British Prime Minister David Cameron has long been a target of civil libertarians criticizing his dismissive attitude toward basic rights and particularly speech and privacy rights in that country. As if to prove his critics right, Cameron has publicly made comments that can be best described as Orwellian and some have gone as far as describing as fascistic. In calling for new extensive powers, Cameron said “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance.” It seemed like a scene out of V for Vendetta as Cameron called on citizens to give up their rights to fight the threat of terror.
This chilling statement was made in support of new counter-terrorism powers that include new police powers to apply to the high court for an order to limit the “harmful activities” of an extremist individual. The definition of harmful is to include a risk of public disorder, a risk of harassment, alarm or distress or creating a “threat to the functioning of democracy”. That ill-defined standard would allow a wide array of speech to be effectively criminalized by the government. It is hard to see how much unpopular speech would not pose a “risk of harassment, alarm, or distress.” I am not even sure what “creating a threat to the function of democracy” means. More importantly, speakers will not know what the government will view as violating such ill-defined terms.
England has seen the rise of calls for speech prosecutions, including this month. We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here).
Cameron has become the face of the trend toward the criminalization of speech. Despite our great debt to England and shared values, the two countries differ dramatically in their approaches to free speech. The English have long given the Crown sweeping powers under the expectation that these powers will be used judiciously. For much of its history, the Crown has shown restraint but it has also a history of threatening media and unpopular speakers. There is a risk that the current fears over Islamic extremism will convince people to embrace a type of benign authoritarianism. When you have a Prime Minister who feels comfortable in criticizing a history of being a “tolerant passive society,” it is clear that we are entering a dangerous period where citizens may indeed voluntarily give up the rights secured at such a great cost by prior generations.
104 thoughts on “Cameron Calls For A Break From “A Passively Tolerant Society” And Allow For The Criminalization of A Wide Array Of Speech”
Yeah, Tim, you’re right. I agree. Someone should give the Earth an enema to get rid of all those useless people. A big, nuclear war might accomplish that. All the regular wars being fought every day around the globe aren’t eliminating enough humans yet. Radiation could exterminate most life forms in a short time, though. Trouble with that is, no one would be left to appreciate what we had done for them.
Annie, you think I don’t have a sense of humor?! You obviously are paying attention only when you want to. I joke about most of the things people like you seem to take very seriously. I do take the elimination of repeat dangerous criminals by execution seriously. Murderers, armed robbers, serial shooters, burglars, thieves, kidnappers, pedophiles, rapists, and others like them (which all too often includes bankers, lawyers, and politicians, as most of them are criminals at heart who commit their bad deeds openly under cover of law) who viciously and intentionally hurt people are nothing but destructive to society in major ways. Humanity would be better off without them. Most of the rest of the population are basically just idiots whose most intelligent concerns are who will win the latest dancing with celebrities competition or who is going to be next season’s quarterback of their favorite basketball team, like any of that actually means anything. The fraudulent illusion called government IS important, but since very few people recognize what it really is, the election process is a meaningless exercise in futility. People’s reactions to Trump and all the rest of the field of actors performing for their own benefits are amusing, and it is fun to me to joke about them and watch whose fur and feathers get ruffled. That should help to explain my perspective, but no doubt you aren’t listening again.
This planet has been whacked-out for a long time. Too many people and too many people thinking they know whats best for too many other people. Something is gonna eventually give, and it won’t be pretty. This planet needs a purge. Pure and simple.
That is what the Founders wrote and practiced in 1789.
I think the solution is for liberal collectivists is to throw all who read and support the Preamble, Constitution and untainted Bill of Rights into internment or concentration camps, better yet, process them all through the equivalent of the guillotines of the French Revolution.
They have nullified the founding documents.
They are the fascists.
He’s a fascist. A well-meaning, do-gooding fascist. The downfall of Great Britain continues.
PCS, are you serious with communist and non-communist?
How about successful communist and unsuccessful communist?
Please direct us to a nation that exists under the complete freedom provided by the American founding documents.
China is communist with financial balance sheet that dwarfs America’s.
Russia is failed communism turned failed “capitalist” (i.e. free enterprise).
Does France, cum Europe, do anything that isn’t direct by the unions (i.e. comm-union-ists)?
America has turned over its FREE ENTERPRISE to Marx’s communists who execute “capitalism” as “central planning” by the Federal Reserve/Treasury Complex.
America wonders daily what Comrade President Janet Yellen is going to “DICTATE.”
