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Author Faces Canadian Tribunal For Hate Speech 818

An anonymous reader writes "A Seattle Times editorial notes that the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal will put author Mark Steyn on trial for his book 'America Alone,' which has angered Muslims in Canada. Steyn is a columnist for the Canadian magazine Maclean's. According to the editorial, British Columbia bans all words and images 'likely to expose a person... to hatred or contempt because of race, religion, age, disability, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.' Steyn is unapologetic, and is advertising his book as a 'Canadian Hate Crime' and daring the tribunal to 'pronounce him bad.'" The Canadian tabloid the National Post has coverage of what it calls "a media storm."
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Author Faces Canadian Tribunal For Hate Speech

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  • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:35PM (#23363056)
    Been near a college campus lately???
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:36PM (#23363058) Homepage Journal

    So it was hate speech? Slashdot has decided. Thanks for telling me what to think!

    No, but the subject is facing a tribunal for hate speech. That doesn't mean he's guilty.

    But even if he was, so what? Short of inciting violence, why shouldn't he be able to say that he hates orange people or that Pastafarians are evil? Good for Steyn for taking this and running with it. Who wants to live in a world where you're not allowed to explain why you dislike someone?

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:37PM (#23363064) Journal
    I thought we were ALREADY headed that way with crap like "free speech zones". The easiest way to control the masses is to ensure that no thoughts contradicting those in power can be heard. But that is my 02c, which ATM I am still able to post without fear of getting my door kicked in (I hope),YMMV
  • by StreetStealth ( 980200 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:44PM (#23363102) Journal
    To silence others who say things that may make you uncomfortable is not a human right.

    To be able to say things that may make people uncomfortable is.

    I would ask the BC HRT: Is your mandate to preserve human rights? Or is it to restrict them?
  • Fantastic sources. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:47PM (#23363130)
    "Follow into foolishness" "Media gong show". I know people love echo chambers, but try looking for actual news articles rather than op-ed pieces that show their biases in the first bite-sized paragraph next time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:50PM (#23363168)
    As a Canuck, I can tell you that the human rights tribunal stuff is very scary...because they operate under the effective assumption that you are guilty until proven innocent, they do not conform to the crimina code of Canada, and there is no jury of peers.

    Essentially it's a kangaroo court that is allowed to issue 'sentences' that are themselves not in keeping with the criminal code, but are legally binding in the sense that you can be charged with contempt of the court.

    It's the dark side of over-liberalization, and the belief that you have the right to NOT be offended.

    Tolerance does not mean you have to like someone...just put up with them.
  • by abscissa ( 136568 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:51PM (#23363182)
    1. In Canada restrictions on charter rights ARE justified and this is well established in in jurisprudence. "The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society." (Charter 1.1)

    2. Free speech is important, nobody is debating that. But there have to be limits on free speech when they can demonstrably justified. I cannot say ANYTHING I want about Jews/Muslims/Blacks/Gays in ANY forum at ANY time, especially when I target one group and I could impact THEIR right to live a happy and free life.

    3. Mark Steyn's thesis is that muslims are taking over the west, "breeding like mosquitoes," and that they plan to replace our western legal system with Sharia law. And he is pretty offensive in the way he argues it. But the REAL issue of why he's on trial is because McLean's magazine (Canada's largest circulated magazine) has him as a regular contributer while refusing to let anyone offer a rebuttal. So, people complained.
  • why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hansoloaf ( 668609 ) <hansoloaf@yahoo. c o m> on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:55PM (#23363220)
    why is this on slashdot? i don't see anything nerdy or tech about this news.
  • by hansraj ( 458504 ) * on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:56PM (#23363226)
    I am not a citizen of US and I don't understand why the US needs to fix all the bugs in its system before people are even allowed to talk about problems they might see elsewhere? Sure the recent governments have done a lot to erode freedom and privacy to a great deal, but the almost absolute support for free speech in its system remains one of the best things about US. And I don't see why US citizens can't discuss (and even mock) other countries where some fuzzy notion of hate-speech is turned into a law.

    Talking about how the system in US sucks when the topic at hand is about Canada makes me feel you are just karma-whoring for +5 Insightful.
  • by urcreepyneighbor ( 1171755 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:57PM (#23363250)

    3. Mark Steyn's thesis is that muslims are taking over the west, "breeding like mosquitoes," and that they plan to replace our western legal system with Sharia law. And he is pretty offensive in the way he argues it.
    The truth isn't pretty.
  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:59PM (#23363260) Journal
    ...when one can make a spoof of "Life of Brian" but with Islamic connotations, without fearing for his/her life. For those that don't know, "Life of Brian" makes fun of both Christians and Jews, in a massive way. It's by far not the only movie that does that - in fact, both Christianity and Judaism (and Christians and Jews) have been on the receiving end of satire and comedy in all forms of artistic expression (plays, books, movies, figurative arts). And by "receiving" I don't mean it necessarily in a negative way.

    I don't know how Islam got so protected and the Muslims so protective. It would almost seem like lack of self-confidence.
  • by sasdrtx ( 914842 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:03PM (#23363294)
    We have a more efficient system in the USA: any violation of political correctness will get you fired, pilloried, and defamed mercilessly. In certain careers, your career is often destroyed. And of course whether what was said is true or not is irrelevant.
  • Re:why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shrubbman ( 3807 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:04PM (#23363306)
    News for nerds. Stuff that matters.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:09PM (#23363350) Homepage Journal
    Its being done by the government

    Once you ban one type of speech, none is free.
  • by Khaed ( 544779 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:09PM (#23363356)
    1. Legal doesn't mean moral or right.

    2. Free speech is designed to protect unpopular speech. Show me one ounce of evidence Steyn has impacted anyone's right to a happy and free life -- other than being unhappy he's saying something bad about them. The idea that the law gives you a right to not be offended is dangerous.

