Friday, June 24, 2011

Free Speech Won. Geert Wilders Acquitted

After numerous attempts to have him convicted, the court had to drop the charges. And this time the decision is final:
Geert Wilders is Dutch, not Canadian. And his acquittal this week on hate-speech charges was decided by a court in The Netherlands, not Canada. Nevertheless, his case deserves close scrutiny in our own country, because it points the way toward the correct balance between free speech and multiculturalism in all nations.

Mr. Wilders is perhaps the best-known third-party political leader in the world. That’s not only because his populist Freedom Party holds the balance of power in the Netherlands’ minority government, but because he has been full-throated in his denunciation of the threat to liberal values posed by unassimilated Muslim immigrants – a problem that most other Western politicians have dared not tackle.
Mark Steyn looks into the ruling itself and finds some of the wording troubling. Those truth-bashers don't like conceding defeat:
The court ruled that some of Wilders’ statements were insulting, shocking and on the edge of legal acceptibility, but that they were made in the broad context of a political and social debate on the multi-cultural society.
“On the edge of legal acceptability,” eh? As for the latter part — “the broad context of a political and social debate” — the genius “jurists” are effectively conceding what I said when this racket got going — that the Dutch state was attempting to criminalize the political platform of a popular opposition party. That’s the sort of thing free societies should leave to Mubarak & Co, and even then, you can only get away with it for a while before people draw the obvious conclusion.

Nevertheless, as in all these cases, the process is the punishment.
So is the process itself - a punishment? Does Geert's ordeal strengthen or weaken the cause of free speech? Geert Wilders answers those questions in his interview with Ezra Levant:

And, as we celebrate Geert Wilders' triumph over PC thugs, let's not forget about another free speech heroine - Ann Coulter. Check out what she has to say about her experience of challenging the environment that is the most hostile to free speech. I'm talking about colleges and universities.

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