The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Inquisitors

Mark Steyn is a widely-read Canadian journalist who is a regular contributor to print media, the blogosphere, and is the author of two books. Because they believe Steyn’s most recent book is “flagrantly Islamophobic,” the Canadian Islamic Congress has brought suit against Stein before Canada’s Human Rights Commission (HRC). The HRC is not a court of law, and rules of due process do not apply. The plaintiff’s action, in this case the CIC, is paid for by taxpayer dollars. The defendant, Steyn, must mount a defense out of pocket. It’s worthwhile noting that a “defendant” who has appeared before the Canadian Human Rights Commission has never been vindicated, never.

The case is summarized by Hilary White :
The case that has garnered the attention of Canada's mainstream media is that brought by the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) against popular conservative columnist Mark Steyn and Maclean's, Canada's foremost news magazine. Maclean's published an excerpt, headlined "The Future Belongs to Islam," from Steyn's bestselling book "America Alone" in which he predicts a coming clash between an increasingly aggressive Islamic minority in Europe and the shrinking remnants of European post-Christian social values.

The CIC complained to the Human Rights Commission of "exposing Canadian Muslims to hatred and Islamophobia". A representative of the group claims the complaint is intended to "protect Canadian multiculturalism and tolerance" …

"The Canadian Human Rights Commission, though, has the power to embroil Steyn and Maclean's in paperwork, to force them to pay for legal representation in this process, and even the power to fine them and force them to agree to terms satisfactory to the CIC. The CIC's real goal seems to be not justice or the pursuit of truth, but the abolition of public discourse that is critical of Islam."

Freedom of the press? Freedom of expression? Never mind. It’s more important to conform to an arbitrary set of rules that insists that certain topics are completely off limits. That legitimate, reasoned criticism or commentary is unacceptable.

Of course, the strategy of groups like the CIC (or CAIR in the United States) is clear. Any criticism, even the most reasoned, is branded as “Islamophobic.” The written word, something that is protected in both Canada and the United States, is no longer sacrosanct. Human rights inquisitors are on the prowl and are being used as weapons by those who often support entities that are among the worst violators of human rights.

It appears that our freedoms are being used to erode our freedoms. Our tolerance is used as a weapon by those who exhibit very little tolerance themselves.

Interestingly, almost nothing about this case has appeared in the NYT, the LAT, the Boston Globe, the WaPo and other great defenders of journalism and the written word. CNN, the broadcast networks, MSNBC and others have been silent. Odd.

Maybe it’s because Canada is far removed from the United States. Or maybe its because the same defenders of journalism and the written word are also proponents of politicial correctness, and the Steyn case is a case study in political correctness run amuck.

But not to worry, it couldn’t happen here, could it?