June 09, 2008
Why America is Great and Almost Everywhere Else Sucks
I was just reading a bit on the Mark Steyn hubbub up north. He is being accused, essentially, of hate speech for writing an article about Islam.
He was in Vancouver B.C. in front of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal last week. So I am reading about all the happenings, and I find a bizarre quote. Now, I see this sentiment often expressed outside U.S. borders, but it is still incomprehensible to me each time I see it. The Chief of the Canadian Human Rights Commission wrote, "Mr. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be given free reign. History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred."
Now let us examine the quintessentially American perspective of the issue, from James Madison in Federalist 10 (emphasis added):
By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.
There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.
It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.
The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.
Shorter Madison: it is impossible for us to change your opinions by force, so the only way to prevent you from expressing things we don't like is to take away your liberty to do so, but as that liberty is what we are trying to protect, that doesn't work either. So we'll instead work to control the potential negative effects of what you say, instead of destroying your right to say it.
Sounds good to me. Actually, it sounds like the only free and sane way to be. Anything less makes no sense to me at all. Yes, people hating people sucks. But government telling me I can't hate people, or express that hatred, sucks even more. I won't use the loaded word "fascist," but it is the exact sort of thing that many of the Americans before us fought and died for. Not specifically the right to speak hatred, of course, but the right to speak hatred is a necessary precondition of self-government, and that's something worth fighting and dying for.
Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.
Posted by pudge at June 09, 2008
04:09 PM | Email This
1. A chilling turn of events in Canada. I doubt Canadian soldiers died in WWI or WWII for their government's right to prosecute "offensive" speach.
Many, if not most, Canadians abhor the climate of fear that these unelected commissions have brought about. Once empowered with the force of law, they are able to subvert Canadian's rights to free speech.
I fervently hope Mr. Styne has the financial support to fight this battle up to Canada's Supreme Court and hopefully win.
I've been exploring this website called Hulu.com -- it has a lot of new tv episodes and some old movies for free to watch.
Anyway, I couldn't sleep so I streamed the move "Che!" with Omar Shariff as Che Guevara. It's fund to watch, because it was mostly about the dynamic in the small group of rebels that took over Cuba, mostly Castro and Che.
Anyway, at some point Che goes off into Boliva to "liberate" his people. The best moment was at the very end, when Che is captured and he is arguing with the captain about how his world will fall...blah, blah, blah. So then the captain brings in a "peasant" and in fact, it was the peasant who betrayed Che! The peasant said that he hated the rebels because they were so loud they were scaring his goats and he couldn't get any milk from them!
These "Islamic Rebels" remind me of every other fancy pants well-heeled "rebel" who ever stalked the planet. They are the same as the 60s Weathermen, the rich scions of America's best families who decided to blow things up and shot up middle class people because they weren't hip enough to be rebels.
Look, obviously the American Revolution...brought on by businessmen and farmers and tradesmen who had a real economic axe to grind...are real. But the "Islamic Revolution" is about a bunch of whining cry-babies who are the power mad sons of oil-fed Saudis. They have done more harm to Islam, to the people of the middle East and to all nations than they will ever know. As far as hate speech -- I think that article is more like stupid speech.
As the cartoon said, for that, There Outta Be a Law.
That's why the Left loves hate speech laws. The dream for their Brave New World is that even a conservative thought should be a crime.
But hatred and thought is never a crime. Crime requires action.
If the left has their way, then window shopping will be outlawed. Because the mere thought of wanting something that one cannot afford is really just a precursor to stealing it, right?
You've got to laugh at the running logical fallacy that is the left. Mark Steyn will be fine. His show trial is just entertainment for those of us who recognize government as the problem.
The Canuckleheads are not quite as as bad as France yet, but they're getting closer year by year. Brigitte Bardot was fined again for racism
just by criticizing the practice of slaughtering sheep at the muslim feast of Aid el-Kabir.
