Saturday, May 31, 2008

Everything old is tired again

Some good ideas have their day and then fade away. And then sometimes everything old gets tried again.

Censoring Nazis was a terrific idea.

I'm all for it. I think Nazis should be fought till they're defeated and the ones responsible for major crimes should be hanged. I'm a tad liberal when it comes to defining major crimes, but there is the legal system to even out my attitude. So we might see daylight while walking down the street after all. Courts are a moderating influence on folks like me. Except when folks like me are in charge. Then they're more like kangaroo courts with a strong bent toward revenge rather than sense and justice. Even worse than that, though, would be a court with a mission to seek out and destroy all hints of crime, even if those crimes haven't yet been committed. Thought Crimes. Crimes hunted down and expunged before they happen. Hunters in offices seething with righteous rage and moral fury. Clerks with fire in the eye and a determination to-- git 'em.

We got them already. Nazis are done. We got them years before I was even born, and I'm an old guy. They got got when Dietrich was one of the hottest babes on the planet. Getting Nazis was a great idea then. We got them. We hanged some. Not enough, but we hanged some and made a point. I like it. We got 'em. And then we moved on.

But now, way too many years later, we have people still hunting Nazis. There are lots of folks in the world who are bad enough to feel good enough about hanging, to feel some enthusiasm for it. But mostly we don't go after folks who deserve hanging. We find instead we have heresy hunters, creepy little clerks in offices who are so wrapped up in their little dramas of the mind that they've completely lost sight of the world the rest of us live in. We get the same drama with a whole new cast and a whole new set, and the plot doesn't make any sense at all.

Deitrich against Hitler. Yeah!

Cheri Blair against "discrimination"? Uh....

The BC Human Rights Tribunal Against Mark Steyn?

You get the picture.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Rob Nicholson and the Conservative government start to stand for real human rights

The Minister of Justice is backing a proposed Parliamentary inquiry into the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Kudos to Ezra Levant, and many other bloggers, who have done so much on this issue:
Government to launch inquiry into CHRC "investigative techniques", section 13 - Ezra Levant

How many MSM journalists care about their freedom?

We've been having a little discussion about why more professional journalists don't seem to be outraged by the "human rights" attacks in Canada on the freedom necessary to do their jobs with self-respect and integrity; and why aren't more of them defending the rights of private property in media that are necessary to a free society? Could it be simply because some are just too cool to possibly appear to be on Steyn's side (having no faith that the reader/viewer can any longer distinguish between a defense of general principle, and of a particular person's ideas): SteynOnline - Intervening in the intervention ? Or is it because they are too vain or naive, too confident in their own mainstream Canadian status, to think they could be next, forgetting that the march of history, and changing fashions, wait for no one, not even voices now privileged to report from the leading centres of the nation?

Anyway, I think Steyn, in the above linked comment, has the number of one fool; it will be interesting to see how many of the ink-stained tribe bother to show up at the BC Human Rights Tribunal on Monday.

Skill-testing question

UPDATE: No sooner had I written this post that news comes that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice is backing the proposal of a Parliamentary inquiry into the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Which voice would more likely be prosecuted as hate speech by the Canadian, or your provincial, Human Rights Tribunal:

1) The Jew hatred featured here: Blazing Cat Fur: Wow & this came from the "Kids Channel" on Shia TV - "sadder still is that there is a large Canuck contribution on the Shia TV site."


2) Leading Islam-critical Christian clerics: e.g., the Catholic; or the Anglican (hat tips to CGW) who are saying things rather more direct than what Mark Steyn is now in trouble for with the Canadian and BC "Human Rights" tribunals.

In a roundabout way, you may find the answer to this mindbender here: the Canadian government, via the pen of Justice lawyer, Simon Fothergill (see our discussion of their previous work here), seemingly sides against whoever is most likely to appear the Nazi, according to our left-liberal stereotpyes, even if this means going against the wish of the BC Civil Liberties Association to speak before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in defense of our ancient and still necessary freedoms to publish without second-guessing ourselves from fear of the government and its many bureaucrats judging and penalizing us, and maybe surreptitiously writing hate speech on our web sites in order better to prosecute us.

My point being: it's time for the mainstream's fear of supporting "Nazis" to overcome its present morass in White Guilt, and WG's inevitable slippage into anti-Zionism/semitism/Americanism, and move on to a more realistic apprehension of the threats to human rights in this world.

Marc Lemire may have bad ideas, but he's clearly not among the more significant threats to freedom in this world. Yet G-d knows how many tax dollars and civil servant hours have gone into an atrocious witch-hunting prosecution of his (and the government's own planted) "hate speech". You don't have to like Lemire's beliefs to recognize that he has become the equivalent of some slave fed to lions in a sacrificial theatre of some decadent and increasingly barbaric empire. It seems the imperial mandarins of Ottawa (not to mention Edmonton) need their scapegoats to justify their many regulations and jobs. It is a disgrace to those who would call their country a nation.

Now I know they are not going literally to kill Lemire; but our government, by its silence and by the actions of the Dept. of Justice, are defending a "human rights" world view that, on the world stage, in its appeasing responses to terrorism and in all kinds of moral blackmail against countries like America and Israel - all the while giving a much easier ride to some of the most brutal regimes and actors in the world - does indeed result in (it positively requires) people getting killed. Our government has become a kind of B-league team in a worldwide death cult premised on the need to allow sacrificial theatre in order to defer widespread "third world" anger against the (still) Western leaders of the global economy.

Mr. Harper needs to get out on the right side of this travesty of justice, or he's going to lose votes.

Public humiliation

Don't miss the latest song from The London Fog; and hear the Canadian "human rights" commission voice dubbed at the end of the song, seconding another voice's call for public humiliation of a political enemy.
The London Fog: Human Rights Rock! The Unprotected Group: If I Had A Royal Commission

How the righteous fall... How is it that some people in government, and in allied Canadian Jewish and "human rights" organizations, can never learn the real lesson of the Holocaust, which is not to promote the celebrity of Judeophobic nutters by throwing cream pies at them on film, or bringing the power of the state to humiliate, punish and thus memorialize bad boys in public show trials, but rather to make all speech so free and so common that almost everything is instantly forgettable by almost everyone except those rare words which speak to free millions, that capture or exemplify the unprecedented events and public turning points that history, cultural evolution, and freedom must occasionally allow, those rare clarifying events that are represented in such a way as to become iconic in the cause of (if not against) the freedom that, when valued, makes most of what we say and write mercifully fleeting, only of use to the true cause of quietly sustaining our common sense.

Let's roll!

Against the Human Rights Commissions/Tribunals of Canada!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The ridiculously broadly-worded piece of legislation that is now being used to outlaw political speech

Mohammed Elmasry is trying to silence Mark Steyn under Section 7 of the BC Human Rights Code

Also, don't miss the fact that Steyn, via his publisher, can be effectively banned for life from writing on the relationship between Islam and the West:

(1) If the member or panel designated to hear a complaint determines that the complaint is not justified, the member or panel must dismiss the complaint
(2) If the member or panel determines that the complaint is justified, the member or panel
(a) must order the person that contravened this Code to cease the contravention and to refrain from committing the same or a similar contravention,

Maybe you think the BC Human Rights Code needs to be changed to make it clear that unelected bureaucrats have no business passing judgment on our free political, or any other, speech. Maybe you think the criminal code provisions against hate crimes, and the due process of criminal law (unlike the operations of the Human Rights Tribunal), is the only law we need in this regard. Well, why not write Gordon Campbell, the Premier of BC, and let him know:

Or, write your MLA

Even if you're not resident in BC, write Premier Campbell. Sometimes one has the impression he is more impressed by what Americans, Asians, and Europeans think of us, than of what we provincials think.

The Mark Steyn article Elmasry wants to banish to oblivion

Background on Monday's Steyn Hearing

What is the BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing on Monday all about? Pundita discusses some of the ins and outs of the various cases that Mohammed Elmasry has tried to bring against Maclean's and Mark Steyn.

Note that Mark Steyn is not named as a respondent in the BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing, though of course his livelihood as a writer is under attack for it is his work that Elmasry wishes the tribunal to declare hateful.

You can find the PDF of Elmasy's BC complaint linked in this Steyn piece.


One of my favorite proposed slogans for our Free Mark Steyn rally on Monday comes from billyhw who suggests: "Someone please tell me what to think. I went to a Canadian university."

When I first went to university, in the late 80s, tutorial or seminar classes were still often dominated by fierce debate, often because competitive young men were having it out with each other. It seems times have changed. Here's further proof, not that we need any more, that our education system is now creating people who fervently believe that free speech means what we say it means, i.e. having the right to say the right thing, according to a code of political correctness. Joseph Brean reports:
In response to a series of controversies over abortion debates on Canadian campuses, the student government of York University has tabled an outright ban on student clubs that are opposed to abortion.

Gilary Massa, vice-president external of the York Federation of Students, said student clubs will be free to discuss abortion in student space, as long as they do it "within a pro-choice realm," and that all clubs will be investigated to ensure compliance.

"You have to recognize that a woman has a choice over her own body," Ms. Massa said. "We think that these pro-life, these anti-choice groups, they're sexist in nature.... The way that they speak about women who decide to have abortions is demoralizing. They call them murderers, all of them do.... Is this an issue of free speech? No, this is an issue of women's rights."

The school's administration condemned the decision as contrary to its academic mission.

Robert J. Tiffin, York's vice-president of students, said he was "disappointed" the policy was being enacted when virtually all of the student body has left campus for the summer.

"Student governments need to be aware that these are fairly significant decisions that are being made, and it would be useful to engage the much broader community," he said. "It's important to have some of these discussions at a time when the vast majority of students are here to participate."

He said denying students access to the various aspects of the abortion debate was not in keeping with the school's mandate, and that the administration would try to compensate by providing its own venues and resources to legitimate debates.

"It's part of the texture of Canadian society, this debate," he said. "We're committed to ensuring there are the opportunities for these debates."
Sounds to me that that is what you would call a semi-dhimmified male academic, fearful that if he speaks too clearly for what is right (i.e. creates the impression that he might consider free speech a somewhat higher value than abortion rights) a gaggle of youthful harridans with big teeth will descend from the student centre to make his life hell. So, he is, as they say, "disappointed".
Gilary Massa, the vice-president, external, of the York Federation of Students and the driving force behind the proposed ban on anti-abortion groups, earlier this year defended free speech as she called for the lifting of a ban on the phrase "Israeli Apartheid."

In a letter to McMaster's provost and the Students Union Executive, Ms. Massa said she was shocked and dismayed to hear that the administration and McMaster Students Union had banned the use of the phrase "Israeli Apartheid" on campus.

The letter called for the ban on the phrase to be rescinded "in accordance with a basic commitment to freedom of expression and organization in the democratic context of the public university."

The letter added, "This strange and unprecedented ban is a blatant violation of democratic freedoms of speech and dissent, and an attack on students' right to organize. It is the position of the YFS and GSA [Graduate Students] that universities are sites where discussions and debates about difficult geopolitical questions should be promoted, not stifled. International controversy about use of the phrase 'Israeli Apartheid' cannot be resolved through repression, but through ongoing intellectual exchange."

