as my co-defendant likes to say, on the tedious subject of “words can hurt/are powerful”. (You see: the spells in the books don’t work. Get it?)
“Words can hurt/are powerful” is a favourite anti-free speech argument. And yeah, I guess if you’re a wimp, words can hurt. So man up. But we all know that “manning up” isn’t an option in our metrosexual p.c. society…
More importantly: if words were truly powerful, we wouldn’t be having this fight over the HRCs and Section 13.1 in the first place.
Because millions of Canadians read 1984 and Farenheit 451 in high school — including, I’d wager a thousand dollars — every single employee, past and current, of the Canadian Human Rights Commissions. And Bernie Farber. And the Lying Jackal and The Guy Who Is Suing Us.
And those words weren’t powerful enough to get a single, solitary one of those people to go, “Hey, this weird stuff I’m doing all seems kinda… familiar… maybe I should, like, quit my job…”
Or if such a thought has crossed their tiny minds, they quickly put it out of their tiny heads, because their juicy pensions and paycheques (all paid for by me) mean more to them than all those “powerful” words they read in high school.
Remember: our fight is only 50% ideology, if that.
It is really about The Lying Jackal and the Kapos at the CJC and B’nai Brith wanting to get their Orders of Canada one day, and getting all the mindless applause that goes along with supporting a previously unimpeachable if completely asinine cause like fighting the faux wood panelling SS, single-finger typing away on their ten year old Dells with the dot matrix printers.
This fight is really about class, social standing, prestige. Who has it, who doesn’t, and how that status quo can be maintained, by using the powers of the State to break the law, if necessary.
To continue to argue on the elite’s own territory, where they feel most comfortable — that of high falutin’ ideas and what “studies show” and what this or that report says, about what John Stuart Mill wrote 100 years ago or what’s written in the Charter — is a complete waste of time.
We are dealing with a certain personality type: the do-gooder-or-else, the self-appointed martyr (the difference between some people on the pro-HRC side and your average suicide bomber is that the former are taking waaaaay to long to die.)
Our opponents have become The Thing They Hate: fascists and petty “I was just doing my job” bureaucrats. And more than the make believe Nazis they’re “fighing” on the internet, they hate us for pointing this out, the way anybody hates it when you put Listerine in their locker or suggest they may want to think about cutting back on the booze.
If it were about smart people disagreeing about ideology, these allegedly smart people would have said by now, “You know. Our critics are right. Nothing we stand for makes any sense; we’re human anachronisms, fighting the last war instead of the new one; we can’t win in the age of the internet, etc.”
But this isn’t about the facts.
This is about the wounded psyches of certain individuals who want to impose their wounded psyche fallout/worldview on the rest of us, to punish us because some long dead dude in another country put their grandma in a concentration camp.
Which I’m sorry about etc but frankly THAT JUST ISN’T MY PROBLEM. I want to be able to write whatever the hell I want on the web in 2008 regardless of some crappy thing that happened to somebody else before I was even born. Sorry.
And that’s why name calling is not only excusable in our fight — it is indispensible. Our opponents don’t approve of such things, or they wouldn’t be trying to arrest people for the “crime” of making rude, dumb jokes about immigrants on the internet. Since we know rudeness really gets our opponents worked up — enough that they are trying to impose a “tyranny of nice” by force of law — then let’s bug them by calling them names.
Duh. Really, folks: Do you want to win or what?
There’s nothing wrong with personalizing the fight by calling people names when your enemy is a person who won’t either smarten up or go away, rather than an ideology and worldview that’s de facto absurd on its face.
UPDATE: Jay Currie comments…. (RTWT)
99.9% of the CPC Policy Convention delegates which included dozens of CPC MPs and the Minister of Justice, voted in favour of repealing s. 13. And they did it because us name callers have spent a year mocking and ridiculing the little Chekists at the Commission.
So, while we appreciate the polite efforts and advice of the adults, excuse us while we play a winning game. And, yo, adults, the fact is that a fair number of us speechers have a fair bit of experience in politics, journalism, publishing, marketing, organization and public relations. Possibly more than you do.
UPDATE: Mike Brock writes via email…
It was one of the most interesting aspects of the debate we had on the Michael Coren show back in Februrary, Kathy. You and I were sitting beside each other and Mr. Morton was trying to impress upon me the fact that “words have meaning”. I mean, I guess they do. Otherwise I wouldn’t find much currency in speaking, writing this email, or reading instruction manuals.
I agree with a lot of what you had to say there, Kathy. But I think that this is even larger than you’ve elucidated. It’s more sinister.
The reasons why various groups support the suppression of speech are diverse, but the common thread where they tend to bind together on the left is in the words “respect and tolerance”. The left is in a perpetual war against both perceived and real injustice. But it’s stuck it’s head so far up it’s own ass that it can’t really tell the light from the day.
It’s an unfortunate part of human nature, I think. We see it within the conservative movement, too. The partisan pull on the right, to be uncritical of the Conservative Party, or uncritical of other people on the right is no different that the illness afflicting the left on this issue. Plenty on the left intrinsically sense what is wrong, but the sense of belonging to an ethereal group of “progressives” forms an overriding defense mechanism against open criticism. We all fall in line behind our chosen labels.
Having a cultural value of liberty is probably the most important counterbalance to these tendencies, as it gives us all a collective sense of respect for each others differences, or more specifically, our right to hold those differences.
We need to continue to examine what liberty is, and what it means, and restore it’s glamour.
I think what everyone is failing to now see, is that conservatism, liberalism and socialism are all now dead. Completely. We have acquiesced into democratic populism. The differences between the NDP and the Conservative Party today are matters of degree on various issues. And while this may be hard to accept for people who live in a partisan world, Obama is not that different from McCain.
For these reasons, I’ve become completely disillusioned with right vs
. left politics. Our enemy is not “the left”. It never was. Our enemy was the centralization of power. It always was and always will be.
If the last 10 years should have shown any of us: both the left and right love power, they both want to expand it, and they both want to use it — albeit for different ends. It is my hope that more people who call themselves conservatives will come to see this.
Which reminds me: the best stuff gets said in the Green Room, and my encounter with law school prof something or other Morton at Coren’s was one example. He quoted Jefferson to me, to whit:
“But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
To which I replied:
“Yeah, and Islam wants to do both!”
Heh. I love making people whose entire lives are based upon other people’s cliches just — gack!