Category: Freespeechers

The 1776 Commission

“Teaching this horrible doctrine to our children is a form of child abuse in the truest sense of those words. For many years now the radicals have mistaken Americans’ silence for weakness. But they’re wrong. … American parents are not going to accept indoctrination in our schools, cancel culture in our work, or the repression of our traditional faith, culture, and values in the public square. Not any more.

“Late You Come, But Still You Come”

Via Wayback, reprinted here as the original website is now gone (George Jonas passed away in 2016) and I think it’s in the interest of free thinking people that it not be.

My misgivings about hate-speech legislation and Human Rights Commissions go back to 1977. In those days such laws seemed progressive. Only a few considered that compelling liberalism may be illiberal. In time, second thoughts and questions emerged. A National Post editorial published in January, 1999, viewed Canada’s hate-speech legislation as “potentially sinister” whose proposed new provisions “could be put to authoritarian and illiberal purposes.”
 
I wrote that hate-speech laws were sinister by definition and could only be put to illiberal purposes. Certainly John Stuart Mill thought so. He phrased his objection rather forcefully 150 years ago: “The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it… We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion; and even if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.”
 
What is “hate-speech”? It’s speech the authorities hate. No doubt, it is often worth hating. It may be speech that every right-thinking person ought to hate, but it is also, by definition, speech that falls short of unlawful or tortuous speech — i.e., speech that’s fraudulent, defamatory, seditious, conspiratorial — for which a person could be either sued or charged criminally. Hate-speech legislation seeks to regulate speech that is not against any law — logically, since unlawful speech doesn’t need to be outlawed. Here’s the paradox. Hate-speech legislation can only ban free speech. Prohibited speech is already banned. People often say that freedoms aren’t absolutes and they’re right. Free expression is anything but “absolute” in free societies. It’s hemmed in by strictures against slander, official secrets, perjury, fraud, incitement to riot, and so on. The question is, should laws go beyond these strictures? And if they do, won’t they suppress opinion and creed in the end?
 
The answer is yes. There is nothing else for them to suppress. Repressive positions are difficult to defend for those who wish to keep their liberal credentials intact. They usually do so by quoting bits of pernicious nonsense from the kind of speech they would ban to illustrate how worthless and abhorrent it is. But pointing to the abhorrent nature of despised speech is insufficient because no speech is legislated against unless it’s abhorrent to some. Nobody outlaws Mary Poppins, not even the Human Rights Commissions (though this could be famous last words).
 
If suppressing opinion breaches axioms of liberalism, can it be justified by utility? Canadian defenders of hate-speech laws rarely offer any examples, other than the dubious benefit of distinguishing ourselves from Americans (one Human Rights-type called free speech an American concept in a recent court case) but one suggestion is that such laws would have stopped a Hitler. The problem is, the Weimar Republic had such laws. It used them freely against the Nazis. Far from stopping Hitler, they only made his day when he became Chancellor. They enabled Hitler to confront Social Democratic Party chairman Otto Wels, who stood up in the Reichstag to protest Nazi suspension of civil liberties, with a quotation from the poet Friedrich Schiller: “‘Late you come, but still you come,'” Hitler pointed at the hapless deputy. “You should have recognized the value of criticism during the years we were in opposition [when] our press was forbidden, our meetings were forbidden, and we were forbidden to speak for years on end.”
 
The Nazis would have been just as repressive without this excuse, but being able to offer it made Hitler’s task easier. Like Canadian supporters of hate-speech legislation, supporters of the Weimar Republic thought that their groups and causes would occupy all seats of authority and set all social and legal agendas forever. Shades of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association or the Canadian Jewish Congress! They couldn’t envisage the guns of their own laws being turned around to point at them one day. Eradicating hateful ideas through free discourse is liberal; trying to eradicate them through legislation is illiberal. “There is always a chance that he who sets himself up as his brother’s keeper,” wrote Eric Hoffer, “will end up by being his jail keeper.”
 