Mark Steyn. Not Alone.

A well-known Canadian author is soon to be brought before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal in downtown Vancouver. The writer is accused of being a hate-criminal. His right to express opinions is on trial. So too is your right to read and to speak and to openly express yourself. Freedom to speak, to write. There comes a trial. Gaggles of government employees in offices across this nation have decided that it's up to them to decide who can speak and what the the public can say. If one offends the bureaucrat, then there is the Star Chamber awaiting. Mark Steyn will make his appearance in Vancouver's on Monday morning because he wrote words. He will be on trial for writing. He will not be alone.

Hate speech. It's a crime. Free Speech? That's a crime too. If the government decides you are a hate-criminal....

Who is Mark Steyn? Surprisingly, many intellectuals in Canada have never heard of this best-selling and prolific author. He's not Michael Moore. He's not Noam Chomsky. He's a thinker and writer under state assault. He's a funny guy, a clever guy, a Canadian guy who writes books. One tiny group of ideologues in government don't like him-- automatically don't like him-- because he's not automatically a Noam Chomsky. So the government is going after him, attempting to destroy his abilities in Canada to speak and write. The bureaucrats in the Hate-Speech industry just don't like him. It really doesn't matter what he writes. They don't like him anyway, and that's enough to fire hate-speech charges at a man who is many things most Canadians would admire, if they knew of Steyn and had read his works. He's pretty much like you or me. He's not a radical; and the government workers in the Hate-Speech Suppression industry are upset about him. Who is Steyn? He's a funny guy who writes books. The wrong kind of books. You'd probably like him if you knew him.

There are Canadians of many sorts who meet weekly at the city's main library in Vancouver each Thursday evening to discuss issues related to government and politics and culture. We meet in the atrium from 7-9:00 p.m. for coffee and discussion and the sharing of ideas. It's something of a miracle we haven't been arrested for it. We speak freely. This evening we'll sit as we have for two and a half years now, and this evening we'll sit with Mark Steyn, if only in spirit. Mark is not alone. Tonight we are all Mark Steyn.

If you are Mark Steyn too, feel free to sit with us in the Covenant Zone. We're outside Blenz coffee bar in the lobby of the library. We're identifiable by our blue scarves and -- books!. We support free speech. We support Mark Steyn. He is not alone. You're not alone.

VPL 7-9:00, outside Blenz in the atrium. Covenant Zone. Tonight.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

We are all Mark Steyn: a call for slogans!

The Covenant Zone bloggers will be demonstrating in support of Mark Steyn and Maclean's magazine, and against the ludicrous operation of "human rights" law in this country, when Mark's hearing in front of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal kicks off, next Monday, June 2. We will meet at 8 AM in front of the Provincial Court House at 800 Hornby where, according to the BCHRT website, the hearing will take place.

We welcome all bloggers, readers, and informed and outraged citizens to join us. (Also: we will be discussing this tomorrow at our regular Thursday evening meeting in the atrium of the Vancouver Public Library, central branch, 7-9 pm, in front of Blenz Coffee - look for the blue scarves.)

Now since many people interested in this "trial" are not in the Vancouver area, we thought we would offer people a way of participating in our demonstration. We intend to carry signs and hand out leaflets. The problem we have is how to communicate the current "human rights" travesty in some catchy phrases or slogans. This is an invitation to send us ideas. We want slogans and/or aphorisms or short statements that can appeal to ordinary citizens, to communicate something of the evil that will be unfolding in the court house to those who may not know what is going on. We want phrases that will be memorable, perhaps even one day historical.

Now of course we will only be communicating slogans with which we agree, for which we can take responsibility. Anyway, if you have a good idea, why not let us know. If we get suggestions, we'll put them in a later blog post.

My own take on what is happening to Mark Steyn and Maclean's is that they are being held up as (potential) sacrificial victims or scapegoats, in an attempt to sustain a post-national and imperialistic ideology, a "human rights" world view in which the potential scapegoat is anyone who makes too much noise about the direction of history, and about the freedom of citizens in once self-ruling nations to try and shape history in the cause of their shared freedom.

For the "human rights" crowd, Western freedom has become too risky, a potential source of global violence; and thus the "human rights" advocates seek to keep it under reigns. More generally, the "human rights" bureaucrats have come to the view that the normal in Western society is always a potential source of violence towards those they certify as marginal groups exposed to victimization by the normal. Theirs is essentially a response to the Holocaust and the Nazis who corrupted the normal and all the professions in Germany to their violent ends. And yet, the post-Nazi "human rights" world view has in turn become an ideology that requires its own parade of victims. Somehow it has missed some key element to a proper understanding of the history of victimization and antisemitism. It has become what it purports to fight.

The "human rights" worldview is thus rightly the target of humourists like Steyn. Mark Steyn, as we all know, is something of an icon for a post-9/11 world, calling on Westerners and all free citizens to take ownership again of their nations, to fight against post-national and anti-national bureaucratic elites who, in institutions like the UN, the EU, the global media, the academy, and the Canadian "human rights" commissions take the view that the protection of the modern global order requires, among other things, all kinds of regulations against risky language, language that might "victimize" and inflame those at odds with modern civilization. As a kind of appeasement or paying of blackmail the "human rights" world view is one where Western left-liberal opinion implicitly allies with those opposed to modern freedoms and feeds the resentful with victims, like Mark Steyn, or any icon of the normal, successful, wealthy, corporate, American, Israeli, Christian, etc., in a vain attempt to keep the peace. They also ignore many of the gross human rights violations in non-Western countries, and make excuses for the persecution of women, Christians, gays, etc., according to a nihilistic code of cultural relativism.

Of course, no cult of human sacrifice - and quite frankly that is precisely what I take our "human rights" commisssions to have become - is ever satisfied: it always needs more victims.

Thus "We are all Mark Steyn." We individuals, we Canadian (and other nations') citizens who enjoy freedom and want the right to publish and listen to any and all ideas as we see fit, with only the proper limits of civil and criminal law, are all potential victims of the falsely-named "human rights" world view.

"I am Mark Steyn" is our unifying slogan, the title for our handout. Let us know what we might put under that.

Thanks to all the Mark Steyns out there.

Mark Steyn: Keep Tuned

We will have a post up soon to let people know how they can share in our demonstration in support of Mark Steyn.

In the meantime, Wretchard has excerpts from Mark's speech in Vancouver last night that we could not afford to attend -;)
The Belmont Club: "See you in court"

Pamphlet on Islam: Go to CHRC

Here is the latest outrage against freedom of speech and religious conscience. Will Harper continue to diddle while what's left of freedom in the new Rome burns?

I would like to see a copy of the pamphlet in question, and I know nothing of the man who wrote it; but my best instincts tell me I don't need to see it to be outraged:
View topic - CHRC's Newest Victim - Free North America / Bill Whatcott :: Free Dominion - Principled Conservative - Party and Canadian Politics - Canada Blogs

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Edward Said no longer rocks the quadrangle

Edward Said's shadowy legacy Robert Irwin TLS:

It's a lament often heard in Covenant Zone circles, when news of the latest atrocity of left dhimmi fascism from the Labour government (and associated bureaucracies) of the UK comes to our attention, that Britain is the most hopeless of all the European nations when it comes to preserving itself in face of the Global Intifada.

Yet what is on centre stage today is the fruit of intellectual fashions that began thirty and forty years ago. What we don't yet see are the outcome of today's shifting attitudes, the evidence of which is hard to see from abroad, though we catch glimpses on comments left around the web.

It seems to me worth a quick note that one of the leading arbiters of academic and public intellectual fashions in the UK (and elsewhere in the English-speaking world), The Times Literary Supplement, a journal which I read as seeking the liberal centre in most things, is not simply publishing a review criticizing Edward Said - this is now common enough - but doing so through the pen of its own Middle East editor, and with a mostly favorable nod to the recent, unabashedly pro-Western, work of Ibn Warraq. Reviewer Robert Irwin mentions certain things I would not expect to read in such a polite journal, though they are well known in the blogosphere:
Ibn Warraq is the pseudonym of a former Muslim and the author of Why I Am Not a Muslim and Leaving Islam. Since the penalty for apostasy is death, he is wise to write under a pseudonym. He is less concerned than Varisco with Said’s rhetorical sleight of hand, though he does point out quite a few examples of it. He is more interested in Said’s numerous factual errors. Defending the West is more diffuse than Reading Orientalism, since Orientalism has provoked Ibn Warraq to defend Western culture, rationality and objectivity from the assaults of Said and others. In the first part of his book Ibn Warraq combines a broad history of Western culture with a detailed attack on Edward Said. Particular attention is paid to the heritage of Greek rationality, Christian values in seventeenth-century Orientalism, and the history of Orientalism in India. In the second half of the book he discusses Orientalism in painting, sculpture, literature and music.

Ibn Warraq shows how, lacking a background in history, Said was as ignorant of the chronology and geography of the Arab conquests, as he was of those of the British and French empires. Said was obsessed with sexual readings of apparently innocent texts. He managed to find an erotic subtext in Vatikiotis’s slightly dull article on revolutions. Alphonse de Lamartine does not travel in the Middle East, but he “penetrates” it. In discussing Kipling’s Kim, Ibn Warraq remarks that “Said has the irritating habit of claiming to know how the ‘Indian reader’ will react to the novel. I am an Indian reader, and do not read it as Said’s ideal Indian reader does, and I shall quote other Indian readers who do not either”. Ibn Warraq finds Said’s characterization of Thomas Carlyle and John Henry Newman as “liberal culture heroes” quite absurd.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ezra and a moment of revelation into the "human rights" cult

Ezra Levant recounts his debate with Ian Fine, Senior Counsel for the Canadian Human Rights Association:
...At another point in the debate, I tried to show the absurdity of banning any hateful words through a law that doesn't permit legal defences like truth, fair comment or even common sense. I pointed out that Fine himself had given an interview with the National Post in which he read out a bigoted remark, namely: "a n*gger will try to kill you just for a slice of pizza or a piece of chicken ... By Aryan standards, negroes are dangerous animals".

Fine read that to show the kind of hate the CHRC wants to fight. But that explanation, which is reasonable, is not a legal defence. I jokingly said to Fine that, since he uttered a comment that is "likely" to expose someone to "hatred or contempt", I should file a section 13 complaint against him. I said it unseriously -- I was pointing out the ridiculously arbitrary and overreaching nature of the law. But -- and I'll want to check this again on CPAC -- he actually looked ashen when I said it, as if he agreed with me that he had broken the law, and was ashamed of it.

I think in that moment, I glimpsed what made Ian Fine tick: he has drunk the anti-hate industry's Kool Aid without a drop of skepticism. I think he genuinely thought, just for a moment, that I was serious when I said he was a bad man for having said the word n*gger, even in the context of anti-racism. I think he's been immersed in a groupthink environment, with zealots, where diversity of opinion, let alone criticism, is non-existent. I think he genuinely believes that his little anti-hate squad is saving Canada from turning into an Arctic version of Rwanda.

