Friday, January 18, 2013

Chris Selley Gets It Right and Wrong on Free Speech

He has written a piece today that I mostly agree with-that there are too many whiners complaining to various governmental and quasi-governmental bodies and private businesses to try to get people to just shut up.

I agree that the solution to the problem of people trying to quash free speech is political. 

The only solution is political. (I'm looking at you Prime Minister Stephen Harper and your majority government.) 

But here's the problem-the conclusion:

"The answer is not to cede the power to punish speech to anyone, because it will always come back to bite people you like. The answer is to hold politicians’ feet to the fire on democratic abuses as much if you happen to like them or their party as if you don’t — if you have their vote, they have your ear — because those abuses, too, will come back to bite you some day. Thankfully, in Canada, the erosion of democracy and free speech hasn’t yet seriously impacted our quality of life. But history shows us nothing good down the path we’re on."

Actually, the erosion of democracy and free speech has already impacted a lot of lives here in Canada.

People are scared to criticize certain people in public for fear of lawsuits.

People are scared to make jokes about things that are-you know-FUNNY-because they are worried about someone complaining to a Human Rights Commission about them, or ruining their business, or destroying their professional reputation. 

People are scared to talk about their politics, about religion, for fear of offending others.

And plenty of Canadian bloggers, newspapers, magazines and individual writers and private business owners have been sued and/or taken to Human Rights Commissions-and have been financially and spiritually ruined by litigious career assholes, members of the Church of the Perpetually and Exquisitely Aggrieved and Offended and their various cheerleaders. Some have fought back, some have retreated. Some have won their battles.

And of course it won't stop at that. It will be sermons, songs, public school curricula-OH WHOOPS-been there, done that.

The real "folly" is that liberty inclined Canadians can't put a stop to it.

Section 13 died, but the war against free speech in Canada continues.