Friday, February 24, 2006

Vox Non Populi

A panel of appointed civil servants has suspended the democratically elected Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone (aka Red Ken) because he told a reporter that he was acting like a Nazi. When the reporter responded that he was Jewish, the mayor replied that he was behaving like a concentration camp guard.

A bit brash, yes, and he did violate Godwin's Law, but really, I make tasteless analogies every day. The idea that you can remove an elected official from his work because of a minor exercise of free speech like this is just batty. The people get to decide if this man does his job, and if they don't like what he said, they can fire him.

But that's not the way the wind is blowing. The portents of censorship continue, be it England's new laws against reciting religious hatred, the jailing of a crackpot holocaust denier in Austria, or the crackdown on photography in public places (which I've experienced first hand), it's becoming ever harder to speak your mind, however intemperate. Just ask a Dane.

These two protestors who Andrew Sullivan photographed at the pro-Danish rally in Washington today certainly got it right:


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