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The tectonic plates are shifting

This is a statement by Geert Wilders about the attempts by the Dutch establishment to silence him for expressing a political opinion:

Now whatever you think of Wilders, this has been an astonishing attempt to simply shut down free expression in an western nation. And of course this will not silence him and will probably prove to be a spectacular establishment own-goal.

And in the UK, more and more infrastructure to censor internet porn is being put into place. Why is this related? Because once control infrastructure exists, it can and will be re-purposed, in much the same way the Department for Education’s “counter extremism unit“, set up ostensibly to prevent violent Islamic extremist views being taught in UK schools, gets re-purposed to shut down a gay secular journalist who has not called for any violence against anyone.

All across the Western World, political verities and assumption are starting to shift, and almost nothing can be accurately predicted any more. We live in times that are a danger and opportunity in equal measure, and people who care about liberty will have to get their hands dirty, making common cause with others who will not pass any purity sniff tests but with whom we share common enemies (however care does need to be taken in such matters for sometimes the enemy of my enemy is my enemy… but sometimes not), however now is the time for engagement and action.

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43 comments to The tectonic plates are shifting

  • MikeR

    The internet porn plans relate to sites which don’t check age verification. Blocking foreign sites can be simply be avoided by a VPN. Anyway, a large portion of porn is free, not part of pay sites at all.

    Far more sinister are May’s plans for Extremism Disruption Orders – EDOs – a staggeringly wide ranging police state assault on free speech which would ban people from internet posting though they haven’t broken any law on the limits of speech. The commons HR committee looked at these plans recently and recoiled in horror, saying they were incompatible with human rights.

    http://defendfreespeech.org.uk/

  • Paul Marks

    Censorship and so on is always presented as to “protect the children”. For example back when Sir Robert Walpole pushed censorship of the theatre he said it was to protect people (including children) from a terrible play that featured murder, rape, incest and so on. In realty Prime Minister Walpole had been behind the writing of the play – which was put on to disgust Parliament into passing censorship.

    The real reason Prime Minister Walpole wanted censorship of the theatre was political – he wanted to prevent political attacks on him and his friends.

    Now is the British government (Prime Minister Teresa “Remain” May, Chancellor Philip “Remain” “Infrastructure Deficit Spending” Hammond and so on) made up of dedicated libertarians who can be trusted with censorship powers as they, and their dedicated libertarian Civil Servants, will only use these censorship powers to protect-the-children?

    Does anyone, anyone at all, believe that this is the case?

    Look at the measures already directed at Geert Wilders and Milo. The test of support for Freedom of Speech is whether one allows speech with which one disagrees. Not agrees – disagrees. Not speech that one thinks is inoffensive, but speech that one regards as offensive.

  • The Jannie

    As an apolitical aside – it never ceases to amaze me that many Dutch people speak English better than many Brits. Or am I being racist? Answers on a new five pound note, please.

  • Alisa

    As Jordan Peterson likes to point out, the main purpose of free speech is to allow peaceful debate as a path to solution of disputes, in situations where such disputes would otherwise be solved through physical violence. Nature abhors vacuum, and so when the possibility of free speech is removed, physical violence is bound to fill its place.

  • JohnW

    Censorship and so on is always presented as to “protect the children”. For example back when Sir Robert Walpole pushed censorship of the theatre he said it was to protect people (including children) from a terrible play that featured murder, rape, incest and so on. In realty Prime Minister Walpole had been behind the writing of the play – which was put on to disgust Parliament into passing censorship.
    The real reason Prime Minister Walpole wanted censorship of the theatre was political – he wanted to prevent political attacks on him and his friends.

    Thanks, Paul. I did not know that.

    The previous earliest “protect the kiddies” excuse I knew of was Paine’s “The Rights of Man.”

    I know the Victorians used this argument in the 1870’s but does anyone know of any others prior to then?

    [I know Socrates got handed the hemlock for corrupting the yoof.]

  • NickM

    I had the same thoughts as Perry about the porn censorship which is very important for the reason Perry states and others. The “Violent & Extreme Pornography Act” was much the same. It basically amounts to, “If we don’t like it nyet!!!” which is very worrying. What next? (For the children, obviously). Could be anything couldn’t it?

