Monday, January 14, 2008

Ezra Levant and the Torturer's Horse

Our Canadian show trials are going on in a very Canadian style: soft-spoken, calm, quiet, shabby-genteel in a faded grey way with modern vinyl chairs and a bad painting on the wall. Ezra Levant, the publisher of the late Western Standard, has been summoned before the government to explain himself for publishing some cartoons that caught the eye of a guy who's an Offended Muslim for a living.

As Levant says, "I had half-expected a combative, missionary-style interrogator. I found, instead, a limp clerk who was just punching the clock. She had done it dozens of times before, and will do it dozens of times again. In a way, that's more terrifying." Mrs. Shirlene McGovern, the apparatchik in charge of this stage of Levant's case, is not at all a frightening or sinister character. This is what Germany looked like in the late 1930s: an evil system stocked at all levels by ordinary, respectable, earnest citizens who were so compromised and corrupted by their involvement they could no longer see the bars on their cage. This is normalized degeneracy, soft and familiar.

As Auden wrote in 1938
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully
along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the plowman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

This is Canada today, the way it was Europe in 1938. Our world is ending, one bureaucratic drip at a time, and the one thing everyone is sure of is that we're all terribly busy. Too busy to stop anything, too busy to notice, too busy to bother getting our emotions riled up.

Ms McGovern is not someone it's easy to hate and say, "THERE'S the villain!" She's the torturer's horse, doing what she's been hired to do, carrying the little load that's been assigned to her. She's as incapable of thinking outside her checklist of approved sentiments as the horse is of voluntarily changing direction and taking the torturer away from his victim. She's not the torturer herself, but she's the beast of burden that willingly carries him to his job of degrading and breaking human beings.

As Levant says, "She had done it dozens of times before, and will do it dozens of times again." Fascist states, totalitarian states, authoritarian states - they all run on people like this. Lots of them. It's when I see how unremarkable this whole exercise is that I realize how much of our freedom is gone and in such a short time.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Elli M. said...

I'm not sure mild-mannered Ms McGovern is all that innocent, though. Maybe I'm imagining it, but is there the trace of a sneer when she says "Well, you're certainly entitled to your opinions." The unspoken subtext is "Because We The State permit you to have opinions: isn't that generous of us?"

10:34 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The banality of evil.

2:11 pm  
Blogger Muslims Against Sharia said...

Canada: Freedom of Speech succumbing to Kangaroo Courts of the Human Rights Commission

Proceedings against Ezra Levant are nothing short of ridiculous, but let's consider the implications for moderate Muslims. This "investigation" will further divide Muslims and non-Muslims in Canada. It will give credence to radicals' claims that the West is at war with Islam. It will antagonize non-Muslims and moderate Muslims will be pushed towards radicalization. Regardless of the outcome, once again Islamists skillfully manipulated Dhimmi justice system and came out as clear winners. Thank you, Human Right Commission!

Muslims Against Sharia are proud to be the first Muslim group to publicly support Ezra Levant and denounce HRC inquisition
http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com/2008/01/canada-freedom-of-speech-succumbing-to.html

Sign Free Dominion Against the HRCs Petition
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/a-free-dominion-against-the-hrcs.html

1:03 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Consanescerion: Brilliant post, Dr., simply brilliant.

2:37 am  

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