Brendan O’Neill


Please pardon the echo.

Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked, discusses the failed “Voltaire defense” used on behalf of Islamic protesters in a British free speech case, why the Chilcot Inquiry is nothing more than non-punitive talk therapy for the state, the scapegoating of Islamic extremism for the West’s abandonment of Enlightenment ideals and how controversial speech in Britain is silenced by legislation rather than challenged by public debate.

MP3 here. (31:43)

Brendan O’Neill is the author of Can I Recycle My Granny?: And 39 Other Eco-dilemmas and the editor of Spiked. His archived articles can be found here.

8 thoughts on “Brendan O’Neill”

  1. I don't think the Islamists are against our freedom so much as our using freedom as a slogan , a shield, to take over their land, to steal their resources, to mock their traditions, and to wantonly kill their people to 'protect' ourselves from their 'extremists'. Freedom is not seen so much as a 'joke' but as a prop. We're pretending to be protecting freedom but really we are protecting power. And the same goes for the Holocaust. The Holocaust is now the basis for fomenting war. When I was a lad it was the basis for working for Peace.

    1. I agree with your "protecting power" in general…but I've lived and worked in Muslim countries for many years…you're absolutely naive if you think there is intellectual freedom in these environments…it doens't exist…


    2. 'They hate your freedom' was a brilliant psychological play: I suspect if you did a survey of people who druel and pick their nose publicly, most of them would tell you that that slogan was aimed at people dumber than themselves. Hence, few seriously challenged it. Even now it seems like it's the subject of mockery that's all too gentle. I suspect it was also a subtle form of terrorism: evoking the image of millions of voting couch potatoes who didn't even blink when they heard it.

  2. "Someone should be able to defeat a Holocaust denier pretty easily." We only know once there is a fair debate, with no fear of legal retribution.

    1. That started at about 16:10. I think the conventional response to such a comment is to quote a Jewish author: N. G. Finkelstein's The Holocaust Industry 2000, p. 55: "Articulating the key Holocaust dogmas, much of the literature on Hitler's Final Solution is worthless as scholarship…Holocaust studies is replete with nonsense, if not sheer fraud."

      Scott and Brendan covered some good ground on the conventional wisdom on censorship, but avoided the generality that some might conclude a priori: that censorship is the sole defense of otherwise indefensible ideas. I will conclude that "holocaust denial" is the exception to such a rule when the ADL condemns the murder of Palestinians, otherwise I'll only suggest that it is unlikely to be so easy to defeat it in a fair fight. Scott is probably the greatest host in the US, but here he may have suckered for another amalgamation of establishment scapegoats (a few months ago a favorite seemed to be 'truthers.')

  3. I'm glad he referred to left-libertarianism. Scott Horton has made brief mentions of it before, but too many people think it's a contradiction, when, in fact, that's what the term "libertarian" always meant for a long time historically, and still means outside the US. It's right there in wikipedia under "Libertarian Socialism."

  4. Whether or not there is intellectual freedom in muslim countries is none of our business. Oh, I said the word business, I guess we do have a right to destroy their societies. I apologize for sounding like a terrorist.

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