Monday, August 08, 2005

Culture of tolerance


The Blair government is planning to create a “list of unacceptable behaviours” for which foreigners may be deported. The government will create “a full database of individuals around the world who have demonstrated the relevant behaviours”. Behaviors include giving speeches, running websites, or using a position of responsibility to “express what the Government considers to be extreme views that are in conflict with the UK’s culture of tolerance”. There must be a definition of “tolerance” with which I am unacquainted, one that allows for lists of unacceptable behaviors and unacceptable people. Indeed, one definition of tolerate in my computer dictionary is: “to be capable of continued exposure to (a drug, toxin, etc.) without adverse reaction.” Blair’s proposals surely count as an adverse reaction.

He also wants to create secret anti-terrorism courts to hold people for up to three months without charge, trial or a defense being heard. He must not have heard about the UK’s culture of tolerance. Sez George Monbiot (writing about calls for patriotism), “As usual, we are being asked to do the job of the terrorists, by making this country ugly on their behalf.”

One proposal to foster integration of immigrants is to “rebrand” them (possibly with actual brands) in the American hyphenate manner: calling them Asian-British or Indian-British, for example, instead of “Paki bastards” or “wogs” or “fuzzy-wuzzies” or “lesser breeds without the law” or whatever they call them now.

OK, now they’re just making up excuses. AP headline: “Sandstorm Halts Work on Iraqi Constitution.”

Japanese PM Koizumi, the guy with the hair, is calling snap elections on the burning issue of post office privatization. Honestly, not making that up.

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s not just abortion rights, but actual birth control that is under attack. The Wisconsin legislature has banned the University of Wisc. from prescribing or distributing contraceptives. (via You Will Anyway).

And the Justice Dept has filed a brief at the Supreme Court in support of a New Hampshire parental-notification law that didn’t provide an exemption for medical emergencies affecting health.

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