Thursday, March 02, 2006

We must stand up to the creeping tyranny of the group veto

Timothy Garton Ash writing in today's Guardian:We must stand up to the creeping tyranny of the group veto "
He says the "arguments around animal rights, Danish cartoons, Livingstone and Irving have more in common than you think" and starts with the recent anti-animal rights protests in Oxford.

"For a few minutes, Mansfield Road, Oxford, was at the front line of a new struggle for freedom that is being fought in many different places and guises. These days, the main threats to freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom of association no longer come from the totalitarian ideological superstate that inspired George Orwell to write his 1984... the distinctive feature of this new danger is the creeping tyranny of the group veto.

Here the animal rights campaign has something in common with the extremist reaction to the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, as seen in the attacks on Danish embassies. In both cases, a particular group says: "We feel so strongly about this that we are going to do everything we can to stop it. We recognise no moral limits...

If the intimidators succeed, then the lesson for any group that strongly believes in anything is: shout more loudly, be more extreme, threaten violence, and you will get your way."

Sad but true.

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