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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Thomas Jefferson & Ezra Levant on freedom of speech

Since it is the fourth of July, I must mention Thomas Jefferson's thoughts on the matter:

"[Montesquieu wrote in his Spirit of the Laws XII,c.12:] 'Words carried into action assume the nature of that action. Thus a man who goes into a public market-place to incite the subject to revolt incurs the guilt of high treason, because the words are joined to the action, and partake of its nature. It is not the words that are punished, but an action in which words are employed. They do not become criminal, but when they are annexed to a criminal action: everything is confounded if words are construed into a capital crime, instead of considering them only as a mark of that crime.'" --Thomas Jefferson: copied into his Commonplace Book.

Former Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant joined John Stossel on his "What's Great About America" TV special to talk about freedom of speech:

Posted by Kalim Kassam on July 4, 2010 | Permalink


I hope Cdns. dont expect Harper to do anything to set things right. Near as I can tell his plan is to study everything Chretien did, and imitate it for everything he is worth. I can hardly wait for him to start talking in a fake French accent he sure has the fake Conservative thing figured out.

Posted by: mikeg | 2010-07-04 4:46:12 PM

This was an interesting show. The segments on free enterprise, and the military were also very informative.

Posted by: dp | 2010-07-04 8:05:58 PM

Watch this if you like hearing solutions for big problems. Google this, CIA Officer Explains New World Orders Demise.

Posted by: mikeg | 2010-07-04 8:58:01 PM

Common sense confirms that it is only actions, that is certain actions, that the law should be concerned with. After all if the state is to criminalise speech, why stop there? Why not go for thoughts since they precede speech? Oh my, I forgot we do have that already with our "hate laws" where the state has a crystal ball and is able to know what thoughts the person had when committing the offence. Silly me!

I agree with mikeg in that the present government has done absolutely nothing to end this problem. Please spare me the excuse of it being a minority government, since it certainly does spring into action to appeal any court decision against the existing CHRC decisions.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-07-04 9:18:11 PM

Ya ya right drink the koolaid folks! Free speech my ass. Ezra sued me for $100,000 because he did not like my printed speech. He was offended by what I said and sued me in court for it! So try some other fool who believes this dribble as I know the truth.

Posted by: Merle Terlesky | 2010-07-05 12:22:29 AM

"What goes on at a defamation trial? Read on and I'll tell you, for I bore witness to the spectacle of the ages".

Yes it may be a spectacle Terrance, but is one that Ezra would have gladly forced me through. You condemn Vigna, but will you condemn Ezra for using the same laws against me??

Posted by: Merle Terlesky | 2010-07-05 12:35:40 AM

Merle, My comment is without any knowledge whatsoever about your situation. What happens between two people is totally dofferent than when it is between the state and a person.

Posted by: TM | 2010-07-05 8:52:49 AM

Merle- Ezra sued you in a real court, for an alleged, real crime.

Posted by: dp | 2010-07-05 8:55:41 AM

Agree with both TM and dp that the subject has nothing to do with a legal disagreement between two individuals. It was in a real court of law and between two individuals, so if Merle has a bone to pick it should be with the law as it is written and applied.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-07-05 11:39:33 AM

Defamation law and suits are indeed a violation of free speech.

They employ government courts, and apply a law designed to protect the privileged classes from society at large -- HRCs are indeed kangaroo courts, but geared toward "empowering" a manufactured victim class against the allegedly powerful in society.

Defamation is not a "dispute" between two people; it is not a crime.

Defamation is merely the formation and expression of an opinion by one person on the activity or character of another.

You do not own your own reputation; your reputation is merely the opinion of others, which is to say, their property, not yours.

The state has no business intervening in the opinions of others, taking sides, nor in attaching in most cases prohibitive costs to sorting out people's opinions of each other. And it bears repeating, the State has no business interfering with the publication of people's opinions of others.

There is only one court that counts in so-called defamation: the court of public opinion.

It is clear that while Mr. Levant rightly objects to "kangaroo courts" like the HRCs, he is only too happy to embrace the free speech-violating powers of the State to sanction the free thought and expression of others' speech when it is not flattering to him.

Anybody who gets excited about the intolerable offenses of the HRCs, yet winks at the greater violations of Defamation Law, is a hypocrite.

Posted by: The Trib | 2010-07-05 1:36:00 PM

Alain: a government court is a government court is a government court.

There is not as much daylight between an HRC court and a "real" court as you would like to imagine.

Certainly any lawyer -- a member of the State's junk legislation club -- would tell you there is a big difference.

