You May No Longer Think Wrong Thoughts, Citizen
Shortly after the election victory that probably surprised no-one more than himself, David Cameron launched into explaining to the hoi-polloi what further transmogrification of the State is in store now that he’s got a free hand. He inter alia elated the audience with the following zinger:
“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance. This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach.”
In other words, dear citizen, mafia uncle State will no longer leave you alone if you merely “obey the law”. Your “narratives of grievance” henceforth won’t be tolerated anymore!
As one reader remarked, all that’s missing now is Frau Bluecher making her entrance …
Cartoon by Steve Bell
As the Guardian reports, this means that now that the Lib Dems will no longer be able to veto Cameron’s more outlandish ideas, he intends to keep us all safe by fighting terrorism by means of an Orwellian thought police.
“A counter-terrorism bill including plans for extremism disruption orders designed to restrict those trying to radicalize young people is to be included in the Queen’s speech, David Cameron will tell the national security council on Wednesday.
The orders, the product of an extremism task force set up by the prime minister, were proposed during the last parliament in March, but were largely vetoed by the Liberal Democrats on the grounds of free speech. They were subsequently revived in the Conservative manifesto.
The measures would give the police powers to apply to the high court for an order to limit the “harmful activities” of an extremist individual. The definition of harmful is to include a risk of public disorder, a risk of harassment, alarm or distress or creating a “threat to the functioning of democracy”.
The aim is to catch not just those who spread or incite hatred on the grounds of gender, race or religion but also those who undertake harmful activities for the “purpose of overthrowing democracy”.
They would include a ban on broadcasting and a requirement to submit to the police in advance any proposed publication on the web and social media or in print. The bill will also contain plans for banning orders for extremist organizations which seek to undermine democracy or use hate speech in public places, but it will fall short of banning on the grounds of provoking hatred.”
It is actually hard to see what this bill could possibly “fall short of”. Given that any ideas that might be considered to “threaten the functioning of democracy” will require a special police permit to be uttered, we have to wonder if e.g. Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s book Democracy, the God that Failed will be banned in the UK. The definition of “harmful” provided above is quite striking. In order to be deemed too harmful to be tolerated by the thought police one only needs to create a “risk of causing alarm or distress”.
In light of this, we want to take this opportunity to apply for a broadcasting ban on David Cameron. The man is definitely causing us great alarm and distress now that he’s been handed the pants of power.
David Cameron, wearer of the pants of power
Cartoon by Steve Bell
Of course we can fully rely on the UK police force to be able to clearly differentiate “good and tolerable hate” from the “bad and distressing” kind when the time comes to make that determination. It’s really easy. Just consider how easy it has e.g. been to differentiate the good guys from the bad guys on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq.
Clear as day!
Cartoon by Brian Gable
Can We Still Call him a Fascist Twat in a Onesie?
As Glenn Greenwald remarks at the Intercept, UK home secretary Theresa May has been doing her best to explain why certain purveyors of thought crimes must henceforth be persecuted by the State in order to ensure our continued safety. You see, it’s all about being “One Nation”. Well, that’s OK then, right? Sieg Heil!
“In essence, advocating any ideas or working for any political outcomes regarded by British politicians as “extremist” will not only be a crime, but can be physically banned in advance.
It’s not enough for British subjects merely to “obey the law”; they must refrain from believing in or expressing ideas which Her Majesty’s Government dislikes.
If all that sounds menacing, tyrannical and even fascist to you — and really, how could it not? “extremism disruption orders” — you should really watch this video of Tory Home Secretary Theresa May trying to justify the bill in an interview on BBC this morning. When pressed on what “extremism” means — specifically, when something crosses the line from legitimate disagreement into criminal “extremism” — she evades the question completely, repeatedly invoking creepy slogans about the need to stop those who seek to “undermine Our British Values” and, instead, ensure “we are together as one society, One Nation” (I personally believe this was all more lyrical in its original German). Click here to watch the video and see the face of Western authoritarianism, advocating powers in the name of Freedom that are its very antithesis.”
Theresa May explains what exactly her government means by “extremist” speech that should be made illegal. She doesn’t seem to realize how creepy it all sounds.
It seems that many Western political leaders no longer know what freedom of speech actually means. Freedom of speech includes the possibility that people might utter opinions that cover the full range from “totally idiotic” to “potentially undermining someone else’s values” and more. Yes, it is a slightly risky concept, since some people may indeed be convinced by the rhetoric of very bad people. We’re quite sure it happens every day.
If we not only agree with Steve Bell that David Cameron is a “colossal twat in a onesie”, but augment that by calling him a “colossal fascist twat in a onesie”, are we engaging in hate speech? What about advocating anarchy, i.e., the possibility of doing away with ruling elites and the State altogether? Would that be regarded as criminally “undermining democracy”? Clearly, those who advocate a stateless society have to be considered “anti-democratic”, since there wouldn’t be a government or elections in such a society. How do we know anarchists won’t be prosecuted under the cover of this proposed legislation? Theresa May certainly hasn’t provided much reassurance on such fine points.