In 1789, there was no welfare state, no IRS, no Fed, no income tax, etc. Imagine, the Founders thought America could live free.
Americans go to school on “forced busing” buses to government approved “socialist” schools of ideological indoctrination.
Affirmative action directs this indoctrination/school process.
After graduation, affirmative action directs the process of employment.
Free businessmen and free taxpayers are told in great detail, exactly what to do by the “government.” Educate these folks. Hire these folks. Even foreigners have superior “standing” under the American “immigration” policies and founding documents under affirmative action programs. Oops.
All of which has been facilitated by direct payments of cash confiscated from American businessmen and their “help,” workers, who are supplemented in number by government approved invading “illegal immigrants.”
What’s the PC in your name stand for?
As we live daily life hyphenated Americans are given government assistance – welfare, food stamps. affirmative action, social services, “Fair Housing,” rent control, “civil rights,” WIC, HUD, HHS, FHA, HAMP HARP, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obama care, Obama phones, Education, Labor, etc.
Did I mention “Fair Housing” which is heinously antithetical and unconstitutional. “Fair Housing” like affirmative action is bias and racism and unfair to private property owners. Americans have a right to private property but the government takes private property from one man to give private property to another. That property is no longer private and the right to private property is nullified by an unconstitutional program of redistribution of wealth (tax is for actual governmental operations, not charity or redistribution).
What exactly are “civil rights.” If every American has rights under the founding documents, it is impossible to assign various and/or superior rights to particular and several individuals.
If people are free, they must and shall live with the consequences of freedom. Only under the artifice of the communist principle of “Social Engineering” are the characteristics of individuals mitigated and social behavior of citizens DICTATED. Under freedom, government does not dictate etiquette, morality, beauty or love. The Founders did not established the “Brain Police.”
This is all Good Stuff. This pent upped anger is spilling out now and you are saying how you really feel……
And it is Me Me Me….. not We We We….. and that’s OK. You have the right to think what you want and say what you think. That’s what the Constitution and Bill of Rights is all about.
But how do you run a country with this type of thinking?
I used to agree that the freedom of speech was an important American right. But after reading the posts of ninianpeckitt, I have changed my mind. While I agree with a few things he has said, and concur that we Americans are stupid, uneducated and lack critical thinking skills, I do believe his/her behavior on this blog may have reached the level needing Orwellian re-indoctrination classes to, as Cameron puts it:
“…limit the “harmful activities” of an extremist individual. The definition of harmful is to include a risk of public disorder, a risk of harassment, alarm or distress or creating a “threat to the functioning of democracy.”
@ninianpeckitt, you have been found guilty of the above mentioned charges and are sentenced to…to….to…oh whatever, just keep trolling along, disrupting and dividing this blog community. Hope you are paid well.
Our government is now monitoring EVERYTHING that we do on the inter web, not to mention peaceful assemblies and gatherings (watching the participants social media uploads re: Occupy and Ferguson protests). Homeland security/NSA have an army of paid internet trolls who observe/report and influence the conversations in the comment sections to further the control of TPTB. Learn their tactics and don’t get sucked in.
To Paul Schulte:
And that is precisely the problem. Individual freedom. You need to read my postings more slowly and then there is just a chance you may understand what I am saying. I think the real problems with our conversations is that you don’t understand the concepts I’m failing to explain to you.
Individual freedom is incompatible with collective freedom. Because what is free for one individual can threaten the freedom of the majority. Why is this important? Because we actually live in a real world. A real society and what you are advocating can never be put into practice – no matter how much you lose your temper. Society just doesn’t work that way. Your founding fathers were wrong.
That’s the message and I’m sorry it is a bitter pill to choke on….
ninianpeckitt – I have read enough of your posts to know where you are headed. The problem is that you do NOT know enough about American government to actually talk about the subject.
I’m not talking about American Government. I’m talking about Freedom and it is not possible that you do not understand what I mean. Individual Freedom cannot be implemented in a society because of conflict of interest. The majority view prevails. Unless the country gets hijacked by a small group whose individual freedom prevails. I have given examples where this has happened.
These are the Facts of Life
And the US is at risk.
I’m amazed that you are unable to admit this….😨
ninianpeckitt – it is clear you have not read the Amendments to the US Constitution. For the most part, the Amendments protect individual rights, not collective rights. That is why I keep say you do not know what you are talking about.