Yet Defamation is junk law - a privilege, really, contrived to benefit elites against the "lower" classes.

HRCs may well be more egregious and petty, but that is only because they are more purely political and for show; "real" courts, particularly those geared toward elite privilege, are about protecting the power structure of the status quo -- "little people" are not supposed to challenge their "betters" in our system.

Posted by: The Trib | 2010-07-05 1:41:06 PM

Alain you are so full of BS like many of my fellow Conservatives. Court is court you ass. Ezra did not have to show up in person to that hearing, he could have mailed in a response was fine. He chose to make it a big show and put it on you tube. Another thing is why does a lawyer need to pay a lawyer $100,000 to fight a HRC complaint?? That is total crap. It requires a written response to the allegations is all. Any 1st year law student could and can do it. Ezra talks about 900 days more BS!! That is how long it takes to make its way through the system for any complaint. Ezra calls it accosting his father when I saw him and said congrats on being a grandfather then he lied to Ezra and said I did otherwise. His father is no saint. Amazing how you can have your head so far up Ezra's arse you cant see straight. In the end it cost me $5000 to write my opinion in a news paper.
Trib nailed it as Ezra is a gross hypocrite as is Anne Coulter who also supports defamation law!!!

Posted by: Merle Terlesky | 2010-07-05 1:53:47 PM

Merle- You must work for the government, or at least be a salaried employee. Even more likely, a farmer. You don't seem to be able to fathom the value of someone's time. A lawyer can either pay another lawyer to defend him, or take time away from his own paying job to do the work himself. Either way, pay someone else, or pass up revenue to do the work yourself, it's still "legal fees".

Defamation laws are designed to stop someone from using lies, or rumour, to destroy someone's reputation. If you tell the truth, you can't be sued in a real court. In the HRC's truth is no defense. I see a big difference here.

Posted by: dp | 2010-07-05 2:16:41 PM

@dp: You obviously have no experience with defamation law: you CAN be sued in a "real" court even if you tell the truth.

You do NOT own your reputation. I do. Just as you own mine. Because reputations are OTHER people's opinions. And they -- we -- have the right to express them, whether or not man-made laws acknowledge it.

You also make a gratuitous assertion as to what defamation laws is "designed" to do. You don't know the history of defamation law.

If you believe government courts with costly barriers to entry have the right to rule on differences of opinion applying junk legislation crafted to protect privilege, then say so. But please do not also call this "Freedom of Speech", because it is not.

Which makes your "outrage" at the HRCs a bit rich. Or is it just that you are a fan of one celebrated target of these particular PC violators of free speech?

Posted by: The Trib | 2010-07-05 2:36:41 PM

Has Mr. Levant ever produced an invoice for his oft-cited $100k legal figure?

Or is he just assessing an arbitrary value to the time involved? Of course ANY time dedicated to a battle with the HRC is unjustified theft.

Posted by: The Trib | 2010-07-05 2:39:29 PM

Trib- Instead of going on and on about what I don't know, and what I don't understand, why don't you go f**k yourself instead?

Posted by: dp | 2010-07-05 2:46:29 PM

@dp: I think I will decline your helpful suggestion.

You utter banal and clueless comments on a subject you clearly know nothing about.

You are FACTUALLY flat out wrong regarding defamation law's function, history & practise.

Your empty pronouncements could not possibly be borne of experience.

So when you grab some actual knowledge on the subject, come back and argue with the grown-ups.

Until then, enjoy your delusion that you somehow support freedom of speech. But please -- do it elsewhere.

Posted by: The Trib | 2010-07-05 4:33:45 PM

DP Ezra said it cost him $100,000 in legal fee's and that is BS!!! Secondly his assertion of 900 hours is also crap and he did not need to attend.

its all Ezra Ezra Ezra and his ego!!!

Posted by: Merle Terlesky | 2010-07-05 5:02:25 PM

"Alain you are so full of BS like many of my fellow Conservatives."

Posted by: Merle Terlesky | 2010-07-05 1:53:47 PM

Merle, you assume Alain is a conservative, which I doubt he is. Regardless though, personally I have found that the conservatives are not the only ones that are full of BS. People of all political stripes practice BS equally, without exception. That includes people from your political stripe.

Trib, I am not sure what your are arguing here. I think you mean that wanting to see the HRC's go on the one hand yet supporting defamation law on the other is hypocritical. Since I know nothing about defamtion law I can't say much about this. But if you are instead saying that you support the HRC, then I don't need to know a thing about defamation law to totally disagree with you.

