Thursday, June 12, 2008

Moving to Canada? Watch your mouth.

Democrats are fond of saying that they'll move to Canada if Republicans win this or that election. With Hopeface McRace looking more and more McInevitable, perhaps it would pay to take a look at what is going on in Canada that gets his supporters so damn excited.

A couple of years ago, Macleans, a Canadian political magazine, ran a feature story, "Why the Future Belongs to Islam". Why does the future belong to Islam? According to the article, it's because Muslims reproduce like mosquitoes and because, well, they want the future to belong to Islam. I'll set aside the question of whether this simply (albeit crudely) states the obvious.

Alas, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, an unelected body that is granted the authority to levy fines against aggrieved parties who claim to be victims of hate speech, recently heard the case of one of those parties. It seems the Macleans article touched off heated blog exchanges internationally. As such, it constitutes hate speech. The complainants in the case are requesting the tribunal demand Macleans to offer a 5,000 word rebuttal to the original article, over which Macleans will have no editorial oversight. Sounds reasonable... If you live in Tehran.

As journalist Andrew Coyne, who live-blogged the proceedings, notes, the conventions of the Tribunal are peculiar. There are no standard rules of evidence. In defending against charges of hate speech, one may not argue on the grounds of innocent intent (a staple of American libel law), good faith (ditto) public interest (a staple of the New York Times) , or TRUTH (so help me God).

In other words, someone can be held before a tribunal in Canada for innocently, and in the interest of the public, stating something that is empirically true. Um, yikes?

What's better, Canada apparently regards protections against double jeopardy as dispensable as protections of speech. One can also be tried (as Macleans will be) before the Canadian Human Rights Commission, which has the power to impose fines and sanctions against the offending party. One spokesperson for the commission was quoted as dismissing the freedom of speech as an American artifact that holds little interest.

Cute. Perhaps this explains why the commission has found for the complainants in 31 of the 31 cases brought before it.

Now, would any American reasonably support the establishment of unelected tribunals to determine innocence or guilt? No, but as the support for Barack Obama has demonstrated, Americans aren't all that reasonable right now. In the past, I have written about the speech codes that are proliferating among our nations (publicly funded) colleges and universities.

And hey, anything that reduces "hate" is a good thing, right? And if its the law of the land in Canada, where nobody is poor, everyone lives to 100, and all the women love men for their intellect, it can't be wrong.

As it is with all things European, we are to ignore the consequences of ideological excess. We are to pretend that handing decisions of morality and ethics to governmental institutions will have no repercussions. America, we are to assume, will find ways to achieve socialistic ends while maintaining individual autonomy.

And beside, Canada's cold as hell.


Blogger Sarah said...

I found your last comment to be somewhat ironic.

It's the old story that no person is ever happy with what they've got. The grass always looks greener on the other side, even if it's green toxoc waste....or Canada.

(I'm not trying to rip on Canada. I have relatives there and love to go there but theire politics are really messed up.)

8:54 AM  

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