Ireland toys with criminalizing speech: Last week, in Dublin, three young schoolchildren were stabbed by an Algerian-born man. This set off waves of protests, rioting, and looting, mostly attributed to the anti-immigrant far-right by the press (the accuracy of which some Irish political observers dispute).
Unfortunately, "the riots have caused the government to go into warp drive to pass their proposed hate-speech laws," writes National Review's Michael Brendan Dougherty. "Ireland already has laws on the books to stop criminal harassment and laws to stop the incitement of riots. But the proposed hate-speech laws go much, much further, to the point of criminalizing speech that a person has neither uttered nor published. A person could be arrested under these new laws for merely possessing speech, perhaps on his phone, that a judge deems offensive."
Prime Minister Leo Varadkar says the country is insufficiently equipped for the "social media era" and that such hate-speech laws are necessary to protect marginalized groups from violence. Violators could receive up to five years in prison, but Varadkar's administration has been disturbingly quiet on what type of hate speech would actually warrant prison time. Critics say that memers, shitposters, and people speaking humorously or ironically could surely be harmed by laws like these.
So far, authorities in Ireland have already "opened an investigation into MMA star and Irish citizen Conor McGregor over remarks he posted on social media in the aftermath of the riots," per The Messenger. Though no speech should be criminalized, it's worth noting that McGregor's comments were quite innocuous. He said that the child victims were "ruthlessly stabbed by a mentally deranged non-national" and clarified that he does not condone the riots.
"There will be change in Ireland, mark my words. The change needed. In the last month, innocent children stabbed leaving school. Ashling Murphy murdered. Two Sligo men decapitated. This is NOT Ireland's future! If they do not act soon with their plan of action to ensure Ireland's safety, I will," wrote the MMA fighter.
Somehow, this was enough for authorities to think McGregor's speech was worthy of investigation. If Varadkar's hate-speech law gets passed, expect much more of this.
In case that wasn't disturbing enough, the Irish government also "intends to pass additional legislation that would allow law enforcement to use facial recognition technology to identify individuals who participate in violent riots," reports The Messenger.
Though I am in favor of doling out punishment to those who commit property crimes, bolstering the capabilities of the surveillance state seems like a bad road to go down.
New Zealand remembers that, actually, smoking is cool: Last year, the government of New Zealand passed a law that banned people born after 2008 from buying cigarettes. The law was designed so that the smoking age would be raised gradually, year by year, until everyone in the population was ultimately prevented from buying tobacco products.
But last week, for reasons that are unclear, New Zealand's parliament started to reverse that law in a huge win for smoker freedom. Nicola Willis, the country's new finance minister, has publicly pointed to the fact that legislators have realized that this would lead to black-market sales of tobacco.
"We still want to see lower numbers of people smoking, but we do not think that the outgoing government's policy is the best way to achieve that," Willis told the broadcaster RNZ. Government officials, including Willis, have pointed to the fact that lost revenue from cigarette pack taxation was beginning to seed worry, so repealing the ban was a means of getting around that problem. (Taxes and duties on cigarette packs account for a staggering 70 percent of the total purchase price in New Zealand.)
Classic government logic: Since banning something creates black markets, they will instead…allow a vice, yet tax it quite heavily, which—checks notes—surely avoids that whole black market problem.
When will the bureaucrats learn?
Scenes from New York:
How's the rollback of the war on drugs going? Mayor Eric Adams has apparently just started going after the landlords who rent to unlicensed pot shops. "Building owners whose tenants sell illegal tobacco or cannabis could face penalties of up to $1,000 a day once action is taken," reports The City. "Those civil penalties could increase to $5,000—and the cost of the city's attorney and other fees—if a building owner doesn't evict an illegal shop."
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- "Substack has a Nazi problem," declares The Atlantic. Not really. Substack allows writers to self-publish. The vast majority of that which receives eyeballs on Substack is…excellent and decidedly non-Third-Reich-supporting. The Substacks highlighted by this Atlantic article have 100 subscribers (Andkon's Reich Press) and about 1,000 subscribers (White-Papers). For comparison, Substacks like Leah Koenig's The Jewish Table—a beautiful paean to "global Jewish cuisine" at which you can find recipes for cardamom pear coffee cake and riffs on matzo brei—has more than 7,000 subscribers. So, while there may be a few Substacks that spread odious beliefs, there are many more that provide representation to all aspects of Jewish culture and have found far more success than antisemitic lowlifes ever will.
- The wife of the suspected Gilgo Beach killer, who is currently awaiting trial, has already gotten a documentary deal, angering victims' families.
- "Amazon is better understood as a massive logistics operation with a vestigial retail operation strapped to its back," writes John Hermann for Intelligencer.
- The Koch-backed group Americans for Prosperity Action has endorsed former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in her bid for president.
- "At the forthcoming UN climate talks, diplomats will push for a tripling of renewable power by 2030," reports Yale Environment 360. "A new analysis finds the world is likely already on track to hit this goal."
- Please, nobody Sioux over this blackface/Kansas City Chiefs kerfuffle!
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