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Monday, June 23, 2008

Write! Canada coverage highlights intellectual freedom risks, troubles of book industry

Publicity from Write! Canada 2008, which ended two Saturdays ago, is humming along, and I see where Lloyd Mackey kindly quoted me at some length at, on the "human rights commissions" (= the Nanny Monster), and on the publishing climate in Canada in general,

Noting that Canada's 26-year-old Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees "freedom of thought, conscience and belief," O'Leary suggested that concept is "slowly being eroded by the 'human rights' system -- which I call the 'human' face of fascism."

While "those who seek to undermine intellectual freedom in Canada aim very frequently (but not only) at Christians," she maintained the aim of such people is to consolidate "their own power over society."

Tackling some of the recent practical challenges to Christian book writing and publishing, O'Leary pointed out that the market "is increasingly restricted to people who approach a publisher with a guaranteed existing audience . . . Securing an audience in advance has become a key task for the writer."

Her comments reflected an underlying current of concern at the conference, attended by some 200 writers, journalists and authors from across Canada.

The concern was predicated by the shutdown of the Canadian arm of the Christian Booksellers' Association one year ago, as well as the closure of close to 20 bookstores nationwide in the Blessings and Christian Publications chains earlier this year.
Here's the whole talk. Whatever else we do, let's maintain the current of concern (and ramp it up plenty). But we must not, under any circumstances, turn it into a "culture of concern," thus merely adding to the number of professional busybodies undermining the timbers of our society.
You know, people who can't write who presume to judge writers, people who can't publish or sell books and magazines, who would lord it over publishers and booksellers, all in the guise of "human rights."
As I have written elsewhere, Canada is rotten with this kind of Commission creep. But it is very encouraging to see how many good citizens, coming from a variety of perspectives, are starting to get the big picture and speak out.

The book cover above is of Hot Apple Cider, introduced at the conference - an anthology of some of the best Canadian Christian writing in recent years. It would make a great gift, especially for someone new to Canada or just visiting. Plus, you are helping the Resistance fight the Nanny Monster. Christian writers don't get money from the government for shutting up.

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