We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

A message to the European Union from Samizdata.net…

People in the US, who take notions of Freedom of Expression and Private Property for granted, will be astonished by the latest steaming pile of wisdom to emerge from the clenched cheeks of our European would-be masters. Declan McCullagh reports:

The all-but-final proposal draft says that Internet news organizations, individual Web sites, moderated mailing lists and even Web logs (or “blogs”), must offer a “right of reply” to those who have been criticized by a person or organization.
With clinical precision, the council’s bureaucracy had decided exactly what would be required. Some excerpts from its proposal:

  • “The reply should be made publicly available in a prominent place for a period of time (that) is at least equal to the period of time during which the contested information was publicly available, but, in any case, no less than for 24 hours.”
  • Hyperlinking to a reply is acceptable. “It may be considered sufficient to publish (the reply) or make available a link to it” from the spot of the original mention.
  • “So long as the contested information is available online, the reply should be attached to it, for example through a clearly visible link.”
  • Long replies are fine. “There should be flexibility regarding the length of the reply, since there are (fewer) capacity limits for content than (there are) in off-line media.”

It’s pretty zany to imagine that just about every form of online publishing, from full-time news organizations to occasional bloggers to moderated chat rooms, would be covered. But it’s no accident. A January 2003 draft envisioned regulating only “professional on-line media.” Two months later, a March 2003 draft dropped the word “professional” and intentionally covered all “online media” of any type.

Read the whole article.

So what is the message to the EU I mentioned in the title? Simple:

We will not comply

We have a comments section on samizdata.net in which people can and do comment about what we write, but access to that comment section is at our capricious discretion. If we decide we want to IP ban someone or want to delete their remarks from our comments section because we think they are offensive, or even if they are not offensive but we just bloody well feel like doing it because we have a headache, then we bloody well will. This is our private property.

We are already hosted on a server in the USA and I am quite confident our hosters would tell the EU where they can stick any demands to yank us off the net because we decline to submit to political moderation of the form our free speech takes on our private property (i.e. the server space we rent from them). If we have to go entirely pseudonymous and log onto Samizdata.net in order to post via ‘dead drop’ servers rather than submit to EU regulation of how we manage the information on our blog, then that is exactly what those of us who post from within the rapidly emerging EU tyranny will do. We utterly reject political moderation of free speech in civil society. This is not about giving people a voice but rather about replacing social interaction (which is what true free speech is), with political interaction mediated and mandated by the state.

If these regulations become the law of the EU (as seems likely), we will not obey, we will not cooperate, we will not accept that anyone has a ‘right’ to reply on our blog. Do you think we have said nasty things about you and want to reply regardless of our unwillingness to let you use our comment section? Fine…go to blogger.com, sign up (for free), click on ‘create a new blog’ and voila… you have your own blog on which you can scream about how those mean old Samizdatistas ‘done you wrong’ to your heart’s content.

And if the EU says we have to let you comment… tough shit, it ain’t gonna happen. The people who write for Samizdata.net all now live next door to Samizdata Illuminatus, in Arkham, Massachusetts.

It is not about giving people a voice, but about replacing society with politics

Resistance is not futile   The EU is not yet truly a Nazi regime, but this is indeed how it starts

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51 comments to A message to the European Union from Samizdata.net…

  • Pall Thorhallsson of the organization’s media division explained this move by arguing that bloggers and their brethren are becoming influential enough to be regulated as are their counterparts in the offline world.

    There you have it. The state sets the limits individuals can attain before they become too powerful for the good of others (and increasingly rarely, for YOUR own good). ‘Disgusting’ doesn’t do it justice. Standing up to this crap is the only right way to do it.

    You should turn it around on them as well. It is without question the EU/UK/etc governments have influence and power…therefore, THEY should also be forced to provide space for counter-points. Flood them out with arguements they (by their own standards) must publish.

  • Johan

    I’ve often been annoyed over how language sometimes isn’t enough to convey strong, strong feelings. This is one of those times. I can’t find any words of how sick this whole EU deal is. I’d rather do something about it because actions do speak louder than words, and gun fire doesn’t only sound louder, but will do more.

    Time to get guns no matter what the government say and put an end to this complete madness?

