Archive for January, 2008

And yet, beneath the veneer of tribal sisterly celebration, I did manage to detect a strain of underlying tension. It came out on those few occasions when one of the speakers made oblique allusion to that taboo question in the pro-choice camp: How late is too late?This should be a question of special interest to anyone who’s managed to escape the tribal polarization of the abortion debate. Squeezed between the two tribes are a few of us (including me) who think a woman should have a broad right to abort her fetus when it is an insentient bundle of cells, but are appalled by the fact that Canada — alone among industrialized nations — permits “socially motivated” abortion in the second and even third trimesters. Yet in a full day of presentations purporting to comprehensively evaluate the state of abortion in this country, no one at this symposium took on this one disturbing, and truly unique, feature of our country’s legal landscape.Even in the Q&A, the issue came up only twice — and then, only obliquely. The first came when an audience member bemoaned the fact that most doctors in Western nations wouldn’t perform abortions after 24 weeks — and asked, with apparently genuine curiosity, why this was so. The panelist who answered, National Abortion Federation director Dawn Fowler, refused to supply a reason, merely demurring that “It will be interesting to have the physicians appearing later today [as speakers] comment on that.” (None did.) A few hours later, a male student rose during the Q&A to broach the issue indirectly with legendary Canadian abortion doctor Garson Romalis. The student asked whether late-term unborn children should be supplied pain-killers as part of the abortion procedure. Romalis (who, by way of background, has survived two murder attempts by pro-life fanatics) dismissed any evidence that aborted fetuses feel pain, and with it the entire issue, in a single sentence. And that was it. The interesting thing is that several of the symposium speakers — most notably, University of Toronto Law School professor Joanna Erdman — vigorously assured the audience that very few abortions take place in Canada “for social reasons” beyond 20 weeks, and none beyond 24 weeks. No doubt, the data show this to be true. But why was this fact so important as to deserve emphasis? Similarly, why did Gavigan take such pains to dismiss anecdotes of women having abortions for capricious reasons (e.g., looking good in a bikini on an upcoming vacation) as “preposterous misogynistic fables.” If it is really true that “the unborn child and the pregnant mother speak with one voice,” then presumably they have the right to assume a voice that is selfish and vain. If the “dominant ideology of the unborn child” is nothing but a misogynistic construct invented by patriarchal moralists, why does it matter if that so-called unborn child weighs one pound — or five? Why strike such defensive postures against a issue that no one in the room would even discuss?   (National Post)

We are living in amazing times in Canada.  I would never have believed that, in 2008, abortion would be back on the front burner as a legitimate social and moral question.  But, reading the news reports and columns, it is clear that there is a definite shift in blindly accepting the feminist dogmas of yesteryear. This isn’t your typical “choice” culture anymore.  People have gathered their collective minds and are starting to ask: “Um…choice? Choice to do what?”

The pro-aborts tried to convince Canadians that the issue was “settled”.  After all, didn’t Jean Chretien and Paul Martin tell us that?  Henry Morgentaller and his shills has been telling us that for the past 20 years.  Maybe it’s just me and my personal sensitivities on this issue, but it seems to me that they are telling us that more frequently and much louder in the last year or so.  It’s like they have to raise their voices because they sense, quite correctly and understandably, that they are starting to lose influence and slowly losing the debate.  It reminds me of the old Communists under the thumb of Josef Stalin. When uncle Joe would laugh, he would look around the table to be sure that everyone was laughing too.  Rumors had it that if you were the last to laugh, you would be on a train to Siberia the next day.  It’s kind of like that with the abortionists and the Death and Dismemberment Department of  Reproductive Health.  After blathering on about the supreme euphemism of “choice”, they look around the audience to ensure that smiley happy, faces stare back at them, knowing that today’s audiences are more discriminating, thoughtful, and informed about the development of the unborn child.

They are also not buying the refusal of the abortion lobby to answer the question of late term abortions.  The pro-aborts aren’t talking about that one, understandably. Or, if they are, they are saying that it doesn’t exist. Of course, that is a lie just like abortion is a lie.  A few years back Margaret Sommerville cited a Stats Can statistic of there being 230 or so late term abortions in Canada.  When I ran in the last provincial election, I was able to get my hands on some information on late-term abortions.   Not only are we doing them here in this country, we are paying the United States to do it when we cannot. Here is the blog entry from my campaign log with the relevant links:

Our provincial government does that sort of thing for about 60 women a year in this province at a cost of $400K (click here). Tiller would have done the job and Ontario taxpayers would have picked up the tab. It would have spared the champagne liberals across the province a lot of discomfort in explaining how this situation is all that different from the hundreds of late-term abortions that occur every year in this country (click here). I believe we are at a point in this culture where our opponents have really and truly lost their collective minds. I sincerely doubt that there would be much outcry at all if we were to legalize infanticide — provided, of course, that we did it within say, 30 days after birth. I think that’s a reasonable compromise, don’t you?