    But the true perversity (the one with gold-plated knobs) is that things that are completely legal to do are not legal to film (or animate?) Now that is perverse. Just as perverse as getting the BBFC to decide what is acceptably “normal” sex. As to the “think of the children!”. I don’t have any so there is no chance of a rug-rat in this gaff getting to see “Lola Love” getting DVDA (if that is even physically possible) on my laptop.

    I stand with the porn stars here. A somewhat oblique point is that generally women in porn earn much more than men. This is something the left bansturbators ignore. Now where are my Diane Abbott sex tapes…

  • Alisa

    Unmoderate me, oh the all-powerful Admin – for I am your humble servant. Prof. Peterson deserves all the traffic he can get.

  • Watchman

    I think there is a simple smell test here that does apply, which is whether those we stand with for freedom (regardless of how they want to implement it) accept the simple view that Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression exist without any exceptions. So the left-wing, female performer-dominated, movement against the ineffective-looking anti-pornography movement is generally likely to be our friend, but those who claim most loudly to be feminists in papers and the like are not. Likewise more left-wing academics than you’d think, including a fair chunk of the surviving Marxists are likely to be our friends, when many of the free-market supporting type are less likely to be so (oddly academics can produce that liberal-economic, conservative-social types surprisingly often).

    It’s basically the same sort of thing as the EU referendum – you discover that by taking a stance you are in a loose alliance with people you habitually disagree with, whilst your perceived natural allies (and on this matter, possibly my wife…) are on the other side. The interesting thing is that I get the feeling when you get a situation in a non-homogenous society where the debate is around freedom and the governing class seem to support limiting this, the inclination of the population is to allow freedom. Likewise, when laws around things such as restricting access to certain types of pornography appear before juries, they are often inclined to go with the defence because the law itself is seen as illiberal.

  • Dave Ward

    Now where are my Diane Abbott sex tapes…

    Please, PLEASE don’t release them!!!

  • NickM

    Dave,
    But it’s her and Ed Balls playing The Cleveland Accordion!

  • Alisa (November 24, 2016 at 12:37 pm), is right about talk being an alternative to fighting. I think there’s a Churchill quote about it: something about jaw-jaw being better than war-war.

    Sadly, I must agree that May has the wrong instincts and attitudes when it comes to free speech; this has been obvious for years. I hope that success of Wilders and similar will continue to administer much-needed shocks to the anti-free-speech establishment. May seems (fingers crossed) to have adjusted to Brexit. May she one day similarly find herself required to adjust to free speech – or else be as gone as Cameron.

  • RAB

    And where are the Abbott/Corbyn “Easy Rider” Tapes, with Jeremy doing very inventive things with his bicycle clips…

  • An issue (for another thread, maybe, but I’ll raise a question here) is whether form, unlike content, can ever be allowably constrained. There are various approaches to killing the “for the kiddies” excuse (and to freeing and protecting the kiddies). “You can’t say that” is evil. How about, “You can’t say that while shouting/swearing” ? How about, “You can’t say that while shouting ten times louder than I, or swearing grossly while I am (compelled to be) fair-spoken” ? We have a battle to fight and I find myself thinking what is the ne plus ultra line.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    I’m probably repeating myself here, but I like to point out that laws passed ‘for the children’ may harm those same children as adults.

  • NickM

    RAB,
    When I was ’bout 14(ish) I went to the Kard Bar in Newcastle. I discovered Viz (well before it went big). It is there I discovered my taste for cacophonous phrases.

  • rosenquist

    The geopolitical wind direction is indeed changing, quite where it will lead is uncertain but it can safely be said that is not in the direction of libertarianism (at least in its free market, globalist, cosmopolitan guise.

  • but it can safely be said that is not in the direction of libertarianism

    And I suspect you are quite wrong at least in some ways, for we will win some, lose some, but whatever happens it is going to be a time of turbulence.

  • RRS

    As noted in a previous thread, it is becoming more and more important to note the names and positions (source of authority) of those acting to bring “charges,” as well as those on whose allegations charges are based.

