The Corner

Lights Out on Free Speech

On the end of freedom of the press in Britain, Messrs O’Sullivan, Cooke and Stuttaford have had their say below. I think our friend Iain Murray Tweets it well:

Let me get this right: Parliament will hold the press to account? Words cannot begin to express how bass-ackward that is.

Quite so. And yet, in Britain, in Canada, in Australia (which is to say in some of the oldest free societies on earth and among the very few developed nations that did not succumb to the mid-20th century totalitarian fevers), it is now received wisdom that state power is required to “balance” free speech with competing societal interests as determined by regulatory bureaucrats. Socialists are supposed to think like this, but Britain’s hideously named “Royal Charter” is the triumphant “deal” of an ostensibly Conservative Prime Minister, and Canada’s grotesque Supreme Court decision was passed by a bench the majority of whom were appointed by another Conservative Prime Minister.

As the casual acceptance of the notion that “Parliament will hold the press to account” suggests, increasingly we live in a world in which such debates as take place do so within an ever more statist framing. Aside from the small matter of abandoning core principles of English liberty, these “conservatives” cannot even calculate their own interests.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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