This weekend, free speech issues from abroad:
Part the First: Eugene Volokh discusses Ireland's new anti-blasphemy law, which is actually constitutionally mandated. It prohibits speech "grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion." Irish lawmakers made an effort to include exceptions, but those exceptions seem to encourage more entanglement in religious issues by requiring inquiry into what is or is not a "cult."
Part the Second: Via the Index on Censorship, I see that it is now lawful for German gnomes to join the Nazi party. Halflings, being more vulnerable, are still prohibited. Dwarves are Social Democrats.
Part the Third Still in Germany — the Telegraph reports that an American group, the American Jewish Congress, is suing in Germany to prevent Amazon's German component from selling books they don't like — specifically, books that question or minimize the Holocaust. Amazon's response is just right: "We think that the best response to questionable literature is not removing them but more discussion."
AJC, in keeping with most American groups concerned about Holocaust denial (the ADL, for example) doesn't try to push laws criminalizing Holocaust denial here in America. AJC is happy to promote censorious values in other countries, though. Ironically, AJC is a is a founding member of The Coalition to Defend Free Speech, a group that opposes "religious defamation" laws. In the modern context, such laws are primarily promoted by Islamic nations to prohibit offending Muslims.
My Google-fu might be weak this morning, but I can't find any other reference to the German lawsuit. Did the Telegraph get it wrong? Is this a different American Jewish Congress? I'd prefer that conclusion to the notion that the AJC is engaged in nauseating censorious hypocrisy by promoting censorship of Holocaust denial while complaining about censorship of speech that offends Muslims.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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