I think that's why he froze up when I pressed him on Richard Warman's online bigotry -- it just didn't compute for him; it doesn't make sense in his unified theory of the world. I think it's why he's in denial about the hacking charges. I think it's why he was silent when I pointed out that, without Warman's serial complaints, section 13 would fall into disuse -- surely a sign that Canada is not beset with the problems for which he offers himself as the solution.

I think it's a bit of a cult over there, and for thirty years no-one has dared to question them -- and the past four months has been terrible.

I'm not the only one to call the CHRC's self-image and world view "bizarre" -- Joseph Brean of the National Post used that exact same word in his story about Fine's first attempt to explain the CHRC's behaviour. In that interview, as in today's debate, Fine simply asserts that his critics are armed with "misinformation". Mere assertions don't pass for arguments, though -- except, of course, in the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which has given Fine a 100% conviction rate. I think Fine's wiring overheats when he is presented with dissonant information.

There was a stunning moment at the end of the debate. It caused groans in the audience, and both Martin and I quickly jotted it down to make sure we got it right: one journalist in the audience asked Fine not just to give the "official" line, but to tell the crowd what he personally thought about section 13 and other censorship. His answer: "there can't be enough laws against hate."

If Ian Fine had his way, section 13 wouldn't be abolished. It wouldn't even be maintained. It would be expanded. He said he wouldn't rest until there was "no hate" left.

Wow -- legislating an end to hate. Why not legislate an end to war, hunger and broken hearts, while you're at it?

That's nutty utopianism. Which is fine for old Marxists in universities. But it doesn't work so well when it's married to the power of the state -- the power to exact large fines, to issue lifetime publication bans and gag orders, and to grind respondents through years of abusive hearings.
It's shocking how blind people can become by dint of their need for Utopian promises. They should pass a law against human self-hatred, to institutionalize fully the tail chasing these "human rights" dogs are all about. Then we will have to love ourselves for what we are: fallen resentful beings who can't get back up by trying to outlaw our nature. To overcome our resentments we have to know what we are and work through them honestly, and sometimes publicly (some things we can only see and learn through interaction with and honest feedback from others), without help of fanciful legal prohibitions.

Imagine if Ian Fine actually had to go out and debate, lead, and teach, in face of hatred, instead of just going out and trying to round up the haters for prosecution. By Ezra's account, it seems he'd not be capable of doing the job. In becoming part of the CHRC mindset, he's trying to take a short cut, the easy way out of this world and into a Utopia that can only be imagined, not realized here on earth. The rest of Canada should not kid themselves into faith in legal magic, however widely it is practiced in this fallen and deluded world. Canadians should learn to go out and do the job the bureaucrats won't and can't do.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Our Boot Roots

I think I'll head down to Queen's Park for this event tomorrow:
The date was May 24, 1862 -- Queen Victoria's 43rd birthday.

Half a world away from the Queen's home in London, her loyal subjects decided to hold a birthday celebration in her honour in New Westminster, the three-year-old capital of the four-year-old colony of British Columbia.

New West had only about 500 people at the time, almost half of them Royal Engineers. So they decided on a soccer game between the townspeople and the Engineers, or Sappers.
this Saturday at 3 p.m. at Queen's Park, the Sapperton Rovers will be playing a side of Royal City soccer coaches in 1862-style uniforms, and playing by 1862 rules. (Actually the first official soccer rules were made in 1863, but they've adapted them for the game.)

It should be quite a show. In the 1860s, soccer was still in its infancy, which means it was much like rugby.

There was no forward passing, and you could touch the ball with your hands, although you couldn't catch it or direct it. There was no goalie. The goal was smaller (five yards wide as opposed to today's eight), but had no crossbar -- it was a simple pair of uprights, like in rugby, and you could kick it as high as you wanted, as long as it was judged to be between the posts.

You also didn't always go straight for the goal -- if you could place the ball on the goal line, you got to take it back to the 25-yard line for a free kick, like in rugby.

The game was also rougher. If somebody tried to do some fancy footwork with the ball, you could level him with a shoulder check, like in hockey. Still, the 1863 rules did ban the practice of "shinning," or kicking your opponent in the shins.

New West marks a sports anniversary in style


I've always gotten a chuckle out of the Seinfeld sit com's portrayal and naming of the Jewish?, sometimes showily anti-Nazi, but procedurally neo-Nazi, character, Newman, the fallen bureaucrat. Whenever frustrated by the dastardly machinations of his arch enemy Newman, Jerry Seinfeld is left stymied, knowing any further words will only get him deeper into the hole with the man who has his own black code of political correctness. Jerry is left to spout the refrain, "Newman!", with a twisted face that says "foiled again". Ultimately the thought policeman's due in conversation is nothing more than an ironic return to the most primitive form of language, the ostensive gesture, the naming of (a) God: "Newman!"

If Richard Warman can't satisfactorily counter a stunning claim in the statement of defense just filed by the Free Dominion team of Connie and Mark Fournier, I know how I will act should I ever encounter the man on the streets of Canada. Ezra Levant frames it thus:
My co-defendant, Kathy Shaidle, examines paragraph 42, which I shouldn't have skipped:

42. Under the false identity "Axetogrind," the plaintiff [Richard Warman] posted in 2004 a copy of a confidential letter sent to the CHRC by a young woman, [name omitted by CZ] in settlement of a complaint the plaintiff made against her and in which she expressed her shame and denounced her previous beliefs. The plaintiff posted the letter on the neo-Nazi VNN with the preface "With friends like these..." He did so without any regard for her safety or consequences she might suffer.

Stop to think about that for a moment. If I understand that right, a young woman does the right thing -- she recants her bigoted views and apologizes. (That she does so under the duress of a government prosecution, rather than through a debate, gives it the feeling of a jail-house confession; that's the nature of government censorship.) But it's an incredible story: someone shows contrition and humility, and grasps for enlightenment. She does so in a confidential letter.

Warman takes that letter, and uses it against her, in his online persona of a neo-Nazi.

If Warman and the CHRC really think that neo-Nazi websites are inhabited by people who are dangerous -- people who are violent, not just people who talk tough -- then Warman deliberately placed this woman's safety in jeopardy. Why?

Was it because he was denied the thrill of crushing her, as he had done with so many others, in a full hearing? Was it because he was denied his payday of tax-free money from a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal order? Or was it simply his cruel streak, the streak that manifested itself when he counselled a physical assault on his nemesis, David Icke, the same streak he exhibited when he bragged about hauling his enemies before the CHRC just for "fun"?

That is astounding conduct. It is so deeply malicious, so deeply unethical, so deeply corrupt, it can only be called evil. There is no bona fide collateral purpose to it; there couldn't be; [Jane Doe] had already surrendered. It was sheer malice.

This is the man who claims his reputation was undone by us. To which I'd say: what reputation?
Free Dominion files its defence against Richard Warman's lawsuit - Ezra Levant

The entire statement of defence is worth reading for those following the sad saga of "human rights" commissions in Canada.

Yaacov Ben Moshe on Charles Enderlin: For the Record

It's getting personal; but I think Yaacov is right to ask for a blog swarm of links to his post unveiling the evil of someone who can't let go of his hateful fraud:
Breath of the Beast: An Open Thank You Letter to Charles Enderlin and France2

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursdays at VPL: it's an "American" thing

We calls 'em Death Hippies 'cause they kill folks.

Look at the antics of those who parade in support of jihadis, and see in that the giving of permission to killers to continue. Yes, there's a qualitative difference between a Hizb'allah supporter and a real, genuine jihadi who shoots people or bombs them or otherwise attacks with violence. Me, I'm not so fussy when it comes to making these distinctions. I see the left dhimmi fascist as a Death Hippie if he supports killers. I'm plain. I'm probably stupid. I think that if I cheer the team, I have some responsibility for what the team does. If they score, they do it because I paid for a ticket to give them a shot at it. Jihadis feel the same way about me; that if I vote for Bush, then I should suffer for his actions. OK, I can live with it. Or not, as the case might be. But the same is true of the opposing team. Support jihadis, be a Death Hippie.

Today in Canada the Canadian Human Rights Commission is out in full force beating up on intellectuals of all sorts, other than their sort, in kangaroo courts. Steyn, Levant, Shaidle, et all. So we go out each week to the local library to lend our support to our side, to the side that doesn't side with the Death Hippies. We'll be at the library again this evening, like every Thursday evening, to sit and by sitting to protest against the jihad and the dhimmitude that supports it. We'll have coffee and maybe a cookie, and we'll say things that could well get us hauled up before the courts here. We'll say, for example, that we support freedom of speech.

I know, I know, it's a dangerous thing, this concept of free speech, and it's an American concept. But we support it anyway. If you do too, even if it's an American thing, why not join us for some coffee at Vancouver public library in the atrium from 7-9:00 p.m.? We talk about books, about the state of our states, and we plan further action against the dismal state of freedom in this nation, Canada, now under assault by Death Hippies across the land. This evening we'll discuss Mark Styne, et all, but we'll also discuss the up-coming case of the Death Hippies versus Rachel Davis and Bill Simpson, a local outrage against the citizenry. We hope to have some effect. Come sit with us and have an effect on your future as well. Have some coffee. Maybe a cookie.

Tiberge pages Vancouverites

While we have grown a little lax, our good friend and the great blogger Tiberge at GalliaWatch: Vancouver Thursday is picking up the slack to remind you that the Covenant Zone bloggers meet every Thursday in the atrium of the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library, 7-9 pm, in front of Blenz Coffee. Look for a blue scarf or two. We talk about how to renew the spirit of freedom in Canada, so we don't end up looking like these guys (see context here). Please join us if you can; the conversation is always open.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Will the MSM now report their complicity in a deadly Palestinian/Global Intifada hoax?

After all of Richard Landes' and friends' work on reporting the decline of truth and the rise of antisemitism in France, not least in their tireless exposure of the al-Dura hoax, they're jumping for joy at the Augean Stables. A little justice has come to France.

The Jerusalem Post reports on the overturning of a libel decision that had previously gone in favour of the hoax propagators, French state-owned tv and their "journalist", Charles Enderlin:
The French Court of Appeals on Wednesday found in favor of Jewish activist Philippe Karsenty, overturning a lower court decision that he had libeled France 2 and its Jerusalem correspondent Charles Enderlin when he accused them of knowingly misleading the watching world about the death of the Palestinian child Mohammed al-Dura in the Gaza Strip in 2000.

"The verdict means we have the right to say France 2 broadcast a fake news report, that [al-Dura's shooting] was a staged hoax and that they duped everybody - without being sued," Karsenty told The Jerusalem Post shortly after the verdict was issued at 1:30 p.m. Paris time.

Al-Dura was filmed cowering with his father Jalal behind a barrel at the Gaza Strip's Netzarim Junction on September 30, 2000, during an apparent gun battle between Palestinians and Israeli troops. Fifty-five seconds of video footage were released to the world by France 2 at the time, out of some 18 minutes that were shown in court and even more footage that France 2's detractors claim is not being shown to the public.