    Screw the EU, and do whatever you like to your blog. If the try to prosecute you, well, then it’s a good time for exposing what the EU is really all about.

    Sadly, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Lenin, Castro and all the rest couldn’t have done it better.

  • F Mamo

    That ain’t the European Union; that’s the Council of Europe.

  • So what? Their wonderful works usually end up EU law, so it is to the EU our hostility should be directed… similarly, the Council of Europe is just an EU QUANGO, a creature of the EU as much as something like the EIB, for example.

  • George Peery

    The Cold War is over, and it looks like Stalin won. The “Warsaw Pact” extends to the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Guy Herbert

    Relax Perry, and co, this is the Council of Europe, not the Council of the EU. Pace C|net, it’s a not terribly influential boondoggle for the international great and good, usually ignored by everyone.

  • Alex

    Sad thing is, I saw this at Slashdot and most of the posts I read supported the initiative or were only tepid in their opposition to it. A few people (mostly gringos) were apalled, but, as usual, were modded down or pooh poohed as cranks. Sigh.
    Alex

  • Guy: The reality of the Council of Europe is that it is a place in which the EU runs ideas up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes them or starts rioting about them prior to spending political capital on making things laws (or ‘directives’)… if the reaction is muted, this WILL become EU law. To think it is ‘just’ the Council of Europe is to spectacularly miss what CoE really does. It is a quasi-governmental body, not just some obscure think-tank sounding off.

  • Scott Cattanach

    The slashdot commentary is here for those who are interested.

  • S. Weasel

    Oh, we in the US don’t quite have a lock on freedom of expression and private property. Remember the Child Online Protection Act of 1998? It basically proscribed leaving any sort of sexual content lying around on the web where a kid might find it (including nominally educational material, if it had a stray tit in it). The law was struck down in its entirety two years later, but not before worrying the hell out of a lot of people.

  • Naif Mabat

    …demands to yank us off the net…

    Nice gag.

  • Liberty Belle

    What is the difference between the EU and the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights (is that the same one that’s in The Hague?) and all the rest of these (intentionally) confusing bodies? What is the difference between an MEP (Member of the European Parliament) and the Council of Europe? Do they have members? Did we ever vote for them? When? Who are they? Who sends down all these ‘directives’ that are automatically, and legally, incorporated into national governments without debate? I would say, how did this amorphous fog descend over the nations of Europe, but I don’t need to ask. Through inattention and the willingness to be bullied rather than take a stand and be accused of xenophobia and “racism” (a strange charge, given that most of us in Europe are Caucasians and most of our integrated immigrants find our standards comfortable, reasonable and convenient, like most Anglo-Saxon law).

    I think given this latest, the time is nigh for desertion. Sorry, but I think it’s too late to fight. They should have been fighting 30 years ago and failed to do so for fear of being labelled fools or little englanders. (Like a red face ever killed anyone.) Twenty-five years ago, same story. Fifteen years ago, still accepting the oily reassurances of politicians seeking their own glory (yes, Chris Patten, Ken Clarke, Michael Heseltine, “Lord” Hurst, I’m talking to you, may you rot in hell. But then, so should the people who failed to oppose you.). Five years ago, failing to give support to UKIP for fear of being branded a little englander, and let UKIP, which had the stomach for a fight, wither on the vine, gasping for funds. The EU is now deeply entrenched, its slithy tentacles coiled round every pillar and post of British civil society. Given the complicity, nay, fervour, of this current British government, I sadly think it’s too late.

  • So the next blogger bash is in the Miskatonic University bar is it Perry? Arkham is rather pretty this time of year.

  • Looks like they’re trying to destroy any non-mainstream political voice (e.g. blogs). Imagine what would happen if this were to become law. Some government flunky notices Joe Pint (as opposed to the U.S. Joe Sixpak) has posted a long rant against the latest rise in the VAT. Said government flunky mobilizes the troops, who all demand right of reply on poor Joe’s website. Joe’s ISP cuts him off (or charges a hefty usage fee) for the additional bandwidth that exceeds the allowed cap. Another “dangerous radical” is silenced.

  • G Cooper

    Strong words, Mr de Havilland and entirely justified. I applaud you and the other Samizdatistas.

