The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Why Freedom of Speech Matters (And Why ‘Hate Speech’ Is Protected, Too)

Posted on | May 31, 2018 | 1 Comment

“Truth is great, and will prevail if left to herself . . . [Truth] is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.”
Thomas Jefferson

When news of Tommy Robinson’s arrest in England made headlines, Americans were shocked. A judge had sentenced Robinson to 13 months in prison for attempting to publicize the trial of men accused of operation a criminal sex ring that trafficked underage girls in Leeds.

The case involved one of several so-called “grooming” gangs that have been exposed in England in recent years, the most notorious of which was The Rotherham Horror. Basically, lower-class white English girls are seduced (“groomed”) by young Muslim men, mostly the sons of Pakitani immigrants, and then gang-raped and/or pimped out as prostitutes. The racial aspect of this phenomenon obviously has the potential to inflame public opinion, especially since investigations have shown officials failed to act promptly in many cases because of political correctness.

Why was Robinson arrested?

The Contempt of Court Act 1981 lays down strict limitations on what can be reported in the press regarding active criminal proceedings. This is to prevent outside influences from affecting jurors, ensuring that the defendant has a fair trial based only on the evidence put before the court.
Robinson was already serving a suspended sentence for contempt of court concerning a 2017 case in Canterbury when he was arrested by police while live-streaming on Facebook outside a grooming trial in Leeds on Friday morning.
In the broadcast, played to the court, Robinson “got into a shouting match with several men who appeared to be defendants in the case”, Buzzfeed reports. He also read out the names and charges against the men, some of them inaccurate.
“No-one could possibly conclude that it would be anything other than highly prejudicial to the defendants in the trial,” said Judge Geoffrey Marson QC, presiding. . . .
A temporary order had been imposed by the court banning media coverage of Robinson’s trial and conviction while the Leeds grooming trial was ongoing over fears it could further publicise Robinson’s prejudicial broadcast.
“If the jurors in my present trial get to know of this video I will no doubt be faced with an application to discharge the jury,” Marson told Robinson on Friday, the Hull Daily Mail reports.
“If I have to do that it will mean a re-trial, costing hundreds and hundreds and thousands of pounds.”

Apparently, either (a) English courts do not have the authority to sequester the jury in high-profile trials, or (b) the courts are deliberately attempting to suppress public knowledge of the Leeds case. As an American unfamiliar with British law, I can’t say which is true, but I do know that there is a smoldering resentment among many Britons about the role of the “respectable” media in cases like these.

One sees Robinson described in headlines as a “far-right” figure, or an “anti-Muslim” activist, but who is to blame for this situation? When you examine the facts surrounding The Rotherham Horror and other such cases, it is apparent that the media was largely complicit — along with the police and other public officials — in permitting the problem of the so-called “grooming” gangs to flourish. Class prejudice was clearly a factor in this. Most British journalists are from the college-educated upper classes, while the girls being raped and pimped out by these Muslim gangs were mostly from a class that Americans would call “white trash.”

It’s not as if the “grooming” gangs were a big secret, after all. Young Pakistani men were parking their cars in front of schools to pick up their 14- and 15-year-old “girlfriends” and, because these girls were generally from the welfare-dependent lower classes, nobody seemed to care. Police, educators and social-service agencies ignored what was going on, and as for the media, well, they wouldn’t want to be accused of “racism” or “Islamophobia” for reporting on this phenomenon.

One of the first journalists to call attention to this problem was radical feminist Julie Bindel, who wrote a 2007 column in the Sunday Times of London about two men — Zulfqar Hussain, 46, and Qaiser Naveed, 32 — who had pleaded guilty to abduction, sexual activity with a child, and the supply of a controlled drug:

Blackburn, in common with many northern towns, is experiencing a huge upsurge in pimping, and it is an unpalatable truth for the authorities — and indeed the police — that many of the newest wave of pimps come from within the Asian community. . . .
The Mall in Blackburn is popular as a meeting place for the town’s young men and women. Set on two floors, with over 100 high-street stores, it is brightly lit and usually busy. It teems with young women with pushchairs, elderly people window-shopping, and teenagers meeting up with their friends. The crackle of security guards’ radios mingles with the cheesy piped music.
Not everyone is there to shop. Well-dressed Asian teenage boys can be found on the lookout for young white girls, following them around those stores that sell cheap jewellery and perfume. Meanwhile, older men sit on the benches, watching their workers and potential recruits in action. The older men are “employing” the boys to chat up the girls and eventually hand them over.
The Mall is widely known locally as the Lap because of the way young men and girls circle around the arcade, seeking each other out. The girls, keen to hook up with a boyfriend, call it “doing the Lap”. Young men stop to chat to the giggling girls, teasing and flirting. To many, they look like any other group of teenagers. One security guard, asked if the men are pimps, said he neither knew nor cared. “It’s the girls,” he says, “they love the Pakis. We can’t get a look in.” Nearby, a young man takes two of the girls into a shop, where he buys them make-up and perfume. Later on, the groups of men move on to the Vue cinema complex near Blackburn station. The younger men are on bicycles, the older ones in expensive-looking cars, sound systems blaring out bhangra and gangster rap. Girls begin to approach them, and are soon driven away in cars by the older men. It is possible that they are taken to “slag houses”, where they will be sold for sex.