    WHO signs off on this stuff? What is their authority – AND WHY?

  • bloke in spain

    Curious post from you, Perry. Wasn’t so long ago you were adamant about having absolutely no dialogue with the EDF.

    “sometimes the enemy of my enemy is my enemy… but sometimes not”

    And sometimes your enemy is your enemy because he can see no alternative ways to combat your mutual enemy. Maybe if you show him some, he’d no longer be your enemy. And, if we’re talking enemies, maybe it’d be helpful to have some people along who can offer a little more combat capability than middle-class intellectual rhetoric. For, from here on, things may well get rough.

  • Wasn’t so long ago you were adamant about having absolutely no dialogue with the EDF

    A classic example of the “…but sometimes not” would be some LibDems, some UKIP folks, certain Tories, certain Old Labour. An example of the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy would be the EDF. What would I have in common with EDF? Where would the common ground be? Civil liberties? Economics?

  • bloke in spain

    “some LibDems, some UKIP folks, certain Tories, certain Old Labour.”
    Ah. Cuck Force!
    Terrifying.

  • Well feel free to enlighten me what the EDF EDL actually bring to the fight then, BiS. In the unlikely event I ever need some Paki-bashers, I know where to look for them, but otherwise I think getting people from ORG to lobby against the prohibition of strong crypto and ever more censorship might be more effective. And I think ASI might do a better job lobbying against some of the dismal Theresa May’s more idiotic labour market interventions. But if you think EDF EDL are on-side & eloquent with that kind of thing, do let me know. Or maybe they can kick Larry the Cat.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    According to some papers here in Oz, the European establishment is frightened that the Dutch electorate will vote for more autonomy in a referendum next year. Do the Dutch have our law of Parliamentary privilege?

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    As for the Dutch being good at English, when I looked at one of the simplified travel books, I wondered if Dutch was a deliberate attempt to mix German and English together! Sometimes the spelling, being regular, seems weird, but The Netherlands are sandwiched between the U.K. and Germany, so it may simply be that they pick up words from both countries.

  • RRS

    Nicholas (UJ) Gray:

    Consider the treks of the Saxons.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    I wonder how many Arabic words we’ll pick up now that muslim tribes are settling across Europe? Dhimmi tax? Perhaps all our females should learn the Arabic for “Don’t touch me- I have an STD!!”

  • bobby b

    ” . . . whether those we stand with for freedom . . . accept the simple view that Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression exist without any exceptions.”

    Just curious: are defamation, “fighting words”, or “shouting fire in a crowded theater” (leading to injurious panic) acceptable exceptions, or do you truly mean “without any exceptions”?

  • Johnnydub

    “But it’s her and Ed Balls playing The Cleveland Accordion!”

    Thank god you didn’t say Cleveland Steamer… Please don’t look that up…

  • bobby b

    EDF?

    Environmental Defense Fund?

    EDF Energy?

    European Development Fund?

    European Disability Forum?

    European Dairy Farmers?

    (Sorry. I Googled it, and still have no clue what this means.)

  • Well feel free to enlighten me what the EDF actually bring to the fight then, BiS. In the unlikely event I ever need some Paki-bashers, I know where to look for them

    @Bobby B: Given the context, I suspect Perry is referring to the EDL (English Defence League)

    The English Defence League (EDL) is a far-right street protest movement which focuses on opposition to what it considers to be a spread of Islamism and Sharia in the United Kingdom.

    I think the view of the EDL as a “bunch of Paki-bashers” is pretty much on point, but as with all these things, freedom of speech always dies at the margins first.

    If Geert Wilders and the EDL are free to speak and protest without restraint then I can be fairly comfortable that my freedom of speech is not under attack. When they are attacked, I must assume that the attack on me is next.

    Think of them as the canaries in the coal mine.

  • bobby b

    Ah. Thank you. Couldn’t find an “EDF” that contextually fit.

  • Laird

    bobby b, “freedom of speech” means freedom from prior restraint on speech. It does not mean immunity from the consequences of that speech, be that in the form of a defamation action or a suit for personal injury or property damage suffered in the “false file” riot. So yes, “without any exceptions” seems about right.

