Friday, December 21, 2007

"No Defendant Has Ever Won"

Hugh Hewitt interviews Mark Steyn.

HH: Thank you. I’ve got to start, I want to talk politics with you, but I’ve got to start first to alert the audience. I thought it was a joke, these Muslim radicals bringing complaints against you in Canada. But I’m close to boycotting Canada, because their Human Rights Commission hasn’t thrown this stuff out in the back with the trash.

MS: Well, the Human Rights Commission up there is, you know, almost the textbook definition of a kangaroo court, in the sense that of the complaints that have been brought under this section, since it was introduced almost thirty years ago now, no defendant has ever won.

HH: Oh.



MS: So I may buck the odds, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

HH: Well, tell people what the process is, what you’re accused of, and I assume this is a pain in the neck.

MS: Well, it is a pain in the neck. It also has, you know, serious implications, I think, because the Muslim lobby groups have had quite good luck using courts outside the U.S. to block particular books and other ideas that they’re not partial to. And eventually, that does ripple through to New York publishers and so on who don’t want to take a flyer on a book if you won’t be able to sell it in Canada, or get an overseas sale. So it does have implications. But what this is, basically, is a special commission that’s set up, it’s like, think of the most politically correct professors at Berkeley, put them on a commission. The plaintiff, the guys who make the complaints, their legal expenses are paid for by the Canadian taxpayer. The defense has to fund his or her own…essentially, there’s no rules of due process or evidence. And you know, they levy things that would be extraordinary. A woman posted some content on a Christian website in the United States, she’s opposed to homosexuality, she quotes some relevant Biblical passages. The Human Rights Commission banned her from ever publishing in any public forum again those Biblical passages for life, even though they were published on a U.S. website. And if she breaches that order, she’ll go to jail.

Bruce Kesler at the Democracy Project observes that suing people for implying terrorism has become a bigger business these days.

There has also been a nice bit of growth in terrorism-related libel actions in London. Nowadays terrorism libel cases make up 13 per cent of the total number of reported claims, compared with 4 per cent in the previous year and 6 per cent in the year before that.

Cracking down on the critics of Islamism will damage democracy in the long run. Freedom of speech preserves democracy is because it resolves social conflicts in the open, within the political process. Repressing debate is not only bad in the abstract, it is often disastrous in practice. The Left has always had statist and repressive tendencies. The history of every militant Communist party has been the history of repression. In practically every case, schism has resulted from the practice of "democratic centralism". Why should it be different in societies where the same types of policies are carried out in the guise of preventing "hate speech"? It won't be different.

23 Comments:

Blogger John B said...

I can only hope the HRC has overstepped itself on this one leading to the process itself being discredited. If not, what's the point in having a constitution (the Charter of Rights and Freedoms) that guarantees freedom of the press when a kangaroo court stuffed with left wing toadies can override it at will. What I find interesting is that even the Canadian Civil Liberties Assoc. is up in arms over this issue, including it's founder Alan Borovoy.

The case is getting a lot of coverage in Canada. The Western Standard suffered a similar fate a year or two ago after it published the dreaded Mohammed cartoons. The publication estimated it's legal defense would cost $75,000. The Muslim complainant of course paid nothing. This case was taken to the Alberta HRC.

As for me, I subscribed to Macleans two days ago - the first time in over fifteen years. I'm also buying Steyn's book in two weeks when the paperback edition comes out.

12/21/2007 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

So is the Western Standard now out of business, bankrupted by the cost of defending itself?

Or is it in the process of laying off its staff, and arranging its legal dissolution?

12/21/2007 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger John B said...

Mad Fiddler:

The Western Standard has just served notice it will cease publishing its print edition due to financial problems. I can't say for certain, but I don't believe this HRC case was the reason (although it didn't help).
http://westernstandard.ca/

12/21/2007 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Cracking down on the critics of Islamism will damage democracy in the long run.

An understatement on a par with calling the ocean "rather damp". Rather clearly, Islam's central goal is to eliminate democracy and any other form of government that competes with Islamic theocracy. The cheerful assistance that multiculturalists lend this sort of anti-Western Muslim lawfare will one day find them suspended from lamp posts.

