The European Union is slipping gradually into more and more blatant totalitarian thought-control. This latest initiative would punish party groups in the European Parliament that “do not respect the values of the EU”.
Admittedly, the proposed punishment for thoughtcrime is only financial — for the moment. The full Soviet apparatus of state thought-control — withdrawal of civil rights, re-education camps, mandatory internment in psychiatric hospitals, etc. — will presumably arrive later, when Brussels’ power has become uncontested.
Many thanks to JLH for translating this article from Quotenqueen:
EU: Having the Wrong Opinion Becomes Illegal
Political parties serve to educate opinion, states the German constitution. No worries — that is how it will remain. The EU is only refining its citizens’ freedoms somewhat. Just as we should not have any old bananas or cucumbers, political parties in the future will only be permitted to have correct opinions. Our responsible superiors find us citizens too valuable to let us be deceived by false opinions, or an inferior salad oil.* Anyone who counterfeits opinions or gives currency to false opinions will have to reckon with financial penalties. For now, just financial.
Deutsche Wirtschaftsnachrichten [German Economic News] reports:
The EU Commission has taken up a suggestion by the socialists in the European parliament, according to which parties which “do not respect the values of the EU” will be fined. By this means, the group of Hannes Swoboda, an Austrian, intends to prevent “right-radical or xenophobic” parties from being represented in the EU parliament.
At the moment, 13 parties are represented in the parliament. Together, they get 31 million euros in party financing. In the future, it should be possible to exclude groups that do not adhere to EU values from this financing.
This idea has run into resistance in Denmark. The responsible minister for Europe, Nicolai Wammen, has been charged by a number of parties to agree to this rule only with previous specific definition of which “values” are in question.
As the Danish website information.dk reports, the speaker for the Danish Liberals, Lykke Friis, stated that there must be objective criteria, to prevent the rule being abused as a “vendetta” against dissidents. Green Party Nicholas Villumsen said: “That seems as if the parliament would like to punish parties who have the wrong ideas. It is very worrisome that the European parliament wants to punish parties for their convictions.”
Wammen played down the criticism and said that the rule would not apply to parties that are only represented in their nations. Besides, it is only about “fundamental principles of democracy, the rule of law and respect for minorities.”
Such a regulation is actually quite dangerous. It opens the door to political thought control. It is possible to have very different opinions about what values are. In the tense atmosphere of crisis, EU critics could be muzzled. The right of freedom of expression can be suppressed with such a rule.
A ban on certain opinions enforced by punishment will above all lead to the restriction of thought. One of the advantages of democracy is that everyone can say what he thinks, and political parties can form freely, so long as they act within the law.
“Values,” on the other hand, are not clearly defined, democratically determined laws. They are always vague and — depending on linguistic or cultural background — cannot usually be clearly defined.
The compulsion to believe in “values” is undemocratic.
It is the entry to a totalitarian system.
It is dangerous, and furthermore unnecessary. The European parliament already has the ability to punish especially vivid language. Nigel Farage, for instance, had to pay €3,000 for attributing to EU council president Hermann Van Rompuy “the charm of a wet rag.”
* Reference to a recent decree that beginning 2014 olive oil will not be allowed in open containers on restaurant tables in the EU. Who knows, one wry commentator noted, what may lurk in unprotected oil.