June 11, 2008

Boycott Canada

From the New York Times:

Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech


VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A couple of years ago, a Canadian magazine published an article arguing that the rise of Islam threatened Western values. The article’s tone was mocking and biting, but it said nothing that conservative magazines and blogs in the United States do not say every day without fear of legal reprisal.

Things are different here. The magazine is on trial.

Two members of the Canadian Islamic Congress say the magazine, Maclean’s, Canada’s leading newsweekly, violated a provincial hate speech law by stirring up hatred against Muslims. They say the magazine should be forbidden from saying similar things, forced to publish a rebuttal and made to compensate Muslims for injuring their “dignity, feelings and self-respect.”

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, which held five days of hearings on those questions here last week, will soon rule on whether Maclean’s violated the law. As spectators lined up for the afternoon session last week, an argument broke out.

“It’s hate speech!” yelled one man.

“It’s free speech!” yelled another.

In the United States, that debate has been settled. Under the First Amendment, newspapers and magazines can say what they like about minorities and religions — even false, provocative or hateful things — without legal consequence.

The Maclean’s article, “The Future Belongs to Islam,” was an excerpt from a book by Mark Steyn called “America Alone” (Regnery, 2006). The title was fitting: The United States, in its treatment of hate speech, as in so many other areas of the law, takes a distinctive legal path.

“In much of the developed world, one uses racial epithets at one’s legal peril, one displays Nazi regalia and the other trappings of ethnic hatred at significant legal risk, and one urges discrimination against religious minorities under threat of fine or imprisonment,” Frederick Schauer, a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, wrote in a recent essay called “The Exceptional First Amendment.”

“But in the United States,” Professor Schauer continued, “all such speech remains constitutionally protected.”

Canada, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia and India all have laws or have signed international conventions banning hate speech. Israel and France forbid the sale of Nazi items like swastikas and flags. It is a crime to deny the Holocaust in Canada, Germany and France.

Earlier this month, the actress Brigitte Bardot, an animal rights activist, was fined $23,000 in France for provoking racial hatred by criticizing a Muslim ceremony involving the slaughter of sheep.

By contrast, American courts would not stop a planned march by the American Nazi Party in Skokie, Ill., in 1977, though a march would have been deeply distressing to the many Holocaust survivors there.

Six years later, a state court judge in New York dismissed a libel case brought by several Puerto Rican groups against a business executive who had called food stamps “basically a Puerto Rican program.” The First Amendment, Justice Eve M. Preminger wrote, does not allow even false statements about racial or ethnic groups to be suppressed or punished just because they may increase “the general level of prejudice.”

Some prominent legal scholars say the United States should reconsider its position on hate speech.

“It is not clear to me that the Europeans are mistaken,” Jeremy Waldron, a legal philosopher, wrote in The New York Review of Books last month, “when they say that a liberal democracy must take affirmative responsibility for protecting the atmosphere of mutual respect against certain forms of vicious attack.”

It's totally obvious how Liptak is slanting this New York Times article to get readers to presume that Steyn's article is "hate speech." There's not a single quote from Steyn's essay "The Future Belongs to Islam" in Liptak's entire 1,838 word article. On the other hand, Liptak uses the word "hate" (or "hateful") 18 times, "Nazi" three times, and "Hitler" once.

The real story here is, once again, about how diversity dooms free speech.

And it's time we did something about Canada's repeated violations of the basic human right to free expression. It's time to boycott vacationing in Canada until Canada improves its human rights situation.

Granted, I can only afford to vacation places where I can pitch a tent; but let the word go out to Canadian firewood retailers that they won't be getting any of my business until they help pressure their government to stop persecuting writers.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


American Democrat said...

Great article! I agree, this predicament is worrisome. Now, I am really happy our nation's founding politicians approved the First Ammendment. We must fight, to prevent the far-"left" from imprisoning American citizens for the mildest remarks that don't fit the Establishment's agenda!

Anonymous said...

Waldron and Liptak...hmmm, sounds a lot like Solomon, Rothblum, and Levenson (and Google confirms the ethnicity).

When you start looking for this pattern you see it everywhere. Every other group is labeled and their utterances taken with a grain of salt. You don't get screamed at for noting that Condi is black or that Brimelow is English -- and that this might influence their views. But woe betide anyone who starts noticing the ancestry of another group.

