Europe… it’s enough to make a person into a libertarian

Europe… it’s enough to make a person into a libertarian
: In America, we believe in free speech.

Now that may sound like an insultingly obvious statement, an excerpt from Democracy for Dummies. But it’s apparent that other democracies don’t get it. They don’t understand that free speech is an absolute: either you have it or you don’t; either it’s controlled or it isn’t; either everyone has it or no one has it.

Witness my earlier posts on the EU’s constitutional follies: an effort to protect celebrities against not only invasion of privacy but also investigation in Britain and also limits on free speech in the new EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Now here’s this on a Council of Europe treaty from Declan McCullagh [via Perry de Havilland in Samizdata]:

The all-but-final proposal draft says that Internet news organizations, individual Web sites, moderated mailing lists and even Web logs (or “blogs”), must offer a “right of reply” to those who have been criticized by a person or organization.

With clinical precision, the council’s bureaucracy had decided exactly what would be required. Some excerpts from its proposal: