It’s a “Friday free for all,” as they say on FM 91.9 (good station, check it out).
First, cause for celebration: the thought police have taken a blow (http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/06/27/hate-speech-no-longer-part-of-canadas-human-rights-act/)
Human rights tribunals are themselves one of the biggest infringements on human rights in this country. Limits on speech and thought, short of openly calling for violence, are a greater danger to the liberty of all and the safety of minorities than a few instances of stupid bigotry could ever be. Those who would control speech in the name of political correctness are playing a dangerous game; they assume the corridors of power will always be sympathetic to their cause, or at least tolerant of it. It’s only by rigorously defending all forms of speech that minority viewpoints can hope to survive changes in public sentiment.
Need specifics? The absurdity of a human rights claim being made against an editor, Ezra Levant, because he had the courage and integrity to publish cartoons criticizing Islam that were the biggest news item on the planet. The fact that few news agencies in the West published these cartoons as a vital part of a massive story is the real obscenity. I don’t care if the cartoons were offensive, even sacrilegious. They were news, and big news, and it was only fear that stopped them from being widely reproduced.
The National Post is highlighting lots of speech-related stories today. How about this petty little bit of despotism: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/06/27/graeme-hamilton-no-mystery-why-quebec-grocer-would-think-ban-her-employees-from-speaking-english/
I don’t dismiss the grievances of Quebeckers lightly, and I can understand loving a culture and wanting to keep it from altering too drastically or quickly. Part of the charm of the Maritimes is its culture, and I would hate to see it turn into Ontario, or BC, or really any other place.
But core to any culture I think worth preserving is respect for individuals. What kind of monstrous vision of society includes telling children or employees what language they can speak on the playground or in the break room? The banal, shallow, dogmatic form of thoughtless evil these people demonstrate has always been a threat to liberty and a help to tyrants.
I had little patience for the Occupy Movement. Even calling it that annoys me. I’m no friend of big banks, but Occupy came off as a glorification of, well, in many (not all) cases whining.
Still, can the forces of government and the wielders of power please stop dealing with every problem by throwing a jail cell at it? http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/06/27/occupy-wall-street-protester-could-face-up-to-13-years-in-jail-13000-fine-for-writing-anti-bank-messages-in-chalk/
Who thinks that’s reasonable? Anyone? Thirteen years in jail, possibly, for chalk scribblings. How can the legal process hope to retain any moral authority if it indulges idiocy like this?
Two more things before I let you go. This is fun. I find number six and number two the most interesting (but no, I’m not embracing either as fact): http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/06/27/occupy-wall-street-protester-could-face-up-to-13-years-in-jail-13000-fine-for-writing-anti-bank-messages-in-chalk/
And this is also interesting, and by interesting I mean appalling. Barack Obama makes a phone call to ensure a dissident journalist stays locked up for the crime, apparently, of telling the truth: http://www.salon.com/2013/06/28/obamas_war_on_journalism/