June 13, 2008

"But the Canadian who speaks with the usual Canadian circumspection and courtesy will... escape unscathed from the Commission’s thought police."

Lawprof Rick Hills is guessing that it might work out just fine for Canada to subordinate free speech rights.

And Mark Steyn should be pleased at all the great free publicity he's getting, per Hills. Because don't you love it when you are unjustly prosecuted? You get to be a big celebrity!

Hills thinks it's "hard to believe that any substantial publisher (e.g., a university, a newspaper, a major publishing house) would be 'chilled' by 100k in attorneys’ fees into caving to an unjust cease-and-desist order."

No, that's not sarcasm. I went back and checked. Apparently, the publishers that count are the ones with lots of extra money lying around to shovel over to lawyers. They probably only publish writers who find it pretty easy to reframe their sentences with appropriate politeness.

As for the kind of low-class people who don't know how or lack the temperament to say it nicely or have ideas that aren't very nice... well, who needs them? And they don't live in Canada anyway, probably. Or something like that.

70 comments:

Bissage said...

I did a natural experiment of my own and discovered that Professor Hill’s piece becomes much more meaningful if you read it out loud using a mad scientist voice.

Tantallonblog said...

You people have to wake up. Human Rights Process? Well hold on here, what about the Canadian Civility Tribunal?

Complaints that publish, (“Publish” is defined to mean “...communicated to one person or more by any means including electronic transmission;...”publication” ...has a corresponding meaning...”) in which “...the use of reasonably undue or excessive language in the course of any communication likely to give offence to any person..” can be referred to the Canadian Civility Commission (“C.C.C.”) for investigation and, if necessary, for referral to a Civility Tribunal for “...any remediation which the Tribunal may, in its discretion, having regard to the purposes of this Act... deem appropriate...” or “...upon conviction for imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.”

It has always amazed me that the sentence passed on internationally known Canadian writer, Malachi Richler, who was sentenced to three months in a security facilityoutside of Pangnertung, Nunavut, for the triple use of the “F” word in one of his novels, (despite the ellipsis marking the last three letters of the word) or another writer, probably well known in American, Candice Shields, who was fined $3,000 by the CCC for dialogue in one of her novels that “...failed reasonably to reflect standards of civility expected to hallmark depictions of verbal interpersonal interaction in Canadian life..”

Come alive, America!

paul a'barge said...

Unbelievable.

An American lawyer? Went to Yale? Works at NYU Law School? A professor?

You just have to love the internet ... a place where no mutt is restrained from displaying his (or her) ultimate muttdom.

George said...

Book publishers are like record companies (or movie studios)---they are marketing and distribution entities. It's all about moving product.

Books are like heads of lettuce. They have a certain freshness life on the front tables at Borders. Beyond that date, they're wilted and not going to sell. Last thing the publisher wants is worms in the leaves.

LarsPorsena said...

Well if the guy is a law prof, he's he's spent his life on campus(i) where speech codes are the norm and enforced by leftoid administrators.

Tough to get outraged about a kerfluffle in Canada when it's de rigueur in your everyday environment

Pogo said...

So Rick hills observes that self-censorship is not censorship at all!

If you are just "polite", as in never ever speaking your mind about the topics or viewpoints deemed verboten by the Canada's Ministry of Truth, you don't have to worry.

Although the following people, he admits, are totally screwed, Canada doesn't need their kind anyway. They are a cancer on the body politic that must be excised. Exactly the same procedure will be followed in other cities until Canada is cleansed of the last Jew, uh, infidel, um, unCanadian.

Canada says "Eliminate these uncivil insects:"
"The proverbial street corner ranter; the pamphleteer with cranky, angry screeds about immigrants, the radio shock jock; even the priest who delivers an anti-gay sermon, all are liable for a cease-and-desist order – maybe even a few thousand dollars in fines -- if they use telecommunications to transmit their message."

Effing liberal fascists. Cut and paste Canadian government rhetoric or, here, spittle by Lawprof Rick Hill with Goebbels. What's the difference? Anything? It's 1932 for the Canucks, happy as clams, and just as stupid.

