Spanish Pundit (II)

junio 11, 2008

Mark Steyn: a hilarious process… if it was not so important for free speech

GAGGED IN CANADA – New York Post
(Canada)The country is dotted with human-rights commissions. At first, they typically heard discrimination suits against businesses. But since that didn’t create much work, the commissions branched out into policing “hate” speech. Initially, they targeted neo-Nazis; then religious figures who’d condemned homosexuality; and now Maclean’s and Steyn.

The new rallying cry is, “If I hate what you say, I’ll accuse you of hate.” The Canadian Islamic Council got the Human Rights Tribunal in British Columbia and the national Canadian Human Rights Commission (where proceedings are still pending) to agree to hear its complaint. It had to like its odds.

The national commission has never found anyone innocent in 31 years. It is set up for classic Alice-in-Wonderland “verdict first, trial later” justice: Canada’s Human Rights Act defines hate speech as speech “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.” That language is so capacious and vague that to be accused is tantamount to being found guilty.

Unlike in defamation law, truth is no defense, and there’s no obligation to prove harm. One of the principal investigators of the Canadian Human Rights Commission was asked in a hearing what value he puts on freedom of speech in his work, and replied, “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.” Clearly.

In British Columbia, the Steyn hearing proceeded with all the marsupial ungainliness of a kangaroo court. No one knew what the rules of evidence were. Hilariously, one of the chief complaints against Steyn was that he quoted a Muslim imam in Norway bragging that in Europe “the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes.” If that insect simile is out-of-bounds, the commission should swoop down on Norway and execute an extraordinary rendition of the imam.

The hearing has appropriately exposed the commissions to ridicule – and maybe some hatred and contempt (if that’s allowed). There are calls to strip them of their power to regulate the media. This would limit the damage, even as free speech is endangered elsewhere.

Some time ago he wrote:

Look, the defenders of the present “human rights” regime started this whole free-speech-leads-to-the-Holocaust line. I’m not saying that Canada’s thought-crime enforcers are planning to murder millions of people, only that (as Jennifer Lynch might put it) history has shown us that extraordinary government powers in the name of “reasonable limits” often lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. Whether or not I’m the new Führer and Maclean’s is Mein Kampf, Commissars Lynch and Hall are either intentionally inverting the historical record or, to be charitable, simply ignorant.

But, if it’s the latter, why should they have extraordinary powers to regulate public discourse?

(…) It’s not a left/right thing. It’s not a gay/straight thing. It’s not a Jew/Muslim thing. It’s not a hateful Steyn/nice fluffy caring compassionate Canadian thing.

It’s a free/unfree thing. And the commissars are on the wrong side.

I agree.

Another highly interesting fact is that Elmasry, the anti-Jewish Muslim who sued Steyn, did not attend any of the sessions before the commission. And now has been ranting about the latest anti-discrimination report in Canada: he has said that 80% of Canadians “had the impression” that Muslims were discriminated in Canada. As Scaramouche says, “having the impression” is not a fact and that does not make it a reality. But Elmasry continues:

In principle, we could encourage more and better speech to counter the effects of prejudicial and hateful speech. In practice, a review of major Canadian publications indicates that the “more and better speech” is disturbingly scarce. When it comes to Muslims, right-wing journalists across the country have plenty to say. But who is providing the “more and better speech” to mitigate their toxic effects? The “more and better speech” formula fails marginalized minorities – a lesson that Canadian Muslims have painfully learned. In my clients’ case, Maclean’s preferred bankruptcy to publishing a mutually acceptable response to one of over twenty Islamophobic articles published in two-and-a-half years.

Maclean is a PRIVATE newspaper which can reject to publish anything. You can critisize it for that, but it is not OBLIGED to publish anything, till a court says so. It is not there to publish what you want. Do you want to publish an article which would be “acceptable” from your standards? Buy or create a new newspaper.

The interesting thing is that it says that “more and better speech” (that is, the one that lauds Muslims, telling them what they like to hear, not what they OUGHT to) “fails marginalized minorities”. But of course, Muslims do not have any responsibility in that. No, of course not.

Marginalised Action Dinosaur:

Steyn hopes and thinks they will.

Ezra thinks maybe.

Blazing Cat Fur says “no”.

Somebody ought to be taking bets. My own bet would be “no”, and for reasons similar to BCF’s.

Even though the Tribunal panel of tyrants likely believes Maclean’s is guilty and should be fined and censored, they’ll not want to risk jeopardizing their little “human rights” scam when Maclean’s appeals its conviction to the Supreme Court of Canada or when parliament finally starts hacking away at the HRCs’ ‘mandate’.

Read also “The Post editorial board: The Mark Steyn complainants don’t understand freedom of speech” @ Blazing Cat Fur. The bad thing is that the commisionners don’t either.

