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Someplace back about two lifetimes ago, I read a book by Len Deighton, well actually more than one. But the one that jolted into my mind yesterday morning was “SS-GB”. It is historical fiction about the German occupation of Great Britain in 1941. It was a pretty dark novel, but a very good one. But it is what we call a counterfactual, something that could have happened, but didn’t.

The other day, Tommy Robinson was arrested for a public order offense, as near as I can tell for filming a bit too near to a courthouse, which was also possibly what an American would call a parole violation. Yes, he has been known to get into a bit of trouble for his views, more on that later. In any case, he was arrested, tried, convicted, and on his way to prison (with a 13-month sentence) within an hour. Not sure I think that’s exactly justice, but it’s damned well speedy.

Information is thin on this because the judge also issued a gag order on British writers, preventing them from writing/talking about the case. Leading to the following Tweets between a couple of quite influential Christian bloggers in Britain.

And that is quite frankly a chickenshit move by the judge, even if countenanced by the law. It’s not uncommon in Britain these days, especially where Muslim/ Islamists are concerned. And this trial was one of the Muslim ‘grooming’ gangs. It has gotten to the point where telling the truth is defined as a hate crime. Freedom of speech is mostly a memory for the cousins.

We, of course, revere the words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” That is our First Amendment, and we guard it jealously. We do so so that travesties like this don’t happen here. But that is only in the United States, think about that: ONLY in the United States.

You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may want to ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.

It’s also useful to others, while this is primarily an American blog, between 20% and a third of our readers are British (mostly English), and we can fearlessly publish stories like this. We have done it here before, when a Reformed preacher, in Norwich, Norfolk was nearly prosecuted for handing out leaflets at a gay pride event a few years ago. I won’t say we were instrumental, neither were we the only ones doing so.

Tommy Robinson is not a favorite of mine, probably because my British friends consider him far right. But, I’ve done a bit of a crash course today on him, and I’m not so sure they are right. The best interview I could find was with Dave Rubin, who is himself a liberal. An old style one, that listens and thinks, not the progressive trash yelling all the time we have now. Here is that interview, like most of Dave’s, it is a fairly long interview, but it’s also a complex subject.

Now, about that sentence, it seems pretty long for that offense to me, and if you listened to the interview, you already have some idea of what I’m going to say. There are quite a few people who are claiming it to be a disguised death sentence. I’m far from sure that they are not correct. You probably remember the man who was sentenced to a year for leaving a bacon sandwich at a mosque, he was killed within six months, the inquest was not released for almost two years.

The Nazis called this sort of thing Nacht und Nebel (night and fog), one of the more descriptive terms of art for it is “to disappear a person”. Both Stalin and Mao were also fond of the practice. Britain can’t quite pull that off yet but give them a bit of time and practice, I’m sure they’ll figure it out. It’s nothing less than a method of rewriting history.

But do understand, the right to free speech is inherently the right to offend. That is why in The Friends of Voltaire, Hall wrote the phrase: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it“. (which is often misattributed to Voltaire himself) as an illustration of Voltaire’s beliefs.

The only acceptable limitations are words that cause a panic, like shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater, although note it is recommended if there is a fire in that theater, and is also fine if the theater is empty, the other one is what we call fighting words, which will almost inevitably lead to a physical fight or violence.