Remember, Canadians, forget free speech, Schweigen macht frei.

Larry J said...

Just goes to show once again that Orwell was right when he (reportedly) said, "Some ideas are so ridiculous that only an intellectual could believe them."

Pogo said...

First they came for the pamphleteer, but I was not a pamphleteer.....

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Canada has a longstanding tradition of suppressing individual rights in the name of "peace, order, and good government."

June Callwood expressed it well, a generation ago:

I need not remind this audience that the single most distinctive difference between a totalitarian society and a democracy is the existence of freedom of speech and the right to dissent. Freedom of speech can be a mockery, however, in the absence of a government which is open and accountable to the electorate. We have in the federal Liberals and the Ontario Conservatives two secretive governments whose freedom of information legislation is dedicated to concealing information. We also have, in the Official Secrets Act, which was amended forty years ago to bring it into the nineteenth century, an instrument of stupefying power. It belongs in a medieval museum and not in a country which is one of the soundest democracies on earth.

The rebels of 1776 took the idealist view that people are essentially good and noble and should be unfettered. The conservatives who reacted against that vision declared that people are innately evil and unpredictable and therefore require severe restraint until after they are long in their graves. We are gradualists, so today we have a glorious opportunity to find the sane middle between those positions. A conservative interpretation, one based on justice and fairness for all, is beginning to grow. This country is not destructible unless we lose our nerve, sink back into severity, and destroy it ourselves with narrow righteousness.
(emph. added)

You can read her entire speech (to the Empire Club) at:
http://www.empireclubfoundation.com/details.asp?FT=yes&SpeechID=1969

Jim said...

Do the detainess at Gitmo need to worry about offensive speech, or are there first amndment rights secure after yesterday's ruling? Does the NYU guy think that enemy combatants have more rights than Mr. Steyn?

Quayle said...

And the Canadian government will use their supreme power to assure that everyone WILL speak with the usual Canadian circumspection and courtesy!

And the Canadian government will be the sole deciders of what the usual Canadian circumspection is.

And the Canadian government will be the definers of the the word "courtesy."

And if you little, stupid Canadians don't meet our exact definitions (which are subject to change at a whim) you will be clubbed severely by the full cooercive and unrestrained power of the government.

So get in line, you little people. The royal collective has spoken.

knoxwhirled said...

I posted the following in the comments on this guy's blog:

This is your argument... as long as people mind their manners, everything's fine? You are a writer and an educator. What the hell are you thinking?


But I imagine larsporsena has it right. Hicks is likely used to restrictions on free speech. And he obviously views discourteous speech as something only a rube would commit, and they need to be shut up anyway, so who cares?

Bob said...

Ann Althouse: As for the kind of low-class people who don't know how or lack the temperament to say it nicely or have ideas that aren't very nice... well, who needs them? And they don't live in Canada anyway, probably. Or something like that.

They're probably bitter people that cling to their Bibles. They'd cling to their guns, too, but Canada did a round-up several years ago and those people don't have guns anymore, ha! ha!

Zach said...

But it is hard to believe that any substantial publisher (e.g., a university, a newspaper, a major publishing house) would be “chilled” by 100k in attorneys’ fees into caving to an unjust cease-and-desist order. Indeed, Taylor took the nature of these sanctions into account when upholding the law, contrasting them with criminal sanctions that would be more confined by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Well sure, if you directly challenge someone's manhood, he'll fight back.

If you have $100K, and you think of yourself as being in the speech business, and you view the sanctioned speech as expressing your own ideas -- all of which are true in the MacLean's case -- you would argue the case. You'd get free advertising, support from prestigious media sources, you'd spark debate on a subject you think is important. It's not a terrible way to spend money. It would be contemptible cowardice not to fight back.

But what if the fine were for bringing Steyn to speak at your campus? You have important factions who don't want to bring him in the first place, other factions who don't want trouble, still other factions who affirmatively want to shout down opponents and would welcome an external gag order. The student organization that wants to bring Steyn has 25% turnover per year due to graduation, and can't be relied on to follow a long court case through to its conclusion. Is there any doubt that there would be a strong incentive to knuckle under?

