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Friday, May 08, 2009

Intellectual freedom in Canada and elsewhere - 1 of 3

Update: Wintery Knight writes to say that actually there are two "hate crimes" bills. HR 1913 protects, in his words, weird groups and HR 1966 criminalizes harassing public figures via blogging.

Well, I am an old woman, so I tend to simplify matters.

1. Weird groups: Like the Jim Jones cult? Paedophile rings? Guys who go on sex tourism cruises to eastern Asia or buy a little girl as a "bride"? Who, exactly, wants to pay taxes to protect these people from natural* justice? What is the matter with Americans these days?

2. Harassing public figures by blogging is a completely ridiculous offence. Anyone can turn off their computer or their TV. I used to have this row going all the time with people who were denouncing American pundette Ann Coulter. I don't have time to watch much TV and only read a portion of one book by Ann Coulter (which was probably heavily edited by someone who knows something about the intelligent design controversy). But no matter.

All I ever said was, you give Coulter whatever power she has by watching, listening, carrying on, demanding laws against her. If, on the other hand, you just changed the channel ...

*Natural justice: Not Darwin's "nature red in tooth and claw." In the Catholic tradition, natural justice is the justice that a typical human community, in its right mind, would think right. It wouldn't include sex tourism in Eastern Asia, you can be sure of that.

By the way, Wintery Knight has been linked by a major Canadian blog.

Back to the main post:

Wintery Knight tells me that Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute says that this bill would allow the state to send bloggers who "harass" public figures to jail for up to two years. Eugene Volokh of the Volokh Conspiracy says that it is unconstitutional.

Quite honestly, I don't think talk of the "First Amendment" will end up amounting to much in the United States. People who want the government to pay their mortgages and put gas in their cars have no business pretending to be a free people. Like, speaking of indebtedness and gas in the same sentence, well ...

Knight also notes his post on the current US hate crimes bill. Americans who want to know how that will turn out should read him, but also Ezra Levant's Shakedown and Mark Steyn's Lights Out. Basically, objective standards of injury disappear and are replaced by standards based on the self-proclaimed victim's "feelings."

Of course, that would be completely unworkable, except for one thing: Certain groups are deemed "victim" groups, and theirs are the feelings that matter. It's an excellent industry for professional busybodies. Not so good for businesses that depend on selling goods or services.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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