August 24, 2005

Deport Pat Robertson?

What if Pat Robertson lived in the UK?

The problem with laws prohibiting speech is always the same. No matter how appealing it sounds to just silence people who "encourage terrorism," there are always unintended consequences. Oh, we didn't mean Christians! I can count the number of times I've agreed with Donald Rumsfeld on one finger, but his response — "Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time" — is exactly the right one, as are the responses of evangelical organizations distancing themselves from Robertson and of liberal activists pressuring commercial broadcasters to think about what kind of people they want to be in business with.

Americans who secretly (or openly) envy the lack of a First Amendment that allowed Britain to draft its anti-terror speech laws should consider what the effect of similar laws would be here, and whether that's really what they want.

Note, by the way, that one of the items on the UK's new list of things that can get you kicked out is "foster[ing] hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the U.K." Might? Who makes that judgment? And how long before it's applied to somebody who condemns not "Western values" but Islamism (wouldn't Theo Van Gogh have fit the bill)?

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Which finger?

Very rightly written article, it arrests the attention of the reader. The subject is outlined with clear understanding and focus.

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