    Maybe the heat is getting to me today, but as I read the newspaper and listen to the radio news, it seems as if every page, every broadcast, contains something else that whittles away the world I grew up in. A function of age? No, I don’t think so.

    In the past month alone, we have had to face Blair signing us even further into the EU zone of decay and denying us the right to have a say in the matter. We have had the arbitrary (and probably illegal) attempt to remove the Lord Chancellor from the woolsack, with absolutely no consultation. We have had a proposal to install satellite tracking and control in every car in England. Last night, the vain, bullying toad Hain issued a veiled threat further to hamstring the House of Lords if it opposes his government’s Bolshevik ideas. We have had the story of brave Farmer Bean being threatened by rat-faced bureaucrats with Gestapo-like contempt for individual liberty. We have had confirmation that the Railtrack shareholders’ assets were stolen from them and that the company was replaced by an unelected quango, which already pays itself more than the former Railtrack bosses and has made a bad situation calamitously worse. We have learned that our hospitals are swamped by sub-Saharan African Aids victims, claiming, and getting, free treatment on the NHS costing £15,000 per year, per head. We have had the growing likelihood that Blair will use the ‘nuclear option’ to force-through the adoption of the Euro. Then the fool Prescot promises us yet more balkanisation with his plans for yet further regional assemblies. And on, and on and bloody on…

    There seems to have been a sudden, perhaps even concerted, effort to accelerate the pace at which measures are imposed radically to change the nature of what Britain *is* and quickly turn it into something few of us would recognise as the country in which we were born.

    Liberty Belle is right to point to the way the creeping, insidious EU cancer has spread throughout almost every aspect the country over many years, ignored and shrugged-off by Britons too damned lazy and complacent to put a stop to it. But lately, the pace has accelerated – markedly.

    What the hell is going on? Why has so much happened so suddenly? Who trod on the accelerator and why? And are we really going to have to take to the streets with pitchforks and lengths of piano wire, simply to save our country from this superannuated sixth former’s wild-eyed obsession with ‘modernisation’?

    Perry de Havilland writes of Samizdata’s server being in the USA. Given the rate of this country’s forced descent into statist hell, we may soon face the stark option of knuckling-under, or joining it there.

  • dave fordwych

    How easy is it for EU citizens to emigrate to the USA? Is it possible for EU citizens to claim political asylum in the USA,if their rights of free speech are infringed here?

    These may be silly questions but they seem increasingly relevant

  • I’m surprised a version of this didn’t end up in the EU constitution itself… they must have run out of ink after writing 77 articles. Maybe later you will see the dreaded blog amendment added.

  • Malcolm

    My last few comments, I’ve had a point of view that has been unpopular here, almost to the point of where I fear being accused of contrariness.

    I’ve got to say, I’m 100% with you on this one Perry.

  • Samizdatistas in Britain will likely be distressed to find that this particular Slashdot poster appears to be in your country, and probably represents plenty of others just like him…

  • Joe

    Ach -you see – leave them to their own devices and they’ll type out more internet laws than you can shake a wireless mouse at.

    Quick -somebody – with a bit of wit and common sense…

    …. take the wind out of their sails by conjuring up a short sweet self-regulated individualist libertarian “INTERNET CONSTITUTION”

    If nothing else it would confuse the hell out of them 😉

  • Combustible Boy: I have replied to that scrote on slash.dot

  • Cynic

    You brits allow yourselves to be disarmed, then have the audacity to complain about how restrictive your new chains are?

    I’m not sure I see the outrage. Once you turned in your arms you became subjects, and are subject to the whims of your overlords. Whether your overlords gather in Brussels or London, the result is the same.

    What I wonder, however, is if the ‘right of reply’ has objectional material under your restrictive hate-speach laws, who would be liable? It would be interesting if people just plaster hateful crap under their ‘right of reply’ and get others arrested for it.

    We often joke, here, about how it’s too late to change the system and too early to start shooting the bastards. I think you guys are just about to miss your chance. Soon, French or Italian or Greek troops can be used to surpress unrisings in Britian. Once that happens, the boot will firmly be on your neck with no (internal) relief in sight.

    I shall observe with keen interest, regardless.

