Monday, May 12, 2008

Freedom from speech...

...sometimes I wish this were a specified right under the Charter. The Dirty Half-Dozen must be on their millionth word at this point about threats to their freedom of speech. I've never heard so much speech in my life from people claiming they're being silenced.

I won't get into Ezra Levant's current spate of logorrhea except to note with quiet satisfaction that his beloved Conservative government, or at least its Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, thinks Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act is res judicata, thanks to a charming fellow named John Ross Taylor. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled on that case in 1990. Oooh, the sense of betrayal. Can't you just see Ezra jumping up and down in a three-piece pinstripe and polished black Oxfords? (Try not to enjoy that image too much.)

Remember, folks, not a single human rights complaint against any of these martyr-wannabes and their guru Mark Steyn has been upheld. Not one! A complaint before the Ontario Human Rights Commission was recently dismissed; another, in Alberta, became moot; a few are outstanding, but are more than likely to suffer the same fate.
In fact, there have been no human rights complaints against most of them. How perfectly galling that must be.

The current libel actions against the "Canuck Six," of course, are not to be confused with their on-going anti-HRC crusade, although the waters have gotten plenty muddied in that respect. Just because you don't like anti-Nazi activists doesn't mean you can defame them at will. Let's just let that one play out as we munch our popcorn, and note, again with satisfaction, that some folks in holes simply don't know when to stop digging.

Which brings me, by a circumlocutory route to be sure, to some recent eruptions about yours truly by that petulant chihuahua Kathy Shaidle. In my more charitable moments--and I'm having a lot fewer of these recently--I hope that her defence against the lawsuit is at least arguable. Why? Because I have an instinctive reaction to support the underdog, and underdog she most assuredly is. Warman v. Shaidle? It's just not a fair fight. She has an intellectual glass jaw and a lousy case, and I think nearly everyone, even her supporters, have figured that out by now.

One of the values that serious bloggers prize is accuracy. When we err, we should be prompt to admit it. It's not only the right thing to do; it's also a matter of credibility. But for Shaidle, accuracy is apparently a sign of weakness. I have concluded this on the basis of a flood of uncorrected errors that pours forth whenever I am her topic of conversation--something that seems to be happening more frequently these days as her evidently mounting panic causes her to flail and lash out blindly.

There was her claim that I called her a Nazi. I sent her an email on that one, and was told not to be so "literal-minded."

Then there was her statement that Mark Steyn "spanked" me over the matter of a photograph alleged to be of the speech-warriors' poster child Marc Lemire--a photo we both reproduced in good faith. That was an out-and-out lie, and it was repeated (no surprise) at her co-defendant Kate McMillan's place. But Kathy couldn't get any of the details right, either, as I noted before.

Her most recent spasm, though, brought to my attention by Canadian Cynic's delectable LuLu, was about racism, a subject with which I must concede she is intimately familiar. She has been frequenting Johnny Maudlin's place of late, perhaps because he's so obviously got her number, and she chanced upon a comment of mine over there about her views. It didn't take long for the inaccuracies to tumble forth.

First, she didn't seem remotely aware that I was responding to an earlier commenter, whose sympathies are entirely with Shaidle, and who scribbled, in that low style so cherished by the far Right, as follows (10:02 PM):

Thanks for dropping by Johnny Drugfucked Hippie.

Your allegation that Shaidle is a rascist [sic] is potentially actionable.

I would advise you to retain counsel.
Good Day.

My comment in rejoinder was that Shaidle certainly fit the common-or-garden definition, I provided a few examples, and I begged to differ that calling her a racist was actionable (5:06 AM).

Kathy's response? A pitifully inept attack on me beginning with the proposition that everybody is a racist. (She's technically correct about this, as it happens--in a racialized and racializing society, we're all locked in, to one degree or another, to the invidious category of practice called "race." But most of us don't revel in it.)

One point I had made in my comment was that anti-Muslimism is a kind of stand-in for racism. I referred to Kathy's infamous hed "Newsflash: Arabs are Violent Retards!", indicating that this was a case of the mask slipping. We know all too well that it's not the religion but the swarthiness of its practitioners that's driving a lot of the commentary on that side of the political aisle. So what was Kathy's reply? That it reflected her anger about the Taliban throwing schoolgirls back into a burning school because they weren't suitably covered.

"Taliban," eh? That grotesque incident actually happened in Saudi Arabia, more than two years before she first used the phrase. (For Kathy, however, those beige Moozlims all look alike.) And in fact she repeated it and repeated it, without a single reference to the burning schoolhouse in any of those posts, until the one last week in which she tried to rationalize her use of it.

My plea for freedom from speech is not intended literally, of course, although a limited right to it already exists in libel, slander and human rights legislation. But I like my peace and quiet, and sometimes the speech-warriors get downright cacophonous when they're being gagged by fascist Human Rights Commissions, dragged before the civil courts, and bagged and tagged by blogospheric critics. And why, on top of all that racket, does the frequency of facts in their torrent of discourse so often lie in inverse proportion to the decibel level of their outrage?

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