The video, taken by Palestinian cameraman and France 2 stringer Talal Abu Rahma, shows al-Dura hiding, and then cuts to footage of him lying, apparently dead, at the junction. It does not show the child killed.

The footage, and Enderlin's broadcast assertion of Israeli responsibility for the killing of al-Dura, turned the 12-year-old's death into a cause célèbre in the Muslim world. According to Middle East and media expert Tom Gross, "Osama bin Laden referred to al-Dura in a post-9/11 video; the killers of Wall St. Journal reporter Daniel Pearl placed a picture of him in their beheading video; streets, squares and academies have been named after al-Dura. He became a poster child for the Intifada."

Karsenty, the head of the media watchdog Media Ratings, was sued for libel after calling for Enderlin's and France 2 news director Arlette Chabot's dismissal, saying the footage was "a hoax." Enderlin, who was not present in Gaza at the time of the incident, has vehemently denied the charge, expressing confidence in cameraman Abu Rahma's honesty.

Convicted of libel in 2006, Karsenty, the director of the media watchdog group Media-Ratings, was slapped with two $1,380 fines - one to be paid to France 2 and one to the station's reporter - and ordered to pay another $4,000 in court costs when he wrote that the incident constituted a "masquerade that dishonors France and its public television." On Wednesday, his appeal against that conviction was upheld.

The IDF, which initially apologized for the death of al-Dura, concluded after an investigation that the boy could not have been hit by Israeli bullets.
Karsenty also called on French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who Karsenty sees as "ultimately responsible" for the publicly owned television station, "to take responsibility for the French state's defense of the worst anti-Semitic lie around. It's time to apologize to the world for broadcasting a fake news report that has inflamed the Muslim world and endangered world peace."

Karsenty's claims are based on inconsistencies in the footage, including a publicly-available video-taped admission by Abu Rahma that there are untold secrets related to the case, the fact that only seven bullet holes are seen behind al-Dura despite Abu Rahma's repeated statements that the child survived 45 minutes of continuous shooting by Israeli forces directed at the boy, footage clearly showing pretend gun battles and faked ambulance runs at the junction that day, testimony of the IDF soldiers stationed at the junction who said they did not participate in any firefight that day, and the lack of footage of al-Dura's actual shooting.

Despite France 2's playing down of the verdict, some analysts believe it is significant. According to Gross, "today's ruling shows there are serious doubts about France 2's version of events, and that the entire world press was irresponsible in being so quick to take at face value the claims of a local Palestinian cameraman, who has admitted his partisanship."

Several months ago, the deputy commander of the IDF Spokesman's Office, Col. Shlomi Am-Shalom, wrote to France 2 asking for the entire unedited 27-minute film shot by France 2's Palestinian cameraman on September 30, 2000, as well as footage the cameraman filmed on October 1, 2000. Am-Shalom stressed that the IDF had "ruled out" the notion that al-Dura was killed by Israeli fire.

Citing the findings of the IDF's probe into the incident, ordered by then-OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yom Tov Samia, Am-Shalom wrote, "The general has made clear that from an analysis of all the data from the scene, including the location of the IDF position, the trajectory of the bullets, the location of the father and the son behind an obstacle, the cadence of the bullet fire, the angle at which the bullets penetrated the wall behind the father and his son, and the hours of the events, we can rule out with the greatest certainty the possibility that the gunfire that apparently harmed the boy and his father was fired by IDF soldiers, who were at the time located only inside their fixed position [at the junction]."
Yaacov, at Breath of the Beast, links this judicial decision for truth to the slow outing of the Canadian Human Rights Commission:
The invisible worm has been busy on the rose of western democracy. All over the world we have been waking up to hidden disintegration and malignant disease in places every bit as tender, intimate and sensitive to our civilization as Blakes’bed of Crimson joy was to the mythical rose.

I have watched as a group of bloggers - friends and allies of democracy - have been besieged by unprincipled, self aggrandizing, professional litigants who, using the Human Rights Commission, which was meant to be an instrument of help and shelter for the vulnerable has been turned around and made into a weapon to harass honest people into silence and to prosecute those who disagree with Progressive group-think. It is as if they woke up one morning to find the invisible worm nestled into their ears, toward their brains, telling them what not to think- what not to say, forcing them to fight an ominous but valiant struggle against the erosion of free speech in Canada.

I have seen Israel behaving as though she is powerless to defend herself from the blackest kind of blood libel. So bound to her bed and gagged is she by lawyers in the armed forces and doctrinaire judges telling her what is unthinkable, un-sayable and un-doable that her barbaric enemies make free with her honor and reputation until she cannot hold her head up in public.

Even here in the U.S. the State Department has decided that the words “jihad,” “jihadist,” and “mujahedeen” may no longer be used to describe people, most of whom proclaim themselves to be Jihadists and/or mujahedeen and who are proud enough to proclaim a Jihad against us and our government. This is not just a violation of free speech, it is suicide. What insanity is it that moves us to make it impossible to speak the name of the worm, this worm that seeks out our most vital organs of democracy and uses the very warmth and protection that nurtures our freedom to feed its greedy parasitic lethal intentions?

The name of the insanity is Demopathy. Demopathy is any action or intentional inaction which uses the language, logic and/or law of democratic society to misappropriate, weaken, undermine, subvert, or overthrow democratic society.
When Jihadists and their enablers file Human Rights complaints or throw the cover of politically correct non-speech over their intention to institute a world-wide Shari’a Caliphate this is the quintessence of Demopathy. When the western mainstream media helps that same enemy to concoct frauds that impugn and parayze Israel and America it is nothing less than Demopathic treason.

Dear Canadian Jewish Congress, Time for a major rethink of your fallen idol

Blazing Catfur continues to take the lead in blazing the path of Canadian freedom. Today s/he takes aim at the Canadian Jewish Congress which, to those of us who have seen some of the correspondence between the CJC and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, looks to have been very much central to the thinking and operations of the CHRC. It as if the CJC has become institutionalized as a victimary lobby in the heart of the state's "human rights" agency. And now, even after revelations strongly suggesting corruption in the CHRC, the CJC contines to defend Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, that piece of law that is so enabling of the regulation of political speech that one wonders how anyone can think that such a law will not inevitably corrupt those who try to wield it. To my mind, it is all a bit of idolatry and death cultism (i.e. the need to claim, even promote, the victim position) that very dubiously goes by the names "Jewish" and "Canadian".

Blazing Catfur:
...The larger impact of the CJC's efforts has been to seriously jeapordize the Charter right of all Canadians to Freedom of Speech, the lesser impact has been to corrupt the Canadian Human Rights Commission with a culture that condones the notion that "the ends justify the means". That the CJC, a once venerable agency, that has done so much good for its members and for Canada has become enmeshed in this burgeoning scandal marks a sad day in our history.

The CJC is unwilling to admit to the facile abuse inherent to Section 13(1), perversley they also refuse to acknowledge the extent of the genuine fear that good people, in fact the majority of their fellow citizens, have of this sinister law and the lessons history has or should have taught us all: Tyranny and Holocausts are borne of states that deny the right of Free Speech.

Section 13 (1) has been and will continue to be abused, it is bad law that no amount of "fine tuning" will ever make right. The CJC's virtual "privatization" of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, along with the latest threat posed by the Islamist Lawfare Jihad has served as a wake up call to the dangerous ease with which this law and in fact the entire human rights machine can be turned against the very citizens it was designed to protect.

Sadly what the Canadian Jewish Congress will eventually & reluctantly admit to, later rather than sooner I suspect, is that this episode, their blind support of a bad law, has stained their reputation to a degree that will not be quickly forgotten or easily forgiven by their fellow Canadians.

The CJC must be told in no uncertain terms that Free Speech is the right of all Canadians and it is paramount that this right be defended for all citizens. None of us are free if the rights of the least desirable among us are abused.
See also Jay Currie's response to Mark Freiman's defense of the CJC position in today's National Post.

The British Police are fast becoming the World's Worst Cult

This is what the power to police words will do to anyone: turn him or her into a hard-core ritualist of whatever happens to be religiously-correct:
Teenager faces prosecution for calling Scientology 'cult' | UK news |
(hat tip: Ghost of a flea)

SO, just remember if you are planning a summer vacation to visit the land where parliamentary democracy was, if not born, at least brought to unprecedented heights, don't forget to wear the proper religious garb and carry a "death to freedom" sign to insure no troubles from the local constabulary.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Leaked excerpts of Bouchard-Taylor report already stirring the Quebecois pot

Quebec's nationalist politicians (see here and here) are up in arms about leaked excerpts - appearing in the anglophone Montreal Gazette - from the soon to be released Bouchard-Taylor report on "reasonable accommodation" of immigrant minorities in Quebec; I will be waiting the full report before judging whether Dag was right that we could expect nothing more than the usual political correctitude from the two notable scholars, one a brother of the nationalist hero, Lucien Bouchard, the other a famous academic philosopher who has nonetheless found a place for religion and some kinds of nationalism (including the Quebecois) in his world view. I recall a line from a Charles Taylor article of some years ago, which went like this: nationalism is like whiskey; taken diluted it makes you mellow; taken straight it knocks you out. Dag, the eternal punster, will no doubt make the connection to Liberian warlords.

Previously, I thought it was possible, given their personal histories, that these two would come up with something at least a little challenging to multiculti orthodoxies. On first glance, it appears they try to be all things to all people, while emphasizing a critique of provincial Quebecois "insecurities", and a now tiresome rhetoric of embracing diversity, although as the means to integrate people into shared fundamental values:
In Quebec, they say, everyone should feel welcome and the majority should no longer feel under threat by newcomers.

"We think it is possible to re-concile Quebecers - franco-phones and others - with practices of harmonization, once it has been shown that: a) these practices respect our society's fundamental values, notably the equality of men and women.

b) they don't aim to create privileges but, rather, equality that is well understood and that respects everyone's rights.

c) they encourage integration and not marginalization.

d) they're framed by guidelines and protected against spiralling out of control.

e) they're founded on the principle of reciprocity.

f) they don't play the game of fundamentalism.

g) they don't compromise the gains of the Quiet Revolution." The final draft is dated March 19, two weeks before the commission announced on its website that the writing of the report was finished and that, after adding a series of recommendations, proofreading the document and translating it into English, it would be sent to the printers.

The official report is now in the hands of Premier Jean Charest, who is to present it to cabinet on Wednesday. After a budget-style "lock-up" behind closed doors for journalists Friday morning, the commissioners will hold a news conference to discuss their findings.

Broken down into half-a-dozen parts, the voluminous report has more than a dozen chapters and almost as many annexes consisting of a series of research reports, independently produced under special order by the commission.

Their subjects relate to the accommodation debate, including media coverage, ethnic ghettos and French-language training for immigrants.

In their report, Bouchard and Taylor - but mainly Bouchard, who did the bulk of the writing, insiders say- argue that the responsibility for open-mindedness and desire for change lie mainly with one people: the French Canadians themselves.

"It's principally from this milieu that the crisis arose," the commissioners write, adding that many French Canadians "have a strong feeling of insecurity for the survival of their culture." They fear losing their "values, language, tradition and customs" and of eventually "disappearing" entirely as a French-speaking minority in North America.

