On Friday, the British police arrested Tommy Robinson, founder and former leader of the English Defence League, a far-right anti-Islam group. Robinson is a controversial character, to be sure, a sort of Milo Yiannopoulos lite. His chief focus is on the threat of radical Islam, which he believes threatens the integrity of the British system.
You don't have to like Robinson. But whatever you think of him, his arrest is absurd by any measure. You see, Robinson was arrested for standing outside a court building and reporting on a trial involving the alleged grooming of young girls for sexual assault by radical Muslims.
Now, what would be illegal about that, you ask? It turns out that Robinson was given a suspended sentence last year for filming outside another court building, where a trial for alleged gang rape by radical Muslims was taking place. He wasn't inside the courtroom. Nonetheless, the judge believed he was somehow biasing the jurors. According to the judge, Robinson was sentenced thanks to "pejorative language which prejudges the case, and it is language and reporting ... that could have had the effect of substantially derailing the trial."
This time, Robinson was again arrested for prejudicing a case, only he wasn't inside the court building. He was outside. And the media were originally banned from reporting on his arrest so that his trial wouldn't be biased. In other words, Britain has now effectively banned reporting that actually mentions the Islamic nature of criminal defendants for fear of stirring up bigotry — and has banned reporting on reporting on such defendants. It's an infinite regress of suicidal political correctness.
But at least the Europeans have their priorities straight: While it's perfectly legal to lock up a provocateur covering a trial involving Muslims, the European Union is now considering a ban on products like cotton buds, straws and other plastics for fear of marine litter. And just as importantly, it's now perfectly legal to kill unborn children again in Ireland, where voters — with the help of a cheering press — decided to lift the ban on abortions until the 20th week, condemning thousands of children to death.
This is how the West dies: with a tut-tut, not with a bang. The same civilization that sees it as a fundamental right to kill a child in the womb thinks it is utterly out of bounds to film outside a trial involving the abuse of children, so long as the defendants are radical Muslims. The Europeans have elevated the right to not be offended above the right to life; they've elevated the right to not be offended above the right to free speech, all in the name of some utopian vision of a society without standards.
Discarding those standards was supposed to make Europeans more free; it was supposed to allow Europeans to feel more comfortable. But the sad truth is that no society exists without certain standards and Europe has a new standard: enforcement of its "tolerance" via jail sentence, combined with tolerance of multiculturalism that sees tolerance itself as a Trojan horse. The notion of individual rights sprang from European soil. Now they're beginning to die there.
Ben Shapiro, 34, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of "The Ben Shapiro Show" and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com. He is The New York Times best-selling author of "Bullies." He lives with his wife and two children in Los Angeles.