Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ezra Levant, Human Rights Commissions and Free Speech: Some Updates

The campaign to ban these quasi-judicial kangaroo courts and the odious censorship and arbitrary abuse of human rights that they perpetrate continues. How long will it take for Canada to reform this shocking anti-democratic wart on the body politic? Which politician(s) will end up getting credit for doing the dirty job? Which party will hold out to the end in support of this horrible example of political correctness and state power run amuck?

Here are some encouraging straws in the wind.

Ezra Levant's Opening Statement at the Alberta Human Rights Commission
The other parts of his 90 minute interrogation are here too; well-worth watching.

Rex Murphey on the Western Standard Cartoon Controversy (highly entertaining as well as completely right)

Tim Hudak, Ontario PC Leader Candidate Opposes HRC (2 of 4 leadership candidates so far)
The Globe and Mail Story
Ezra's Comments From His Blog

Review of Shakedown by the Winnipeg Free Press (the Free Press lives up to its name)

A good opinion piece in the May 19 The Globe and Mail by Tom Flanagan

Ezra's book, Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights, is currently at #4 on the Globe and Mail Canadian Bestseller List (hardcover). It is currently (May 19) sitting at #41 on the Amazon.ca bestseller list. At this rate Ezra might just make back the $100,000 he spent defending himself from the outrageous charges brought against him by the Alberta Human Rights Commission. I hope so. There probably will be more legal battles ahead.

I believe:
1. Freedom of speech and of the press is a non-negotiatable, fundamental human right backed by 800 years of English common law, the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

2. There should be no such thing as a "thought crime." The government has no business monitoring what free people think.

3. Freedom of speech means that we all will be offended sometimes by what we hear or read. It is actually everyone's duty to be offended from time to time in a democracy. It is the price we pay for freedom and part of living in a democratic society. Anyone who does not like it can lump it or move to a country that has no free speech.

4. The best way to handle racists and bigots is to argue with them, refute them, mock them and get public opinion against them. That is how democracies function. We don't need the police to interfere as long as we all do our public duty to speak out. That is why the last thing we need is a "chill" on free speech.


Nathan said...

This is somewhat off-topic. I found some ironic results if you approach your creed theologically:

1. There are no human rights before God, and if there were, the right to speak freely would certainly not be one of them. We're not to speak his name in vain, for example.

2. Jesus taught that there is "thought sin" in the form of lust and hatred.

3. Paul teaches us that it is best to avoid scandalizing our fellow Christians through speech and actions.

4. Peter taught that doing good (not speaking freely) is how God wants us to silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. (OK, these last 2 are a bit a stretch contextually, but you get the point.)

Now I am not trying to say that liberal democracy is bad. What I am saying is that it has some values (particularly in points 1 and 2) which are orthogonal or opposite to Christianity. Freedom of speech means freedom to blaspheme. I don't think that we should seek out a state which attempts to be a Christian theocracy. But this does provide some food for thought when considering political systems.

Craig Carter said...

1. God bestows human rights through the giving of His laws. He forbids murder; thereby bestowing upon all humans the right to enjoy living without the fear of being murdered. The state merely recognizes the reality instituted by God - or fails to do so.

I am aware of the philosophical issues surrounding "rights talk" and the criticisms. But in a secular society I believe it is legitimate for Christians to utilize this kind of speech as long as we are clear about where and by whom human rights are grounded (God not government).

2. Of course Jesus did. But do you think a fallen human government is the right agency to define, regulate and punish thought sin? God judges the heart. Human government judges deeds. The state is barely competent to judge deeds, let alone thought.

3. Paul indeed taught that. See #2above.

4. Peter indeed taught that. But no, I do not get your point.

Are you against a secular democracy upholding the right to blaspheme? If so, then you are well to the right of Pat Robertson and Charles Colson. They believe in free speech in a secular democracy.

Christian churches can indeed discipline their members for blasphemy, but I don't think that is the role of secular government. What I'm against is the government throwing me in jail, fining me, and sentencing me to "ideological re-eduction" for thought crime or offensive speech.

I think you need to figure out whether you want a Christian theocracy or not.

Nathan said...

I explicitly said that I did not want a Christian theocracy, but I guess you did not believe me. :-) I also said that I did not intend my post as a critique of democracy. I just found the juxtaposition interesting.

Craig Carter said...

Sorry if I seemed harsh to you. But you do realize, don't you, that there are a lot of liberal Christians who think it is just fine for the government to regulate and punish thought crime and take away free speech in the name of political correctness? And they try to justify it by referring to some of the passages you quoted. Then they call people like me "Constantinian"!