Self-doubt and "the fear of the Other" - are "the two great hindrances from the French-Canadian past," the commissioners write.
People should get used to the idea that "Quebec is made up of diverse ethnic groups, each of which, as is its right and in its own way, cultivates its own memory" - in other words, none is more valuable than the other.

The two commissioners - who each collected a salary of $380,000 for their work - also: Declare themselves in favour of more funding for community groups that try to bring cultures together.

Argue against race-based projects that segregate people from mainstream society (such as a proposed all-black school).

Lament the "wasted careers" of foreign professionals who can't find work here because their credentials aren't recognized.

Deplore that only three per cent of Quebec public-service jobs are held by immigrants, "one of the worst situations in North America." Blame the Quebec media for being generally "very 'old-stock,' very 'white' (and) by consequence, they broadcast an often biased image of a (multicultural) reality that a lot of people don't know well enough." But Bouchard and Taylor also - surprisingly - come to the defence of Hérouxville, which made headlines around the world.

"In a very awkward and excessive way, the Hérouxville text expressed a tension, an ambivalence many French-Canadian Quebecers have," the commissioners write.

Finally, they make a plea for better understanding of Quebec's Muslims, "who only make up two per cent of the Quebec population, about 130,000 people," who are "massively francophone and highly educated," who are "among the least devoutly religious of all immigrants," and who are "the least ghettoized" geographically in Montreal.

"The way to overcome Islamophobia is to get closer to Muslims, not to run away from them," the commissioners state.

"Mistrust breeds mistrust. Just like fear, it winds up feeding on itself."
Print Story - network

The commissioners have also apparently provided answers to commonly held sentiments among the so-called "pure laine" (pure wool, old stock) Quebecers, such as:
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

"Once again, metaphors can be misleading. In this case, it's assumed that the immigrant should get rid of his culture in order to adopt that of the host culture. This is an affirmation of the rule of assimilation, something that (is) no longer admissible, because it goes against the principles of pluralism."
But this kind of response will rightly fuel the anger of Quebec's nationalist politicians. It is one thing to allow that a tolerance of newcomers' remembering where they come from is necessary and welcome in a free and open society; it is quite another to suggest that a free and democratic society can exist without a shared and privileged understanding of what is sacred to our common public life, such that anybody can be educated to take the lead in defending and renewing the covenant that guarantees our shared freedom. To defer endlessly to pluralism is only to encourage rule by an imperialistic elite that puts everyone in their place. On the other hand, democracy requires some common cultural assumptions, values, and language. Ultimately it is not really to elitists like Taylor and Bouchard that Quebecers must look for their future; it is only in the potential ability of each and every Quebecer to stand up and make him or herself representative of the common good, as it needs to be realized and represented according to the unpredictable exigencies of unfolding events and crises, that a free and open future can be won.

No doubt we will have more thoughts on this story as the full report is released and digested. But so far, it seems Taylor and Bouchard are opting out of providing a compelling vision of how a common and democratic public life in Quebec can be guaranteed.

Our dirty linen

I welcome the news that the RCMP may be investigating the Canadian Human Rights Commission, as Marc Lemire has every reason to suggest that it seems he has been pursued by that organization by methods illegal. Ezra suggests (see also: Catfur and Steyn) that the investigation is already under way, though I'm not sure exactly what evidence he has for that, other than a note from the Ottawa Police that they have sent the question on to the RCMP. In any case, it's clear that so many questions about corruption at the CHRC have been raised (here's only the latest), that the scandal that has developed cannot be resolved by some discrete police investigation.

It's time for the government to act and to appoint a full and complete investigation into the operations of Canada's "human rights" police. As Jay Currie suggests, Messrs. Harper, Nicholson, and the rest of the federal cabinet could start by taking a tip from the BC Civil Liberties Association.

Of course, i would go on to argue that corruption in any form of thought policing is never to be simply dismissed as a case of bad apples going too far; it is in fact the inevitable outcome of putting anyone in charge of deciding what is and what is not too offensive to be heard in public. To empower self-righteousness in any form is to beg for scandal, though that of course is the oldest story in the book.

As George Jonas noted over the weekend:
A similar story comes from my native town. Many years before TV ads offered remedies for erectile dysfunction, a no-longer-young physician was hauled before the local hospital board for seducing an elderly cleaning lady, regarded as a breach of work discipline in those days. He admitted to his indiscretion and was fined a hefty sum.

"Why did you, for heaven's sake?' someone asked him. "The lady in question is hardly irresistible."

The doctor shrugged. "Anybody can go to bed with Gina Lollobrigida," he replied. "I wanted to test my virility."

All right. Going to bat for Mark Steyn's freedom of expression is like going to bed with Gina Lollobrigida. Anybody can do it. The challenge to liberty's libido is going to bat for a James Keegstra's freedom of expression, or an Ernst Zundel's. Defending the Charter rights of crude racists and Holocaust deniers is a test of liberal virility. It's a test we failed. We failed the political equivalent of the Montreal chanteuse's sexual challenge: Going to bed with nausea.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rites of Spring

Today is Victoria Day in much of Canada. I'm not going to spend too much of it on the web. But in memory of the monarch who oversaw the great nineteenth-century foundations of our ancient nation, a few bits and pieces picked up around the place.
In December 1868 Gladstone was appointed as PM for the first time following the Liberal victory in the General Election that followed the passing of the second Reform Act and Gladstone announced that his 'mission was to pacify Ireland'. The ministry (1868-74) passed a whole spate of reforms but lost the 1874 general election at which Disraeli's Tory party won a majority. In 1876 Gladstone published The Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of the East, attacking the government's policy towards the Ottoman Empire. During this period, Gladstone constantly attacked the PM and ultimately launched his Midlothian Campaign prior to the next general election on 1880. He was able to discredit Disraeli and the Liberals won the election; Gladstone had offended Queen Victoria in 1866 when he refused to support the purchase of gun metal for a memorial to Prince Albert that was to be erected in Kensington Gardens, and relations between the two were always difficult. Gladstone formed his second ministry even though Queen Victoria attempted to appoint Lord Hartington instead. The queen was widely reported to have commented that, 'He speaks to me as if I were a public meeting'. Just before she appointed Gladstone, Victoria wrote to Sir Henry Ponsonby that she would 'sooner abdicate than send for or have anything to do with that half-mad fire-brand who would soon ruin everything and be a dictator'
William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898)

By the way, Gladstone is remembered, inter alia, for his rallying cry of "Peers vs. People", one reason he can't be favoured at this blog



In 1857; Complete Rules of Etiquette, had this to say:

Rules to be Observed at Fashionable Dancing Parties or Sociables.

"A gentleman should never attempt to step across a lady's train. He should walk around it."

"No gentleman should ever go into the supper-room alone, unless he has seen every lady enter before him."

"When dancing a round dance, a gentleman should never hold a lady's hand behind him, or on his hip, or high in the air, moving her arm as though it were a pump handle, as seen in some of our cities but should hold it gracefully by his side."

"Draw on your gloves (white or yellow) in the dressing-room and do not be for one moment with them off in the dancing rooms. At supper take them off; nothing is more preposterous than to eat in gloves."

"When an unpractised dancer makes a mistake, we may aprise him of his error; but it would be very impolite to have the air of giving him a lesson."

"Unless a man has a very graceful figure, and can use it with great elegance, it is better for him to walk through the quadrilles, or invent some gliding movement for the occasion.

"The master of the house should see that all the ladies dance. He should take notice particularly of those who seem to serve as 'drapery' to the walls of the ball-room and should see that they are invited to dance."

"If a lady waltzes with you, beware not to press her waist; you must only lightly touch it with the open palm of your hand, lest you leave a disagreeable impression not only on her ceinture, but on her mind."

"Dance quietly, do not kick or caper about nor sway your body, but let your motion be from the hips downward. Do not pride yourself too much on the neatness of your steps, lest you be taken for a dancing master."

"When a lady is standing in a quadrille, though not engaged in dancing, a gentleman not acquainted with her partner should not converse with her."

What if I Galop When I Should Have Deaux Temps? Canadian Dances and Balls

Duncan Campbell Scott (1862-1947)
Night Hymns on Lake Nipigon

Here in the midnight, where the dark mainland and island
Shadows mingle in shadow deeper, profounder,
Sing we the hymns of the churches, while the dead water
Whispers before us.

Thunder is travelling slow on the path of the lightning;
One after one the stars and the beaming planets
Look serene in the lake from the edge of the storm-cloud,
Then have they vanished.

While our canoe, that floats dumb in the bursting thunder,
Gathers her voice in the quiet and thrills and whispers,
Presses her prow in the star-gleam, and all her ripple
Lapses in blackness.

Sing we the sacred ancient hymns of the churches,
Chanted first in old-world nooks of the desert,
While in the wild, pellucid Nipigon reaches
Hunted the savage.

Now have the ages met in the Northern midnight,
And on the lonely, loon-haunted Nipigon reaches
Rises the hymn of triumph and courage and comfort,
Adeste Fideles.

Tones that were fashioned when the faith brooded in darkness,
Joined with sonorous vowels in the noble Latin,
Now are married with the long-drawn Ojibwa,
Uncouth and mournful.

Soft with the silver drip of the regular paddles
Falling in rhythm, timed with the liquid, plangent
Sounds from the blades where the whirlpools break and are carried
Down into darkness;

Each long cadence, flying like a dove from her shelter
Deep in the shadow, wheels for a throbbing moment,
Poises in utterance, returning in circles of silver
To nest in the silence.

All wild nature stirs with the infinite, tender
Plaint of a bygone age whose soul is eternal,
Bound in the lonely phrases that thrill and falter
Back into quiet.

Back they falter as the deep storm overtakes them,
Whelms them in splendid hollows of booming thunder,
Wraps them in rain, that, sweeping, breaks and onrushes
Ringing like cymbals.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Child sacrifice in Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -- A boy, possibly as young as 10, was used in a suicide-bomb attack against a joint Canadian and Afghan army patrol in Afghanistan yesterday.

Two Canadian soldiers and two Afghan soldiers were wounded in the attack about 40 kilometres from Kandahar city, the military said.

Military sources told CTV the boy was about 10, and that he approached the soldiers with his hands in the air, alluding to the possibility the bomb was possibly detonated from a distance by remote control.
The Forces released no further information on the nature of the attack, but Afghan police officials also speculated the bomb carried by the child was remotely triggered.

If true, it would represent a disturbing turn in the Taliban's campaign of suicide bombings that has been going on for more than two years.

"It would be of deep concern, but it's not that surprising," said Seth Jones, an analyst at RAND Corporation, who was at the airport on his way to Kandahar yesterday. "Children have been involved in fighting for decades, picking up AK-47s and shooting at coalition forces. If this became a pattern, it would be a deadly pattern of what you see in the West Bank, where there actually are younger kids that are suicide attackers."