The jig is up for the abortion propagandists in Canada. Their days are numbered one way or another. They are getting old (like Morgentaller who is 84 years old), they are losing the arguments, they are being undermined by the stark reality of the unborn child that science is clearly demonstrating, and they have fewer and fewer recruits.  Oh yes, one more factor. While pro-lifers have been popping them out like like-minded rabbits these past 20 years, the pro-aborts have been skinning and disposing of their own.  One need not a crystal ball to see the future, just an ability to count and read the signs of the times.  Everyone is beginning to read the writing on the wall, except the pro-aborts and their ideological buddies of a bygone era.  And, like the past anti-life comrads, they’ll suffer the same fate and the full judgement of history.

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My paper on Freedom & The Common Good which I thought was a bust (I struggled with it so much) is actually starting a bit of a discussion over at FD.

Let’s hope some sane academics pick up on the meatier issues involved in this whole debate and start to run with it. 

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Just saw this posted on FD.  My good friend Leonard from Stand Your Ground picked it up.   Good find Leonard!

Keith Martin, Liberal MP for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca has introduced a motion (M-446) calling on the Parliament to delete subsection 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

That’s the very same subsection which makes it a discriminatory practice for individuals or groups to communicate messages that are “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt”, as long as those persons “are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination”. It therefore provides legal grounds for “human rights complaints” against those who say or publish anything the special interest groups may not agree with. The most recent victims to such complaints are: a journalist – Mark Steyn, a publisher – Ezra Levant and a political party leader – Ron Gray.

There’s no information yet on whether or not the motion will be placed in the order of precedence and voted on. But even if the motion is declared non-votable by the Committee, or voted down at later stages, it will allow us to see for ourselves which politicians and which political parties are willing (or unwilling) to defend our freedom of speech.

Keith Martin is a Liberal.  I never would have thought I would be thanking a Liberal, but I’m thanking him right now.  We should all write to Keith Martin and pledge our support and gratitude.   

Like, we need to be like piranha on meat with this, guys.  Buuuuulllog it!

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The debate over free speech that has been precipitated by Ezra Levant’s appearance before the Alberta Human Rights Commission has inflamed the passions of Canadians about our inalienable rights to free speech, one of the fundamental cornerstones of our democracy. While there have been a few people defending the HRCs and their jackboot star chambers, the overwhelming reaction has ranged from utter contempt and rage to mild disapproval. Generally speaking, the further right on the political scale, the more likely one is to share the former sentiments.

Stepping back from the hornet’s nest, for a moment, however, I would like to offer some comments on the tension between freedom of speech and legitimate restrictions thereon. Let me first say that most of us really do not believe in pure free speech. There are indeed necessary and reasonable limits to free speech that many of us in a civil and free society implicitly accept. And why do we accept them? For what purpose? Well, one reason is to uphold basic justice. Another reason is for something called the common good; that is, something that is necessary for the equitable functioning of society which benefits all its members.

The common good is a notion that originated over two thousand years ago in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero. More recently, the contemporary ethicist, John Rawls, defined the common good as “certain general conditions that are…equally to everyone’s advantage“. The Catholic religious tradition, which has a long history of struggling to define and promote the common good, defines it as “the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment.” The common good, then, consists primarily of having the social systems, institutions, and environments on which we all depend work in a manner that benefits all people. (Source)

In concrete terms, we will find a near unanimous belief with protecting some aspects of the common good at the expense of pure free speech. So, in a sense, it is inaccurate to say that we are “for free speech”. Precisely speaking, we are for free speech provided that it does not encroach on X, Y, or Z. What are some examples of X, Y, and Z? Let’s take a look at it on various levels.

“Civic” Level: This is the level where most free speech proponents find themselves. For this group, if speech does not encroach on the bare minimum for the civil ordering of society, then it should be permitted. Examples on this level include:

1) copyright infringement 2) impersonation 3) fraud 4) tort defamation 5) confidentiality provisions 6) conspiracy to commit a crime 7) incitement to riot 8] breaching the official secrets act

Suffice it to say, most people do not consider these conditions to restrict free speech per se, although technically they are restrictions on free speech. It is important for us to realize that we accept these restrictions implicitly without sometimes thinking about why they are required in a general sense. As I mentioned earlier, we believe these restrictions are necessary because they serve the common good. You cannot have someone, for instance, going around ripping off literary work or conspiring to commit murder or exchanging secrets with our country’s enemies. All of these things have a direct impact on the health of our society whether it be to our economy, to the security of the person, or to our national security. Almost everyone in our society, therefore, (except perhaps looney anarchists) accepts that there are some very basic restrictions that need to be placed on the citizens of a functioning democracy. Without these restrictions and boundaries, our society would quickly unravel into chaos. Yet, as a society we generally do not consider these items to be restrictions on free speech because the importance of the common good on this level is so necessary for our society that any alternative opinion is simply not tolerated. The important thing to realize, however, is that strictly speaking, the common good does indeed have a part to play in this debate. The question then becomes just how far will citizens of a democracy allow the common good to encroach on so-called “free speech” rights.

