April 25, 2008

Free speech or racism in Canada

Have you, by any chance, been as fascinated as I have by the doings up North in lovely Canada where people like Ezra Levant are being prosecuted/persecuted for "hate crimes" or violations of Canada's revolting human rights statutes? Mark Steyn is also victim of a complaint brought by some jerk in front of one of the human rights commissions. Ezra's website is a damn good place to go to get some background. He's defending himself from some Islamic organization's complaint that he hurt their feelings by publishing the dreaded Danish Cartoons of Blasphemy.

Anyway, I have been following this, with a sick fascination, for months. I mean, Canadians are so very much like us, we think, only kind of cleaner and nicer and a bit more polite. Toronto v. New York. Mounties v. NYC Cops. You get it, right? So, when I read that they are prepared to accept all sorts of governmental interference with freedom of expression, I am dumbfounded. It is absolutely absurd. I just have not been able to wrap my mind around the concept.

Until now. Now, I get it. I was reading Mark Steyn's recent piece in Macleans when it suddenly clicked for me. Here's the excerpt that brought it together for me:

Last week's letters page included a missive from Jennifer Lynch, Q.C., chief commissioner of the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission, defending her employees from the accusation of "improper investigative techniques" by yours truly. Steyn, she writes, "provides no substantiation for these claims," and then concludes:

"Why is this all important? Because words are important. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be given free rein. History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred."

(Emphasis supplied).

It is the bit in bold that triggered it for me. The need for HRC's (human rights commissions) is because the liberal, at his/her base, cannot and will not trust to the fundemental decency of the Canadian. In older times, and perhaps still, at least where I am, I believe that you would see people stand up for victims of hatred at an individual level. I believe that people, individually and en masse, would stand together and say: "No, your behavior is not acceptable when you called that other person a ______". I believe that we, as a people, individually and collectively, would not put up with witnessing blatantly racist behavior and not try to intervene on behalf of the victim.

The people who put the HRCs in place do not share my faith. They think that the only way to protect people from hurtful speech is to proscribe the speech and for the Government to take the place of the People (in loco populi?). They think that no one will protect anyone but them. In consecrating to themselves the rights of a free people to. . . No, the obligations of a free people to stand for themselves and to defend the limits of socially acceptable speech by engaging in spirited debate and in more speech, by saying, "no, no, no, dear people, don't bother, let us, the helpful anti-racist professionals do it", what you do is kill the spirit of the body politic. It is not necessary any more for Canadians to stand themselves and be counted in the face of anti-Canadian behavior. It is only necessary that they pick up the phone and ask the HRC to do it for them. Perhaps anonymously. Can you see how this is practically an invitation to abdicate your responsibilities as a citizen and an individual?

You may hate the image of the cowboy. Chances are, if you are European, you certainly do. But can you imagine a cowboy picking up the phone and not solving his community's problems himself?

To sum up, I hate the HRC because they are animated by the belief that the individual will not protect the weak. I disagree. That is not how I was raised. It is un-American. I bet it is also un-Canadian. But, who can say, maybe the welfare state and the multi-culti types have successfully whittled away at the concept of individual responsibility so well and replaced it with an over-reliance on the State as the beginning and the end of everything that the HRC's and the beliefs they represent will never go away.

I just hope it won't happen here.

Posted by Random Penseur at April 25, 2008 02:22 PM | TrackBack

Unfortunately RP, in this day and age, standing up for the weak sometimes gets you killed. Which is why some folks won't do it, even when they know it is the right thing to do.

Posted by: jules at April 25, 2008 03:04 PM

I agree with Jules, rp, fear has been thrust into our society by the media, everywhere you look something horrible is happening, and then there's a tv movie about it. Also... the hate crime legislation puts a fire under the ass of the police, whereas before they would have written off spray-painting slurs as graffiti, now they actually have to do some investigating.

And it also reminds us how we're supposed to behave around people of other cultures, racist jokes have come back into the jokepot in the last few years even though I thought we stomped them out back in the PC late 80's.

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