Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Mr. Bean sees through PC sophistry

Atkinson defends right to offend: "Under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill, which will have its second reading in the Commons today, anyone judged to have stirred up religious hatred through threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour, would be liable to a maximum of seven years in prison.

But opponents of the measure say that while it is well intentioned, stopping the right to criticise other religions would end centuries of tolerance and could stoke tensions between religious groups rather than ease them.

Speaking at a press conference in the House of Commons, Atkinson said the proposals would destroy one of society's fundamental freedoms - the right to cause offence.

It would also threaten the livelihoods of all those whose job it is 'to question, to analyse and to satirise'. These included authors, academics, writers, actors, politicians and comedians."

..."The freedom to criticise ideas - any ideas even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society.

..."It all points to the promotion of the idea that there should be a right not to be offended. But in my view the right to offend is far more important than any right not to be offended.

"The right to ridicule is far more important to society than any right not to be ridiculed because one in my view represents openness - and the other represents oppression."

Bean should speak up more often. He has a better grasp of things than a lot of academics.