This blog provides stories that Denyse O'Leary, a Toronto-based journalist, has found to be of interest, as she covers the growing intelligent design controversy. It supports her book By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg 2004). Does the universe - and do life forms - show evidence of intelligent design? If so, Carl Sagan was wrong and so is Richard Dawkins. Now what?
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Expelled film screens in Canada June 28, 2008
See this update also: Screenwriter Kevin Miller tells me that fifty screens are confirmed. June 12, 2008
I just heard from Walt Ruloff, executive producer of the Expelled film (about the ID guys) that the film WILL be coming to Canada June 28, 2008.
There will be at least 10 theatres in Toronto, 2-3 in other key locations.
There will be press screenings, and the publicist is Virginia Kelly of Kelly & Associates.
A Shadow falls across Canada - what does it mean for the ID community in the United States?
Observing the ongoing collapse of civil liberties in Canada, Bill Dembski of Uncommon Descent asked me,
As I recall, Judge Jones in his ruling used the word "disparage" in relation to Darwin and his theory, attempting to put pressure on those who might want to disparage Darwin in the public school context. How soon before it is illegal to disparage Darwin in the U.S.?
Re "disparage" as a cue word, Bill was thinking, of course, of a recent punishment handed out by the Alberta "human rights" commission - one of fourteen shadow tribunals - to a Christian pastor, who had spoken out against the gay lifestyle (more below).
The rapid advance of fascism with a "human" face in Canada only became common knowledge in the United States recently, when popular columnist Mark Steyn was dragged before the BC tribunal.
To bring you up to date swiftly on Canada's tribunals, I will simply quote Rich Lowry's "Mark Steyn: Enemy of the State" summary this morning:
The country is dotted with human-rights commissions. At first, they typically heard discrimination suits against businesses. But since that didn't create much work, the commissions branched out into policing "hate" speech. Initially, they targeted neo-Nazis; then religious figures for their condemnations of homosexuality; and now Maclean's and Steyn.
The new rallying cry is, "If I hate what you say, I'll accuse you of hate." The Canadian Islamic Council got the Human Rights Tribunal in British Columbia and the national Canadian Human Rights Commission (where proceedings are still pending) to agree to hear its complaint. It had to like its odds.
The national commission has never found anyone innocent in 31 years. It is set up for classic Alice-in-Wonderland "verdict first, trial later" justice. Canada's Human Rights Act defines hate speech as speech "likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt." The language is so capacious and vague that to be accused is tantamount to being found guilty.
And the remedies can be bizarre, as in this Alberta decision, "the most revolting order I have ever seen in Canada", according to civil rights lawyer Ezra Levant. It includes, among many outrageous conditions imposed on an Alberta Christian pastor:
Boissoin can never -- ever -- communicate anything "disparaging" about gays. It's a lifetime ban -- and it applies to every conceivable medium, including his private e-mails.
Before I go on to answer Bill's question about "disparagement" creep, I should mention that another large - and largely unknown - story is the credible accusations of wrongdoing against the federal Commission itself, such as Levant and others detail. (Yes, Levant has been charged too.)
Here is a summary he gave before the Canadian Association of Journalists' meeting this year:
Please note that the original video was removed from YouTube earlier today because of defamation claims, so you may be exposing yourself to a risk is you view this. (You may be exposing yourself to the risk of stunting of the spirit if you don't.)
However , keep in mind that the Commissions operate without most of the legal constraints to which conventional courts are bound. They secure many more convictions that way. In sum, it is not clear that the activities Levant details in the video - howver outrageous - are even wrong.
When your rights have been taken away, the bad things that the government does to you are not wrong.
So, could fascism with a "human" face attack the American ID community? That is, will there be a "human right" not to hear Darwin or Darwinism disparaged or challenged?
Having watched the soft tumour of fascism grow slowly over the decades in Canada, I have some thoughts to offer to Americans:
1. Wake up! "Human rights" are already eroding civil rights in the States - but the problem is currently concentrated on campuses. As FIRE ably documents, American campuses are already legendary for rampant, perhaps growing illiberalism.
When the students who have thrived under such conditions achieve power, they will institute, extend, and defend the only regime they have ever known to American society at large.
Of course there is hope. Free minds put no price tag on intellectual freedom, and academic freedom rockumentaries are beginning to appear ...
2. Who drives the process? Because current high-profile cases in Canada are brought by a few unrepresentative Muslims or gays, some Canadian commentators - mistaking the smoke for the fire - attack those groups, thus dividing society and making some group members feel safer with fascism.
To fight fascism's new "human" face effectively, please get this straight: The groups encouraged to vent complaints to kangaroo courts did not create those courts. The social engineers who in fact created them will just as readily persecute Muslims as Christians - when it suits their interests.
