Jonathan Hari, Champion Of Free Speech

Jonathan Hari – who wrote the article on Nick Cohen’s book that I was interested in blogging about – has threatened Harry’s Place blogger david t with a defamation action for his post on Hari’s article.

My first reaction is to wonder if calling someone a “dickhead” is defamation under British law.

My second was to go to Google and look at the cached copy of david’s post; I have no clue what in the world Hari could find ‘defamatory’ in it. Go look yourself, and let me know why he’d make an outrageous claim like that. And consider yourself blessed if you don’t live in the UK where laws like that slowly choke the free expression of ideas.

It’s weird, again how the right was so into suppression when I was young, and now the Left is. Maybe they all reread their Marcuse?

7 thoughts on “Jonathan Hari, Champion Of Free Speech”

  1. #2: _The truth is not a defense (or defence, for you tea-slurpers) against libel in the UK_

    Unless I am very much mistaken, you are wrong there.

  2. Re: #5 from Francis: thanks for the information, Francis.

    Is it defamatory to call someone a lawsuit-happy bully who’s shown that they’d rather suppress the truth than admit an error?

  3. Thanks Francis, AFAICT this is the offending passage:

    I make clear in the introduction that my parents were ex-communists who remained conventional members of the late-twentieth-century left. They didn’t “raise me” to see Orwell as “a moral archetype.” Indeed, I’m not sure that they ever read Orwell themselves. If they had, they would have hated his argument about totalitarianism because, as I say again in the introduction, they did not see a moral equivalence between communism and Nazism. For my part, it’s true that I did start Homage to Catalonia a few years ago, but to my shame I never finished it. I would no more ask “What would Orwell do?” than I would “What would Jesus do?”

    Hari makes up these stories about my mother and father solely so he can declare that I am an “ostentatious claimant of George Orwell’s mantle.” This would indeed be a preposterously self-aggrandizing claim to make if I had ever made it. But I haven’t, in print or in private.

    Having misrepresented my parents, he goes on to misrepresent my book.

    Hopefully, despite Breyer and Ginbsurg’s fondness for foreign law, the SCOTUS will never look to Britain for “interpreting” the scope of the protections in the First Amendment.

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