The 4 Freedoms Library

It takes a nation to protect the nation

In The Australian, Janet Albrechtsen has a fine column on Western democracies' accelerating retreat from core liberties (Netcon: in the following post). She touches on the Wilders trial in the Netherlands and your humble correspondent's recent travails up north, in both of which cases the state is happy to sacrifice freedom of expression in the cause of hedging the sensitivities of Islam with special protections. But what struck me most about Janet's piece was her local angle. I've been musing for years on how the illusions of multicultural tolerance have been hijacked by the avowedly unicultural and intolerant, but you could hardly have a more parodic example than Omar Hassan.

Mr. Hassan wrote to Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commission to complain about Michael Smith's radio show. Mr. Smith had been discussing whether the burka should be prohibited in certain places because criminals have used it as a disguise with which to commit crimes. Which happens to be true. But, as in Canada and the Netherlands, the truth is no defense. So Mr. Hassan complained to the Anti-Discrimination Commission about Mr. Smith's "Islamophobia," and the ADC accepted the complaint. What's interesting is that Omar Hassan's complaint is 15 pages long, and discourses on many topics. For example:

He expressed his disgust at being "forced to look at the backside of a woman who bends over in front of me in supermarket to pick an item off a bottom shelf". It is a health hazard, he says. "Non-Muslim women do not use water to clean themselves when they go to the toilet." Thus, bending over in a supermarket could cause serious health risks.

So, in the course of complaining about Mr. Smith's "bigotry," Omar Hassan reveals himself to be a bigot: He's explicitly bigoted against infidel women. But, needless to say, the Anti-Discrimination Commission accepted the bigot's case and, at great cost to Queensland taxpayers, will now be making Mr. Smith's life hell for the foreseeable future.

Why don't the Anti-Discrimination Commission go after the bigot Hassan? After all, he very conveniently confessed his bigotry in a letter mailed directly to them.

Ah, but it doesn't work like that. The bigot Hassan belongs to a protected identity group, so Mr. Smith's free speech must be curtailed while Hassan can continue sating his peculiar obsession with non-Muslim female bottoms with impunity — for it would be "intolerant" to subject an avowedly intolerant Islamic supremacist to "Islamophobia."

After two years of this battle up north, my only advice to Mr. Smith is this: Don't let them make what you said the issue. Make the third-rate hack enforcers of the Commission and their ugly inconsistent racket the issue. Every day, around the free world, liberty dims in the interests of appeasing thuggish ignoramuses like Omar Hassan. What kind of deal is that?

Tags: Celebrate, Conformity, Steyn], [Mark

Views: 50

Replies to This Discussion

Menace in mad march of the thought police

Janet Albrechtsen From: The Australian February 10, 2010 12:00AM 19

THE dark spectre of illiberalism is slowly poisoning Western liberal democracies. You won't hear about it from much of the left-liberal press. It is part of the problem and its silence only confirms that basic liberties integral to Western liberal democracies are under threat. That is why you may not have heard about the trial of Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who is being prosecuted under hate laws in The Netherlands for his opinions about Islam. Agree or disagree with Wilders, this is the thundering march of the thought police. And don't for a moment imagine that Australia is immune from this menace to democracy.

In a trial that began last month, Wilders is being prosecuted for offending a "group of people", for incitement and discrimination against Muslims. The summons describes scenes from his film Fitna as reason enough to put the leader of the Freedom Party in prison for up to two years.

In a sign of how twisted our Western antennae have become, the violence incited by Fitna is not against Muslims. Instead the film shows footage of Muslims preaching violence against the West. Yet Wilders is on trial for his opinions.

That said, Wilders does have harsh things to say about Islam. He likens the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf and wants it banned. No doubt this is hurtful to Muslims. No doubt this offends them. It may even be hateful. But in June 2009 Dutch prosecutors declined to act against Wilders because "freedom of expression fulfils an essential role in public debate in a democratic society. That means offensive comments can be made in a political debate."

Flexing its activist arm, the Dutch appeals court decided to prosecute Wilders anyway. Make no mistake. This is a political trial.

Wilders's Freedom Party is presently the most popular political party in The Netherlands. In last year's elections for the European Parliament, it won 17 per cent of the vote, second only to the ruling Christian Democrats on 19.9 per cent.

Wilders, who has made no secret of his views about Islam, could well be the next prime minister if that popularity is maintained. In other words, the Dutch seem interested in having a debate about what Wilders has to say about Islam.

Alas, the Dutch political class is not interested. And it is downright eerie how it aims to shut down debate. By using hate laws to criminalise Wilders's views, it has effectively co-opted Islamic laws to prohibit criticism of Islam.

