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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Free Speech

Americans are usually ignorant of the Statist mentality that runs supreme in Europe and are therefore very often supporters of the EU. Forbes magazine however, has picked up on one of the biggest differences between USA and USE.
The EU has funny ideas about human rights. For example, the idea that free speech is not among those rights.
This to an average American is totally unbelievable. I say average, because lefties believe in censorship of all kinds. t then identifies the biggest single threat to our right of free speech in the future.
It sounds incredible, or possibly not, but among the greatest threats to free speech in Europe is a document called the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The charter, proclaimed at an EU summit in 2000 and now incorporated into the provisional EU Constitution, comprises a blizzard of rights: rights for children, for women (they have a right to preference in areas wherein they are underrepresented), for asylum-seekers, for workers and employers (both are said to have a right to collective bargaining), for murderers (they have a right not to suffer capital punishment) and for the disabled. There is a right to marry, a right to privacy, a right to a good education and a lot more--including a right to freedom of expression. These rights are enumerated in 53 articles.
Europhiles and believers in “positive rights” often say this is a big leap forward. For Free Market Liberals such as myself, it looks like shopping list of socialist policies and a power grab by governments. But that is not the issue they highlight.
But the final article is not a right. Headed "Prohibition of abuse of rights," it states: "Nothing in this Charter shall be interpreted as implying any right to engage in any activity … aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms recognized in this Charter or at their limitation."
So we have a constitution which nobody can ever change. Even discussing attempting to change it is effectively illegal.
This seems highly problematic. If someone were to mount a campaign favoring the death penalty, or opposing collective bargaining, or opposing preferences for women, or limiting the options of asylum-seekers, this would plainly constitute an effort to destroy rights recognized in the Charter--an activity characterized as an "abuse of rights" and therefore prohibited.
So as the more paranoid among us, myself included, have often claimed, the charter is nothing more than an attempt at a permanent Social Democratic Revolution.

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