What’s worrying about the The Australian Communications and Media Authority’s recent action against Sydney shock jock Kyle Sandilands is not just that it’s yet another attack on freedom of speech. It’s the vagueness of the ruling, and the secretiveness of it. He’s been ordered “not to say anything that could be regarded as offensive or demeaning to women or girls.” Now what on earth does that mean? It sounds suspiciously like offensive or demeaning can mean anything this particular totally unnecessary bureaucratic waste of time wants it to mean.
The fact that The Australian Communications and Media Authority won’t reveal what it means adds to the suspicions.
Whatever this guy said is not worth yet more restriction on Australians’ freedom of speech. He might be an ignorant arrogant yobbo. But if we won’t defend his freedom to speak we will all lose. Freedom of speech must include the right to offend, otherwise it’s meaningless.
And it’s yet another yard of lost ground for defenders of freedom of speech. For defenders of freedom of speech everywhere, not just in Australia. The Thought Police operate internationally. If they get away with restricting freedom in one place they will use it to attack freedom somewhere else. Even the US with its constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech is not immune. If freedom of speech disappears in other countries the Thought Police will argue that the US is “out of step with the international community” and that Americans must accept limitations on this right as well. That “out of step with the international community” line is one of their favourite arguments to extend the global reach of Political Correctness.
It’s also one of their favourite arguments to extend other aspects of their political agenda. If they get abortion on demand or gay marriage in some places they then tell other people that they are now “out of step with the international community” if they don’t allow such things.
With the PC lobby you always have to beware of the thin end of the wedge.