Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mark Steyn On section 13a

The amazing Mark Steyn , who led the campaign against this vile legislation writes about its withdrawal. I will be even happier when the entire HRC regime is gone. “Coloured people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it.” Thus, Ray Bradbury in his prescient 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451. On June 6, the day after Bradbury’s death at the age of 91, the House of Commons passed Brian Storseth’s private member’s bill repealing Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Fahrenheit 451 draws its name from the temperature at which books burn; Canada’s Fahrenheit 13 is its frosty northern inverse—the temperature at which the state chills freedom of expression. Free speech is the lifeblood of free societies, and, as this magazine has learned over the last half-decade, our decayed Dominion was getting a bad case of hypothermia. We’re not alone in this. In Britain, Australia, France, Denmark, the Netherlands and many other places, democratic societies have become far too comfortable in policing the opinions of the citizenry. But even by comparison with our Commonwealth cousins and Western Europe, Section 13 and its provincial equivalents are repugnant—practically, philosophically, and operationally. As a practical matter, an extremely narrow licence to combat the mortal threat to Canadians of 1970s answering machines effortlessly metastasized into investigating the country’s most-read magazine for publishing an excerpt from a No. 1 Canadian bestseller. Which was entirely predictable to everyone except genius jurists on the Supreme Court—because make-work bureaucracies are never going to content themselves with being a little bit pregnant. Philosophically, it was a cure worse than the disease: Ian Fine, the senior counsel of the Canadian “Human Rights” Commission, declared that his organization was committed to the abolition of hatred—not “hate crimes,” not even “hate speech,” but hate—a human emotion; you know, like the human emotions the control-freak enforcers attempt to abolish in Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Stepford Wives. Any society of free peoples will include its share of hate: it could not be human without it. And, as bad as racists and homophobes and Islamophobes and whateverphobes may be, empowering Mr. Fine’s ever more coercive enforcement regime to micro-regulate us into glassy-eyed compliance is a thousand times worse.

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