    3. The quote about mosquitoes is not original to Mark Steyn: he was quoting an Imam. As for offering a rebuttal, it's their magazine, their printing press. Why should they allow a rebuttal? Am I allowed to write a column in the New York Times if they print something I disagree with? No. Is Microsoft allowed to force Slashdot to post a pro-Vista rebuttal on the main page? No. Do we want that sort of stupid to be a law? No. It might seem nice and fair if you don't think about it, but when you do, you'll see a thousand ways it would be abused and used to bog down free speech to the point no one says anything someone else might not like for fear of having to let the someone else use their resources to yammer on and on about how wronged they were.

    Also, considering the stink this idiot commission raised against Ezra Klein -- a rather liberal fellow who happened to publish some cartoons depicting Mohammad -- I don't trust it, especially when almost all the decisions directly financially benefit a former member of the council, Richard Warman. And these "awards" he gets aren't taxable.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:09PM (#23363358) Homepage Journal
    im turkish. what he says is not what he conceives, or he expects or etc.

    what he is saying about muslims taking over europe and putting women in burka and banning alcohol and bringing a medieval middle eastern culture all over europe is NOT what he imagines, its what MUSLIM GROUPS that hold great leverage and followers, say. they are OPENLY declaring that this is their intention. all around europe. in uk, netherlands, france and germany, these are going around in underhand jihad and propaganda cd distributions, in meetings or in obscure, far from sight mosques. but in turkey, now, there is a firm islamist government in control thanks to the votes from the islamists who SAID they were going to multiply and turn turkey to an islamist state back 20 years ago. and thanks to that islamist government, many sheiks, groups, 'charities' that were doing the same thing thats happening europe underhand, now are OPENLY and clearly declaring their intentions in public. no - not extreme, radical, eccentric people these are. these are major leaders of the islamist segments of the society. they are openly saying that democracy is no good, the only 'salvation' can be found under islamist republic with a theology, everyone HAS to live under the rules of islam. and when the constitutional court here tries to prosecute them for anti democratical and secular behaviour, guess what happens - they run to european union, and in an APPALLING move, european union supports, and tries to protect these people from being prosecuted inside turkey's borders according to turkey's own laws. i dont know which is more appalling though, the intervention in another country's LEGAL system, or the fact that eu, which is an organization that purports to be founded on ideals of humanism, democracy, modern values, actually protects people who say they WILL abolish democracy, and all of those modern values. no. dont do err here - its not 'opinion' or 'freedom of speech' or anything, they ARE actually taking measures and taking action to that extent - setting up 'charities' that fund 'boarding schools' in which youngsters aged 6 to 22 are brainwashed against EVERY of modern ideals we hold dear today, including freedom of speech, and non discrimination. and yes, indeed discrimination and hatred against western values are brainwashed into those kids, they are taught that west is rotten morally, anything good has to pertain to islam, jews, europe and us are satan, and they should fight against them. from whence do i know ? i HAVE been in those places. and i have many acquaintances and even relatives, who actually are lost to that brainwashing. it is sad. in turkey, since the last 6 years under this islamist party, enmity towards modernism and west has reached a peak.

    what is more appalling for me is the stance of the 'mild' muslims, who supposedly constitute the majority of muslims in the world. what they dont realize that, under islam, there can be no mild muslim, and any idea to the contrary is make believe, and self delusion. in islam, there are very solid orders in koran that openly, plainly orders that muslims have to fight jews and christians, and either forcibly convert them, or subdue and take tribute from them (maida surah, 9/29) and similar. one would try to argue that, it was valid at that time, in 600 AD, but it has to be commented, interpreted in some other way, but you cant. when you try to do this, you hit a solid wall ; according to islam, koran is the unchanged word of god. noone's word, including mohammad's word can be held over koran. it is god's will. AND koran states multiple times (around 7 separate places actually) that it is a very clear, understandable book that does not require any interpretation, intermediary (cleric, priest or anything), or reference from other places. when you combine these 3 facts, you CANT argue anything against someone says that muslims should fight against jews and christians.

    thats why all the modernist, reformist ideas that some people are trying to spread around in middle east are hitting
  • by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:17PM (#23363444)
    Muslims are planning to take over the West, just like Christians planned to take over the West, Capitalist and Communists planned to take over the west, etc.

    Just because we're currently dominated by a certain ideological set doesn't mean that it's native or natural in anyway.

    However, "universal" ideologies by their very nature need to spread or perish. There is a reason that Asataru and Judaism don't evangelize -- it's cause you're either one of them or you're not. period.

    However, people can be "converted" to Christianity, Islam, Capitalism or Communism... and those that won't buy in, clearly just need to be gotten rid of.
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:20PM (#23363476)
    > The purpose is to stop people from encouraging or enticing hate.

    That's already over the line. The second you put yourself (or worse, annoint ANYONE to) the position of deciding what thoughts are proper and which improper you are a threat to liberty. And for the record, I HATE YOUR FASCIST GUTS.

    There, I'm now a hater. And I'll defend my right to hate anybody I get a hankering to hate to the death.. although as a non-pacifist I'll vastly prefer the death of the other guy if it comes to violence. Of course, being a friend of Liberty I'll also defend your right to hate me right back.... just as long as it's just words in the arena of ideas. So long as the factions are just waving signs in the street it's all just a 'frank exchange of ideas.'

    Remember Freedom Zero: If you don't have the Right to be Wrong (in the other guys' opinion) you can never be Free.
  • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:25PM (#23363520)
    Look at it this way. There's a group which tends to have large families and indoctrinates people to believe in a highly illiberal ideology. Let's forget the religion and skin colour. Imagine if it was purely a political movement that threatens to kill critics even outside the group and interprets criticism in an incredibly wide way. E.g. by telling people to kill authors and cartoonists in far away secular countries even though what they wrote or drew seems innocuous to outsiders. And it targets homosexuals and any women that want to marry outside the group. Men are free to screw unbelieving women [timesonline.co.uk]. At this point large numbers of its adherents arrive, legally and illegally, in liberal societies with low birth rates. Most of them end up poor and very much under its control. It tells them they are poor because society is too liberal. Potentially it could start to field political candidates in areas where its members are in a majority, and since it tends to deal violently dissenters and brainwash members to be obedient it could tell those members to vote for them at meetings and they probably would.

    Doesn't that strike you as a threat to those liberal societies in the long run?
  • I don't know how Islam got so protected and the Muslims so protective. It would almost seem like lack of self-confidence.

    The reason they are so protective of Islam is because that's all the have. Their entire lives are surrounded with inferiority to the rest of the world, economic, technological, etc. The one thing they have that they can latch onto to feel like they have some sort of dignity is their religion. and their "leaders" constantly pound this into their heads that they are superior because they know what's "really" true and wise.

  • by pimpimpim ( 811140 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:26PM (#23363544)
    my view exactly. I think that there are enough muslim individuals who would be capable of this, but the problem is the violent minority that will not approve.

    The west has been supporting this violent minority for way too long already, actively (e.g. the Taliban in afghanistan would never has been as powerful without US support) and passively (certain well-known extremist organizations are not forbidden in several european nations, despite their anti-democratic principles).

    The Dutch politician Wilders has, like many, shown that just warning for the "muslim" threat, is not a way to fight this problem. It really is too generalizing, and you cannot deal with the muslim problem by generalization, because that would affect the whole democratic principle. Why forbid muslims to wear their head scarf, but allow jews to wear a wig and catholics to wear a cross.

    It doesn't work that way. An evolution to muslim integration can only work by making sure the rotten apples don't get a change to spread. This might be easier than you would think, but there has to be a complete political will to do this. Hint: giving the extremist guns is not a very good idea, politicians: please stop with that first.

  • Re:As a canadian (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IHC Navistar ( 967161 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:33PM (#23363604)
    "I'm not really surprised that a Maclean's authour is on trial for this sort of behaviour. I don't really consider myself to be a left wing guy, but Maclean's is xenophobic, right-wing sucking pile of trash. I say this with no exaggeration."

    So I guess you feel that you should be on trial too?

    Hypocritial moron.
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cromac ( 610264 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:39PM (#23363660)
    You're only allowed to say you hate white people, especially white men, anything else and you're a racist hate monger.
  • by node 3 ( 115640 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:40PM (#23363674)

    Of course not, but bashing the US is a great way to get a cheap karma bump around here.
    As is, apparently, defending the US.

    Perhaps it's not simply a case of irrational or nationalistic bias as you seem to think it is, and more a case of sometimes criticism of America deserves +5 and sometimes defense of America does. Contrary to popular belief, we're neither a wholly moral and righteous nation, nor a wholly evil and manipulative one.

    When you label any criticism of America as "oh, they're just bashing the US again", you make it so that valid criticism is ignored as though it were invalid, which thwarts any efforts to improve America, and encourages actions which worsens us.
  • by Klaus_1250 ( 987230 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:44PM (#23363704)

    This whole thing is about the right to not be offended.

    But that is the most ridiculous right anyone can ask for. Sometimes truth offends people, does that me we should lie to them instead? And what about religion? Some religious people are offended by any attempt to question their belief-system, does that mean we can no longer criticize any religion? And what if a religion offends certain people, is that allowed?

  • by Luscious868 ( 679143 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:45PM (#23363710)

    Are people in China inherently more susceptible to authoritarian regimes, or somehow less capable of existing in a democracy than other peoples? Do they desire freedom less than we do? I suspect not, but I fear too many people simply assume that it could never happen to us. I'm not talking about some tin-foil hat government conspiracy, but a slow and gradual erosion of our rights - a slowly boiling pot to the frog, as it were.

    It's already happening and has been happing for well over a hundred years. Ever read the 10th Amendment. Particularly the following:

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    Congress, the President and the courts have been ignoring the 10th Amendment for ages.

  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mistlefoot ( 636417 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:50PM (#23363750)
    And weren't many of those 100% conviction complaints pushed through by complaints from Jewish Groups such as this one from the B'Nai Brith?


    When Mark Steyn writes for the Jewish World Review (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0802/steyn1.asp) the B'Nai Brith doesn't seem to complain though.

    You see, I'm not a big fan of hate crime laws, but when you fight for hate crime laws you can expect others to use those as well. I'd prefer to see less censorship, but people have been jailed in Canada for saying there was no Genocide.

  • by Concerned Onlooker ( 473481 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:50PM (#23363754) Homepage Journal
    Sure, but some of us see looking at the faults in other countries as a good opportunity to reflect upon our own as well. Otherwise one begins to think that one's own country is faultless and needs no improvement.
  • by node 3 ( 115640 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:51PM (#23363764)
    Because hypocrisy is ugly.

    If a debtor tells you someone else is bad because of their debt, or a thief complains about being robbed, a homosexual republican promotes discrimination against gays, etc., their own flaws deserve to be addressed.

    As an American myself, I'd *much* rather bring to light flaws from my own country than flaws from other countries. *Not* because I hate my country, or that I want to knock it down a peg, but because I want my *own* country's flaws fixed, and that's not going to happen if we're spending all our time criticizing others, just like a debtor complaining about *others* debts is wasting his efforts on others instead of putting it to good use on himself.
  • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @05:01PM (#23363852)
    Christianity is only not protected now because Church lost a battle with secularism. One in a which people who made much more subtle criticisms of it than the Life of Brian got killed in very painful ways.
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PktLoss ( 647983 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @05:02PM (#23363862) Homepage Journal
    >That's already over the line. The second you put yourself (or worse, annoint ANYONE to) the position of deciding what thoughts are proper and which improper you are a threat to liberty.

    The purpose of the law has never been to govern thought.. but expression. You're welcome to sit in the privacy of your home, or your local cafe and think about how much you hate group X or how you'd like it if other people hate group Y.

    At issue is encouraging others to do so.

  • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @05:02PM (#23363870)

    I'll prefix this with I'm a Canadian who disagrees with such "hate crime" laws. But, they are well intended.
    So was the Inquisition, and the medival witch trials. The problem is that as soon as you start paying a group of people to go out and prosecute others - whether they're prosecuting them on charges of heresy, witchcraft, or "hate" - you're pretty much guaranteeing that innocent people are going to be harmed.

    To use the example of the witch trials:
    1. People were paid to report witches.
    2. Evidence was considered irrelevant when judging witches.
    3. All of the "witch's" property was confiscated and used as "payment" for the judges, torturers, executioners, etc.

    In light of all that, is it really any surprise that they kept finding witches?

    Likewise, these "human rights commissions" exist solely to punish people accused of spreading hate. And they use a framework similar to the witch-hunts:
    1. With a 100% conviction rate, they guarantee that the accuser will be paid for accusing someone - anyone.
    2. "Questioning" is conducted in private, without a lawyer, and evidence is largely irrelevant.
    3. The "defendant", who is always found guilty, is ordered to pay up to the accuser, while taxpayers foot the bill for the process.

    So in light of that, is it any wonder that they keep prosecuting and convicting innocent people? While the very basis for these commissions is in itself flawed, the far larger problem is the way in which the commissions are set up. They are extra-judicial bodies which have no accountability, and no supervision.

    Do we really need a separate judicial system which doesn't answer to anyone, just so we can stop offencive speech?
  • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @05:06PM (#23363910)

    1. This Act may be cited as the Canadian Human Rights Act.
    Yep, that's the one. A truly Orwellian piece of legislation, isn't it?
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2008 @05:08PM (#23363924)
    Exactly. Sure, go out and bash white men, but if you even dare to call a minority wrong even when they are it is suddenly "racily motivated".
  • by lixee ( 863589 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @05:13PM (#23364004)
    So what if it wasn't his quote? If you hide behind a Jewish Nazi's quote to deny the Holocaust, you're still a Holocaust-denier in my book.

    I find all this debate asinine. Canada is a democracy, and the Canadians voted for a government to legislate and enforce the laws of the land. This fake outrage around the decision of a Canadian tribunal to prosecute a man, is tantamount to a Dutch citizen getting all riled up because he read in the news that an American was jailed for possession of weed. Or, an American bashing the Elysée because a Frenchman was arrested for possession of firearms.

    Each country's got its own laws, and what it does within its borders shouldn't be anybody else's business.
  • by K9-Cop ( 973731 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @05:20PM (#23364042)
    If I tell 20 people who actually listen to me to go kill the President of the United States, then I'm not guilty of anything. After all, I have freedom of speech, right? I can say anything I want, right? Hate Crimes in Canada are not in place to prevent people from saying hateful things. They are in place to prevent people from hiding behind freedom of speech when they are actually attempting to incite violence against a particular group of people (particularly minorities).
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2008 @05:25PM (#23364088)
    ... Hate Crimes is THE big new growth area for the State.

    I've never been fond of the notion of "hate crimes". Acts, are either legal or they are not.

    Why should the victim of a crime (take your pick) be considered more protected than another in an otherwise similar circumstance because of the vague notion of a "hate crime"? (Some people are more protected than others?)

    Why should the perpetrator be considered more "vile" than another in an otherwise similar circumstance because of the vague notion of a "hate crime"? (Some people are less protected than others?)

    There is either equality under the law or there is not.

    With the introduction of "hate crimes" equality under the law goes out the window because we've replaced "facts" with "feelings" (for the uninformed "hate" is an extreme feeling).

    It's just a matter of time before "hate" is replaced with "thought". And now that "speech" equals "hate" that day gets ever closer.

    For shame Canada. For shame.
  • by ScreamingCactus ( 1230848 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @05:41PM (#23364214)
    I don't think people should have the "right to not be offended." I believe originally, free speech was limited not to prevent people from getting offended, but to prevent people from getting killed for opening their mouths. But with the (relatively) recent "politically correct" movement, all the sudden you can't say anything that hurts anyone's feelings. If you get your feelings hurt now, you can sue. That's BS.
    And here's why: If the government wants to say, "you can't say offensive things" then it's also up to the government to decide what is offensive, which they will naturally do a poor job of. Of course, this doesn't include slander. I'm merely talking about opinions, which anyone should be allowed to voice freely. You can't change a person's feelings by silencing them; in fact, it's likely to do the opposite.

    What's so bad about getting your feelings hurt anyway? Sticks and stones.
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @05:58PM (#23364332)
    No, the problem is people who are unable to think for themselves sufficiently to ignore obvious bullshit. Heck, if you're so weakminded that you can be induced to commit a crime because you read a book, well, you probably need psychiatric care. Furthermore, the author of that book is not responsible for your actions: you are. I perceive any attempt by government to deem any particular creative work as inappropriate to be insincere, paternalistic and insulting.

    This attempt to suppress certain forms of speech because they "incite" people is just as wrongheaded as rationalizing video cameras on every street corner in order to stop terrorism. Neither "solution" gets to the root of either problem, and have been about as effective as trying to cure diarrhea by tinkering with the plumbing in your house. Put it this way: hate usually spreads among the ignorant, among those with no sense or knowledge of history or other peoples. If you want to prevent hate crimes, eliminating one of the basic causes for hatred (ignorance) is a better solution than legislating civil liberties away. It just takes education.

    The other big problem in the world today is that people have become spineless weaklings, unable to stand up to those who say, "I find your speech offensive and I will try to intimidate you until you stop." So far as I'm concerned, the Muslims (at least, the vocal ones) are living in a glass house: if they don't want to hear anything offensive to their religion and/or way-of-life then stop saying bad things about everyone else's. Odds are I'll keep my trap shut if you keep yours under control. Otherwise ... just deal with it.
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Saturday May 10, 2008 @05:59PM (#23364342) Journal
    The purpose of the law has never been to govern thought.. but expression.

    Oh, well, that's such a relief! There's no law against thinking what I want to think, just against saying it? I guess it's not a problem them.

    At issue is encouraging others to do so.

    I'm going to encourage anyone who will listen to hate fascist thought-crime enforcers like you.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Saturday May 10, 2008 @06:02PM (#23364360) Journal
    I would ask the BC HRT: Is your mandate to preserve human rights?

    It's to violate human rights while pretending to preserve them. Pretty much standard operating procedure for the "politically correct" crowd.

  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Saturday May 10, 2008 @06:04PM (#23364374)
    > If you want another area of the law where the intent of the crime plays
    > a role in sentencing try manslaughter and murder, the mental state of
    > the attacker has a big influence on the sentence.

