Britain Poised to Muzzle Extremist Speech

free-speech-zone

In Britain, if you have extreme views on anything from Western democracy to women’s role in public life, you might soon require a licence from the government before you can speak in public. Seriously.

“It’s the brainchild of Theresa May, the Home Secretary in David Cameron’s government. May wants to introduce ‘extremism disruption orders’, which, yes, are as terrifyingly authoritarian as they sound.”

Nearly 350 years after us Brits abolished the licensing of the press, whereby every publisher had to get the blessing of the government before he could press and promote his ideas, a new system of licensing is being freedom-of-speech-xproposed. And it’s one which, incredibly, is even more tyrannical than yesteryear’s press licensing since it would extend to individuals, too, potentially forbidding ordinary citizens from opening their gobs in public without officialdom’s say-so.

“Once served with an EDO, you will be banned from publishing on the Internet, speaking in a public forum, or appearing on TV. To say something online, including just tweeting or posting on Facebook, you will need the permission of the police.”

It’s the brainchild of Theresa May, the Home Secretary in David Cameron’s government. May wants to introduce “extremism disruption orders”, which, yes, are as terrifyingly authoritarian as they sound.

Last month, May unveiled her ambition to “eliminate extremism in all its forms.” Whether you’re a neo-Nazi or an Islamist, or just someone who says things which betray, in May’s words, a lack of “respect for the rule of law” and “respect for minorities”, then you could be served with an extremism disruption order (EDO).

Strikingly, EDOs will target even individuals who do not espouse or promote violence, which is already a crime in the U.K. As May says, “The problem that we have had is this distinction of saying we will only go after you if you are an extremist that directly supports violence. [This] has left the field open for extremists who know how not to step over the line.” How telling that a leading British politician should be snotty about “this distinction” between speech and violence, between words and actions, which isn’t actually some glitch in the legal system, as she seems to think, but rather is the foundation stone on which every free, democratic society ought to be built.

Once served with an EDO, you will be banned from publishing on the Internet, speaking in a public forum, or appearing on TV. To say something online, including just tweeting or posting on Facebook, you will need the permission of the police. There will be a “requirement to submit to the police in advance any proposed publication on the web, social media or print.” That is, you will effectively need a licence from the state to speak, to publish, even to tweet, just as writers and poets did in the 1600s before the licensing of the press was swept away and modern, enlightened Britain was born (or so we thought).

What sort of people might find themselves branded “extremists” and thus forbidden from speaking in public? Anyone, really. The definition of extremist being bandied about…(read more)

Reason.com


3 Comments on “Britain Poised to Muzzle Extremist Speech”

  1. Paul H. Lemmen says:

    Reblogged this on A Conservative Christian Man.

  2. Centinel2012 says:

    Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
    This maybe in England but its coming here soon!

  3. roberta4949 says:

    they have tried to make people get a permit many times in the past, they tried to make Jehovahs witnesses so many times to get a permit to preach door to door do bible studies and the like. but we fought that in the courts setting a precedent, which non witnesses have benefitted from too. we do not need permission from government to preach and teach, or tell others about God the bible or anything related to that, so we have a right to preach it is not a privelege. we have a God given right to open our mouths even if what we speak is offensive to some. so gov is wrong in telling people they need a permit to do something they were born with the right to do, gov is acting on a privlege not a right, people have rights not organizations as a whole to turn them into priveleges.


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