About Me

My photo
Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE (2012), HUMANITY ENHANCED (2014), and THE MYSTERY OF MORAL AUTHORITY (2016).

Friday, June 24, 2011

The BBC's strange analysis of the Wilders outcome

Accompanying the BBC news story is a strange little "analysis" column by Lauren Comiteau, which concludes:
With the acquittal, it appears the radical views of Mr Wilders are now more mainstream in a country that for decades was viewed as one of the most liberal and tolerant in the world.

Ophelia has already noted how odd this is. Comiteau apparently does not understand that the courts are not there to decide how "mainstream" a view is or is not, but to interpret the law and apply it to the facts. Moreover, it is very odd hinting that a country is somehow less liberal and tolerant because it refuses to use the coercive power of the state to suppress the expression of a particular viewpoint. If Wilders had been convicted, we would be able to talk about an outcome that goes against ordinary standards of liberalism and toleration, which require that even ugly speech and ideas not be censored.

It appears that Comiteau does not understand even the fundamentals of liberalism, freedom of speech, and the rule of law. Where did the BBC find this person?


Brian said...

The thing is, if you use free speech to attack a sacred cow, even a beatified bovine being attacked by a brigand, then you're opening the door for all brigandry.

Or so the BBC thinks....

pboyfloyd said...

A truly liberal and tolerant person must tolerate the intolerable, right?

“The proposition “The only valid evidence is empirical” cannot be validated via empirical evidence. Therefore it must, according to its own criteria, be regarded as false.” - Alan Roebuck

"Since the proposition, “We absolutely must not tolerate intolerance.”, must be regarded as false, by it’s own criteria, we must therefore tolerate intolerance in all it’s forms!" I've actually heard several people make this 'gotcha' argument.

So, you see, religion doesn't need empirical evidence(it's not even valid according to Mr. Roebuck!) and no one is allowed to be intolerant of them!

I suppose they must use the quasi-religious argument that we cannot tolerate infinities* to stop the intolerance precisely AT 'not tolerating anti-religious intolerance but not before allowing religious intolerance.

*Unlike turtles, intolerance can't just go 'all the way down', for some reason, especially if you're willing to call a bit of religious intolerance 'culture'.

Gaius Sempronius Gracchus said...

Looks like they found him in Amsterdam.

Probably lurking about, leftishly.

Artemis said...

Yes, a truly free state must tolerate intolerance. We must allow the free trade of even the worst ideas to live in a truly free society. Government oppression isn't any better just because we're not the ones being censored.

Russell Blackford said...

It should at least tolerate the advocacy of intolerance.