Timothy Garton Ash on the danger of the ‘group veto’

Sad times are these when passing ruffians can say, “Nee!” to old women at will.  In seriousness, though, it’s scary how quickly our Western governments, European goverments in particular, have been caving to the loud complaints of relatively small but passionate groups. And caving to their threats of violence — don’t forget the threats of violence. The issue here is not peaceful protest or other shows of solidarity.

Guardian Unlimited | Columnists | Timothy Garton Ash: We must stand up to the creeping tyranny of the group veto

If the intimidators succeed, then the lesson for any group that strongly believes in anything is: shout more loudly, be more extreme, threaten violence, and you will get your way. Frightened firms, newspapers or universities will cave in, as will softbellied democratic states, where politicians scrabble to keep the votes of diverse constituencies.

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