Mark Meechan’s Pug “Buddha” from the viral video that landed him in court
If you use social media at all, then you already know all about “Nazi Pug” and the controversy surrounding the YouTube personality known as Count Dankula. In what he says was intended only as a joke, Mark Meechan taught his wrinkly-faced cohort to do the Nazi salute which he recorded and uploaded.
The video went viral, and Scotland’s officials took action. Meechan was subsequently convicted of a hate crime and is due back in court at a later date for sentencing.
In a recent entry, I attempted to frame ways in which we could discuss ‘it’-referring to Islam and the ever-tightening grip of censorship in the name of political correctness. Buddha and Count Dankula’s story has certainly re-ignited the debate about free speech in general, but has also revealed just how far the U.K. is going to crack down on “hate speech.” I frame it this way, because even Scotland doesn’t appear to have decided precisely what that is, or just what would constitute a crime.
Here are two recent items from Scotland Police’s Twitter feed. First, we have an anti-hate speech poster.
“Greater than a Hater”-A feel-good slogan meant to make children aware. So far, so good.
This is where things get much worse:
“anyone else believes it was motivated by prejudice or hate..”
“May not be against the law, but their reasons for doing it are.”
Did the police in the U.K. just openly admit that they are now prosecuting people for their thoughts, feelings and opinions? Certainly, they have clearly spelled out that an action need not actually be a crime in order to be charged as one, based only on a person’s perception that it was inspired by some form of hatred or discrimination.
What could go wrong, right?
This is not about Pugs or Nazis, it is about free speech and when laws meant to protect others from hate crimes become more like the policing of thoughts and punishment intended not to actually protect anyone, but to allow the government to continue to ignore the problems in their communities.
We obviously cannot (literally or morally) legislate a person’s thoughts/feelings, yet that appears to be precisely what the U.K. is doing here.
Tommy Robinson, Katie Hopkins, Milo Yiannopoulos are all extremely controversial figures both in the U.K. and the USA. They are accused of everything from racism to hydrophobia, yet nothing in their actual words or actions supports any of these charges. Quite simply put, they speak up, they speak loudly, and they refuse to be intimidated by critics or officials in their disregard for the thought police.
Is what they’re saying really so controversial or problematic, or is there perhaps a real and dangerous movement of people who aim to silence dissent more than they aim to solve the actual problems?
And there are many.
Kevin Crehan, a man in Bristol who left a bacon sandwich outside a mosque in Totterdown, was sentenced to one year in prison for the act. He was also found dead in prison about six months into this sentence.
London’s Mayor Khan recently read a tweet from a woman criticizing him for his lack of action to prosecute people for illegally performing female genital mutilation in London, accusing her of ‘hate speech.”
Who was this woman? Oh, just an Ex-Muslim woman (<–Video) who has deep concerns over this abusive, and also illegal practice which has gone largely unchecked in Britain despite some estimates saying there are over 200 FGM clinics throughout the London area. It is hate speech for her to demand her Mayor take action to protect little girls, but it is not an act of hate to mutilate their genitals, in Khan’s stated view.
When someone yells ‘hate speech’, sometimes, it is. Let us not devalue true acts of hatred or deny that they exist, because they do. In other cases, it seems to have become a set of words which people, often calling themselves tolerant, have weaponized in mad attempt to silence other people. A way to prevent not only other viewpoints from finding voice, but to, in a more sinister move-protect some people over others and block any accountability they would otherwise face for their actions.
We’re familiar with the rape scandals in Telford and also Rotherham, and the almost complete inaction by law enforcement officials in both cases. It seems the police and elected officials were far more concerned that no one speak about these things than they were about these things being done to young girls and women.
Why? What possible benefit would it serve to the victims or the community to ignore what was going on right before their eyes and threatening the safety of everyone who lived there whatever their particular demographic?
How? In what way does this help to ease tensions among communities of different ethnic origins, religions or backgrounds?
Who? Which person or persons in charge specifically called for these crimes to be covered up while jailing a man for rudely leaving a sandwich outside a mosque and convicting a Pug’s owner for making an offensive video?
Where? In what fevered brain would ignoring real and violent crimes in favor of policing thoughts and speech ease frictions between any groups of people? Where is the logic in jailing someone for leaving a sandwich on the steps of a mosque but shrugging when someone insults Christianity or any ‘other’ religion?
These vague laws and irrational, uneven application of them only protect one group, and one religion. No one else seeks to gain a shred of safety or justice from them-not even young women who have been sexually assaulted or even mutilated. The victims are often of the same group they misguidedly-seek to protect, which is the tragedy in the irony there.
In doing so, they will only succeed in stoking the fires of resentment between all groups of people, pitting them against each other and widening that wedge. Nothing good can come of this, and there will be more violence and clashes, more problems. This does not serve the Muslim communities any better than it does those who fall in the ‘other’ categories, as it will surely only generate more hatred between them.
Denying people a chance to air valid grievance, ask valid questions, or live in the freedom they naturally expect to in the western world is no way to solve issues, and that suits them fine as they don’t seek to. The obvious goal here is to plug their ears, cover their eyes and pretend that none of this is happening.
To do otherwise would require them to take a much harder look at the environments their own policies have created and to admit that mistakes have been made. Further, it would force them to seek out actual solutions to remedy the damage done, and only when their seats are threatened do they ever consider doing anything that drastic. In this way, there is little difference among politicians the world over.
The absence of personal opinions regarding the Pug and other acts of speech was intentional as that was not the conversation I sought to have here. It is the much broader assaults on our liberties I am most immediately concerned with. We can revisit “Pug Gate” another time.
I leave you with a video or two and hopefully something to think about, because if you don’t think this is already slowly creeping into our lives even here in America, you would be sorely mistaken.
Let’s be better than Britain even as we look to them in hopes they’ll realize what they’ve done to themselves with all of this madness.
The lady whose Tweet to Mayor Khan was read as “hate speech.”
And, the very controversial, brutally truthful Katie Hopkins on issues ranging from Donald Trump, to Brexit, and her experience in migrant camps of Calais. In this interview she also speaks of the assault on free speech in the United Kingdom.