I Have a Right to Hear ‘Hate’ Speech
Wouldn’t it be nice if the police spent their time policing what people do rather than policing what they say?
Don’t get me wrong. I hate ISIS. And I think anyone—especially a Canadian-born guy—who converts to Islam and Islamism, is an idiot. BUT. The arrest of Aaron Driver for merely twitting support for ISIS is both ridiculous and outrageous. As I understand it, the police have prohibited him from twitting or owning a computer (!!!!!!) Shouldn’t this ring alarm bells for us? What if the government one day designates the Swedish Democrats, or UKIP, or PEGIDA as ‘hate’ groups, and passes a law that stipulates that anyone in Canada who declares support for such organizations be apprehended, held for two weeks, electronically monitored and deprived of communicating over the Internet? I don’t think that scenario is far-fetched. In fact, I see it coming just over the horizon.
If we truly support freedom of expression in this country, we must support freedom of expression for those whose ideas we abhor. Freedom of speech means nothing if it is only to apply to ideas which we approve of. Authorities have the right and the obligation to monitor those who they believe are capable of committing terrorist acts, but I don’t believe they have a right to intercede simply because someone declares his support for terrorists and ‘enemies of the state’.
There is much talk today about youth being “radicalized” by what they read on the Internet. But oddly, little mention is made of youth being radicalized in the ‘One Party’ classrooms of Indoctrination University, where they fed a diet of cultural relativism and anti-Western Leftist propaganda. And there is an abundance of websites that echo that dogma too. Some of them even heap praise upon murderers like Che Guevera. If you are a ruthless killer in the service of “anti-colonialism” you are on the side of the angels.
Can disturbed and alienated individuals be “inspired” to commit acts of violence by what they read? Of course they can. Two of them were “inspired” by reading Catcher in the Rye. Two of them were “inspired” by the Turner Diaries. Many, like Charles Manson, were “inspired” by rock lyrics. At least a hundred thousand Muslims are “inspired” by the Koran to do unspeakable things. Dylan Roof was apparently “inspired” by what he read on some ‘White Nationalist” websites. Some people could even be “inspired” by what they read in the Yellow Pages or on a milk carton.
Every book or speech or website has the potential to inspire angry individuals on the edge to do anything. Does that mean that government should be empowered to ban everything? How far along that road are we going to go? If some speech is to be banned and others not, what objective criteria can be found to determine what is over the line? Who gets to determine what is unacceptable? For ‘Progressives’ the answer is clear: Progressives. The possibility that one day the tables could be turned on them is beyond their comprehension.
I am not prepared to grant any government or any agency of the government the right to decide what is hateful and what is not. If the state has the power to do that, then I am as vulnerable as is any fellow traveller of any cause the government deems unacceptable or dangerous. If this sounds like I am an ‘absolutist’ on this issue, I am not. Obviously there is a difference between voicing support for the actions of violent people, and inciting people to commit violent acts. Even the First Amendment makes allowance for some restrictions on speech. But that is not an open door for the kind of censorship, harassment, intimidation, punishment and persecution we are seeing now, particularly on the Canadian side of the border—and in many European states as well—Sweden and the UK being the best examples. Aaron Driver is not a terrorist or intent on becoming one. He is just a fool. And fools have a constitutional right to be fools.
But this is really not about Aaron Driver’s rights. It is about mine. I have a right to read ‘hate’ literature. I have a right to hear ‘hate’ speech. I have that right because any citizen in an authentic democracy has a right to make up his own mind about whether a given speech is meritorious or nonsensical. If citizens are not to be entrusted with that right, if their judgment is not to be trusted, then why are they given the right to vote? Why bother with elections? Why have a democracy? And why fund universities and college campuses who presently strangle the free exchange of ideas with Orwellian speech codes?
And by the way, the emotional state of a speaker is irrelevant. I don’t care whether a speaker is motivated by hate, love, infatuation envy, greed or any of the deadly sins. I don’t care if he or she is a nasty ‘bigot’ of bad character or Mother Theresa. What matters to me is the content of his speech and its veracity. It’s God’s job to judge character. My job is to judge ideas.
I heard what Mr. Driver’s has had to say about ISIL, as did millions of other TV viewers. I don’t think that any government agency or police force should be authorized to prevent other Canadians from hearing it too. It is as simple as that.
Read this extract from CBC News Manitoba:
Jeff Gindin, who has been a defence lawyer for more than four decades, calls the case unusual. He says it is contrary to all basic principles of criminal law. “So far there’s no real law that I’m aware of that when you think someone might commit an offence that you would then have the right to arrest them prior to that,” said Gindin, who is not representing Driver, but is following the case out of interest.
Using social media for evidence is becoming more common, he said.
“Normally, you need proof beyond a reasonable doubt to charge someone with an offence. Here you have to have some reason to suspect that they may be contributing in some way to terrorist activity,” Gindin said.
Take note of what I have underlined. Be careful about what you say on social media. You are not living in a free country anymore.
PS According to CBC News, Driver grew up in London, Ontario. That doesn’t surprise me. London seems to be the epicentre of far-left lunacy. And the University of Western Ontario must have a lot to do with that. The NDP MP for London-Fanshawe, boomer bimbo Irene Mathyssen, went through the UWO conveyor belt and as could have been predicted, emerged as a mindless moron. I recall a friend of mine locking horns with her some 7 years ago, and her pathetic pathological altruism was evident. When she was reminded that Canada has the highest per capita immigration intake in the world, her biggest beef was that the government was not processing immigrant applications fast enough!
However, even a brainless bimbo has the right to utter nonsense. But the likes of Mathyssen and her political collaborators have no right to deny people who do not share her perspective the right to publically contest it on a level playing field. She and people of her ilk have no right to impose a trendy ‘progressive’ version of sharia-like speech constraints on the infidels of the ‘far right’. She is as much or more an enemy of democracy as Aaron Driver.
June 26, 2015
— “Retain the power of speech no matter what other power you may lose… Do what you will, but speak out always. Beshunned, be hated, be ridiculed, be scared, be in doubt, but don’t be gagged. The time of trial is always. Now is the appointed time” John Jay Chapman – 1900 “Candour before tact, honesty before diplomacy.” Tim Murray – 2006