Man Gets Pride and Prejudice

Twenty-year-old Ben John was arrested in January 2020, for violating Britain’s Terrorism Act. He was caught with 70,000 extremist documents on his computer, including material on how to build a bomb.

Much of the extremist material on John’s computer promoted the ideology of white supremacy, Adolph Hitler, Nazis, and fascism. In the United States this material would most likely be protected by the First Amendment. But in Great Britain such documents are illegal, and John faced up to 15 years in prison.

John’s attorney claimed there is no proof he was actually preparing to plan a terrorist attack, and that his client is simply a confused man. Judge Timothy Spencer bought this argument and last month gave John a two-year suspended sentence, plus one year on probation. But in addition, the judge ordered John to do some reading.

From the bench, Judge Spencer declared, “You are a lonely individual with few if any true friends. Have you read Dickens? Austen? Start with Pride and Prejudice and Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Think about Hardy. Think about Trollope.”

John will have to deliver oral reports on his reading every four months for two years. And on January 4th he’ll have to report to the judge on Pride and Prejudice, and the judge will test him on it. If he fails the test, the judge has promised he will suffer.

One can only wonder what the judge would do. Throw the book at him?


Categories: news

59 replies »

  1. It seems to me that much of what defines “Freedom” is merely overcoming our own fear of knowledge. And it’s not just the censorship of others, but also self-censorship. To eat the apples, one first has to pick them off the tree. But many are content in ignorance if it allows an intellectually easy perspective… and that’s not a “political” statement.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree. Someone once said that if you hide slime under a rock you give it a chance to grow. So I’m not for censorship, even if it’s white supremacist propaganda.

      I once interviewed Tom Metzger, who was the head of the Southern California chapter of the KKK back in the 70s. It was for a college class project. Boy did I get a lot of scowls from my fellow students. But my professor gave me an A.

      I just believe sunshine is the best detergent.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting about Metzger. I once met with a UC English professor in her office during a big campus demonstration to block his cable program, “Race and Reason”, from the university system network (I think it was being shot at Cal State Fullerton’s studio, as they were a big “Communications” campus). She noted that I wasn’t out demonstrating, to which I responded that neither was she. Unfortunately, I get the impression that most of those old, tenured libertarian professors have been displaced with people more concerned with “microaggressions”. Too bad.

        Sunshine is the best detergent… Japan is an interesting study in that regard. Stay in an APA hotel in Japan and you’ll encounter the propaganda of the company’s president, Toshio Motoya (aka: “Seiji Fuji”)… definitely a Japanese neo-nationalist and historical revisionist. The Japanese constitution expressly prohibits banning such free speech, so he can openly print and distribute his opinions in Japan. But that also means that everybody in Japan knows about them, and it’s forced some open if unpleasant discussions about the reality of Japan’s atrocities in WWII. Compare that to the US… where APA now operates hotels (Coast Hotels chain and the New Jersey Woodbridge). Can you imagine the outcry if someone found a hotel magazine in a room declaring that, “Jewish people control America,” and that called the Nanking Massacre and “comfort women”, “…fabricated stories created to dishonor Japan.” Consequently, Americans simply don’t know about any of this.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It seems free and open debate is not understood well. All people want to do is shut down those who they disagree with.

          In the case of Metzger, I was taking a course in Native American history. So I wanted the KKKs opinion on what should be done about Native Americans. His responses were absurd and idiotic, such as, “send them back where they came from.”

          At the time, the KKK had launched a fairly effective PR campaign because they were going after child molesters. Metzger was actually gaining some positive traction in the court of public opinion. So I thought it was important to expose his underlying philosophies in his own words, just to show how stupid he really was. I say, let the idiots speak out so we can all be reminded what dipshits they are.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Exactly! Most of these people are such idiots that simply allowing them to say what’s on their minds would repel anyone with even a vestige of common sense. And allowing debate also means that the other side gets an opportunity to shine the light of reality onto the cockroaches. There are always going to be people with uncomfortable opinions. But mention Toshio Motoya in Japan, and most people will roll their eyes in knowing ridicule. How many Americans can actually respond likewise knowingly about Tom Metzger?

            When that Metzger thing was was going on while I was in college, I thought the better approach would have been to have done exactly what you did… essentially to set up and promote a counterpoint program in response, to expose the idiocy and self-destructiveness of his ideas. Instead, he and his crew just moved out of sight.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Well, according to Wiki, he won the Democratic party’s primary in 1980, for California’s 43rd Congressional District. He was then soundly trounced in the general election (87% to 13%). He just died last year.

              I think he was an alcoholic. When I interviewed him, he seemed a little inebriated. My professor told me he met him once, and got the same impression.

              I suppose if I espoused such stupid ideas, I’d take to drinking, too.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I knew he’d had some previous political success. What I was recalling happened around maybe ’91 or ’92. There were obnoxious protests around the state college and university system campuses after his talk show began airing on a Cal-State system cable channel. I guess he was hoping to recruit some younger, better educated followers. I don’t think his program was actually shut down. But when it became clear that he wasn’t exactly drawing the kind of crowd he’d hoped for, he gave up. Silly really. California’s state education system was about as multi-cultural as you can get, even back then. I don’t know who he was thinking would be ready to jump on his bandwagon.

                Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I am a rank amateur with no technical skills. My son set up my free Blog in 2016 and the few people who read it at first were friends and family who sent me hotmail email replies instead of liking or commenting on WP. I eventually attracted some WP followers who were searching “suicide.” I used the title Suicide Squeeze title as a baseball term but did made reciprocal connections. When I “like” a post, I get a prompt to follow. I assume that is how I gain followers. I am not philosophically opposed to upgrading or learning more but like procrastinating on haircuts, I end up prioritizing the fun part of writing and commenting on Blogs in the face of a busy life. I recognize myself when pet peeves are aired about beginner Bloggers who don’t link gravatars to their site, etc.. I am not intentionally being difficult. It took me four years to personalize my icon with a picture. Just moving very slowly!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, prioritizing is important, I think. Especially when it comes to social media. For me, it’s down on the list, but usually my list is pretty short, so I generally have plenty of time for it.


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