I was reading through the latest submission in the quagmire otherwise known as 'legal proceedings' in the Mann versus Steyn case.
Clearly, there is some good news and bad news with respect to Steyn's new team of lawyers.
The good news is that they clearly understand that what is at stake is free speech.
The bad news is that they clearly understand that what is at stake is free speech.
(Actually, the good news is really that Steyn has an obvious, natural bounce in his step, judging by the increased volume of delightful essays and every day Steyn ruminations that have been posted on his own web site since parting ways with NRO.)
Anyway. Back to the stakes.
I paricularly liked this phrase:
"Freedom of speech, the glory of our vibrant way of life, should have its day in court.'
It is the glory of our way of life, but should it have its day in court? It's a right enshrined into the very fabric of America. Why must it be on trial? How sad that it must, and therefore how critical to defend it rigorously.
It is pretty shocking that freedom of speech is, in fact, on trial in America.
The Founding Fathers of America had so many good insights into human nature, that they guided and grounded all of the preliminary conversations about America's founding to liberty and freedom.
I am now reading The Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson (first published in 1821, but I'm reading the Dover Edition, 2005).
If you haven't read it, pick it up and refresh your memory about the prophet-like men who so completely understood the failings of human nature, the temptations of tyranny and the very easy slide from 'in power' to complete tyranny that they put the most safeguards into the founding building blocks of America that were humanly possible and conceivable at the time.
Re-read the Declaration of Independence.
It is so magnificent, it is a document that radiates human splendor and respect for liberty. It jumps off the pages. What a gift it is to mankind!
Reading it makes me even more angry about the litigious machines of the left that wish to grind down individual freedoms, using the courts as their own type of personal tool boxes to shut down debate and conversation.
There is no subject that should not be discussed.
Only threats should be investigated and prosecuted. The threat of real harm, that is. Libel is hard to prove and in my view, a waste of time and energy-but I'm not a lawyer.
All other utterances by humans are fair game-name calling, insults, jokes, stereotypes, you name it. That is what freedom means.
If I'm not free to say it, then someone-some human is trying to strong-arm me into not thinking it.
The hell with that.
Any actions that are made up by, and implemented by humans to shape and control speech can only propel humans on a downward slide to decreased liberty. Efforts to control speech and language never lead to an uptick in personal freedom or liberty. Of that, you can be sure.
There are a great many insightful and gripping utterances in this filing, like "abusive litigation", "abusive conduct", "disturbing pattern", "used courts to thwart discovery".
The term "vexatious and financially ruinous litigation designed to quash free speech concerning matters of public interest" is mentioned, along with "widespread recognition of the pernicious problem sassociated with abusive litigation and the need to provide relief to victims".
Steyn"s lawyers are thus suggesting the following:
"When a litigant like Mann misuses the judicial system as an instrument to silence critics
and chill free speech, state action exists. Public discourse on the important subject of the extent of alleged man-made global warming should not be chilled by the threat of tort damages for expressing criticism. Rather, such public debate should be encouraged. Uninhibited and robust public debate depends on a better informed citizenry that can receive and evaluate all sides of an issue. It is essential to self-government."
Based on that assessment, the key question in the Mann versus Steyn case becomes: will the courts confirm that public debate should and must be encouraged?
Will American courts defend the constitutional right to uninhibited and robust public debate?
Do Americans want a better informed citizenry, and what exactly will they do to defend it?
In reality, the fierce battle raging over "Climate Change" in the boardrooms, classrooms, lecture halls, houses of parliament and such, is simply a modern, secular proxy war in the battle between two opposing groups of humans. It is a clash between those who wish for debate to remain open, i.e devotees of freedom and those who wish to shut it down, control our lives and forever shut people up indiscriminately.
Biblical prophets and the Founding Fathers of America knew that the totalitarian instinct never disappears from ambitious, power-hungry humans. It can't be quashed, ever, so the Founders looked to biblical sources to try and craft the most innovative and ingenious human safeguards imaginable.
The current foe of freedom, this new, secular environmentally-camouflaged incarnation of totalitarianism has many disciples,
It takes many forms, and there is much at stake, so stay tuned and fight back where and when you can.