Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Snatching the human rights football away

Haroon Siddiqui had an indignant column in Sunday's Toronto Star on the subject of the Human Rights Commissions and their tendancy to trample free speech rights. His argument that Mark Steyn, Ezra Levant and Maclean's have no real case against the HRC's fascist tactics is a little circular; his "proof" of the legitimacy of the quashing of free speech in Canada consists of...a list of cases in which a HRC quashed free speech.
They argue that human rights commissions have no business limiting free speech.

But by law it is the business of several of these tribunals to assess and curb hate speech:

In 1996 and again in 1997, the B.C. Human Rights Commission ruled against the suburban weekly North Shore News for publishing anti-Semitic columns. The writer, Doug Collins, said the verdict was "a direct threat to the freedom of the press."

In 2002, the federal commission ruled against the notorious Ernst Zundel, ordering him to remove anti-Semitic material from a website. His lawyer, Doug Christie, characterized the ruling as a threat to freedom of speech.

In 2002, the Alberta Human Rights Commission ruled against the magazine Alberta Report for spreading prejudice against Jews. The magazine agreed to give adequate space for a rebuttal. Still, publisher Link Byfield complained about limits on free expression.

Last December, the Alberta commission ruled against a Christian pastor, Stephen Boissoin, for a letter published in the Red Deer Advocate, calling gays "immoral."
The federal commission is looking into a complaint against Catholic Insight magazine for publishing anti-gay articles. Its editors condemned "the nefarious role of human rights commissions in suppressing freedom of speech."

The pattern is clear.
Yes, the pattern is clear, to anyone who can think logically: these kangaroo courts corrupt everything they touch, and cannot control themselves. But Siddiqui can only see the big, seemingly concrete-like existence of the status quo, and to him, that proves his case. Censorship exists, and so it MUST exist. The whole idea of correcting an abuse does not seem even to occur to him.

Ezra Levant is generous, granting that Siddiqui has a point when he complains
There was little or no hue and cry when human rights commissions were ruling on complaints by various groups, but there is when the complainants are Muslim.
Siddiqui thinks that all the rest of us were having a great time playing "Whack a Bigot", until the Muslims showed up to play, too. Then we all heard our moms calling, and had to go home for dinner.

In fact, as Levant points out, this abuse WAS going on, low-key and unremarked, purely because the human rights racketeers had cannily confined themselves to far-out and generally disliked targets for their brutal little bloodsport. The Muslims, displaying the strategic genius that has so distinguished them in their wars against the Israelis, blew the game by picking high-profile, mainstream Canadians for their targets. Suddenly, it's no longer a case of torturing a squirrel in a corner - the HRC now has a full-blown battle with an armoured bear on its hands.

Had the Muslims followed the example of Richard Warman, and gone hunting for pigeons among the unemployed, unlikeable and unsuccessful, they'd have been able play the game as effectively as he has. But this sort of small deer isn't very satisfying for people who have the sort of grandiose fantasies encouraged by Islam. They want the grand theatrical thrill that comes from humbling giants, not swatting bugs. And so they launched themselves on their little legal jihad, only to find that they have a genuine fight on their hands.

Siddiqui also doesn't seem to recognize the phenomenon of the cause célèbre. He's like an American in 1955, saying indignantly, "But blacks have sat at the back of the bus for YEARS! And nobody raised a fuss at all! Suddenly this Rosa Parks comes along, and people start insisting that we change the rules! What about me? What about MY right to degrade a black person? You've had your fun, equality means that I should have a chance too!"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haroon Siddiqui has simplified my life considerably. Whenever he takes a position on any given issue, I know that the opposite is true.


12:21 pm  

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