Another thing: “Banned in Boston” sells tickets. As Victor Hugo put it: “The writer doubles and trebles the power of his writing when a ruler imposes silence on the people.” I’d think twice before banning neo-Nazis for this reason alone.
 
© 2002 – 2015 George Jonas

Wuhan Flu: Penal Colony

They went from “flatten the curve” to “put your hands behind your back” so quickly we didn’t even notice.

Earlier: Three police officers showed up at a young mother’s house to interrogate her about a Facebook post telling Melburnians to go for their daily walk. Megan Kira, 27, called on everyone to go for their hour of exercise allowed under Stage Four lockdown at 5pm every day in their local park.

Lara Loomer Wins Primary

The “most banned woman in the world” pulled out a major upset against the Republican establishment which had, in recent weeks, shifted to being less antagonistic towards the right-wing candidate as a result of her performance in polls as well as fundraising efforts.
 
Decision Desk called the FL-21 for Laura Loomer at 8:02pm on August 18th, just over an hour after polls had closed…

Your Moral And Intellectual Superiors

Barbara Kay has resigned from her National Post column, citing “severe pressures” editors face on sensitive issues and the “public shaming of Rex Murphy.”

It’s been two decades since my first byline appeared in the Post. For a woman who already was well into middle age when her career began, the experience has been a thrill and a privilege. Perhaps more importantly, it’s been lively, energizing and fun. The National Post was conceived in 1998 as a safe haven from the stale pieties that dominated (and still dominate) the legacy Canadian media. Unfortunately, the spirit now has gone out of the place. And I’ve decided to step away from my regular column, at least for now. I’ve been noticing for a while that much of the best writing about Canada is increasingly taking place on platforms that didn’t exist until recently (and in some cases aren’t even Canadian). Numerous international writers whom I admire have decided to find new ways to reach their audience. I will now join their ranks.

Related: WSJ Responds To Staffers Outraged About The Opinion Section

A newspaper with a survival instinct would fire them all.

Is Systemic Racism running rampant at Wilfrid Laurier?

Wilfrid Laurier professors David Haskell (Faculty of Liberal Arts) and William McNally (School of Business and Economics) have sent a letter to their university president, Dr. Deborah MacLatchy:

Our first concern is that adopting the CRT lens and declaring systemic racism seems hasty given that you have not yet defined the term ‘racism’. This lack of a definition is underlined by the fact that the fourth plank of your suggested action plan to fight systemic racism is to establish a definition of racism. One cannot take action to fix a problem until it is defined. And the different definitions imply different solutions. For example, solving individual racism differs significantly from solving systemic racism.

Second, according to CRT, to fix systemic racism requires making revolutionary changes to every part of the University from governance to curriculum and hiring. We are concerned that the Laurier community might not understand the profound nature of the implied changes.

The letter and the responses can be found here.

White Fragility

A book review by Matt Taibbi.

Cancelations already are happening too fast to track. In a phenomenon that will be familiar to students of Russian history, accusers are beginning to appear alongside the accused. Three years ago a popular Canadian writer named Hal Niedzviecki was denounced for expressing the opinion that “anyone, anywhere, should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities.” He reportedly was forced out of the Writer’s Union of Canada for the crime of “cultural appropriation,” and denounced as a racist by many, including a poet named Gwen Benaway. The latter said Niedzviecki “doesn’t see the humanity of indigenous peoples.” Last week, Benaway herself was denounced on Twitter for failing to provide proof that she was Indigenous.

All that and much more.

What’s The Opposite Of Diversity?

Never apologize. They’re not offended and it only encourages them;

The US Department of Education has warned UCLA it could face fines if it disciplines a political science professor who read the N-word from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
 
Lecturer W. Ajax Peris, an Air Force veteran, has been under investigation since early this month. UCLA Political Science Chair Michael Chwe and two others in his department had blasted Peris in an email, agreeing with students’ complaints that he didn’t “pause and reassess [his] teaching pedagogy” after objections to the N-word.
 