Criticism of Christianity is fair game. After all, when was the last hate law prosecution of a critic of Christianity? By contrast, Islam has special protective laws. The same happened in Canada when commentators Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant were hauled before anti-discrimination tribunals for expressing critical opinions about Islam. John Stuart Mill's defence of free speech has been buried. Muslim-style censorship now applies in the heart of Western liberal democracies.

The left-liberal press is not that interested in free speech either. Perhaps free speech does not matter to it. Or perhaps these kinds of prosecutions are now so commonplace, they don't warrant a headline. Either way, this spells the decay of Western liberal democracies.

In Australia, too, the thought police have been on the march. In January last year, 4BC Queensland radio broadcaster Michael Smith said he thought it dangerous to allow the burka in certain public places because it had been used as a disguise by criminals. He also said he thought the burka impedes vision in a car. Days later, a listener, Omar Hassan, wrote to 4BC and complained to the Australian Communications and Media Authority that Smith had breached the code by vilifying, inciting hatred and discriminating against Muslims.

Last year, ACMA tossed out the complaint. No matter. Hassan also lodged a complaint with Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commission. And the ADC accepted the complaint.

Never mind that countries such as France and Denmark are having robust debates about banning the burka for all sorts of reasons. Here in Australia, Smith cannot raise his objections - not without his employer, Fairfax Radio, having to spend time and money defending his right to express his opinions. And the purveyors of acceptable thoughts at the ADC now require Smith to attend a three-hour "mediation" session with Hassan. Call it a hunch, but I'm guessing mediation won't satisfy Hassan. In his 15-page letter to 4BC, he described Australia as a "racist country . . . No. 1 on the world list for the violation of human rights". He said Fairfax radio is a "human zoo owned by . . . pigs and monkeys". He said of Smith - a former policeman - that "being a cop would write you off as a decent human being for life as you can never recover from that disease of being a cop, as once a cop, the dirt and filth stick to you forever and could never be removed".

And he had plenty to say about women in short skirts. He expressed his disgust at being "forced to look at the backside of a woman who bends over in front of me in supermarket to pick an item off a bottom shelf". It is a health hazard, he says. "Non-Muslim women do not use water to clean themselves when they go to the toilet." Thus, bending over in a supermarket could cause serious health risks, Hassan wrote, especially for little children who "because of their height, may have such [a] scene right in their face".

Instead of dismissing this barrage of invective from Hassan, the ADC has decided that Smith has a case to answer.

Have we gone mad? Even if you think Smith's call for banning the burka is offensive - and, by the way, plenty of people in Western countries don't - using the law as a sledgehammer to suppress even the most offensive opinions is wrong.

The chilling effect of these laws will cause far greater problems for Western democracies than the problems anti-discrimination laws try to address.

Shutting down public debates will only drive discussion underground where, away from the blowtorch of challenging views, they will fester and grow more extreme in private. And shutting down offensive debate at the request of loony objectors just encourages more thin-skinned outrage, with ever more outlandish claims to protection from free speech, and increasing censorship. If you really want to discredit bad ideas, the surest way is to expose them to free and full debate. Remember, too, that plenty of ideas that were once regarded as offensive by a group of puffed-up, moralising sophisticates have prevailed.

If these same arguments defending freedom of expression are not made each and every time someone is prosecuted for their opinions, the great danger is that these kinds of stifling prosecutions will be regarded as the norm in a society that has seemingly forgotten or forsaken its values.
I posted a comment following the 'Australian' article.

James of Canberra Posted at 10:14 AM February 10, 2010
What would you say if Wilders was being tried for anti-semitic hate speech? By which I mean, he criticised and hated Judaism, rather than Jews.

re: James of Canberra:
Yes, nice try, we should do exactly what you are doing here, strive for symetry and uniformity, by substituting different values for the variables, and thereby try create a system which is 'fair'.

But unfortunately your initial 'equation' is wrong. Wilders is not on trial for making statements about Islamic ideology which are under dispute as true of false. If that were the case, we would, of course, be delighted to see the same process applied to Judaism, Christianity, etc.

Wilders is on trial for highlighting facts which, whether true or not, cause a segment of the population to become angry.

