Canada's gift to the world...
The title of this article is inaccurate and therefore misleading. It's not that "Too many rights make a wrong". It's entitlements perceived to be rights that cause the warp in a democratic, secular society.
"Entitlement" starts from a place of grievance, of victimization, which often leads to a belief that someone is deserving of some particular reward, benefit or privilege. Self-pity is auctioned off as justifying a special arrangement, which usually means one expects to get what is not necessarily available to others, or one gets an exemption from following a certain rule or law, or principle. Canadian multiculturalism started off as a general social policy to enhance and regulate good will among Canada's minorities and between Canada's two majorities and minorities. It has become a place for competing claims and "hierarchisation" of different minorities. It has now become a theatre for abuse and modification of fundamental rights.
The most recent example is the Levant case.
It is somewhat unfortunate for the issue at stake that Levant, the proverbial victim of thought-policing, is such a flamboyant, eloquent character with, one might say, too vigorous a presence. He seems to dwarf the bureaucrat representing the state, a nerdy looking "do gooder" who seems out of her depth when faced with his magnificent wrath. The confrontation is perceived by many as an unfair power binary. Until of course you realize that this seemingly inept person has the coercive power of the state behind her. Levant is mobilizing all of his rhetorical gifts to contend with that invisible power to defend his fundamental right, which Canada, as the proponent of "multiculturalism" seems intent upon eroding, distorting, re-fashioning, in order to create the illusion that an entitlement is a right.
CANADA: It was one of those rare, particularly sunny days in Vancouver in September when, addressing an audience at the University of British Columbia, I suggested that multiculturalism and its partner in crime, moral relativism, were leading to the demise of Western values.
"But you must understand," implored a well-intentioned woman in the audience, multiculturalism is Canada's gift to the world."
If Australia is set to follow Canada, then thanks, but no thanks. Call me ungrateful, but we should have returned the gift to Canada long ago. I say that as someone who has long adored Canada. Its politics may be as dripping wet as Vancouver, but the people are warm and funny, and there is something sweet about the US's insecure, slightly wimpy northern neighbour. Yet there comes a point when weakness morphs into a reckless death wish. [-]
"No six-foot brownshirt, no police cell at midnight. Just Shirlene McGovern, an amiable enough bureaucrat, casually asking me about my political thoughts on behalf of the Government of Alberta. And she'll write up a report about it, and recommend that the Government do this or that to me. Just going through checklists, you see ... a limp clerk who was just punching the clock. She had done it dozens of times before and will do it dozens of times again. In a way, that's more terrifying." [-]
...Alan Borovoy, general counsel to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the chap who helped found these commissions in the 1960s and '70s, was equally appalled. Writing in the Calgary Herald, he said "during the years when my colleagues and I were labouring to create such commissions, we never imagined that they might ultimately be used against freedom of speech". Pointing to the empire-building frolic of the commissions, Borovoy advised that the legislation needed to be changed to make it clear that these commissions had no business investigating and making edicts about thought crimes. [-]
So, we need to watch Canada. As it goes, so will we. And even if you can stomach the idea of handing over power over social policy to unelected bureaucrats and self-opinionated lawyers, you might like to hang on to free speech. Oh Canada, where are you taking us? (Read more here)
Ezra Levant's latest is here.
On this point, I agree with Mr. Soharwardy and Mr. Elmasry: I blame the Jews.
A generation ago, illiberal elements in the "official" Jewish community pressed Canadian governments to introduce laws limiting free speech. The targets of those laws were invariably poor, unorganized, harmless neo-Nazi cranks and conspiracy theorists such as Ernst Zundel and Jim Keegstra — nobodies who were turned into international celebrities when they were prosecuted for their thought crimes.
Be careful, Ezra, in what you are saying here. All other things being equal, you are creating a false analogy here, between what Zundel did and what you did. Mr. Soharwardy's and Mr. Elmasry's beef is about cartoons that caricature their belief systems. Zundel and Keegstra were telling lies about a historical event whose eye-witnesses and survivors are still alive. There can be no morallly acceptable equivalence, however self-serving, between ridiculing a fable and denying verifiable historical truth.
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Monday, January 21, 2008
Canada's gift to the world...