It pays to know your historical documents

6 May 2009

So the U.K. has blocked Michael Savage from entering the country.  And Savage is outraged:

...I said, "She said this is the kind of behavior we won't tolerate... For my speech? The country where the Magna Carta was created?"

Well,  yeah.  Here's the thing.  The Magna Carta wasn't the Bill of Rights.  In fact, it was significantly different from the popular conception of the document.  Its biggest innovation was the idea that the laws of the land applied to the king.  It also provided some accountability between the king and the nobles.  The only writ in the Magna Carta that applied to everyone was that of habeas corpus and it's safe to say that's not such a sacrosanct right in Savage's mind.

In fact, the U.K. had no explicit guarantee of free speech until 1998.  And even then, it's nowhere near as strict a liberty as in the U.S., as evidenced by the ease of bringing defamation suits in the U.K., which is a restriction on free speech that Savage shows himself eager to take advantage of.

Now, admittedly, the power of a goverment minister to bar someone from entry into a country is a more egregious exercise than simply being a despicable gutter-wallowing demigogue, but I think that in that case the suit that Savage would bring would not be defamation, but an appeal of his placement on the list.  And further, since I do believe in freedom of speech, I don't think people should be barred from places simply on the basis of their speech.  Conspiracy to organize resistance or recruitment to terrorism, sure, so people like Omar Abdel Rahman would be in the crosshairs.

But David Irving, Michael Savage, and all the rest of their ilk?  What the hell, let them in.  They only become causes celebres through their martyrdom.  If you just let them talk, they'll make asses out of themselves and do the job for you.

But my main point is that Michael Savage is, as always, an ignorant buffoon who has no clue what he's talking about.