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EU Unveils Crackdown on Free Speech

By Bruce Bawer

….Many European countries have been prosecuting anti-Islamic hate speech for some time now. But the ECTR’s report makes it clear that a number of highly placed people on the continent aren’t satisfied with the degree to which speech has already been stifled. (I’m not surprised at the participation of former Swedish PM Göran Persson in this perfidious project, but I didn’t expect to see former Spanish PM José María Aznar, whom I have previously admired, on board.) They’re determined to utterly eradicate unauthorized ideas from what they still plainly regard – despite the dismal health of several European economies, the floundering of the euro, and widespread doubts about the long-term sustainability of the union itself – as a European utopia in the making. Underlying this breathtakingly mischievous and arrogant enterprise, it would appear, is the conviction that if only you pass enough laws forbidding enough things, you can transform human nature itself: the report describes itself as seeking to “eliminat[e] racism, colour bias, ethnic discrimination, religious intolerance, totalitarian ideologies, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-feminism and homophobia.” Not curb, mind you – eliminate. Of course, the only way to eliminate all those things is to eliminate human beings themselves. It was governmental goals on this screwy scale that steered Europe, in the previous century, into unspeakable totalitarian torment. You’d think European politicians would’ve learned – learned some humility, in any event, if not some respect for individual freedom. But no – the same imperial arrogance and blindness persists. Even as they think (or, at least, claim) that they’re formulating a way to protect Europe from totalitarianism, they’re trying to lead it on yet another forced march to that selfsame destination.

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