Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Keep Out?

Great Britain has published a list of people who will not be allowed to enter the country based on their opinions.

The British government on Tuesday named 16 people who have been banned from entering Britain for “fostering extremism or hatred,” including Muslim extremists, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, a U.S. radio talk show host and a Kansas preacher.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who is responsible for domestic security, said she decided to make the names public to show the kind of behavior that Britain is “not willing to have in this country.”

The list includes six Americans. Perhaps the most prominent is Michael Savage, a nationally syndicated conservative radio host who has made controversial remarks about immigrants and Muslims, such as urging Americans to “burn the Mexican flag on your street corner” and saying that “when I see a woman walking around with a burqa, I see a Nazi.”

Far be it from me to tell the British how to run their country, but bans like this only turn the people who are being excluded into self-proclaimed martyrs and give them yet another cause to trumpet: “oh, poor pitiful me being persecuted by the tyrannical Brits.” Worse, it gives them the impression that what they say is so important and inflammatory that it deserves the attention the Home Office is giving it.

What would have been much more effective is to let them into the country and then pointedly ignore them.