Human rights

Feb 072008

An article by Lee Harris in The Weekly Standard got me to checking for the latest news on the Ezra Levant case in Canada.

Ezra Levant has a blog which he tells us is getting a lot of hits:

in the past month, I’ve had 152,000 “unique visitors” of whom 49,000 are “returning visitors”. According to, I’ve had more than
1,500 comments. And then there’s the YouTube videos, 471,000 views amongst them.”

(That happens to be more hits than this blog gets.)

And a liberal MP (Keith Martin) has submitted a motion to remove the section of the Human Rights Code that allows the sort of inquisitions undergone by Levant and Mark Steyn. But it sounds as though his party has been pressuring him to withdraw it, though there are the usual denials, etc. News item about it here.

If you google for information about Ezra Levant, you will see that while this topic is getting a lot of attention in Canada, the U.S. news media are paying no attention to it. These would be the same news media types who attack Bush for his unilateralism and for ignoring world opinion. These would also be the same news media types who want us to look to Canada for lessons on how to handle health care.

I say it would be worth asking our presidential candidates about it. There are people clamoring for hate crime laws in the U.S. There are concerns about McCain’s attitude towards free speech. There are those who complained about Bush’s unilateralism, and those who threatened to move to Canada if Bush was re-elected in 2004. It would seem to be about as relevant an issue for discussion as you could find (and probably one a lot less boring than the usual gas about “change.”)

I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a prediction: The U.S. media will continue to ignore it and will NOT ask our presidential candidates about it.

Feb 012008

Since at least as far back as 1999 I’ve been referring to abortion as the Holy Sacrament of the Left. (I got this idea from watching the Senate Judiciary Committee, among other things.) For the Clintons, as for the rest of their party, keeping abortion legal supersedes all else: The Bill of Rights, our national security, all considerations of honor and truth, the safety of our children — everything. Everything else is subordinated to the great and bloody sacrament of the left: killing fetuses.

I even predicated that there would soon be a religious test for office — or at least for any office that required confirmation by a Senate committee. Anyone who expected to gain high appointive office would have to appear before the committee wearing a bandolier full of abortion drugs, a scalpel between his teeth, ready to perform the sacrament in full view of the committee to prove his loyalty to the cause.

Some people thought I was overstating things.

Perhaps so, but I see from the latest issue of The Weekly Standard that I wasn’t as far off as some people claimed. In a short piece titled The Blessing of Abortion (for which you need to be a subscriber to read the whole thing) we have this:

The Albany Times Union reports on a unique ceremony marking the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The Planned Parenthood chapter in Schenectady invited several local members of the clergy to bless its new 18,000 square-foot “clinic.” According to the Times Union, the blessings included one from “Rev. Larry Phillips of Schenectady’s Emmanuel-Friedens Church [who] declared the ground ‘sacred and holy . . . where women’s voices and stories are welcomed, valued and affirmed; sacred ground where women are treated with dignity, supported in their role as moral decision-makers . . . sacred ground where the violent voices of hatred and oppression are quelled.’?”

No, we’re not making this up.

Jan 202008

If we stop short of the totalitarian abyss, it will be thanks to the courage and eloquence of people like Ezra Levant. I got the following YouTube links from In The Agora . It’s the entry titled “Nothing Short of Incredible” by Joshua Clayborn. Levant takes on the speech police in the misnamed Alberta Human Rights Commission. (I’ve only watched the first two so far.)

Part I: Opening Statement
Part II: What was your intent?
Part III: The real violence in Edmonton
Part IV: I don’t answer to the state
Part V: “You’re entitled to your opinions”
Part VI: Attributes of free speech
Part VII: How does the commission make decisions?
Part VIII: Closing argument
Bonus: Details of the complaint

Nov 202007

What if freedom and prosperity don’t go together? Here is a paragraph from The China Mode, by Rowan Callick, at The American

In the May/June edition of the american, Kevin Hassett, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, explained that evidence is emerging that developing “countries that are economically and politically free are underperforming the countries that are economically but not politically free.” China, of course, is in the lead of the economically free but politically unfree nations. Hassett wrote, “The unfree governments now understand that they have to provide a good economy to keep citizens happy, and they understand that free-market economies work best…. Being unfree may be an economic advantage. Dictatorships are not hamstrung by the preference of voters for, say, a pervasive welfare state. So the future may look something like the 20th century in reverse. The unfree nations will grow so quickly that they will overwhelm free nations with their economic might.”

But maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising. European-Americans conquered the Native peoples in North America, not because they had greater freedom than the Native peoples, but because they were more willing to submit to authority, to discipline themselves to keep their noses to the grindstone, and to march lock-step into near-certain death in time of war. It was greater organization and lesser individualism, not greater freedom, that enabled that conquest of North America. Yes, it’s true that among the nations of wannabe conquerers, the ones that prevailed were the ones that had greater economic and political freedom. But it wasn’t greater freedom than that of the people they conquered.

Nov 072007

In case anyone ever doubted, this is not about non-discrimination in the workplace. It’s about thought control. It’s not even enough for the government to regulate your speech. They want to regulate your thinking, too.  Rep. Clyburn says as much.   He wants to regulate sentiments, not just words and actions.

Backers of the House bill proclaimed it a major civil rights advance for gays. “Bigotry and homophobia are sentiments that should never be allowed to permeate the American workplace,” said House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C.

House passes job bias ban against gays

I wonder if the supporters of this bill recognize the irony of destroying the very foundation that supports tolerance and freedom.

Nov 072007

It’s a sad state of affairs when the issue of freedom in other countries is seen as a Bush idiosyncracy. Back in the days when Liberals were liberal, it was a cause that almost everyone in the United States favored. But here is a headline and lead paragraph from an article in Monday’s WSJ:

Pakistan Crackdown Slows Bush’s Freedom March

President Bush’s vaunted “freedom agenda,” using U.S. aid, influence and example to advance political liberty around the globe, suffered one of its worst setbacks this weekend when Gen. Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan.

I suppose it’s hard for the average newspaper journalist to ever stop thinking about George Bush. And there are those who are going to think of every event in terms of whether it hurts or helps their partisan faction. But isn’t this crackdown also a blow to the freedom of the people of Pakistan? Shouldn’t that issue be just as important as whether it helps or hurts Bush?

And if it’s too hard to focus on the lives of people in other countries, there is also the fact that every loss of freedom elsewhere is a threat to our own freedoms in the United States, too.

It’s not all about Bush.

Oct 182007

Interesting definition of “internal affairs.” Apparently China thinks the issue of Bush giving out an award in our own capital city is an internal affair of China’s. China must be a pretty big place if it includes Washington D.C.

The move of the United States is a blatant interference with China’s internal affairs which has severely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and gravely undermined the relations between China and the United States,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news conference.

Here is URL