The attacks on free speech come from the right AND the left. The right is famous for attempting to censor evolution and racey material. But much less well-known is the left's attacks on free speech via political correctness and hate crime laws. Most people think of the left as defenders of free speech, mainly because of the ACLU and efforts to fight restrictions on pornography, etc. But the left's reputation is undeserved, as evidenced by the attacks on Steyn.
I'm a fan of evolution, and a foe of censorship, but it is really libertarian, not left or right, to defend freedom of speech.
Even though I disagree with intelligent design, I defend the right to talk about it. I probably agree with many criticisms of Islam, but I defend this act of free speech without regard to the fact that I tend to agree.
Many on the left are hypocritical about free speech. They defend it only when they agree, and feel free to oppose it when it suits their own struggle for power.
Mark Steyn points out the logical, and somewhat scary, demographics of Muslim expansion by out- breeding others, until they can vote in Sharia Law and bring an end to democracy. There is nothing hateful about the article and no rebuttal of any substance has been offered.
Islamo-facists try to intimidate those who would criticize them by using democracy to defeat democracy. They must not succeed!
8. Brigete Bardot sound familiar?
The battle in Canada against free speech hit a new low with this ruling
And then she orders that Rev. Boissoin and his group are:
...prohibited from making disparaging remarks in the future about Dr. Lund or Dr. Lund's witnesses relating to their involvement in this complaint..
Again, not banned from "hate speech", whatever that is today; but banned from disparaging remarks about Lund, an anti-Christian activist, who now is "protected" not just from Rev. Boissoin's alleged anti-gay remarks, but from his political criticism of his own tormentor. Apparently, being a busy-body human rights complainant-of-fortune is a new "protected ground" of hate speech. Become one, and no-one can ever say anything "disparaging" about you again. Ever. Not even in an e-mail.
Read it, it is astounding.
10. The right is famous for attempting to censor evolution and racey material.
When has any person in any position of serious power actually sought to do this...since Roosevelt?
Bruce Guthrie: The attacks on free speech come from the right AND the left.
Yes, just mostly on the left.
SouthernRoots: holy ... that's absolutely incredible. I would imagine Canada's Supreme Court would overturn it, but that's just a guess. I've seen some rulings from them and they aren't completely insane.
Bruce G. ~
Libertarians believe in Open borders, or at least that is the party's official stance.
When the rate of unfettered immigration surpasses the rate of assimilation, you have chaos.
The libertarians are on one hand claiming to want only a small and limited role of the federal government, while simultaneously undermining that very notion by being receptive to hundreds of millions of foreign nationals that know no other form of government than big government. Cognitive dissonance? Schizophrenia? Enlighten me as to what I'm missing on this.
Cliff @ 11, people try to ban books from school libraries all the time. Harry Potter is a frequent target. Such attacks tend to come from the right, though there are books that the left seeks to ban, like Huck Fin.
The right targets the textbook industry in Texas, because this is the biggest government school district. Biology texts are edited to gloss over the idea that evolution applies to humans as well. Such activities come from the socially conservative right. But the left has injected multiculturalism into most social studies texts. This is the same kind of thing.
The FCC still bans naughty words on the airwaves and nipple exposure on TV. These actions are motivated by popular sentiment from the right, not the left. But the left has it's own de-facto censorship, in the form of liberal bias in the media.
My point is that censorship is on the rise again in the US, and the source is both the right AND the left. Usually, we think of censorship as mostly coming from the social conservative right. I am agreeing with this article that the left has it's own favorite uses for censorship, and that many lefties are hypocrites for this reason.
The attitude that free speech is a right and that government censorship is almost always a bad idea is not the province of the left or right. This attitude can properly be called libertarian. To the extent that the libertarian philosophy can be considered a part of the conservative movement (as Reagan thought) this is a credit to the right.
Rick D @ 12: Immigration divides Libertarians.