  • Doug Collins

    This is incredible, but expected. You are absolutely right to say NO.
    Americans shouldn’t be too complacent about this either. Today the US Supreme court ruled that a special interest group’s campaign contributions can be banned – which may be a prelude to controlling their speech. A week ago I was sure the more oppressive parts of the campaign finance “reform” bill would be struck down. Now I’m not so certain.
    This reminds me of the pre-Internet newsletter days back in the 1970’s. When Howard Ruff and some of the others began to have an effect, there was talk of regulating what they wrote on the basis that the “Press” mentioned in the Constitution was the media which carried advertising. Presumably the advertisers would exercise socially acceptable control. Writing which wasn’t so controlled was not to be trusted. That was in the US and it can happen again. Particularly if the anti-Blogs can point out that the “sophisticated europeans – so advanced over us primitive colonials – control their media and avoid the excesses of our ‘cowboy’ ethic.
    Can’t you hear it now?

    You liberty loving British need to take over your Tory party, throw the current bunch of bums out and start kicking eurobutt. Don’t count on escaping to the US. This is beginning to look like 1938. If you don’t act soon, it is possible that we may not survive as a free society either. This rot will spread. (If you are British, you are reading this and you agree with it, then I mean you -personally. This may be the time when you must take the initiative because you cannot afford to depend on anyone else.)

    If anyone, British or American, has any idea of effective help that we can give you, now might be a good time to speak up.

  • snide

    cynic. are you under the impression the people who write for this blog gave their arms away willingly? given they had little support, their options were either obey or go to jail (or die resisting alone and regarded as ‘gun nuts’ by the majority of people). that does not mean they did not object or should not object now to a further infringements. talk from the sidelines like yours is cheap and to be honest rather contemptable.

  • kev

    Would these laws be apllied as consistantly applied to Indimedia as much as they’d like to be applied to Samizdata, Natalie Solent, Fred Norman, etc? Or will they be capriciously deemed “not influential” while the reactionaries listed above will be deemed threats to civilization.

  • kev

    Would these laws be apllied as consistantly applied to Indimedia as much as they’d like to be applied to Samizdata, Natalie Solent, Fred Norman, etc? Or will they be capriciously deemed “not influential” while the reactionaries listed above will be deemed threats to civilization.

  • Matt Foster

    Does anyone remember reading about the recent debate in the Cambridge Union Society, “This House would gab the bad”? In other words, the students would presumably support suppressing speech that they deemed “unacceptable”, which really means unfashionably non-socialist. They do this in the name of being civilized. But let’s remember that the Roman Empire fell when Rome had become too civilized.

    The EU must be stopped!

  • Cynic,
    ‘You brits’ is not a collective that includes that people that write for this blog. These brits are totally consistent in complaining about the EU nonsense.

  • Chris Josephson

    Sitting back and watching the UK getting sucked into the ‘EU Machine’ is like sitting back and watching someone you like commit suicide … knowing you can’t think of anything to do or say that will change the situation.

    It’s good that you will resist. Having your server located in the US is good. At least the ‘long arm of the EU Law’ won’t be able to get the server.

    Most of our laws and our judicial system in the US come from the British. The idea of protected Free Speech is something we inherited from Britain.
    We’ve had enough erosion of this in the US. People are starting to fight back (and winnning).

    If we were to have the restrictions placed on Free Speech here that are about to be imposed on you, I do think there would be angry protests, letters to Congress, etc.. Plus the good ole Anglo-Saxon expression “F*** You, I’ll say what I want!!”.

    One thing you could do was suggested by Charles Hueter, turn it around on them (see his post at top).

    I still don’t understand why the majority of UK citizens aren’t in the streets protesting!!??

    Are average UK citizens not aware of what’s happening, don’t care what’s hapening, or do they know what’s happening but feel helpless to stop it?

    Perhaps people are on the edge of rising up, but we just don’t hear about it?

  • G Cooper

    Chris Josephson writes:

    “Are average UK citizens not aware of what’s happening, don’t care what’s hapening, or do they know what’s happening but feel helpless to stop it?”

    That’s about, I’m afraid. The UK is suffering a toxic mixture of not caring, not inquiring and a fatalistic herd movement toward the knives.

    It is, frankly, shaming, to see how disgustingly feeble we have become.

  • Bill Dooley

    It’s extremely interesting to me to see the evolution of the EU. You in Europe have nations with ancient customs and traditions, deep, deep culture. But even in the U.S., our several states, new as they are, have different natures.

