The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

An End to Censorship in Canada?

Posted by rantingkraut on December 2, 2008

If Ezra Levant’s blog is anything to go by, the days of ‘section 13’, which allows Canada’s human rights commissions to act as censors, should be numbered. The only downside is that Levant’s supply of eloquent statements in defence of free speech may dry up. In anticipation of this, here is another gem (from the Michael Coren show):

I am not sure who it was who said ‘take away all my freedoms except for freedom of speech, ’cause with that one, I win the rest back!’ And if you look historically … You have been joking around about the fact that we are conservatives. But I put it to you, that conservatives actually need free speech less than marginalised groups, liberals. Because, when women didn’t have the vote, 80, 90 years ago, they had nothing but free speech to make their arguments -they couldn’t vote on them. Suffragettes only got the right to vote through free speech. Black equality / civil rights movement in the 60s only happened because of freedom of speech. Gay rights, gay equality before the law, the decriminalisation of homosexuality only happened because of free speech. When you are poor and have nothing: no power, no money, no friends -you only have free speech. Ghandi only had free speech. The great changes, the great progress that the left celebrates came about because of unbridled free speech. No! Offensive free speech -because it naturally had to offend the existing order to get a change. We should love offensive free speech because it is the only thing that causes things to move. Now, not all of offensive speech is of equal value, we don’t agree with it all, but we should always test our assumptions, we should always subject our society to the acid test of: ‘is this the best way of doing things?’ And the guy who wants to make a change is always going to offend someone but we should listen to him, at least, before we dismiss him.

And that’s what bothers me about these human rights commissions: They are illiberal! They are illiberal, they squelch ideas, they try and change a man’s mind instead of through argument just through duct tape –that’s wrong!


You know what’s going on here? You and me -I don’t know if we are right wing or left wing on social issues, on fiscal issues- but we are on the spectrum of ideas. Where there is a left and right, a yes or no. People who believe in censorship are against the whole idea of a spectrum. So I don’t care if I am on the far right and you are on the far left or you don’t even know where you are on the spectrum. If you believe in ideas, if you believe in a back and forth, that maybe together, by haggling, the back and forth will find the right way, if you believe in that intellectual exercise, you should be offended by a government saying: Stop the debate! Stop the spectrum of ideas! There is only one point of view! I don’t care if you’re left or right, you should be offended intellectually, that someone should say the debate is over before it has begun.” (Source)

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