Monday, June 18, 2007

True or not, it's "hate"

The Local, an English-language newspaper out of Sweden, reports that a Swedish politician has been fined for remarking that 95 percent of the heroin in his country has come in from Kosovo. The punchline, according to former newspaper editor Svante Nycander: "when a member of the council asked the police whether Dahn Pettersson's claims were true, he was told simply that the claims constituted Agitation Against a National or Ethnic Group."

It should be apparent by now that so- called "anti-hate" laws can just as easily be used to suppress unpopular but factual opinions -- and in the future this may well come to be their primary function. Slandering someone as a racist (or xenophobe, nativist, Islamophobe, Nazi etc. etc.) is in most cases the most convenient way to shut them up and to silence debate on contentious issues. It is a kind of bullying that has to be resisted wherever possible.

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