If the government tried to shut down one of the most important conservative blog sites in the United States, I’m sure the blogosphere would be up in arms. Yet it may well be that the government of Belgium is trying to shut down one of the most important conservative blogs, not only in Belgium, but in all of Europe. I am talking about The Brussels Journal, which I read from time to time, and have linked to on a number of occasions. For some time now, the entries on The Brussels Journal have been interspersed with reports of government harassment. Apparently, someone is using European anti-racism laws to try to shut the website down.
Now I haven’t read anything close to every entry on The Brussels Journal. But I don’t ever recall reading anything racist. Yes, The Brussels Journal is one of the only European websites that points up the problems with radical Islam within Europe. But this is an important issue, and as far as I can tell, The Brussels Journal handles it with care and respect, if also with frankness. This is a topic treated widely on American blogs. Yet almost no-one in Europe dares speak of it publicly with the depth and knowledge of The Brussels Journal. Given the ongoing terrorist threat emanating from Europe, including today’s plot to blow up British airplanes headed for America, one would think that websites like this ought to be of interest. The Brussels Journal is also a seriously Christian blog on a continent where secularism is now the norm. Again, I’ve found The Brussels Journal an invaluable resource, and I have to believe that it is of major importance for Europe itself that this unique and powerful voice continue to be heard.
That doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with everything I read on The Brussels Journal. And again, I do not read it thoroughly or completely, by any means. To be sure, someone may make a case that The Brussels Journal has overstepped the bounds of propriety and ought to be criticized for that. But I’ve seen no evidence of this, and in any case, I believe the site ought to be free to speak and publish. If someone wants to criticize The Brussels Journal, let them openly make their case. Let the public decide whether to visit The Brussels Journal and how seriously they wish to take its reports and arguments. That is the way to handle disagreements, and infinitely preferable to shutting down the site.
My experience is that The Brussels Journal is an extremely thoughtful and important site, providing high quality information and opinion found nowhere–on the web or beyond. In other words, it would be a crime against the principle of free speech–and against the interests of Europe and the West–to shut down The Brussels Journal, particularly at a moment of such danger, testing, and decision for the West.
I haven’t the time to look into this matter thoroughly. But I hope that some bloggers out there will investigate and see if there is a threat to free speech that ought to concern us. Certainly, we have had some very disturbing reports about the abuse of European anti-racism laws to shut down perfectly legitimate political discussion. See, for example, “Illiberal Europe,” by Gerard Alexander. If this is the sort of thing now happening to The Brussels Journal (and I fear it is), then vigorous protests from the blogosphere are in order.