Even with a guaranteed victory, a court case is long, expensive, controversial and emotionally damaging. For something as basic as free speech, you need to keep these kinds of cases out of court. The sheer hassle of defending your rights can have a chilling effect.

The Drill SGT said...

Whatever its merits as good policy, the Canadian experience with censorship provides a natural experiment that legal scholars ought to welcome as an opportunity to test some popular hypotheses concerning freedom of expression

Gawd... I want to scream and go get some ammo for grandpapy's shotgun. :)

The argument that civility should trump the basic human right of free expression leaves me no choice but to plunge this thread right into the Blog abyss.

(Godwin's Law warning:)

The best anology I can come up with would have this educator and law prof in a different time and place advising Jews, Labor Union activists, Priests and Socialists to go quietly into the night when the SD came pounding on the door.

Just go quietly, I'll get you a lawyer, see the judge, it's all just a missunderstanding that we'll get sorted out in the morning

This American remembers a response that went something like: if every Jew that was rounded up, met the Gestapo at the door with a pistol or a carving knife, the Nazi's would have had no choice but to stop> It was the silent cooperation that doomed our people.

Salamandyr said...

Excellent point Zach. I wanted to add, there's excellent incentive for the first big publisher to be hit with this kind of thing to fight..notoriety and all. But how much incentive is there for the second, or the third, when such suppression is no longer unique and newsworthy?

rhhardin said...

Canadian poet Standish O'Grady wrote this praise of the country

Here forests crowd, unprofitable lumber,
O'er fruitless lands indefinite as number;
Where birds scarce light, and with the north winds veer
On wings of wind, and quickly disappear,
Here the rough Bear subsists his winter year,
And licks his paw and finds no better fare . . .
The lank Canadian eager trims his fire,
And all around their simpering stoves retire;
With fur clad friends their progenies abound,
And thus regale their buffaloes around;
Unlettered race, how few the number tells,
Their only pride a cariole and bells ....
Perchance they revel; still around they creep,
And talk, and smoke, and spit, and drink, and sleep

The Drill SGT said...

As I understand it the HRC's have a 100% conviction rate and that the complaintant has no costs.

e.g. you file a complaint and the same people that judge you also investigate you and prosecute you, judge you and sentence you?

But the defendant must pay full costs and cant recoop even in a non-existent victory?

Pogo said...

Of course there is no connection at all between a government that takes your money and decides for you what kind of health care you deserve and that same government deciding what words you can speak or write.

No. Connection. Whatsoever.

Zeb Quinn said...

I think it was Woody Allen who said sex is only dirty if you're doing it right. It's like that with political speech: done right, in a free and open society, it's always offensive to somebody. It's part and parcel of the freedom thing. And I'm cynical enough to believe they fully get that too, it's just that they've made the judgement that some people's freedoms are superior to and better than other people's freedoms.

downtownlad said...

Yes - It is so fun to watch all of the hypocrites on here defending free speech.

They same hypocrites who wanted the New York Times shut down for publishing a factual, General Betrayus ad.

The same people who wanted the publisher of the New York Times executed for printing news about how the U.S. Government was illegally wiretapping our phone calls without a warrant.

The same people who were silent when CBS was fined about half a million dollars for showing Janet Jackson's booby on TV.

They don't know the meaning of Free Speech.

downtownlad said...

Also, the same people who want to ban the ACLU.

Pogo said...

DTL's bot script is unravelling, spewing stock phrases, strung together as if to convey meaning, but all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

downtownlad said...

Let's also not forget that Ann had a post yesterday that implied its perfectly reasonable to imprison somebody for producing porn. A cause the Bush Administration is using millions of dollars in taxpayer money to push. But according to the wingnuts, its ok to crack down on THAT kind of speech.

downtownlad said...

So Pogo - how many faggots did you kill today?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Also, the same people who want to ban the ACLU.

Now that's a damn fine idea.