For example, we are encouraged to consider the seemingly universal conclusions of white psychometricians with a skeptical eye, because -- as whites -- they are consciously or subconsciously promoting racism. The reason is that racism is supposed to provide advantages for whites.

Interesting line of argument. So is it possible for a group -- consciously or subconsciously -- to promote "anti-racism"? And, if so, should we also take their statements about seemingly universal things -- like "hate speech" -- with a grain of salt, with the knowledge that there's actually a particularist motivation there?


Anonymous said...

Judging by the NYT article it looks like the Gramscian 'liberal' left is gearing up to attack free speech in the USA, the last bastion of free (or at least non-criminalised) expression in Western civilisation.

agnostic said...

That's a totally unfounded concern -- the left "imprisoning" Americans. As Steve pointed out (something Noam Chomsky discusses at length in Necessary Illusions), it's the private sphere that silences people here.

Larry Summers -- slammed, extorted, and fired by Harvard, not the state of Mass. or the US.

Watson -- smeared by the private media, academics at mostly private schools, and fired by his private lab.

This very NYT article shows how we marginalize contrary views here -- just have the mainstream, private media tar & feather such people as putting out "hate" speech, tantamount to hanging a Nazi flag on your front porch.

Articles like this frame it as a debate about whether or not to allow the "hate" speech to be published -- "how should we deal with people who hold false or loony views?" This way of talking about it just assumes through the back door that the controversial writing is something morally reprehensible or just loony.

If not in other areas of cultural life, at least in silencing contrary views, we Americans are more sophisticated than the rest of the world, who coarsely crush such views through the state.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, as a European, I think it's kind of fun that Mark Steyn is getting into trouble. Not for the reason ofcourse, freedom of speech should be a holy command in the West.

Steyn is constant making fun of Europe's demographic ordeal and his Amerika-über-alles attitude always irritated me to no end. I don't give a crap about what happens to him. I hope that one day, he has to knock on Evil Europe's door for political asylum.

Stupid clown.

Anonymous said...

As recently as a dozen years ago, it was common experience that Americans, for all their vaunted protection of Free Speech, were routinely mealy-mouthed compared to the British. No longer, I should think. We can blame Blair: who should the Canadians blame?

Anonymous said...

I am a Canadian and I approve of your post.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Multiculturalism, immigration, democracy. Pick any two.

Anonymous said...

To quote Peter Griffin from The Family Guy "Canada Sucks!"

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of a minor disagreement I had with one of my moonbat city officials. I was in Starbucks waiting for my coffee, wearing my t-shirt that says "I Just Neutered the Cat, Now He's a Liberal". This alderwoman, who I once castigated in the same venue for insinuating that anyone not supporting Obambi's buddy Deval Patrick for governor was some sort of racist (a group of the local lefties were there gathering signatures for his nomination papers), told me that my shirt was hate speech. I answered that, thanks to some REAL political thinkers named Jefferson, Adams, et al, it wasn't hate speech, but free speech, and is the Democratic party so bereft of humor that a t-shirt can be construed as hateful?

While she ruminated over that, one of the guys with her said that, judging by the success of the Democrats in MA, there must be a lot of neutered cats in the state.
I had to answer that that was the most logical statement ever to pass the lips of a Democrat! Then I had to explain it to him...


AMac said...

The article gets prominent play on Page 1 of today's paper. Reporter Liptak makes it clear that there's little doubt that Steyn's article would qualify as "hate speech" by any reasonable person's definition of the concept.

48 paragraphs (web count). Liptak balances his repeated allusions to the hatefulness of Steyn's writing (no direct quote), with paragraph 35, well after the jump.

"'Innocent intent is not a defense,' Mr. McConchie said in a bitter criticism of the British Columbia law on hate speech. 'Nor is truth. Nor is fair comment on true facts. Publication in the public interest and for the public benefit is not a defense. Opinion expressed in good faith is not a defense. Responsible journalism is not a defense.'"

So McConchie--Maclean's defense lawyer--is the only person Liptak could find to quote, suggesting that, perhaps, Steyn's piece might not be hate speech.

Slightly off topic (but on the same general theme of MSM spin), here is a blog post discussing how NPR's All Things Considered paints the notorious and complex Postville culture clash/labor exploitation/shady business practices/animal cruelty/illegal immigration/criminality/etc. mess as a morality tale of the persecution of saintly undocumented guest workers by heartless security-state bureaucrats (who knows, who might well have been goaded along by Steyn-style hate speech).

