Link to Ezra Levant

This is not a political blog and will not become one.  But I have chosen to link this weblog to what is definitely a political blog, that of Ezra Levant, in order to indicate my support for him and his campaign. 

For those who have not heard of him, he is being persecuted by the Canadian Human Rights Commission for daring to express some thoughts that that government organisation thought were unacceptable.  He published the Danish cartoons on Mohammed in Canada, in fact. 

Canada has no legal right of free speech.  In fact it has so-called “anti-hate” laws — the government deciding what views it calls ‘hate’! — designed to stifle free expression.  In Canada, the HRC is the organ of enforcement, and it has got very greedy with its powers. 

This weblog is focused on antiquity, not political or religious controversy.  There must be few weblogs likely to attract the ire of the professionally offended than this one. 

But on the other hand, when a state creates a body designed to ‘chill’ discussion, to enforce a programme of Right Thinking, I fear that we are all at risk.  This is why I have decided to indicate my support for Ezra, and I hope that you will all do likewise. whatever your politics or religion.  His blog makes chilling reading. 

I won’t repeat it all here.  Ezra expresses the problem with wit and charm, and I can safely leave you in his hands.

The rise of the internet has meant a general increase in personal freedom for ordinary people.  As might be expected, there is no lack of greedy businessmen or politicians or pressure groups who would love to take it over.  To do so, they will claim to ‘protect us’ against something; even if they have to manufacture that threat.  The Canadian HRC’s were brought into existence after Neo-Nazi’s appeared in Canada in the 70’s.  Yet it turns out that these Neo-Nazi’s were trained and organised by an agent of the Canadian Jewish Congress, precisely to stir up enough anger that “hate laws” to stifle free speech might be enacted.  This was unwise; and now it is Islamic extremists making use of the same precedents to stifle Jews who criticise Islam.  The list of “things that may not be thought” grows longer every year, of course, as every pressure group naturally rushes to try to get itself added to the list of privileged groups who may not be criticised.

All this is a  nasty, Nazi business.  I do not want to write this blog in fear that I will be treated as Ezra has been.  If I publish a translation of Michael Paleologus, Dialogue with a learned Moslem — as quoted by Pope Benedict XV — I don’t want some civil servant hauling me in for “a discussion.”

Do we want that sort of censorship?  Let’s support the man, and express our contempt for any government that can abolish free speech in response to a dishonest campaign by a self-interested pressure group.

5 thoughts on “Link to Ezra Levant

  1. Roger;

    I really must take you to task on your comment that Canada has no freedom of speech. That really isn’t accurate, as it is enshrined in our Constitution and emphasized in our laws. The anti-hate laws to which you refer were originally proposed as a legal limitation on freedom of speech, along the lines of shouting fire into a crowded theatre. They are also quite difficult to make stick under most circumstances. What’s more, they aren’t even being used in this case because the police decided that they couldn’t prosecute this case. More commonly, these laws are used in conjunction with some kind of hate-related crime. They hardly ever stand alone, except for blatent Nazi related issues and, even then, they aren’t easy to make stick. Holocaust denial is about the only area that I’ve seen them used successfully.

    Levant’s problems are with the rather labyrinthine human rights commissions which each province has and whose jursidications are disturbingly vague. It is quite easy to raise a human-rights complaint and, then, shop around to find a provincial human-rights commission which will hear it. These commissions are also notoriously slow in making decisions, so issues tend to drag out. Thus, we really don’t know if Levant will be vindicated in the end that this is not hate speech. Now, I grant that there are legitimate concerns about how human rights commissions work in Canada, but that doesn’t mean that there is no freedom of speech.

    Personally, I concede that Levant had a right to publish the Danish cartoons, but I also think they are needlessly inflammitory and offensive, so I doubt if I would do so. I also can see why a Muslim or Muslim organization would like to test whether this is hate speech or not. I don’t think it is and I suspect that is what the commissions will eventually find. Offensive speech isn’t necessarily hateful.

    Peace,
    Phil

  2. Thanks for your most interesting note.

    You mention “holocaust denial”; but is there any convincing reason why we should be forbidden to say that the holocaust never happened? It’s a lie; but consider the consequences.

    I think one point that Ezra makes is that “the process is the punishment”. The technique of extended “investigation” is itself harassment and calculated to chill any discussion. If you did feel that you wanted to publish these cartoons… would you dare?

    It’s all about stifling debate by making it difficult and unpleasant to express what we think. This, more than anything, is what we need to resist.

  3. Personally, I wouldn’t advocate the use of the ‘anti-hate’ laws in isolation, even in the case of holocaust denial. Ultimately, someone’s intellectual position can and should rise or fall on its merits. As I noted, that isn’t how it is usually used. Where it is used to intensify sentences in violent crimes motivated by hate, I don’t really have as much problem. Mind you, hate is a very broad moral term, so there are still problems.

    Levant is right about the process and about the fuzzyness of the human rights commissions’ mandate. Yet, while I agree that these appeals are being wielded as a weapon against him, I honestly think this is an important test case of the jurisdiction of these boards and their interrelations. That is one reason why the process is spinning out. That is cold comfort, perhaps, but the legal position of these boards needs clarifying and, hence, needs challenging.

    Peace,
    Phil

    P.S. Sorry about signing Canadian Phil. It’s an old habit from various bulletin boards.

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