May 16, 2014

ELEVATING PERSONAL FREEDOM ABOVE REPUBLICAN LIBERTY:

The 'Right To Be Forgotten,' Or Europe's Embrace Of Its Own Decline (Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, 5/14/14, Forbes)

The "right to be forgotten" is a thing that has been circulated in many years. That means that if there is embarrassing stuff about you on the internet, you should be able to ask people to delete it. For the first time, the European Court of Justice has recognized such a right. As the Telegraph points out, the obvious happened: people whose pasts really shouldn't be forgotten are trying to exercise their "right": a pedophile, a politician running for reelection, and a doctor with bad reviews, according to the story.

The "right to be forgotten" is a right that Europe seems quite keen on exercising indeed, whether it is in the realm of international affairs, or by its own citizens, standing for nothing more than itself, in a navel-gazing infinite loop. After 500 years when it could not be ignored, for good or for ill, now Europe is going after the right to be forgotten.

The other revealing thing about this "right to be forgotten" is that, democratic though their nations may be, in their heart, Europeans still want to bend the knee. A "right to be forgotten," or a right to ask third parties to scrub public information about you from public notice, is incompatible with a vibrant public square and the kinds of free speech protections that Americans enjoy. It is hyperbolic, but it's hard not to think of those infamous Soviet propaganda photos where officials would be deleted as the political winds turned.
Posted by at May 16, 2014 6:59 PM
  
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