Great Britain and the United States may not be quite prepared to crack down on dangerous thinkers, but where those guardians of Anglo-Saxon liberties fear to tread, the European Union is ready to gallop.
This week the London Daily Telegraph reported that the Union is even now sprucing up new laws against "xenophobia and racism" to make sure no one has any unusual thoughts at all—and that British subjects will be extradited to the continent if they violate them.
The recent Scotland Yard investigation of journalist Taki Theodoracopulos for violating British laws against inciting "racial hatred" seems to have gone nowhere, but Taki, as the wealthy jetsetter journalist is known, may still not be safe. Thought crimes that the British won't prosecute could still be punished if the EU bureaucracy can get its claws on the culprits through the extradition process.
Moreover, if it works for British Thought Criminals, it may also work for those in this country.
In an article in the Telegraph last week, Home Affairs editor Philip Johnston reported that the British government
"has undertaken that if such 'offences' take place in Britain the perpetrators would not be extradited—but it will be for the courts to decide the location of the crime. This opens up the prospect of a judge agreeing to extradite someone whose observations, though made in Britain, were broadcast exclusively in a country where they constitute a crime. Legislation now before Parliament will make 'xenophobia and racism' one of 32 crimes for which the European arrest warrant can be issued without the existing safeguard of dual criminality. This requires that an extraditable offence must also be a crime in the UK. Alongside the arrest warrant, EU ministers are negotiating a new directive to establish a common set of offences to criminalize xenophobia and racism."
[Britons face extradition for 'thought crime' on net, By Philip Johnston, February 18, 2003]
Under current law, "Holocaust denial," for example, is a criminal offense in some European countries like Germany and Austria. A British citizen who committed that "crime" in Germany and then returned to Great Britain could not be extradited back to Germany to stand trial. But under the proposed new laws and directives, he could be—if British judges so ruled.
What that means, presumably, is not just that Britons who committed such offenses while physically on the continent could be prosecuted. Also subject to the new laws would be those who merely broadcast or published their criminal thoughts, including through the Internet.
"Holocaust denial" is one offense, but new legislation against "xenophobia and racism" could broaden state control over thought and expression far more, even when those expressing verboten ideas never left their own living rooms.
The Telegraph article quotes Lord Filkin, a minister with the Home Office, as saying that no British citizen would be extradited to the continent "in respect of conduct which has occurred here and which is legal here." But, asked whether "comments originating in Britain but carried abroad on television or through an internet chatroom would be extraditable," he said, "It will be for the courts to decide."
In other words, neither British law as written nor constitutional tradition will protect the British citizen from being hauled out of his own country to face trial in a foreign state under laws to which he never consented and possibly jailed merely for expressing unconventional thoughts that are legal in his own country.
Given the broad scope of existing European laws that punish "Holocaust denial," there's no telling how far the new laws could reach, but clearly they reach well beyond merely inciting racial violence.
Scientists who study racial differences and come up with the wrong answers, clergymen who criticize Islam and other non-Western religions, political leaders who object to mass immigration, and journalists who merely criticize political correctness and double standards may all have good reason to shut up and get jobs selling cars.
Could the laws reach into the United States? This country recognizes the European Union and generally extradites European criminals wanted in its member states, as they do Americans wanted for trial in this country.
Just this month immigration authorities expelled alleged "Holocaust denier" Ernst Zündel to Canada, giving only the thinnest technical rationale for kicking him out. Mr. Zündel, who broke no laws while living in this country, may eventually wind up back in his native Germany, where he could go to jail for what he has written about Nazi policies toward the Jews. [VDARE.COM note: Zündel's website is fairly rough stuff.]
Mr. Zündel, of course, is not an American citizen, but the parallel with what may well be in the works is clear enough.
Any thought, any idea, any statement that challenges the official egalitarian ideology faces repression by the emerging global state, and neither constitutions nor national borders will protect those who question that ideology or the global power it serves.
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[Sam Francis [email him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection of his columns, America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available from Americans For Immigration Control.]