Anonymous said...

> That's a totally unfounded concern -- the left "imprisoning" Americans.

Uhhh, no. It is not unfounded at all.

"Hate speech" wasn't always illegal in those countries either. The goal of the left is to turn empirical truths into taboo truths into hate speech. In the US, due to our constitutional protections, it's taken longer for us to move from "taboo truth" to illegal.

But just you wait.


Expand Hate Crimes Statutes

Obama will strengthen federal hate crimes legislation, expand hate crimes protection by passing the Matthew Shepherd Act, and reinvigorate enforcement at the Department of Justice's Criminal Section.


At a fundraiser in Florida Thursday night, Barack Obama accused anti-immigrant crusaders Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh of "ginning things up" to such an extent that there was a rise in hate crimes against Hispanics last year.

"A certain segment has basically been feeding a kind of xenophobia. There's a reason why hate crimes against Hispanic people doubled last year," Obama said. "If you have people like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh ginning things up, it's not surprising that would happen."


"Hate crimes are unacceptable. All Americans deserve to live their lives without fear of hate driven attacks. Those who commit such heinous crimes should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, no matter whether those crimes are committed on account of race, gender, gender identity, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.

"Almost 40 years after Congress first enacted a federal hate crimes law, it is our moral obligation to continue striving for equality, and ensure that the federal government, along with state and local jurisdictions, have the tools necessary to effectively prosecute these crimes. Given the rise in hate crimes nationally, failure to pass this vital legislation is truly unacceptable."

Anonymous said...

You have probably made the best argument against Obama that I have seen so far - more hate speech laws.

spahnie said...

I find it frustrating that no one ever discusses the reason why the concept of "hate speech" came into being in the first place. It has to do with the definition of "respect" in the American black community and the inability of blacks to achieve respect in the ways others achieve it. The fact that "hate speech" would migrate as a favored tool of other groups was predictable, but it all started in the 1980's when blacks gave up on the idea of earning respect the way everyone else does, and began looking for a way to impose it by force.

As everyone on this board knows, in the commercial world there is no equivalence between the terms "respect" and "fear." In fact they are opposites. The only way anyone makes it in normal life is to provide a needed service such as talent or cooperation. But in black life, the only applicable meaning of respect is physical dominance. Since this mindset would disqualify blacks both from commercial achievement and from white respect generally, they need a tool with which to discourage any expression of that disrespect, and that is the concept of "hate speech." So precisely at the time when no one gives a fig about skin color anymore, blacks have decided to settle for enforced silence as their best available outcome.

Anonymous said...

I hope that one day, he has to knock on Evil Europe's door for political asylum.

As the article makes clear, much of Europe is just as bad as Canada with regard to free speech. Steyn lives in the U.S., where he is safe to express his views.

Your touchiness is impressive. Consider how most European journalists write about America: should I, as an American, wish for them all to get prosecuted too?

Anonymous said...

Waldron and Liptak...hmmm, sounds a lot like Solomon, Rothblum, and Levenson...

Considering that Liptak is doing a hit on Steyn, a half-Jew with strongly pro-Jewish leanings, your comment seems a bit askew.

Anonymous said...

"who should the Canadians blame?"

The Canadian branch of the ,Jewish Labor Committee and the associated group, the Canadian Jewish Congress.

Anonymous said...


Why bother camping in Canada? The parks in N.California and Oregon were much better, last time I visited.

Anonymous said...

As someone of Greek heritage, I too am offended by Steyn's essay. I could not help but feel that the fertility and virility of my people was being questioned by his allegations of a non-sustaining birth rate. I'm glad to see that brave philosophy professors like Jeremy Waldron are on our side!!

-Elke Stereopoulos

Anonymous said...

Waldron and Liptak...hmmm, sounds a lot like Solomon, Rothblum, and Levenson

I think Tim Wise is going to be somewhat put out that you've forgotten him. Shame on you, sir.

Anonymous said...

Agnostic -- No the real threat to Free Speech is Muslim violence. In Europe, speaking your mind can get you killed. Ask Theo Van Gogh.

