Friday, December 17, 2004

Insulting law

A law has passed through the French lower house making it illegal to insult women or homosexuals. More exactly the law prohibits "defaming a person or a group of persons on account of their sex or their sexual orientation." The punishment is up to six months in prison.

Two things stand out about this law. First, it was passed by a "centre-right" government rather than a left-wing one. In fact, some members of the "centre-right" party rebelled in order to make the law even stricter. Which goes to show that conservatives need to be critical not only of the mainstream left-liberal parties, but also of the mainstream right-liberal ones.

Second, the French Human Rights Commission opposed the law as being too much against free speech. If even a human rights commission can't stomach the legislation, then it really must be radical in its intent. The French Human Rights Commission warned that not only might individual words, as well as books and films, be deemed outside the law, but so too might the Bible.

In the end, the claim by liberals to be the champions of free speech has been revealed to be false. Liberals are perfectly willing to curtail free speech in order to uphold their own version of political morality.

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