Sunday, May 18, 2008

Holland's Hateful Anti-Hate Speech Law

In the Netherlands, a cartoonist was arrested for violating the Dutch hate speech laws. In the Netherlands, you cannot insult people on the basis of their race or beliefs. Let's deal with the latter first. If you can't insult people based on their beliefs, you cannot be a satirist, which this cartoonist was. Can't be a standup comedian, either. Insulting what people believe is the cornerstone of satire and standup. Further, it put a lid on any sort of ideological disagreement, as your disagreement can be interpreted as "insult." When you silence people for insulting belief, you have paved an excellent road to tyranny. As for insulting someone based on their race, that would, again, put many standup comedians out of work -- people like Chris Rock and Carlos Mencia. I think the world would be a much worse place if those two were silenced. And if someone insults someone based on their race or religious belief in such a way that it's clear that the person doing the insulting means it to be harmful, then it should be the audiences, including their employees, who refuse to have anything to do with them, and thus run them out of business, not the government. Never the government.

The Dutch need to beware. They are paving the road to tyranny. I find this especially heartbreaking considering their past.
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