How's That Effort to Repeal State Censorship in Australia Going?
Alas, as Mark Steyn (who is seeking to do to Oz's Section 18 what he did to Canada's Section 13--i.e. successfully make the case that it ought to disappear) writes:
The Aussie campaign is not going well. "There is a danger that the Coalition resolve to repeal Section 18C will weaken further," warns The Independent Australian, saying there's an "urgent need to submit your views on 18C amendments by April 30th" - which is round about right now in Oz time.
What's going on? Well, in the western world today, there are far more lobby groups for censorship - under polite euphemisms such as "diversity", "human rights", "hate speech" - than there are for freedom of expression. If you attempt to roll back a law like Section 18c, you'll be opposed by the aboriginal lobby, the Muslim lobby, the Jewish lobby, the LGBT lobby, the higher-education lobby.... And you'll be supported by ...hardly anyone, save for me and Andrew Bolt and the usual suspects.
That's the hard political arithmetic of defending free speech in western chancelleries today: There aren't a lot of takers for it, and the opposition to it is very organized. A government minister with an eye to his press clippings has to believe in it an awful lot for it to be worth taking on.
What's at stake here? As per usual, Steyn knows the evil that lurks at the heart of it all:
As I say, in Britain, Australia and America, free peoples are losing the habits of free speech, and thereby will lose their freedom.
Indeed. That's because free speech is more than an element of a free society. It happens to be a--no, the--pre-requisite for one.
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