There are some who advocate open borders, but only to those who are not on terrorist watch lists, have highly infectious diseases, and have not been convicted of violent crimes in their home countries. These Libertarians see that the net economic benefit to America from immigration is still very positive. They are not afraid of the cultural changes that Mexican immigrants bring.
There are others who favor highly restrictive immigration, as long as welfare benefits are available to non-citizens and illegal aliens. These Libertarians would first eliminate these benefits, and only then open the borders to peaceful, non-threatening immigrants who only want to come here to work and live the American dream.
Still others are zenophobic like the cultural right. Not me.
But the Statue of Liberty has, inscribed at it's base, a wonderful poem: "Send me your tired, your huddled masses, yearning to breath free... I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
Immigration is part of Liberty. It is what made America, and part of what makes America strong and virtuous. It gives hope to Billions across the globe.
Unless you are 100% American Indian, you have anscestors who immigrated here. How can you advocate pulling up the drawbridge behind you?
And chaos is a bit over-stated, don't you think? I'd say there is a positive aspect to a little churning. Creative destruction is what makes free markets dynamic and efficient. I think the immigrants tend to bring us the best from their cultures. Great Ethiopian and Indian restaurants are just one example.
I'd say that the people who come to America to work are a self-selected set of people. They want to make themselves better off. They want to work hard, and they percieve that they have more skills and potential than others in their home countries. There is more "up-side" to freedom for them if they escape the politicians who stand on their shoes. They want freedom and Liberty and property rights. In other words, they are already philosophically American, and closer to conservative/libertarian on economic issues.
And since Mexicans tend to be Christians, and tend to have high birth rates, they are increasing the proportion of social conservatives as well.
You conservatives should be happy on both counts.
But the topic of this thread was free speech, not immigration. Shall I assume this means you agree with the libertarian position on censorship and free speech?
By the way, first generation immigrants tend to be poor, but the children of first generation immigrants tend to have higher incomes and assets than the average American-born person. They see how hard their parents work, and they tend to see the value of hard work and education.
I have heard of several studies that conclude that the costs to society, and even to government of immigration are exceeded by the social and tax benefits to the government. That is true even if you include social services, burdens on emergency rooms, crime, etc.
I think they make us all better off. I think less restrictive immigration is in our own selfish interest.
But I would certainly exclude those on terrorism watch lists, those with highly infectious diseases like SARS and asian bird flu, and those convicted of violent crimes in their home countries. I'd also work to reduce welfare payments to both citizens and non-citizens. Welfare should not be a reason for immigration. Opportunity should.
Bruce: MOST of the time, efforts from the right are either intended to be voluntary, or at most include gov't help in "labelling" content. While you may disagree with labelling, even constitutionally, it does not constitute a "ban" in my eyes.
And when they are trying to ban things, usually it is only in the context of a school, and frankly, as a libertarian, you should uphold the right of a school board to ban books from a school (even if you think they shouldn't do it). The root problem there for a libertarian would simply be that the government runs the school in the first place.
That's not to say there are efforts on the right to outright ban or censor more generally, they are just rare.
The left, on the other hand, usually goes straight for the government ban of speech they dislike.
As to the FCC bans, no, those are all motivated by the left as much as the right. The root problem for a libertarian is not what is being banned (nipples and so on), but that the Congress takes on the power to regulate content on broadcast airwaves. And that is no more a right than a left issue at all.
17. Although a long way from censoring hate speech, the efforts of two unofficial citizen groups to regulate and control what can be said in the course of judicial elections should concern us all. One group purports to object to "undignified" advertisements. Well, where does that end?
"Unless you are 100% American Indian, you have anscestors who immigrated here. How can you advocate pulling up the drawbridge behind you?
Hysteria. We have legal and lawful immigration procedures and millions have come in the front door as a guest and not the side window in the dead of night into our home. I personally know of people who've been trying for the past 10+ years or so to legally get their loved ones here from abroad, but are stymied because someone has decided to cut in line and come in through the window left open.
