Norway’s appeals court and supreme court both ruled that Eivind had committed no crime by posting provocative material on his blog. Feminists are crestfallen by the news, and mystified as to why he isn’t still in prison, despite the fact that feminists have been getting away with publishing and speaking violent rhetoric since at least the 1960s. Never once has a feminist been arrested for threatening men, demanding they be attacked or other hateful speech.
Eivind published some material denouncing police, and some violent fantasies concerning revenge against them for oppressing men. Going after the police is seldom a good idea in the United States, as they usually have no qualms about punishing those who do so. I’m not sure about Norway, but I assume the impulse is the same there. However, by American – and Norwegian – standards, his speech was protected by law.
Futrelle wrote that he made a distinct threat to murder a policeman on a particular day, but it looks like Futrelle made that up, as he admits that he never saw it on Eivind’s blog, and he used unreliable translation software to come up with this interpretation. Violent speech is only punishable (in the US) when it constitutes an imminent and likely threat, so falsely alleging someone made such a threat is tantamount to an act of aggression in and of itself. This is something that ought to be remembered about David Futrelle.
Although I wouldn’t recommend making statements as radical as Eivind’s, one has to admit that he managed to get his point across, even appearing on Norwegian news. Sometimes, as feminists and assorted other anti-establishment types from the 60s and 70s demonstrated, radicalism works.
However, we ought to keep in mind that there is a serious push afoot to limit speech. The expulsion of several Olympic athletes for tweets – including in one case merely for an off-color joke – suggests that those in power are perfectly willing to limit expression to enforce political orthodoxy. Furthermore, the liberal mayors’ responses to Dan Kathy’s views on gay marriage demonstrate that they are willing to ignore Constitutional protections to achieve the same end.
Ironically, it is exactly the same people who fought the establishment while relying on Constitutional protections who are currently most willing to trample on individual freedoms. If they have their way, we will certainly see people arrested and jailed for politically incorrect speech, as at this point they cannot exert any more pressure without resorting to state coercion. It’s one thing to bully college students over speech on campus and demand that people lose their jobs over opinions, but it’s quite another to actually put them in jail for it, and it looks as though that’s where we’re headed.
We are entering strange and unstable times, and I’d recommend being circumspect if you want to live a peaceful life. On the other hand, there will be a lot of opportunities to influence the debate in the current climate for those willing to take risks and push the issue. Mainstream institutional opinion is fading in power as another vast generational chasm opens up with the entrance of the boomers into old age. For those of us in the middle, it’s going to be a bit of a tricky balancing act, but opportunities will abound.