In fact, Turkish commentator Mustafa Akyol tells me that similar activists do precisely that in Turkey. And who would be very surprised if the human rights thugs here take down some gay guy who evangelizes against the gay lifestyle?
See, the point is not that some groups are favoured and others are not but that some grievances promote the "human" face of fascism and others do not. So the useful complaints are warmly welcomed. And favourable decisions extend Commission creep into more and more areas of society. That's the real agenda.
3. Ignore legacy media: Don't expect the legacy media to be much help. In fact, as the National Review editors noted recently, most Canadian media ignored the hearings, even though the hearings vitally concern their interests. That's no surprise because no one knows who is next or for what complaint, and few can afford to represent themselves during the costly proceedings that would ensue.
But there is another factor as well: Embittered mediocrities play a key role in promoting "human" fascism. Civil rights are small comfort, after all, to a Canadian journalism professor who may never, in his entire harrumphing life, write a paragraph that compares with Mark Steyn's prose tossed off almost at random. It suits such a fellow's interests to silence Steyn. After all, it just isn't fair, is it?
So do not assume that all media oppose soft fascism. For many, it is an excuse not to take risks with their coverage. They will apprise you that government minders won't let them and they do their utmost to appear virtuous.
4. Some Americans imagine that a "conservative" government will provide protection. As if. The current Canadian government - which, for all practical purposes, supports the "human rights" racket - is "Conservative." And to see how the province of Alberta's perennial Conservative government has behaved, here's the view from the EZ:
I think I was unfair to Lori Andreachuk, the thug on the Alberta "human rights" commission who recently ordered a pastor to publicly renounce his religious faith. Yes, Andreachuk is a bully. Yes, she is a destroyer of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and an underminer of justice. Yes, she is positively un-Canadian in her values. Everything I said about her was true. But I think I left the implication that her fascist decision was hers alone. It wasn't.
It was a direct result of her boss and political patron, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach. Let me explain. ....
And Levant does explain - how a Conservative government backed, promoted, and supported the infamous ruling.
Now, a Democratic administration in the United States will probably move much more rapidly to implement fascism with a "human" face. But a Republican administration will probably find it just as convenient an instrument, and do little or nothing to get rid of it later.
Reality check: Once civil liberties are lost, they are immensely difficult to recover, as many Canadians are finding, to our sorrow.
5. Some Americans will tell you that the large Christian population in the United States will be a bulwark. Again, as if.
Christianettes fit so neatly into the "human" face of fascism. They can help Christians recover from state muggings or - much worse! - encourage them to use the corrupt and abusive tribunals to try to expand their "rights" - in other words, their right to be the tyrant instead of suffering under the tyrant. I've seen Chrstianettes in both modes. My rebukes are evidence of "hate," of course - or, seen from another perspective, sanity.
6. Some will actually argue that the "human" face of fascism restrains "hate." For example of hate, they cite the Rwanda massacres of the Nineties and the rise of Nazi Germany in the Thirties.
Re Rwanda, there is no comparison. Fascism with a human face did not get started in order to prevent generally unarmed and non-violent Canadians from massacring their neighbours. And Nazi Germany? Well, about that I learned something quite interesting recently: As Mark Steyn writes in Maclean's (yes, the first big magazine that has been charged):
"Remarkably, pre-Hitler Germany had laws very much like the Canadian anti-hate law. Moreover, those laws were enforced with some vigour. During the 15 years before Hitler came to power, there were more than 200 prosecutions based on anti-Semitic speech. And, in the opinion of the leading Jewish organization of that era, no more than 10 per cent of the cases were mishandled by the authorities. As subsequent history so painfully testifies, this type of legislation proved ineffectual on the one occasion when there was a real argument for it."
Actually, all Hitler had to do was invoke Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, which gave him the right to place his "reasonable limits" on "freedom of the press, freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom from unlawful search and seizure and surveillance of postal and electronic communications." Just the sort of free hand the Commissions and Tribunals of Canada are learning to love.
7. Lastly, please stuff a red sock in the mouth of anyone who says that no Canadians are fighting back. Yes, many Canadians were born infected with the Trudeau virus and they love their Nanny Monster, and strive to be like her in every respect - and are largely succeeding.
But many Canadians were born immune. And others, from all communities, are rapidly acquiring immunity.
Oh yes, you will hear greasy excuses for the "human" face of fascism, along with insinuations against the resistance. Believe what you want. You are entitled,for now. But consider this declaration from 1960 (before the United States civil rights marches):
I am a Canadian, a free Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.
Prime Minister Rt. Hon. John Diefenbaker , July 1, 1960, House of Commons * enshrined in the Canadian Bill of Rights