Thursday, January 14, 2010

Against the envy of less happier lands?

Rick B. informs us that Britain's Home Office called the decision "disappointing."    Pathetic might be a better word for it.   The decision:
Police stop and search powers under UK terrorism laws have been declared illegal by human rights judges after two Londoners questioned their legality. The right to question people without grounds for suspicion – granted by the Terrorism Act of 2000 – violates the Human Rights Convention, said the European Court of Human Rights.
The threat of terrorism is the British government's excuse for draconian search and siezure laws, yet London is far from being the only city in the EU that has been targeted by terrorists.

It's a sad development when you consider the long history of civil liberties on the island relative to the continent.  There ought to be something deeply humiliating for the British about this decision; the fact that they have been "given back" their freedoms by a European court.

But that's what things have come to.


  1. Hell I don't mind where protection of our liberties comes from as long as they come! But yes I expect 'patriotic' Brits might be peeved, however patriotism is such that it has been used to endorse Euro-phobia so you will have the phenomenon of Britons saying 'Back off Brussels and stop forcing human rights onto us!' It really is amazing how pliably stupid some people are when it comes to nationalism manipulated by authoritarians. Actually it isn't amazing, it's a tedious common thread found throughout most of history!

  2. To the extent patriotism or identity could be based on pride in your country's traditions and institutions of human rights, I tend to think that can be a positive thing. Especially for foreigners, as they can then look to that country's system as an exemplar or inspiration worthy of emulation.

    Even within a big place like Europe, I think it's important to have countries that set the example for the others. A big experiment like Europe will only succeed if it has some smaller, successful experiments to learn from.

    It is in this respect I imagine a world in which people like the British -- prosperous, relatively progressive, and politically stable -- become dependent on extra-territorial institutions to protect their rights is in some way, a much poorer world.


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