The True Finns Want Free Speech (on their terms)

The True Finns have just published a 5-page manifesto on the media and culture – and thank goodness it is in Finnish because according to them other languages, and especially English, are eating away at the “Great Finnish Language That must Be Preserved At All Costs.”

The manifesto contains some great quotes which they appear to have assiduously collected from Hungary, and a few other countries where the Rule of Law is beginning to creak at the seams.

The manifesto starts with their firmly held belief that Freedom of Speech is the cornerstone of the party. They then set out in the next few pages a rather confusing interpretation of what they mean by Freedom of Speech, confusing in the sense that “Their Freedom” is not “Our Freedom”!

They claim that Freedom of Speech should not be monitored or defined by the EU, by the government or by the courts. 

They claim that their Freedom should allow them freedom to criticise other religions if they are involved in terrorism.

They also appear to claim that verbal threats against policemen, politicians and journalists are also fine to be classified under their Freedom of Speech. 

They say that the Finnish public broadcaster should only produce and broadcast factual information. Does that mean that debate should be banned from television if it is not factual. Where do you draw the line and who makes those decisions?

They say that the Finnish public theatres and publicly funded films should only hold up traditional Finnish values…  Does that mean that municipal theatres should be censored by… by whom and who will decide?

Does that mean that the government should not support artists and actors who do not abide by the values of True Finns. But who decides if Freedom of Speech should not be monitored or defined by the EU, by the government or by the courts?

They also claim that Freedom of Speech also applies to people who say things that are perceived by victims and others as hateful. This means that they appear to claim that inciting others to possible violence is a right under Freedom of Speech.

In their manifesto they talk about the importance of being able to live with differences of opinion and tough opinions, saying that it is irrational to blame those who point out problems. The dilemma here is that Freedom of Speech can be used and abused by harsh and abrasive language like Trump is doing, which we know can and will incite others to violence and other unacceptable behaviour. 

Unregulated behaviour, threats and cheap shots at the opposition, at the unsympathetic media, at the police, and at immigrants always lead to serious problems and more conflict.You only have to look to Syria, in many countries in the Middle East and  Africa, and in the USA today to find nests of dangerous bigots. We do not need more conflict. 

Just look at what happened 70 years ago I Europe – wasn’t that enough?

Here is a translated quote from the manifesto:

“Unfortunately, in many places, our culture seems to be compartmentalised to reproduce a particular worldview and certain values. Many artistic fields smell just as stale as the odour of the artist, as they did decades ago. The idea of socialism has been tinted in slightly different ways – multiculturalism, feminism and other loud but hollow ideologies of today.”

“Impivaara (Here this means traditional Finnish culture) has its place, but we will not close our eyes to the new, as long as it is good, good quality, useful, aesthetic or otherwise positive.”

Putting these two paragraphs together means that the True Finns have great taste since they are the ones to decide what we can listen and watch in the future… 

They really do want to have a very exclusive media and cultural policy – but the word “exclusive” is used here in the sense of excluding a lot of what we enjoy today, and not in the meaning of exclusive meaning “fine an interesting” as most of really do understand.

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