A columnist for one of Canada’s most prominent gay publications comes out (no pun intended) against censorship in the name of “human rights”:
…defending free speech in Canada is a dangerous business, producing strange — if not totally offensive — bedfellows.
The very core of the civil libertarian’s perspective is this: I may hate what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.
And so it is with most of the recent free speech controversies. I don’t much care for Mark Steyn’s view of the world, and I like Ezra Levant’s even less. Sometimes, I think they say stuff that is totally offensive, or totally stupid, or totally racist or totally rightwing drivel. But, the very nature of the right to free speech is that they get to say it. Then, the rest of us get to argue with them, denounce their views, call it drivel — basically, joust with words.
But, instead, now folks go racing to human rights commissions and say, “I’m offended.”
ironically, the best way to get your opinions about offensive speech into the paper is to bring a human rights complaint trying to censor the offensive speech. The hate speech provisions create an incentive to bring a complaint, so that you can actually then attract attention to your claim that something is offensive.
Sorry, but this is crazy. Human rights commissions should not be censors. They should not be deciding just what words are too offensive for the Canadian public to hear. Imagine how gay presses might have fared over the years with these kind of laws, since lots of Canadians think that the stuff that gay people say is, well, totally offensive.
I think I’m with Keith Martin. Let’s get those provisions out of the human rights codes, and go back to fighting words with words, even if it’s hard, and even if the words are, well, offensive. [emphasis added]
Via Ezra Levant.