Mercy Muroki: EU plans to criminalise hate speech across the bloc in a bid to boost inclusivity
New EU plans would forcefully enshrine a ban on speech considered misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, amongst other things.
The European Commission – that all-powerful unelected beacon of Western democracy – plans to amend one of the EU's founding texts to criminalise hate speech across the bloc in a bid to boost inclusivity.
The new plans would forcefully enshrine a ban on speech considered misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, amongst other things.
Now, the EU will have a war on its hands in its attempts to get the unanimous support of all 27 member states, not least those in the Eastern European bloc who are staunchly culturally conservative and have no time for the EU's uber-liberal virtue signalling.
And whilst I don't condone some of the blatant state-sanctioned xenophobia, sexism, and racism that blights many of Eastern Europe's nations, I think it's fair to say that any attempts at banning speech should always be met with a high degree of skepticism.
The Commission for example, suggests in its communique that 'hate' can entail targeting gender identity and gender expression – which it calls 'fundamental characteristics'.
Which is ironic because gender expressions, which can by definition be changed on a whim, are everything but fundamental.
But my worry is: who gets to decide what counts as 'hate speech'? Especially when it comes to the very live and ongoing conversation about gender identity.
We know these days you only have to say 'women have wombs' or use the wrong pronoun for someone and you'll be publicly harangued and labelled a hate preacher.
The fact that this kind of speech could be added to the list of EU-wide crimes alongside crimes like human trafficking, terrorism, and drug smuggling is liberal lunacy.
Europhiles will say I'm exaggerating – that the EU is a sensible institution, that the Commission isn't out to cede to the demands of the intolerant wings of the LGBT lobby, that it's not trying to police language unreasonably, just trying to innocently 'protect minorities'.
I might be more inclined to believe this if the Commission hadn't, just a few weeks ago, literally tried to ban officials from using words such as 'man made' and 'ladies and gentlemen'.
The Inclusive Language Guide sent to EU Commission officials asked them to never use words such as policemen and mankind, and even tried to ban references to Christmas because they said it discriminated against other religions. They were, of course, embarrassed into u-turning.
It might make some people feel nice and fluffy to just smile and nod in agreement when the EU claims to be 'bolstering the rights of minorities'.
But those of us who don't want to be dragged carelessly into living in a censorious, authoritarian society should receive these new plans with a very raised eyebrow.