“Moral” Level: The next level up from the civic level is the moral realm. This is the place where some people on opposite sides of the political spectrum oddly find common cause. For instance, the most prominent and contentious example on this level – at least from a socially conservative point of view – is the use of pornographic “art” under the guise of “free speech”. Porn apologists claim that since they have the right to free speech, pornography should be permitted. And yet, the studies have suggested, if not conclusively shown, the incredibly destructive power that pornography has had on our western culture: addiction, divorce, the objectivization of women and children, increase in sexual violence, destroyer of family, marriages, and children, among many other adverse and tragic social consequences. Pornography therefore is a perfect example where the confrontation between free speech and the common good comes into sharp focus. Unlike a purely political issue where there is room for disagreement on what constitutes “justice” or “truth”, it is much more difficult to frame the question of pornography as being anything other than a right to be sexually stimulated at the expense of women and children. And while this is an issue usually championed by the right side of the political spectrum, the Canadian Supreme Court, a leftist judicial body if there ever was one, agrees:

Take pornography, for instance. Much of it is made in the United States. Some of it crosses the border and is sold in Canada. But there are limits to what Canadians will tolerate as protected speech in this area. In 1992, the Supreme Court of Canada in the Butler case upheld a section of the Canadian Criminal Code which banned the publication and distribution of obscene material. The law had been challenged on the ground that it infringed freedom of expression in a way that was not justifiable under s. 1 of the Canadian Charter. The Supreme Court disagreed. It unanimously held that freedom of expression was infringed by this section of the Criminal Code, but added that the state had a right to outlaw pornography which qualifies as an undue exploitation of sex, such as where the portrayal of sex is coupled with violence, involves children, or is degrading or dehumanizing. One of the key concerns was the risk that such pornography may be harmful to women and children and to society generally. In accepting generalized risk as a reasonable basis for limiting free expression, Justice Sopinka of my Court quoted approvingly this conclusion from a House of Commons Committee:

The effect of this type of material is to reinforce male-female stereotypes to the detriment of both sexes. It attempts to make degradation, humiliation, victimization and violence in human relationships appear normal and acceptable. A society which holds that egalitarianism, non-violence, consensualism, and mutuality are basic to any human interaction, whether sexual or other, is clearly justified in controlling and prohibiting any medium of depiction, description or advocacy which violates these principles (R. v. Butler, 1992] 1 S.C.R. 452, at p. 494, citing the MacGuigan Report of 1978). (Remarks of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C. Protecting Constitutional Rights: A Comparative View of the United States and Canada April 5, 2004 | Remarks of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C. Chief Justice of Canada 2nd Canadian Distinguished Annual Address Center for the Study of Canada Plattsburg State University Plattsburg, New York April 5, 2004)

And even if an objector would dispute whether pornography really is harmful to our western culture, the general principle of an objective harm is still a valid one; namely, where there is a clear link between a particular kind of expression and an assault on the common good of a culture, what role does the State have to play in this situation? Are we to say that the role of the State is to stand idly by and watch its institutions and the culture, which it is supposed to protect, fall into ruin because the State, like some kind of political eunuch, is unable to act when it should? Would we not expect the State to act against an internal cancer and root it out just like it does on the “civic” level? And if violent pornography has been so sanitized and accepted by our culture that it passes as legitimate free speech regardless of its adverse consequences, there are other examples which could be substituted to make the same point. Consider another example like a popular suicide cult spreading its poisonous messages to teenagers. Would the State not have a role in suppressing such speech even though it would be a consensual act on the part of the participant much like pornography is? Another example would be the issue of euthanasia. Many people would consider this a form of freedom of expression, no less than porn is. Both acts claim the automonous right to do with their bodies as they see fit, yet both expressions are objective attacks on human dignity and our disabled community. On the Left side of the spectrum, proponents point to so-called “hate speech” laws in order to protect certain minorities from harm that could result from such speech as occurred in Germany before Hitler took power.

“Political” Level: The final category is what I call the “political” level where opinion is directed at a particular ideology or historical or contemporary figure. It can take the form of speech or visual art. Take, for instance, Benedict’s speech at Regensburg, Germany last year which caused an uproar in the Muslim world (egged on by our liberal secularists in the MSM). Incidentally, the speech was mostly a slam against liberal theology and not Islam per se. Still, in the speech, the Pope made the following comment about Islam and Muhammed:

In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις – controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: “There is no compulsion in religion”. According to some of the experts, this is probably one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels”, he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness that we find unacceptable, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”[3] The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. “God”, he says, “is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…”.

