Friday, May 08, 2009

Savage banned

Electric City Weblog has an amusing post and comments on England's decision to ban Michael Savage from its shores. Mr. Natelson presents this largely as a free speech case, but it isn't really. Mr. Savage is free to speak as he pleases; he simply is not free to travel to England.

I admit that I would find this outrageous if Mr. Savage were English and were banned from traveling to America. This is a free country. But I am less interested in protecting him from the despotism of English law. We already had that fight with England, and we won. We can easily avoid England's legal excesses by avoiding England.

Moreover, I don't much mind mind seeing Savage held to standards that he himself applies to those he dislikes. He has called, for example, for an outright ban on Muslim immigration, laws making it illegal to build mosques in America and a law requiring that only English may be spoken on U.S. streets. England isn't telling him that he may not speak; it is telling him, "We don't want your sort here."

Sidenote: In comments, Mr. Natelson says that by the standards applied to Savage, Jeremiah Wright also should be banned. This is insane. Despite massive efforts in the presidential campaign to dig up outrageous statements by Wright, Republicans managed to find only a half-dozen or so sentences. A couple of these seem less outrageous in context. A couple of others are tough criticism that nevertheless fall well within accepted boundaries of public discourse.

So we are now to equate perhaps two sentences spoken by the Rev. Wright over a couple of decades with the venom that Savage spouts daily? No way.

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