An apology from Peris did little to assuage students and faculty. According to Fox News, Chwe and company alleged Peris’s act of contrition “escalated the situation rather than engaging in […] thoughtful and open discourse.”

Khmer Noir

Thank you for your support in this time of cultural purge;

There is a theme in the emails. People are scared, this is nothing like anyone has seen. The speech policing is so intense that people are afraid to speak up for fear of loss of a job, even if the speech is not on the job (mine wasn’t). Views and speech are being driven underground. No minds are changed, it’s just pure intimidation.
 
People are thankful that there are some people willing and able to speak up, even if they can’t.
 
This time it’s different. This is not the usual political correctness.

Related, from Rex Murphy: All it takes to resist this madness is spine. Link Fixed.

And Just Like That

Book burning was cool again.

Related: Sullivan is not just forbidden from writing for the New York magazine about the riots; his contract means he cannot write on the topic for another publication. He is therefore legally unable to write anything about the protests without losing his job — at the magazine that, in 1970, published Radical Chic, Tom Wolfe’s brilliant and controversial excoriation of progressive piety. It’s the bonfire of the liberals!

Greg Anderson: The Bravest Police Officer in America

This Instagram video has gone viral:

Officer Greg Anderson has now been reprimanded and is at risk of being fired. If you can afford it, you can contribute to his legal defense fund.

Most people in America & Canada have never given much thought to where the police get their authority from. Clearly it’s from the government. And where does the government get its authority? In America, at least, it’s from the people. But even in Canada, the people can only be pushed so far.

“The thin blue line” refers to the tiny percentage of police officers vs. the number of citizens. Law & Order is a very fragile tacit agreement between the authorities and the majority of the population. Events in recent weeks have clearly shown an infringement of that agreement by the authorities. They’ve gone too far under the guise of “safety” and “for the public good”.

Wuhan Flu: It Escaped From A Nasty Chinese Lab, Or It Emerged From A Nasty Chinese Wet Market

PICK A LANE.

For those keeping score: You’re an paranoid conspiracy theorist if you ponder the lab-made hypothesis, and a cancel-worthy racist if you accept the approved wet-market hypothesis.

That is all.

Mann Up

Mark Steyn; (link fixed)

Responding to a motion by my co-defendants the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Rand Simberg, the Court has now ordered Mann to cough up his income records from 2007 along with any evidence of reputational damage. If m’learned friends will forgive a zippy generalization, when you sue for defamation, there are various kinds of damages: “Defamation per se” commands damages in and of itself without evidence of actual losses; on the other hand, compensatory damages requires evidence that you lost 27 grand here and 49 bucks there. Mann had argued that, as he was claiming defamation per se, he didn’t need to show evidence of monetary loss. Judge Anderson has now reminded him that that’s not what his statement of claim actually says…

Wuhan Flu

A very good podcast that touches on many the current issues of the week: censorship of dissenting voices, conspiracy hypothesis and the problem of countering “partial garbage”, unjustified scientific certainty, the dangers of tribal signaling, and the evolutionary unknowns of a virus that’s new and potentially exploring new opportunities of infection.

Dark Horse is a very good channel to subscribe to. They’re reliably middle of the road, relatively apolitical (for academics) and work hard at checking their biases.

Never Let a Crisis Go To Waste

The Inevitable Coronavirus Censorship Crisis is Here:

As the Atlantic lawyers were making their case, YouTube took down a widely-circulated video about coronavirus, citing a violation of “community guidelines.”

The offenders were Drs. Dan Erickson and Artin Massahi, co-owners of an “Urgent Care” clinic in Bakersfield, California. They’d held a presentation in which they argued that widespread lockdowns were perhaps not necessary, according to data they were collecting and analyzing.

“Millions of cases, small amounts of deaths,” said Erickson, a vigorous, cheery-looking Norwegian-American who argued the numbers showed Covid-19 was similar to flu in mortality rate. “Does [that] necessitate shutdown, loss of jobs, destruction of oil companies, furloughing doctors…? I think the answer is going to be increasingly clear.”

This comment is very interesting

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