Wednesday, January 12, 2005
The Problems with the European Right
. . . is that they have been pushed so far out of power, that fringe fanatics like LePen can get in charge.
"In France, at least, the German occupation was not particularly inhumane, although there were some blunders, inevitable in a country of 550,000 sq km."
Interestingly, the French are considering charging him with a criminal offense for this admittedly offensive statement. That too, in my opinion, is extreme and unnecessary. All criminal charges will serve to do is focus more attention on him, and make some at the fringe wonder why this man is not allowed (by force of law) to speak his mind.
Better the American system, where such bozos can be heard and ridiculed in public.
I've had this conversation many times with a young man in Belgium who sees no distinction between freedom of speech and democracy on the one hand and making some political speech criminal on the other. I do not believe the government should EVER be allowed to criminalize pure political speech. The only reason to do so is that it offends some group. The problem is not that the group is offended, but that changing mores and values (as well as changes in political power) make it extremely likely that the government's definition of offensive speech will change amd grow broader over time.
Should Democrats or Leftists who compare Bush with Hitler, and Republicans with Brownshirts, be charged with a crime? How about Republicans who charge Leftists with being commies etc., etc.?
No, I say. Let the sides make the charges, and let each side defend themselves. Anyone familiar with history recognizes the recklessness of the "Bush=Hitler" charges, and recognizes how ridiculous such a statement really is. Those who aren't and don't would only be encouraged by government suppression (why is the government suppressing those thoughts? What is it that they don't want me to know?).
Better to let free speech reign, and the chips to fall where they may.