Just what constitutes hate speech is highly subjective. We should be able to talk about groups of people without automatically being condemned because there may be features of that group, such as their religious beliefs, that incline them to behave in a particular way. I believe that the Islamic ideology is deeply flawed and a danger to freedoms of all kinds, but particularly to women’s freedom. If we can no longer discuss this in public without facing censorship and possibly even arrest, then freedom of speech is truly finished in Europe. The claims that freedom of speech will be protected in the EU directive document above are then merely empty words. Also if internet commenters like myself are being censored like this today, how long will it be before the state starts interfering with the supposedly free press when they try to tell us facts about the migrant crisis?

REFERENCES:

(1) http://www.unfpa.org/resources/female-genital-mutilation-fgm-frequently-asked-questions#women_affected

FURTHER READING AND RELATED ARTICLES:

https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/related_material/Afghanistan_brochure_0913_09032013.pdf

http://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/Arlandson/beating.htm

http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/rape-adultery.aspx

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An-Nisa,_34

https://doctorbulldog.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/the-abused-women-of-islam-a-shocking-story-heard-every-day/comment-page-2/

http://jamieglazov.com/2016/06/14/why-17-year-old-mayar-mohamed-mousa-had-to-die/

https://savetheinternet.eu/en/?sample_rate=0.1&snippet_name=5629#send-a-message