Mr. Jones said if the suicide bomber was, in fact, as young as 10, this would show the depth of the Taliban's recruiting ability. Suicide bomber as young as 10 hits Canadians

A couple of weeks ago, I couldn't help but ask why one of Canada's leading Islamists was so keen to use pretty young people as his public front for his campaign to reign in freedom of speech in Canada. I went off on a tangent and asked why are there no "elderly suicide bombers", only to find that term doesn't even return more than a few satirical Google hits.

Now for all those who, in moral relativism, consider all religions pretty much the same, or who insist Muslims, Jews, and Christians are all equally children of Abraham, you've got to wonder when you hear stories like this. What surely is the fundamental lesson of the Abraham story, if not to give up on the primitive practice of child sacrifice in order to follow the anti-sacrificial imperatives of the heavenly Father? If Western men found themselves at war and tactically and technologically out-classed by an outside enemy, would they take to the desperate tactic of blowing up their children in order to instill fear in the enemy and show their fervent commitment to some sacrificial cult? I don't think so. At a certain point, the Western man makes of himself the supreme sacrifice and if that is not enough, then so be it. As long as we are a Judeo-Christian culture, the West cannot produce child suicide bombers. I think that's pretty axiomatic.

So the question remains whether those "peace" activists in Canada who call for a withdrawal from Afghanistan, in the name of saving lives, will use the news of child suicide bombers in their arguments. Or will they begin to see that the Taleban is such an evil that everything must be done to free the people of Afghanistan from them? In answering these questions, we must ask, what we are? Are we a people impressed by a cult of child sacrifice? And if so, how? If we are Muslim, we must ask is Islam such a faith that it can ever call for child sacrifice in the war against the infidel?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The hubris of the lawyers: the Attorney General of Canada on Marc Lemire

UPDATE: Welcome Blazing Cat Fur, SDA, Steyn, and FFofF, visitors; don't miss Deborah Gyapong's interview with Keith Martin; and Ezra's latest on the Ottawa reaction to the AG's crazy brief.

Hubris? Or does this post refer just to the overbearing desire to be in a position where hubris would be possible for a "lawyer", where the lawyer could play the hero and not simply his counsel or judge? Anyway, it seems to me that presently there is a confusion about the role of the law in society among our “heros” working for the Attorney General of Canada, and the Minister of Justice, Mr. Rob Nicholson.

I have been reading the legal memorandum sent by the AG to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, as the AG's intervention on the question of the constitutionality of the case being made by the Canadian Human Rights Commission against Marc Lemire.

This is only going to be a brief (despite the post's length) review of parts of that document. I don't have time to treat that document or its arguments in their entirety. I pick and choose those parts that jumped out as me as most revealing of a disquieting mindset of mock heroism-becoming hubris in the halls of legal power. And yet, even then I will leave out many examples of this hubris, for example the ready deferral to an undemocratic international regime of human rights law, to the desire for lawyers and mutually self-accrediting “experts” to play on an elite, post-Nuremberg, stage of "heros" and "gurus" who take their self-righteous role as regulators of national and democratic “excess” to heart.

I am slow to this topic; many other bloggers have already commented on this document and the Canadian government's use of the "hate speech" “expert” Alexander Tsesis, starting with Ezra Levant (here and here; a good place to find links to others is Blazing Cat Fur). But I have been otherwise occupied and just couldn't jump quickly into the fray. My comments are in the way of a first impression that come to me without a wide reading of the critics of Tsesis (see Cat Fur).

Throughout the AG's memorandum, a repugnance of Mr. Lemire's views on race, Judaism, and nationalism are often implied; that's to say their foulness is taken for granted but never mentioned, as if such a demonstration of the particulars in the Lemire case were not necessary to defending the constitutionality of Canada's laws against hate speech in general. The memorandum makes a number of points defending the constitutionally settled nature of the law, in light of previous Supreme Court of Canada decisions. These do not concern me here. I am not a lawyer. I am much less interested in arguing the law from within its disciplinary perspective as I am in understanding the lawyers and their world view from the vantage of an anthropological discipline concerned with understanding why human freedom exists and why it is necessary that it continue. It concerns me to know what the lawyers for the Attorney General take for granted, as judicially settled, in respect to justifications for the restraint of free speech.

While one must accept that no law can allow itself to remain open to endless constitutional challenges, it is nonetheless the very nature of any law restricting our most inherently human freedom – speech – that it cannot be free from endless challenges arising from new situations. No one whose voice is throttled can but query whether this is, in each and every case, a unique injustice. This is because the object of our every speech act is to represent a unique and variable human scene and only last of all the abstract universe in which lawyers defend the wide applicability of the law.

The exact same series of words can mean something quite different in two different contexts. So, inevitably as we will see, the lawyers defending hate speech laws assume that language is to be judged as much on its effect, as on its content, according to some standard of offensiveness. This will inevitably politicize judges making decisions on “offensive” political speech; the judiciary can only do its job of recognizing offensiveness by being politically correct, taking for granted what mainstream or elite liberal opinion takes for granted is offensive.

I have no idea whether or not it is the case that Lemire's web site was host to deeply repugnant and hateful comments (other than those mischievously planted there by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, or associated figures in the dirty war of secret agents like “jadewarr” against hate speech). Mr. Lemire's reputation as a protege of the Holocaust denier, Ernst Zundel, is certainly known to me; but I have never cared to study the man or his ideas.

I, a descendant on my mother's side, of a family largely destroyed by the murderous resentment of the Nazis, have never felt sufficiently threatened here in Canada to take a moment's notice of the writings put forth by the likes of Lemire, whatever those are exactly. I know a Jewish man who makes it his business to keep tabs on the "neo-Nazis" on the internet, to file reports for Jewish organizations that work with law enforcement agencies. I have heard him say that the racist filth out there seems limitless at times. It gets him depressed.

So I have no doubt that the "neo-Nazis" - so often used in my post-war lifetime by Hollywood as stock figures to revile, in simple-minded caricatures that reduce the neo-Nazi to the scapegoat equivalent of the dirty Jew in Nazi propaganda, the indubitable devil who must be eliminated to bring a happy conclusion to the story (the kind of figure without which many a story could not exist, which would be a real problem for those who rely on such stories to understand themselves) - are out there, somewhere. It's just that I'm safely isolated from them. However many, they are marginal in Canada as any student of our public life should know.

The people who scare me are not those hacking away on basement computers, those who would be quickly eliminated, if they were not already completely marginal, from any significant position of institutional authority or social status in this country if they were publicly to open their mouths and express Nazi-like views on Jews and race.

No, those who scare me are those who (not entirely unlike the Nazis) are in positions of authority and responsibility and think that this gives them a vantage point on what kinds of speech should and should not be acceptable. It's not that I care deeply if some truly marginal and deeply resentful fool gets caught in the sights of some kind of hate police and penalized. It's that in creating such a precedent for thought policing, both cop and citizen naturally ask, well, who's next? How much latitude do officials have in drawing the line between what can and cannot be policed? What can those self-righteous agents hired to protect our “human rights” hope to build in the way of a self-perpetuating bureaucratic empire? In other words, whoever Mr. Lemire may or may not be, it is irrelevant to my concerns here. (UPDATE: Kate has a good response to this paragraph.)

It's easy to be against the truly hateful who don't have any power. But what's the point? Sure, you might make some victim of hate feel better, feel that the maternal welfare state is “on your side”, as the lawyers behind the AG's memo argue. Then again, you might make that "victim" feel much better by being a good neighbor who makes his defense for him, not making him rely on government, pointing out that the hate monger is a loser and that the real victory lies in growing a skin thick enough to shrug off the idiots while participating freely with good people in the ethically serious debate about what is real and true. However, if you become intellectually and politically dependent on penalizing the hateful losers, well then it just becomes harder to take the ethically high road because your position will become defined by its dependence.

Once one has set a precedent for policing hate speech, the problem will always lie with the question of what a person of any influence, what a person with any kind of serious claim on a centre of attention, can and cannot say. By the very nature of such a mainstream situation, when dealing with a popular but polemical writer like, say, Mark Steyn, it is not possible to be a neutral arbiter when it comes to policing speech, to know what is the level of violence inherent or potential in any speech act, or to know what is too “extreme”. Language is not a simple object readily judged. It's the basis for all and sundry forms of exchange. It's simply not possible to police those with any power or influence without quickly taking the road to some kind of state where all thought, in its very (non)formation is shadowed by the threat of state policing.

The potential for good or evil in any given words is not knowable in advance. To take for example the central issue of our day, the relationship between Western and Islamic culture: does someone who offends Muslims by criticizing something they hold sacred, say the life of Mohammed, do potential violence towards them? Possibly; but the answer is really unknowable because such criticism, even the most mean-spirited rant, may well serve as a historical contingency that becomes key to a future articulation of a shared understanding by which Muslims and non-Muslims might live together in some kind of peaceful coexistence. However implausible it sounds to a lawyer, the law is not in a position to know how new things come into this world.

The question is really whether or not Canadians can be trusted in the exercise of their freedom, or whether their creativity must be controlled in the name of safety. But then, can there really be safety in controlling creativity if the free exercise of language is the only real hope for mediating peacefully the inevitable conflicts that arise when different understandings of the sacred come into contact? I think name calling is not just a danger but also a necessary part of a “multicultural” society that wants to be free.

The key point here being that words, in relation to their (sacred) object, are always somewhat hypothetical; their primary object is not, as many ill-informed understandings of language have it, to simply make transparent or indexical reference to the things of the material world. Rather, the primary purpose of language is anthropological: it's focussed on the need of the human community to maintain its human order as something other than an animal pecking order. Human language began with the object of signifying and representing the sacred. The sacred is that which defers our capacity for human-on-human violence. This, at least, is the anthropological understanding I bring to my criticism of the AG's memo, though to argue it out in detail now would distract attention further from the subject at hand.

Suffice it to say that there are any number of paradoxes concerning the operation of language. One is that even the most violent language will have some role, however inadequate it may or may not be, in deferring actual violence. As long as I'm obsessed with calling you names, I'm potentially both encouraging and deferring violent combat. How successful this paradoxical deferral may be, you can't know in advance. While it would be preferable not to have the resentment voiced against you in the first place, the law must deal with human realities, not just ethical preferences. Sometimes bad is better than worse.

Almost invariably someone accused of "hate" speech is making an accusation that entails a charge that his “victim” is himself a source of potential violence. No doubt this is often just inexcusable scapegoating; and yet the problem for censorious lawyers will always be that some times you can't yet know. In any case, accusations of hatred being slung back and forth may well serve to set the scene for some kind of unprecedented compromise and synthesis that brings peace to parties that would otherwise have slipped into deadly conflict if the war of words had been suppressed by self-important governmental do-gooders. This is because government, however well-intentioned, cannot by its very nature be the agent of creative compromise. And sooner or later no society can survive the lack of resentment-driven creativity.

Again, it is easy to brush off “hate speech” as that which is never going to be part of a creative compromise. Yet in allowing yourself to silence the terminally resentful you risk silencing the creatively resentful.

So now directly to my reactions to selected passages of the AG's memo. All my quotations are in the order they appear in the document. I have left the paragraph numbers of the AG's memo to give the reader a reference point and sense of how much I am omitting.

