There is a new controversy in Great Britain over the expanding criminalization of speech. An arrest has been made after an intensive investigation of napkins left at a Chinese restaurant containing racist language. The napkin was left by a young couple at the Hong Kong Star, a restaurant in Dumfries, Scotland. As vile as the language was on the napkin, the investigation and arrest illustrates the degree to which speech is being criminalized in Great Britain. Warning: this article has profane and racist language below.
The napkin reads:
“What a dirty squint eyed little fuck he was, the wee premature dwarf tell me the wait would be half a fucking hour,’ the note said. ‘The shitheep facility shuts at two and there was no a heartbeat in the bit. Were you no wanting any service you wee gook? ‘Done me dirty am no happy.”
Staff posted the note on Facebook and declared “Whoever you are you are no longer welcome in the facility.” That is, of course, perfectly appropriate and fair. However, the offensive incident was quickly converted into a criminal investigation.
We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. Once allowed to criminalize speech, individuals and groups demand more and more prohibitions. England is in a free fall over free speech and this week is yet another example. The police have moved to make wolf whistles the latest category of hate speech.
Like other nations before it, Great Britain will not eradicate hate by criminalizing hate speech. Instead, these criminal investigations have only heightened the appetite for greater and greater censorship of any speech deemed offensive or hostile to any group.