Still didn't answer my question at 13, but a nice dodge on your part into the hallmark card of all that illegal immigration has brought to us. Now, just tell that to bankrupt California.
Michael J. Bond: it ends when conservatives stop trying to win judicial seats, of course.
Bruce Guthrie: um, American Indians didn't immigrate here? What history/science books are YOU reading? (Not that I disagree generally with your point, but it's generally accepted that American Indians immigrated from what's now Asia.)
20. We haven't even gotten into the "fairness doctorine" that would rear its ugly head if Obama were somehow miraculously ascend to the Presidency with a Dem Congress and Senate. If there was any doubt which party is more receptive to curtailing free speech, it should be fairly obvious with talk of revisiting the "fairness doctorine" in radio. The only remaining outlet not seemingly controlled by Left wing fanatics.
Rick D., exactly, and the old Fairness Doctrine was based on the *same basic principle* as the banning of nipples: it's broadcast, so it is airwaves owned by the public, but few people CAN broadcast on them, so they must be shared by all, its content must serve the people.
You agree to use OUR airwaves, you abide by OUR rules. I frankly can't find much unconstitutional about that. You could argue that the airwaves should not be regulated, of course, but if they are to be, then of course the people get to make the rules.
The "Fairness" people go a step further and then say, well on top of that, we should also make they get "both" sides to all the issues, rather than simply not providing material offensive to them and their children. It's a very specious argument, but whatever, the point is that it actually regulates content and ideas, whereas the "obscenity" regulations do not.
Some of today's "Fairness" people, however, want to extend this FAR further, beyond mere public airwaves. These efforts ultimately WILL fail, for while you can make a constitutional argument for censoring public airwaves -- again, since they are a public resource owned by all -- you can't make the same argument for cable, satellite, and Internet. The people do not own the medium, government does not own it, and the people who do can do whatever they please with them.
These people are either completely ignorant of, or couldn't care less about, freedom of property OR speech.
22. It's over for Canadians. Liberals would love to enact a "Canada" style free speech shutdown here, as well. Which is where "Hate crimes" leads.
We've featured your post at www.FightPC.net
Right on @ 21.
I suppose some think that PBS, while publically financed is "fair and balanced" programming. Perhaps Bill Moyer's can be one of those completely objective arbiters of what constitutes "fair" content on the public airwaves as well.
The public airwaves is not as restricted as it was when the original fairness doctorine was established in 1949. American's have the multiple sources for "public" information at their disposal to include expanded number of news outlets, from the daily fishwraps to Cable news channels to the internet. This want of a new "fairness doctorine" stems from the success of right of center talk radio and the failure of left of center programming from succeeding in the same realm.
To the left, this is unacceptable.
Though their brand of ideology is upheld and propagated by an overwhelming number of the media consortium in this country, the 10% that does not adhere to this philosophy will need to be reigned in by imposing a "fairness" principle, which targets not the 90 percent, but the 10 percent that appears to be out of lockstep.
This is example of liberalism at its height of arrogance and ignorance, and why I don't adhere to this particular political philosophy.
Canada's Government, through the actions of the HRC's, with their unaccountability, their disregard for jurisprudence, their disdain for truth, and their rampant abuse of power to advance personal agendas, has set an example that the citizens of Canada will emulate.
They will reap what they have sown.
The Government of Canada should expect that the citizens will refuse to unaccount to, or treat fairly, or grant any power to these fascist dictators.
The normally placid and pleasant Canadian population is about to erupt in a manner that has never before been seen since Confederation.
26. The only way Canadians have ever displayed their displeasure with their own government, has been to move South. The government might miss their energy and entrepreneurship in the abstract, but rarely have they asked them to come back: Troublemakers are seldom missed.
; and, Their loss is our gain.
Pudge is right, of course @ 19. That occured to me just after I hit "post."
The airwaves should be privatized. There is no reason they should be public, any more than real estate should be public. There is a limited amount of both, but broadcast spectrum slots should be owned and traded just like land plots.
And yes, as long as the government runs schools, the government may not censor in the schools. It is one of the main reasons why governments should not run schools in the first place.
But the idea that there is not just as much censorship coming from the right as from the left is just laughable. Censorship is bipartisan these days.
Rick D., the war on immigrants is just as foolish and ineffective as the war on drugs. It just makes the problem worse. California's budget problems come from overspending on many wasteful things, not just services for immigrants. But I am in favor of slashing these, and allowing the immigrants to come in legally. All peaceful, non-infectious people who just want to come here to work should be allowed to. They are good for our economy.
Rick D @ 18, Exactly which question did I not answer? I must have missed it, and now can't find it. Restate it and I will answer it.
Bruce G. : "the war on immigrants is just as foolish and ineffective as the war on drugs.
There is no war on 'immigrants' Bruce. You've once again blurred the lines between legal and illegal activity and legal immigration with Illegal immigration. You then make a comparison to the war on drugs?
Just for clarification , I'm for legal immigration and against illegal immigration. You seem to not be able to discern the difference.
"It just makes the problem worse. California's budget problems come from overspending on many wasteful things, not just services for immigrants."
You can't bring yourself to even say the word illegal immigrant can you Bruce? If you ask someone from California, you'll probably get the reality instead of what the LP has spoon fed you from their website. California is bankrupt directly due to "Illegal immigration" and the costs incurred by their social services provided by the State.
"Exactly which question did I not answer? I must have missed it, and now can't find it. Restate it and I will answer it."
My mistake. I didn't ask a question at 13. I was referring to the 3rd sentence of the post @ 12. If you've got a comment, I'd sure like to hear how this can be done.
I personally believe the only issue holding back the libertarian party from achieving some political relevance in this country is their stance on Immmigration and reffering to Sovereign Nations borders as "political boundaries" (which to an extent they are, but that would mean your house is just a "Domestic boundary" as well).
I could really care less since your party will never see more than 1-3% in National elections for the foreseeable future with such a platform.
Don't believe me Bruce, Just check out the numbers
. 10.5 billion dollars annually in California alone......drop in the bucket right?
30. Yet another reason America is the best country on earth, even still. Democrats are doing their best to go the way of Canada, Italy, France, and other EU idiot countries who put people in jail, disband political parties, and fine people for telling the truth.
One thing that always trips up this kind of rubbish; Who is it that decides what is "hateful"? Is it NOT OK to hate some group that openly HATES YOU and advocates your extermination? Where does political speech in your own defense cross this imaginary boundary of "hate speech"? The whole thing is nothing but liberalism on parade. No one is allowed do be "judgemental" (unless of course it's a liberal accusing a conservative of being a racist or homophobe).
This is where all roads lead in liberal-land. They lead to the end of a gun barrel. The gun held by some liberal actuary acting in the interest of "fairness".
The next target is "Talk Radio" and Rush Limbaugh-like shows. It's the "Fairness Doctrine" that will be all the buzz if Obama wins. "Fairness" is when everyone agrees with liberals...or shuts up, by choice or by force.
Rick, I think this thread was about censorship, but if you insist...
Some laws are good. Some laws are bad. When the liberals make smoking in your own home or owning a gun illegal, you will join me in calling this a war on smokers and a war on peaceful gun owners. That is what I am doing with regard to the war on immigrants and the war on drug users. I think that it is unjust and not in our national interest to deport peaceful people who just want to work, or peaceful drug users. Calling smoking and gun ownership in the home "illegal" would be the kind of rhetoric the liberals would use when they violated our liberty with their unjust laws. I use the same policy when the attacks on liberty come from the right.
Regarding California, I am happy to suggest that they slash welfare benefits to balance their budget. They should start with non-citizens, whether legal or il. By the way, the study you mention @29 does not take in to account the benefits to our economy from immigrants. I believe that the NET benefits, even with the welfare payments, exceed the costs. But you and I can agree on cutting the welfare benefits to non-citizens, I'll guess.