"52. Contrary to Dr. Persinger's contention, Dr. Tsesis has considered the proposition that tolerance of hate speech is a necessary outlet for self-expression and has concluded that this is based on a false premise: Bigotry is not cathartic. To the contrary, it is inflammatory."

-It is easy and right to denounce the most stupid hatreds, but what's the point of a law? The above quote is a simple-minded statement that assumes a false dichotomy in an attempt to deny a fundamental human paradox that any law on language must eventually face when those being policed are no longer just the marginal losers. A serious war of words is often both inflammatory and cathartic. How can a catharsis be effected if not first by some conflict being both inflamed and deferred by language re-figuring what the parties hold sacred? Every compact or covenant that makes our civil society what it is today began in someone's tracing of a real conflict, with an aim of finding some new way to represent the sacred (just as I am doing now). That is how transcendent or “cathartic” language and experience emerge.

The meaning of language should not be blithely abstracted from the multi-stage events in which it exists and has various roles; it should not be reduced to mean any one thing, good or bad. We should not give the power to police language to anyone who doesn't realize that that which inflames or engenders our violent desires is also that which is deferring them. Public life is always and necessarily a wager between good and bad potential consequences. It's always risky. To speak violently can be unnecessary and dangerous, for it may lead us in madness to real violence. Yet, not having violent thoughts can also be dangerous. A man with little imagination, but just enough to be deadly, may be much quicker to the sword than, say, a much more deeply resentful Hamlet. No doubt the banal Nazi bureaucrat usually spoke less violently than the average Nazi soldier. But who was more deadly in the end?

Violent thoughts and ideas sometimes lead to real violence; and often they do not when they do indeed have a "cathartic” effect. No doubt it is better to promote the higher ethical values than low resentments; but in many situations even low and resentful culture will be better than none. It is impossible to neatly sum up all the pluses and minuses of the many figures of violence in culture. All that we can be generally sure of is that the more degrees of freedom in a culture, the better.

"The longer a group goes unopposed in communicating its aggressive hatred of minorities, the more it becomes habituated in defamatory
statements and unjust acts. Social attitudes are entrenched in negative images about outgroups and popular dialogue incorporates stereotypes into puns and expletives. Once individuals perceive members of identifiable groups as legitimate targets of
aggression, their personal dislikes are reinforced by negative social attitudes and rationalizations. When definitions and stereotypes are culturally established and personalty internalized through oft repeated fallacies about outgroup characteristics, they facilitate arbitrary stratification and behaviors, prolonging their vitality and passing their malignant venom to succeeding generations."

-I tend to agree with this, but think this is just the reason not to have hate speech laws which will only buttress popular prejudices, giving them the legitimacy that only attempts to ban something can give. The best way to oppose “aggressive hatred” is through the ethic that only a free citizenry responsible for protecting each other's freedom can provide. If Canadians are truly so hopeless in this regard, then government's heavy hand may become inevitable and necessary. But by what right does the present government have to declare, implicitly, that Canadians cannot police themselves?

Unhealthy prejudices need to be debated out in the open. It's a sign of the government's bad faith in the wisdom of the crowd in free societies that they would attempt to argue that bureaucrats have a better grip on social fallacies than do ordinary people in free debate.

53. The harmful effects of hate speech are not limited to the targeted group, but extend to the wider community as well. Dickson CJ recognized this in Keegstra:
A second harmful effect of hate propaganda which is of pressing and substantial concern is its influence upon society at large. The Cohen Committee noted that individuals can be persuaded to believe "almost anything" (p. 30) if information or ideas are communicated using the right technique and in the proper
circumstances (at p. 8):
we are less confident in the 20th century that the critical faculties of individuals will be brought to bear on the speech and writing which is directed at them. In the 18th and 19th centuries, there was a widespread belief that man was a rational creature, and that if his mind was trained and liberated from superstition by education, he would always distinguish truth from falsehood, good from evil. So Milton, who said "let truth and falsehood grapple: who ever knew
truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter". We cannot share this faith today in such a simple form. While holding that over the long run, the human mind is repelled by blatant falsehood and seeks the good, it is too often true, in the short run, that emotion displaces reason and individuals perversely reject the demonstrations of truth put before them and forsake the good they know. The successes of modern advertising, the triumphs of impudent propaganda such as Hitler's, have qualified sharply our belief in the rationality of man. We know that under strain and pressure in times of irritation and frustration, the individual is swayed and even swept away by hysterical, emotional appeals. We act irresponsibly if we ignore the way in which emotion can drive reason from the field.

-The utter snobbery of this argument is shocking. And yet, it is indeed an important revelation of the 20th century that we can be in no way pure creatures of reason, always in touch with the good (how can someone at once pronounce this lesson and not consider its applicability to one's own legal positioning?).

But to suggest that it is "emotion" that drives reason from the field is to reveal that you really have little in the way of a systematic idea what evil is or what causes it. (Briefly, evil must be understood in terms of an anthropology of the sacred and of the resentment that stems from a sense of alienation from the sacred.) Furthermore it is to imply that the would-be guardians of truth are themselves somehow above "emotion" and irrationality, at least more than the ordinary person, which is sadly not the case. Yes, we are fallen creatures but as a general rule we become more aware of our weaknesses by living in a free society where these are revealed to us through all kinds of feedback mechanisms. Trying to block the lessons that can only come with a feeling that one is free to say almost anything is likely to make us more irrational and "emotional" not less. To invoke Hitler is properly to remind that the real danger comes from the state, not the "impudent" advertising crew.

56. The Cohen Report states that the psychological limits of human beings ought to be taken into account when formulating laws affecting freedom of speech:
... issues relating to freedom of expression are not all open to the simple solutions that would have been applied to them a hundred years ago. Those who urged a century ago that men should be allowed to express themselves with utter freedom even though the heavens fell did so with great confidence that they would not fall. That degree of confidence is not open to us today. We know that, as well as individual interests, there are social interests to be protected, and these are not always protected by unrestricted individual freedom. The triumphs of Fascism in Italy, and National Socialism in Germany through audaciously false propaganda have shown us how fragile tolerant, liberal societies can be in certain
circumstances. They have also shown us the large element of irrationality in human nature which makes people vulnerable to propaganda in times of stress and strain. Both experience and the changing circumstances of the age require us to look with great care at abuses of freedom of expression.

-But if "irrationality" is inherently part of human nature, what right do we have to believe in legislated solutions to it? Liberal societies, as the writers of this document imagine them, are indeed fragile; and they are fragile because they rely too heavily on the kinds of self-righteous "liberal" minds that wrote this document. Liberal societies have, so far in history at least, relied largely on a Gnostic elite who think they have the secret key that can control or overcome the irrationality in human nature, rather than relying on the evolving common sense of a people experienced in freedom and hence in the need to act as guarantors of each other's freedom.

A government that does not defer to the freedom and wisdom of the people is almost sure to make society less tolerant and more fragile. Tolerance cannot be legislated; it has to be lived, learned in a context where real intolerance exists in opinions other than those righteous ones of the politically-correct liberal and governing elites.

As Eric Voegelin who lived through that age argued, the disaster of the Nazis was more a case of the Nazis taking to an extreme the existing Gnostic assumptions of the governing "liberal" elite of Weimar and pre-WWI Germany, than of Germany ever being too free. There were censorship laws in Weimar Germany targeting the Nazis. When the Nazis came to power they simply took this censorious approach, along with all other kinds of nonsense about heroic leaders and experts leading the people to some Utopia of good government, to an extreme.

58. Dr. Tsesis has developed an extensive critique of Oliver Wendell Holmes' notion of the "marketplace of ideas," and reaches similar conclusions:
Beyond the theoretical difficulties of Holmes' marketplace of ideas it is simply untrue that the dissemination of vitriol defuses racism, sexism, or anti-Semitism. Experience disproves the notion that falsehood is always vanquished by truth. To the contrary, history teems with examples of times when lies, distortions, and propaganda empowered groups like the Nazis to repress speechand perpetrate mass persecutions ... Even when both true and false beliefs are available, persons often cling to the false to retain power. In spite of the availability in the United States of literature against slavery, that institution did not end through rational discourse but through a bloody civil war.

-Are we really to take seriously a government that advances, as legal argument, such blithe tautology: "vitriol does not defuse racism, etc.?" But then, again, it all depends on what the response to that vitriol is. Yes, indeed, often vitriol will not defuse. Yet, on the other hand, it is not entirely implausible that someone (or his audience) who hates, say, Jews for being successful in the marketplace might, in expressing some nutty conspiracy theory about Jews controlling the market, be eventually met on the field of name calling, then suitably positioned and eventually taught by rhetorical conflict something of why Judaism had led to many Jews being successful in the free marketplace. There is nothing better than real experience, which can only come with freedom, to discipline the imagination.

In any case, the argument here misses a larger point: no "true" idea does the work of truth forever. Truth, in human affairs, is no absolute insight that has perennial value. Truth is something that works, in a given place and time, for a time, but is itself subject to inevitable discounting in the political marketplace. Once everyone knows a truth, people will still remain humans with conflicting desires. Thus, the truth that can defer conflict must be continually re-presented through free exchange, and this is something that by its very nature government cannot do.

The nihilism that suggests that because, in one instance, a modicum of rational discourse was not sufficient to overcome the decline of a political culture into civil war, therefore the way to avoid civil war in future is to set up a privileged arbiter of what can and cannot be said in public, is just insane. War is not something mankind has yet learned to overcome through wise government; and it is the hubris that pretends war can be outlawed by some regime of "human rights" that acts to increase not defer dangerous tensions in this world. Some tensions can only be successfully deferred by allowing the expression of resentments that can in turn be addressed in ways that allow for a productive exchange of positions.

62. From a historical perspective, hate speech has been a key tool for channelling societal difficulties, and the blame for them, towards minority groups. Dr. Tsesis cites Nazi Germany as the leading example, where hyperinflation and the aftermath of the Versailles Treaty created general troubles for which a charismatic leader was able to divert blame onto a minority group. Hitler drew on a long history of German anti-Semitism to foment a mass delusion that Jews were responsible for bad times, and as a result a Holocaust could be perpetrated against them without general

-This is history with a sophistication appropriate to grade schoolers, history reduced to legal “sound bites”, and with an aim to justifying the state's penalization of the politically incorrect!

The Holocaust was, by definition, not a series of riots, book burnings, and pogroms. It was an event of such scope and scale that it could only have happened in the context of a total war and the corresponding call on Germans to accede to evil in the name of protecting the fatherland at a time of extreme danger. So what's going on in the AG's memo? Are we being told that if Germany had had hate speech laws, that Hitler's charisma and desire for total war would have been stopped? Why would he have paid such laws a moment's notice? It was when he was in prison, after all, that he wrote Mein Kampf.

The Holocaust is an extreme and in many ways unique event that, like the history of slavery, is far from the best historical analogy for understanding the realities of life in Canada in the 21st century. When evil is central to how a society operates, how is any discussion of the absence of laws protecting “minorities” relevant? Centralized evil can co-opt any law, so the question is really how to limit the power and potential evil that is collected at any centre. Maximizing freedom is generally the best answer to that.

