Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Actually, the proposal is not to outlaw speech. Just some speech.

Which? “Extreme.”

That is, speech that conveys ideas too fundamentally orthogonal to authorized ideas, or that too brusquely nettles sanctioned sensibilities.

Who’s the censor? Some minor shire functionary? No, it is Theresa May, Home Secretary, who is proposing the “extremism disruption orders.”

Ms. May complains that at present, British officials “will only go after you if you are an extremist that directly supports violence.” (It’s not a bug, it’s a feature, Madam Home Secretary.) Under her plan, if you’re an “extremist” served with an EDO (Extremist Disruption Order), you must obtain an official go-ahead, in advance, for anything you wish to publish in any public forum.

Would pen names also be banned? Then what?

Even the most strenuous society-wide efforts to regulate speech don’t stop people from speaking. They still shop, give directions, exhort children, argue about soccer. The most severely repressive regimes permit plenty of public communication along approved channels on approved topics. People learn what not to say or think to skip a trip to the gulag for re-education. But the freedom to say anything you want if only the censors let you means that you have no government-respected right to say anything.

The British proposal may go nowhere. Like comparable assaults on either side of the Atlantic, if enacted it may be only partially or briefly effective. But all such efforts are baleful in their immediate consequences.

And they pave the way to worse.

As illustrated by May’s gall in advancing her “anti-extremist” program.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Mcleod, under Creative Commons License; altered.

By: Redactor


  1. Not So Free says:

    Isn’t this how the Nazis started?

  2. Rick says:

    Why don’t you send her a copy of the FRirst Amendment to the US Constitution.

    Elsewhere, OT and of more immediate concern is the plundering of wealth by the global banks. Why do we let them stay in business:

    Swiss bank UBS AG was ordered to pay the most in fines, totaling $800 million, followed by Citigroup Inc. with $668 million and JPMorgan Chase & Co. at $662 million. RBS was fined about $634 million and HSBC $618 million, according to statements today from U.S., British and Swiss regulators.

    ‘Usual Suspects’

    “Some of the other usual suspects — Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG — are ‘missing’ too,” Investec’s Gordon said.

  3. JFB says:

    The best place for extremist speech is in the public square and not behind closed doors.

    In public the position can be debated, ridiculed, rejected and lead to a rejection or lowering of the pubic esteem of the individual advocating the view. That should severely hamper, if not destroy, their ability to “lead”.

    I would never make a potential hero by repression out of a person who could better serve the public as a known fool.

  4. Shouldn’t Ms. May be given an Extremist Disruption Order for proposing such a contemptible idea?

  5. Pat says:

    I guess the Brits learned nothing from the fallout over the “Intolerable Acts” passed in Parliament over two centuries ago.
    Are there people in Britain today who will actually resist this tyranny? After all, this is aimed at them and not at some colonists across the Atlantic. Seeing is believing.

  6. Drik says:

    Free speech protected.
    Everything else ends in eventually having to haul the politicians out and shoot them.
    If the the lady studied history, she’d be advocating free speech for her own protection. Or perhaps she’s not in it for the long haul.

  7. Great article and comments also. However, I think the wisdom expressed so succinctly that:

    “I would never make a potential hero by repression out of a person who could better serve the public as a known fool”

    by JFB wins my vote for the very best.Hard to choose. Though there are some scary people out there…those who would “protect us” are the most scary.

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