Although the repeal of blasphemy has passed, it is important to make the case why this is actually a good thing for the Right in Ireland. Instead of another blow to old ways and tradition, the Right should be looking on this as an opportunity to make political hay.
The case was being made earlier in Right-wing circles that firstly; the repeal of the blasphemy clause is a prerequisite to the passing of hate speech legislation, and secondly; that in the event of hate speech legislation, the blasphemy clause could give one protection by claiming your political opinions are actually your religious views. Neither of these are feasible.
First off, the blasphemy clause, as far as I can see, would in no way inhibit the passing of Hate Speech legislation. If anything, it would aid it! The precedent set by the clause is that it is permissible for the state to restrict the freedom of expression if it causes offence, a precedent all conservatives in Ireland should oppose in an age where even the mildest Right-wing talking points are a cause of controversy. In an age where Political Correctness is the new religion, and to oppose it, is blasphemy.
Secondly, even if, and it’s a very big if, one could convince a court that a casual political remark was somehow the product of an entire system of faith unique to the accused, to be prosecuted for it could still not be considered blasphemy.
For example, when Jihadists are arrested and jailed for plotting terror, there’s no doubt that what they do is driven by their religious beliefs, but can the punishment for their actions be considered blasphemy? Of course not.
Likewise, someone accused of Hate Speech will not be protected by claiming ‘restricting my speech is blasphemy.’ When one is in breach of the law, one is in breach of the law, and in a secular state the prosecution and penalty of this is not a question of religious beliefs at all.
There is no need for members of the right to defend this clause. As far as I can see, it is pure reaction on the part conservatives, simply opposing what the left-liberals propose because it was the left-liberals who proposed it.
Instead, we on the Right, or for that matter, any and all who support the freedom of expression, must see this repeal as an opportunity. Referenda aren’t all repealing clauses, remember that amendments can be added too. It is high time that Ireland had freedom of speech, opinion, and expression added to, and protected by its Constitution.
Yes, it is very true that many of those public figures who’ve pushed for this referendum are the very same who are keenly pushing for Hate Speech Legislation. It is abundantly clear that the current political elite want to graduate political correctness from being a question of social manners and taste, to being a matter of legislation.
Naturally the conservative, who’s grown sceptical with good reason and experience of what the chattering classes have to say, rejects the repeal for fear of their ulterior motives. Instead, I recommend that we accept their first proposal, but fight tooth and nail against the second. Let’s take what we want from them and throw what we don’t back in their faces.
Let’s ceaselessly point out that public figures such as Senator Bacik and Richmond, or Colm O’Gorman, are in all reality freeing us from one lax blasphemy regulation and but somehow want to throw us under the restrictions of a new draconian one. They wish to liberate our freedom of expression? By all means, but let’s take a page a from their book, Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals to be specific, and make them live up to their own damn rules or show them up for the hypocrites they are.
It is time we mock the pretensions of ‘Hate Speech’ for the idiocy they are. There is nothing serious that ‘Hate Speech’ covers that has not been covered in law for centuries at this stage; threats, incitement to violence, and libel for example. Instead, what new ground it covers is ill defined and in effect is little more than a blatant attempt by the establishment Left to suppress the dissent of Right-wingers. Even in this it fails miserably.
Many countries across mainland Europe have experienced a huge rise in support for the Right, instead of diminishing it, as the hate speech legislation only serves to highlight the hypocrisies and contradictions of the modern left-liberal state.
In the land of ‘Woke Capital™’, where all are truly equal in the eyes of law, one finds that a screaming match with his white neighbour over a messy hedgerow is ‘disturbance of the peace’ and is fined, and might have his name put on some obscure list, yet an off-colour joke to a neighbour of the wrong ethnicity is ‘Hate Speech,’ lands him in prison, and find himself blacklisted in all future careers.
The only country that appears to have somewhat slowed the growth of the Right is ‘progressive’ Sweden, and even then their open-ballot system is probably more to blame. Meanwhile free speech has only grown freer. In the United States for example, the legal exceptions to it have only decreased over the years, not increased as we might expect.
So, I recommend everyone take this opportunity to do their bit and help ensure that we secure the liberty to speak our minds. Write to TDs, talk to your friends, if someone casually brings up ‘Hate Speech’ as though it was anything but a scam, call them up on it, point out its failures. Maybe even write articles like this one.
Don’t lament that the blasphemy clause is gone, instead praise its repeal publicly and urge people that we now follow this outcome to its natural conclusion and have free speech enshrined in our constitution once and for all. Or, in other words, let us use our free speech for free speech’s sake.