I for one, and I also speak for a dogpac, am sick of Brits. They are all over our television. BBC News, news people on other news shows like CNN, so called dramas on PBS all night long such as Downton Abbey and they cant even spull downtown. Now we are hearing about this dork who is curtailing human rights in the land of the Hitler worshiper Queeny.
BarkinDog: Intelligence is required to understand why the British aren’t liked – and the ability to spull.
I’m sure you will find these pictures interesting…..
Womens voting rights, interracial marriage, African-American rights and marriage equality were primarily won through the court system [judicial branch] represented by constitutional attorneys working free of charge – attorneys from the ACLU, NAACP, Lambda Legal, Human Rights Campaign, Southern Poverty Law Center, etc.
The point I’m making is in addition to the political branches of government [which is less effective], a citizen harmed can contact one of the above organizations and become a plaintiff to overturn unconstitutional laws or penalize government officials that betray their own oath of office.
For example: Today citizens of Ferguson, Missouri that were harmed by police practices. Instead of relying solely on the Department of Justice [executive branch] to resolve things, harmed citizens could contact the ACLU today (for free) and become plaintiffs which is far more effective. In other words the system can work but you can’t rely solely on the political branches, the judicial branch has the real teeth.
You are describing means to correct a system that doesn’t work. And that’s the point I am making.
The system you have doesn’t work and can never work, because the judgments related to issues of individual freedom can and do negate issues related to the individual freedom of others. Judgments to correct individual flaws in the rights of the individual only throw up other breaches of collective rights. That is why the fundamental principles are flawed. Your system has real problems of logical conflict.
Your founding fathers never understood this anomaly – nor do many Americans today who hold such “truths” as self evident. It is very difficult to get this message over to an indoctrinated public with no independent thought or desire to question.
The U.S. has an unmanageable legacy of chaos of conflict between individual and public freedom. And nobody really wants to recognise this. That’s the business.
An inability or unwillingness to recognise this will have serious consequences for America. Other countries by comparison have seen this as a problem and tried to do something about it.
Ross – all of those organizations you mentioned do not work for free – pro bono. ‘They take the case with the idea that when they win they will get attorney’s fees from the defendant, which they usually do. So, when they sue your school district, you will be paying their fee, if they win.
“It is enough that the people know there was an election.
The people who cast the votes decide nothing.
The people who count the votes decide everything.”
A split vote allowed a minority party victory in Germany, 1933.
Subsequent “executive orders” directed the nation.
Can you say JADE HELM 2015?
1. Franz von Papen and a group of right wing nationalists, proposed making Hitler Chancellor, with himself as Vice-Chancellor. Only two other Nazis would be allowed government posts, with the remaining jobs going to the moderate parties. Fear of communism helped this plan.
President Hindenburg was persuaded that Hitler with his popular appeal could be kept under control. Ironically the Nazis lost votes in the November 1932 elections. However, on the 30 January 1933, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. Von Papen boasted that: “in two months, we will have pushed Hitler into a corner so that he squeaks”. However, just 24 hours after taking office, Hitler called for new elections to be held on 5 March 1933.
2. The Nazis quickly began to deal with all forms of opposition. On 1 April 1933 a concentration camp was established in the town of Dachau, 12 kilometres from Munich. In the beginning it was reserved for political prisoners, opponents of the Nazi regime.
Two months after the election, on 2 May 1933, the SA and SS raided offices of German trade unions whose leaders were arrested and imprisoned in Dachau. Their funds were confiscated and the organisations closed down.
In their place the German Labour Front (DAF) became the largest organisation in Nazi Germany. Rather than representing the workers, the DAF was an organisation through which the Nazis controlled the workers of Germany.
Between March and July 1933, the SA and SS raided offices of opposition political parties, destroyed equipment, confiscated funds and arrested their leaders. The Communists had been banned since the Reichstag fire. On 22 June the assets of the Social Democrats (SPD) were seized and the party banned. During the final days of June 1933, most of the remaining political parties agreed to disband.
Forgotwhoiam : German History
Could this sort of thing happen in the USA?
Who counts the votes in Florida in nail biting presidential elections?
Who once controlled the Teamsters?
Don’t take what collective Freedom you have for granted.
History confirms that those seeking personal freedom for personal power can destroy a country. Experiments in anarchy have always failed.
Ben Franklin, 1789, we gave you “…a republic, if you can keep it.”
Ben Franklin, 2015, we gave you “…a republic, if you can take it back.”
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