Belgium, Belien, the CRC...and the Suppression of Speech
I've been following a little of the discussion regarding Paul Belien being interrogated by the authorities in Belgium. Apparently, homeschoolers in Belgium, inspired by the UN's Convention of the Rights of the Child, must agree to educate “respecting the respect [sic] for the fundamental human rights and the cultural values of the child itself and of others.” Now, it is not that I have anything against respecting the cultural values of others. But how does one define respect? And who gets to make these determinations? And at what point does disrespect equate with criminal behavior?

As Dr. Belien has been outspoken against the "islamification" of Belgium and the rampant immigration, one might well interpret him as not respecting the cultural values of others. In fact, his site has been censored with a nice message telling us the post has been removed by the "Center of Equal Opportunity and the Suppression of Racism" (my translation of that particular division of government's official Dutch is a bit shaky, but that is the gist of it). I'm not against respecting other cultures, and I'm not for racism. And I have not read this particular post, as it is no longer there so I cannot really offer opinions as to whether Mr. Belien is indeed a racist. Or if he is indeed part of some "Neo-con" plot against Muslims. Or if his publication of the Danish cartoon which was disrespectful of Islam had any hidden motivations as part of this broader conspiracy he is alleged to be a part of. This seems a little far-fetched to me, but the publication of these cartoons, according to Knack was to incite radical and moderate Muslims to violent activity so that all in Europe and America would believe that ALL Muslims are violent and dangerous.

Strange accusations flying against this man...but at what point can and should the authorities take over? When does speech become criminal? I think more and more I am leaning to agree with Daryl...and this report...that the harrassment really doesn't have much to do with homeschooling. Suppression of speech comes more immediately to mind, but that is just me.

I think Dr. Belien is making a lot of people in power very unhappy in his little country. The politics there are far different than here. Freedom of speech doesn't mean quite what it does here. Rights are viewed very differently. As I have noted previously, rights are granted by the state. I cannot speak directly to Belgium in this, but in Germany, at least, if a thing is not expressly allowed in the constitution, it is direct contrast to how our government supposedly works. Our central government is supposed to operate with express powers given it and all other powers rest with the state or the individual. These very different views of government make it difficult to really understand some of what we see in European countries.

And where's the outcry from Belgium? I dont' know. I wouldn't know quite how to ascertain whether that is even measurable from my desk here in Nebraska. But since The Center for Islam in Europe uses some rather strong implications that Belien is desiring to institute some sort of "pogrom," I'll point out that the Jews themselves did not cry out as Nazi Germany rounded them up and committed the real pogrom.

Hat Tip: New World Man for the link to the article from the Libertarian Alliance.

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