A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Cherniak Drinks the Kool-Aid. Again.

--Update--
So Does Kinsella. He calls the post 'Terriffic'. Yeesh - are you kidding me?

To preface, I shouldn't give traffic where it isn't warranted, so I won't link to the particular blog-posting discussed here - you can find it easily enough if you're interested.

In a recent posting, Jason Cherniak gives a particularly noxious defense of Human Rights commissions and of section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act in general. At best, his defense is full of rather specious and disingenuous claims, including the following LPOC-aggrandizing claim:


"Canadians have a right to Freedom of Expression. We have that right because the Trudeau Government negotiated and passed the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

My favourite response in the comments (accurate and entertaining), from The Rat, adequately expresses the what most of you probably just felt welling up in your throat:


"What an utter, complete, self-aggrandizing, self-serving, steaming pile of shit that sentence is. WE have the right to free speech because of the Magna Carta & 1,000 years of common law, not because that jumped up Liberal ass did anything."
Other gems include the following false conclusion:


"In the case of hate speech, a person might claim that all Muslims believe in terrorism. The person might claim that this is an inherent problem with the Muslim religion and that all Muslims should be discounted when they argue otherwise. Ultimately, that person would be attempting to remove the right of Muslims to be Muslim... Should a person be able to claim that removing the freedom of another is justified because he is only exercising his own freedom? I think not."

I almost don't know where to begin. Trying to equate legitimate criticism of extremist elements of Islam with 'removing the right to be muslim' is specious and disingenuous at best. At worst, it's just a poorly constructed argument that is non-sequitur.

Let's be specific here: Ezra Levant never said all Muslims were terrorists. He merely published an article describing the controversy over the Danish Cartoons, and included them to show people what all the fuss was about - so they could decide whether it was warranted or not for themselves. And for his trouble, he was hauled before the Alberta Human Rights Commission to explain his innermost thoughts to the Government. So instead of talking in vague hypotheticals, it's important to be honest about what is really going on here.

Furthermore, the fawning over Trudeau is nausea-inducing. We don't have rights here in Canada because of 'Trudeau's Charter'. I would remind Jason that before Trudeau's Charter, we had Diefenbaker's Bill of Rights. And prior to that, we were had the inheritance of 800+ years of British Common law which protected our inalienable right to freedom of expression . Cherniak acts as if Pierre Elliot Trudeau and the Liberal party emancipated the Canadian people from 100-odd years of oppressive bondage. Surely an enshrined charter, even if flawed, is of great beneficence to our nation, but it is certainly fallacious to assume all rights flow from Trudeau. One need only talk to a westerner to get a rather pointed position on Trudeau and economic rights.

Perhaps the most astonshing (and revealing) comment from Cherniak is the following:


"I do not know enough about the specific accusations against Mr. Levant, Mr. Steyn and Macleans to give an opinion in their individual cases. However, I do know enough about the law to understand that their cases will be tried according to constitutional and legal principles. If they have been wrongly accused, then they will be vindicated and they might even be compensated. That is a matter between them, their lawyers, the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the courts.
...All of us, conservative bloggers and columnists in particular, need to take a step back. The charges against Mr. Levant, Mr. Steyn and Macleans are a good excuse to have a debate about what should be considered hate messages. "

This upstanding paragon of Liberal values is apparently confident enough of the validity of these so-called 'human rights tribunals' to write a lengthy post defending them, and yet he admittedly has no knowledge of the details surrounding the cases currently before them. While it's all fine and good to wax philosophical about protecting groups from hate-speech, we cannot deal in the hypothetical here; Mssr's Levant and Steyn are actually facing the possibility of punitive action from these tribunals for exercising their right to free speech. They may be forced to apologize. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that the impetus for these cases is purely farcical. What defines the human rights commissions isn't some touchy-feely idea of what they are supposed to do, it's what they are doing. And what they are doing is putting a chill on the right to freedom of expression that should be enjoyed by all Canadians.

I think Mssrs. Levant and Steyn would have a few choice words to say over their ordeal being called a 'good opportunity for a debate'. The suggestion that the process follows legal/constitutional principles and that Steyn and Levant will be reimbursed the thousands of dollars in legal fees they will have to pay is utterly ludicrous. The commissions themselves are completely alien to normal jurisprudence, where the accused is innocent until proven guilty. In the case of the commissions, Steyn and Levant are forced to pay their own legal fees while the state funds to prosecution, not to mention the stress and hours lost in preparing a defense - the process, in and of itself, is punitive! Even if they are acquitted, they still lose, and they will not be reimbursed. I am surprised a lawyer would display such ignorance of the process.

I suspect Cherniak hasn't spent the time learning about Levant and Steyn's cases simply because they don't put on red underwear in the morning, and intellectual laziness has prevented him from bothering to care. If that is indeed the case, he would be wise to heed the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller.

On a related note: Interestingly enough, and perhaps not surprisingly, Jason's record on human rights support isn't quite consistent. If you're a Canadian exercising your right to freedom of expression, tough beans - watch what you say or government commissions will get you. If you're a risk to national security however...

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