03 Dec 2008
Welcome to the Gray Entity Society

I suppose I’m a (lowercase) libertarian; according to The World’s Shortest Libertarian FAQ, the simple definition of a libertarian “is someone who, in general, supports government policies that favor individual liberty in all matters, whether economic, personal, or social”. Until you offend me, of course … then I become a self-righteous prick.

I ran across the following two posts while skimming through my feed reader. I saw the anti-blasphemy one first and had decided not to remark on it, but a comment in the Kentucky gambling post changed my mind.

David Maher, in Kentucky and the Gambling Domains, says

A recent law suit in Kentucky has attracted world-wide attention because it could create a very dangerous precedent—the application of local law to the domain name system and Internet web sites that are available globally.

On October 16, 2008, a Kentucky trial court entered an order purporting to seize 141 domain names allegedly involved in gambling. The basis of the order was the allegation by the state of Kentucky that gambling on the Internet violates Kentucky’s state laws regulating gambling. A subsequent amendment to the order would exempt web sites that installed a “geographic filter” preventing access by Kentucky residents.

Even though the Kentucky case only involves Kentucky gambling laws, the dangerous precedent is that regimes around the world with oppressive local laws restricting speech or religion might attempt similar litigation.

Think about that last sentence … *bzzt* time’s up.

Orac, in Anti-blasphemy = anti-free speech, discusses the UN resolution “Combating Defamation of Religions” and the Dutch cabinet’s conversion of an anti-blasphemy law to one where “it will be punishable to give serious offence to any group of people”. As Orac says

In other words, it creates a right not to be offended and elevates it above the right to freedom of speech. The spread and ascendence of such a “right” is anathema to the most important right of free people: freedom of speech. Once again, I find myself pointing out that no idea, religious or otherwise, should be above criticism. Period. And no one–I repeat, no one–has the “right” not to be offended.

As one of Orac’s commentors mentioned, you don’t need free speech laws to protect inoffensive speech.

Sigh. Read the articles.

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