November 26, 2016 6 Comments
One of the things I have noticed in the last few months, as a percentage, people other than Americans and British (especially Niederlanders) have increased rather dramatically. That pleases me, and I hope they are finding what they want. Since, as far as I know, none of them have commented, I just assume that they do.
But since I want them to know they’re welcome, and sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what somebody is saying in anything but your first language, I was pleased yesterday when WordPress announced a translation widget for those of us running WordPress.com blogs. The algorithm is Google Translate, which as we all know is not perfect, but it’s surprisingly good. You’ll find it on the sidebar, just above my Twitter feed. If I remember it does something like 103 languages, so it should cover the common ones. Enjoy
One of the things most worrying, everywhere, but especially in Europe, is a tendency to restrict free speech, often by way of so-called ‘hate crime legislation. While America, and to some extent Britain have a pretty strong cultural bias against almost any infringement of our rights, this is one of those areas where an attempt anywhere diminishes them everywhere.
Germany is becoming one of the worst offenders here, and I’m not the only one noticing. Jonathan Turley noted yesterday:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel long ago established herself as a menace to free speech, particularly in her decision to first apologize to authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a satirical poem and then approve the prosecution of the comedian is a shocking and chilling disgrace. Now, she is throwing her support behind a crackdown on “hate speech” on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube — radically expanding the already broad scope of government regulation of speech.
Merkel declared “I support efforts by Justice Minister Heiko Maas and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere to address hate speech, hate commentaries, devastating things that are incompatible with human dignity, and to do everything to prohibit it because it contradicts our values.”
As Professor Turley notes, It would maybe be borderline acceptable, except it is completely impossible to provide an objective definition of “incompatible with human dignity”. That leaves the definition completely in the hands of the government, to use as they will. That is simply unacceptable in a free society.
This is a very troubling trend, and we must do our best to stop it in its tracks, In Germany, In Britain, across Europe, and sadly yes, here in America, as well.