I DID answer your question @ 12. Check out my fourth to last paragraph @ 14.
The reason we refer to "political boundaries" is that we think they are less important than private property rights boundaries. Rights are individual, not national. Individual rights are the PURPOSE of the state. So political boundaries are less sacred than private property boundaries.
The Libertarian Party is the third largest party in the nation. It is growing more rapidly than either the D's or the R's. From tiny acorns, might oaks grow. I am happy to build the party for that day, perhaps decades from now, when we are in a position to move this country more in the direction of liberty. I find it fun!
I find it surprising that people who agree with the GOP 60% of the time feel free to call themselves Republicans. Yet so many people who disagree with Libertarians 5% of the time dismiss us out of hand. I'll bet that you and I have more in common than you think.
Woops, in my first paragraph @ 31 I should have said "I think that it is unjust and not in our national interest to deport peaceful IMMIGRANTS who just want to work, or INCARCERATE peaceful drug users."
I'm sure a lot of drug warriors want to deport peaceful drug users, but that is not what tends to happen these days.
Bruce: "Rick, I think this thread was about censorship, but if you insist...
actually, I was back on topic until you brought it up again @ 27...I just answered in kind.
You say those that flood here illegaly are here to work hard and take care of themselves in the libertarian sort of way yet the opposite is born out of the numbers. The 10.5 billion annualy was 2004 numbers so I can imagine it might be as high as 13-15 billion as we near 2009.
Those numbers don't bare out your "rugged individualism" hallmark card you've made them out to be, but rather a large contingent are here to suck up any government resource it can possibly get that it couldn't get in their own country.
How do freeloaders sucking off the government teat help advance the libertarian party and its goal of smaller government and more personal freedom?
If you ask me, it's the unfettered immigration that will be the death nail in the coffin of the libertarian movement. You think it's bad now? Just wait about 25 years when you'll be the one assimilating to someone elses customs in your own country Bruce, as we're witnessing today in France with the muslim population starting to impose its customs on the french culture. This is so crystal clear to me that I shake my head in amazement that Libertarians, who believe in small government are putting a noose around their neck by encouraging unfettered and illegal migration to this sovereign country and then burdening that country with services which it cannot provide without doing what??
You guessed it sports fans ~Expanding the federal government, just what we didn't want.
Aferall, the only other alternative to expanding government is anarchy/mob rules/chaos(i think I mentioned that before)
You're right though Bruce, we probably have alot more in common politically than the 10-15% or so we might disagree on. The problem is that on this issue, I am resolute. The libertarian philosophy I learned when I was younger was in the adage "good fences make good neighbors" and whether that is an extension of the individual persons, individual states or Individual nations, I still believe in that philosophy.
You and I are just going to have to respectfully disagree about immigration.
And Rick, the cause of liberty can be faught both within and without the GOP. The small "l" libertarians are part of the conservative coalition in the GOP. They do not always win, but I hope you are able to help increase the strength of the libertarian cause within the GOP. I will fight for liberty within the LP. Both approaches are needed.
But let me tell you a bit more about immigration. I don't think the ideas of America or of liberty are tied to a language, or a religion, or a culture or a food, or any particular custom. America is about the American dream, individual liberty, property rights and limited government. Someone who speeks Arabic, but runs a small business and wants smaller government is an American in my book.
I agree with you that we need to eliminate the welfare incentive to immigrate. But I still think that more come here for the opportunity than for the handout.
I am not afraid of change. I've learned a little Spanish, and I think that immigrants on balance improve our culture. The essence of liberty is the embrace of change and what is foreign, as long as it does not violate liberty itself.
I don't care what language they speak or what religion, etc. I only care that they value liberty. I think more of them do than don't. As I said before, those who choose to immigrate are self-selected. They volunteer to come here. I think most of them are already philosophically American.
But resonable people can disagree.
Anyway, thank you for your efforts towards liberty.