Will this symbol fall under the UK government’s definition of “harmful”? If an anarchy were to be established, both David Cameron and Theresa May would have to get real jobs, so our tentative guess at this point would be that the answer must be “yes”.
Many people might be tempted to think that since the superficially obvious goal is to curb the speech of Islamist fundamentalist hate preachers – of whom there is apparently no shortage in the UK – it is all fine and dandy. However, as soon as governments restrict free speech by means of new laws, it is an apodictic certainty that they will abuse this newly acquired power. It is in fact already happening. Glenn Greenwald provides a number of examples and includes links for fact-checking purposes:
“Threats to free speech can come from lots of places. But right now, the greatest threat by far in the West to ideals of free expression is coming not from radical Muslims, but from the very Western governments claiming to fight them. The increasingly unhinged, Cheney-sounding governments of the U.K., Australia, France, New Zealand and Canada — joining the U.S. — have a seemingly insatiable desire to curb freedoms in the name of protecting them: prosecuting people for Facebook postings critical of Western militarism or selling “radical” cable channels , imprisoning people for “radical” tweets, banning websites containing ideas they dislike, seeking (and obtaining ) new powers of surveillance and detention for those people (usually though not exclusively Muslim citizens) who hold and espouse views deemed by these governments to be “radical.”
Anticipating Prime Minister Cameron’s new “anti-extremist” bill (to be unveiled in the “Queen’s Speech”), University of Bath Professor Bill Durodié said that “the window for free speech has now been firmly shut just a few months after so many political leaders walked in supposed solidarity for murdered cartoonists in France.” Actually, there has long been a broad, sustained assault in the West on core political liberties — specifically due process, free speech and free assembly — perpetrated not by “radical Muslims,” but by those who endlessly claim to fight them.
What happened to “je suis Charlie”? As we recall, the rally in Paris in the wake of the attack was attended by all sorts of politicians from countries with a less than exemplary record of tolerating free speech, which should perhaps have been a tip-off that defending free speech wasn’t really what it was all about.
Meanwhile, David Cameron has no problem with the UK selling arms to assorted Arab theocratic and authoritarian rulers, as well as calling for arming “moderately mad mullahs” that might be induced to do the West’s bidding in various benighted Muslim lands. Much of this is likely to eventually boomerang in the form of “blow-back”, at which point we will be told that even more liberties will need to be curbed if we are to remain “safe”.
David Cameron and the Arab arms trade – arming moderately mad mullahs is apparently not regarded as a problem.
Cartoon by Steve Bell
We certainly don’t like what one might term “extremist hate preachers” and the ideas they are propagating. We are just as repulsed by people glorifying fascism, communism or Islamist fundamentalism as almost all civilized people presumably are. We too find it extremely unfortunate that a number of impressionable young people have been taken in by the slick propaganda published by outfits like the Islamic State. However, once government becomes the arbiter of what speech is and isn’t legitimate, the door is inevitably thrown wide open to the suppression of all political dissent.
It must be repeated here that even though terrorism certainly needs to be fought, the dangers emanating from terrorists are in reality exceedingly small. The average Western citizen is many thousands of times more likely to die from simply falling off a piece of furniture (e.g. a chair with an innately evil disposition) than to be killed by a terrorist. The act of taking a bath is almost a million times more risky than all the terrorism in the world, since accidentally drowning in the bathtub is statistically speaking a fairly common way of shuffling off the mortal coil. Life as such is inherently risky, given the fact that it invariably ends with death. And yet, no-one has proposed that it would be sensible to introduce State surveillance of all bath-tubs or furniture as of yet.
We therefore have absolutely nothing to gain in terms of enhanced security by restricting essential civil liberties. This is simply a government propaganda-induced illusion. We do however have a lot to lose. Once people feel they have to watch what they can say or write, an essential pillar of civilization and progress is severely undermined.
In order to make a small contribution to forestalling this sad trend for a little while longer, we will take the opportunity to repeat that David Cameron is a colossal fascist twat in a onesie.
Cartoon by Steve Bell
You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.
Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke
5 Responses to “Cameron’s New Thought Police”
Most read in the last 20 days:
- India: The World’s Fastest Growing Large Economy?
Popular Narrative India has been the world’s favorite country for the last three years. It is believed to have superseded China as the world’s fastest growing large economy. India is expected to grow at 7.5%. Compare that to the mere 6.3% growth that China has “fallen” to. India's quarterly annualized GDP growth rate since 2008, according to MOSPI (statistics ministry) - click to enlarge. The IMF, the World Bank, and the international media have celebrated...
