What is the lesson of the murder of April Jones? Not that parents shouldn't teach their young ones not to go with strange men, but that the Internet should be censored. What is the lesson of the murder of Lee Rigby? Not that action should be taken to counteract those who pervert the teachings of the Qurʼan
, but that what we need is censorship of the Internet. While hard cases make bad law, they also make rich pickings for the enemies of freedom.
There were calls for such enhanced censorship this morning on the BBC Breakfast
news programme including from that paragon of virtue the NSPCC. That's not really an abused child on its website homepage
by the way, rather it's a child model used to raise funds. And raise funds this organisation does.
The usual mixed bag of pro-censorship lobbyists are demanding that Google and other search engines should block on-line porn sites
while some politicians are demanding what is in effect the censorship of "preachers of hate".
This misses the point, in the first instance child pornography is a criminal offence both in the UK and everywhere else in the world. In the second place, direct incitements to murder are likewise criminal offences.
The campaign to censor or even to "criminalise" pornography is the thin edge of the wedge. Who decides what is pornography? Who decides what is hate speech? Some people, including the more lunatic of the so-called anti-porn feminists
equate almost every depiction of naked or semi-naked women with not only pornography but rape. During the 1980s we saw a massive campaign by these fanatics and their fellow travellers to purge newsagent shops of "girlie mags" and even to shut down "sex shops".
It was only when the sex police turned their attentions to homosexual erotica that this campaigned fizzled out. In April 1984, the homosexual bookshop Gay's The Word
was raided by the authorities, who seized large quantities of homosexual literature, and overnight the crusade against pornography and sexism
was transformed into a homophobic
In any case, some graphic depictions of child abuse have their place in society. Check out these explicit YouTube videos:
This shocking footage
was released by the legal authorities in Texas. Shantaniqua Scott was given a 25 year sentence for attempting to murder her young son.
This shocking piece of abuse
takes place in a Chinese street while a crowd stand and watch.
Finally, here is some more graphic abuse
, this time from Russia, of a baby.
Leaving all that aside, do you really want the police to be able to trawl through your Internet records and perhaps even read your e-mails without a warrant? The security services have been doing this
since the last Millennium, but that doesn't mean your local plod should be able to as well. Ever send someone a letter? Maybe you should send postcards instead so that everyone can see what you've written. After all, if you're not a paedophile or an Islamist fanatic, you have nothing to hide. Right?