Friday, January 13, 2006

The Problem with Inherently Contradictory Systems

... is that they don't withstand rational scrutiny.

Those sinister chaps at Samizdata provide a spectacular commentary on one typically bizarre outcome of such a system:

For decades, every school and university in the West has been teaching that the feelings of the protected classes trump rights of free expression.

The media are ruled by it, politics is in thrall to it, and each and every citizen of all these great, free, democratic societies knows in the back of his or her mind that if you dare say the wrong thing, you will be keel-hauled.

We've all watched it happen. We've complained and objected and had various hissy fits. The PC crowd just shrugged and found some more terms that were offensive, some more victims that needed to be protected, some more ideas that demonstrated a depraved, sexist, racist, whatever-ist mind and needed to be cast out.

I don't care who this guy is, or how ironic it all is. What difference does it make. The suppression many predicted, and so many others played down, is here.

Did you think they were kidding?

There is much in this topic that is of supreme importance to us all. To take a few quotes from their original analysis:

You can always find someone who will be offended by anything.

Quite. The correct response is to ignore them and they will go away.

But more disturbing than the law - the existing law, before Tony Blair gets to work on arbitrary extension of summary powers - being used to interdict opinion, is the certainty that it will not be open to anyone to have those expressing opinions that offend them investigated.


This adumbrates a world in which officially approved opinions may be expressed freely, but those that are not officially approved will be deemed offensive, and suppressed therefore. Whatever it is, it is not freedom of expression.
Someone else made a similar point along these lines, but his thoughts weren't very well received.
Which sort of proves his point really.

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