And, to refer back to the above quote, anyone who thinks blame is something that can be wrongly “diverted”, i.e. that pinpointing blame is otherwise a serious mode of thought (when dealing with major historical events), is probably just about ready to “blame” pretty much any politically correct scapegoat at hand.

63.Social psychologists, including Dr. Mock, have observed that the law has a role to play in priming supportive attitudes towards minorities and ensuring that the boundaries of what is acceptable are taken seriously by the population in general. She has also noted that the proliferation of stereotypes and hatred against various groups can facilitate violence by leading to desensitization.

-It is a mischaracterization of the role of law in society and history to suggest it is ever about “priming” attitudes. The law institutionalizes and reproduces ethical understandings; it certainly does not create them in the first place. The writer of this document is a long way from understanding how anything new comes into the world. There is no attempt to offer a serious anthropology to justify the ideas here being advanced.

67. In any case, there is little or no truth value in hate propaganda to attract the protection of the Charter, thereby making the restriction easier to justify. The Supreme Court of Canada has recognized the importance of reputation to human dignity and Charter values, and has noted how false allegations can destroy a person's sense of worth and value. Hate speech bears scant relationship to the truth. and does not require the same protections as ordinary speech. Dr. Downs, drawing an analogy with pornography, has also argued that certain forms of intimidating speech are unworthy of protection.”

-Again with the endless tautology: what is bad is not good, what is hate is not true... and so it has no right to exist. Yeah, whatever; but the question is not what is due the devil, but rather the state's power to name the devil. And if the incredibly self-righteous attitudes expressed in this government document are any guide, it would be a brave fool who would dare write anything politically risky that could possibly get labeled hate speech by some lawyer, for then one would be in the realm of that which has no right to exist. Quite aside from lost words, one's reputation would be destroyed, one would be an evildoer in the land where “hate is not true” therefore we don't have to listen to your lies that your hate is not hate. Oh, and when did you stop hitting your wife?”

92. In concluding that s. 13 of the CHRA-minimally impairs freedom of expression, Dickson CJ in Taylor examined the language chosen by Parliament and determined that it provides a standard of conduct that is sufficiently precise. He added:
Moreover, as long as the Human Rights Tribunal continues to be well aware of the purpose of s. 13(1) and pays heed to the ardent and extreme nature of feeling described in the phrase "hatred or contempt", there is little danger that subjective opinion as to offensiveness will supplant the proper meaning of the section.

-What is offensive is a question of what one holds sacred. If Canada is truly a multicultural society, with many competing understandings of the sacred present, the question of what is evidently offensive cannot be seriously thought to be self-evident. Is a cartoon of Mohammed hate speech? It would seem that some people think so, so much so that government agents are willing to commence proceedings against someone for merely republishing a cartoon in the midst of a newsworthy international event concerned with same. What the court is really saying here is that people who belong to the class of liberal Canadian elites know what is best and correct. And they're sure as hell going to make it clear to anyone who thinks, say, that he might have some business questioning the value of homosexuality, or what have you.

95. Reliance on private incentives is not sufficient to address the government's task of protecting Charter rights. As Professor Bailey has noted, the use of such techniques as filtering and zoning may mitigate some individual psychological harm, but "fails to address the key social harms of concern in the context of hate propaganda: the threat to social harmony and equality posed by widespread adoption of hate propaganda's message.” She observes that the market has "an unimpressive record in correcting discrimination based on personal characteristics such as race, gender and sexual identity", since its focus is on meeting the mass tastes of consumers.

-What do the “mass tastes” of consumers have to do with an argument for regulating “hate” speech? Well, besides demonstrating elitist snobbery and the desire to control “the masses”, not much. The truly successful thought market today is in politically correct snobbery, which rules all of our institutions and much of public life. It is the cheap patina of aristocratic bearing now made available to any semi-educated schmuck. So to say the market has an unimpressive record in this regard is simply the sign of someone who doesn't believe in the law of diminishing returns and is sure that the market is going to continue to reward her all too common condescension towards it.

105. The Tribunal noted that s. 2(a) of the Charter refers to both freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. Conscience has been defined as "personal morality which is not founded in religion" or "conscientious beliefs which are not religiously motivated"

-I'm sure religious Canadians will be impressed to learn that conscience is not part of their faith. Surely conscience and religion have exactly the same anthropological foundation, if we think back, hypothetically, to the beginning of humanity. This is not to say however that you have to be religious to be conscientious today.

106. It is submitted that such beliefs need to be analogous to religion in their sophistication and coherence in order to meet this definition. Mr. Lemire has failed to demonstrate that the exressionof hatred towards identifiable minority groups derives from any basis of conscience or a coherent belief system.

-too bad for Lemire. But bully for the Jihadis.

107. Freedom of religion was defined in Big M Drug Mart as:
... the right to entertain such religious beliefs as a person chooses, the right to declare religious beliefs openly and without fear of hindrance or reprisal and the right to manifest religious belief by worship and practice or by teaching and dissemination.

108. However, as the Supreme Court found in Ross, this freedom is restricted by the "right of others to hold and manifest beliefs and opinions of their own, and to be free from injury from the exercise of the freedom of religion of others.

109. Hate speech infringes upon these rights. Propaganda against different religions and cultural groups encroaches on the freedom of Canada's diverse peoples to entertain their own beliefs, declare them openly "without fear of hindrance or reprisal" and to manifest them in practice. Hate speech, by its very nature, intimidates minority groups and causes them to fear the manifestation of their religious and cultural beliefs in a society where they should be accorded dignity and freedom

-no doubt, the hated minority is intimidated; but I'd rather have my neighbor come to my aid than some government bureaucrat. To rely heavily on government for your freedom is not really to be free or to have firm rights. The political winds can shift direction any time, and only a well-exercised spirit of freedom among my neighbors can truly guarantee our shared freedom. If I rely on government, when my religion becomes unfashionable and is seen to impose on the rights of other forms of religious exercise, I will be silenced. I'd rather take the risk of being insulted by ordinary folk than by fools who think many religions can co-exist without conflict, as long as everyone defers to the government. Religious conflict can only be truly mediated by free political and intellectual interaction. Government cannot create, as a mediator, that which can only be created in freedom; only our freedom to talk openly, bluntly, to each other can engender the positioning by which new forms of relationship and reciprocity can come into the world to truly mediate our conflicts.

110. Dr. Tsesis refers to the role of religious dogma in upholding slavery as an expression of the natural order as a factor contributing to its persistence in pre-Civil War America. He also notes that similar religious beliefs support present-day slavery in Mauritania. The perception of Jews as the killers of Christ was historically at the root of much anti-Semitism.

Again, let's note that the defense of slavery is central to slave-owning societies. So, where is the apt analogy to those marginal figures who are prosecuted for hate speech in 21st C. Canada? Is the government of Canada actually proposing to outlaw some hateful ideology that is central to how our society works? In any case, it was the brave exercise of free speech, by people who were exposed to accusations of hatred and much else, that brought an end to slavery. And what of the beginnings of slavery? Are we seriously to believe that this institution that has been pervasive in human history until very recently came about because of a lack of hate speech codes? Why should we be impressed by those reducing historical complexities to cheap arguments so that Utopian Gnostics may justify their high offices in government?

117. Dr. Tsesis has similarly noted that all rights have corresponding natural limits:
... abstract uncertainties about potential evils should not constrain legislators from passing laws narrowly designed to curb expressions whose only object is to endanger the lives, professions, properties and civil liberties of the less powerful.

-Says who? Anyone who thinks the objects of language are obvious and singular, in any context, is someone who hasn't thought much about what language does. For example, even when I am pointing the finger of blame directly at some poor sod, one cannot ever say that my only object is to endanger him; i am also inevitably representing myself in the act of pointing the finger; one might say, with only a modest attempt at humour, that in scapegoating the Other, I am claiming the mantle of a Canadian government lawyer.

120. The Supreme Court has explained why the terms "hatred" and "contempt" (described by Mr. Lemire as "extremely abstract")are in fact sufficiently explicit, and the Tribunal has adopted this explanation:
With "hatred" the focus is a set of emotions and feelings which involve extreme ill-will towards another person or group of persons. To say that one hates another means in effect that one finds no redeeming qualities in the latter. "Contempt" is by contrast a term which suggests a mental process of "looking down" upon or treating as inferior the object of one's feelings.

-Strictly speaking, hatred is not an emotion; animals have biological emotions but do not hate in any way like humans do. Hatred is an extreme form of resentment; resentment is the product of a sense of alienation from the sacred. Our relationship to the sacred is infinitely complex. To think that one can define it away as a (biological) emotion is a sign that one really does not have a serious understanding of where hate comes from and why it's an inevitable part of the human condition that cannot be legislated away.

136. This is consistent with the CHRA's aim of breaking the cycle of systemic discrimination. As the Supreme Court has observed:
... in attempting to combat systemic discrimination, it is essential to look to the past patterns of discrimination and to destroy those patterns in order to prevent the same kind of discrimination in the future.

-It takes my breath away to imagine these Utopian polizei knocking on doors at 3Am to destroy all that is evil in our sordid past. I would just settle for equality before the law, which becomes impossible once you have the law permitting the existence of some thoughts and not others. At least, it's now becoming clear that we have people in government who are out not just to police the marginal nutters, but to shut down something they deem central to our society. One hopes that in future they will make this clear without such reliance on abstract academic jargon that amounts to little more than a conspiracy theory, a non-interpretation, of history.

139. The aim of these remedies is to ensure ongoing compliance with the CHRA and protection of the public. They are not a punishment, but rather intended to assist in the effective enforcement of the protection of human rights.

- So one can be given significant fines; one can be forced to apologize for one's sins and effectively banned from publicly speaking or writing on a given subject; and one can be held in contempt of court and imprisoned if one refuses such a ban. But none of this is punishment? It is simply enforced service, kind of like what a peasant owes his feudal lord? What Orwellian world have we entered?

142. In any event, the Supreme Court has disposed of this argument in Taylor. The Court noted that a contempt order must be preceded by an order of the Tribunal to cease and desist a discriminatory practice, and observed:
Such a directive from the Tribunal necessarily brings to a respondent's attention the fact that his or her messages are likely to have a harmful effect. Uncertainty or mistake as to the probable effect of these messages is thus dissipated, and consequently their continued promulgation will be accompanied by the knowledge that certain individuals or groups are likely to be exposed to hatred or contempt on the basis of race or religion. At this stage of the process, it cannot be argued that an individual is innocent or negligent as to the effects of his or her message, and hence the spectre of imprisonment absent intent is dispelled [...] I therefore cannot agree that the possibility of a contempt order issuing against an individual unduly chills the freedom of expression.

-do what we say, or go to jail, because we know what's best and you have been warned... Sure, that's not unduly chilling... I mean, just ask Jadewarr.

Reading this document makes me ashamed to be a Canadian. We should all hate Canadians and destroy their damnable Human Rights Act. There, i've said it; lock me up before I go crazy.