Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Havel and the HRC

Quotes from The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel in blue.

The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies:

government by bureaucracy is called popular government;
The Ontario Human Rights Commission was established in 1961 to administer the Code. The Commission is an arm's length agency of government accountable to the people of Ontario through the legislature. OHRC
(Except when Commissioners won’t appear before Parliamentary committees.)
the working class is enslaved in the name of the working class;
And those are just the cases that go all the way to a ruling. 90% of Alberta's human rights targets fold without a fight -- they just can't afford the fight, either in terms of time (I'm well over 800 days in their prosecution of me for publishing the Danish cartoons) and money (I'm at the $100,000 mark -- thank you to my online donors for saving me from ruin Ezra Levant

(Small businesses are frequent targets of HRC. In the name of protecting vulnerable people the commissions have become an attack force against vulnerable people. After all few people are quite as vulnerable as a small entrepreneur.)

the complete degradation of the individual is presented as his or her ultimate liberation;

Freedom of expression is recognized as a cornerstone of a functioning democracy. It promotes many societal values and has a role in individual self-fulfillment, attaining the truth, securing participation by members of society in social and political decision-making, and maintaining a balance between stability and change in society.... Freedom of expression should be exercised through responsible reporting and not be used as a guise to target vulnerable groups and to further increase their marginalization or stigmatization in society. OHRC
(These freedoms are protected by the government publicly accusing people of racism, sexism, bigotry, hate, or some other degrading label)
depriving people of information is called making it available;

However, other hearings have been held in secret, as Ms. Lynch has admitted, supposedly for the “safety” of a witness but contrary to the ancient right of being able to face one’s accuser in court. Indeed, in the ongoing case of vs., the commission hasn’t even revealed the identity of the complainant. Russ Hiebert M.P.

We are committed to:
  • a strategic approach to public education, because we believe that an informed public contributes to the elimination of discrimination in society OHRC
(I always thought that government education was a rather euphemistic way of saying propaganda. Now I admit that such propaganda can be either good or bad, true or false, but it is definitely not truly free and open minded.)

the use of power to manipulate is called the public control of power,

First, there has been no suppression of speech. No complaint has been filed against Steyn, who is free to express his views and has being doing so with regularity in multiple venues. The complaints against Maclean's magazine ask for the right to more, not less, information by demanding publication of the "other side" of the story. Pearl Eliadis

(It is merely a public spirited desire to have both sides of the story told. Which I will believe the day that the HRC forces Xtra to publish an article condemning homosexuality on religious grounds.)
and the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code;

As is the case with all administrative law bodies, they ensure that all parties are protected by the rules of natural justice, and that frivolous complaints are efficiently disposed. Canadians expect fairness and efficiency from their human-rights system, and we must continue to offer both. Jennifer Lynch

And, so it is again: the CHRC has rejected Lebuis's complaint. The rejection states:
...the majority of the references in “Islam or Fundamentalism” are to “infidels”, “miscreants” or “western women”. These are general, broad and diversified categories that do not constitute an “identifiable group” under Section 13 of the Act. As we have also mentioned, the extracts that identify groups on the basis of prohibited grounds of discrimination (homosexuals, lesbians, Christians, Jews) do not seem to promote “hatred” or “contempt” according to the criteria set forth in the Taylor case. Therefore, the document on which the complaint is based does not seem to meet the requirements of Section 13 of the Act for a complaint.
Translation: when a radical Muslim says gays should be killed, Buddhists should be killed, women may be treated like slaves, etc., those victims are not legally considered to be "identifiable groups" -- they have no human rights.
Gays, women, Buddhists, Jews, etc., do have human rights that can be offended only when white supremacists do the offending. When radical Muslims are doing the offending, gays, women, Jews, etc., can just get a thicker skin. Ezra Levant
Human rights commissions have been set up as a kind of parallel police and legal system, yet without any of the procedural safeguards, rules of evidence, or simple professional expertise of the real thing. Human rights investigators can search homes and offices without warrants. Tribunals can accept hearsay evidence, or ignore disclosure requirements, at will. Common law defences such as fair comment do not apply. Complainants have their costs paid for, even if they lose, while their targets must fend for themselves. None of this is accidental. It’s deliberate—protecting “human rights” was considered too urgent a matter to be constrained by old-fashioned notions of due process. Andrew Coyne
the repression of culture is called its development;
"We do not negotiate with terrorists. We just accede to their anticipated demands.” That is effectively the new policy position at Yale University Press, which has eliminated all visual depictions of the Prophet Muhammad from Jytte Klausen’s new book The Cartoons That Shook the World. Yale made the unusual decision not only to suppress the twelve 2005 Danish cartoons that sparked organized protests in many countries but also historical depictions of Muhammed like a 19th-century print by Gustave Doré. They are not responding to protests against the book; they and a number of their consultants are anticipating them and making or recommending concessions beforehand. American Association of University Professors

(Okay so not exactly the fault of the HRC but part of the same issue)

the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed;

No person shall publish or display…any representation, including any notice, sign, symbol, emblem, article, statement or other representation that exposes or tends to expose to hatred, ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person or class of persons on the basis of a prohibited ground. Saskatchewan Human Rights Code

It is up to legislators and courts to find the appropriate balance that best protects the human rights and freedoms of all citizens. Canada has an enviable track record in this regard, and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms is viewed as a model for other free societies to emulate. Human-rights commissions and tribunals provide access to the justice system and remedies for those who believe they are the victims of discrimination. Jennifer Lynch

(Currently taking bets as to how long it will be until anti-discrimination produces a situation where the most officially discriminated against people are Christians. Oh wait... never mind, bit late there.)

the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom;

Some who disagree with this notion would have Canada weaken its human-rights system, taking the view that freedom of expression is the paramount right in Canadian society, over and above the right of all citizens to be protected from the harm that can be caused by hate messages. In fact, there is no hierarchy of rights with some rights having greater importance than others. They work together toward a common purpose. Jennifer Lynch
(When do I get protection from being called an unsocialized "retard" for being a homeschooler?)

farcical elections become the highest form of democracy;
(At this point, the HRC do not see the need to have even farcical elections)

banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views;
Christian Horizons also faced sanctions for asking Heintz to consider Christian counselling to restore her to her previous faith.
The OHRT ruled "the attempt of 'restoration' for persons who are gay or lesbian is profoundly disrespectful and oppressive.' Canadian Christianity
(We aren't even mentioning the evolution word, just give the HRC time)

military occupation becomes fraternal assistance.
(The HRC only wishes... However attempts to occupy magazines in the name of freedom for all might be considered somewhat analogous)

Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus.
It pretends to respect human rights.
It pretends to persecute no one.
It pretends to fear nothing.
It pretends to pretend nothing.
Blue quotes from The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel

Monday, August 24, 2009

Who Needs Death Panels?

Planned Parenthood apparently concedes that biologically and factually abortion is the killing of a child, but wants to prevent ideological language from being used to describe such killings. From The Associated Press

She (Judge Karen Schreier) sided with the state (SD) in ruling that doctors must make the biological disclosure ''that the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.''

But Schreier said doctors can provide more information than the language in the statute, including that the term can be used in a biological sense and not ideological.....

''We're relieved our doctors have the ability to use their best medical judgment to explain and make sure what women understand is biological and factual information and not an ideological mandate from the state,'' said Mimi Liu, an attorney for Planned Parenthood.

It should be a matter of serious concern that our culture is willing to provide abortion on demand after a court has decided that abortion is the killing of a human being.

Unfortunately using "biological" information to describe abortion is probably a guarantee that no one will be able to understand what is said. At least if Planned Parenthood does the explaining.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Excerpts from Two Ideas of Freedom by George Weigel

Link to original article here
(Of Thomas Aquinas) According to one of his most eminent interpreters today, the Belgian Dominican Servais Pinckaers, Aquinas’s subtle and complex thinking about freedom is best captured in the phrase freedom for excellence. Freedom, for St. Thomas, is a means to human excellence, to human happiness, to the fulfillment of human destiny. Freedom is the capacity to choose wisely and to act well as a matter of habit—or, to use the old-fashioned term, as an outgrowth of virtue. Freedom is the means by which, exercising both our reason and our will, we act on the natural longing for truth, for goodness, and for happiness that is built into us as human beings. Freedom is something that grows in us, and the habit of living freedom wisely must be developed through education, which among many other things involves the experience of emulating others who live wisely and well. On St. Thomas’s view, freedom is in fact the great organizing principle of the moral life—and since the very possibility of a moral life (the capacity to think and choose) is what distinguishes the human person from the rest of the natural world, freedom is the great organizing principle of a life lived in a truly human way. That is, freedom is the human capacity that unifies all our other capacities into an orderly whole, and directs our actions toward the pursuit of happiness and goodness understood in the noblest sense: the union of the human person with the absolute good, who is God.

Thus virtue and the virtues are crucial elements of freedom rightly understood, and the journey of a life lived in freedom is a journey of growth in virtue—growth in the ability to choose wisely and well the things that truly make for our happiness and for the common good. It’s a bit like learning to play a musical instrument. Anyone can bang away on a piano; but that is to make noise, not music, and it’s a barbaric, not humanistic, expression of freedom. At first, learning to play the piano is a matter of some drudgery as we toil over exercises that seem like a constraint, a burden. But as our mastery grows, we discover a new, richer dimension of freedom: we can play the music we like, we can even create music on our own. Freedom, in other words, is a matter of gradually acquiring the capacity to choose the good and to do what we choose with perfection.

Thus law has a lot to do with freedom. Law can educate us in freedom. Law is not a work of heteronomous (external) imposition but a work of wisdom, and good law facilitates our achievement of the human goods we instinctively seek because of who we are and what we are meant to be as human beings.[7]......

(Of William of Ockham) With Ockham, we meet what Pinckaers has called the freedom of indifference. Here, freedom is simply a neutral faculty of choice, and choice is everything, for choice is a matter of self-assertion, of power. Will is the defining human attribute. Indeed, will is the defining attribute of all of reality. For God, too, is supremely willful, and the moral life as read through Ockhamite lenses is a contest of wills, a contest between my will and God’s imposition of his will through the moral law.....

Freedom, for Ockham, has little or no spiritual character. The reality is autonomous man, not virtuous man, for freedom has nothing to do with goodness, happiness, or truth. Freedom is simply willfulness. (And if, at this juncture, you hear Frank Sinatra singing “I did it my way” in the back of your mind, you are not mistaken.) Freedom can attach itself to any object, so long as it does not run into a superior will, human or divine. Later in the history of ideas, when God drops out of the equation, freedom comes to be understood in purely instrumental or utilitarian terms. And if the road on which Ockham set out eventually leads to Nietzsche, it also leads, through even more twists and turns, to Princeton’s Peter Singer (author of the major article on “Ethics” in the Encyclopaedia Britannica), and his claim that parents ought to have a few weeks to decide whether their newborn child should be allowed to live. Ideas, indeed, have consequences.

From the Greeks down to Aquinas, every moral philosopher of note had assumed that the pursuit of happiness is the primary moral question. With William of Ockham, the profound linkages among freedom, virtue, and the pursuit of happiness are sundered: morality is mere obligation, freedom is mere willfulness. When Western thought took a decisively subjectivist turn in the seventeenth century, and when that subjectivism eventually gave birth to a principled skepticism about the human capacity to know anything with confidence, the result, which is much with us today, was the emergence of an intellectual culture of radical moral relativism lacking any thick notion of the common good. By positing a profound tension between freedom and reason (or, in his construction, will and reason), Ockham created a situation in which there are only two options: determinisms of a biological, racial, or ideological sort, or the radical relativism that, married to irrationalism, eventually yields nihilism. In either case, freedom self-destructs.[14].....

In addition to illuminating a crucial episode in the history of ideas, this tale of two monks also sheds light on grave public issues today. And in doing so, it reminds us that a “clash of civilizations” is being played out within our own society, as well as between ourselves and hostile forces bent on our Tyranny thrives in a world in which means always trump ends. The freedom of indifference cannot sustain a truly free society.

The national debate over cloning and embryonic stem cell research over the past year ought to have given us pause, and precisely on this point. With rare exceptions, the first great public debate of the biotech era was conducted in almost exclusively utilitarian terms (when it was not reduced to appeals to compassion that did not constitute anything resembling a serious argument). What can be done to put this urgent and unavoidable debate onto more secure moral-philosophical ground? I suggest that doing so will require a rigorous reckoning with the degree to which the freedom of indifference has become the operative notion of freedom in much of our high culture, in the media, among many political leaders, in considerable parts of the mainline Protestant religious community, in the sciences, and in the biotech industry. Challenging the freedom of indifference with freedom for excellence is essential if we are to deploy our new genetic knowledge in ways that lead to human flourishing rather than to the soul-less dystopia of the brave new world.....

