I recall a co-worker from the late 1990′s, she was a Lesbian, and her Lesbianism was the entire focal point for her life. She once told me that one of the goals of hate crime legislation was to eventually, criminalize certain types of speech. Basically, her argument was that there have to be limits to freedom of speech. I thought of her this morning while I read what Donald Douglas has linked at American Power. Donald Douglas has a piece up about Canada’s effort to ban speech that the Left judges to be offensive
The right to free speech is one of the most important democratic freedoms. It enables the flow of information and encourages diversity of opinion in the public sphere, as well as criticism of political leadership, all of which are in the public interest. But like most freedoms, it is not absolute, nor should it be.
The Supreme Court of Canada is currently pondering whether to jettison provisions in the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code that restrict free speech in the interests of protecting a vulnerable minority from publicly proclaimed hatred. The case in question concerns the rights of homosexuals, but the issue is broader: The court’s judgment will have a ripple effect on anti-hate laws and the rights of minorities everywhere.
Ah, yes, anti-hate laws, which are used by the left to ban or criminalize speech they deem dangerous. The Left, of course, being totalitarian in the ideology believe that what they do not like, the government should curtail, limit, or ban outright. We often hear calls for this type of thing in the United States, mainly from Leftists who which to suppress not hate, but speech that dares differ from Leftist ideals of Collectivism. As the author of this piece puts it, it is time for America to, say it with me, join the “rest of the world”
European countries without our tradition of upholding anti-hate laws, and without a history of ethnic pluralism, have had a much harder time coping with growing diversity. Only the United States allows almost unmitigated speech, but some legal scholars, such as Jeremy Waldron of New York University, are beginning to believe that America should align itself with the rest of the world’s liberal democracies – countries that, in his words, “take affirmative responsibility for protecting the atmosphere of mutual respect against certain forms of vicious attack.”
This protection has become urgent in the years since 9/11 with the concomitant increase in verbal attacks on Muslims. In Canada, the most prominent free-speech extremists are Ezra Levant, who provocatively republished the insulting Danish cartoons denigrating the Prophet Mohammed in 2006, and Mark Steyn, who has been generalizing about Muslims for years. Both these authors have tried to shift the Canadian consensus by normalizing previously unacceptable levels of speech.
And normalizing is exactly how it happens. Shifts in the general consensus regarding minorities are progressive and incremental. We don’t notice. Then we wake up to find ourselves in a changed environment, as did the Norwegians after Anders Breivik went on a murderous rampage last summer. Mr. Breivik was part of a growing continuum of radicals fixated on the idea that Muslims, as an undifferentiated group, are conspiring against the West. In his eyes, he was a patriot. Unfortunately, history is rife with such people. They are nourished on incessant, unbridled hate speech.
Ah, MUTUAL RESPECT! As deemed by government? In other words the writer, and Leftists who think like he does wish the government to decide what is acceptable, respectful, offensive, etc. Because, in their minds, if the government does restrict speech, we will all go crazy and slaughter one another or something. Of course, such laws will be used by the Left to silence dissenting views. Odd, the left used to say dissent was patriotic, but that was when Republicans held the White House, now, the Left calls dissent other words, racist, bigoted, hate, Fascist, etc.
I wonder why the Left never seeks to ban THEIR hateful words? Oh, sorry, that would require the Left to be CONSISTENT, and I think we all know that ain’t going to happen.
The basic issue here is this. the Left wants to let government dictate how much infringement upon a basic human right, freedom of speech, van occur in defense of “civility”, or at least what the Left deems civil. That, the Left thinks, would work out well for them, and I suppose it would, until the government decided that something a Leftist said, was, well, you know……….
How proud of the Left Stalin, and Hitler, and Pol Pot, and Mao, and Lennin would be.