This blog is mainly about patristics and ancient history. But any blogger must take an interest in whether he might be dragged before the courts by someone who decides to be “offended” and belongs to a legally privileged group. It is for this reason that I link to Ezra Levant, the Canadian blogger who was attacked by the Orwellian-sounding “Human Rights Commissions” in a variety of ways that certainly violated his human rights of free speech and a fair trial.
The same organisation has systematically harassed Christians, with the intention of “chilling” free speech. The accusers face no costs; the victims, even if acquitted, face financial ruin: the process of ‘investigation’ is the punishment. I won’t usually post on the continuing story – Ezra does that every day very ably. But the same tendency exists everywhere.
Canada’s politicians have been slow to act. But an inquiry into the functioning of these bodies has begun. The unfortunately named Mark Steyn — does no-one read Vanity Fair any more? — has been another victim, and was asked to address the inquiry. A summary of it is here.
My attention was caught by this section:
…every time you have someone like Haroun Siddiqui at the Toronto Star saying that it’s all about striking a balance and all the rest of it, every time that someone tiptoes down that primrose path, it leads only to tyranny. If you don’t believe in free speech for people you hate, you loathe, you revile, you don’t believe in free speech at all. …
The Tribunal, I think, needs to be brought within the codes and conventions of this country’s legal system. At the moment, it upends them. The burden of proof ought to be on the accuser. The accuser should not be allowed unlimited funds to frivolously torment people for no reason, beggaring them for something that serves no public purpose.
We need to be aware of the concerted attempt across the world to stifle freedom of speech, to make it risky to say anything that might offend those with power. We need to resist.