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June 15, 2008


Human Rights are something we often take for granted without really considering what these really are. Since the adoption of Labour's much vaunted Human Rights Act, our rights have actually, in this country, been considerably diminished. There are several reasons I say this and one is that our freedom of speech has been, and continues to be, curtailed. One of our senior Bishops and a team of lay and clergy in his Diocese recently published a study which found that Christianity is now seriously threatened in the UK by a combination of proscription on what one may say in regard to any other religion, but especially in regard to Islam, and by the fact that government ministers and departments focus all their social aid efforts through Muslim organisations and actively discriminate against Christianity.

Under current "Race Hate" legislation I could probably be prosecuted merely for pointing this out. It is refreshing therefore to find that our cousins on the other side of the pond have idiots who think free speech should be restricted. Reading a post in The Anchoress on the subject of freedom of speech I found this post entitled "Cling to the Bill of Rights". It is worth visiting and reading her thoughts on this important matter - certainly one that we seem to have forgotten in England under Blair and his closet of "single issue" merchants.

There is a very fine balance between suppressing free speech and preventing anyone from causing offence by expressing hurtful or damaging views. I agree with The Anchoress when she says that it may be almost as important for those views to be heard and held up to scrutiny so that they can be dismissed in open debate, as it is to ensure that the right to criticise is not restricted in any way. Free speech means hearing many things that I find offensive, but there is nothing more offensive to me than to be told I may not express a view or challenge a view held by someone because it "may cause offence" and is therefore proscribed. I find it particularly offensive when those telling me this and restricting my liberty are the same group who, in my youth, staged protests over their right to choose who could and could not teach them, play cricket here or trade with us. And when they weren't doing that they were smoking pot, strumming guitars and dancing round the stones at Stonehenge. Come to think of it, some of them still do! This is the "single issue" generation who hate to be confused by facts and who often get their prejudices confused with their morality.

The freedoms they seek to restrict are ones hard won by our fathers and grandfathers. They were won by the blood, sweat and tears of our forebears and they must not be given up lightly. Democracy is not a robust institution, the natural state of humanity is living under tyrrany whether we like it or not and in its present form it is barely two hundred years old. If we are not careful it will not last another two hundred years for it will have been strangled in red tape by bureaucrats and single issue campaigners who never look beyond their own narrow confines.

The Anchoress is right, the Freedom of Speech, no matter how distasteful the view of the speaker, is one of the most important pillars of our democracy. It must be defended at all cost.

Posted by The Gray Monk at June 15, 2008 04:49 PM

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