Sunday, 22 June 2014

Free Speech


I've said before that my politics is simply defined - free speech, free enterprise, free trade. And today free speech has become compromised by fear of offence, by the blandishments of a collective idea of 'equality' and by the likes of Hacked off who seem to want a selective free speech. I would add to this loss - and too few mention this - the misplaced view that commercial speech is somehow different from any other kind of speech and therefore can be banned.

So this statement really matters to me: speech is not a value in the politicians’ sense. It is not quantitatively commensurate with ‘protection’ or ‘tolerance’; it is not capable of being part-exchanged with other so-called values. Properly speaking, free speech is not really a thing to be distributed, calibrated and balanced by the state at all. It is simply not the state’s to divide. Rather, it is a fundamental freedom, a lived liberty, that allows individuals the space to think and speak for themselves, without external compulsion. The point about free speech is that it is speech free from external compulsion; the state’s role in free speech is to guarantee its own absence, not assert its presence as some sort of values accountant, totting up the worth of each idea, and balancing the intellectual books.

I am also reminded that, in Bradford, the Labour Party rejected free speech because it would have meant rejecting the false use of 'Islamaphobia' to close down criticism of Islam. Left wing politicians in Bradford turned their backs on liberty and chose instead a world where politicians, bureaucrats and bullies can decide what you and I are allowed to say.

You too can do a little bit - it's just an online petition and will probably change nothing. But you will have set your mark down in support of liberty. It's online here.  You're in good company - Joe Jackson's there!


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