It seems to me though that there is a big difference between someone using the state as a tool against an enemy and the state itself being both the tool and the enemy.

Posted by: TM | 2010-07-05 6:54:19 PM

trible- This is not a debating society, and you are not a moderator, so I urge you, go f**k yourself.

Posted by: dp | 2010-07-05 7:04:18 PM

@ dp: Your display of ignorance and ineptitude and incivility is all that need be known of you.

A period of silence from you would be most welcome.

Posted by: The Trib | 2010-07-05 7:09:16 PM

@TM: I am saying both HRCs and Defamation Law are intolerable assaults on, and completely incompatible with, free speech.

I say further that while one is more political, more show-trial oriented, and less sophisticated (HRCs), the other is not as different as many -- particularly members of the legal priesthood -- would like to believe or have us believe.

Posted by: The Trib | 2010-07-05 7:12:12 PM

dp yes you can still be sued, we went a year before we saw any court room and we never did see one or a judge. I had to endure 8 hours of cross discovery by Ezra and then would have had to pay a recorder to do the same of Ezra then more documents etc. It cost me $1000.00 just to have a defence filed. So save the truth defence BS CRAP POO!!!. Ezra used libel chill as a lawyer and you know it!!!
Until you have been sued by a low life like Ezra then talk tome.
It was a damned letter to the Editor in a left wing publication that did not hold Ezra in high esteem anyhow!!!! For that I had to pay $5000 to get out of it!!!!

Posted by: Merle Terlesky | 2010-07-05 7:20:21 PM

trib- As I said, you are not a moderator. You are not in charge here, and for that matter, your opinions don't seem to be valued. So please, feel free to excuse yourself. Smart-asses who start making arrogant comments are usually the first to be shown the door.

So why don't you just go f**k yourself, and save yourself a lot of grief?

Posted by: dp | 2010-07-05 7:25:47 PM

@dp: You seem a tad dim, so let me speak to you in a fashion even you can comprehend:

a) You are not a moderator, even were it relevant;

b) At no time did I assert, a la Alexander Haig, that I was "in charge here"...but neither are YOU in charge, here; Your yearning for an authority figure is sad, however;

c) I will try to do better and make my comments more congruent with what people here already know and/or believe, so as to have them be more "valued"; that said, I see precious little evidence to suggest yours are held in any measurable esteem whatsoever. Better luck with that in future;

d) However smart-assed you may find my comments, I don't believe, per the long-demonstrated value system of The Shotgun, that I will be censored or "shown the door". You reveal yet again your intellectual and illiberal feebleness and intolerance. My comments pertaining to defamation law were and are based on fact and direct experience; you showed you are ill-equipped to deal with such and prefer to traffic in vacuous opinion and bad language.

e) When it comes to "f**king" oneself, you would appear to be the one with experience; I defer to you, and rather think I would save myself grief by NOT indulging in such perverted behaviour; I leave YOU to this odd pursuit, so eloquently and civilly expressed.

f), Now, dp, I have asked you once to not only acquire facts before coming back to talk to the grown-ups; I have politely asked for a period of silence from you, too. Please do the honourable thing and oblige.

g) Peace out, troll.

Posted by: The Trib | 2010-07-05 9:23:51 PM

I wonder if Merle is posting also under tribe, if not must be family or a friend. In any case spare me the labels; that I must be a conservative for I do not fit into any box or pigeon hole. Both of you are full of it. As I already stated, if you do not agree with the laws in question, then lobby and work to get them changed. Your personal beef with Erza is not the subject.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-07-05 9:24:24 PM

Alain- It isn't Merle, but I agree, it must be a comrade of his. If you haven't noticed, Merle writes with a Ukranian accent. Maybe it's his son. Whoever it is, I really wish he'd piss off. The cliches are really annoying, and if he keeps insulting me, I'll have to get nasty.

I'm not sure how these jokers injected their personal problems into the thread. The original post dealt with a very interesting and important issue. The Fox News special had some statistics that surprised me. Did you know that Americans donate twice as much to charities as Canadians? I'm talking citizens, not governments. What the host of the show overlooked(intentionally?) is that Canadians have been saddled with forced donations through taxation. That seems to put a damper on the spirit of giving.

The segment on racism was interesting too. It's quite amazing that the US went from segregation to electing a black president, in the space of my lifetime. Free speech played a big part in that transition. It exposed all the underlying prejudices to the light of day, and allowed people to examine the source of their beliefs.