Anon -- I doubt Steyn will flee to Europe, as it's already under the partial rule of the threat (realistic) of Muslim violence. Muslims in Scotland planned to set up a separate Sharia State there. They're on trial for terrorism. Presumably, they'll be released in a few years and start up again.

Steve -- what you don't get is the degree to which Muslims being willing and able to inflict violence to silence speech they don't like controls the situation. Already there are movements in the US to "alter" the First Amendment so that criticism of Islam is illegal, to prevent Muslim violence.

The OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) told the EU flat out it had better make criticism of Islam/Mohammed/Muslims illegal or there will be more terrorist violence against them. The EU is busily complying with new speech codes.

If a group is tightly coordinated, violent, ruthless, and willing to inflict great amounts of violence it can dominate all areas of life. First, Speech. Then enforcing social/religious norms (already women in European capitals dress very conservatively or like Muslims in Muslim-dominated areas). Then, political control.

Violence works. The Canadian HRC is just a fig leaf for Canada's caving to violent threats.

American Democrat said...

"...it's the private sphere that silences people here."


For now, assuming you mean only. Under the right circumstances, we will be vulnerable. Our population is very complacent, and during a time of racial conflict the government could just ban all racially politically incorrect speech/pro-White and pro-non-Islam. The citizens will want a false sense of security, and the American government will more than eagerly accept the new powers, which it will excuse with emergency powers ("being more important than constitutional liberties"). Things will be different, if and when the gangs are fighting each other, and racial raids become the norm.

The government will try to hold on to its multi-racial collection. And Whites won't be allowed to even futilely protest their extinction in America/Canada, even if they support all 50 States remaining in the country.

Anonymous said...

A lot more people have got in trouble in Canada for criticizing Jews, gays and non-white immigrants, but we never heard about any of it in the NYT.

Anonymous said...

While the 1st Amendment protects the 'press' there have been plenty of instances of individuals procecuted for utterances that were deemed 'hurtful'. The Penn student who called a couple of black girls rhinocerae, the woman in a Michigan mall was arrested for calling someone a 'spic' , the white guy in Idaho who was procecuted for calling a black umpire, who assaulted his wife at a ball game, a (fill in the blank). Things are not so rosy as many of you think. Colorado has just passed a hate speech law to 'protect' homosexuals. Anyone want to wager this nonsense will not spread? Holmes said it was unlawful to shout fire in a theatre. It will soon be the law of the land to proceute 'hate speech' aimed at 'protected' groups.

Anonymous said...

Europe is surrounded by Muslims in almost every direction and has suburbs filled with them. Europe better mind its P's and Q's toward the Muslims.

America is not in any comparable situation. Isolated terroristic incidents is one thing, but political pressure? Ha. I would love to see them try it.

The whole net-centric global world, Just In Time delivery, all of it is on the economic chopping block right now. The angel of death has her hands around its neck.

All it is going to take is some nutjob Western fanatics to miscalculate the cost of yet another cock-eyed military adventure. As they always do. And snap-crackle-pop, no more Muslim problem for America. The middle east will spend a few decades digging itself out of its own radioactive ashes.

Europe and China will probably step in to fill the power gap there and to prevent the USA from repeating the nutty, wrongheaded, completely insane mistakes it is gearing up to make.

Anonymous said...

testing99/evilneocon/whiskey_199 said:
"already women in European capitals dress very conservatively or like Muslims in Muslim-dominated areas"

While this is true, one side effect is that my non-Muslim wife here in London can no longer go out wearing a head scarf or bandana on a bad hair day. When she did she got dirty looks from (a) Muslims who thought her hijab was sloppy, and (b) non-Muslims aghast at seeing (they thought) another white convert. What had been a relatively common item of non-Muslim clothing is now highly politicised.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Anonymous, in defense of Obama, none of the quotes you listed say anything about hate speech. He's talking about the slightly less Orwellian concept of hate crimes -- actual crimes, such as violence, which are motivated by hatred of a group (hating an individual isn't "real" hate, I guess).

Maybe there's a valid slippery-slope argument to be made here, but as far as I can see Obama does not support criminalizing speech itself.

Anonymous said...

Hylobates Lar --

But if you look at the 2nd link I posted on Obama, you'll see that he draws a direct line from Rush Limbaugh and Lou Dobb's policy positions to an imaginary wave of anti-Hispanic "hate crimes".

