I keep thinking that Canada's champions of censorship can't get any more ludicrous and offensive. And they keep coming back and saying "Oh, Ken, ye of little faith." Well, they don't actually talk to me. Except in my head. You know, I think I'm straying from the point.
Canada's appalling Human Rights Commissions — which we have frequently criticized here for their tendency and capacity to punish unpopular speech through bureaucracy without due process or remedy — have been under heavy political fire in Canada recently, as the public starts to grasp their illiberal censorious nature and the politicians sense the way the wind is blowing. But the Human Rights Commissions and their apologists are not going down without a fight. And a new hero has emerged — Richard Warman need no longer shoulder the mantle of nanny-state wiffle-life censorship alone. No, Chief Commissioner Jennifer Lynch has stepped up.
Lynch refused to go on television to debate the increasingly triumphant and combative Ezra Levant, and in fact tried to bully CTV into excluding Levant. CTV — which also knows which way the wind is blowing — defied her and told viewers about her efforts to keep Levant off the show.
So that's not stepping up, really.
But hey, at least she'll defend her belief in government censorship without whining or apology, right?
As personal attacks were made against anyone who tried to correct the record, the number of people willing to make the effort dwindled. There is tangible proof of this: 50% of interviewees for an upcoming book on human rights have stated that they feel “chilled” about speaking up.
Ironically, those who are claiming that human rights commission’s jurisdiction over hate speech is “chilling” to freedom of expression, have successfully created their own reverse chill.
[Emphasis mine, idiocy in original]
Yes, that's right. Jennifer Lynch thinks that the advocates of government censorship of unpopular ideas are being cruelly and unfairly chilled because critics are attacking censorship vigorously. Lynch, in shamelessly selling this sob story, betrays her fundamental ignorance about free expression. Free expression does not carry with it freedom from the social consequences of speech. That's precisely why it's possible, and desirable, for government to refrain from the temptation to punish contemptible speech like that spouted by racists — because decent people will stand up, respond, criticize, agitate, condemn, and shun the racists from decent society. That's pretty much what is happening to Warman and Lynch and their pro-censorship ilk, as free people's natural revulsion for bullies and busybodies and Mrs. Grundys leads them to speak. Lynch, with her complaint, sounds precisely like the right wing whiners who complain that being called a racist for saying racist things is unfairly chilling in a way that breaks the marketplace of ideas. Bullshit. We should worry about people being chilled by threats of government censorship. But when someone refrains from advocating a loathsome idea — whether racism or censorship — because of the social consequences, that's not a bug. That's a feature.
By the way, at the same conference at which she asked you to cry for the hurt feelings of the censors, Lynch also fronted the new metaphor justifying censorship — rights as a "matrix":
Freedom of expression is a fundamental right in Canada. As all of you will know it is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Because no right is absolute, the modern concept of rights is that of a matrix with different rights and freedoms mutually reinforcing each other to build a strong and durable human rights system.
Blue pill please.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- A Response To Marc: Institutions, Agendas, and the "Culture War" - January 13th, 2016
- Lawyering Is About Service, Not Self-Actualization - January 11th, 2016
- Lawsplainer: Was FAU Prof. James Tracy Fired in Violation of His First Amendment Rights? - January 7th, 2016
- Defy, Defy, Defy. - January 7th, 2016
- President Obama And The Rhetoric Of Rights - January 5th, 2016