News from Europe:

Take a look at the Helsinki Complaints Choir. This is along the same lines as my 2003 dream that I was going to put on a Brown v. Board of Education oratorio. (See also the Civil Rights Cantata, a musical setting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Nuremberg Principles, and excerpts from the U.N. Charter, by James F. Wood. You can buy that here.)

Also, Slate comments on the release on probation of British Holocaust denier David Irving, who had served 13 months of a 3-year sentence in Austria. "Score one for free speech," says Michael Weiss of Slate. (Weiss adds "even if the speaker is thoroughly unsavory," which sadly seems obligatory these days.) Does anyone have any evidence that the probation was based on free-speech concerns? I didn't see any in the news article I read. (I know, perhaps any shortening of a speech-violative sentence is in some sense a victory for free speech. But it's arguably not such a big "ideas" victory if he was released to open up prison space for murderers, because he was judged unlikely to reoffend, because the Austrians thought deportation was a better option for foreign prisoners, etc.)

liberty (mail) (www):
A fair number of those complaints could be solved with decent economic policy.
12.21.2006 11:23am
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
For example, Finnish being a bloody hard language to learn.
12.21.2006 11:41am
This is a tribute to the feebleness of European justice, not to European love of free speech.
12.21.2006 12:58pm
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
Jeek: Can you explain the feebleness?
12.21.2006 1:38pm
markm (mail):
Sasha, I don't know about Austria, but my impression of UK justice is that for a non-fatal assault with a Clockwork Orange level of violence, the perpetrator is likely to be out on parole in less than 13 months. There's something very, very wrong when someone can be imprisoned as long for speech as for unprovoked physical violence.
12.22.2006 11:33am