Almost every other freedom in the US is kept alive by freedom of speech. All other rights can be infringed upon when people can be silenced. Some may say that there are more important freedoms, but without freedom of speech they are all susceptible to violations.

Of course, freedom of speech is a real sore spot with pompous asses like trib. He thinks people with lower intellect, such as myself, should be silenced. He uses threats, insults, intimidation, and sarcasm to try and scare us dimwits away from the discussion. Well it aint workin, so why don't you go f**k yourself?

Posted by: dp | 2010-07-05 10:45:55 PM


Your low self-esteem is showing, old sock.

I do still maintain that a period of silence from you would be most welcome.

But before arriving at that conclusion I wanted nothing more than for you to back up your banal and empty rhetoric -- instead of merely frothing at the mouth on subjects you know nothing about, in this case, defamation law.

You were staggeringly incapable of bringing any facts to the table. Your sole wish, it seemed, was to maintain your fantasy that you can cheer an individual who calls for free speech whilst simultaneously suing people whose opinions he does not wish to see published, and still maintain your own claim to support free speech. Which is, as the young people say these days, a colossal FAIL.

So save the whimpering victim routine and put up or shut up.

Posted by: The Trib | 2010-07-05 11:28:32 PM

@ Alain:

I wonder if you also post under the handle 'dp'?

If not, I hope you are proud of the fact that you have rushed to the defense of a semi-literate ignoramus who, for whatever personal reason, has attacked Merle for allegedly writing with a "Ukrainian accent". A rather unfortunate lapse into ethno-bigotry and not at all related to any argument advanced here.

For my part, not only am I not Merle, I hold no opinion on the man beyond what factual observation would reveal: Mr. Levant did indeed sue him. Which is indeed an injustice, an affront to free speech.

For your part, if you wish to argue in the style of your empty-headed colleague dp, and allege that I am "full of it" (how deep), have at it.

However if you care to back your statement up with anything even a notch above what one might expect from dp, please bring it on, sir.

Am I to assume that you too are a self-styled champion of free speech; oppose the HRCs; and yet embrace defamation law, believing that you own your own reputation and that government is there to protect same?

Posted by: The Trib | 2010-07-05 11:37:20 PM

Actually, I'm detecting some speech patterns that would suggest English as a second language in your parents' home. You are Merle's kin, aren't you. It's fairly obvious, since you tuned in, simultaniously, with a personal issue not really related to the original post. As for debating the merits of defamation laws, nobody seems all that interested. I'm only responding to your extremely ugly personal attacks because I'm free to do so. I know you're a snivelling coward as most ukranians are, so this is your only real chance to make a show of bravado. So as long as you keep calling me names, I'm going to keep urging you to go f**k yourself, bohunk.

Posted by: dp | 2010-07-05 11:52:06 PM

As much as I hate to give you guys any more attention, I think it has to be said. Merle's real issue isn't that his rights were trampled. He's upset he got his ass kicked by a Jew.

Ukranians, especially those whose parents served in the SS, are violently anti-semetic. In the twisted reverse-logic that's the norm in most Ukranians, helping Hitler kill Jews was the best way to get back at Stalin. Hatred for Jews was pounded into Ukranian children at every opportunity.

Why do you suppose Ezra sued Merle? I suspect he didn't feel like taking crap from a Jew hater. That's probably why he got embroiled in the cartoon fiasco, to prove a point that anti-semitism wasn't going to scare him.

I have no use for anti-semites, so supporting Ezra against people who preach genocide is a no-brainer. The issue is free speech alright, but the end game is survival for Jews. They know that suppression of free speech is the first step in raising the profile of anti-semites.

So go ahead trib, or shavluk, or whoever you are. Keep pretending you're all about protesting unjust laws. I see right through you European Jew haters. Now go f**k yourselves.

Posted by: dp | 2010-07-06 12:51:24 AM

Lol now that is funny given I worked for Ezra at the magazine for 3 years. What are you smoking dp? I happen to have been the one in front of Harpers Calgary office with an Israeli flag when the Arabs were protesting. Ezra's father saw me there and Ezra even had it on his website you fool!

Posted by: Merle Terlesky | 2010-07-06 12:18:16 PM

Hey dp, you are really a twisted little man. Your insults to Ukrainians are perverted and insane. I think you are a pariah to everybody and now everybody knows how mentally ill you are in your hatred. You are a person with a small mind and no good ideas who only has the ability to hate others and smear people. I think you need help, that is obvious to all.

Posted by: Ukrainian Oak | 2010-07-07 3:31:47 PM

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