It’s not just those domestic extremists and crazy “conspiracy theory” kooks who took serious issue with UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent overtly fascist language when it comes to freedom of expression in Great Britain. For example, in a post published today, the UK Independent describes the quote below as “the creepiest thing David Cameron has ever said.”
This statement, and others like it, are a huge deal. This isn’t how the leader of a major civilized Western so-called “democracy” speaks to the citizenry. It is how a master talks to his slaves. How a ruler addresses his subjects. I think the following tweet by Glenn Greenwald earlier today sums up David Cameron’s attitude perfectly well:
Those of us who are in disbelief over David Cameron’s recent language, don’t have to just point to the quote above. There’s a lot more to it than a simple quote. For example, the Guardian reports:
The measures would give the police powers to apply to the high court for an order to limit the “harmful activities” of an extremist individual. The definition of harmful is to include a risk of public disorder, a risk of harassment, alarm or distress or creating a “threat to the functioning of democracy”.
A “risk of public disorder,” or a “risk of harassment alarm or distress.” Think about that for a second. Pretty much 90% of all speech could be classified as posing a risk to all of those things. It’s basically banning any criticism the government doesn’t like. Truly remarkable. Now here’s how the magnificent “democracy” of Great Britain plans on dealing with such “extremists.”
They would include a ban on broadcasting and a requirement to submit to the police in advance any proposed publication on the web and social media or in print. The bill will also contain plans for banning orders for extremist organizations which seek to undermine democracy or use hate speech in public places, but it will fall short of banning on the grounds of provoking hatred.
Teresa May wants to “ban non-violent extremist groups that fall short of the current threshold for being banned as terrorist-related organizations.” Think about that very closely. Essentially, she is saying non-violent groups that are currently not breaking any laws should be criminalized by creating new laws. Once this process begins, it will continue to be expanded and expanded until pretty much every form of expression other than government propaganda will be banned.
Secondly, she notes that the new laws are necessary to combat groups that undertake activities “for the purpose of overthrowing democracy.” Considering that the U.S. government changes the meanings of words at a moment’s notice, such as claiming that “imminent” doesn’t really mean “imminent,” I argue that an official government definition of democracy is necessary. Moreover, what if the UK is like the U.S., a state that claims to be a democracy, but in reality is an oligarchy? What are the rules about calling for the removal of an oligarchy?