Thursday, February 12, 2009

Freedom Of Speech

The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights states:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers"

So, if we look at the world, and in particular the UK this week, have we taken a step closer or a step back from this Universal Declaration?

Let me offer something close to some quotations, for censorship in the UK is not an original tyranny...

For [blogs] are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them.

As good almost kill a man as kill a good [blog]: who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good [blog], kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were, in the eye.

And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play on the earth, so Truth be in the [Internet], we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?

I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race, where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.

A man may be a heretic in the truth, and if he believe things only because his pastor says so, or the assembly so determines, without knowing other reason, though his belief be true, yet the very truth he holds becomes his heresy.

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.

All Quotes, somewhat updated from John Milton published in a a pamphlet in 1644 promoting the liberty of unlicenced printing called Areopagitica; (not something that could be said out loud at the height of the civil war.)

Freedom of speech should not be curtailed to suit peoples tastes, and preferences. It is in fact an inheritance that has been fought for many times over, and is often squandered. The yolk of totalitarianism is upon us, and we are no longer free to utter words of discontent. Libel laws, do, or at least did not, stifle freedom of expression, but allowed for correction when misinformation occurred. The reason the title and author is listed on the outside of books is so that they could be easily rounded up and destroyed in the event of a successful libel act, in the 1600's.

So I find myself asking, was it necessary to ban an elected official from the EU from coming to this country to talk? I think not. Mr Wilders should have been welcomed to the UK, if only so that those who disagree with him should have been allowed to freely tell him as much, and why they disagree.

Why have three blogs, all critical of the government disappeared in full from the internet? Not blogposts, but entire websites and user profiles. [Lord Elvis, Tractor Stats and Electro Kevin].

And yet again, the lesson is not to be learnt, it has been learned and is written in our history.

First they came for the communists,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

We don't observe history to give school kids something to do. We observe history because it is our chemistry set. It is what we have tried before, it is what worked and what did not work. It is the true measure of people. The avoidance of wars today is rooted in learning the lessons of yesterday.

By what or who's authority are we censored today?

Did you cast a vote for a government promising to quash the voice of opposition? Then why have such actions been carried out using the tools of government, and under the cloak of civil protection?

Do you feel safer now?

We don't always get the government we vote for. And thanks to our current democratic defecits, with the EU, local pfifdoms, and electoral boundary discrepencies we have nothing close to "representative democracy." The apathy of the masses is the fuel of the tyrant. If you can help engage people, and help their views be heard you are helping free speech and democracy. Popular uprising and discontent is the only tool of resistance that can work.

Never doubt that a small, but determined group of citizens can change the world for the better, for it is the only thing that ever has.


Daniel1979 said...

John Ward has posted in a different comment thread that he has heard from a reliable source that Lord Elvis took his own site down... which means I may have been wrong to have included that blog in this post. My apologies.

I had not seen that before publishing this post.

Cato said...

It's still very strange about Lord Elvis because I commented on that blog this morning and he replied to my comment.

There was no hint of the blog's impending demise.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping they'll pop up somewhere to let us know what happened and why. Excellent post by the way, I'm with you on this one!

Blue said...

Yes excellent post. You are right to ask where this was in Labour's manifesto.


Labour had no interest in pursuing anything in its manifesto. Blue... It is interested solely in its own agenda.