Wednesday, October 31, 2018

In Europe, free speech is an alienable right

A human rights court in Vienna has upheld the 2011 conviction of a woman in Austria for “disparagement of religious precepts” when she stated a that the prophet Muhammad had been a child molester, based on the historical record of his possible sex with girls who would be legally underage by today’s standards but probably not around 500 AD. 
The Atlantic, in an article by Graeme Wood, goes on to opine that in Europe, “free speech is an alienable right”.  The writer explains that European history may justify the vulnerability of the political institutions to vile ideas, and she offers a link to another Atlantic article explaining that the US really does leave the policing of vile ideas to private companies and interests, as we have seen with de-platforming of some controversial sites for racist or anti-Semitic, possibly even homophobic, hate speech. 

The European system seems to place less value on individualized speech, as we see from the controversy over the European Copyright Directive, which may, thankfully, be weakening. 

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