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Free speech and privacy are under siege across the Anglosphere

Here are three articles I saw over the last couple of days, one about Canada, one about the UK, and one about Ireland.

Jordan Peterson writing in the Telegraph:

As a professional, practicing clinical psychologist, I never thought I would fall foul of Canada’s increasingly censorial state. Yet, like so many others – including teachers, nurses, and other professionals – that is precisely what has happened. In my case, a court has upheld an order from the College of Psychologists of Ontario that I undergo social media training or lose my licence to practice a profession I have served for most of my adult life.

Their reason? Because of a handful of tweets on my social media, apparently. Yes: I am at risk of losing my licence to practice as a mental health professional because of the complaints of a tiny number of people about the utterly unproven “harm” done by my political opinions.

Bill Goodwin writing in Computer Weekly:

Plans by the government in the Online Safety Bill to require tech companies to scan encrypted messages will damage the UK’s reputation for data security, the UK’s professional body for IT has warned.

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, which has 70,000 members, said that government proposals in the new laws to compromise end-to-end encryption are not possible without creating systemic security risks and in effect bugging millions of phone users.

John McGuirk writing in Gript.ie:

Yesterday morning my colleague Ben Scallan attended the Electoral Commission’s announcement of the new constituency boundaries for the next Irish general election. While most of the focus of the event was on who would be voting where, Ben asked a question of more general relevance to the commission: It has been granted significant powers to regulate so-called “misinformation” in Irish election campaigns. If this was a power it needs, we reasoned, then surely it would have examples of the kind of misinformation that it intended to regulate in future elections. Ben asked for such an example, and here is what happened:

That the commission does not have examples of the kind of misinformation it intends to correct is hardly shocking if, like me, you are a cynic. It’s quite hard to genuinely shock us cynics.

And yet Mrs. Justice Marie Baker, the Chairperson of the Commission, did indeed manage to shock me at 3.15 in the clip above when she said “we’re also going to have to learn how to deal with the balance between the right to freedom of expression on the one hand, and on the other hand, the right of persons not to be misinformed”.

This is shocking firstly because Mrs. Justice Baker is a judge of the Supreme Court, and should know that while the right to freedom of expression is in the Irish constitution, the right not to be misinformed appears nowhere. Even granting some allowances for the fact that she was speaking off the cuff, it’s objectively remarkable to see a Supreme Court Judge essentially making up a law, and a right, that nobody has ever voted on – and more than that, assuming for herself the right to enforce on everyone else a right or a law that she’s just invented herself.

To do that is one thing – to do it while speaking of “defending democracy”, when democracy is about having the people choose their own laws, is quite another.

“The right of persons not to be misinformed” is a truly Orwellian inversion of the meaning of “right”. It describes the withdrawal of a right as the granting of one.

I would like to think that the absence of any news stories about threats to freedom in Australia, New Zealand or the United States in today’s little collection was because there were none to report. I would also like the figure and eyesight of a twenty year-old and a billion pounds.

15 comments to Free speech and privacy are under siege across the Anglosphere

  • JJM

    ‘The right of persons not to be misinformed’ is a truly Orwellian inversion of the meaning of ‘right’. It describes the withdrawal of a right as the granting of one.”

    That line is a keeper!

  • tfourier

    As for the Irish quote. Hardly surprising as in practice (and in law) there has never been a right to freedom of speech or freedom of conscience in the Irish Free State / Eire / Rep of Ireland.

    Up to 1937 the Irish Free State was a defacto theocracy under the control of the Roman Catholic Church. After 1937 it became de-jure. And although there was some loosening in the 1970’s it was not until the 1990’s that the power of the RC theocracy started to crumble. Due to the tidal wave of clerical child abuse scandals. First publicized in “foreign” media.

    Relative freedom lasted for little more than a decade before the current woke theocracy took over. The media monoculture in the ROI is uniform to a degree unknown in the UK. Imagine if the BBC/ Guardian and their world view accounted for about 90%+ of all media content.