Dan said...

Many of you (Althouse included) have misread Hills' post. Perhaps it is an intentional misreading, but I expect that the more likely reason is you didn't want to follow the whole, long post. That's a shame, because it's a good one.

He's not claiming that the US should adopt Canadian speech norms. He ridicules the bureaucratic speech code. He is not saying that the speech of folks who can't afford a lawyer's fees doesn't count. He's just noting that our sacred shibboleths about Free Speech aren't necessarily beyond examination, and notes that Canada can provide a natural experiment -- which he has not done. He repeatedly says that he is making "exceedingly casual" observations and asking questions not making conclusions. Etc.

I agree with him. Before we heard of this tribunal in the NYT article, did any of you think Canada had a free speech problem? Did any of you think they were even marginally less democratic than the US? Seriously. It is a good natural experiment.

Hills is a subtle and impressive thinker, and an exceptionally good law prof (I was sad to see him leave Michigan, where I greatly enjoyed his classes). It's an annoying and sad symptom of the blogging medium that tentative, interesting thoughts like his get skimmed past or ignored so that someone can shout and feel self righteous and/or create a stir that garners more eyeballs for ad money. But it's not a surprise, I suppose.

LarsPorsena said...

rhhardin:

"...And thus regale their buffaloes around;
Unlettered race, how few the number tells,
Their only pride a cariole and bells ....
Perchance they revel; still around they creep,
And talk, and smoke, and spit, and drink, and sleep

I gotta' believe their talk around the campfire was circumspectly Canadian.

downtownlad said...

StoptheACLU is a favorite wingnut blog.

But we're supposed to believe they care about free speech.

Free speech for them maybe, but not for thee.

Kirby Olson said...

How hard would it be to take over Canada and give them a Bill of Rights? We did this with Iraq. Canada doesn't even have very many members of Al Qaida to contend with. After Canada: Mexico. Then the Mexicans won't have to walk so far to get to a functioning economy.

Seven Machos said...

Dan -- No one was thinking about Canada. It's Canada. QED.

None of us are worried that Angola my have a free speech problem, either.

Incidentally, though, there was this big article about how the United States is a pariah when it comes to free speech. You ought to read it. It's enlightening.

Seven Machos said...

Downtown -- Like you, your hyperbole is laughable.

Palladian said...

"He repeatedly says that he is making "exceedingly casual" observations and asking questions not making conclusions."

Sorry, but some people don't take threats against their freedom "exceedingly casually". To the professor, I'm sure this is all an interesting thought experiment, one that raises questions, an ever-titillating prospect to academics. But to the citizens of Canada who have to be dragged through this nightmare it might not be so "interesting". The problem with impotent academics is that they're always raising questions but rarely reach conclusions. And when they do reach conclusions, they're usually wrong.

Outis said...

Canadians. Bah.

Pogo said...

He is not saying that the speech of folks who can't afford a lawyer's fees doesn't count.
Of course he is. He calls them " marginal speakers", admits they have in fact been deterred, but -no big deal- they were impolite, so, screw 'em.

He's just noting that our sacred shibboleths about Free Speech
Yeah. Free, schmee. Nothing sacred about it. Why'd those founders get their undies in a bundle in the first place, when coerced civility clearly trumps it?

Canada can provide a natural experiment
This same experiment has already been conducted multiple times, just in the 20th century, each attempt ending badly. Total cost: 100 million dead.

He repeatedly says that he is making "exceedingly casual" observations
Lazy and unlearned musings, in fact.

Before we heard of this tribunal in the NYT article, did any of you think Canada had a free speech problem?
Yes.

Did any of you think they were even marginally less democratic than the US?
Yes.

Seriously. It is a good natural experiment.
So was the Cultural Revolution, if by "good" you mean "sorry about the 400,000 dead".


Hills is a subtle and impressive thinker
So subtle is his impressivity, if you blink, you will miss it entirely, like driving by a small town in rural Iowa.

I was sad to see him leave Michigan
The People's Republic of Michigan? What a shocker.

Palladian said...

Haven't you people learned to just ignore downtownlad by now? It just makes his tiny prick stiff when you respond to him. Do you really want to sexually stimulate him like that?

Palladian said...

shibboleth - noun

a custom, principle, or belief distinguishing a particular class or group of people, esp. a long-standing one regarded as outmoded or no longer important.


Has our culture become so degraded and decadent that even freedom seems "outmoded or no longer important"? One wonders if dear Professor Hills raises questions about other "sacred shibboleths" such as civil rights, women's suffrage, slavery... just as a though experiment, mind you. You know, exceedingly casual and all that. Not coming to any conclusions.

P. Rich said...

The Drill Sgt

Right on all points re Canadian HRCs and how they function. It is apparent also that they are not required to follow any rules of evidence and so forth you might expect, and as Steyn or someone else writing about the farce has said, "Truth is not a defense."

Canadians have a Charter or something like that, very much like our Bill of Rights. It includes freedom of expression. These HRCs are a great example of the slippery slope:

Freedom of expression becomes

Mostly freedom of expression, so long as no one is offended too much, which quickly becomes

I'll arbitrarily decide, at taxpayer expense, what you are free to express, and I have the power at any time to fine you and prohibit your ever saying (or quoting) such a possibly disturbing thing again under threat of even harsher penalty - if I can think of one.

These are the Thought Police, and they have close relatives on university campuses, in the media, inside the Obama campaign, and operating in sunny vacation spots like North Korea.

Trooper York said...

"How hard would it be to take over Canada and give them a Bill of Rights?"

Why would we want to take over Canada. It's full of Canadians. They are nothing but the traitorous Tories who fled freedom and lickspittle lackeys of perfidious Albion. And the French. You got to treat them like people who moved to Staten Island. Ignore them. They sold out. Let em rot. Build the fence NOW!

Richard Dolan said...

Since everyone is in a mood to dump on Prof. Hill, I suppose it bears noting that the Canadian approach to these issues is more the norm than the American. When it comes to protection of speech, US law tends to be the outlier. We have gotten so used to treating the First Amendment as the Eleventh Commandment, received from On High, that it is hard to see why most of the world does not just get with our program.

To spin Hill's point a bit differently, he claims that the costs of the Canadian approach are exaggerated, and its benefits are too discounted. The quote highlighted by Ann, to the effect that it is easy "to escape unscathed from the Commission's thought police," is just a way of saying that the costs of avoidance/compliance are low. Because it's easy to avoid the restrictions -- phrasing the idea in code-speak so that it sounds nice (until you pay attention to the substance of what the speaker is saying) -- it's not about "thought police" at all. Without getting too deep in the weeds, I suspect that a purely utilitarian analysis would prove Hill right, to the effect that the costs of avoidance/compliance are low. Whether a utilitarian perspective is appropriate here is another matter.

The Canadian approach tends to make public discourse marginally more bland and boring than it would othewise be. But spicey isn't always so great either. Ann offers examples of publishers being scared off from racier stuff, and of "low class" people (here come the Proles) being slapped down, by potential sanctions. Both could happen, but again it's likely to occur only at the margins. And you need to factor in the backlash-generating potential (it's already occurring, even in Canada) when the "thought police" start to get active. Hill is right to suggest, ever so gently, that the Canadian Commission is not exactly the Ministry of Truth, and that those systems rejecting our First Amendment approach are not necessarily hell on earth, just one small step removed from Oceania and reeducation at the Ministry of Love. That most of the world is closer to the Canadian approach than ours may not be a reason to sign up for their program, but it's also a pretty good reason not to assume that there's nothing to say in favor of the other guy's perspective.

All that being said, I don't find much to admire, and little to emulate, in the Canadian approach. Its worst defect, like speech codes that have been imposed at some US universities, is that it's all so predictably uni-directional. Both in practice and effect, it is intended to squelch one point of view, and impose another. But, also like speech codes at US universities, it is ineffective, marginal and self-defeating. In that sense, too, it's typically Canadian: big but really small, quaint, except for the scenery bland and boring, and ultimately inconsequential.

