Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The verdict

I won! The Gulating Court of Appeal has awarded me NOK 37,100 in compensation for wrongful imprisonment when I was accused of incitement in 2012. The full ruling is available here and highly recommended reading for all Norwegians, especially those who still feel I should have been convicted for expressing my political views here on this blog. The judges have considered my most offensive quotes for which the police tried to prosecute me, and opined that they didn't violate the law then and still don't after the legal reforms that many people mistakenly believe would have ensured my conviction for saying similar things now.

As anyone who reads the verdict is forced to admit, the criminal concept of incitement simply does not apply to my kind of rhetorics. And that is no accident either, because I had no intention of breaking the law when I wrote my blog posts and comments, certainly not in such a stupid manner as the accusations would have it. When it comes to expressing political disagreements, even very hateful and rebellious ones, freedom of speech is actually quite strong in Norway, so why would I do something like that? Unless you are incredibly rhetorically inept, there is no need to resort to criminal speech in order to get your point across. What you can't do is to publicly exhort specific people to carry out specific criminal acts, but you can glorify and generally advocate criminal behavior. It is not enough to wish to do harm; you have to actually break the law to be punished. The content of my character is admittedly such that I am the worst Norwegian enemy of the state since Quisling, because that is the extent of my hatred of feminist sex laws. Be that as it may, I am still legally protected from prosecution for incitement unless I commit incitement the way it is legally defined, which I don't.

I always thought people who make threats are some of the silliest criminals. Threats are a huge liability while causing almost no damage. Incitement is slightly more intelligent, and arguably a far more serious crime since the sky is the limit in terms of potential harm, but certainly not needed when freedom of speech is tolerably strong. So I always take great care not to run afoul of threat or incitement laws. Those who would like to see me punished are frustrated by the fact that I can be every bit as hateful as the silly people who make threats or incitement, if not more so, while remaining on the right side of the law. Whether you like it or not, that is how it is. You don't get to punish me for my opinions, only for actual crimes that I am too smart to commit. And let's get real, would you really want to live in a country where people can be punished for their character rather than their actions? To take an analogy everyone can understand, imagine if speed limits were based on how fast one wanted to drive instead of the actual speed. Just like you can't be fined for wanting to drive over the speed limit unless you actually do, it is of course legal to adjust one's behavior according to the law when it comes to speech crimes such as incitement as well. And that is what I have done, even if I may have evil intentions in my heart. The judges in the Gulating Court of Appeals are sane enough to acknowledge this fact, even if the lower court and much of the populace isn't. They even assert that my behavior was not only legal, but also not suspicious, which means the cops acted unreasonably and I am entitled to compensation for an attempted prosecution which shouldn't have happened.

If you have the power to lead, then simply existing and expressing your sentiments is enough, and if you don't, then no amount of incitement will make a difference for your cause. Criminal incitement is therefore a fool's errand, and I have no use for it. It is also a pointless prohibition which is rarely ever used anyway, at least not successfully. You have to choose -- either have arbitrary arrests and disappearances of unpopular influencers, or tolerate hateful opinions in public discourse, because it is the nature of language that hatred and rebelliousness can always be conveyed without breaking any law that isn't vague enough to be a travesty of justice. I am glad that Norway has chosen the latter option for now.