    I was born and raised in New Jersey. It’s an old Eastern state, and has become a nanny state. Squat, and a bureaucrat will rush up with a wad of tissue. Now, I live in Nevada. Squat here, and someone will either shoot you for committing a public nuisance, or offer you a coupon to a brothel. On the whole, I prefer Nevada.

    We’ve been debating the merits of a continent-spanning federal system here since before 1776. The questions are far from settled. You folks are just getting started. Best wishes. Maybe you’ll be able to teach us something.

    My mother’s parents came here from Poland, literally getting off the boat. I think my father’s grandparents all came from Ireland. In any case, I’m practically an immigrant myself. America is a big and welcoming place. Try it. Come West.

  • Sandy P.

    I really don’t see what the big deal is. All replies are under comments for anyone to see.

    Just a little banner w/so-and-so was insulted and here’s the reply.

  • Jeffersonian

    Why do I keep thinking of Terry Gilliam’s movie Brazil? Does anyone besides me see the EU as the malevolent, incompetent set of ‘information ministries’ in that tragically prescient flick? Remember, chaps, it took place on your Sceptered Isle. Like jealous Hades who sent the serpents to strangle the infant Hercules in his crib, so do the EUrocrats to strangle liberal society in its cradle.

    In closing, I’ll quote from a document penned by my namesake, a true right-wing madman:

    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

    We all know what came next. Get the hint?

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    I’m surprised that nobody has commented yet on the Orwellian notion that the Council of Europe has the discussion on their webpage (at least, the page linked to by the Samizdatistas) under the rubric “human rights”.

    One more case of “rights” being actual impositions upon other people’s private property.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Rossz wrote:
    Some government flunky notices Joe Pint (as opposed to the U.S. Joe Sixpak)

    You do realize the correct term in the EU is now “Joe 450mL”, and that you can be arrested for suggesting “Joe Pint”? 🙂

    (Seriously, do a Google search for “metric martyrs”. And to the Brits, I apologize for not remembering the correct size of an Imperial pint!)

  • shady

    Dear friends, there really is a better way:

    Just c’mon down to the U.S. Having trouble with your nationality? Well, you can always trade it in and move on up to the premier citizenship in the world!

    As the arrival of your cuttent crypto-fascist supranational control regime now shows, even the most common-sense, levelheaded, salt-of-the-earth people can be now be asphyxiated by misguided Franco-German regulations!

    Everyone else in the, thi-, er, uh, developing world has caught on to this already. When people around the world find themselves burdened by socialist, statist authoritarian regimes bent on deciding what’s best for them (and persecuting those who do not comply), they come here!

    Cubans, Iraqis, Persians, Russians, Jews, Chinese, Irish, Indians, Cambodians, Salvadorans, etc. ad nauseum, have all made their homes and fortunes here, free from opression. If you ask me, humans have a moral duty to leave repressive states and make a better life for themselves and their families in the bosom of the Hyperpower. The smarter ones have figured it out by now. Just why do you think they call it the “brain drain”?

    You know, we’re not like the brutes we once used to be: Nobody will pull a gun on you to ask you to “Pass the Mustard”, we know which silverware to use, and we do have some damn fine curry joints here as well. Moreover, last time I checked every anglophile pub in this country shows premier league games on a continual loop. I’ve even seen marmite for sale. No, you won’t have all of the comforts of home though: no spotted dick pudding or socialized medicine, I’m afraid. And even if we’re not showing your favorites shows on BBC America or another media outlet, they’ll soon be remade by us anyway!

    So please, dear friends, as you feel the EU Leviathan or any other repressive regime around the world, for that matter (foisted upon you “for your own good” by corrupt elites), slowly smother your proud, beautiful, and vibrant country remember this: You can always come here!

    (After all, if you listen to Dr. Ferguson, we’re really just in denial over here — we never really left your fair commonwealth!)

    USA: ALWAYS LOOKING FOR NEW BLOOD

    P.S. You might not like what I have just said. Fine. Why don’t you come over here and arrest me, then?

