“On Wed, Dec 5, 2007, four Muslim students at Toronto’s Osgoode Hall Law School, and the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, accusing Steyn and Maclean’s of violating their sense of dignity and self-worth’. My sense of dignity and self-worth is harmed every time I see the six-pack abs on the guy in the Bowflex ads on TV. Who do I sue?
“I first became aware of the situation when a Canadian reader emailed me with the news that not only was Steyn being charged by the Human Rights Commission, but in the documentation against him was his very positive review of my previous novel, Prayers for the Assassin . Steyn’s praise for Prayers, a book written by a ‘recognized Islamophobe’ according to the CIC, was further evidence of his prejudice against Muslims. For the record, I am neither Islamophobic nor recognized.
“What should not be in doubt is that his forced appearance before the Canadian Human Rights Commission is an affront to free people everywhere. Let these matters be argued in neutral forums: blogs, talk radio, newspaper op-eds, and university campuses. (Yes, many universities — Brandeis, I’m talking to you — have their own kangaroo courts to protect students from having their assumptions bruised, but one can hope) This is what free people do. We argue. We debate. We research. We muster points and counterpoints. We insult each other when we can’t come up with anything better. We do not forbid. We do not burn books. We do not clutch our chests because an idea has made us uncomfortable. We do not scurry off to cranky bureaucrats with too much power and tell them to make the bad man say he’s sorry.
“This is the West. This is what the Enlightenment was all about. Free inquiry and no reservations is responsible for putting a man on the moon, curing polio and busting a gut to Dave Chapelle. Okay, it’s also how we got The View, bathtub crank and Saw II, but the marketplace of ideas is a noisy, messy affair, with something to offend everyone. That’s the price we have to pay for freedom, and it’s worth every penny of it.”
(PS: Ferrigno’s new MADE-UP, TOTALLY FICTIONAL NOVEL is the sequel Sins of the Assassin.)