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It’s 1984 in Britain

May 6, 2009

The shameful treatment of Geert Wilders by the British Home Department a few months back has become a pattern. If British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith doesn’t like what you say, she bans you from her once-great country:

A British blacklist that includes four Americans among 16 named foreigners barred from the country is prompting outrage from free-speech activists and the best-known of the targets, popular talk-radio host Michael Savage.

The Americans are particularly angry that the list lumped Islamic radicals and convicted skinhead killers with people who have not been found guilty of any crime.

[…]

“The government opposes extremism in all its forms, and I am determined to stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country,” said [British Home Secretary] Mrs. Smith.

With all due respect (which isn’t much, I’m afraid), Mme Smith, wouldn’t you think that treating someone for saying things you don’t appreciate the same way like mass murderers a form of “extremism” as well? It’s one thing to deny convicted murderers entry into your country, it’s quite another to do the same with a law-abiding talk radio host whose opinions you happen to categorise as ‘extreme’ with the argument that he’s “actually likely to cause intercommunity tension” (sic). Will you begin to outlaw rainy days as well? Good luck with that on your island. Although that might still be easier than purging your territory from people with unfriendly thoughts.

The French Cowboy doesn’t know Michael Savage, nor his radio show. But you don’t need to know Savage’s or any of the blacklisted persons’ views to realise that if you begin to label private citizens for having ‘extreme’ opinions and feel free to treat them in the same manner as those who have actually killed people you’re heading for a thought-crime regime. Free speech is inseparable from freedom of thought. If you believe cutting down on freedom of speech is justified when someone believes someone else to potentially cause “intercommunity tension” (sic) because he expresses his opinion verbally, you will end up pursuing people for their thoughts. Because who will guarantee that whoever is holding certain opinions won’t also voice them? Note that Monsieur Savage is not only banned from holding public speeches in Britain, but even from entering the country. (Makes you doubt that he will be given the privilege to counterweight the Queen by delivering the “alternative Christmas message” of Channel 4 the way Ahma- “Wipe Israel off the map” -dinejad has been.)

As long as Mme Smith is allowed to determine which kind of thoughts are permissible in Britain and which aren’t I think – even if you wish I couldn’t – that it is preferable to stay away from your shores, Britannia, even for those who are not blacklisted yet. And as for you Brits who have un-PC thoughts: Australia still has space to spare.

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