Helen McEntee’s newly proposed “Hate Speech and Hate Crime Bill” promises to be an extremely useful contribution to Irish society.
Now, to be clear, it won’t be useful to you – not at all. In fact, for the vast majority of people, it means a severe and oppressive erosion of their most basic civil rights.
But it’s incredibly useful to the people who really matter: the media and political establishment, who are sick to their back teeth of pesky alternative opinions buzzing around like midges, not to mention those ever-irritating “debates” – a word they like to put in air quotes, insinuating there is no debate to be had.
According to the government, McEntee’s Bill seeks “to make it easier to secure prosecutions and convictions” for hate speech. They say that under this law, people will be “punished for spreading hate, prejudice and division.”
Which all sounds perfectly fair and reasonable. And no doubt something similar was told to the people of Norway when their hate speech laws were introduced in 2020.
Norway outlaws hate speech against trans & bisexual people. About time! Lesbian & gay people have had protection since 1981! https://t.co/a4ydhrD8Pw @bisexualindex @BRC_Central @BiDotOrg #bisexual #trans pic.twitter.com/doKMfGKfUm
— Peter Tatchell (@PeterTatchell) November 12, 2020
And yet, just 2 years later, we see the following headline from ABC News:
“NORWEGIAN FEMINIST QUESTIONED BY POLICE FOR SAYING MEN CAN’T BE LESBIANS”
Norwegian law enforcement reportedly questioned a representative of a feminist organization over tweets challenging a trans activist for pushing the idea that biological males can be lesbians.https://t.co/wB2TyC9euw
— ABC News 4 (@ABCNews4) June 4, 2022
A feminist being questioned by police for saying men can’t be lesbians. Now, call me absolutely crazy, but I’m not sure that’s exactly what most people had in mind when they were thinking of “hateful rhetoric.”
The article goes on to explain:
“Norwegian law enforcement reportedly questioned a representative of a feminist organization over tweets challenging a trans activist for pushing the idea that biological males can be lesbians.
In January 2021, Norway introduced “gender identity” into the bounds of its current hate crime laws. Around that time, WDI Norway (formerly WHRC) warned the adjustment of hate crime laws could lead to persecution for stating biological facts.
So this woman is now the subject of a police investigation, and is facing a whopping three years in prison, for saying something which is so mundane that most people would be bored by it if you said it in a one-on-one conversation. Only a tiny percentage of fringe, deranged woke activists think otherwise – most of us see it as a given.
And yet, in the eyes of the Norwegian police, common sense facts about the world may constitute “hate.” They’re at least worthy of investigation, and may be worthy of prosecution. And it took less than 2 years for this sort of thing to start happening once such a law came into effect.
Notably, Ireland’s hate speech Bill also includes “gender expression” as a “protected category,” meaning there’s little to stop a similar situation taking place here.
Now, at this point, some people will probably roll their eyes and scoff at the stupidity of the Irish politicians and journalists promoting this Bill.
“The fools!” some will say. “Don’t they realise that this will lead to a similar situation to the one in Norway? They clearly haven’t thought this through at all!”
And make no mistake – they are fools. But to only think of them as fools is a grossly naive analysis of the situation.
The reality is, they HAVE thought it through. They DO realise it will lead to a situation like the one in Norway. And that’s the entire point of such a Bill from the outset.
Irish politicians and journalists do not believe that this issue should be allowed to discussed at all. And they’ve told us that quite openly.
As Irish Examiner political correspondent Paul Hosford put it:
Paul Hosford: Ireland doesn’t need or want toxic culture war ‘debate’ on trans people https://t.co/wmWZK1mP2I
— Irish Examiner (@irishexaminer) June 28, 2022
In a similar vein, the Irish Times’ Una Mullally said:
She later added:
Journalists and broadcasters have an obligation to understand the context of inauthentic and manufactured "discourse" on trans rights.
Clearly a issue in Irish media with certain commentators not appreciating that context, and blindly weighing in.https://t.co/hMJVW5scoN
— Una Mullally (@UnaMullally) June 20, 2022
Again, note that “point” is in quotation marks. As in, there is no point: you either agree with her and the Irish Times entirely on trans issues, or your so-called “point” is invalid and illegitimate. And if you have any doubts about, say, your little girl having to share a bathroom with biological males, you are in the same camp as Vladimir Putin, ethno-nationalist racists and religious fanatics. That’s Una Mullaly’s position.
Joe.ie even shared a post claiming that trans rights “are not up for debate.”
Rights, in this case, presumably meaning the right to enter a female prison as a biological male, or to use the women’s showers, or whatever. That is not up for debate or worthy of discussion at all, apparently.
In addition, politicians such as Green Party Minister Roderic O’Gorman, Labour TD Aodhán Ó Riordáin, Labour Senator Annie Hoey, Sinn Féin TD Réada Cronin and more have all made statements to the effect of trans issues are “not up for debate” as well.
And so, with politicians and the media telling us outright how they feel about discussions on this issue, is it really such a stretch to imagine that cheerleaders for this Bill know exactly how it will be used, and are hoping for an outcome like the one in Norway? Is it unreasonable to assume that they’re fully aware it will encroach on freedom of speech, and that is, in fact, the whole point?
And not just on the trans issue, mind you. On every issue.
As the government rolls out laws against “misinformation,” will alternative views on climate change be dubbed “climate denial” and get your opinions banned? What about alternative views on Covid – is that dangerous far-right “misinformation”?
Or immigration – will people in towns like Kinnegad and Letterkenny who speak out against Direct Provision centres on their doorstep find themselves afoul of “hate speech” laws if they’re accused of racism?
Of course, for the most part, there’s little that can be said about Helen McEntee’s tenure as Justice Minister that hasn’t already been said about the Hindenburg. In the past year, rapes are up. Sex offences are up. Child abductions, assaults, shootings, bank robberies, burglaries, kidnappings, extortion, drug importation, harrassment, illegal immigration and more are up.
Rise in rapes, sex offences, child abductions, assaults, shootings, bank robberies, burglaries, kidnappings, extortion, drug importation, and harrassment since last year, says CSO#gripthttps://t.co/tfRQmKmXoz
— gript (@griptmedia) June 29, 2022
She says that deporting violent serial sex offenders is a “complex matter.”
In short, she’s made a hames of basically every job we’ve given her. But, sure, what harm in giving her yet another (more important) job to manage, in addition to her other duties – namely, legislating for our fundamental right to think and speak?
If you have ever held an alternative or controversial opinion – on anything at all – this Bill is a direct threat to your rights and free expression. And free people all across Ireland should fight it tooth and nail to the bitter end.