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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Freedom needs a better defence

Mckeeversmall_3 Paul McKeever, lawyer and leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario and Canada, weighs in on Ezra's appearance before the Alberta Human Rights Commission. While he thinks Ezra has the right conclusions, Paul thinks Ezra's arguments leave much to be desired.

In "Freedom needs a better defence," Paul offers his diagnosis of the problems with Ezra's arguments, and offers his own defence not just for freedom of speech and expression, but for freedom in general.

Excerpt:

"The only thing worse than not defending freedom is defending it so poorly that one's audience is left thinking maybe freedom is not defensible. Consider Ezra Levant, who is currently responding to a human rights complaint for his allegedly "offensive" publication of the famous Muhammad cartoons. Ezra condemns our human rights commissions' procedural and evidentiary standards for not being court-like. He thereby implies that censorship would be acceptable did our commissions have court-like standards." Read on...

Posted by westernstandard on February 6, 2008 in Western Standard | Permalink

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Comments

I have watched Ezra Levant's defense. It was passionate and reasoned. The pasiion was the most important part.

Your nit picking diatribe goes nowhere useful. Our freedoms were secured with blood, not ink. That ink is what has been used to erode those rights.

Posted by: Bill MacLean | 2008-02-06 5:35:37 AM


Blood? Did I miss a part of Ezra's video?


No person ever won freedom by fighting without first knowing what he was fighting for: people fight for a reason. "Passion" unguided by reason is a blind but trigger-happy soldier. Passion guided by irrational reasons is a keen-eyed sniper who kills friendlies.


"Freedom" is a word used by virtually every political leader in the world throughout history. But it has meant very different things to each. Hitler, for example, fought in the name of what he called "freedom". So did George Washington. Yet they defined freedom in almost diametrically-opposed ways. One man was irrational, the other relatively rational; one man was evil, the other fairly good. "Passion" was not "the most important part" of what they did: we distinguish these historical examples - conceptually and ethically - by their rationality and by the reasons pursuant to which their respective soldiers passionately shed blood.


Had Germany's soldiers been rational - had they considered reason, not passion, the most important part of their ends and means - Hitler would never have risen to power and, I'd wager, the holocaust and the second world war would never have happened.


In short: don't be so swift to dismiss the importance of defining your goal properly, and of arguing only in favour of that goal.

Posted by: Paul McKeever | 2008-02-06 7:41:37 AM


"The only thing worse than not defending freedom is defending it so poorly that one's audience is left thinking maybe freedom is not defensible."

"In short: don't be so swift to dismiss the importance of defining your goal properly, and of arguing only in favour of that goal."

Both of these are right. But they highlight an important question that Ezra's fans seem to overlook: Just what IS his goal? People assume that his goal is the defence of freedom, but in his testimony Ezra made it clear that when he engages in public debates he doesn't care at all whether or not he convinces anyone that he is right. If advancing the cause of freedom were his goal, then surely he would care. So that can't be his goal. Then what is?

Well, over the course of many years Ezra has proved that his most central goal whatever he does is self-promotion. He wants to be seen as a player on the big stage, a person who "matters". People who agree with him as well as those who disagree with him on the issues have often pointed this out and there is more than ample evidence of it. So if Ezra's chosen defense of freedom seems less than ideal, it might be because freedom is not the goal.

Ezra's goal is to make himself the centre of attention, the belle of the ball. His strategy is well designed to do that.

As for the issue of freedom, some (like Paul) think that the entire human rights act needs to go. Others (like me) think that only the hate speech provisions need to go. But both of us can (and should) agree that attcking the process under which the Western Standard has been challenged and mixing complaints about restrictions on freedom with rants about "radical middle-eastern trained Imams" won't do anything but distract from the cause of freedom. They draw attention away from the cause and onto the spokseman. Which, in the end, is just what Ezra REALLY wants.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-02-06 8:05:02 AM


.... "it is implied that...."

and this from a lawyer. The freedom of speech sections must be removed from the HRCs. Period.

Posted by: calgary clipper | 2008-02-06 8:06:23 AM


Suffice to say fact check I could not agree with you more 100%.
It is and always will be about EZRA- see I even did it.
Shame on me shame.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-02-06 9:17:58 AM


How nice of the wanna be Kreskins to grace us with their visions on the motives of Ezra.

