Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I'm With the Wingnuts on this One. And ...

Canadian Cynic agrees with Scott's Diatribes and Dr. Dawg that Mark Steyn's travails at the hands of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal are nothing to care about at all.

Dr. Dawg's reflections are particularly poignant for me:

Surely everybody on the planet must be talking about the Mark Steyn Trial of the Century. And Human Rights Commissions, the Spanish Inquisition redux, coming soon to your own door. (Worse!) This hed just about says it all, doesn't it?

Well, as they say, welcome to the real world, kiddies. No, the Steyn auto-da-fe is not being widely reported, except by the usual suspects. The irons are not being heated, the gallows rope is not being tested, the whips are not soaking in brine, the cold, dank cells are not being outfitted with new batches of mouldy straw.

The thing is, I experienced the same sort of let-down when I traveled to Ottawa to raise awareness of three CANADIAN CITIZENS who were TORTURED in Syria and Egypt, seemingly at the REQUEST of the CANADIAN GOVERNMENT. At the end of it all, despite a large media presence, most people didn't know about it and the CBC's big story was about the woman fired for giving a "timbit" to a customer's baby.

Just because the majority don't know, and [probably?] don't care, doesn't make it unimportant. I'm with the wingnuts in opposing anti-hate legislation. A position shared with Glenn Greenwald:

People like Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant are some of the most pernicious commentators around. But equally pernicious, at least, are those who advocate laws that would proscribe and punish political expression, and those who exploit those laws to try use the power of the State to impose penalties on those expressing "offensive" or "insulting" or "wrong" political ideas. The mere existence of the "investigation," interrogation, and proceeding itself is a grotesque affront to every basic liberty.


Empowering the State to proscribe and punish speech is not only the most dangerous step a society can take -- though it is that -- it's also the most senseless. It never achieves its intended effect of suppressing or eliminating a particular view. If anything, it has the opposite effect, by driving it underground, thus preventing debate and exposure. Worse, it converts its advocates into martyrs -- as one sees from the hero-worship now surrounding people like Levant and Steyn, who now become self-glorifying symbols of individual liberty rather than what they are: hateful purveyors of a bitter, destructive, authoritarian ideology.


Alison said...

I was proud of your Caravan and followed your daily posts on it. I shoulda linked, I meant to, I didn't. :(

Mark said...

If there is any justice, you'll get a link from Steyn's website, and enjoy some positive attention from the fanboys.

rabbit said...

I salute you and WingNutter for understanding what liberalism is truly about, and for being able to see beyond blind partisanship.

And I am utterly perplexed by bloggers who think that the actions of the HRC's have nothing to do with them. Can they not see more than one move down the chess board?

thwap said...


I don't like liberals, but I do like some liberal principles. I believe that the best of anarchism (something else that I don't entirely agree with) develops out of liberal principles.


I'd prefer that the Steynian fan-boys just stay away, thanks.

rabbit said...


Well in my world, true classic liberalism is a good thing. You're going to have to accept the complement whether you like it or not.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! Good boogin', Thwapper. I figger we can fight the bigots with truth. We don't need laws outlawin' unpopular opinions. The fact that such opinions are unpopular is enough.

Incitement to violence -- for any reason -- should be and is outlawed.


Dr.Dawg said...

Come on guys, open your eyes.

1) The BCHRT isn't prosecuting anyone--it's an administrative tribunal. To attack them is like attacking the court system because someone has been charged with an offence.

2) No complaint against Steyn (or Levant for that matter) has ever been upheld by a Human Rights Tribunal. Nor is the present one likely to be upheld either.

3) The law about exposing minorities to hatred and contempt has a sufficiently high bar to protect all but the vilest of speech.

4) HRTs, unlike the civil courts, are user-friendly and within reach of people of modest means who believe they have been discriminated against.

If you're going to appeal to principle, at least make sure you know something about the issues involved.

thwap said...

I understand it fine. I'm a free speech fanatic.

Dr.Dawg said...

Oh, OK. That's all right then. : )