12/21/2007 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be black I could be white
I could be black I could be white
I could be white I could be black
Your time has come your second skin
The cost so high the gain so low
Walk through the valley
The written work is a lie
CHORUS
May the road rise with you
May the road rise with you
May the road rise with you
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be black I could be white
I could be right I could be wrong
I could be black I could be white
They put a hot wire to my head
Cos of the things I did and said
And made these feelings go away
Model citizen in every way
CHORUS
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
CHORUS
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be black I could be white
I could be right I could be wrong
I could be black I could be white
Your time has come your second skin
Cost so high the gain so low
Walk through the valley
The written word is a lie
CHORUS
I could be wrong I could be right
Could be wrong-
They put a hot wire to my head
Cos of the things I did and said
A model citizen in every way
Your time has come your second skin
Cost so high the gain so low

CHORUS
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
CHORUS
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be black I could be white
I could be right I could be wrong
I could be black I could be white
Your time has come your second skin
Cost so high the gain so low
Walk through the valley
The written word is a lie
CHORUS
I could be wrong I could be right
Could be wrong-
The put a hot wire to my head
Cos of the things I did and said
A model citizen in every way
Your time has come your second skin
Cost so high the gain so low

CHORUS
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy

Rise by PIL I wonder if Johnny Lydon had any inkling about who would be getting the hot wire and who would be applying it?

12/21/2007 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

Sounds like a modern day inquisition. How, in Canada? Only a stones throw from the border.

12/21/2007 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger always right said...

No defendant has ever won" in the HRC

So what happens afterwards? What is the penalty price? Is there a process or place to appeal?

I am not advertising Mark to lengthen this ridiculous case, just want to know what comes afterwards.

12/22/2007 05:45:00 AM  
Blogger Francine said...

America's own right to free speech will last only as long as our other rights do, such as eminent domain (ie. only as long as the Supreme Court says it will), since the Constitution is a "living and breathing document". The left and right both, if left unchecked, will move to squash speech they don't like.

12/22/2007 05:48:00 AM  
Blogger BrianFH said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/22/2007 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger BrianFH said...

"No Defendant Has Ever Won"

That statement, alone, thoroughly de-legitimizes the HRC; there can be no pretense of validity and balance in a situation where the pertinent facts and principles are de facto irrelevant and of no force.

The HRC needs to be disbanded on the grounds of gross incompetence.

12/22/2007 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

WHat would happen if an American were to sue a Saudi, a Brit or a Canadian on the grounds that they are abridging our Constitutional right of freedom of speech?

We have all these different groups outside the United States trying to restrict us and using their own little laws (how can an American woman be sentenced to jail in Canada for posting on an international internet?), so why shouldn't turn-about be fair play, and we start suing THEM for being petty, slanderous, and harrassing.

AS a matter of fact, in our system of jurisprudence, a citizen *can* sue the cops or the government for malicious prosecution or harassment, so I really don't understand why no Americans (Rumseld, for example) has ever sued the Italians for their trumped-up war crimes allegations.

Any country like Canada or France that is attempting to rein in an America using the term "hate crime" should be sued in return, and any Muslim litigator from the Middle East using a Western Court should have their lawsuit summarily thrown out as being frivolous and then be charged a gazillion Euro's in court fees for having wasted the court's time and effort.

12/22/2007 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

Restrict the opposition's free speech and the opposition may resort to armed resistance.

12/22/2007 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Restrict the opposition's free speech and the opposition may resort to armed resistance.

And our guns is bigger and better than theirs ...

12/22/2007 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Crushing Steyn will of course be successful, along with anyone else who criticizes Islam.

Non-Muslims will draw the appropriate lessons:

1. Muslims are the enemy of free speech, and ordinary people speaking their mind.
2. Muslims are the enemy of ordinary people.
3. There is no ability to peacefully respond to Muslim aggression in ordinary life.
4. Therefore, violent vigilante action is required.

That's ugly and stupid, but that is the system Leftists always create.

12/22/2007 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Repressing debate is not only bad in the abstract, it is often disastrous in practice.

From what I can understand about the continuing feud between Little Green Footballs and the Gates of Vienna, the European situation is playing out to illustrate that very maxim. Mark Steyn wrote about this too, a year ago - force people to shut up about forbidden topics, force them to pretend to believe what they don't believe, and sooner or later, they'll move to support someone else who WON'T suppress them in that way. Unfortunately, that "alternative" often turns out to include some profoundly nasty things, like racism and fascism. But the Left is so mesmerized by the swaying cobra of multiculturalism, they're blind to the big ugly guy with a club who's approaching from behind, and will shortly smash them in the skull.

Americans have a slightly naive approach to this kind of thing. They don't know what it's like to live under this sort of oppression. They tell Europeans "Just say no" to fascism, and they think that that should settle it. But if they had to experience this boot-on-the-windpipe approach to public discussion, as do the EU captive peoples (and to a lesser but still noticeable extent, Canadians), they'd realize how tempting it is to turn for relief to someone who seems to be able to get the job done. People always think that they can handle the unpleasant stuff later, once the crisis is over, but it never works out that way.

