June 16, 2008
Return of the Censors
Freedom of the press is on trial in Canada.
The trial is before a court with the Orwellian title of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. The accused are
Had Steyn written that, given the Crusades, colonial atrocities in Africa and the slave trade, Christianity had been on balance a curse, he would not be in the dock. In the
Questioning the Holocaust is a crime in Canada and Europe, as British historian David Irving discovered when he was sentenced to prison in
In 1990, writes Adam Liptak of The New York Times, [Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech, June 12, 2008] Chief Justice of the Canadian Supreme Court Brian Dickson wrote, in upholding the conviction of one James Keegstra for anti-Semitic slurs:
"(T)he international commitment to eradicate hate propaganda and, most importantly, the special role given equality and multiculturalism in the Canadian Constitution necessitate a departure from the view ... that the suppression of hate propaganda is incompatible with the guarantee of free expression." [R. v Keegstra]
There you have it.
The dogmas of the Diverse Society dictate that the cherished rights of the Free Society be sacrificed on the altar of social tranquility.
What has caused this reversal of the advance of freedom?
Nor is this anything new. Censorship has always had powerful patrons and not always benighted backers.
And, indeed, most men accept some form of censorship.
Nor is government censorship unknown to
President John Adams signed the Sedition Acts, which called for the incarceration of journalists who wrote insultingly of him. Abraham Lincoln suppressed newspapers that denounced his war. Woodrow Wilson imprisoned the Socialist Eugene Debs for denouncing his war.
A new censorship is now arising. We read of speech codes on campuses, sensitivity training for freshman, and tribunals before which students are made to grovel and recant for joking references that offended some minority or other.
"The best test of truth," said Justice Holmes, "is the power of thought to get itself accepted in the marketplace."
Nonsense. Editor Elijah Lovejoy was lynched in
Yet, one's money ought to be on the new censors, for men who believe deeply in something, even when wrong, usually triumph over men who believe in nothing.
Today, the true believers in Islam and the true believers in diversity über alles are making common cause against those who believe in freedom of speech and the press. As the former have the convictions and increasingly the power, they may prevail, and not only in
A new orthodoxy is arising. Freedom's finest hour may be behind us.
Patrick J. Buchanan needs no introduction to VDARE.CO