  • Susan

    Talk about fascism…good luck fighting against EU “hegemony”

  • Don’t forget, shady…the more honest and outspoken libertarians we can get in the US the better. 😀

    Sitting back and watching the UK getting sucked into the ‘EU Machine’ is like sitting back and watching someone you like commit suicide …

    Given all that’s worth to save (and that I haven’t seen yet, dammit!) it just makes the apathetic suicide worse. But to be honest, the voter apathy over here isn’t that much better. The rate of decline is merely slowing, and that’s up for considerable debate as well.

  • How about a little reverse revolution? Anglo-Sphere becomes USA+UK Union? Come on over and sign up as a set of 5+ states and you’ll get our Constitution to protect your individual rights…

    bit of alright… anytime mate!

  • Guy Herbert

    Perry, we may have to differ on this one. No I don’t think it is an obscure think tank; and yes it is in many respects a poisonous organisation. But it is treated as a (state-funded) think tank by the EU which ignores it except when convenient to do otherwise.

    My take on the Council of Europe is that it parallels such “influential” groups as the ILO and UNESCO (remember the New World Information Order?), expensive groups of worthies prayed in aid by states to legitimise policy, but not a driving force.

    It’s culture is specifically Eurocratic, of course,
    but that doesn’t mean power runs from it to
    the EU, just that they share the same continent-statist goals.

    The QUANGO analogy doesn’t really hold water, because the distinguishing feature of QUANGOs (despite the “non-” which is a civil service lie) is/was that they execute policy and have some sort of delegated government power.

  • After looking at the Slashdot thread, I think I figured out the basis of the regulation: Media are regarded as natural phenomena, not as the creations of individuals. Someone who wants to reply can’t reply unless he/she/whatever can magically get hold of one of those media. This also means the right of reply won’t shut down any of the media any more than it would shut down a mountain.

    This also explains the bizarre fixation on Fox and talk radio common on the left. If they print something right-wing, that must exclude the left. They don’t believe it’s easy to devise alternatives. They especially don’t believe Fox started as an alternative to liberal media.

  • Chris Josephson

    My ancestors came to the US in the 1890’s and liked it so much they stayed!! So, sure, if things get too bad under the ‘EU Boot’, do come here.

    However, I’d *rather* see the ‘EU Boot’ thrown off your countries and have the nations retain their sovereign rights. If I were living under the ‘EU Boot’, I think I’d resist it and work to abolish it from my country … I’d hate to leave my country and I’m sure many here don’t want to leave theirs.

    I always believed the various members of the UK to have a ‘fighting spirit’ … the Brittish, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh don’t impress me as timid people.
    These are people I’ve always believed would fight to the death to stay free. I can’t believe that spirit is dead!!

    If people don’t rise up now, perhaps once they’ve lived under the ‘EU Boot’ for a while they will? Sometimes people have to see it and live it to believe it.

    I can’t imagine the Eastern Europeans, so recently free from the ‘Communist Boot’, will be glad to have another ‘boot’ on their necks.

    I just can’t see it lasting for very long without some group(s) of people getting sick and tired of being dictated to… then rising up and demanding changes.

  • I don’t recall getting any right of reply to various impositions from the EU on my life.

    Just to get this straight, it’s European bodies who get to decide in which circumstances media are required to publish replies and which are not?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    There is something very predictable about th EU stance on this. After all, it must already be dawning on the transnational progressive types that run the EU that one of the most vibrant sources of opposition to their views has been the Internet.

    More broadly, this fixation with “right of reply” demonstrates all the standard features of the bullying, collectivist mindset:

    1, I have a “right” to impose my views on someone else’s property.
    2, The victim mindset – someone says something nasty about me so I have a “right” to reply to him.
    3, Reliance on the state. It probably hardly ever crosses the mind of those upset about a blog article to set one up of their own and fire back.

    I don’t know how this will play out. It surely increases my desire to see the whole EU edifice fall to the ground.

  • Sandy P.: I really don’t see what the big deal is. All replies are under comments for anyone to see. Just a little banner w/so-and-so was insulted and here’s the reply.

    The ‘big deal’ is that if this becomes law the state would be using the force of law to mandate the form a person’s (or group’s) blog takes. You could not moderate all replies as you see fit as people you criticize would have a state violence backed RIGHT to post their views. For example, if Andrew Sullivan felt I had wronged him in this article, he could compel us to let him post a reply. As it happens that would not concern me any more that you posting your dissenting view bothered me (that is why we have a comment section, after all), but that is not the same as agreeing anyone has a RIGHT to reply that we cannot refuse.

