Banned from Britain: Michael Savage’s Company
(… his real name is Michael Weiner?)
From the BBC News.
Islamic extremists, white supremacists and a US radio host are among the 16 of 22 excluded in the five months to March to have been named by the Home Office.
Since 2005, the UK has been able to ban people who promote hatred, terrorist violence or serious criminal activity.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said coming to the UK should be a privilege.
Certainly, Madame Secretary. And some of the people on the list seem to pose a genuine threat of violence. However, some appear to be banned solely for certain utterances – speech – that has been deemed unaceptable for reason of thought, emotion or other non-threatening content. And therein lies the problem. Take it, Christopher Hitchens.
What is at stake in all these cases is not just the right of the people concerned to travel and to take their opinions with them. It is also the right of potential audiences to make their own determination about whom they wish to hear.
* * *
The underlying premise of the First Amendment is that free expression, when protected for anyone, is thereby protected for everyone. This must apply most especially in tough cases that might raise eyebrows, such as the ACLU’s celebrated defense of the right of American Nazis to demonstrate in heavily Jewish Skokie, Ill., in the late 1970s. One of the effects of the “war on terror,” and of one of its concomitants, namely the attrition between the Muslim world and the West, has been an increasing tendency to make exceptions to First Amendment principles, either on the pretext of security or of avoiding the giving of offense. We should have learned by now that, however new the guise, these are the same old stale excuses for censorship. We might also notice that if one excuse is allowed, then all the others are mahde “legitimate” also. The risk of allowing all opinions by all speakers may seem great, but it is nothing compared with the risk of giving the power of censorship to any official.
Below is the list, excluding six whom the UK has declined to name. Details as to grounds for their banning here.
Abdullah Qadri Al Ahdal
Yunis Al Astal
Samir Al Quntar
Stephen Donald Black
Wadgy Abd El Hamied Mohamed Ghoneim
Abdul Ali Musa
Fred Waldron Phelps Snr
Michael Alan Weiner