So, is saying the truth really no defense in Canada? Maybe saying the truth is so hurtful, is better not to say it. Maybe what you must do to defend yourself is just lie or, at least, decorate reality as others tell you it is, not as you see it. Maybe it’s better not to speak against others, just because you can “offend” others, even if you’re always telling the truth. If that is the “socially” acceptable thing to do, then the freedom of speech is already dead.

****
Pensaba escribir un resumen de las sesiones del juicio, pero este artículo del New York Post, me exime de hacerlo.

Importantes para mí, son dos cuestiones: la primera que nadie en 31 años ha sido encontrado inocente por la Comisión Canadiense de Derechos Humanos y la segunda, que la moda hoy es decir “si odio lo que me dices, te demando porque me odias”. Las locas gays, los musulmanes “supuestamente moderados”, feministas trasnochadas y machistas idos de la azotea, entre otras, todos usan las mismas armas.

Las hilarantes sesiones del juicio, más propias de una película de mis admirados hermanos Mar (especialmente con Groucho haciendo de juez y Harpo -el mudo- de fiscal) que de un juicio serio, han incluido la afirmación de que “Mark Steyn estaba insultando a los musulmanes“, al citar a un imán noruego que afirmó que “en Europa, el número de los musulmanes está creciendo como mosquitos“.

Hace poco él mismo escribía que esto no era una cuestión de derechas o de izquierdas, de homosexuales o de heterosexuales, de judíos o de musulmanes, de odiar a Steyn o de quererle. Es una cuestión de libertad o de no libertad. Y los comisarios están en el lado equivocado.

Ahora bien, si hay alguien que se ha lucido ha sido Elmasry, el antijudío musulmán que ha demandado a Mark Steyn por “islamofobia”. Primero, no ha aparecido por las sesiones del juicio, como si le importara un bledo lo que allí está ocurriendo. Y segundo, ha publicado su reacción al informe sobre la Discriminación en Canadá. En el comentario, da una nueva prueba de que la azotea no la tiene muy bien, porque considera que existe discriminación, porque “el 80% de los canadienses tienen la sensación de que dicha discriminación existe”. De modo que, a partir de ahora, si cada uno tenemos la sensación de que nadie nos supera y de que somos divinos de la muerte, es que esa es la realidad.

Pero sin duda, lo mejor es que se queja de que nadie contrarresta “los negativos efectos de los islamofóbicos” y de que “la expresión mejor” (la que alaba y hace la pelota a los islámicos) queda totalmente reducida a minorías marginalizadas. Y de que Maclean (el periódico en el que escribe Steyn) se negó a publicar al menos uno de los artículos que contrarrestaban la “propaganda islamofóbica” que se había hecho en más de veinte en dos años y medio (apabullante estadística…).

En cuanto a lo que pasará, no se sabe realmente, por lo absolutamente hilarante que ha sido el proceso. Steyn piensa que serán condenados. Ezra Levant considera que es posible. Blazing Cat Fur considera probable que los absuelvan precisamente por lo absolutamente surrealista que ha sido el juicio. Marginalized Action Dinosaur considera que los van a condenar para hacer ver que (los comisarios) son “como Dios“.

Blazing Cat Fur enlaza un artículo titulado “por qué los demandantes no entienden el concepto de libertad de expresión”. Lo terrible es que parece que los que tampoco lo entienden son los comisarios que están “juzgando” el caso.

Pero lo más preocupante es algo que señala Hodja del artículo que enlazo en primer lugar: “decir la verdad no es la mejor forma de defensa en Canadá“. Parece que no: parece que lo “socialmente aceptable/políticamente correcto” es plegarse y aceptar la realidad tal y como otros la cuentan, sin fiarse cada uno de su buen sentido, no vaya a ser que… Parece que la mejor defensa es no criticar nunca, es siempre alabar a los demás, aunque no estemos de acuerdo e, incluso, aunque los hechos nos den la razón, como es el caso de Steyn. Si lo “socialmente aceptable/políticamente correcto” es esto, si no se admite el pensamiento discrepante o crítico, entonces la libertad de expresión está ya muerta.

Veremos qué ocurre.

Related posts:
Mark Steyn on Trial, Accused of Islamophobia.

Dejar un comentario »

Aún no hay comentarios.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Responder

Por favor, inicia sesión con uno de estos métodos para publicar tu comentario:

Logo de WordPress.com

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de WordPress.com. Cerrar sesión / Cambiar )

Imagen de Twitter

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Twitter. Cerrar sesión / Cambiar )

Foto de Facebook

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Facebook. Cerrar sesión / Cambiar )

Google+ photo

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Google+. Cerrar sesión / Cambiar )

Conectando a %s

Blog de WordPress.com.

A %d blogueros les gusta esto: