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Monday, March 31, 2008

Lemieux: Why defend free speech?

In his latest column for the Western Standard and Liberty in Canada, Pierre Lemieux offers his defense of freedom of speech and expression.

Pierre argues that freedom of speech needs to be permitted even for "despicable opinions" (like those of the neo-Nazis) because this freedom is the best way to discover the truth, to share these discoveries with others, to advance scientifically and economically, to temper the powerful, and because censorship requires political power and we have no reason to expect the politically powerful to be more enlightened than the rest of us.

An excerpt:

"That these laws were often used against alleged neo-Nazis does not matter, for free speech must be defended up to, and including, the expression of despicable opinions. Lately, as was to be expected, the "human rights" commissions (there are provincial ones, too) have been going after other targets.

"Talking about Nazis, it is worth noting that the real ones were also great fans of speech bans. Section 23 of the 1920 program of the National Socialist German Workers Party called for a "legal fight against conscious
political lies."... A Nazi government decree of March 21, 1933, aimed to punish "[a]nybody who intentionally creates or publishes a false or seriously misleading piece of information that could gravely undermine the... Reich." Statists have a way to be similar across time and place." Read More...

Posted by westernstandard on March 31, 2008 in Western Standard | Permalink


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Perhaps the reason to "permit" it (my how we sound so Islamic already is a mystery to me) is because it is guaranteed in the Charter???

Posted by: bcf | 2008-03-31 11:47:01 AM

Speach of any kind should not be permitted because that implies the government grants the permission. What they can give they can take. Instead, the people should be protected from the government taking away natural rights.

Posted by: TM | 2008-03-31 12:13:45 PM

I agree 100% and thus libel and defamation law which can be abused by anyone that knows the courts better than a defendant could abuse it and should be abolished along with the HRC's

Posted by: Merle | 2008-03-31 12:55:30 PM

Free speech is paramount. It is stifled not only by Human Rights Commissions but also by arms of the government such as the CRTC. But who's going to stand up for free speech in Canada? Keith Martin tried, while the Tories are staying quiet on the HRC's abuses.

Posted by: Buchanan | 2008-03-31 9:59:08 PM

Buchanan it can also be stiffled through silly defamation cases in Canadian courts-not only with the HRC's

Posted by: Merle | 2008-04-01 7:35:11 AM

Why I dignify your silly remarks I dont know, but I will humour you with this. 1st of all who the H are you???? no real name? rathe cowardly.
Secondly read the Lemiux again and finally you seem the one to be worried as I am not

Posted by: Merle | 2008-04-01 7:58:03 PM

oops there were some typos there in that last post:

Why I dignify your silly remarks I dont know, but I will humour you with this. 1st of all who the H are you???? no real name? rather cowardly.
Secondly read the Lemieux article again and finally you seem the one to be worried as I am not

Posted by: Merle | 2008-04-02 7:41:43 AM

Interesting, the Nazi law is more liberal than the HRC law. The Nazi decree at least says that a statement should be "false or seriously misleading" before it can be prosecuted for offending their favored group ("the Reich"). The HRCs don't even require that. With them, the only requirement for a conviction is that a favored group--the definitions of which are constantly expanding--feel offended.

The Nazis may or may not have actually adhered to their law in the enforcement of it--I don't know, but I do know that the HRCs have set a very low standard in their arbitrary enforcement and contempt for procedure. The HRCs did not leave much room for the Nazis to be worse in this regard.

Posted by: Ted S. | 2008-04-03 6:31:51 AM

Ebt I am not stupid enough to offer you my defence as far asI know you are Ezra himself.
The fact is you oppose what Pierre Lemieux has written not me.
You limit free speech not me.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-04-03 7:19:38 AM

Ridiculous. Free speech is in debate now because the likes of homophobes want to justify their abusive language. The same goes with racists and anti-semites. Abusive speech should never be free.

Posted by: Rob | 2008-05-05 10:08:29 PM

Rob: You are right. It is ridiculous. We already know that the good government bureaucrats are deciding which opinions we are allowed to have. Why are these people now insisting on being allowed to think for themselves? It's so ... un-progressive!

Posted by: Ted S. | 2008-05-08 4:02:43 AM

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