Realizing that there has been a distinct shortage of righteous indignation in the blogosphere regarding proposed British anti-terror legislation which may send anyone who "glorifies, exalts or celebrates" any terrorist act committed over the past 20 years to prison for up to five years, Daniel at Crooked Timber takes a whack at supplying the missing outrage:
For Christ’s sakes !! A Labour government (A LABOUR GOVERNMENT!) is trying to pass a law whereby you can sit down at a pub table, spend the evening talking and come away having COMMITTED A CRIMINAL BLOODY OFFENCE!! THIS IS A BLOODY SPEECH CRIME PEOPLE!! THEY ARE QUITE LITERALLY SAYING THAT THEY ARE GOING TO PUT PEOPLE IN JAIL FOR EXPRESSING THEIR POLITICAL VIEWS!!Do I have to start using the f and c words before anyone notices that there is something quite serious going on? I am as concerned as the proprietor of Shot by Both Sides for my long term career path, but this surely has to be more important. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND IS PROPOSING TO PUT PEOPLE IN JAIL FOR POLITICAL SPEECH CRIMES!! If anyone is proposing a quick sing-song outside the gates of 10 Downing Street singing “Glory Glory O Bin Laden” I think I am probably up for it. What the by-our-lady hell is going on?!
One commenter points out that this law might have, had it been enacted sooner, made reading Yeats aloud a prosecutable offense.
Another commenter makes a perceptive point:
We live in a world where the likes of [a previous commenter who favored the proposed legislation] can demand that his own right to free speech be curtailed. It’s time to realise the darkest truth about totalitarianism: it chimes in with deep fears we all have about taking the responsibility for our own freedom. Some of us give in to these fears and start to demand a ‘leader’ to take away this irksome responsibility.
In short, we are not so different in some very basic ways from the oppressed societies we are spreading "enlightenment" to. Let's not give up our very real freedoms for the sake of speedy protection from a shadowy threat--we are stronger and smarter than that.