12/22/2007 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger jafco said...

HRC = Human Rights Commission

HRC = Hillary Rodham Clinton

Coincidence? I think not. ;)

12/22/2007 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

If there's a violent vigilante reaction, then the crushing has ipso facto not been successful.

12/22/2007 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

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12/23/2007 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Ignacio said...

In France a Muslim group took best-selling novelist Michel Houellebecq to court for something a character in one of his novels said about Islam. (The character said he was an atheist and thought all religions were stupid, but that of the major religions Islam is the stupidest.)

The suit did not succeed, but exposed Houellebecq to huge inconvenience (and, I believe, expense). He no longer resides in France.

Muslims also brought suit against Oriana Fallacci, who at one time was the Left's favorite female journalist. She died of cancer before the various suits were resolved.

There are two sides of the War Against Islamofascism (to use that inflammatory word). Soft and Hard. Hard means bullets, infiltration of terrorist cells, arrests.

The Soft component is the use they make of political correctness and fear of being called "racist," how well they've learned how to play the victim card and co-opt the useful idiots of the Left.

Fighting this is just as important as killing jihadis, and our "warriors" here are an unreliable court system and ordinary citizens who may not exactly have their eye on the ball.

12/23/2007 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Fen said...

... and sooner or later, they'll move to support someone else who WON'T suppress them in that way. Unfortunately, that "alternative" often turns out to include some profoundly nasty things, like racism and fascism.

I am becoming one of those people. I'm resisting, but suicidal nature of the West is frustrating:

International Law thats only applied to hamstring US operations. ICC being perverted into a kangaroo court for political retribution. Extending the Geneva Convention to the very people Geneva was designed to prevent. Fourteen feckless UN resolutions over twelve years that accomplished nothing and gave the enemy time and space to maneuver. The corruption of UN sanctions and Oil for Food.

International conventions, multilateral institutions and the exercise of "soft" power diplomacy must be shored up, strengthened, or torn down and started again from scratch. Otherwise, I'm quickly losing faith in the West.

12/23/2007 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Are we sure the West is worth saving in its current incarnation? If you look at the values like freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, separation of church & state, all men being created equal - those main bottom-line values that "the West" is founded on, they're being thrown overboard on a daily basis.

Not so much in America or in Australia, but in Europe and in Canada those values are being replaced by politically correct restricted speech, government intererence in assembly unless you're an Arab "youth" rioting, and preferential treatment for one religion and for people from one part of the world.

Europe thinks of itself as being our ally, but increasingly I *really* don't want to ever have to go to war to protect them ever again, since they keep bringing it on themselves to have to be saved.

In a Darwinian world, if you have to be repeatedly saved from extinction then you should probably be allowed to die out because you're not a successful species. There is absolutely nothing about Germany, FRance or Belgium that is as magnificent as a blue whale to make me want to save them.

12/24/2007 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Roman said...

We all know that freedom of speech is seriously under attack here but the best defense is to vote.

In this case, Mr. Steyn has requested that the only Canadian purchase we make is from his publisher, Macleans.

I've gone ahead and done so and encourage other like minded souls to do the same. You can purchase annual subscriptions there, the US and elsewhere.

That's how I'm voting.

http://www.macleans.ca/

12/24/2007 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

"From what I can understand about the continuing feud between Little Green Footballs and the Gates of Vienna, the European situation is playing out to illustrate that very maxim. Mark Steyn wrote about this too, a year ago - force people to shut up about forbidden topics, force them to pretend to believe what they don't believe, and sooner or later, they'll move to support someone else who WON'T suppress them in that way."

Ooh, great call. I had followed a little of the LGF/GoV thing, mostly siding (almost reflexively) with LGF. I had never thought to juxtapose that onto the Mark Steyn thing. That DOES give me a little more sympathy for where GoV is coming from.

And Americans DO seem to be incredibly naive (or at least blase) about this kind of thing happening here. Americans, don't kid yourselves. Unless someone like Steyn presents a case that forces this to stop, it won't. I know. I'm in Minnesota, and the Islamists are doing everything they can here to stifle any honest discussion of Islam whatsoever. Look at the Taxi kerfluffle in the Minneapolis airpport. The "flying imams" out of the same place. Listen to what Ellison, our esteemed First Muslim Congressman (D (natch)-MN) says when he doesn't think everybody is paying attention.

It truly scares me. It's one reason why I packed up and left the Twin Cities a couple of years back and went to live outstate. People in the cities aren't even bothering to raise an objection. Out here, people are a little more plainspoken, honest, and, yes, friendly.

12/26/2007 10:02:00 AM  

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