Free speech opponent banned for his speech"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
So I see that far right shock jock Michael Savage has been banned from Britain for allegedly fostering extremism or hatred.
I am not that familiar with British laws pertaining to hate crimes/speech. I realize that countries have the right to regulate who enters their country, as opponents of illegal immigration will be quick to point out. My natural inclination is to err on the side of free speech unless there's a pretty compelling reason otherwise. Putting up with filth like Savage's is a necessary evil in a democratic society. Otherwise, 'allowable' speech depends on who's in power and people like Savage are allowed to turn themselves into free speech martyrs.
Civil libertarians noted that excluding people based on their political views intensified after the passage of the Patriot Act in 2001, it recalls Cold War fears when people like Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, a communist, was kept out of the United States. The letter cited people who been barred from entering the United States, including Adam Habib, a South African professor and human rights activist, Rafael de Jesus Gallego Romero, a Colombian priest who is a critic of his government, and Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss national who is a professor at the University of Oxford and described as a leading Islamic thinker, reported The San Francisco Chronicle.
That said, I can only laugh at how Savage and his supporters have suddenly become big defenders of free speech.
I'm not sure which is more ironic: a) the fact that the same Savage who's now whining about free speech protections used to say that it was "time to re-enact the Sedition Act," which banned criticism of the federal government* or b) the fact that one of the most vocal organizations against the practice to which Savage was subjected is that group most hated by the far right... the ACLU.
(*-Too bad he didn't get his way now that his much loathed Obama is president)
Update: The UK isn't the only country coming under criticism for its blacklists.