Posted by: Bocanut | 2008-02-06 9:35:45 AM


lol wannabe. I worked for the man for 3 years I know him quite well. So sorry you cant look at the issue and simply ignore it.
What the %$#@&^ is a kreskin anyhow?
Ezra often has good points, but as Preston Manning said in his book Ezra cant seem to show good judgement on issues of when to sue etc etc and when not to.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-02-06 9:40:28 AM


I for one do not care what Levant's motives are,
just as long as this issue is kept on the front-burner. It's high time something like this was challenged and Levant took it on. The AHRC decision will ultimately affect all of us.
Not being totally unfamiliar with the workings of the civil service, my bet will be that he will be found guilty " based on the guidelines that we at the AHRC are bound by". The AHRC will then ackonowledge that he presented some "interesting points" that should be dealt with in another
venue and will encourage him to appeal the decision to a higher authority.
That way the AHRC saves face while still enforcing their mandate, gets to pass this hot potato issue on to others and goes back to their
regularly scheduled programming.

Posted by: atric | 2008-02-06 10:01:48 AM


Merle:
Here you go
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kreskin.

Is the issue here your personal argument with Ezra,fact check's personal knowledge of Ezra's motives or the article posted?

Posted by: Bocanut | 2008-02-06 10:10:43 AM


Does one have a right not to be insulted? Does government has to protect such a right? My answer is big "NO"! "A "right" is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man's right to his own life." (Ayn Rand,” Man’s Rights," The Virtue of Selfishness, 93.) Such a right can be denied only by using of physical force. This is so called negative right. "Right" not to be insulted is positive right, that is -it has to be provided, granted by society and again by using force. But right which is provided by force is contradiction in terms; its beneficiary doesn't enjoy it by right but by permission. The only justification of using force by individual or by government is retaliation against those who initiate the use of force. Insult is not initiation of coercion. It is an opinion. it can be right or wrong or even amoral, but it cannot stop people to deploy their own minds and use their value-judgment. Censorship can and will. Censorship is moratorium on minds. As in today culture of positive rights people think that they are entitled to material values provided by others -like jobs, electricity, health service and so on, so they think they entitled to the right not to be insulted-without even to consider the possibility that they maybe well deserved to be insulted (like in case of Mohammed cartoons).What they don't realize is that by crying "censorship" they negate all inalienable rights altogether and live not by right but by permission, by whim of bureaucrat who will decide for them how to think.

Posted by: Leonid | 2008-02-06 11:44:43 AM


Fact Check,

Excellent points.

I have one (perhaps more charitable?) explanation for the kind of free speech argument Ezra Levant offered to the AHRC. First, here is Paul's synopsis of the argument:

"Ezra says censorship is wrong for this reason: we have (he submits) a long history of laws that disallow it. In other words: our laws (allegedly) against censorship are just because they are old."

As Paul says, this argument isn't very good, because, as a matter of fact, unjust laws can exist, and they don't become just solely because they're allowed to stay on the books for X amount of time. If anything, longevity just makes the injustice even worse.

Philosophically, Ezra's argument troubles me. Rhetorically, though, there's a good reason to argue the way he's arguing. To wit, Canadians (like most post-moderns) are uncomfortable talking about justice as a moral concept. Indeed, they're uncomfortable talking about morality at all.

After all, what's morality, but the opinions of the ruling class, or "dead white men", or merely a matter of opinion, or something like that? And no, that's not what I believe, but in making moral arguments I've certainly encountered this kind of resistance.

At least in referring to a body of law, Ezra can (supposedly) avoid that controversy. The law is just "there", indisputably, and personal opinion is irrelevant to its interpretation (and no, I don't exactly believe this, either, but, again, this is what some people seem to think about the law.)

Of course, in mostly ignoring morality, Ezra's strategy achieves a phyrric victory at best. People aren't going to be moved to support freedom of speech merely because someone points out an inconsistency between the Human Rights Act and a few centuries of common law.

At least fundamental American law claims to track some kind of external moral reality, from which it can derive additional authority. That authority means conflicts within the law really matter, because they're also conflicts between law and moral truth.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-02-06 11:58:00 AM


The Instigators of Human Rights Commissions (HRCs)?
By Stephen J. Gray

“What a strange place Canada is in 2008,…where fundamentalist Muslims use hate-speech laws drafted by secular Jews,…”
(Ezra Levant, Globe and Mail, January 21, 2008.)

