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The Council of Europe has amended its cybercrime treaty to devise criminal penalties for those who dare to express unpopular ideas for public consumption with any manner of computer equipment. The measure specifically targets so-called 'racist and xenophobic material', and would apply to any controversial Web-site, or even a mean-spirited posting to a BBS or an e-mail newsletter.

Rather than waste public revenues educating people and encouraging them to respect each other, the CoE has taken the cheap, small-town Protestant route of criminalizing the mere expression of disrespect. That is, Europe will make a crime of the symptom while placidly ignoring the disease.

The venerable Eurocrats have decreed that, "'racist and xenophobic material' means any written material, any image or any other representation of ideas or theories, which advocates, promotes or incites hatred, discrimination or violence, against any individual or group of individuals, based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as religion if used as pretext for any of these factors."

This will make the world a better place because criminalizing certain forms of speech is scientifically proven to eliminate the underlying sentiment. Really, I read that on a match cover.

The actual criminal act is "making publicly available, through a computer system" any of the CoE's forbidden thoughts. And be warned; there's a nice weasel clause for carriers -- the CoE castrators are very smart. They know that if they held carriers liable the carriers would lobby this piece of bureaucratic abuse into the dust bin. You are on your own here, and by clever design. You will either take to the streets en masse and sternly warn your government that you will not be told what you can and cannot say, or you will be told what you can and cannot say.

We should like to think that this madness won't stand long; but as Chesterton noted, it's the business of Liberals to make imbecilic mistakes like these, and the business of Conservatives to ensure that they never get fixed.

But all is not lost. There is a significant loophole for on-line religious hatred, no doubt because the Progressive Prods in Brussels and Strasbourg can't sleep while the Roman Catholic Church and its members still breathe.

Thus this frightening 'proud and loving memorial' and stern warning to Roman Catholics making it clear that their lives are cheap in Orangeland will be fair to post:

As will my little parody of it (involving the coat of arms of His Holiness John Paul II, in case you don't get the joke):

But sadly, it might be a crime for Orange Neanderthals to disseminate this militant little corker (honest, lads, it made me laugh too) giving talkaholic Gerry Adams decidedly golliwog features:

Oh, and golliwog will also probably become a criminal word which will have to be deleted from this article, as well as from the databases of on-line dictionaries. Fortunately the Ministry of Truth has designed a little bit of Newspeak with which I can edit this article in a year or two when it becomes a criminal act for The Register to host it: I can do a text search and replace golliwog with "person of colour".

This worries me because once forbidden thought is purged from the Net, there will be no way for cooperative, high-minded people like me to learn whether a word is offensive in some racist or xenophobic way. It's entirely possible that by purging the lexicon of xenophobia, we innocent, civic-minded do-gooders may unintentionally break the law and draw criminal penalties upon ourselves.

So I think it only prudent, in the best interests of future European law enforcement, recognizing the mortification that our noble knights in blue uniform experience at the mere thought of innocents being prosecuted, to warn my readers ahead of time that 'Mick' and 'Paddy' are offensive slang for the Irish; 'Limey', 'Inselaffe' and 'Bifteck' for the English; 'Polack' for Poles; 'Kraut' for Germans; 'Frog' for the French; 'Chink' for the Chinese; 'Dink', 'Slant', 'Nip', 'Gook' and 'Slope' for most other East Asians; 'Wog' and 'Dot' for East Indians; 'Nigger' (not to be confused with the friendly 'Nigga'), 'Spade', 'Porch Monkey', 'Jig' or 'Jigaboo', 'Coon', 'Pickaninny', 'Kefir', 'Spearchucker' and 'Tarbaby' for black Africans; 'Abbo' for Australian natives; 'Kike', 'Yid', 'Sheenie' and 'Hebe' for Jews; 'Sand Nigger' and 'Raghead' for Arabs; 'Spic' for non-European Hispanophones; 'Dago' for Italians, Greeks, Spaniards and the Portuguese (though 'Wog' is sometimes applied here); 'Wop' and 'Guinea' for Italians in the USA; 'Canuck' for Canadians; and last but not least, 'Yank' for Americans.

On the other hand, 'Papist' is objectionable slang for a Roman Catholic, but the CoE is delighted with it so long as you have no intention of insulting my religious beliefs in order to insult my Irishness. If it's only my Church you're threatening, or my person insofar as I would advance Her agenda, and you don't call me a Paddy, all is well and you're free to call me a Papist and recommend that I be shot dead. Similarly, I can call you a 'Prod' or a 'Neanderthal Orange throwback' and encourage my Brethren to shoot you dead, so long as I leave your nationality out of it.

So the CoE is not quite the spoilsport we originally imagined.

As for epithets, we may also be able to hang onto 'Raghead', 'Dot', 'Hebe', 'Yid' and 'Kike', so long as it's one's intention to insult another's Muslimism, Hinduism or Judaism respectively, and confine it to that. You can advocate killing Arabs insofar as they're Muslims, but NOT insofar as they're Arabs. Ditto for Frogs, Slopes, Tarbabies, Polacks, etc....

Hey, this is Progress -- it's for your own good. Now be a good little castrated citizen and thank your bureaucrats for their kindly stewardship of your life, and be sure to kiss a policeman's ass before he gives you a well-deserved beatdown for impure thoughts. ®

Related Links

The full text of your impending castration
The CoE's chirpy press release summarizing it

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

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