2002 November 12 Tuesday
Eugene Volokh On Speech Rights In Canada And Europe

News flash for Canadian and European readers: You have less freedom of speech than Americans do and you ought to be be concerned. Eugene Volokh posts a real example and potential example of this. Eugene Volokh looks at the ramifications of a recent protocol passed by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers:

Say that some international court concludes that, for instance, Israel's conduct vis-a-vis the Palestinians, or the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has been a crime against humanity -- I do not share these views, but I've certainly seen some people express them, and I can certainly imagine some international court taking this position. Someone disagrees, and sends an e-mail (or put up a Web site) stating that "International law is mistaken, and Israel's and America's actions were indeed morally proper given the exigencies that they faced." Once the Protocol is ratified, that person could then be sent to prison for expressing these views. (The Protocol allows countries to reject or limit this provision, for instance if their free speech principles so require, but obviously the very presence of this provision means that the Council of Europe is urging countries to adopt it.)

In Eugene's second post on freedom of speech in Western democracies that ought to know better he references an opinion piece from the Montreal Gazette:

We continue to permit anti-Semitic spewings under that laziest of intellectual umbrellas, the freedom of speech and artistic expression.

As Eugene points out freedom of speech is not "that laziest of intellectual umbrellas". It is clear that on the European continent freedom of speech is on the retreat. But does this sort of opinion represent conventional wisdom among Canada's elite?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 November 12 04:17 PM  Civilizations Decay


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