Who were the instigators of HRCs that are the cause of the attacks on freedom of speech and freedom of expression in Canada? According to Ezra Levant who has been dragged before the HRCs it was “illiberal elements.” And he went on to say this: ‘…I blame the Jews. A generation ago, illiberal elements in the "official" Jewish community pressed Canadian governments to introduce laws limiting free speech.’ (Globe and Mail, January 21, 2008.)

Mr Levant went on to say in the Globe and Mail article that the people taking him to the HRCs were, “…using the very precedents set by the Canadian Jewish Congress.”

Which makes one wonder, why would a powerful organization like “the Canadian Jewish Congress” not realize that the very “laws” that they “pressed Canadian governments to introduce” could also be used against Jewish people. After all, what’s sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander, as the saying goes.

But, not only Jewish people are being dragged before the HRCs. Before they came for the Jews, the HRCs came for Chris Kempling, Scott Brockie, Knights of Columbus, Stephen Boissoin, Bishop Henry and others. Now Catholic Insight magazine, the Christian Heritage Party and MacLean's magazine are now under the guns of the HRCs. Nobody is safe from these appointed interrogators of totalitarian bent. So what can be done to return freedom of speech and freedom of expression to Canadians?

I believe the HRCs must be abolished. Governments appointed them, therefore, governments can disband them. I would also make the suggestion that perhaps “the Canadian Jewish Congress,” who “pressed Canadian governments to introduce laws limiting free speech” now press Canadian governments to disband the HRCs.

Stephen J. Gray
Feb. 6, 2008.
[email protected] website: http://www.geocities.com/graysinfo


Posted by: Stephen J. Gray | 2008-02-06 12:06:48 PM


One can always sit back to find fault and offer all kinds of philosophical comments and criticisms after the fact. Yes, there may be "better" arguments, but I must ask just where were all these people now giving all kinds of advice when the HRCs were denying Canadians freedom of speech. Where were they when Mr. Levant and the WS were attacked? Where were they when so many other victims prior to him were attacked?

Sorry but now is not the time for such intellectual masturbation.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-02-06 12:17:50 PM


While Ezra's battle, in general, is a battle for free speech, Ezra's testimony in front of the AHRC was his personal position regarding the reasons for the publishing of the Muhammad cartoons and Ezra's contempt for the AHRC for summoning him which amounted to persecuting Ezra's free speech, wasting Ezra's time, and annoying Ezra.

I commend Ezra for the risk he took in publishing the Muhammad cartoons, which risk he takes single responsibility for knowing he might end up in front of the AHRC.

I also commend Ezra for making lemons into lemonade and salvaging some personal benefit from the AHRC's persecuting Ezra's free speech, wasting Ezra's time, and annoying Ezra.

Ezra has made many other eloquent defences of free speech on the Shotgun blog, in the Western Standard magazine and in other public appearances.

Posted by: Speller | 2008-02-06 12:18:30 PM


RightGirl: Framing this as a battle against the "Islamists" makes me doubt your commitment to freedom of speech and expression.

This has nothing to do with that particular battle. This has to do with the principle that everyone--including "Islamists"--should be free to say what's on their mind. Would you extend them that freedom, or would you shut them up if you had control of the CHRC?

The central question isn't whether or not you should get to say what you think is best, but whether just anybody, including those groups whose opinions you virulently disagree with, should be free to espouse those opinions without fear of some government body showing up at their doorstep with duct tape for their mouth.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-02-06 12:29:12 PM


Alain,

'Yes, there may be "better" arguments, but I must ask just where were all these people now giving all kinds of advice when the HRCs were denying Canadians freedom of speech.'

I have been blogging about free speech issues for a long time. Even prior to the complaint against the Western Standard, I'd written about Scott Brockie, and told many other Americans about him. I've also told Americans countless times about the Charter's abominable Section 1, which, in my mind, is the root of most of our problems.

Given all that, I didn't mean to imply that Ezra's strategy wasn't the best one _given_ the situation (e.g. an apathetic Canadian public prone to delusions of moral relativism, the AHRC format itself, etc.)

It's more the defects of the situation I was lamenting than Ezra's "legalistic" argument itself. He probably could make a moral argument, but would any Canadians listen to that?

