24 October 2006

A Confusion Between Rights and Being Right

Governments in France, the UK, and the US are corrupting a precious legacy of Western Civilization. France's lower house of parliament recently passed a bill making denial of the Armenian genocide a crime. The British recently charged an activist for passing out anti-homosexual leaflets at a gay and lesbian festival, enforcing a law that allows the crown to prosecute anyone causing a person "alarm or distress" on "at least two occasions." Bush has decided that habeas corpus is a gift that he is free to take from anyone he deems unworthy of it.

This confusion between what seems to be right - squelch the speech of activists who harass those with whom they disagree or indefinitely hold suspects without the need to go public with potentially dangerous information - and rights - freedom of speech and the right to trial - can very easily lead down a slippery slope towards benevolent dictatorships. Communities need to reverse their trend of worrying about what is right for the individual and instead focus on protecting individual rights.

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