No Free Speech for Racists in the European Union—And That's a Bad Thing

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European Union officials are making racist and hate speech illegal, the Washington Post reports. To wit:

"There are no safe havens in Europe for racist violence, for anti-Semitism, for people concretely inciting xenophobic hatred," said the E.U. justice commissioner, Franco Frattini.

The documents urge E.U. nations to impose prison sentences of up to three years for individuals convicted of denying genocide, such as the mass killing of Jews during World War II or the massacres in Rwanda in 1994.The rules would require countries to prosecute offenders in connection with killings that have been recognized as genocides by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Frankly, I am very proud to live in a country where racists are free to say any damn thing they want and where I'm free to call them moronic assholes to their faces. That's why the ACLU is absolutely right to defend the free speech rights of neo-Nazis and Ku Klux dumbfucks.  As the ACLU correctly explains

The principles of the First Amendment are indivisible. Extend them on behalf of one group and they protect all groups. Deny them to one group, and all groups suffer.

Disclosure: I have been a card-carrying member of the ACLU for almost four years now.  

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  1. I’ll never forget the summer I spent after college, denying the Rwandan genocide while backpacking throughout Europe. Well, those days are gone now.

  2. Sweet, a post by Ron about the ACLU, and how he is a card carrying member. Haven’t heard from Terry in a while.

    Nick

  3. This is going to backfire. Their goal is to prevent holocaust denial, but most likely Islamists will try (and succeed) to use this to prevent criticism of Islam. They’re very adept at using our legal systems against us.

  4. Kudos to the EU for transforming Holocaust deniers from assholes into free-speech martyrs. Damned idiots, all of them.

  5. Europe just doesn’t get it that making sure that only “good guys” have rights means that noone has: majorities will just decide who are the good guys and who are the bad. Therefore there are no real rights as in in legal claims one can make against majorities.

  6. I completely agree.

  7. I’ll never forget the summer I spent after college, denying the Rwandan genocide while backpacking throughout Europe. Well, those days are gone now.

    Won’t someone think of poor Maddie Albright?

  8. See what happens when you take away the right to bear arms?

  9. Ron is just a shill for Big Speech.

  10. I hate Illinois Nazis.

  11. In Europe’s defense, they certainly have seen firsthand what legal bigotry can lead to.

  12. DISCLOSURE! DISCLOSURE! DISCLOSURE! MORE DISCLOSURE!

  13. In Europe’s defense, they certainly have seen firsthand what legal bigotry can lead to.

    And we haven’t?

  14. On the bright side, this could spell the end for Neo-Nazi Death Metal.

  15. “In Europe’s defense, they certainly have seen firsthand what legal bigotry can lead to.”

    Come on Hooked, now you’re not even trying.

  16. This is exactly what make Europe a fucktard continent. There’s a lot of fucktards in this country too. At least we still have a few shreds of our nobel history of rights and liberty left to cling to.

  17. One serious danger in this is defining denial. If a historian says that six million is merely the highest defensible estimate and that the actual number murdered could be closer to four million, would that be denial or grounds for honest debate? How about historical questions of who was involved and their motivations? These are questions which are legitimate historical topics but which may be abused by mendacious revisionists. Turning these questions into criminal acts makes government courts arbitors of academic truth. Isn’t this how we get tyrannical governments in the first place?

  18. In Europe’s defense, they certainly have seen firsthand what legal bigotry can lead to.

    So you’d think they’d know better.

    Or, at least, be able to tell the difference between official bigotry, and bigotry amongst the people that the state cannot try to root out and prosecute.

  19. I thought Eurpoean governments were saying during Cartoon-gate freedom of speech was a fundamental right, so they couldn’t interfere. It turns out, they don’t have a problem squashing speech and jailing offenders when it is a speech they don’t like.

  20. European Union officials are making racist and hate speech illegal

    “Zere! Zat oughta feex eet!”

  21. These EU nuts have it completely backwards: free speech protections have their true force and meaning only when they are applied to the least popular opinions in a society. The popular viewpoints don’t need free-speech protections. And since what views are popular changes over time, any one of us may find ourselves someday among the culturally damned, and thus we all have an interest in protecting the rights of the reprehensible among us.

    Signed,
    I-Thought-This-Was-Obvious-But-I-Guess-Not Man

  22. Is there an exception for the mentally ill? What about the schizophrenic who believes that the 6 million exterminated Jews weren’t killed by the Nazis but instead left on a spaceship for the planet Neekar?

  23. Can anyone imagine what kind of speech code the U.S. would have if people in the 1780s followed Alexander Hamilton’s claim that a bill of rights wasn’t necessary for the Constitution?

  24. Next up, those annoying Confederate sympathizers who deny slavery had anything to do with the Civil War.

  25. Prediction: Palestine ‘solidarity’ organisations will try to have Jews arrested for statements in favor of Israel and/or Zionism, which they will argue is/are inherently racist.

  26. Three year prison terms for saying a particular historical event didn’t occur? WTF?

    I’ve got a better idea: Three year prison terms for saying the European Union is progressive!

  27. Ronald Bailey,

    Frankly, I am very proud to live in a country where racists are free to say any damn thing they want…

    Of course they can’t.

    Hooked,

    In Europe’s defense, they certainly have seen firsthand what legal bigotry can lead to.

    So does the U.S.