  • bobby b

    Laird, good point. My defamation example was inapposite.

    But, we do allow for prior restraint in matters of national security (the government can halt, by injunction, speech that it claims is classified or injurious to the nation’s welfare), and in legal proceedings (a court can put a gag order on current cases in order to protect the rights of parties to a fair trial).

    So, I’ll just quietly walk over to these new examples, and pretend I never said “defamation.”

  • NickM

    What about the “Cleveland Steamer with Reverse Teabagging”?

    My point is things can get so vague (even if not actually done) that rules against them are rules to ban almost anything.

    I will bet you 20 of your Earth Dollars that I could Rick-roll a campaign against, “firgling with miners” on a US campus. They did it with dihydrogen monoxide.

    But none of this applied when I was an UG. But then I did physics and I know my bra from my ket.

  • Laird

    That is true, bobby b, but at least in the US prior restraints on speech are extremely closely scrutinized. Those examples you mentioned are indeed judicially-invented exceptions to the seemingly unequivocal language of the 1st Amendment, but they are narrow enough, and few enough, that “without exception” still seems about right (note the qualifier, both here and in my earlier comment).

  • Richard Thomas

    Nicholas Gray, our schools are already teaching an adherence to the scary, and frankly, dangerous Al-Jabr

  • Richard Thomas

    It should be noted that in the US, most people from both sides of the aisle are, at least, nominally in favor of “freedom of speech”. You will always likely to be able to put in front of some group of people some speech that they will say “that ought to be banned” but presenting “freedom of speech” will, at the very least, cause them to think twice.

    Sadly, in the UK, there is some notion of freedom of speech but the common opinion seems to be “government knows best” which makes things a lot harder.

  • bloke in spain

    Apologies. EDL of course. Not a French electricity supplier
    But when you wrote about enemies, Perry, I did sort of presume you meant enemies. Not people you have mild intellectual differences with. And that “people who care about liberty will have to get their hands dirty” might actually refer to….. people having to get their hands dirty. But I forget. The intellectual middle classes want their world to be thoroughly sanitised, at all times. So you were talking figuratively, there.
    So a load of bollocks.
    So tell me. When the powers that be force this lot on you. With the implied sanction of violence which all states reserve for themselves. What do you intend to do about it? Write letters?

  • What do you intend to do about it? Write letters?

    No, BiS, I am upper middle class and writing letters means risking a paper cut! So I’ll summon the bovver boys, ply them with IPA and then send them off with their pointy sticks and Doc Martens to give those rascally regulators a thrashing, that’ll do the trick I’m sure.

  • We live in times that are a danger and opportunity in equal measure, and people who care about liberty will have to get their hands dirty, making common cause with others who will not pass any purity sniff tests but with whom we share common enemies (however care does need to be taken in such matters for sometimes the enemy of my enemy is my enemy… but sometimes not), however now is the time for engagement and action.

    This is one of the better (if unintentional) definitions of the alt-right I have seen.

  • This is one of the better (if unintentional) definitions of the alt-right I have seen.

    Not unintentional, Phelps, it was the so-called alt-right I had in mind in no small measure (but not exclusively. Believe it or not, there are a few decent folks who still self-identify as Labour). So yes, there are elements of the alt-right with whom I would not hesitate to make common cause when there are common interests (we do after all share a lot of enemies).

    But there are also some (self-described) alt-right folk who I would not cross the road to piss on if they were on fire, either because they are just seeking to trump one set of identity politics with their own identity politics (no pun intended)… or alternatively they are just utter scumbags (there are limits to my willingness to look past the person and stay focused on their ideas). Or both.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Wilders has threatened violence against no one – on the contrary he is threatened with violence.

    Threatened with violence by the Islamists and threatened with violence by the state.

    This is a clear cut case – state oppression of Freedom of Speech.

  • John Galt III

    “Whatever you think of Wilders…….”

    A hell of a lot more by light years than I think of you, Perry. How’s Life in Bangladesh on Thames? From any vantage point getting worse by the day except maybe for a Wilders here. a Farage there and a Tommy Robinson now and then.