    If, for example, I decided to slam David Irving for his ludicrous holocaust revisionism in a Samizdata.net article, if this ‘right’ to reply on private blogs becomes the law in the EU, he could leave a long bullshit screed ‘proving’ how the Jews were not slaughtered by the Nazi’s and I WOULD BE COMPELLED BY LAW NOT TO DELETE IT. Sorry, but I will never comply with that law. This is my property because I pay for it and the contact for the server space is in my name and I will be the final arbiter of what appears here.

    Commenters are extremely welcome by us and are part of what makes our group blog such a hoot to be involved with, but just as someone who throws a party at their house wants guests to come to that party, if the home owner wants to throw some one out because they have become drunk and obnoxious… his house, his rules. This issue is no different.

  • Perry, except that under French law, even questioning the numbers killed in the holocaust is a crime. Combine that with the European arrest warrant and it spreads across the whole EU if the terrible constitution is ever signed. So Irving would be arrested for posting it and you’d be arrested for deleting it! For the first time, that Stalin picture on the EU flag no longer looks exaggerated.

  • Peter: Yes, you have a point there. That is perverse!!!

  • Peter

    I think that part of the problem we have in Britain is the erosion of “the community” generally. Yes, I know that sounds like wishy-washy (what’s the next word?) drivel, but bear with me…

    I can walk out of my front door, any evening, and all along the road the curtains are illuminated by the flickering glow of the idiot box. People believe as “reality” and the norm whatever people like Greg Dyke wish to have portrayed as such. We are educating the country not to question, not to raise objections; the few of us who do are set apart as misfits, loners and somehow “weird”.

    My neighbours, to my shame, I do not know very well. And vice versa. However, when we had a (thankfully small) fire, they called out the fire-brigade. Enlightened self interest, perhaps, when you add in the fact that it is a semi-detached house… We look out for them whenever possible too. Anyone further along the road, I’d be hard put to recognise by sight.

    The point of this ramble is that we are divided. “No-one” thinks like us – and it is only through fora like these that we get any indication to the contrary. We are fast approaching a society where any attempt to organise a cohesive resistance – and I don’t neccessarily mean that as in “vive la” – to the government’s plans will result in imprisonment.

    ID cards – doubtless the further attempts to introduce these will be backed by the usual heavy-handed threats of prosecution for not obeying. What will be the penalty for people who regularly request replacements for the ones that will be “accidentally” destroyed?

    GPS tracking of cars? Even if the government’s approved contractors were capable of implementing such a scheme, it is going to be ridiculously expensive, and almost certainly easy to bypass.

    Any thoughts of civil disobedience come very nicely under Blunkett’s new regime where you can be clasified a “threat to soiety” and imprisoned without trial.

    Frankly, emigration is looking like the ideal option – I just do not like the feeling of being evicted from my own country by a collection of imbeciles I had no part in putting into power.

  • mojo

    Well, you guys wanted to be all up-front and honest and all, and here’s what it gets you. The EUnuchs HAVE no honor, and do not understand freedom. They want CONTROL, and by jeebus they’re gonna get it if it hair-lips everybody on Bear Creek.

    I told ya – you shoulda shot the nosy bastards a long time ago.

  • Looks like somebody proposed to extend Belgian (and presumably French) press law to the Internet. There is a long-standing Belgian law under which somebody who feels he has been libeled or unfairly presented by an article in a newspaper or magazine can demand a “recht op antwoord/droit de réponse” (right of answer). Sometimes the magazine immediately follows the rebuttal by another rebuttal of theirs, triggering a second rebuttal, etc. until the whole thing starts to look like a glacially slow (and slightly better edited) version of a Usenet newsgroup debate.

    This sounds like another case of “we know this law works for regulating mechanical pianolas, so it must work for regulating computer software” (actual history of Belgian copyright law!)

  • Kevin Smith

    Don’t worry, Britain! Although you are probably doomed to be sucked into the EU maw. In your inevitable rebellion and resultant civil war against the EU, the US will be honored to fight shoulder to shoulder with you.