    R.C. Dean,

    Or, at least, be able to tell the difference between official bigotry, and bigotry amongst the people that the state cannot try to root out and prosecute.

    As Leo Strauss would say, the problem with the liberal state is that it cannot protect people from private bigotry. Indeed, private bigotry is a fairly problematic thing that has proven quite troublesome with or without the aid of government.

    ________________________

    I’m not defending the E.U.’s position.

  28. Is there an exception for the mentally ill?

    Don’t need one. The eugenics laws take care of them.

    As Leo Strauss would say, the problem with the liberal state is that it cannot protect people from private bigotry. Indeed, private bigotry is a fairly problematic thing that has proven quite troublesome with or without the aid of government.

    No doubt, but it is official bigotry runs up the body count.

    Once you get the state in the business of saying what thoughts its citizens are allowed to have and express, you’re on the wrong side of the lesser-of-evils thing. Every time.

  29. Prediction: Palestine ‘solidarity’ organisations will try to have Jews arrested for statements in favor of Israel and/or Zionism, which they will argue is/are inherently racist.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that this law will be enforced with gusto against white skinhead neo-Nazi groups, while fire-breathing, Jooo-hating Muslim clerics will get a pass.

  30. After the VT massacre, all the Eurotrash papers ran smug editorials about how they’re better than us for having less freedom. I find the timing of this stupid-ass law amusing.

    Also:
    “There are no safe havens in Europe for racist violence, for anti-Semitism, for people concretely inciting xenophobic hatred,”
    The fuck there aren’t.

  31. As Leo Strauss would say, the problem with the liberal state is that it cannot protect people from private bigotry. Indeed, private bigotry is a fairly problematic thing that has proven quite troublesome with or without the aid of government.

    whoa whoa whoa!

    i thought private bigotry was the market at work.

    😉

  32. easy there, Crane!

    C’mon – you know it’s the free market ‘n’ shit – it’s Leo’s brother who’s the blue jeans guy. An’ he’s, like, richer than… um Burger and Wendy King.

  33. mentioning the burger monarch in my town gets you a three-year prison sentence, dogg.

    and, just so you know, they don’t call him the “hamburglar” for nothin’.

  34. Grotius,

    What are racists not allowed to say in the US? If you’re referring to fraud, libel, or “fire” in a movie theater, racists are no more likely to say those types of things than anyone else.

  35. HoI sez “In Europe’s defense, they certainly have seen firsthand what legal bigotry can lead to.”

    So does the U.S.

    Crimethink, I think Grotius meant to say ‘So has the US.’ Presumably meaning that the US has seen what legal bigotry can do, referring to slavery and the Jim Crow South.

  36. No law against genocide denial. From the BBC:

    European interior ministers have agreed to make incitement to racism an EU-wide crime, but have stopped short of a blanket ban on Holocaust denial.

    The deal follows six years of talks, and will disappoint Germany, which pushed hard for a Holocaust-denial law.

    Berlin has also had to drop a proposal for an EU-wide ban on Nazi symbols.

    The European Network Against Racism said most European countries already had laws against incitement to racism, and the “weak text” would leave many national legal codes unchanged.

  37. lunchstealer, I was referring to this remark by Grotius:

    [Ron Bailey:] Frankly, I am very proud to live in a country where racists are free to say any damn thing they want…

    [Grotius:] Of course they can’t.

  38. Maybe the Euros will have to drop their state sponsored racist programs ‘n’ polices (“Affirmative Action” for you Newspeakers) if they’re not allowed to talk about them. (Fat chance.)

  39. Well, Grotius “of course they aren’t” may have something to do with our increasingly prevalent hate crime laws.

  40. “The principles of the First Amendment are indivisible. Extend them on behalf of one group and they protect all groups. Deny them to one group, and all groups suffer.”
    Follow with
    “The Second Amendment, on the other hand, does not really extend to anyone anywhere, and should be ignored or taken out”

  41. What’s the Hamburglar have to say about prison rape?

    And how does one rape a burger? That’s a crime I am afraid I may have committed.

    Bukkake burgers anyone? They’re ho-omemade…

  42. R.C. Dean,

    No doubt, but it is official bigotry runs up the body count.

    No Strauss’ point was that it was the private bigotry against Jews in Germany which lead to government sponsored bigotry later on. Strauss was basically right.

  43. Crane,

    I already handed in my decoder ring.

  44. Eurocurious: Obviously they all went to Jewpiter.

  45. Europe doesn’t have an explicit freedom of speech. It’s implicit, and therefore prone to be twiddled with.

  46. Per my previous post, I should have said “European countries”, not “Europe”, suggesting it’s one country. My bad.

  47. …because there was nobody left to speak up for me.

  48. Paul,

    Well, lots of European nations do have free speech clauses in their constitutions.

    lunchstealer,

    Legal and private bigotry existed at the founding of Jamestown and Plymouth Rock. That, like violence, seems to be at the genesis of any socio-political community. I guess I can tack that onto Machiavelli’s argument that violence is also at the heart of the genesis of all political communities.

  49. Grotius,

    Upon further reflection, I may have been thinking of Britain and Australia. However, if this article is any indication, it’s a really lousy implementation.

  50. The principles of the First Amendment are indivisible. Extend them on behalf of one group and they protect all groups. Deny them to one group, and all groups suffer.

    wow… if only the ACLU would take that hard line stand with the 9th amendment…and throw in the 10th too…I think i’ll email them that idea….

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