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Thread: The growing totalitarianism of the mob, upholding the "tyranny of decency" or the modern version of blasphemy

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    Politics.ie Member oxterSniffer's Avatar
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    Default The growing totalitarianism of the mob, upholding the "tyranny of decency" or the modern version of blasphemy

    It is not often that I will heap praise on an opinion piece in The Guardian, but this is a truly excellent piece:

    Arrested for poppy burning? Beware the tyranny of decency | Ally Fogg | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

    At 9pm last night, with a knock on the door of a 19-year-old man, Kent police hammered another nail into the coffin of free expression in the UK.

    Earlier in the day the unnamed man from Aylesham had allegedly posted a photo of a poppy being burned, with a crudely worded (and crudely spelled) caption. He was arrested under the Malicious Communications Act and held in the cells overnight to await questioning.

    It is of course just the latest in a succession of police actions against individuals deemed to have caused offence: mocking a footballer as he fights for his life on Twitter; hoping British service personnel would "die and go to hell"; wearing a T-shirt that celebrated the death of two police officers; making sick jokes on Facebook about a missing child, the list goes on. A few months ago, these could have been dismissed as isolated over-reactions or moments of madness by police and judiciary. Not any longer. It is now clear that a new criminal code has been imposed upon us without announcement or debate. It is now a crime to be offensive. We are not sleepwalking into a new totalitarianism – we have woken up to find ourselves tangled in its sheets.

    News of the arrest was first announced on Kent police's Twitter feed, and it didn't take long for users to spot the painful irony of their official avatar, which simply says Kent police 101. The number is taken from the non-essential police phone number, but as we all know, Room 101 was where Winston Smith was taken in George Orwell's 1984 to be tortured and eventually persuaded to recant his individual beliefs and fall into line with officially sanctioned viewpoints.

    The Orwellian allusion inevitably fed countless suggestions that we are, or are becoming, a police state, a dictatorship, even a fascist society. Such allegations miss the point: they use a 20th century microscope to analyse a 21st century problem. The Orwellian model of tyranny was invariably nailed to political propaganda, and the policing of thought-crime served only to protect and preserve a political elite or ideology. This is not what is happening in modern Britain. The new tyrant is not an oligarch or a chief of secret police, but an amorphous, self-righteous tide of populist opinion that demands conformity to a strict set of moral values. What we are seeing has less to do with the iron heel than with the pitchfork.
    Of course, the only reason we are able to discuss this issue is that it is because it is concerning offence to British patriots and not to the "oppressed" groups of choice that the "liberal"-luvvies deem fashionable. This hypocrisy of course is a side-track to the real issue at stake here...

    In Northern Ireland a year ago we had poppies being burnt and arrests being made by the Coleraine PSNI, yet hardly a peep out of anyone concerning how incredibly ludicrous this creeping totalitarianism has become.

    We also have had many here demanding prosecutions this year in Northern Ireland because some people choose to express themselves through music that they "offensive". We have "hate speech" where in law one may be prosecuted for expressing "blasphemous" opinions, even if they involve no direct threats, no calls to direct violence, and no form of personal harassment. Just this week we also have demands in a SDLP party-political broadcast to "outlaw sectarianism" (might as well outlaw themselves, eh?).

    All in all, our rights to freedom of expression are coming increasingly under attack, all over the UK but if not more-so in Northern Ireland due to the fascist Appeasement-process brigade. It seems that too many people are using the excuse of "peace" that they are allowing this creeping totalitarianism to pass-by unguarded.

    Someone needs to stand up for the freedom of expression. If the Orange Order were to place increasing influence on this aspect of their beliefs above all else and stand up primarily for the freedom of expression for all, then I'd join-up tomorrow! They, and the Royal British Legion, need to denounce these arrests for poppy burning at once!
    Last edited by oxterSniffer; 13th November 2012 at 01:07 AM.
    Ulaidh Go Bragh!

