International free speech roundup

  • As government’s grip tightens in Turkey, Erdogan begins rounding up journalists [New York Times, Jonathan Turley on aftermath of coup attempt]
  • German court fines man $2,480 for comparing state politician’s IQ to that of “a piece of toast” [Deutsche Welle]
  • University of Cape Town disinvites free speech hero and Cato fellow Flemming Rose, of Danish cartoons fame, prompting letters of protest from Nadine Strossen, Floyd Abrams, Kenan Malik [John Samples]
  • “If it’s perceived by the victim, then it is” — adviser to London police on online insults as hate crime [Express] “Nottinghamshire police to count wolf-whistling in street as a hate crime” [Guardian, quoting three backers and no critics of idea]
  • Maybe our state AGs could offer tips on punishing wrongful advocacy: campaigners in UK want to prosecute public figures for fraud in promoting Leave side in Brexit referendum [Business Insider on “Brexit Justice” effort]
  • Meanwhile, here: prominent Harvard Law professor says “rule of law” and “First Amendment” are “almost entirely without content” [David Bernstein on views of Mark Tushnet]


  • I know that if I were a piece of toast, I’d be insulted to have my intelligence compared to that of a politician, so I agree with the Court in this case.


  • “German court fines man ”

    Would the fine have been larger if the comparison were wrong?

  • “The Nottinghamshire force defines a hate crime as ‘any incident which may or may not be deemed as a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hatred’.”

    I’m pretty sure the motivation is a biological urge to procreate, unimpeded by tact or nuance.

    Google tells me that “A misogynist is a person who hates or doesn’t trust women.” I’m quite confused about Nottinghamshire’s decision to treat “[u]ninvited sexual advances and unwanted verbal contact with a woman, including catcalling or wolf-whistling in the street …as [] hate crimes.” Did someone change the meaning of the word “hate” recently? Is this like the “public health” definition that others have written about in articles referenced here – where it basically means “whatever I want to get rid of at this moment”?

    A lot of guys may be boorish, rude, even intimidating towards women. But calling it “hate” makes me wonder if they are thinking about the words they’re using or instead just throwing out whatever magic phrase they believe will make people seem evil for disagreeing.