The Lights Are Going Out in Denmark
From the desk of Diana West on Sat, 2011-01-08 17:07
I am posting (below) a letter from the Danish Free Press Society, the parent organization of the International Free Press Society, of which I am vice president. It is of urgent importance. It tells of the terrible turn of events in Denmark, which for years now has bravely spearheaded the West's fights to save free speech, now and seemingly in perpetuity under assault from both the Marxian Left and the press of sharia (Islamic law) -- and with zero support from diplomatic, governmental, or professional institutions in the United States, home and caretaker of the First Amendment. This appalling lack of support, which translates into a lack of courage and vision, is the main reason the assault of free speech continues to be successful. But et tu, Denmark?
There have been signs: for example, former Prime MInister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's gratuitous slap at Pastor Terry Jones' stated intention to burn Korans to mark the jihad attacks of 9/11 in September of this year; and the Danish paper Politiken's February 2010 apology for reprinting Kurt Westergaard's Mohammed cartoon, which Westergaard, wonderful man, one month past the nearest-missassassination attempt yet that sent him and his five-year-old granddaughter into his "safe" room (a reinforced bathroom with an alarm button), declared the newspaper's apology a "setback for free speech."
And so it was. But such events are more than "setbacks." They fit into a terrible and even totalitarian climate of assault in which the Danish government, via its public prosecutor, as the letter states, is "waging a lawfare offensive against outspoken critics of Islam and Muslim practices."
Last month, Danish MP Jesper Langballe was convicted of "hate speech" -- "racial discrimination," for having highlighted the pattern of "honor killings" in Muslim families. (Here is his "confession.") Now in the crosshairs is my very dear friend and colleague, Lars Hedegaard, President of the Danish Free Press Society and the International Free Press Society. (A historian as well as a journalist and author, Lars took me on a special tour of Copenhagen, which I wrote about here.) On January 24 he goes on trial. His crime? Discussing the high incidence of family rape within Islamic cultures, which the prosecutor is attempting to outlaw as "racism."
In fact, the Danish prosecutor is attempting to enforce Islamic "blasphemy" laws, which outlaw all criticism of Islam.
Jesper Langballe and now Lars Hedegaard have been targeted because they are Danes of courage and principle who refuse to lie down and shut up and let the "multicultural" Big Lies wash in and inundate their mental and moral capacities to that endpoint of totalitarian triumph where citizens become subjects, minions who no longer articulate or even recognize truth and morality. In a world where mandarins of Left and mullahs of sharia so conspire, we risk a kind of double-dhimmification in acquiesence, rendering civilization incapable of self-defense.
Please read the Danish Free Press Soctety's letter and realize it is in fact an SOS. Save Our Speech. If you are so moved, there is an email address below to which you may address comments in support of Lars Hedegaard's freedom of speech, which will be reprinted in the DFPS newsletter.
From the Danish Free Press Society:
Free speech is under attack in Denmark. Please help us preserve it.
Those who have been following the Danish cartoon crisis and several subsequent attempts by radical Muslims to kill and bomb Danes and Danish institutions may be excused for believing that Denmark is in the forefront of the battle for free speech. And indeed it used to be that way.
No longer. For the past year the Danish public prosecutor has been waging a lawfare offensive against outspoken critics of Islam and Muslim practices.
On December 3, 2010, Member of Parliament Jesper Langballe was convicted of "hate speech" – or as the judge in the lower court of Randers put it: "racial discrimination" – for having called attention to honour killings in Muslim families.
Next in line is Lars Hedegaard, President of the Danish Free Press Society and The International Free Press Society, who will stand trial in the lower court of Frederiksberg on January 24, 2011.
His crime has been to point to the great number of family rapes in areas dominated by Muslim culture. This well documented fact has brought him an indictment under the Danish penal code's "racism" clause: Article 266b.
Both MP Langballe and Lars Hedegaard have long ago emphasised that they did not intend to accuse all Muslims or even the majority of Muslims of such crimes. This has made no impression on the public prosecutor.
