Thursday, November 20, 2008

Speech Warriors™: some speech more equal than others?

How very odd.

The Usual Suspects have gone to the wall over the last several months (or is it years?) on behalf of various neo-Nazis and homophobes who have fallen afoul of sundry Human Rights Tribunals and Commissions. Free speech for all, it could happen to you, of course we don't
agree with the speech in question, liberal fascism, commissars, political correctness, yadda-yadda-yadda.

More words have been uttered by these silenced folk on behalf of other silenced folk than you can shake a ukase at. The din of their silence has been deafening.

But now they've done a complete volte-face. There have been some recent reports that Queen's University has engaged "facilitators" to take on hateful comments when they hear them within the sacred grove of academe. I
f such speech is heard, these folks would reportedly offer some speech of their own, explaining why such comments are hurtful and offensive.

Turns out this was all a false alarm, but the reaction of the Speech Warriors™ has been telling.

For the Warriors, we now discover, only some speech is acceptable. This sure isn't. Why, speaking out like this is--an assault on free speech. Thought police. Intolerant. Thought-nazis on a rampage. Blockleiter.

"Are there places in Canada less free than her institutions of higher learning?" laments Damian Penny. "Kathy [Shaidle] was dead accurate when she named her book, 'The Tyranny of Nice,'" harrumphs Jay Currie.

In case you've missed the drift here, be sure to read the comments at some of these places,
suggesting physical violence against anyone foolish enough to open their mouths in this way.

Any civilized person should speak up, of course, when homophobic slurs and so on are uttered. It shouldn't take hired facilitators to get the job done, even if this were actually happening.

But that's not the real issue here. It seems that hate speech of all kinds is to be defended to the death. The Speech Warriors™ have made it their mission to support the right of every last neo-Nazi, homophobe and Islamophobe in the country to trumpet their hate to the world.

But speaking out against it? Why, this is simply not to be tolerated. Shut it down. Write letters to Queen's University. Boycott the place. Kick the speakers in the nads.

Very revealing.

UPDATE: (September 22) The normally urbane and civilized David Thompson: "Will they dare to be surprised if their presumption meets with emphatic resistance and, one hopes, an occasional fit of violence?"

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