Pogo said...

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO TRAVELLERS
Upon entering Canada, please be aware that you are free not to speak at all times. If you decide you must speak, it should always be in dulcet tones.

The list of prohibited subjects and beliefs is long and frequently updated, so please review the most recent Official List of Permissible Thoughts at http://www.ottawatourism.ca/, as Ottawa has the most expansive and complete prohibitions of the Provinces. Violations may result in fines, imprisonment or both.

Enjoy your stay, and remember: Mum's the word!

Pogo said...

**Followers of Islam are, as always, exempt.

Palladian said...

One benefit of the Canadian system is that we could have downtownlad arrested.

Smilin' Jack said...

What are you people, PETA fanatics?
As Prof. Hill points out at the begining, this "experiment" is being conducted on Canadians. It's like those experiments where they shock rats just to see what they'll do. It's interesting.

Honestly, I think some of you people have never even pulled the wings off a fly.

Peter said...

It all reminds me of the old joke, which occurs to me whenever I'm traveling and am surrounded by annoying Canadians wearing their national flag all over their clothes and luggage -- just in case anybody mistakes them for Americans.

Q: "What's the difference between Americans and Canadians?"

A: "Americans don't care what the difference is between Americans and Canadians."

Ann Althouse said...

downtownlad said..."Let's also not forget that Ann had a post yesterday that implied its perfectly reasonable to imprison somebody for producing porn."

If that's what you inferred, you are wrong. I condemn the prosecution.

Ann Althouse said...

palladian said..."Haven't you people learned to just ignore downtownlad by now? It just makes his tiny prick stiff when you respond to him. Do you really want to sexually stimulate him like that?"

Oops.

Palladian said...

Sorry Ann. Just make sure you wash your hands well.

Cedarford said...

the persuasiveness of this declaration hinges on the definition of “hate speech,” which the Taylor Court managed to expand to encompass a potentially enormous range of speech. Taylor added an additional reason: “[T]he commitment of the international community to eradicate discrimination extends to the prohibition of the dissemination of ideas based on racial or religious superiority.”

Hill notes that "Taylor" passed judicial review and thus is "good Canadian Law", and concludes that there is not much to worry about over occasional silliness because powerful conservative elites will hold the HRA Tribunals in check if important people are swept up. That Canada seeks to monitor civility and ensure persecuted minorities that it designates as "protected" are free of speech that would steer "discrimination and intolerance their way".

My problems with Hill's spin?

1. 100% of the kangaroo tribunals have been against white males. Because the 1977 Act Trudeau got in the name of his shiny new multi-culturalism excludes white persons unless they have sort of recognized minority status like being gay. So it is fine for gay activists to rail against evil heteronormative beliefs with no fear of facing a Human Rights tribunal of Liberal Party activits, but similar attacks on beliefs and lifestyle of gays even a word-forword mirror of gay attacks on straights substituting Heteronormative with gay - constitute "criminal hate speech".

2. Religion is almost always supremacist, where arguments have been made since time immemorial about the superiority of Greek Gods over Ba'al, Christianity over Roman pagan rites, Islam over all other beliefs with violent conversion by Jihad considered inherent to that faith. Along the way, "hate speech" was directed at the folly of Suttee, religious cannibalism in New Guinea, stupid African witch doctors (even by Canadians, when pre-Trudeau white males up North were allowed to keep their testicles).
But "persecuted minority groups" in Canada like Wiccans, Muslims, Haitian Voodoo and Brazilian Santorini practicioners are free to say how bad Christianity is as an evil White Oppressor religion. Terror trials in Canada have flagged certain Mosques as purveying unrelenting hate speech against Jews, ordinary Canadians and Americans as deserving death, and the hundreds of reasons why Islam is superior to Christianity - and of course not a single radical Muslim has been hauled to a tribunal because the truth remains the Tribunals exist only to enforce PC rules and culture against whites that have skepticism about Trudeaus faith that all cultures, religions, and races are indentical in worthiness and all differences are the fault of bigotry, ______phobia, and racism by whites.