For in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on New York and Washington, there was a remarkable resurgence of simple, indeed robust, moral clarity in a country that had long been told, by everyone from Alan Wolfe to Jerry Falwell, that it was awash in moral relativism. That moral clarity and the resolve that accompanies it seem to have retained their vigor among the vast majority of our people. Among certain parts of the intellectual class, however, they lasted, by my count, approximately ninety-six hours.

This seems to be the statute of limitations in the commentariat on radical moral relativism and its “real world” political offspring—appeasement strategies, moral equivalence theories, “root cause” analyses of terrorism, nonsense about “violence begetting violence” (as if a justly conducted war were the same thing as turning a 767 into a weapon of mass destruction), self-loathing anti-Americanism of the most vulgar sort. Thus far, these intellectual and moral aberrations have been reasonably well confined to the farther fringes of the chattering classes in the United States. But they are well advanced among intellectuals and commentators in western Europe, where I spent five weeks in October and early November. And this fact has everything to do, I suggest, with four things we have pondered this evening: the deterioration of the idea of freedom into willfulness, the detachment of freedom from moral truth, an obsession with “choice,” and the consequent inability to draw the most elementary moral conclusions about the imperative to resist evil—or to recognize evil as such, rather than to deny its reality by an appeal to psychiatric or quasi-Marxist political categories.

The response to September 11 has demonstrated the essential moral common sense of the American people. At the same time, the national recommitment to civil tolerance and the basic human decencies in a religiously diverse society has demonstrated the enduring power of the Judeo-Christian tradition to ground those commitments, which are not being sustained today by ACLU-style theories of liberty or by alternative religious traditions. So let us gratefully take note of the fact that, at a moment of national emergency unprecedented in two generations, the American people are acquitting themselves with the dignity, decency, and determination that come from deeply rooted moral convictions.

What, however, will sustain us over the long haul? There has been a remarkable resurgence of uncomplicated, unapologetic patriotism over the past three months: flags, not yellow ribbons, are the icons of the day. But can this welcome recovery of patriotism be sustained unless it becomes, once again, the expression of a nobler concept of freedom than mere willfulness? Is happy hedonism that for which we are prepared to make the sacrifices that will be required of us? Or is it more likely that the acids of the relativism that accompany a merely negative concept of freedom as “noninterference” will eventually erode today’s resurgent patriotism, too—to the point where appeasement will once again become a respectable word in the national political vocabulary?

A society without “oughts” tethered to truths cannot defend itself against aggressors motivated by distorted “oughts.” That is the truth of which we should have been reminded when reading those chilling letters from the hijackers the week after September 11. The answer to a distorted concept of the good cannot be a radical relativism about the good. It must be a nobler concept of the good.

And that brings us back, at the end of the day, to our tale of two monks.

Freedom for excellence is the freedom that will satisfy the deepest yearnings of the human heart to be free. It is more than that, though. The idea of freedom for excellence and the disciplines of self-command it implies are essential for democracy and for the defense of freedom.

I do not pretend to understand everything that George Weigel is saying. I have a great deal of difficulty comprehending and understanding the implications of the "freedom for excellence" that he is talking about. However there are two other things that I would like to quote, one a random line written by me a little while ago. The other an extract from the Christian Reformed marriage service.

This is one of those examples of the necessity of self-control. If people used their cell phones responsibly and respectably we wouldn't have to talk about banning cell phones while driving or posting no cell phones signs. However because people abuse their cells everyone suffers a decrease of freedom. We will either govern ourselves or we will be governed by others. I know which one I'd rather choose.

The Lord ordained that in marriage the husband should be the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, and that he should protect her and provide for her in love. This love, if exercised in the spirit and example of Christ, will be conducive to mutual happiness. God also ordained that the wife should be subject to the husband in all things that are according to his Word, showing him deference even as the church shows deference to Christ. Thus the liberty of both husband and wife is glorified by mutual loyalty to law, and the home begun in the name of the Lord and regulated by his commandments becomes the very foundation of a Christian society and provides a foretaste of the eternal home.
Aren't liturgies and traditional services amazing?