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-02-06 12:30:17 PM


Terrence,

You quote Paul's claim that Ezra's argument is that "our laws (allegedly) against censorship are just because they are old." I agree with you and Paul about what is wrong with the argument; I just am not sure that it *IS his argument. He said that it is his right "as a free born man" to publish the cartoons. I take his references to the history of free speech in law not as an argument for its continuation but to point out that this "inalienable right" (a phrase he also uses) has been recognized for a long time, so this repression of speech is something new. It's more an expression of exasperation or disbelief on his part, then, to mention the Magna Carta etc. It's also a silly reaction, because just as old as the tradition of free speech in law is, there is as long a tradition of speech being restricted in western democracies.

But it might be worth pointing out here, however, that the argument from tradition was EXACTLY the argument that many conservatives DID use on the issue of same sex marriage. All the talk of the "traditional" definition made that explicitly clear. Then, just as with free speech, the argument from tradition is a bad one (pace Alasdair MacIntyre). It also is one more often given by conservatives (which isn't surprising given the general definition of the word "conservative").


Jaws,

"RightGirl: Framing this as a battle against the 'Islamists' makes me doubt your commitment to freedom of speech and expression."

RightGirl? Islamists? I don't see a comment from her about this here, but... I agree with your comment. In fact, it reflects my comment about Ezra's repeated diatribe about "radical middle-eastern trained Imams". It's part of why I don't believe that he cares about free speech as much as he cares about his speech (or his own public profile). Free speech advocates should both know and care that Bill Noble has just been sentenced to four months in jail for hate speech ( http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5i7y5nto_mVbCvv4xIaaEhCj94p5g ) and Christopher Holder was just arrested for saying "motherfucker" on a public street ( http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/0205081rap1.html ). It's all a part of the same battle, the same issue.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-02-06 1:14:58 PM


bocanut there is nothing there at all on that link. Personal with Ezra? Other than the fact he is suing both me and Calgary's FFWD for $100,000 for defmation.
Free speech? YA RIGHT!

Posted by: Merle | 2008-02-06 1:25:48 PM


Alain writes:

"Where were they when so many other victims prior to him were attacked? Sorry but now is not the time for such intellectual masturbation."

The answer is this: Freedom Party of Ontario - the party I lead - has a history of actively opposing Human Rights legislation that goes back well before anyone had ever even heard of Ezra Levant. Party founder Robert Metz actually represented a London landlord before the Ontario Human Rights commission, when that man was falsely accused of having discriminated on the basis of race with respect to accomodation. It is a matter of record that the proceedings were facilitated by a United Church Minister, amidst a desire by the church to own the man's buildings. Read the transcripts. I have: all 7 volumes.

Moreover, I have been defending freedom - on TV, on radio, in print, on the campaign trial in numerous elections, at meetings, dinners and conferences - for almost a decade.

I am also a lawyer who, for over ten years, has advised people with respect to dealing with the human rights commission.

Before suggesting that someone hasn't walked the walk, or that they've remained silent while Rome burned, the least you can do is a bit of googling.

Posted by: Paul McKeever | 2008-02-06 1:31:15 PM


Fact Check said "Just what IS his goal?" in his first post.

The AHRC bureacrat said "What were your intentions?" during her interrogation of Ezra.

Fact Check, you just don't get it do you?

Epsi

Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-02-06 1:33:37 PM


Paul, you are a typical firetruck following lawyer anxious that your income stream from useless HRC's is about to dry up.

Epsi

Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-02-06 1:35:12 PM


McKeever walks the walk, I can vouch for that.

Fact Check: There *was* a comment by "RightGirl" to the effect that 'we need to do what we can against the Islamists,' or something like that. Comments like that grate on my nerves. It demonstrates an inability to pay simple attention.

The overwhelming majority of CHRC section 13 complaints have nothing to do with Islam. So why, when we are busy discussing the limits on speech and expression at the hands of that section, do people feel the need to make this issue into a "cultural war," rather than a "freedom of speech war?"

You say "pace Alasdair MacIntyre," but you can add "pace Hayek" to that as well. Hayek thought that justice was "discovered" through certain procedures (particularly in conflict situations). Apart from simple claims like "people should be equal before the law," and "freedom is important," Hayek was skeptical about our abilities to determine justice ex ante. It's what makes Hayek a conservative and traditionalist.