3. Hill omits that the tribunals bypass what every other person facing fines and jail time on criminal charges has - protection of the due process laid down by Canadian statutes and it's Constitution. Also that being right or making truthful statements - unlike in civil slander and libel cases - is no defense or cause for aquittal. Only if "feelings" were deliberately slighted in an individual or group with protected status...

4. Hill ignores that the members of the HRA tribunals were selected based on their being PC activists. One former member is now the chief complainant in over half the cases. There is no pretense at objective justice.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Let us not forget that this is the same Canada that had "padlock laws" up until the late '50s. Opponents of the government could have their businesses (or homes) closed, locked, and seized.

This is the same Canada that declared martial law, in 1970, and locked away hundreds of its political opponents, incommunicado, without charge or trial, for weeks.

This is the same Canada that saw armed police remove all kosher foods from store shelves in Montreal -- during Passover, only a few years ago -- because the packaging didn't include enough French, in big enough letters.

In Canada "rights" are something granted by the government, to the people, on sufferance.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Sorry Ann. Just make sure you wash your hands well.

Well since DTL did leave the country I'd also recommend a tetnaus shot and delousing.

One can't be too careful these days.

TMink said...

This is not about courtesy, it is about sharing thoughts. Some Canadians have decided that some thoughts are too dangerous to be shared, and so they made the speech illegal. It is the ideas, not the courtesy.

Trey

Kirk Parker said...

OK, so here's our "You--a law professor!" moment for the week:

"The publishers that count are the ones with lots of extra money lying around to shovel over to lawyers."

Exactly what kind of a lawprof are you, Ann, apparently thinking that shovelling money in the direction of lawyers isn't an obvious good? :-) :-) :-)

Kirk Parker said...

Drill SGT,

Solzhenitsyn said something very similar about the secret police in Russia, comparing himself and his countrymen to quivering rabbits.

Peter,

I've heard that joke in a slightly more-offensive-to-Canadians version.

Q: What's the difference between Americans and Canadians?

A: Canadians think there is a difference, but Americans know there's not.

Henry said...

But it is hard to believe that any substantial publisher (e.g., a university, a newspaper, a major publishing house) would be “chilled” by 100k in attorneys’ fees into caving to an unjust cease-and-desist order.

Really? Over the years I have worked with a number of companies that help academic journals publish on the Internet. Many are obscure journals with almost no budget to speak of. $100k in attorneys' fees wouldn't just "chill" them, it would shut them down.

And then there's the small art and literary magazines. Knocking them out of business with lawyers fees would be as easy as throwing dynamite in carp pond.

Terry said...

No one expects the Canadian Inquisition! (Sorry, couldn't resist. BTW, will that get me jailed if this is read by a Canadian?)

Richard Dolan: "We have gotten so used to treating the First Amendment as the Eleventh Commandment, received from On High, that it is hard to see why most of the world does not just get with our program."

The 1st amendment does not grant free speech, it protects the larger human right to speak freely from the zeitgeist driven proclivities of governments. So yes, it is difficult to understand why "the world does not just get with our program.".

On the other hand, Canada and much of the rest of the world are graphic demonstrations of the need for the 1st amendment. If not vigorously protected, that right does not exist.

As in say for example, North Korea, the people of Canada do not control of their speech. The difference is in degree not principle.

reader_iam said...

I doubt that the political elites will allow the Commission to burden any speech that elite opinion deems to be within the pale of ordinary journalism or academic practice.

This is the sentence to which I keep returning, because its meaning keeps creeping. Make that "meanings."

The Drill SGT said...

Cd4d said...Along the way, "hate speech" was directed at the folly of Suttee, religious cannibalism in New Guinea, stupid African witch doctors (even by Canadians, when pre-Trudeau white males up North were allowed to keep their testicles).

That allows me to hit this one out of the park with my favorite anti-muliticulturalist quote:

Napier: "You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

reader_iam said...