That is, he's setting it up to say that advocating some right wing political positions is the equivalent of "yelling fire in a crowded theater".

Speech, in this model, leads inexorably to violence. And hence must be punished.

Remember: Obama will be the first president who has been raised entirely on a diet of post 60's leftist propaganda. The brainwashing gets more and more intense with each succeeding generation and this specific concept -- that "hate speech" = violence -- is now institutionalized. It's been part of the K-12 curriculum for years. For example, check out the ADL's Pyramid of Hate, which is beyond parody:


See page 7 of that pdf. The same casuistic arguments that so many mouth -- which posit an incredibly slippery slope between "accepting stereotypes" and "genocide" are made explicit.

There's no question that Obama will move in this direction. Who will stand up to defend "haters"?

Anonymous said...

As Mencius Moldbug posted yesterday, "what we call hate speech is merely a 20th-century name for the age-old crime of blasphemy."

Anonymous said...

@No Man's Land

Well, surely, I don't want Steyn convicted for speaking his mind. I just think, that he's stupid, clownish, immature and all around non-sensical. I dislike Steyn's constant schadenfreude of seeing Europe turn into Ottoman Empire 2.0 -- you like that? I don't. I sure don't like it when I'd see the US go down, because of illegal Latino's swamping the US Southwest.

And I deplore European journalists who always bash Europe, especially the French and Belgian varieties are disgusting. But they don't speak for me, not for much other Europeans. So, I'm not especially touchy on Europe perse.

My dislike is reserved for Steyn, I like the US.

Robert said...

I had to light up another cigarette before commenting on the odious Mr. Steyn. His free speech is very important to him, but the free speech of political prisoners not liked by the Jewish Lobby in Canada id beneath his concern.

bigboy said...

spahnie said... “I find it frustrating that no one ever discusses the reason why the concept of ‘hate speech’ came into being in the first place. It has to do with the definition of ‘respect’ in the American black community and the inability of blacks to achieve respect in the ways others achieve it. The fact that ‘hate speech’ would migrate as a favored tool of other groups was predictable, but it all started in the 1980's when blacks gave up on the idea of earning respect the way everyone else does, and began looking for a way to impose it by force………The only way anyone makes it in normal life is to provide a needed service such as talent or cooperation. But in black life, the only applicable meaning of respect is physical dominance. Since this mindset would disqualify blacks both from commercial achievement and from white respect generally, they need a tool with which to discourage any expression of that disrespect, and that is the concept of ‘hate speech.’”

As far as I know (maybe you know something I don’t), “hate speech” isn’t illegal in the U.S…..Yet. The place where speech perceived as hateful against victim groups is severely punished is on college campuses in the U.S. “The blacks” had very little to do with the embrace of speech codes on these campuses. College administrators and faculty were responsible for that, and these rules cover all sorts of “victimized groups,” not just blacks.

“Hate crime” legislation-both at the state and federal level-were passed, not by blacks, but by state and federal legislatures, which are predominantly non-black. There is no evidence that blacks intimidated people into passing these laws either, though it is safe to assume that a majority of blacks supports these laws.

Incidentally, at the state level in some instances these laws have been used to prosecute blacks for “hate crimes.” Journalist Nat Hentoff has documented a few cases where this has happened. The most notable was a case in Wisconsin in 1989 that involved a racially-motivated beating and robbery of a white male by three blacks. Apparently they were enraged after seeing the movie “Mississippi Burning” and decided to take out their frustrations on an innocent white man. Additionally, Chicano gang members in California have been successfully convicted of violating federal hate crime laws in their conspiracy to commit murder trial. Southern California Chicano gangs are under orders by the Mexican Mafia prison gang to wage war against black in the neighborhoods the Chicano gang members dominate. Not all targets of these laws have been white.

It is one thing to truthfully claim the original targets of these laws are whites. It is another to assert, without evidence, that blacks are behind the passage of these laws because they can’t get respect.

Anonymous said...

Outland, okay, we basically agree. (I think you meant "I deplore European journalists who always bash America.) Most Americans are blissfully unaware of the extent to which they are mocked and stereotyped on the Continent. I can see why you would be annoyed by Steyn's Schadenfreude about Europe's decline; I think you have to see that it springs from exasperation, however, and give the guy credit for making a good point with a good joke every now and then, despite his neocon buffoonery.