Suppose Martian preachers state in 2008 that your daughter should be executed, then a Martian gang do it in 2009. In 2010 you broadcast these facts, but get shut down by the Martian community who compain about unfair inferences being drawn. But you are only pointing out 2 facts. Are you ok with that? Whether it is true or not will not matter; you are simply being offensive and will be silenced. Just like your daughter, and millions in Islamic countries that have already been silenced. But we are all too clever now to read history, aren't we?
It is interesting to note that the problem with tribunal systems of justice in the west is not constrained to identity politics. It represents an even broader challenege to western values in particular British common law than Janet Albrectson or Mark Steyn are aware of with their particular examples. In Queensland in particular the Adult Guardian tribunal has acted as proxy for the state to seize property that is being held in the name of people who have diminished capacity. In the name of "privacy" in order to protect the interests of the person who is held to be diminished all hearings are held in a closed court with legal representation denied. This serves the purpose of obfuscating the shoddy and ideologically driven nature of proceedings and thus protects the interests of the tribunal rather than the "victim". Once the state has guardianship of the propertied individual with diminished capacity it takes the property off said individual sells it and makes a nice windfall for consolidated revenue. The person is then confined to a nursing home and treated the same as everyone else irrespective of the value of the property the state seized or the fact that the act maintains that the state must "administer the property as the individual with diminished capacity would and in their best interests". So if the individual has ownership or part ownership (as was the case with my mother) of a house - the state will evict the family members of the individual from the house and rent the place out or sell it.

Why don't we know about this? Where is the MSM? Well here at least you would expect some joy from those craven leftists but to publish the proceedings of the tribunal attracts a two hundred thousand dollar fine. The Courier Mail nonetheless published a great deal of material about the Adult Guardian and copped heavy fines. Eventually the expense built up and the issue was dropped. We can expect more strategies like this emerging from a state where an increasing amount of the tax base is drying up and polititcians are unwilling to reduce the size of the bloated public service to contain their overheads. In effect we not only no longer have the right to freedom of speech - covertly our property rights are being undermined. Something which would not happen in one party states like Singapore.

Some people on the left actually acknowledge that there is a problem with a number of these tribunals but put the problem down to who is running them. They'd say hypothetically Karen Gibbs is perhaps the problem so if we appoint Billy Goon then things in the Victorian Administrative Tribunal might not involve so many cases that resemble Daniel Nalliah and the Catch th Fire Ministries case. I think differently - I say it is the entire culture and tribunal system that is rotten and needs to go. We need to demand our common law rights back.
What a horror story - and I thought the UK was bad with respect to treatment of older people, this is far worse.
I am sorry but I can not help it, I have to say it yet again.

Fight back, Do not allow anyone to go unchallenged when they call you a Racist were Islam is concerned or if they call you Islam-a-phobic.

Islam is NOT a race, if it is then so is Christianity and we all know its not.

Muslims come from all races and as such it is not racist to criticise there cult.

Islam-a-phobia, Well the fact is that it just dose not exist, sorry about that Muslims but there you are.

In fact the Muslims do not want Islam on the list of phobias which can only get on the list if someone is actually diagnosed by a doctor of the head.

The fact is that if anyone was diagnosed as having Islam-a-phobia then they would be suffering from an irrational fear of Islam and that would be a mental health issue.

And if that were the case then that person would be protected under the law and it would be a criminal offence to attack that person ether verbally or physically for suffering from a mental health problem for which they are not responsible.

So next time some p c yahoo says you’re a racist for debating Islam or that you are Islam-a-phobic just tell them I said Bugger off as they are talking out of there arses..

Advance Australia Fair.

No Surrender.


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Most Western societies are based on Secular Democracy, which itself is based on the concept that the open marketplace of ideas leads to the optimum government. Whilst that model has been very successful, it has defects. The 4 Freedoms address 4 of the principal vulnerabilities, and gives corrections to them. 

At the moment, one of the main actors exploiting these defects, is Islam, so this site pays particular attention to that threat.

Islam, operating at the micro and macro levels, is unstoppable by individuals, hence: "It takes a nation to protect the nation". There is not enough time to fight all its attacks, nor to read them nor even to record them. So the members of 4F try to curate a representative subset of these events.

We need to capture this information before it is removed.  The site already contains sufficient information to cover most issues, but our members add further updates when possible.

We hope that free nations will wake up to stop the threat, and force the separation of (Islamic) Church and State. This will also allow moderate Muslims to escape from their totalitarian political system.

The 4 Freedoms

These 4 freedoms are designed to close 4 vulnerabilities in Secular Democracy, by making them SP or Self-Protecting (see Hobbes's first law of nature). But Democracy also requires - in addition to the standard divisions of Executive, Legislature & Judiciary - a fourth body, Protector of the Open Society (POS), to monitor all its vulnerabilities (see also Popper). 
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An additional Freedom from Religion is deducible if the law is applied equally to everyone:

  • Religious and cultural activities are exempt from legal oversight except where they intrude into the public sphere (Res Publica)"

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