Incidentally, it seems likely that any fines imposed by the Tribunal on Steyn will be dwarfed by the value of the free publicity and resulting book sales that Steyn will win as a result of the hearing

If instead of fines, the tribunal imposed some sort of incarceration, or house arrest, would Hills take this same position? I'm curious. Is he saying that because it's only money, and he doesn't think it's that much or at least that in his opinion the cost will be offset (or, maybe Steyn will even profit!--damn, in the long run the tribunal might have done him a favor!) the penalty doesn't really matter anyway? That strikes me as just plain weird.

reader_iam said...

you had better be subtle and Canadian about it

Or else, by God!

reader_iam said...

But is it such a terrible thing that a society enforce strict norms of civility in speech if essentially no information or substantive argument is lost as a result?

And you're going to determine that ... how? And who gets to do the determining?

Oh, yeah, I forgot: Elite opinion. And political elites.

Silly me.

Revenant said...

Haven't you people learned to just ignore downtownlad by now? It just makes his tiny prick stiff when you respond to him. Do you really want to sexually stimulate him like that?

Now I'll be haunted by that image all day. Thanks, Palladian.

reader_iam said...

By the way, I haven't commented over there.

blake said...

Richard Dolan says...All that being said, I don't find much to admire, and little to emulate, in the Canadian approach. Its worst defect, like speech codes that have been imposed at some US universities, is that it's all so predictably uni-directional. Both in practice and effect, it is intended to squelch one point of view, and impose another. But, also like speech codes at US universities, it is ineffective, marginal and self-defeating.

And then immediately...In that sense, too, it's typically Canadian: big but really small, quaint, except for the scenery bland and boring, and ultimately inconsequential.

I'm having trouble processing this. Is it inconsequential because Canada is already leaning fascist, so a little more doesn't hurt much?

Or is it just because, as Troop has it, they're Canadians?

Chip Ahoy said...

I'm convinced Hill was putting us all on, or just trying to provoke. It's Response Theater. His two "assuming arguendo" and (I am just a caveman, confused and frightened), "... ill versed in ..." are the tip.

Chip Ahoy said...

DTL, BOO!

HaHaHa, what a loon. What an ultra maroon. What an ignoranimus!

Formula too warm to suit you? What?

Chip Ahoy said...

tantallonblog, can you try making some kind of sense please?

You seem to have one very long but still incomplete sentence there. It has amazed you ... what? What? What has amazed you? That those two things happened? That Americans haven't responded strongly enough to Canadian laws regarding their own sense free speech and the length they're willing to go to protect it ? That Americans are unaware such things could happen in America too, our constitution notwithstanding? What? Also, do you imagine an internationally known author would get at least one web search result? And that an author well-known in America would appear on at least one American web page? You've taken some trouble pointing out the specifics of how Canadian law reads, but for the life of me I can not see whatever point you're making. Come alive America! We are alive (and kicking), thank you. Doesn't this whole post prove that to you? Actually, it's Canada that need "come alive."

Wake up! How's that? As if you were sleeping.

Revenant said...

Or is it just because, as Troop has it, they're Canadians?

Both of the reasons you cited, but also because they're right smack next to a country that speaks the same language, provides the vast majority of the media (news, entertainment, and otherwise) that they consume, and isn't subject to the restrictions in question.

Steven said...

A business owner would be a sexist jackass if he put a poster with a nude, spread-legged, ball-gagged woman on a bed with the motto "A Woman's Place", on the wall of a hallway in his office building. But that is, absolutely and 100%, free expression. It carries no imminent threat to anyone. Like it or lump it, it's his wall, it's his opinion.

I'll believe the ACLU really believes in free speech when they bring lawsuits against "hostile work environment" laws which treat speech unbacked by action as offenses punishable by the legal system.

Synova said...

It's sort of funny...

I got a job offer today (yay! employment after stay-at-home motherhood!) and the company mission statement specifically says that (like our mascot) employees are expected to have two-inch thick skins.

:-)

I'm looking forward to it.

The notion is tied closely with individuality and individual initiative. Expecting bumps and scrapes as the price of innovation.

Love it!