Speaking of Free Speech…

by Mark Steyn

John O’Sullivan’s post on the sad state of free speech in Britain reminds me that the current issue of The Spectator Down Under has a cover story on me and my free speech tour in Australia, which wrapped up a week ago. The opening sentence alone is worth a click.

If you like John’s line that the British police are now the paramilitary wing of The Guardian, you’ll enjoy the tale of the gay outreach officer who arrested a practicing Christian for causing emotional distress to the gay outreach officer.

This is the first time I’ve been on the Speccie’s front page in half a decade, and I enjoyed the cover illustration so much (there is a, er, arresting policeman in it) we’re using it to promote my big free speech extravaganza in Toronto next month.

The stories that John and Rowan Dean quote are not small things. One reason the Western world is sliding off the cliff is because of an excess of “conventional wisdom” on everything from unsustainable welfare programs to climate change to Islam. Yet, at precisely the moment when we need to be broadening the bounds of public discourse, in Britain, Canada, Australia, Europe and elsewhere the same ideologically insecure political class that got us into this mess is growing ever more comfortable in regulating what the citizenry is allowed to say, read, listen to – and, indeed, think. I say nuts to that.