    And it should. If some Klansman or Rev. Wright follower kills somebody of their preferred hated group the odds are very high that they would do it again. That's why it is proper to take mental state into account at that point. You got that part right.

    But arresting Rev. Wright for 'hating on whitey' BEFORE he kills anyone or incites a riot (as opposed to Rev. Sharpton who does have blood on his hands yet walks free) is just wrong. I think Rev. Wright is an asshat and Obama is a fellow traveller in hatred that disqualifies him from high office. I do have the right to use their hatred in judging them as regards things like public office. I assert that I also have the right to refuse them service, a belief the government will imprision me for acting upon. In the they MUST have the right to be wrong, idiots, wicked, whatever disparaging term we the sane want to heap upon them, right up to the point where they actually become violent or become a clear and present danger via inciting violence. For if we deny their liberty ours will surely be forfit.

    And that is where this whole mess in Canada crosses the line. Steyn has done nothing violent, nor has he incided anyone else to commit violence. But he is on trial and while I don't think these thugs can imprision him they can, and planned to, bankrupt him. Whether they back down now that the spotlight is on them or scurry back into the shadows with the cockroaches doesn't change anything.
  • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @06:05PM (#23364384)

    show me one single Muslim "gang-raper" who prays 5 times a day.
    Completely off-topic, but here you go: Sydney Gang Rapes [wikipedia.org]

    It is not "Islam is coming" that makes it a hate speech book, it is "Muslim gang-rapists" that make it a libel, false, lie.
    So if a Muslim man rapes someone, and I call him a "Muslim rapist", I'm committing libel and hate speech?

    And people wonder why I'm opposed to these commissions!

    Just out of curiosity, could you take a look out of your window and tell me what colour the sky is in your world?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2008 @06:06PM (#23364392)

    To silence others who say things that may make you uncomfortable is not a human right.

    To be able to say things that may make people uncomfortable is.
    And to say things targeted to make a specific kind of people uncomfortable?
    I don't see how your distinction is useful. Ignoring the problem that actually proving intent is all but impossible, targeting people with your words is widely considered acceptable and desirable in certain contexts. People commonly (and often deservedly) express scorn targeted specifically at oil companies, politicians, lobbyists, lawyers, religious extremists, the KKK, the black panthers, etc. Only when doing so is politically incorrect is it "hate speech." Which is, of course, bullshit.
  • Re:oh, irony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by malkavian ( 9512 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @06:12PM (#23364430)
    But we won't come to impose our beliefs on you personally. We will come to impose the law of God on your society. Law is about acts, not beliefs. Belief is thought, internal conviction.

    Actually, no, you already contradict yourself. You believe there is a god, and from that you extrapolate (without actually being told by god, just someone who said he talked for god, and you trust that the people who wrote it down did so correctly through history also) a given law.
    That is using that derived law to spread your belief. I don't happen to believe in any god that sends laws, so if you're not spreading belief, then any law you have is invalid, as it springs from a 'god' which I consider imaginary. About as logical as banning the colour green. Now, telling me I'm wrong to believe that there is no god, and forcing me to obey those laws is thought crime (and punishment for not obeying them is a hate crime).
    Well done. I actually believe you're trolling here, and not being too subtle about it. Ah well! You have your views, I have mine. Just please, don't in any way, shape or form, try to impose your beliefs, or the 'laws' that stem from that belief on me. I may just have to report it to that Human Rights commission. And if they don't act, then I'll accuse them of violating my Human Rights to be agnostic/atheist. I'm sure the media will love that.
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by m.ducharme ( 1082683 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @06:13PM (#23364444)
    Just to be nit-picky, neither Robert Mugabe nor Kim Jong-Il is a group. There is no law in Canada against hating a particular person.
  • by g8oz ( 144003 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @06:31PM (#23364560)
    Spoofs and thoughtful criticism of Islam are one thing. Steyn's shrill book however is just old fashioned hate mongering

    His books and articles with their hysterical fear mongering owe a spiritual debt to works like the 1911 anti-Asian screed "The Yellow Peril" and even a little bit to the classic "Protocols of the Elders of Zion".

    Make blissfully contemptuous generalizations about currently fashionable minorities like Jews [indianz.com] or homosexuals [thestar.com] and you are an instant pariah. A finished career and a round of condemnation from sound-bite worthy people are what you'll be getting. But do the same with Muslims and you are a champion of free speech and democracy.

    Free speech has never been an absolute. And restrictions around hate speech in Canada were never a problem until they started interfering with anti-Islamic smears.

    Everyone arguing for Steyn's right to earn a living as a Professional Muslim Hater owes a letter of support to Holocaust deniers like David Irving and Ernst Zundel who have been prosecuted under hate speech laws.

    The challenge of Islamic terrorism has tested the commitment of the West to it's stated principles.
    And from habeus corpus to hate speech, to limits on executive privilege, to privacy it has found that commitment wanting

    P.S kdawson is a troll

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2008 @06:48PM (#23364702)

    what is more appalling for me is the stance of the 'mild' muslims, who supposedly constitute the majority of muslims in the world. what they dont realize that, under islam, there can be no mild muslim, and any idea to the contrary is make believe, and self delusion.

    Moderate Christians realize that there are fundamentalist Christians who think that the only way to be Christian is to be a fundamentalist Christian. Moderate Muslims recognize that there are fundamentalist Muslims who think the only way to be Muslim is be a fundamentalist Muslim.

    In both the case of Christians and the case of Muslims, the moderates believe that their (moderate) definition of their religion is just as (or perhaps more) valid than the fundamentalists and hope that the moderate definition will ultimately prevail.

    Try convincing a moderate Christian in the USA to become an atheist by claiming that the Christians in Texas who had their children taken away represent true Christianity. Not going to work.

    Try convincing a moderate Muslim to become an atheist by claiming that the Taliban respresent true Islam. Also, not going to work.

