Freedom to be offensive: West following PAP’s lead?

In Uncategorized on 07/02/2018 at 11:10 am

Talking about Western liberal democracies, the Economist wrote sometime back

it is worth remembering that in the distant and not-so-distant past, the authorities took it as read that certain ways of thinking and speaking were so manifestly dangerous and disruptive to society that they should be prevented in every possible way. The “freedom to be wrong” is a new and precarious concept, and there is no guarantee that it will survive.

In our time, there are plenty of ideas that are viewed in the liberal Western world as not merely wrong but obnoxious and outside the limits of decent discourse: holocaust denial and openly racist or sexist ideas would be high on most people’s lists.

So the PAP’s views that race matters, or cannot be offensive or obnoxious (all of which incidentally originally came from the British colonial administration*: Even PAP govt thinks ang moh tua kee) is being copied by the ang mohs?

After all a very recent European Court of Human Rights (the ECHR is an organisation of the 47-nation Council of Europe) ruling accepted that liberty of expression carried certain responsibilities, including a duty not to be “gratuitously offensive or profane”:

Not really because as Cherian George last week (before the  ECHR ruling was made public) in response to this question

Q: Can you comment on the differences between Singapore’s laws on hate speech and those of Western Europe? I ask this question because the defenders of Singapore’s restrictions on freedom of speech almost always bring up Germany’s laws on holocaust denial and other restrictions on speech.
Even Germany, which treats hate speech very seriously, only prohibits speech that carries a real risk of actual harm, like promoting discrimination against minorities or causing them to live in fear (and of course inciting violence and genocide, which even the Americans are willing to regulate). But in Singapore, the government also prohibits speech that offends people’s feelings, even if there’s no objective harm that would arise from it. That’s the difference. When you legislate against insult or wounded feelings, the way Singapore does, you are allowing the law to be used as a weapon to silence speech that may be quite necessary.
But given his views on the PAP, he would say that, wouldn’t he?
*One law in the UK for the British establishment (the plebs didn’t matter in Victorian and Edwardian times), but another law for “lesser breeds” that needed to be kept in check, lest they overthrew the natural order of things. Remember that like S’pore today, the British empire was multilingual, multiracial, multireligious and multicultural, and there wasn’t any aspiration to be
one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,
  1. race/religion is too tricky to discuss; take nepotism instead; talking about it offends someone’s feelings certainly, but also constitutes an attack tool in more serious ways

    but I dont think cherian george is as naive as he makes himself look; what I said above would not be new to him

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