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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Just up at The Mindful Hack

Would you shove a fat man off a trestle to save five people?

Events: New debate , sponsored by Fixed Point, on God, atheism, and science on very spot where Samuel Wilberforce debated Thomas Huxley

Coffee break: The Zen pensioner says ...

Brain: Octopus develops advanced brain, but what does it do?

Theological speculation - sure, just what the cave man needed ...

The Mark Steyn show trial in Vancouver

Here's Canadian journalist David Warren at his best on the "human rights" show trial of Canadian commentator Mark Steyn for "hate crimes" in Vancouver:

This is a disaster also for Canada’s Muslims, for the views of fanatical Islamists are being presented as representative of them all. No single person has done so much to advance contempt for Islam in this country as Mohamed Elmasry, president of the “Canadian Islamic Congress,” the complainant in this case -- whose public assertions have included e.g. the view that every Israeli citizen is a valid target for Palestinian hitmen.

The bland acceptance of this jackass, by mainstream Canadian media, as the definitive spokesman for Muslim interests in Canada, cannot be blamed on the Muslim community. Innumerable Muslims have disavowed him, and yet are entirely ignored. Indeed: Mark Steyn has been among the few journalists distinguishing between camps. He would be: for he has plenty of Muslim supporters.
Yes, I have seen all that happen myself. And the point I most want to get across to fellow Canadians (said better and more pungently by David) is that Canadian Muslims, by and large, are not doing this.

Leftwing activists are doing it, using the few Muslims who actively cooperate with their system as a crowbar to pry Canada loose from the historic civil rights that have always been our pride and their bane. Non-Canadians can best help us by monitoring the situation, spreading the word, and making sure it does not happen where you are.

Anyway, Warren begins,
Show trial

The writings of Canada’s most talented journalist, Mark Steyn, went on trial in Vancouver on Monday, in a case designed to challenge freedom of the press. It is a show trial, under the arbitrary powers given to Canada’s obscene “human rights” commissions, by Section 13 of our Human Rights Act.

I wrote “obscene” advisedly. Before Canada’s “human rights” tribunals, a respondent has none of the defences formerly guaranteed in common law. The truth is no defence, reasonable intention is no defence, nor material harmlessness, there are no rules of evidence, no precedents, nor case law of any kind. The commissars running the tribunals need have no legal training, exhibit none, and owe their appointments to networking among leftwing activists.

I wrote “show trial” advisedly, for there has been a 100 percent conviction rate in cases brought to “human rights” tribunals under Section 13.
For the rest go here.

By the way, three other things:

1. I am adding Free Mark Steyn - Free the press in Canada! as the top link in my blogroll to the right.

2. This "human rights" situation is the reason I disabled the comboxes at my blogs recently. The galloping rate at which "human rights" commissions will hear cases of people claiming to have been offended by something they read leaves me with little choice. As a writer, I must subject myself to that risk, but cannot ethically subject others - not until or unless these commissions are relieved of most of their current responsibilities - including all responsibility for policing Internet content.

3. For information, rely on the blogosphere, especially the links through Free Mark Steyn . Legacy media have been surprisingly slow to catch on, given how much they are at risk. My friend Parliamentary journalist Deborah Gyapong wrote on Monday,
For those who are not ignorant of what's going on, I wonder whether there is a weird Stockholm syndrome at work. Rather than see they are being held hostage by their fear of radical Islam, (and tiptoeing so as not to offend or blaspheme so foreign correspondents won't get kidnapped or worse) they have displaced their fear and loathing onto the people who write about it. They are like the bank robbery hostages or hijacked plane passengers who get pissed off at police for shooting their captors. They have identified with their captors, even formed a bond with them, for their own psychological survival. If the captors see that I like them, they will like me and I will come out of this okay they tell themselves.

Most of it, though, is massive ignorance I'm afraid. I don't think most journalists can even conceive that we have such a shadowy, parallel "justice system" that can hand out severe penalties without any of the normal protections in a criminal or even civil law court.
I replied,
Deborah, two things:

1. It IS the Stockholm syndrome (SS). Not a weird form but the real thing. SS always looks weird up close. Think of the police officer who dodges bullets to rescue a hostage, only to have her denounce him as a fascist and promptly shack up with the sociopath hostage taker on his trailer weekends, hanging on to every bit of bullshirt that comes out of his mouth like it was the gospel reading (which, for her, it is). Think of that when we hear legacy media types making oblique excuses for FGM, honour killings, forced marriage, and the like.

Not everyone gets SS, and it is significant that the syndrome was first identified in Sweden.

The people who are especially susceptible to SS start out with fixed and very convenient ideas about who the villains are and who the victims are.

They “know” things, where the rest of us would withhold judgement before doing some research. As the threat advances, they erect ever more barriers to discovering a reality they are entirely powerless to face. Capitulation feels so good because it preserves their worldview (at the expense of their sanity and well-being).

2. Not every journalist needs or wants freedom of the press. That is the single most dangerous misconception out there. Many of our colleagues would be very happy indeed with a situation that prevented them from feeling badly about not taking REAL risks with their coverage because the government doesn’t allow it - “to protect minorities” and all that. No one will be more unctuous in advancing such explanations than the person for whom they are a cover for sloth and cowardice.
Those interested in David Warren's entertaining views on Darwinism (he is a serial offender against the Received Dogma whose skepticism is matched only by his good sense and good humour, go here. (Note: This is a search string on the Post-Darwinist, so the first story you see will necessarily be this one. Scroll down to the next one for the "David Warren vs. received witlessdom" stories.)

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The past as if nothing ever changes?

I can't quite resist putting up a bit of P.J. O'Rourke's sendup of the Field Museum in one of its institutionally correct and sensitive moments:
A very wordy inscription details the theories of when and how humans arrived in the New World. Translated from the academese: "We dunno." An encomium to the Ice Age hunter-gatherers follows. "People like us," it concludes, "prospered in ancient times." We did indeed--if your idea of prosperity is fastening a "Clovis people" spearpoint to a stick and stabbing long-horned bison, giant grand sloths, wooly mammoths, mastodons, and New World horses until they were all extinct. The economic boom didn't extend to casual wear and sports clothes. Ice Age or no, everyone in the talentlessly painted murals is naked. Nipples seem to have been vague and smudgy in ancient times, and a mastodon or giant ground sloth was always getting in between mural viewers and your genitals.

Dull as dioramas, he thinks. Well then, their story can't be true because our ancestors did not all die out from sheer boredom, as their descendants might, if subjected to much of this.


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