Monday, February 04, 2008

A footnote to Levant/Steyn brush with Canadian Human rights Regulation (or whatever they are now called)...

Further to this post, and this and this :


Lee Harris, the author of "The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam's Threat to the West." analyzes the historical and current factors involved in the two respective cases of Levant and Steyn, in 'The Weekly Standard"

For here's the rub. If the Canadian government were using its "kangaroo courts" as a deliberate ploy to siphon off Muslim rage or to guide it into proper bureaucratic (and happily nonviolent) channels, then we could perhaps admire it for its prudence and cunning. But suppose these commissions and tribunals are not a cunning charade, designed to hoodwink ill-tempered Muslims into becoming good litigious Anglo-Saxons? What if the Canadian government actually thought that it could help matters by cracking down on writers like Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn, by fining them or by throwing them into prison, silencing those who have the courage to speak of Islam, while encouraging Muslim immigrants to feel that they can manipulate weak-kneed governments into stifling any criticism of their religion and culture? Obviously this naive approach would backfire disastrously, and would end by endangering the very domestic tranquility that it was trying to preserve.

Of one thing we can have no doubt: Short of a firing squad, there is nothing that the Canadian government can do that will have any effect on what Ezra Levant or Mark Steyn will say and write in the future. You couldn't have picked worse people to try to cow. But unfortunately, it is the nature of the nanny state to bring up citizens who have been trained not to rock the boat. Under a nanny regime, the good citizen is one who is reluctant to speak his mind merely out of fear of what other people might think. For people already this cowed, even the threat of a minor bureaucratic hassle would be a powerful argument for keeping one's mouth shut, and for standing by while our hard-won liberty of discussion is steadily eroded. Canada still has uncowable men like Levant and Steyn; but where will such men come from a generation hence?

Even worse, the threat of ongoing legal action, carried out in a number of different Canadian provinces, might be more than enough to keep less well-known writers and smaller news outlets from exposing themselves to the risk of legal costs that a magazine like Maclean's can afford to take. When faced with the threat of an endless hassle, draining away limited personal resources, many writers will simply take the safer course of not saying anything offensive about Islam. But since it is difficult to say in advance what will be offensive to men like Soharwardy, the safest course will be to say nothing at all. In short, gagging Canadians may not take a generation. It may work in a matter of a few months.

And is it just Canada that we are talking about? After all, if enough Muslims continue to react with violence to criticism of their religion and culture, all the other nations of the West will eventually be forced to make a tragic choice between two of our highest values. Either we must clamp down on critics of Islam, mandating a uniform code of political correctness, or else we must let the critics say what they wish, regardless of the consequences, and in full knowledge that these consequences may include the death of innocents. This is not a choice that the West has had to face since the end of our own furor theologicus several centuries ago, but, like it or not, it is the choice that we are facing again today.

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Is this what the future in Canada will look like?

The Swedish Migration Board has demoted – and in practice fired – Asylum Assessment Manager Lennart Eriksson, 51, for voicing support for democracies such as Israel and the USA on his personal website.

The manager informed Eriksson that he had seen his website and that Lennart Eriksson’s Conservative views were both “unusual” and controversial. The manager was particularly opposed to Lennart Eriksson’s support for Israel and the USA and his online description of WW2 US general George Patton as one of the heroes of the Second World War. Lennart Eriksson was then summarily informed that he had been demoted.....

The Migration Board confirms that Lennart Eriksson has been transferred as a result of the opinions he expressed on his private website. Opinions that are not against anything, but rather for certain beliefs – Conservative politics and democratic countries, specifically Israel and the USA.

...The opinions that Lennart Eriks­son expresses are based in their entirety on a strong democratic foundation whose cornerstone is an unassailable conviction of every individual’s equal human value. Lennart Eriksson’s opinions are politically Conservative.

These opinions may naturally be disputed within certain quarters, not least among a largely left-leaning media. They may not always be regarded as politically correct in a society where there is a strong innate tendency to conformity.

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