There is a new Righteous, one unearthed by the blogger known as Trixy (if anyone had it earlier, sorry. This is where I first saw the link). This is a EuroRighteous and boy, is she confident in her abilities to control. This is Mary Honeyball MEP.
She picked up on the story that a perfectly legitimate conference, set up to discuss the creeping prohibition of everything, was itself prohibited by the EU. On the say-so of some Righteous bint called Florence Berteletti Kemp, who decided that protesting about prohibition should be prohibited because she doesn’t like people saying she’s an evil controlling arrogant bitch, even though she is.
There was much comment, as you’d expect.
Eventually, Honeypot responded with this comment, which I will take some pleasure in dismantling:
There are several points made in comments. Firstly, free speech.
I have published all your comments as you have your views and I have mine. As I have done this, I am unclear on how you think I tried to suppress your views? By posting them I have given a forum and publicity to your conference.
Deleting a comment from a blog, any blog, even a 'big' one like Iain Dale or Guido, is not suppressing anyone’s view. It’s no different from the guy who refuses to listen to you and walks away. Your view isn’t suppressed. You’re still free to tell someone else. On the internet it’s even better, you can set up a blog of your own. Or more than one. Even better still, if a blogger deletes your comment, you can reproduce that comment on your own blog along with your opinions of the deleter.
That’s something the Righteous have not grasped about life, and about the Internet in particular. Deleting a comment won’t shut me up. It will make me shout it louder.
She then says she has given a forum and publicity to the conference. How? By announcing it was stopped? And publicity, I mean, really. Dale and Guido might be able to give publicity to items of news, but the rest of us? We’re not the main event. We’re the groups chatting in the corners of the room. Let’s not kid ourselves that blogs will ‘reach six million people’ because they don’t and they never will. Only a total buffoon could believe otherwise, especially scruffy buffoons in need of a shave, but naturally I wouldn’t go so far as to name any names.
So as far as free speech goes, deleting or not deleting a comment on a blog has little effect on the world at large unless that comment is libelous or otherwise illegal. Closing down a legitimate conference just because you don’t agree with it has rather more impact on free speech. We don't care what you allow or don't allow on a blog which is your personal property. That's up to you. We care what your government allow or don't allow in our real lives. Saying you support free speech because you allow comments on a blog, while supporting the suppression of legitimate voices in real life, is a feeble excuse.
She gets better in her response to those complaining about her pomposity.
On smoking, even when I smoked, I supported ASH Action on Smoking and
Health. Some people think Elvis is alive on the moon. Others think smoking does not cause widespread premature early death. You are welcome to your views, see free speech above, and I am entitled to disagree.
Here, she uses a Righteous trick of conflating two separate and unrelated groups, one of which is clearly insane, to prove that both are insane. At the same time, she inflates the argument presented to her from ‘we want a choice whether to smoke or not’ to ‘we don’t believe smoking is harmful’. That way, she equates those who would like their freedom back with those who believe Elvis lives on the moon.
Nobody believes smoking is harmless. We who smoke know the risks and choose to take the risk, as do those who bungee-jump or hang-glide or mountain-climb. The evidence for passive smoking is sketchy and inconclusive. As one of her commenters asks, where are the symptoms? What are the discernible effects of passive smoking on non-smokers? There are a myriad possible causes of lung cancer, through traffic emissions, particulates, air processing by ventilation systems, and even vaporization of water treatment chemicals in hot showers (yes, that’s been demonstrated statistically) not to mention just plain bad luck. So where is the evidence that passive smoking is not only among these risk factors, but is so high up the list that it’s the only one worth mentioning? There is no evidence, so she has to exaggerate the claims of her opponents in order to respond with a put-down.
She uses a similar trick in her next paragraph:
Finally libertarianism/anti-prohibition. Last time I had to deal with this it was a Tory MEP meeting with people who believed adults could have sexual relationships with children. I am a little unclear what it is you oppose being banned. Theft? Assault? Bear baiting? Hard drugs? In a civilised society if people are stopped from smoking in public areas by the democratic processes then that's fine by me.
Her comment attempts firstly to equate freedom to choose whether or not to light a cigarette with freedom to go around raping babies. What aspect of libertarianism insists on the latter? Where, in any Libertarian party manifesto, or on any Libertarian blog, is there insistence that raping children is a valid lifestyle choice? There is none. She does not actually make the comparison, you’ll notice, she merely brings in the ‘think of the children’ line as an aside, but one which is intended to connect the two things in the casual reader’s mind. Persist with the argument, and you will find that at some point, ‘libertarian’ and ‘paedophile’ will become inexplicably linked.
She then claims to be unclear on what the anti-prohibitionists want the freedom to do, despite being very clear in her original post that she believes it is a pro-smoking conference she’s talking about. That in itself is duplicitous wording. Nobody is ‘pro-smoking’. We don’t want to persuade others to take it up. We just want the choice.
Because she has claimed to be unclear on this, she then sets up her own examples, none of which have ever been put forward by any pro-choice or libertarian group anywhere. Theft, assault and bear-baiting, that’s what she wants her readers to think she’s fighting against here. Again, she exaggerates the claims of her opponents until they are easy to knock down. As for hard drugs, she might be surprised at how many in her own party want those legalized.
Now she has set up her more gullible readers to believe we all want bear-baiting legalised, she then goes on to say that it's fine to ban smokers, because, in the malleable minds she's used to addressing, they are now as bad a paedophiles, bear-baiters, thieves and violent criminals. And, of course, a civilised society does not include barbaric smokers. I'm going to get me some animal skins to wear and carry a big club.
If you go there, don’t be too quick to comment. Read what she writes and analyse it. Compare with what you see, especially in the comments, on other Righteous blogs. The Righteous all use these same tricks all the time. If you’re not in favour of uncontrolled immigration then you are a racist who wants every foreigner booted out. If you are against the smoking ban then you are the sort of person who passes cigarettes to three-year-olds and who holds down non-smokers and forces smoke into their lungs. If you oppose drink controls then you are someone who would be happy to hand a bottle of absinthe to a six-year-old. If you oppose diet control then you don’t care at all if everyone dies of obesity, If you oppose more management in the NHS then you are happy to see the elderly and sick thrown into the street. They do it every time, and for a decade or more, it’s worked very well.
And finally, in a spectacular display of Olympic standard point-missing, she says this:
I know some of you disagree and you are free to campaign to change this. But you will not change my mind.
The entire point of the letter she published in the first post was that a campaign for free choice was prohibited on the basis of a complaint from a non-elected self-righteous tart. So who is free to campaign, Righteous Mary?
Those who agree with you, but not those who don’t?
Seems that way to me.