Econstudentlog

Ezra Levant still going strong

It’s against the law in Canada to publish anything that is: “Likely to expose a person to hatred or contempt.” Steve, that’s crazy. Exposing a person to feelings is against the law? I mean – according to that definition, if you go to Yat Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Israel, and you leave with hateful feelings towards Germany, Yat Vashem the Holocaust memorial is guilty of a hate crime…

[...]

Freedom of speech is the strangest thing, Steve, it’s a gift you’ve got to give your enemies, if you want to keep it to yourself. [...] It’s something we have to give to the folks we totally despise, people who are wrong and rude and offensive, because if they can’t have it, well then we won’t have our rigth to be dissidents.

From this 18 minute interview with Ezra Levant, who is still going strong (I was unable to embed the video, but I recommend it, especially to those of you who haven’t heard the name of Ezra Levant before). These two articles are great too – do follow the link in the latter to the Power Play episode – the whole setup is just hilarious.

June 13, 2009 Posted by | Canada, Ezra Levant, freedom of speech | Leave a comment

Legal pixie dust

Section 3.1 of the Alberta Human Rights law:

(1) No person shall publish, issue or display or cause to be published, issued or displayed before the public any statement, publication, notice, sign, symbol, emblem or other representation that

(a) indicates discrimination or an intention to discriminate against a person or a class of persons, or

(b) is likely to expose a person or a class of persons to hatred or contempt

because of the race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income or family status of that person or class of persons.

Section 3.2 of the same law:

Nothing in this section shall be deemed to interfere with the free expression of opinion on any subject.

Ezra Levant calls section 3.2 “legal pixie dust“. That is exactly what it is. Those words don’t change anything the slightest, they don’t even mean anything, they just take up space, that’s all.

I shall not comment on the insanity of the law, how utterly stupid it is, ect. You know what I think. Instead, I will draw a parellel to the the Danish constitution. I think of course specifically about §77:

Enhver er berettiget til på tryk, i skrift og tale at offentliggøre sine tanker, dog under ansvar for domstolene. Censur og andre forebyggende forholdsregler kan ingensinde på ny indføres.

[Update: English translation added below, source]

Any person shall be at liberty to publish his ideas in print, in writing, and in speech, subject to his being held responsible in a court of law. Censorship and other preventive measures shall never again be introduced.

Danes are allowed to speak our minds – as long as we don’t break any laws. The problem is that politicians are still allowed to make all the laws they like ‘regulating’ free speech, as long as it isn’t ‘censorship and other preventive measures’. But if politicians can just write it in the laws that what they are doing isn’t censorship, even if it is, and get away with it, then how does §77 help us? This is what has happened in Canada.

Today ‘racist remarks’ and ‘blasphemy’ are both illegal here in Denmark. Now my question is this: If disallowing ‘racist remarks’ and ‘blasphemy’ are not ‘preventive measures’, what is? Either a) the laws we already have are in conflict with the constitution – which would be quite bad, as such an interpretation would make it obvious that our current constitution actually doesn’t protect our freedom of speech at all, as unconstitutional laws are passed just the same – or b) they are not: Which is also bad, as this interpretation obviously means that our constitution doesn’t protect our freedom of speech, even if we think it does.

The point being: Don’t feel too certain that the stuff that takes place in Canada will not come to Denmark. Or at least don’t delude yourself into thinking that it will be our constitution that will save us from this madness.

April 23, 2008 Posted by | Ezra Levant, freedom of speech | Leave a comment

   

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