Monday, February 2, 2009

The Price Of Freedom

It has come to my attention that the threatened Canadian Human Rights Commission complaint against Andrew Lawton of Right Wing Canada, which was the subject of my last post, may be a hoax. That would be both good and bad, since it would mean that Andrew doesn't get to present his defence (with the attendant publicity for the cause of free speech versus Islamofascism), but on the other hand it would mean that he doesn't have to go to the bother and expense of defending himself.

Apparently the alleged complainant has the same name as a known terrorist. I read about this on a few leftist websites, some of which linked to me and other pro-freedom bloggers. I won't link back to them, because having read those sites, I prefer not to promote them. The reaction of those sites to Andrew's announcement of the threat, as well as my reaction and a few others on the correct side of the free speech issue, can be summarized thus: "FAIL! right-wingz iz the STOOPID! LOLZ!!!eleventyone!! they fell for da hoaks DANCE MONKEES DANCE".

They're failing a few basic logic tests.

First of all, they're assuming that no actual complaint has been filed. That may be the case; unless and until Andrew hears from the CHRC directly, there's no way to tell. (Unless, of course, one of them was the fake complainant.)

Second, they're assuming that if a complaint was filed (the prospect of which doesn't seem to bother them), the complainant's real name was Mohammed Al-Zahar, just like the terrorist. Right. Because nobody ever uses pseudonyms on the Internet. So sayeth Zirbert, The Irritable Saint.

An alternate possibility is that these amused-to-death folks assume that that the use of the same name as a terrorist "proves" the message is a hoax. Because, you know, it's unthinkable that two people in the world can have the same name. Given that there have been two famous professional athletes named Kareem Abdul-Jabar (phonetically identical, albeit spelled differently), I can't give that theory a lot of support.

Here's the real rub, though. Even if these people are right and it's a hoax, I'm still glad that I wrote what I wrote. I'm still glad that Andrew, The Canadian Sentinel, and Right Wing News all reacted publicly. It demonstrates that we're on alert.

Yes, this alleged complaint may be a hoax. (Or, as noted, maybe it isn't.) However, the threat is completely plausible. It uses the same type of mindless rhetoric and manufactured outrage as actual complaints against people like Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn. Laughing at people who actually care about freedom of speech for reacting to it is a lot like laughing at the fire department for showing up when a false alarm gets triggered.

As far as I can see, nobody overreacted. Nobody put expensive attorneys on retainer or even started fundraising. Nobody went into hiding, or took up arms and opened fire. A handful of people took a few minutes and wrote blog posts or e-mails. If that's your idea of monkeys dancing, then you've lost perspective and really need to hang around some less shiftless people.

I would have been far more concerned by a lack of reaction to this threat. Cynics may mock the notion that the triumph of evil requires only that good people do nothing; anyone with a basic knowledge of history (or human nature) knows it to be true.

As for those sitting in the bleachers, giggling like idiots at the prospect of people caring about the right to self-expression and being prepared to defend it, I have a message for you:

If this threat is genuine, Andrew will not face it alone. Even if it isn't, people like Andrew, Ezra Levant, and a plethora of others you don't respect in the slightest will continue to defend free speech, even when they disagree with it. Your words may be childish, irresponsible, even hateful, but they should be rebutted or ignored, not silenced by the power of the State. When the speech police accuse you of a Thoughtcrime, those you now consider fools or even enemies will oppose them on your behalf.

You're welcome.


Enough rambling. Here's a picture of Cinderella's castle, as seen at night from a moving train.