Monday, July 12, 2010

Banned in Britain: Savage and the Department of Unintended Consequences

I don't know enough about Michael Savage to have an informed opinion about what he's said in public in the United Kingdom.

Maybe he really is as dangerous as Hamas.

Or maybe he's just saying things that the established order in Britain don't want to hear.

If it's the latter, the United Kingdom has a bigger problem than Michael Savage.

Anybody I don't Like is a Commie!

In my 'good old days,' quite a few people were convinced that anybody they didn't approve of was a commie. Or at least a commie sympathizer. Or part of the red menace.

That's one of the reasons I'm not terribly nostalgic about the 'good old days.'

That was then, and now things are different. Sort of. Here in America, folks whose sympathies were for blacklisted physicists became the establishment. As a result, the wacky end of establishment supporters don't see commies everywhere: now it's fascists and racists and relevant stuff like that.

Different words, same old song.

Silencing the Opposition: Such a Tempting Idea

I think it's a very human thing, when you're in a position of influence, to keep people who don't agree with you from expressing their views.

I also think it's a very, very stupid idea.

Particularly these days, when "the masses" get their information from many sources: not just a few national broadcasting networks and a handful of newspapers. I've written about information gatekeepers before.
"Banned in Boston" as a Stamp of Approval
Decades back, "banned in Boston" showed up in entertainment news fairly often. Someone speculated that playwrights and movie makers tried to get Boston's painfully proper people to ban their work: for the free publicity. And as a sort of stamp of approval: showing that the playwright or director was 'bold' and 'outspoken.'
Dangerous Ideas, Maybe: But Dangerous to Whom?
I get - interested - when a national government tries to silence someone who doesn't agree with the current leaders.

I think it's good for Michael Savage, that he lives in the United Kingdom. In some countries, he wouldn't be banned - most likely, he'd just disappear. Or get killed by an 'unknown assailant.' (April 30, 2008)

As I said before, I don't know much about Michael Savage's statements. Maybe he really is dangerous.

Or maybe the British establishment isn't any more open to disagreeable ideas, than their American counterparts. If that's the case, I think their (apparent) effort to silence Mr. Savage may make his position stronger.

I could be wrong, but I don't think the British like their leaders to tell them how to think, any more than Americans do.

Here's what set me off today:
"New U.K. government bans Michael Savage"
WorldNetDaily (July 12, 2010)

"Conservative Party admin demands repudiation of 'violent' statements"

"The new Conservative Party-led government of Prime Minister David Cameron informed Michael Savage it will continue the ban on the top-rated talk-radio host's entry to the United Kingdom unless he repudiates statements made on his broadcasts that were deemed a threat to public security.

"The U.K. Border Agency told Savage through a letter from the treasury solicitor's office that his 'exclusion' from the U.K. that began last year under the Labour Partygovernment of Gordon Brown will continue 'in the absence of clear, convincing and public evidence' that he has 'repudiated his previous statements.'

"As WND reported, then–British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced May 5, 2009, that Savage was on a list of 16 people, along with terrorists and neo-Nazis, banned from entry because the government believed their views might provoke violence. Smith said it was 'important that people understand the sorts of values and sorts of standards that we have here, the fact that it's a privilege to come and the sort of things that mean you won't be welcome in this country.'..."

"...The U.K. ban-list includes Hamas terrorist leader Yunis Al-Astal, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard Stephen Donald Black, neo-Nazi Erich Gliebe and radical American pastor Fred Phelps, known for his virulent anti-gay protests at funerals...."

"...An e-mail message dated Nov. 27, 2008, from an unnamed Home Office official, says, with regard to Savage, 'I can understand that disclosure of the decision would help provide a balance of types of exclusion cases.'

"Another e-mail points to complicity by other agencies and even former Prime Minister Brown.

" 'HO (Home Office) intend to include [Savage] in their quarterly stats ... Both the FS (foreign secretary) and PM (prime minister) are firmly behind listing and naming such people,' it reads.

"The e-mails include a message from an unnamed civil servant whose cautions were ignored.

" 'I think we could be accused of duplicity in naming him,' he wrote without explaining the reason.

"Smith's successor as home secretary, Alan Johnson, called the ban a terrible blunder and told the London Daily Mail he would scrap the policy of maintaining an enemies list. But Savage told WND two days later that according to his attorney, Johnson's announcement did not mean his name had been removed from the list...."


Oh, my:
  • "...'...disclosure of the decision would help provide a balance of types of exclusion cases...."
  • "...'...Both the FS (foreign secretary) and PM (prime minister) are firmly behind listing and naming such people,'..."
  • "...'I think we could be accused of duplicity in naming him,'..."
In my opinion, it's a really bad idea for a nation's leaders to try silencing people whose ideas they don't like. We're not, quite, looking at thoughtcrime here: but I think it's a bad sign when national leaders appear to want uniform - and enforced - beliefs among their subjects.

Related posts:Related posts, on censorship, propaganda, and freedom of speech.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.