  • by __aagmrb7289 ( 652113 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @06:54PM (#23364738) Journal
    Absolutely. I'm a bit surprised you can't see that for yourself.
  • by DWIM ( 547700 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @06:54PM (#23364740)

    which ATM I am still able to post without fear of getting my door kicked in (I hope),YMMV
    Not unless you live in a Texas compound with a wacky religious leader, at least.
    I realize you are probably joking but... There ARE limits to religious expression. Those do not trump the human rights of others, for instance. I can have my nutjob religious cult and gargle horny toads all day long, but if I force children into having sex with adults, I damn well can expect my door to be kicked in.
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe ( 412765 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @07:44PM (#23365136) Homepage
    Hate crime is when an act was done in order to create hatred, violence or fear towards a group. When a white guy beats a black guy up because the black guy took his wallet that's normal assault, when a white guy beats a black guy up because he's black that's a hatecrime as it depends on an arbitrary trait of the victim that is shared with a crapload of people. Hatecrimes are worse than regular crimes because the perpetrator will likely do it again when encountering another member of the target group or may be attempting to get others to do the same.

    So teaching someone from the quran, which contains the following statement, and states that it is to be taken literally, is a hate crime ?

    Judge for yourself whether or not teaching this to 5-year-olds is meant to create hate :

    "Surely the vilest of animals in Allah's sight are those who disbelieve (8:55)"

    The vedas (hinduism) are, in this respect even worse, for they push ethnicity-based racism (the caste system).
  • by Free the Cowards ( 1280296 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @07:51PM (#23365190)
    I'd rather do both.

    Hypocrisy is ugly, just like hate and small-mindedness and stupidity and inflated self importance and all the other flaws which every human has in spades. Hypocrisy doesn't necessarily mean that the person doesn't believe what he's saying. It can simply mean that he believes it but lacks the ability to carry it out. There's nothing bad about an alcoholic telling you about the evils of alcohol, or a compulsive gambler telling you to stay out of casinos and manage your money well. On the contrary, their advice is coming from deep, painful experience which makes it all the more worthwhile.

    So let's examine our own flaws and the flaws of others, so that we may both greater understand the world and improve it.

    But of course this doesn't mean that you have to combine them both in the same discussion, and it especially doesn't mean that you should shut down any discussion of other countries' flaws whenever your own country shares similar flaws.
  • by HeavensBlade23 ( 946140 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @07:53PM (#23365200)
    Use ridiculous hyperbole much?
  • by bogjobber ( 880402 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @08:07PM (#23365294)

    From the USA PATRIOT act:

    AN ACT

    To deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    (a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the `Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001'.

    I picked the PATRIOT act because it is probably the most well-known currently, but there are literally thousands (from any country) that I could choose from. Do you really think the stated purpose of a law and its actual implementation and interpretation are the same thing?

  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spiralpath ( 1114695 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @08:23PM (#23365390)
    Christianity is not an exception to the rule, and certainly not an utter one. Your argument is biased and offensive. It is unreasonable to cast an entire religion as racist, especially based on one line with no given context. A religion consists of its holy texts, its followers, its prophets, and its history.

    Christianity most certainly has been involved in racism, and as a direct counter to your specific argument, texts in both the Old and New Testament refer to wiping out specific groups of people. The entire final book of the New Testament is about those that don't believe in Christ. They end up facing their judgement and eternal torture.

    It is disturbing to me that in your efforts to cast Christianity as the only non-racist religion, you have simultaneously cast Hinduism and Islam as racist in their entirety.

    That sounds like racism to me, or at least xenophobia, which is just a step away.

  • by sanman2 ( 928866 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @08:44PM (#23365498)
    Well, that's what Left-wingers like to do -- impose their own views in totality, under the guise of freedom. eg. "Democratic People's Republic" of North Korea
  • by KwKSilver ( 857599 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @08:49PM (#23365526)
    The modding is really lame for Mapkinase's posts. He is not flamebaiting or trolling. He is calmly explaining what his beliefs are as a Muslim. He doesn't care whether we agree or not, or think he is stupid, or anything else. He is telling us what he believes, not trolling or kidding. Mapkinase accurately reflects the true beliefs and nature of Islam. He doesn't sugar coat it.

    In another post he says:

    It is true that we will come to your country with war, whether you want it or not. That is how we did in the past: we proposed 3 choices: accept Islam, pay jizya tax and be protected or war with us. And that is the Islamic way.
    Note that there is no door number 4, and never has been one. When Islam is not strong enough to prevail in a war, it may offer a truce. A truce not peace, for there can be no peace for unbelievers who refuse to either accept Islam or, at the very least, its supremacy.

    He is not kidding, either, these things are consistent with the history and practice of Islam, wherever it is dominant. If we think otherwise, we are kidding and trolling yourselves. If his beliefs and plans don't make you uneasy, you and/or your children are doomed to be a Muslim's slave.

    One more thing: we have been put on notice, if I recall correctly, anything goes in Islam's war on us, if we refuse to submit.

    Mapkinase should be modded +5 informative.

    Thank you, Mapkinase. You are an honorable enemy.
  • by cluge ( 114877 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @09:22PM (#23365680) Homepage
    What is says - nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    How it's applied - nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; or enough of us get together and feel that an economic development zone for our friends outweighs your right to your property; nor deny to any person within it's jurisdiction the equal protect of the laws, except of course if you are a member of the wrong group, whereby you qualify for extra justice. If such a case arises, the white straight fellow will by statute be eligible to receive a longer sentence if, perhaps, we think he may have thought the wrong thing while committing this crime. No protected group shall be eligible for this extra justice and even suggesting such a thing is considered a hate crime.

    I refer the dear reader to the famous south park episode [wikipedia.org] that dealt with the flag of south park called Chef Goes Nanners [stansdad.com]

  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @09:30PM (#23365748)

    Explain to me how you can believe this to be the literal word of god, and not commit acts of religious violence, because this is something I do not get at all.
    Explain to us how YOU can believe that those quotes, some of them mistranslated and all of them completely out of context, have any meaning at all except to provide you with a shovel to dig yourself deeper and deeper.

    By the way, where is your defense of christianity? All I see is you jousting at windmills and setting up strawmen about islam.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2008 @09:37PM (#23365794)
    "This whole thing is about the right to not be offended."

    No it isn't. It is about stopping inflammatory rabble rouser from inspiring hatred against other people, often minorities. Open a history book or news paper for a long list of this dynamic in action along with its potentially catastrophic results.