I guess he views ethics, broadly, and justice, more particularly, as the result of something akin to market processes. We don't know what people will want or what they will buy until it's offered on the market. And if a certain company continues to operate for many years in the face of competition, then we've discovered that people tend to like their products (actually, we haven't "discovered" this, it's merely an inference to the best explanation sort of argument, rather than an empirical observation).

But just as the market discovery procedure requires private property, and a free and open market, in order to get good results that are worth a damn, so, too, do we need proper procedures to determine justice. Hayek, in my mind, defends the formal procedures that get us to justice, rather than working with a particular conception of justice from the start.

That makes him a procedural theorist. And it means that tradition, against the right formal background, tells us something about the content of justice.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-02-06 1:48:42 PM


Epsilon: Your accusations are unbelievably unfair. Since you don't know Paul, you wouldn't know the amount of time, energy, and effort he has devoted fighting against the HRC, and for freedom.

If you think he has personally profited from these kangaroo courts, then you're wrong. He hasn't. And his commitment to freedom is sincere and laudable.

His argument, if you haven't bothered to look at his opinion piece, is merely that Ezra's arguments for freedom of speech (at least the one's we've seen in the videos) are bad, and that bad arguments for the right cause should be examined and abandoned. At no point does Paul agree to the hearings, agree with the HRC, or think them in any way legitimate.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-02-06 1:54:50 PM


Jaws,

"You say 'pace Alasdair MacIntyre,' but you can add 'pace Hayek' to that as well."

Who? Salma Hayek? Oh ... right ... Friedrich ;-)

I actually don't know Friedrich Hayek's work well, but your explanation makes it seem much more nuanced and interesting than MacIntyre's ideas. I just might have to check it out sometime. Or maybe I'll just rent "Frida" ....

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-02-06 2:12:39 PM


Fact Check,

You are right: thinking about it, I'm not sure Paul presented Ezra's argument in its entirety. At the same time, there's nothing wrong with a person pointing out that both the law and morality are on his side. That kind of double whammy can have more impact than an appeal to either source of authority on its own would.

On the broader issue of "arguments from tradition," I am somewhat ambivalent. It's true that people make bad arguments based on tradition. It's also true that sometimes it can be unclear what tradition actually amounts to. Consider the following three propositions:

1. If "people" did X a sufficiently long time ago (but perhaps not too long ago!) then tradition supports X.

2. If "people" _believed_ X, an action, was right/wrong a sufficiently long time ago, then tradition supports X, even if the behavior of people at that time was flatly inconsistent with X.

3. If "people" held X, a value, a sufficiently long time ago, then tradition supports X.

Why is 2 different than 3? Well, the "X" in 2 is a specific action (say, intermarriage), whereas the "X" in 3 is a value or principle (say, equal liberty, or somesuch.) Obviously, there's a bit of gray between 2 and 3, but the point of making the distinction is to suggest that people can be wrong about the implications of their values.

They may think, for example, that state-enforced school segregation is consistent with a principle of equal liberty (as some people apparently did.) And they may be wrong about that (this assumes we can have meaningful arguments about morality.)

So, following Hayek, tradition can be an invaluable source of information about the nature of morality, but it need not exhaust the space for moral argument. We can dispute (a) What values and principles are really embodied in tradition; and (b) what the policy implications of those principles actually amount to.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-02-06 2:25:52 PM


I don't think making arguments based on tradition are weak when we live in a nation governed by the tradition of Common Law which is itself based on tradition.

Posted by: Speller | 2008-02-06 2:30:34 PM


Unfair Jaws? Then why is such an esteemed freedom fighter taking shots at such a valuable ally? He should keep his mouth shut despite his personal views and think of the bigger picture.

He is dividing our efforts not enhancing them. Not impressed.

Epsi

Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-02-06 2:47:55 PM


Epsi: Yeah, unfair. I think we should recognize friendly criticism, and hostile criticism. I think Paul's represents the former. Think of it as a strategy session. We need to figure out how best to defend freedom of speech and expression, and this is an "internal" debate about just that. What's unfair is going straight for the ad hominem, and assuming bad motives, rather than addressing the arguments that Paul makes.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-02-06 2:58:12 PM


Shorter Epsilon:

"Jaws and Paul are objectively pro-Islamofascist!!1!"

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-02-06 3:01:47 PM


You attack A government agency for asking the question to why? But ignore why Ezra made the comic!
I guess free speech includes defamation and lieing!
Ezra cannot answer to why he published those comics other then he got paid allot of money to create a negative stigma.
I guess free speech ceases to exist when you get paid to ignore reality and progress an unfounded one!