- Gold Sector Update – What Stance is Appropriate?
The Technical Picture - a Comparison of Antecedents We wanted to post an update to our late December post on the gold sector for some time now (see “Gold – Ready to Spring Another Surprise?” for the details). Perhaps it was a good thing that some time has passed, as the current juncture seems particularly interesting. We received quite a few mails from friends and readers recently, expressing concern about the inability of gold stocks to lead, or even confirm strength in gold of...
- Don’t Blame Trump When the World Ends
Alien Economics There was, indeed, a time when clear thinking and lucid communication via the written word were held in high regard. As far as we can tell, this wonderful epoch concluded in 1936. Everything since has been tortured with varying degrees of gobbledygook. One should probably not be overly surprised that the abominable statist rag Time Magazine is fulsomely praising Keynes' nigh unreadable tome. We too suspect that this book has actually lowered the planet-wide IQ –...
- What is the Best Time to Buy Stocks?
Chasing Entry Points Something similar to the following has probably happened to you at some point: you want to buy a stock on a certain day and in order to time your entry, you start watching how it trades. Alas, the price rises and rises, and your patience begins to wear thin. Shouldn't a correction set in soon and provide you with a more favorable buying opportunity? Apple-Spotting – a five minute intraday chart showing the action in AAPL on February 1, 2017 - an...
- Incrementum Advisory Board Meeting, Q1 2017 and Some Additional Reflections
Looming Currency and Liquidity Problems The quarterly meeting of the Incrementum Advisory Board was held on January 11, approximately one month ago. A download link to a PDF document containing the full transcript including charts an be found at the end of this post. As always, a broad range of topics was discussed; although some time has passed since the meeting, all these issues remain relevant. Our comments below are taking developments that have taken place since then into...
- Trump and the Draining of the Swamp
Swamp Critters BALTIMORE – The Dow is back above the 20,000-point mark. Federal debt, as officially tallied, is up to nearly $20 trillion. The two go together, egging each other on. The Dow is up 20 times since 1980. So is the U.S. national debt. Debt feeds the stock market and the swamp. What’s not up so much is real output, as measured by GDP. It’s up only 6.4 times over the same period. Debt and asset prices have been rising three times as fast as GDP for 36 years! Best...
- Gold and Silver Divergence – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
Gold and Silver Divergence – Precious Metals Supply and Demand Last week, the prices of the metals went up, with the gold price rising every day and the silver price stalling out after rising 42 cents on Tuesday. The gold-silver ratio went up a bit this week, an unusual occurrence when prices are rising. Everyone knows that the price of silver is supposed to outperform — the way Pavlov’s Dogs know that food comes after the bell. Speculators usually make it...
- Making America Great Again – How to Judge Policy
A Simple Formula MIAMI – How do we know if new programs will make the economy better... or worse? Here’s a simple formula: W = rv (w-w – w-l) That is, wealth is equal to the real value of win-win exchanges minus the loss from win-lose exchanges. Yes, dear reader, it’s as simple as that. Like a whittler working on a piece of wood, we’ve shaved so much off, there is nothing left of it... except the essential heartwood. When devising a win-win,...
- When Trumponomics Meets Abenomics
Thirty Year Retread What will President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talk about when they meet later today? Will they gab about what fishing holes the big belly bass are biting at? Will they share insider secrets on what watering holes are serving up the stiffest drinks? [ed. note: when we edited this article for Acting Man, the meeting was already underway] Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe, a dyed-in-the-wool Keynesian and militarist, meets America's...
- The Great Wailing
Regret and Suffering BALTIMORE – Victoribus spolia... So far, the most satisfying thing about the Trump win has been the howls and whines coming from the establishment. Each appointment – some good, some bad from our perspective – has brought forth such heavy lamentations. Oh no! Alaric the Visigoth is here! Hide the women and children! And don't forget the vestal virgins, if you can find any... You’d think Washington had been invaded by Goths, now...
- Receive a One Percent Gift When Buying or Selling a Home
How to Save Money When Buying or Make More When Selling a Home In your professional capacity and perhaps also in your private life, you may be closely involved with financial and commodity markets. Trading in stocks, bonds or futures is part of your daily routine. Occasionally you probably have to deal with real estate as well though – if you e.g. want to purchase an apartment or a house, or if own a home you wish to sell. The people who took this photograph probably want to...
- Silver Futures Market Assistance – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
Silver Is Pushed Up Again This week, the prices of the metals moved up on Monday. Then the gold price went sideways for the rest of the week, but the silver price jumped on Friday. Taking off for real or not? Photo credit: NASA Is this the rocket ship to $50? Will Trump’s stimulus plan push up the price of silver? Or just push silver speculators to push up the price, at their own expense, again? This will again be a brief Report this week, as we are busy...