Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Thought Police

It is a rare occasion that I agree with an opinion of the Wall Street Journal, but I cannot help but feel sympathy for this woman. I do not necessarily espouse her views, but Italy and the EU have forgotten the spirit of Voltaire. Freedom of speech is a topic where I usually break ranks with my left-leaning European friends. They argue that symbols such as the swastika should be banned. I argue that if one bans a symbol or organization, it only serves to mystify them or make them alluring. Neo-Nazi groups are on the rise in Germany for this reason alone. (See Shock Mom and Dad: Become a Neo-Nazi). Here in the US we have the KKK, but membership is not illegal and their right to march is protected speech. They operate in the open, which is a good a thing as they are exposed as toothless rednecks with barely double digit IQs. This openness does not allow them to achieve the power of outlaw status.

In the following article, the author does not even resort to overt racism. She wrote that traditional Europe is in danger of becoming "Eurabia" due to the large scale Islamic population growth. Several European leaders have spoken against this increased immigration, some like Le Pen are motivated by their own xenophobia. Others like Pim Fortuyn were not driven by a fear of the other, but mostly because he thought this immigration by religious fundamentalists was a threat to the Netherlands culture of tolerance. Fortuyn argued that "tolerance of intolerance is intolerance", but then he was assassinated.

It's dangerous to make words illegal and subject to criminal prosecution. Once you draw a line, you leave it open for judges and politicians with their own agendas to decide what is correct and nothing good can come of that.

Prophet of Decline

An interview with Oriana Fallaci.

NEW YORK--Oriana Fallaci faces jail. In her mid-70s, stricken with a cancer that, for the moment, permits only the consumption of liquids--so yes, we drank champagne in the course of a three-hour interview--one of the most renowned journalists of the modern era has been indicted by a judge in her native Italy under provisions of the Italian Penal Code which proscribe the "vilipendio," or "vilification," of "any religion admitted by the state."

In her case, the religion deemed vilified is Islam, and the vilification was perpetrated, apparently, in a book she wrote last year--and which has sold many more than a million copies all over Europe--called "The Force of Reason." Its astringent thesis is that the Old Continent is on the verge of becoming a dominion of Islam, and that the people of the West have surrendered themselves fecklessly to the "sons of Allah." So in a nutshell, Oriana Fallaci faces up to two years' imprisonment for her beliefs--which is one reason why she has chosen to stay put in New York. Let us give thanks for the First Amendment.

Link to article


Blogger Doug said...

"Ralphie, what is your fascination with my forbidden closet of mystery?"
---Chief Wiggum

I'd say the same principle applies to forbidden speech and symbols.

July 05, 2005  
Blogger torporific said...

Heh, I have seen that episode! Good example. I posted that same article on my international forum and one of the European posters called Fallaci a racist and said she deserved what she got. Well, I am sure she is a racist. Her book is probably similar to Patrick Buchanan's book
The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization
which is racist garbage, but he shouldn't be charged criminally for it.

July 05, 2005  
Blogger lemming said...

Fascinating - the WSJ editorial page, though I usually disagree with it, does usually manage to provide thoughtful and well written opinions. WOudl that certain politicians read it.

July 06, 2005  
Anonymous Ghost Writer said...

"I'd say the same principle applies to forbidden speech and symbols." --doug

It also applies to forbidden comic headlines and forbidden music.

July 06, 2005  

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