We fear that the public prosecutor intends to stifle open debate on Islam and Muslim culture. And we fear that he is doing so with the tacit approval of the governing parties, which first signalled their intention to remove the racism clause from the penal code but have recently recanted.
If the authorities succeed in silencing such critics as Jesper Langballe and Lars Hedegaard, who will dare speak out?
We must put a stop to these attempts to undermine free speech if we wish to preserve Denmark as a free country. And where Denmark – that former beacon of free speech – goes, the rest of the West may follow
You can help us.
Please send a few words to [email protected] in defence of Lars Hedegaard's freedom of expression. We will then publish them in The Free Press Magazine, Sappho.dk.
Please do what you can to spread the word about the trial of Lars Hedegaard.
Vice President, The Danish Free Press Society
Katrine Winkel Holm
Chief Editor, Sappho.dk
@Traveller: What is true and
Submitted by Luc Van Braekel on Tue, 2011-01-11 10:39.
@Traveller: What is true and what is false is a moral question, not a question which the law should answer or prescribe to limit the freedom of speech.
Even when truth is a factual issue, there should still be room for stating the opposite, otherwise no debate is possible.
@ Luc Van Braekel
Submitted by traveller on Tue, 2011-01-11 13:57.
Right, but I am only considering harmful lies and slander which goes to court.
Opposition shouldn't be based on lies, but non-harmful lies shouldn't be court-issues, I agree.
Of course truth or false is a moral issue, but harmful lies become court-issues if the aggrieved party so wishes.
truth and morality
Submitted by mpresley on Tue, 2011-01-11 12:25.
To speak the truth, or to even recognize the truth are moral questions. The nature of truth and how we know it are epistimelogical and metaphysical questions.
Is the Press a Lawyer referral service?
Submitted by Capodistrias on Mon, 2011-01-10 17:44.
So Luc the ultimate arbiter of the truth is the judicial system which is an extension, an arm of the tyranny of the democratic majority?
I suspect Traveller and MPresley have a similiar reaction to yours to the luney tales of the moon landing deniers, I doubt they're frantically ringing up 9/11 to report a truth violation. ( If they did, would that make them 9/11 truthers?)
I think MPresley identified the real source of the problem, i.e. whether liberal democracy and its associated doctrine of freedom of the press is based on the concept of natural rights or the classical concept of natural law. Having been immersed in the primary sources for a number of years, I know there is a lot more ambiguity in the resolving that issue than natural righters would acknowledge. In fact, my own position is that the classical concept of natural law was in the ascent among the more enlightened individuals of the Age. My trump card in the debate would simply be the Declaration of Independence, I don't know how the 'righters' toss out the Creator, though we all know they have never tired of trying.
Submitted by Luc Van Braekel on Mon, 2011-01-10 10:51.
@traveller @mpresley: Obviously both of you would put people who deny the moon landings in jail (or in a psychiatric hospital), since what they say is obviously untrue. I myself find their writings amusing and a form of art.
Furthermore, who will determine what is truthful and what is not? In Western Europe, laws have been put in place that institute an official truth, e.g. regarding the holocaust, regarding the non-existence of races, or even the "equality" of all religions. In this mindset, the truth is what the democratic majority has decided to be the truth.
So both of you really want to limit free speech to what has been approved as "the truth"?
I would say that the limits of free speech are libel and slander, and that it is up to the person that has been slandered to prove before a court that the slander was untrue and has caused him damage.
@ Luc Van Braekel
Submitted by traveller on Tue, 2011-01-11 00:26.
Sorry I had some technical problems answering.
In principle I agree with your position of absolute freedom of speech, but that can only be based on truth.
In case of slander and harmful lies the judge still has to look for the truth.
In case of lunatic lies I can only shrug my shoulders, lunacy cannot be considered harmful.
@ Mr Van Braekel: truth or consequences
Submitted by mpresley on Mon, 2011-01-10 12:09.