    The average Brit, American, Canadian or Australian believes in an individuals right to have a different opinion. Thats not true in the the Rep Of Ireland. Its much more like a Mediterranean country were social conformity is paramount and only a narrow range of views are acceptable. Its still basically a peasant culture in outlook and prejudices. Which explains its dismal history of failure.

  • Barbarus

    Regarding the British quote, this snooper’s charter is apparently for the children.

    For my own family I’m much more concerned about them being targeted via today’s perverted sex “education” than by anything this might address. I have seen a truly horrific image of a mutilated teenage girl, not as dark-of-night porn, but as an advertisement for gender reassignment surgery openly presented on the perpetrator’s website.

    If anyone cared about the children, that is what they would be tackling.

  • DiscoveredJoys

    What the political left, even in democratic countries, share is the notion that knowledgeable and virtuous people like themselves have both a right and a duty to use the power of government to impose their superior knowledge and virtue on others.
    ~ Thomas Sowell

    It’s not just the ‘political left’ though. It’s all the media, institutions, bureaucracies and Powers That Be who are fellow travellers. I don’t support any charity that has ‘gone political’. I don’t support any media that that sees the world only through their ‘virtue’. But it’s like fighting against the incoming tide with little hope of assistance from the main political parties who abase themselves before The Establishment. I had hoped that Brexit was a firebreak against forced consensus, but currently it still seems like BRINO. I guess it’s time to vote for a fresh party, one that hasn’t been captured by ‘the Establishment’.

  • Mr Ed

    The British Daily Telegraph has done an excellent and chilling video documentary about the current state of play in Canada, if it has been posted here I have missed it.

  • Raymond

    So the use of “extensive powers” is now required to enforce “the right of persons not to be misinformed”? When someone tells us who they are, we should believe them. Wake up, Ireland.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    More fool you! Here in Australia we have a Labor government which is taking about laws against misinformation!

  • Paul Marks.

    A reasonably long post – and with lots of links. Yet neither the post nor the links mention the source of many (not all) of these pro censorship ideas – the ideas that are now becoming “Policy” and laws.

    The source of many (not all) of these ideas is Frankfurt School “Critical Theory” Marxism – if people dare not even mention that this Frankfurt School Marxism, Herbert Marcuse and his doctrine that Freedom of Speech “harms disadvantaged harms disadvantaged and marginalised groups” (if they imply that these policies and laws are just appearing from nowhere, for no reason) then people have no hope what-so-ever of successfully opposing what is happening – in Canada, in the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom (where the Home Office had Marxist academic advisers as far back as the 1970s), the United States and most other Western nations.

    As for the government or some Corporate State “independent agency” deciding what is truth and what is “misinformation” – as governments and “independent agencies” lie endlessly, and the more important a matter is, the more they lie about it, the idea of setting them up as arbiters of truth would be funny if it was not so tragic.

    Specifically on Justice Marie Baker, where was she and her Supreme Court during the Covid tyranny in the Republic of Ireland?

    The same as the judges in the United Kingdom – the Irish judiciary proved itself to be a waste-of-space during the Covid tyranny – a tyranny exercised by state force and justified by lies.

    If the “Climate” (“C02 is evil”) tyranny comes in the Republic of Ireland, and elsewhere, the judiciary will also do nothing to defend the liberties of the public against the state.

    As for democracy – remember the definition of “democracy” of the establishment is the same as that of Rousseau. “Democracy”, to them, is “what is in the best interests of the people” as decided by the establishment (Rousseau’s “Law Giver”). Karl Marx had the same opinion – the rule of “the workers” was really HIS rule (or someone like him) in the supposed class interest of the workers. The workers must not be allowed to decide things for themselves – because they might be “reactionary”, victims of “false consciousness” not acting in their “class interest”, as Rousseau put it – the “General Will” is not “the will of all”, the “General Will” is the will of the “Lawgiver” (Rousseau himself – or someone like him).

