Prosecute global warming skeptics?

A group of 20 scientists is urging the president to prosecute scientists and organizations  that question global warming. Now a Rasmussen survey has found that 27% of Democrats agree with that approach.  So do 11% of Republicans and 12% of Independents. [Read more...]

Why the left doesn’t believe in free speech

Michael Barone has a fascinating column, excerpted after the jump, about how leftists, on campuses and elsewhere, are trying to silence anyone who disagrees with them.  But this should not be surprising.

The hard left, whether of the Marxist variety or the post-Marxist variety (which substitutes oppression of women, races, or other groups for the Marxist focus on economic oppression and class struggle) nearly always rejects free speech, as well as other civil liberties, whenever they get into power, as we have seen in communist regimes  If you reject individualism in favor of collectivism, believe that liberty is a bourgeois value designed to promote capitalism, and think that those in power always almost by definition suppress those who oppose them, then, yes, you will reject free speech.

The left certainly holds the power at most college campuses and in some other political and cultural circles, so of course they will impose speech codes and punish dissenters. [Read more...]

“Fundamental” vs. “nonfundamental” rights

In a column on the Supreme Court agreeing to hear a case involving a California law requiring that political donor lists be made public, George Will describes a curious legal distinction between “fundamental” rights that cannot be abridged and lesser “nonfundamental” rights that can be abridged if there is a “rational basis.”  This current case, according to Will, would take the dangerous step of applying the “rational basis” criterion to a fundamental right. [Read more...]

Making online ‘trolling’ illegal?

New Zealand has passed a law that would punish “harmful digital communication”–harassing, bullying, or indecent internet postings–by up to two years in prison, plus a $50,000 (NZ) fine.  It’s being described as a law against trolling.  It passed parliament by a margin of 116 to 5. [Read more...]

Gay marriage & civil liberties in Canada

Gay marriage won’t affect anyone else but the same-sex couples who now can get married, we are told.  It certainly won’t have an impact on anyone’s civil liberties.  Well, it has in Canada.  So says Dawn Stefanowicz, writing for the Witherspoon Institute. [Read more...]

Prosecuting global warming skeptics

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) says that some global warming sceptics should be prosecuted under RICO  (the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations act).  He argues that some of the anti-global warming research is funded by energy companies, which is what Big Tobacco did in funding research that played down the health hazards of smoking, which brought down the wrath of RICO.  That statute has also been used against pro-life activists, with the approval of the Supreme Court.  We are seeing how unpopular ideas can be criminalized.

You have to read the estimable Mark Hemingway’s response to Sen. Whitehouse’s op-ed piece, linked to and excerpted after the jump. [Read more...]