Monday, February 08, 2010

The Death of Free Speech

Apropos the post below and earlier posts, here and here, there is a National Review online symposium on the Dutch trial of Geert Wilders, which is worth reading in its entirety. It includes this quick overview by Clifford May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies:
Pretty much all you need to know about the prosecution of the controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders was summed up in a single (if run-on) sentence attributed to the ... prosecution service of the Dutch Ministry of Justice.

In response to Wilders’s request to bring in witnesses to establish the veracity of the opinions that got him in trouble with the law, that body issued this statement on January 17: “It is irrelevant whether Wilders’s witnesses might prove Wilders’s observations to be correct, what’s relevant is that his observations are illegal.”

In other words, the prosecutors believe that the truth is not a defense in the Netherlands, nor perhaps elsewhere in Europe — a continent that appears no longer to have the will to defend its values, culture, and civilization. Very sad.
As René Girard argues, the real struggle in our world is not between violence and peace; it is between violence and truth. All attempts to avoid the former by silencing the latter will end in catastrophe.

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