France moves to further limit rights

Jonathan Turley points to disturbing trends in France to steadily limit speech, ranging from bans on blasphemy, hate speech, and ‘anti-historical’ speech to the latest proposal by president Sarkozy (in the wake of the recent killings by a Muslim extremist) that will enable the jailing of anyone who ‘repeatedly’ visits extremist websites.

This seems to be becoming standard practice, for governments to use the occasion of a horrific crime to push through legislation that restricts civil liberties.


  1. mnb0 says

    It ís standard practice, at least in Europe. In certain Dutch neighborhoods you have to identify yourself to the police every five minutes just for walking around. The rights of arrested (but not convicted) people have been limits as well last ten years in The Netherlands.
    There have been proposals too to deny illegal under age immigrants the right to go to school and to deny all illegals access to health care.
    You certainly don’t want to know in what circumstances asylum seeking people have to live in The Netherlands – sometimes literally for years. The worst thing is that hardly anybody seems to care.
    As far as I know it’s the same in other European countries; Germany might be an exception.
    Xenophobia rules.

  2. Pen says

    This trend seems to be common to Europe. It has many dimensions that worry me, then again, US style free speech has many dimensions that worry me.

    What’s particularly bothersome about this is as you report it is that it doesn’t criminalise speech, but access to the speech of others, or the right to listen. As far as I know, listening to someone blaspheme or deny the Holocaust is not criminal. The nearest analogy to this might be the illegal consumption of pornograpy, child pornography for example.

  3. F says

    Yes, this sentiment and legislation crops up constantly, along with similar abuse from the angles of security theater, anti-piracy, anti-drug, and the ever popular anti-child pornography measures. The answer to everything seems to be to curtail rights, freedoms, and privacy, and which at some scales, actually seems to be the motive in itself, with the invented threats or actual incidents mere pretexts. We have a serious cultural problem with authoritarianism that doesn’t want to go away, maybe because, in part at least, authoritarianism itself is convenient.

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