    The people must not be allowed, for example, to vote for “Trump” (to the courtsm election fraud is O.K. – if it is to prevent the election of “Trump” or someone else the Progressive establishment does not like) – and if the people do vote for something the Progressive establishment, for example Independence from the European Union, this independence vote must be redefined as something meaningless (the nonsense word “Brexit” comes in useful here – what independence means is clear, but “Brexit” can mean anything-nothing) so that the agenda of international tax and regulation “harmonisation”, and digital currency, can carry on.

    Although, yes, that agenda is closer to Fascist Corporate State ideas and “Technocracy”, going all the way back Henri Saint-Simon and even Sir Francis Bacon – with judges being “lions UNDER the throne” (my stress on the word “under”).

    “Lions UNDER the throne” – ruthless, indeed savage, when dealing with ordinary people, but no restriction at all on the “scientific” tyranny of the state.

  • Paul Marks.

    Yes – Sir Francis Bacon was a judge as well as a philosopher, and one of the things his “science” wanted to punish was the “misinformation” that the Earth went round the Sun.

    Sir Francis would have loved all the lies of the Covid tyranny (or the emerging “Climate” tyranny) – as such lies could be used to help build the “New Atlantis” “scientific” tyranny he wished to impose.

    At least Sir Francis Bacon was open about being a supporter of tyranny – unlike Rousseau and Karl Marx who cloaked their love of tyranny in “freedom” language.

    Sir Francis would have fitted in perfectly on Justice Marie Baker’s Supreme Court.

  • Paul Marks.

    The very first sentence “democracy, democracy in the broad sense”.

    “in the broad sense” – i.e. not democracy at all, the people being allowed to vote if they vote the “correct” way (if people do not vote the “correct” way the result to be changed – as in the United States), or policy not made by the democratically elected government (so it does not matter who wins the election).

    And everyone must “trust” the institutions, especially concerning elections. A free people do NOT trust the state – a free people are very distrustful, they demand clear proof and they put the burden of proof on the authorities to prove their case.

    This lady turns all sound principles on their heads.

    The lady should not be anywhere near a court room – other than in the dock.

  • Fred the Fourth

    Fraud to prevent the election of wrong persons…

    I was deeply shocked after the last major U.S. election when some people I thought I knew well stated outright that they didn’t care about certain specific inarguable cases of unethical behavior, because otherwise the wrong person might have been elected. ( The example that comes to mind is from the Arizona governor’s race, where one of the candidates was also the election certification authority. Guess who won?)

  • Snorri Godhi

    WRT censorship. in the US it is different: it is the Deep State that does the censorship, with media (“legacy” and “”social””) as fronts.

    Not better: just different.

    NB: I said this before, but people will have forgotten: I noticed that something was wrong in the Anglosphere already in 2006, during the Cartoon Jihad.

  • Snorri Godhi

    The average Brit, American, Canadian or Australian believes in an individuals right to have a different opinion.

    Talking about ‘the average citizen’ makes little sense when there is a bimodal or multimodal distribution.

    Thats not true in the the Rep Of Ireland. Its much more like a Mediterranean country were social conformity is paramount and only a narrow range of views are acceptable.

    Obviously tfourier has never been present during an argument between complete strangers on an Italian train. (Though that does not happen much anymore.) That is why my Italian friends find Monty Python’s argument skit so hilarious.

    When i had a Lebanese flatmate for a few months, i found him just as argumentative.

  • Paul Marks.

    Fred the Fourth – yes Sir.

    They know the elections in several States, including Arizona, are rigged – and they do not care, as all they care about is that the “wrong” person is not elected (that would “undermine democracy” – “democracy” meaning endless Credit Money for the Corporate State) – and it not the Democrats, it is also the Credit Money loving Corporate RIN0s such as the Wall Street Journal – which even pretended that the election in Arizona in 2022, for Governor, was not rigged.

    God damn these people – God damn them to Hell.

  • tfourier

    @Snorri Godhi

    Your first comment makes zero sense. Nonsensical.

    And your second statements makes little sense either. Based on 30 plus years of riding Italian trains. Both my sisters in law are Italian and Italian is the second of three immediate family native languages. The third is French. Everyone is not just monoglot Anglophone you know.