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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Intellectual freedom in Canada : News roundup

Yesterday, I received the smuggest, stupidest media release I have encountered in forty years, from a dying religious denomination in the United States, announcing their support for some "hate crimes" legislation, because they are supposedly on the side of "love."

Not me. I'm for hate. If you hate me, I want to know.

Briefly, the way this kind of legislation has worked out in Canada is:

- activists who have the ear of government shut down honest discussion by declaring their opponents guilty of "hate". Islamists (not to be confused with Muslims) and anti-Christian gay activists* were the driving force behind recent anti-free speech drives in Canada, based on "human rights" commissions and laws against "hate."

- most people cannot afford the legal fees to defend themselves against an organized assault.

- it spills over into just about every area of life (which late nite comic's jokes are funny, for example). There is nothing a bureaucrat won't regulate if you give him a chance.

- media here are fighting back, for the right to report the news, but government is slow to give back liberties it has wrested from us, so the problem will take a long time to fix.

That religious denomination cannot die fast enough to suit me.

Americans who are interested in what really happens when the big "anti-hate" "human rights" shakedown starts should read Shakedown, Lights Out, or Tyranny of Nice.

*The big gay rights group did not even agree with these activists. They think, as I do, that free speech is a good idea. But it will take a long time to work the anti-free speech activists and their tax-funded enablers out of the system.

Here is what I wrote back:
For what it is worth:

I was astonished to receive this press release given that at least three books have been published in Canada about the injustices caused by “hate crimes” laws/”human rights” commissions.

[ ... books already mentioned above ... ]

There is a huge social movement against that here, NOT funded by “right wing hate groups” but by working journalists.

We can’t report the news any more. Well, we can, but it is dangerous and costly.

I’m one of the oppressed myself. [ ... personal family example redacted ... ]

The worst thing I could ever wish on you people is the experience many of my friends and I have had. But I might not need to.

Maybe, in a world where journalism , done right, is a dangerous profession, you are just a slimeball who lusts for the government payroll.

Anyway, xxxxxxxxxxx, please get me off your mailing list now. I can find out about your nonsense later if it is ever of any interest.

Do not expect me to greet you as a colleague. You are not.

My colleagues are the free press, worldwide.
Journalism is one of the world's dangerous professions, and should not be disgraced by people cheering for censorship.

Meanwhile, ...

Franklin Carter at the Book and Periodical Council's Freedom of Expression Committee reminds me:

On October 26, Jennifer Lynch [yes, she's the one with the 1200 name hate list and the house Nazis] appeared before the justice committee of the House of Commons to defend Section 13 (i.e., the Internet censorship clause) of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Lynch is the chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Parliament's official video of her testimony is here. On the same afternoon, Professor Richard Moon appeared before the justice committee to discuss Section 13. Moon teaches law at the University of Windsor; he appeared as an "individual" (that is, not as the representative of an organization).

Two executives of the Canadian Jewish Congress also appeared before the committee: Bernie Farber, CEO, and Mark Freiman, president. Parliament's official video their testimony is here.

During their testimony, Jennifer Lynch and Mark Freiman referred -- sometimes allusively and sometimes explicitly -- to the previous testimonies of their political opponents, Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant.

On October 5, Steyn and Levant appeared before the justice committee to attack Section 13 and the CHRC. Parliament's official video of their joint appearance is here.

Basically, the Canadian Jewish Congress messed up big time with this one, because the Islamists actually used the "anti-hate" legislation to attack Jews or people who were sympathetic to them. Why they can't just admit it and walk away, I will never know.

Oh, and did I say that journalism was one of the world's dangerous professions?

Well, Carter also reminds me that Kathryn Blaze Carlson reports another local serious assault on a journalist in the National Post.

He also quotes,
At present, in the most civilized countries, freedom of speech is taken as a matter of course and seems a perfectly simple thing. We are so accustomed to it that we look on it as a natural right. But this right has been acquired only in quite recent times, and the way to its attainment has lain through lakes of blood.

John Bagnell Bury, A History of Freedom of Thought (1912)
Uh huh. Which is why I have so little patience with happy champions of censorship, like the ridiculous people who sent me the media release referenced above.

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