“It’s the girls. They love the Pakis.”

One might think such a sentence, reported in the Sunday Times, would have caused responsible adults to raise an eyebrow and become curious as to what was happening with young girls in Blackburn, and in other communities in rundown post-industrial northern England. Oh, but these girls were just lower-class “slags” and, like the mall security guard, the upper classes who run England’s”respectable” media were indifferent to the fact that teenagers were being whored out by Pakistani pimps.

It was this attitude of class snobbery, compounded by concerns about inflaming “Islamophobia,” that created the vacuum into which Tommy Robinson and other “far-right” figures eagerly leaped, providing coverage of a phenomenon that the respectable media had deliberately ignored.

Is Tommy Robinson racist? Is he irresponsible? Were his efforts to call attention to the Leeds trial a species of “hate speech”?

British law is different than American law, where the First Amendment guarantees our rights to free speech and a free press. In America, our devotion to liberty is such that in 1977, neo-Nazis were permitted to march in Skokie, Illinois, a notorious decision mocked in a famous scene in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers: “I hate Illinois Nazis.”

 

Yeah, Jake, we all hate Illinois Nazis, too. But what happens if, in our eagerness to suppress “hate speech,” we accidentally silence the truth?

This is a question that has consequences far beyond issues of neo-Nazis and “Islamophobia.” As Jefferson said, truth “is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error,” and a free people can tolerate even free speech for Nazis, as long as we are “permitted freely to contradict” them.

What has happened, however, is that our institutions of higher education have been taken over by soi-disant “progressives” who have taught a generation of young Americans to believe that certain facts are “hate speech.” This problem has concerned me ever since I began researching radical feminism four years ago, and discovered how far academia has gone to enshrine Third Wave feminist “gender theory” as an Official Truth which no one on campus is permitted to criticize.

According to this theory, there are no natural differences between men and women.  Instead, young people are now taught, all apparent male-female behavioral differences are produced by the social construction of the gender binary within the heterosexual matrix, to summarize the argument of Professor Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. For many years, Professor Butler’s book has been required reading for university students in Women’s Studies courses, which may explain the increasingly bizarre arguments emerging from the feminist movement. If the leading voices of feminism in politics and journalism have been indoctrinated with a particular theory of “gender,” and if critics of this theory are effectively prohibited from speaking on university campuses, is it any surprise that common-sense talk about human sexual behavior is now routinely denounced as “misogyny,” “rape culture,” “homophobia,” etc.?

The suppression of disagreement and criticism as “hate speech” on university campuses has had consequences far beyond academia. If major corporations are hiring “the best and brightest” from our universities, should we be surprised to see the regime of political correctness being imposed in companies like Google? When it is possible to be fired from the world’s most powerful information provider for daring to raise questions about their “diversity” policies — which is what happened to James Damore — shouldn’t we be concerned that truth is being “disarmed of her natural weapons,” as Jefferson warned?

It is perhaps not entirely coincidental that Julie Bindel, who courageously reported on Pakistani “grooming” gangs more than 10 years ago, has been “no-platformed” at British universities because she is also a critic of transgender activists. Bindel is a hard-core radical lesbian, and not someone that American conservatives would agree with on most issues, but she refuses to be bullied away from the important truth that male and female are meaningful biological categories. Maybe you don’t like radical lesbians any more than Jake liked Illinois Nazis, but friends of liberty must always defend “free argument and debate,” as Jefferson said, because we are confident that “truth is great and will prevail.”

It encouraged me to see Ben Shapiro speak up for Tommy Robinson. Shapiro has been whipsawed between competing camps of hatred in recent years. Whenever he shows up to speak on campus, the Left throws a riot. He has been smeared as an “alt-right” fascist while, at the same time, he is a target of Jew-haters in the “alt-right” ranks, and it’s remarkable how he’s maintained his sanity amid the Trump-era madness.

Shapiro calls Robinson “kooky” and “fringe,” even while arguing in defense of Robinson’s efforts to call attention to “grooming” cases. And this is an important point: You don’t have to like Tommy Robinson, or agree with 100% of everything he says and does, to be concerned about what his arrest means for the issue of free speech. Likewise, you may consider Julie Bindel a kooky fringe feminist and still believe it is wrong for universities to “no-platform” her because of her “transphobia.”

In a world where it is considered sane to look the other way while English girls are being raped and pimped out by Pakistani gangs, people will turn to the kooky fringe to find the truth. And if the truth is silenced as “hate speech,” then only liars will be permitted to speak.



 

 

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