    'likely to expose a person... to hatred or contempt because of race, religion, age, disability, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.'

    I don't see anything in that quote about being offended.
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gordo3000 ( 785698 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @10:09PM (#23365970)
    so what's your point? if in 100 years 99% of Europe are devout muslims, what's wrong with the majority in that country changing the laws to reflect the culture of the new society?

    if the current culture that holds power wishes to retain it, they need to quit being such wimps and go out and forcefully integrate all the immigrants. it's not that hard, it's why you have public schools and forced diversity in those schools. those two things, along with attempts to diversity communities as best as possible rather than keeping minorities in isolation do wonders to integrate groups.
  • contempt? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nguy ( 1207026 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @10:34PM (#23366078)
    likely to expose a person... to hatred or contempt because of race, religion, age, disability, sex, marital status or sexual orientation

    Ah, so religions have carved out this nice little niche, where they can pass judgment on everybody else, but if anybody dares criticize them, they hide behind anti-discrimination laws.

    I find Catholic and Muslim doctrines immoral and contemptible. Not only do I think I have a right to criticize them, I think I have a moral duty.
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cracked Pottery ( 947450 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @11:01PM (#23366234)
    You can take the New and Old Testaments, particularly the Old and find some pretty bizarre laws. Literally accepted, a menstruating woman might have a difficult time getting medical care if she is in a car accident. Just because a particular holy text contains certain possibly objectionable phrases, doesn't create a guilt by association with every practitioner of that religion. You can probably even find a Muslim or two with the intelligence to differentiate religious teachings according to historical and modern contexts.
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @11:31PM (#23366376)

    if in 100 years 99% of Europe are devout muslims, what's wrong with the majority in that country changing the laws to reflect the culture of the new society?
    What if it's only 60% Muslim and that 60% votes to oppress the other 40% of the population? What if they have good intentions behind their oppression, like equality and virtue, and so they're "the good guys"?

    Democracy is an inadequate substitute for freedom. European post-Christian socialism has produced an unsustainable society. The result will be a very different Europe in 50 years.
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Naturalis Philosopho ( 1160697 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @11:47PM (#23366434)

    In real life you're going to find most religions contain direct commands like this one (Christianity is, fortunately, an exception).

    "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" Exodus 22:18

    A witch, based on most Christian teachings, is anyone who doesn't believe in Christ and practices a religion (and more specifically anyone who practices a "nature" or animist religion). Hence, Christians, if they follow the Bible, must kill everyone who is not a Christian. What was that you were saying about Christianity not commanding it's followers to hate/kill everyone else? If you need more examples of text like this, please pick up your Bible. Leviticus alone can easily make my case.

    On topic, if we're to ban hate speech, then I say that your book should should be the first to go. However, I believe that we should be allowed, by the state, to hate paedophiles, rapists, murderers, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Taoist, Janists, Wiccans, Buddhists, Hindi, Blacks, Browns, Reds, Whites, Pinks, Hydrocephalics, or even my Great Aunt Martha. It's on your soul though if you do hate. Please don't tell people to kill these groups... that should get you arrested. (Are you thumbing through your Bible right now? Are you noticing that it does tell you to kill witches?)

    Oh, and if you insist on hating others, don't bring Christ into it, He was good guy.

  • by Swift2001 ( 874553 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @11:54PM (#23366480)
    You're misstating the law. You have to have a clear goal of committing the crime to punish a group you hate, and there has to be evidence to convince a jury. So robbing a man, and it later turns out he was gay, doesn't count. That was a robbery, for money. (Psst, it's against the law.) The sentence already goes up or down depending on the amount you stole, and whether there was brutality or threats involved -- and whether you have a history of committing this crime.

    It's self-limiting. Often, people will not be charged because there's proof of robbery but no clear evidence of another motivation. A prosecutor who decides that this case gets the book thrown at it based on the identity of the victim is a poor prosecutor. In fact, though, that's one of the problems with the rest of the criminal justice system, as the murder of a white is clearly more prone to the death sentence -- but it shouldn't be.

    However, if you have some young toughs who lurk outside a gay bar and take baseball bats to a perfect stranger who comes out of a gay club, as happens very commonly, then is that just an assault like any other? Or is it intended also to spread fear in that city's gay community? The assault has to be tried and sentenced as usual. The special circumstances of the gay bashing deserve a little extra time.

    If at some point, some leftist radicals start attacking people coming out of the Young Republicans HQ, I'd think similar punishment should apply.
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Beer_Smurf ( 700116 ) on Sunday May 11, 2008 @12:32AM (#23366672) Homepage
    So would a history book be in trouble for casting Nazis in a bad light?
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Thangodin ( 177516 ) <<elentar> <at> <sympatico.ca>> on Sunday May 11, 2008 @01:04AM (#23366826) Homepage
    Exactly. Within a couple of years of this law being put into place, Ernst Zundel got put on trial for Holocaust denial. The result was that a member of the lunatic fringe got a national podium to speak from. How many people know about Steyn? Well, a lot now; his book will sell like hotcakes as a result of this trial. Criticisms of his arguments had all but laid it to rest, but there will be no stopping it now.

    The people mounting this attack are the most politically inept lot I have ever seen. This is an own goal in overtime. I have a good idea of what the hate speech law was trying to prevent, but it is being applied to stifle any criticism of any cultural tradition, which means that regardless of how dysfunctional imported customs are, no one can actually come out and say they're messed up. The people in these human rights tribunals don't even have any credentials to justify their authority--and they get to define what hate speech is. So the trial will generate a lot of discussion outside of Canada, but those inside Canada will have to be careful what they say, because it might be considered hate speech.