Yours is an important question, but it is not helpful to reach the conclusion that I would want people in jail or a psychiatric hospital for not speaking the truth. If that were so, we'd all be in-patient, or incarcerated at some point in our lives.
I was pointing out an inherent contradiction in liberal democracy grounded upon natural right, as oppossed to, say, classical natural law. The former, derived from, in my view, an untenable conception of the nature (or lack thereof) of men, and finding its genesis from at least the time of Hobbes is wrongheaded.
More should be said about this.
Submitted by traveller on Mon, 2011-01-10 09:56.
Only a couple of days ago I argued on a French blog that the free speech discussion was a truth discussion and that the only limit to free speech was the fact that the speech had to be truthful. Other limits to free speech would be limits on truth which obviously "nobody" would want, except the "powers that be".
Submitted by mpresley on Sun, 2011-01-09 21:36.
First, I thank you for the kind words. However, my thinking is not original; if it was it would probably not be worth very much. Fortunately we have the foundation of history to build upon, and the work of truly profound thinkers to rely upon.
Whenever these types of existential arguments are grounded in abstract ideas such as "the individual's right to free speech” the argument will quickly become mucked up, bogged down within the mire of a tension between the isolated citizen (or in this case, maybe even a non-citizen) and the social order. Any appeal to an abstract “equal right” necessarily leads to a relativism that works against the nation as an organic whole. It presupposes that all views are equal and hence must be protected under the guise of upholding equality of right.
There is an inherent contradiction within a liberal order grounded upon individual right that leads to the bizarre situation wherein the order itself will become corrupt to the extent it freely admits those that are antagonistic toward the order. A liberal-minded society can only survive if everyone is liberally like-minded. Obviously this is not the case in this case. So, in the name of liberal equality, those who oppose their dispossession, and the dissolution of their traditional order, must be suppressed as they are considered intolerant. On the other hand, those whose views and behavior are incommensurate to the tradition are supported.
Submitted by SteveP55419 on Sun, 2011-01-09 19:47.
The Danes have lost their voice. The people have lost their ability to influence the politicians. They are much further down the road to totalitarianism than we are and we should help them. But we are not. This is a matter for all freedom loving people in the world to attend to not just those who are directly affected.
Submitted by Frank Lee on Sun, 2011-01-09 17:53.
Diana West begins her article by lamenting that Denmark's (self-directed) descent into dhimmitude has not met with resistance from institutions in the United States. What the bloody hell do institutions in the United States have to do with some idiotic Danish laws that permit a member of parliament to be prosecuted for stating the truth? Have the Europeans officially become mentally retarded five-year-olds who can't be held responsible for their own lunacy? The problems in Denmark should be met with resistance from DANISH institutions. That's the story here. Denmark is a member of the EU. Those foolish Danish laws should be met with resistance from EUROPEAN institutions. This attitude that the Americans have responsibility for everything in Europe has got to be resisted at every turn. If, in fact, American institutions demonstrated their opposition to the Danish actions, the Europeans would simply decry American meddling, insensitivity, provincialism, ignorance, etc. etc. etc. Good God, the first step toward curbing European stupidity is to hold Europeans responsible for their actions, the way mentally sound adults should be held responsible.
An added distinction
Submitted by Capodistrias on Sun, 2011-01-09 00:20.
Not just a foreign presence but a domestic betrayal that reaches right into the sanctity of the home and family.
Thank you Mpresley for all your recent comments I have found them very insightful and stimulating.
is the issue really speech?
Submitted by mpresley on Sat, 2011-01-08 23:42.
This is a very troubling set of events, but not unexpected. However, I am always unenthused when the argument turns on "free speech," an abstract right that often implies a relativism not intended. Clearly the issue is not simply a matter of one's ability to say this or that without fear of reprisal. One could, for instance, have "free speech" but still lose one's country.
It is better, I think, to frame the argument not in the abstract-a defense of speech-but rather as a defense of truth. Also, a defense of a people's ability to defend themselves in a concrete manner against dispossesion at the hands of a foreign presence. It is not a subtle distinction.