Posted by: notloz | 2008-02-06 3:24:42 PM


Terrence and Paul - I stand corrected as I admit to not being aware of your past efforts to expose the HR tribunals. My point was that for whatever reason prior to Mr. Levant's case I never ever saw any mention of these abuses in the news. This time is very different with the cases brought against him, Mr. Steyn and Macleans. This however does not mean that your past efforts mean nothing, and I am happy to learn about them.

Hopefully with enough mounting disgust and pressure from more and more people these kangaroo courts will cease to exist.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-02-06 9:20:32 PM


Hey Alain,

No problem, don't worry about it. And you're right: the media has been dreadfully negligent about reporting on the HRC abuses. When I tell Americans what the state of freedom of expression is in Canada, they're typically shocked. But Canadians tend to be just as surprised, and that should strike all of us as kind of odd.

Recently, the local paper, the Toledo Blade, published an op ed I wrote about Ezra's case. From his emails, I could tell even the Blade's editor was incredibly dismayed by the activities of the CHRC. I'm almost sure he hadn't seen Ezra's videos until I mentioned them in the op ed. If I'd sent him an op ed on Scott Brockie or one of the other cases, I'm not sure he would have responded as favorably to my piece. In fact, prior to Ezra's case, I'd had op eds on freedom of speech in Canada rejected by American newspapers.

But Ezra's a far better politician than I am, so he knows how to communicate his position in a way people find compelling. Hopefully, your hopes will come to pass and he will persuade enough Canadians that all of the HRCs will pack up and disappear.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-02-06 9:51:35 PM


Yes Notloz indeed, pehaps to increase circulation of the former WS? maybe?
Opinions are like scratches as everyone has one as do I.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-02-07 7:06:07 AM


regrettably, Mr. McKeever's defenses of freedom don't amount to a hill of beans. Like many Freedom party partisans, Mr. McKeever completely fails to understand the crucial distinctions between FREEDOM and LIBERTY and builds a weak argument that really is no better than Mr. Levant's. In fact, it is probably worse. I don't want to go into a long philosophical treatise here, but it should be obvious that most people have the freedom to jump a couple feet off the ground. This does not mean and can not mean there is a "right to jump up and down" or any similar thing. Mr. Levant is actually closer to the mark in that he recognizes that Rights and Liberties are entirely dependant on social relations within the sociopolitical context - and have nothing to do with any "facts of nature" beyond the one crucial fact that nature gave us certain wants and desires to gether with some ability to think and reason our way to fulfilling those desires.

In other words, Rights and Liberties are quite distinct from freedoms, and that difference is an important consideation that seems to be lost on most Freedom Party members (all 10 of them).

Posted by: Ken Wiebe | 2008-02-07 1:48:33 PM


>"Ezra cannot answer to why he published those comics other then he got paid allot of money to create a negative stigma.
I guess free speech ceases to exist when you get paid to ignore reality and progress an unfounded one!"
notloz | 6-Feb-08 3:24:42 PM

Mr. Levant stated in his interrogation by the AHRC that he published the cartoons for the worst reason that the interviewer could imagine.

That's reason enough for me and reason enough for free speech.

In the publication itself, which was banned many places including libraries in Canadian cities, it was stated that the cartoons were published because publishing them was an exercise in free speech that many media across the globe were too afraid to make.

Does getting a magazine issue, and probably subscriptions, banned seem like a good way to make money, notloz?

Again, I commend Ezra Levant for the risk he took and the personal sacrifice he made upholding his right to free speech.

Ezra is my champion.

Posted by: Speller | 2008-02-07 9:39:57 PM


The author's premise of the inviolability of the rational-economic basis of reality is faulty. It still begs the issue of why something is intrinsically immoral and why Mr. Levant's right to freedom of expression is absolute. Animals would certainly fall within the author's notion of "material reality," but only the Petaists pretend that coercing animals, i.e. eating them, is intrinsically immoral. All moral issues ultimately refer us to the transcendental, or ground, of the human conscience. Its existence is the tacit premise behind all Western law, mores and culture, and its absolute inviolability the basis of all personal rights. As far as I can ascertain its existence does not count for much among Muslims, Marxists or human rights tribunalists.

Posted by: Gordon Tryon | 2008-02-13 8:26:23 PM



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