    With a single stroke, civilization is stopped in its tracks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 11, 2008 @01:24AM (#23366908)

    ...when one can make a spoof of "Life of Brian" but with Islamic connotations, without fearing for his/her life. For those that don't know, "Life of Brian" makes fun of both Christians and Jews, in a massive way.
    What Life of Brian are you talking about? Life of Brian goes out of its way to ensure that all depictions of Jesus are polite, tolerant, and respectful, and still the Christians went apeshit over it. If they had depicted Jesus as a murderous pedophile, you bet your ass a good number of Christians would have tried to kill them. (Hell, about 15 years back the police caught some redneck with a trunk full of firearms headed to Florida, who said he was planning to kill Marilyn Manson.)
      People who are desperate and deprived of any self-worth will often cling to tribalism as the last safe haven for self-respect. Try to take that away from them too, without giving them anything else that they can call their own, and they will fucking kill you. Personally, I don't blame 'em, though I do pity them.
      - mantar
  • Not racist (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gerf ( 532474 ) <edtgerf@gmail.com> on Sunday May 11, 2008 @08:48AM (#23368382) Journal

    Christianity isn't a race, if you didn't already know. When I go to church, I see caucasians, blacks, hispanics, asians, Indians, and more. To not believe in other religions isn't racism, it's just believing in your own.

    By your logic, a Communist preaching that they will conquer and rule the entire world is also racist.

  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by operagost ( 62405 ) on Sunday May 11, 2008 @10:15AM (#23368846) Homepage Journal

    Hatecrimes are worse than regular crimes because the perpetrator will likely do it again when encountering another member of the target group or may be attempting to get others to do the same.
    If a simple mugger needs more money, you don't think he'll do it again?
  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Sunday May 11, 2008 @10:48AM (#23369060) Homepage Journal
    Hate speech is when you say something that the establishment doesn't like.
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Sunday May 11, 2008 @02:27PM (#23370370) Homepage

    Here's how this is going to work. You pick one of those quotes, any one of them, and I will shred your interpretation to shit.
    What's the point? If someone hands you a "kill the infidel" quote, you'll claim it's out of context and that it was referring to killing the oppressor, completely handwaving the fact that the writer chose the word "infidel" and not "oppressor". There's no point arguing with people who choose to get their morality from fanciful thousand year old bullshit mythology, be it Islam, Christianity, Judaism, or whatever. They've already demonstrated a clear unwillingness to listen to reason on the subject, choosing instead to blindly follow dogma.
  • by dg__83 ( 1285800 ) on Sunday May 11, 2008 @03:08PM (#23370620)
    This crap is going to become more and more prevalent in Canada, the US, Britain, etc., and I'm not sure exactly how it can be stopped.

    The problem is that a large portion of the population cannot be reasoned with (to put it lightly). To many people an unassailable argument (i.e., one that sounds good) in support of these star chambers would be this:

      "Free speech is an important right, but it's no more important than the right of minorities to not be exposed to hate speech."

    It's just a soundbyte, but even dissecting this requires quite a bit of thought (way more than the typical couch potato is used to). For instance, the underlying meaning expressed within that sentence might could be conceptualized something like this (and even this is a HUGE simplification):

    "Free speech is an important right..."
    free_speech -> right [CATEGORY]

    "...the right of minorities to not be exposed to hatred..."
    not be exposed to hatred -> right[CATEGORY], [CLASS] = minorities

    "...no more important than the right of minorities to not be exposed to hate speech."
    free_speech (right, all/undefined) >= not_exposed_to_hate (right, minorities)

    From here you could derive further things implied by the original statement that someone accepting it would also have to accept (e.g., free speech must not be the most important right, or not all groups of people possess the same rights), and challenge ambiguities (what is hate speech? Who are minorities?), then based on those responses further refine your conceptual model of the person is saying, derive implications, and repeat... (In a perfect world it would be possible to repeat this until either one realized his beliefs were based on flawed logic, or that either side's beliefs were both logically sound and reached different conclusions only because they had a different opinion on some fundamental principle).

    But it's never going to happen like that. There's surely flaws in my logic, things I've overlooked, or left ambigious. However, at least it's a framework for how two smart people could go about resolving an issue. Unfortunatley, I believe that most people's brains would operate more like this (I wish I could say this was a simplification):

    "Free speech is an important right..."
    Yeah! Good! Freedom!!!

    "...right of minorities..."
    Minorities -> victims, need help *sympathy* ->help them with rights!!

    "..hate speech."
    HATE?!!! omg! Nazis!!! KKK!!! :(

            helping minorities = good
            free speech = good + hate speech
            hate speech = bad

                      free speech - hate speech + helping minorities
                    = (good + bad) - bad + good
            = good + bad - bad + good
            = SUPER GOOD!!!!!!!111oneoneone :)

    Add to this that those possessing the subjective, emotion responsive brains are going to be disproportionatley represented in fields like political science (which are the feeders for the intelligencia class - media academia, law, politics, etc.) and bullshit like Human "Rights" Commissions should surprise no one. The shrieking fanatic calling everything that moves a racist tends to drown out at any appeal to reason.

  • by Free the Cowards ( 1280296 ) on Sunday May 11, 2008 @06:36PM (#23372272)
    And the alcoholic supposedly has the ability to just stop drinking. And yet, for many alcoholics this is extremely difficult and takes a very long time to accomplish, if they ever manage to do it at all. So it is with democratic countries doing the right thing.

    Of course this shouldn't apply just to democratic countries. In a totalitarian country, "all" the populace has to do is rise up as one and overthrow their tyrannous rulers.
  • Re:Hate Speech? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara...hudson@@@barbara-hudson...com> on Sunday May 11, 2008 @08:07PM (#23372810) Journal

    Look at the people pushing it. Warren Kinsella has a history of being a Liberal party hack. He had his 15 minutes of semi-fame long ago, and will do anything to try to get back into some sort of "spokesperson" role.

    The law was well-intentioned. It was to provide protection to groups of people akin to the prohibition against "shouting fire in a theatre". Unfortunately, it doesn't work when people subvert it with their own agendas. As a practical matter, it may not be possible for it to work, period, and if that's the case, it should be scrapped.

    Run by reasonable people, it could work. Problem is, everyone thinks they're "reasonable", and almost nobody else is as "reasonable" as them ...

    If soneone's an asshole, I should be able to say so without fearing being hauled before a tribunal under the pretext of a "hate crime." Reasonable people will be able to figure out who's telling it like it is, and for the rest, why would I give a flying f*ck what they think?

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.