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    Politics.ie Member DavidCaldwell's Avatar
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    Yes - the best way to get beyond extremist ideas is to for them to be discussed and then rejected by the population, not banning their discussion.
    An East Irish

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    Politics.ie Member oxterSniffer's Avatar
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    I also place much of the responsibility for this mob-like censorship on much of the media. e.g. the BBC will often place stories which the BBC luvvies deem unacceptable opinions as headline news (merely stirring up things unnecessarily), despite there also being actual real news elsewhere and no one really being affected in a meaningful way by another expressing an opinion of which they don't agree.
    Ulaidh Go Bragh!

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    Good post, and a difficult topic to adjudge aright it must be said.

    Ideally, I favour letting the OO march where they want, and people burn poppies when they want - but, as one well knows, we live in a community and in communities the whole usually becomes paramount over the individual.

    I certainly think the arrest of anyone for burning a poppy (or a flag) is obscene. I don't think anyone should be prosecuted for playing the ''Famine Song'', though p*ssing against a Church breaches the boundary, as it constitutes an attack on private property, without a break on which we should lapse into anarchy and unrestrained violence.

    Scotland's laws against something as nebulous as ''sectarian chanting'' are, for example, near outrageous. Education and discussion are the remedies to sectarianism, not state intervention, which merely encourages repression and sinister feelings, unable to be spoken as such, but still viscerally felt.

    Society should show its disapproval socially by leaving people who behave in an offensive, though non-physically threatening manner, ''severely alone'' in their own sort of moral coventry, as said Parnell - the state is inching toward a P.C. control of publically expressed thought, which is entirely injurious to personal liberty.

    In this, France and Germany are particularly bad as it stands (a guy in France who wiped his ass with the French flag and posted it on Facebook was prosecuted), and Britain is catching up quickly.

    Franklin once said, ''where complaining is a crime, hope becomes despair'' - I'd take a similar view of speech (in all that it entails), where being out of step with the ''moral'' majority becomes a sanctionable offence, society becomes stereotyped, intolerant, and backward.
    Last edited by Glaucon; 13th November 2012 at 01:30 AM.

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    Politics.ie Member DavidCaldwell's Avatar
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    I suspect there will not be too much of an argument, since anyone who believes that giving offense should be illegal probably wouldn't spend much time on a forum specialised in this.
    An East Irish

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidCaldwell View Post
    I suspect there will not be too much of an argument, since anyone who believes that giving offense should be illegal probably wouldn't spend much time on a forum specialised in this.
    Maybe not, David, but I'm sure we could find events, actions, or speeches that we would instinctively like to see banned or curtailed, yet which run counter to our professed principals if we apply them to their logical conclusion.

    For example (in NI), Irish signs or flags, the Ulster Banner, the 12th of July, Unionist/Nationalist rallies/candidates, etc.

    An examination of our feelings and actions when faced with an act or event that contravenes our ''liberal'' principals generally indicates how dearly we hold them - for many, it is none too deeply. For example, I support gay marriage and gay adoption, but I am very wary of those who decry anyone who disagrees as an ark dwelling bigot, unfit to partake in a ''tolerant'' society.

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    Politics.ie Member Global Justice's Avatar
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    We don't need no water, let the mofo burn...


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    Politics.ie Member RedCloud's Avatar
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    With 'freedom of expression' comes 'freedom of responsibility'.
    Those lamenting the loss of their 'freedoms' should go to Pakistan,burn the koran,then stand back and see the 'freedom of expression' given .
    Even with the usual caveats attached to opinion polls, a 65% to 17% majority for Northern Ireland remaining in the UK suggests little room for doubt.

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    The last two posts do not address the topic in any way. Let's have one decent, on-topic thread here.

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    Politics.ie Member Global Justice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedCloud View Post
    With 'freedom of expression' comes 'freedom of responsibility'.
    Those lamenting the loss of their 'freedoms' should go to Pakistan,burn the koran,then stand back and see the 'freedom of expression' given .
    Pakistan and other repressive regimes in the Middle East has much in common with the British/unionist regimes, in that they suppressed democracy, civil rights movements and murdered innocent civil rights demonstrators, so it is no surprise that the Brits would react in this fascist-like way. Actually, Gadaffi, Mubarak and co probably learned their war crimes from the Brits.

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