Six weeks ago a mad ‘anti-discrimination’ proposal passed the EU Civil Liberties and Justice Committee. It is now an Assembly vote away from becoming Law.
Some of you will have read about this issue elsewhere – The Slog commented upon it in outline form some months back. But for the information of anyone concerned about what free speech really is, I thought I’d give you an update.
About five weeks ago (On September 17th to be precise) a draft Bill proposal by a Group calling itself the Framework Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance was put before the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. I know nothing about the outcome of this meeting, beyond the fact that it wasn’t thrown out amid loud cries of “Are you joking or what?”
This is one of many proposed clauses in the suggested legislation:
“defamatory comments made in public and aimed against a group (…) with a view to (…) slandering the group, holding it to ridicule or subjecting it to the false charges” may be considered group libel and, therefore, may be treated like acts of intolerance — as well as hate crimes.”
There are others that are equally insane, but the key thing about the extract above is the all-inclusive use of ‘or’: “A Group” means anything the people behind this nonsense say it is, but rather than having to do all three naughty things to get convicted, if passed this would stop ANY slandering, ridicule OR false charges of A Group. The last is fair enough, the other two are the flagrant antithesis of free speech and thought.
For example, you see a bloke walking down the street wearing a Golden Dawn armband, and you remark politely, “F**king Nazi”. Bingo, you’re a hate criminal.
Rather more to the point, you meet the Muslim Brotherhood busy gassing kids in Syria, and shout, “Leave them alone you dissembling Islamist swine”. Yup, you’re in the dock again.
Now imagine what this would do if Turkey gained entry to the EU. Recep Erdogan (an avowed Islamist) visits Brussels, and a Greco-Jewish contingent holds up a banner saying “Erdogan Islamic Fascist Out”. Now you’ve insulted two Groups at once. So once inside the Chamber, Erdogan gives a news conference referring to “the expected alliance of deranged Greek fundamentalists and Mossad Zionists”, thus insulting three groups at once.
The truly terrifying aspect of this proposal however (aside from it being taken seriously at all) are the assumptions that lie behind it…or more precisely, in the preamble (my emphases):
Whereas respect for human dignity is based on recognition of human diversity 1 and the inherent right of every person to be different,
Whereas tolerance postulates an open mind to unfamiliar ideas and ways of life,
Whereas the concept of tolerance is the opposite of any form of unlawful 2 discrimination,
Whereas tolerance has a vital role in enabling successful coexistence of diverse groups within a single national society,
Whereas such coexistence enriches and strengthens the fabric of the national society 3, it should not affect the basic identity of that society or its shared values, history, aspirations and goals,
Whereas integration within a single national society does not mean assimilation 4,
Whereas coexistence and cooperation within a democratic society require that individuals and groups make mutual concessions to each other 5,
Whereas respect for the distinctive characteristics of diverse groups should not weaken the common bonds of responsible citizenship 6 within a democratic and open society as a whole,
I’m never entirely sure what exactly has happened to the human thinking process since my days at University, but in 1966 any Politics Fresher could have unpicked this muddled set of aspirations, assumptions and bad science word by word in about ten minutes. My initial responses to the highlighted bits above are:
1. Is respect for human dignity based on the recognition of human diversity? I think not. Hitler spent 380 tedious pages of Mein Kampf explaining in detail the full diversity of humanity he didn’t like – from the Jews via Gypsies to the Chinese and Negroes. I fail to see any respect at all for human dignity in anything Dolfie did, although he was quite nice to his pet Alsatian Blondi.
2. Tolerance is most emphatically not the opposite of discrimination, lawful or otherwise. I discriminate against stupid people trying to grab power to run my country, because I see them (with mountainous evidence to support my case) as a shower of neoliberal greed-buckets with sawdust where their left cortex should be. If this makes me intolerant, then I condemn America’s response to Pearl Harbor as a flagrant act of despicable discrimination.
Discrimination is normal: it helps us sift out the mediocre from the excellent, the evil from the virtuous.
3. The blasé claim that multicultural coexistence enriches and strengthens the social fabric is utter twaddle flying upside down with no parachute straight into the face of historical evidence from Nigeria and India to Ireland and Syria, calling at most stops in between. Like all pc, it is the triumph of fancy over fact.
4. How does integration not mean assimilation? And why does assimilation mean loss of identity – eg, Britain’s Jewish population, US Hispanics, Brazilian negroes? This is juggling words to allow dissident groups to obey laws they like, and ignore those they don’t, on the basis of their ‘special identity’.
5. Why should 93% of the population make concessions to, for example, criminals, gays, islamists, the IRA, the UDF, the EDL and a dozen or more equally minority interest groups? And assuming they do (and in Britain, we do) where exactly is the mutuality there with gays, Islamists and Irish bombers?
6. Well, this one is just Point 3 only yelled through a megaphone. It’s up there with Himmler measuring people’s noses: absolute codswallop.
I sincerely hope readers will not see this piece as alarmist. The proposed Bill is already going to draft Assembly stage, and will be voted upon unless the September 17th decision to let it go forward is reversed. If I’m not mistaken, I think this would be illegal under the Assembly Constitution, so it will go forward to full vote. There are plenty of MEPs looking the other way (towards economic meltdown and/or the UK Referendum) at the moment. Time for the Hannans and Farages to do their duty here.
And even if you’re silly enough to shrug and say “WTF, it won’t affect me”, I suggest you think on it. Under the definition of A Group in this barmpot Bill, Women are A Group. Hard to deny that really. Did you know that 15 days ago the gradual introduction of gender quotas on European company Boards became EU law? Seven years from now, all EU-based companies will have to have 40% of their Board composed of women in the female gender space:
‘Gender equality has failed to reach the board room: last year women held only 15% of non-executive board seats. However, this could soon change thanks to new rules backed by MEPs on 14 October requiring companies to have boards with at least 40% women. State-owned firms will need to do so by 2018, while all EU publicly-listed private companies will have until 2020…’
Cue five billion rabid emails from Wimmin, but if you can’t get this then you really are incurably thick: affirmative action is the diametric antithesis of meritocracy. I fully accept that some men are anti-women in the workplace, but we already have legislation to bring them to Court, thanks very much: that sort of approach stops bigotry by making it very expensive: the new EU law rejects the principle of The Best Person for the Job, and potentially rewards failure. No change there then for the EU (names like Ashton, Kinnock, Barosso and van Rumpuy spring to mind) but we simply do not need this kind of denialism on the Statute Book.
How and why was that Law allowed to pass? Why was there no discussion of it in the MSM? I suggest you write to your MEP and ask them.
Genuine liberal democracy very rarely dies with an obvious bang. The Nazis created a dictatorial superstate without changing a single clause in the Weimar Constitution. It usually dies from cunning, apathy, the quiet invoking of little-known statutes, and electoral distraction. This last can take the form of anything from working longer hours for less and less money to watching Simon Cowell in the mistaken belief that he is a member of the Human Race.