I am not sure where to go with this but I am sure that Weigel has identified perhaps the most important question of our time. What is the ontology of freedom. What does the word mean? This is where we have lost the battle. This is where we will continue to loose the battle unless we can reclaim the definition of freedom. This is why pro-lifers are loosing to pro-choicers. After all everyone knows "Give me freedom or give me death". Choice trumps life, duh. There is a saying that "He who defines wins". I would go further and say that at this moment in time he who defines freedom wins.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Round-Up, Shriveling Weeds and Catching Horses

On the "frivolous from you but not from me" embarrassment again. "The B'nai Brith is diligently disproving a stereotype about Jews. Unfortunately, it's the stereotype that we're smart." (Ezra Levant said that not me and he is Jewish, so don't sue the messenger)
Oh and by the way, why does the B'nai Brith have a "Report a Hate Crime" button on their website? Shouldn't real hate crimes be reported to the police? And aren't most others probably frivolous? What on earth is the B'nai Brith planning on doing with the information they get? (P.S. I'm not sure if Levant's post is working properly, hopefully just my computer)

We all know that the British education system is bad but is it really possible that they are so illiterate (or assume everyone else is so illiterate) that they could really name a science organization that advises the government N.I.C.E and no one said "Uh, you know guys, maybe this ain't such a good idea after all...". Does anyone read C.S. Lewis anymore? Anyone? Anyone?

According to some this isn't a very nice little N.I.C.E. either.

In other news, Jennifer Lynch is still complaining that human rights commission spokespersons are being chilled. Guess what, it is called marginalizing fringe fanatics. Otherwise known as democracy. I don't support anonymous death threats obviously but as the Vancouver Sun noted
"While she didn't identify her critics, Lynch has complained previously about attacks against her by Steyn, commentator Ezra Levant, various other bloggers, and politicians such as B.C. Conservative MP Russ Hiebert."
In other words, politicians and political activists criticizing a government body.
Denyse O'Leary suggests some worthwhile activities that the HRC could be engaging in, like child sex trafficking.
Blazing Cat Fur points out that appealing to lawyers is... appealing to Ezra Levant and co. to spread public information about HRC. Except I thought that was the problem....

Psalm Trees has an article about young earth creationism. Well worth reading as a basic introduction to the subject. It doesn't go into any detail and thus gives no proof for a young earth, but it is a good overview of who we are (and aren't) and why YEC is a legitimate option to consider despite the scientific community's opposition.

The prophets of doom and gloom return. This time with only 4 months to save the planet. So, will we get an apology when disaster doesn't occur in the near future? Didn't think so.

Does the Ontario HRT really want to make it illegal for any cop to arrest and/or question any person who belongs to a different race? Actually do they want to make it illegal for people of different races to talk to each other? Because it seems to me that that would be the only way you could be sure that you weren't violating the HRT racism standard. Although not talking to anyone of a different race would also be racist. This would also prohibit communication between the sexes (good luck with that one people, last I heard even abstinence was considered impractical by lefties). And prohibit non-communication between the sexes. And people of different religions (don't even mention the evangelism word) On pain of we will ruin your life by branding you a bigot. Hermit-hood never sounded so good....
Although as Freedom Through Truth would say, my reference to people of different races/sexes/religions/you name it not being able to communicate is heavily euphemistic, since we all know that the HRT is engaged in massive racial/sexist/religious profiling themselves and that only some people would get into trouble....

I'll bet he didn't mean for it to become public. So much more convenient to blackmail under secrecy.

David Warren on the differences between "niceness", "candor", and "thuggery" and why, all things considered, he prefers "candor". Especially the blunt kind.

We are hearing more and more frequently about the need to stop having babies in order to combat global warming. This is replacing the dire warnings to stop having babies or else we will run out of food. The terrible disaster about to befall us seems to be very flexible, as one is disproved the next diligently comes forward to take it's place. The only consistent thing is that kids are bad. Very bad. So now we have a demographic winter. And kids are still bad. Very bad. Anyone else seeing some kind of ulterior philosophy going on here?

I just love cell animations, so you should too. Via Wintery Knight.

Also from Wintery Knight, why on earth are women allowed to get away with murder in our courts?

The BCHRT has decided that inherited supernatural powers do not constitute a physical disability and that being a problem student can get you legitimately kicked out of an Energy Healing Program.... after only 2 years.