ESW at the OSCE: The Perversion of Tolerance to Justify Censorship

The following video shows the intervention read by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, representing Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa, at OSCE Warsaw on September 15, 2017, during Session 8, “Tolerance and non-discrimination II”.

Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for uploading this video:

Below is the prepared text for ESW’s intervention:

Don’t let ‘Intolerance’ infringe on our fundamental freedoms!

Pax Europa fully aligns itself with the statement made my Alliance Defending Freedom International.

One of the definitions of tolerance used today is “allowing others the opportunity to think and believe what they are told to think and believe.”

It is a perversion of tolerance when it is used as an excuse for censoring views which are deemed offensive. True tolerance means allowing anybody to express their views, however disagreeable — and being free to tell them what you think of them. For advocates of true tolerance, the solution is never censorship, but ideological combat.

Today, should anyone feel he has the license to disagree with the new arbiters if all that is right and good, that person is no longer merely someone with a different opinion. That person is evil and should be banished from polite society, his career ruined, perhaps even have his children taken away. No punishment is too severe for those who disagree.

One case in point involves a Sheffield University social work postgraduate student who was expelled from his course for posting on his Facebook page that homosexual activity is against the teaching of the Bible.

He was brought before a disciplinary board at the University after a fellow student reported the post. The “Fitness to Practise Committee” told him, after a hearing, that he had been “excluded from further study on a programme leading to a professional qualification” and was “no longer recognised as a University student.” This was because, as a result of his Facebook comments, he “may have caused offence to some individuals” and “transgressed boundaries which are not deemed appropriate for someone entering the Social Work profession.”

The answer to being assaulted by bad words is not to end speech or to lock up the speaker. It is more speech. In the age of phony tolerance, we have reached the point where those of us who champion free speech as a fundamental value of our civilization can be accused of “extremism”. If there is one thing we should not tolerate in silence it is the perversion of tolerance into an excuse for more self-defeating censorship.

Freedom of Expression is how people manifest their beliefs and freedom of religion and belief is a hollow platitude without the ability to express those beliefs.

Pax Europa calls on participating States to ensure that citizens are free to exercise these fundamental freedoms without being labeled as intolerant.

Pax Europa recommends to the OSCE that the terms ‘tolerant’ and ‘intolerant’ get precise legal definitions that do not in any way infringe on our fundamental freedoms.

For links to previous articles about the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, see the OSCE Archives.

6 thoughts on “ESW at the OSCE: The Perversion of Tolerance to Justify Censorship

  1. Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff is one of the grandest, bravest persons in modern history. But, I have to wonder why she and others are spending time on the OSCE, which has been captured by the leftist NGOs and Saudi-funded Islamists, and which seems to slip deeper into totalitarian ideology each year.

    It’s like trying to argue America First to the Republican National Committee. You think you’re arguing with the brain, but you’re really arguing with the pocketbook.

    • To RonaldB, many thanks for your very kind words.

      I agree with your sentiments about the OSCE having been captured by leftist NGOs (plus so-called GONGOS – government-sponsored NGOs); however, in full knowledge of that fact, my colleagues and I have been attending these meetings since 2009, oftentimes very successfully. Note the success we scored regarding the use of the useless and undefined term “Islamophobia”.

      The OSCE is the only international organization permitting and encouraging members of civil society – that’s us! – to speak up during plenary sessions. Why would we skip this opportunity and leave the battlefield to the enemies of freedom?

      In addition, given that we disagreed with the prevailing narrative, the reactions this year were even more hostile than ever. In my book, this shows we are on the right track.

      A representative of the OSCE ODIHR office may have said to us “Your truth is not my truth”, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is only one truth and that truth is never hate speech.

      Now you know why we are still there. And why we will never leave, at least not on our own accord.

      Never give up. Never give in.

      • Fantastic. Thanks so much not only for your reply, but for your work. If you say there is a positive effect, I more than take your word for it.

        I remember the inspirational picture you presented when you were persecuted by the Austrian government for making a very mild, and completely true, statement about Islam. I hope your work is successful in widening the window into which the light of truth can come through.

      • Many times it seems that you and “our team” are like the boy who put his thumb in the leak in the dam. But I applaud you for carrying on and bringing heavy hitters with you like Clare Lopez. I think you are making a difference. Certainly last year or the year before when you challenged the term Islamophobia. That sent everyone through the roof. Or, the year Maj Conklin asked if the truth can be hate speech…
        Good for you ESW!
        (and I especially like it when you get a rise out of these effete progressive snobs.)

  2. There should be no tolerant or intolerant speech… only free speech counts and I wish people could get that through their heads. Who cares if it’s tolerant or intolerant. The real point is: FREE SPEECH for all!! That’s what I say anyway.

    Jeeze, how hard is this? America at least guarantees free speech. Use it.

    • What bothers me most of all is that free speech is immortalized in the 1st Amendment, and yet, Americans continue to try to stifle free speech.

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