The historical fact about Islam is that it was spread through and by the sword and if you were to encapsulate what the fourteen century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus said above, just how would you do it in a visual form? No doubt whatever was chosen would be offensive to Islamicists since it would be representing Mohammed in a very unflattering light. Fast forward to the twenty-first century and the violence of Islam against the West. How could an editorial cartoon express such violence, if not by the Danish cartoons which caused the outrage? Is that not a legitimate visual representation of the violence that Islam has propagated? The point is that the cartoon — far from simply being printed to cause offense for offensiveness sake — points to a truth about the history of Islam and its more aggressive elements today. (One only has to survey Christians living in Muslims lands to understand what political Islam is all about, and it’s not a pretty picture.) Whether it was offensive or not does not detract from the question of whether someone should have the right to portray the violence of Islam in a cartoon.

The Truth Will Set You Free

The underlying strength of freedom of speech is that we believe that the TRUTH will eventually win out in determining what the reality points to. There is an implicit assumption in the western ethos that, although there will be conflict and division over many issues, in the end, when it’s all said and done, the truth will prevail. Yet the prevalence of that truth relies on the ability to speak freely and without encumbrance — otherwise our society will begin to erode and disintegrate, relying on a protected propositions which may be objectively false and erroneous. This great gift of free speech, however costly it might be to personal sensitivities, is too important for the future of a democracy and a civilization to be gutted because of hurt feelings or marginalization. Moreover, when is truth subject to an “offensiveness” test? If a political or social portrayal oversteps the boundary of offensiveness set by government functionaries, does it stop being any less truthful? We live in an offensive world where the truth really did hurt and continues to hurt. No foolish law on “offensiveness” or a farcical kangaroo kourt which administers it is going to change that. If anything, such star chamber tribunals only exacerbate and inflame the conflict by attempting to subject the truth to an “offensiveness barometer”.

Christians have long understood this principle and realized that a free society has certain costs attached to it. The cost is offense, slander, marginalization, vilification, etc. etc. These are not pleasant things. In fact, they could very well lead to more unpleasant things. But the alternative in this zero-sum game is far worse since it would seek to muzzle something that could be necessary for the very survival of a nation.

This cartoon is one of Thomas Nast’s most famous. It depicts Roman Catholic clergy as crocodiles invading America’s shore to devour the nation’s schoolchildren–white, black, American Indian, and Chinese. (The white children are prominent in front, the rest are in the background.) The public school building stands as a fortress against the threat of theocracy, but it has been bombarded and flies Old Glory upside down to signal distress.Education in nineteenth-century America was provided by a variety of private, charitable, public, and combined public-private institutions, with the public school movement gaining strength over the decades. A major political issue during the 1870s was whether state and municipal governments should allocate funds for religiously affiliated schools, many of which were Roman Catholic. In most public schools, the Protestant version of the Bible was read, Protestant prayers were uttered, and Protestant teachers taught Protestant moral lessons. (Notice the boy in the cartoon who protects the younger students from the Catholic onslaught carries a Bible in his coat.) Catholic (and some Protestant) leaders asked that parochial schools receive their fair share of public funds. Protestant defenders of public schools erroneously considered that request to be an attempt by Catholics to destroy the spreading public school system. (Source)

We encounter problems in civilization when there is a separation of the objective moral order. Our modern society is replete with examples of two goods which need to act in concert with one another actually being placed in opposition to one another. The citizens of a democratic nation must have full and complete freedom to search and discuss issues that are confronting society, but with that freedom comes the moral obligation to seek and speak about the truth. The more freedom of expression departs from seeking the truth to engage in something which attacks the truth, the more it opens itself up to State “correction” by the imposition of an opposite error, and eventually, possible tyranny. Freedom itself cannot be independent of its ultimate objective which is the truth.

In his remarks to the Alberta Human Rights Commission, Ezra Levant made the very prescient observation that only through free speech has western civilization been able to advance. This is true. Free speech provided the means for the advancement but it was not the cause or source of it. The truth was the source of the advancement. Although modern society is loathe to admit it, there is indeed such a thing as an abuse of freedom, and an abuse of freedom can have and does have ominous consequences for our society, as our deteriorating social conditions in the West clearly demonstrate. Therefore, it is not free speech per se that leads to a free, peaceful, and prosperous culture but rather the Judeo Christian traditions under-girding it. It is no coincidence that the West has been able to prosper because it found the proper balance between the truth and the responsible exercise of free inquiry and criticism. And it is equally not surprising that as we remove the Judeo-Christian foundation, leaving free speech without a sure foundation, free speech itself, instead of injecting blood in to the body, will start to inject poison and then eventually destroy our society. Just because we have been given the keys to the car doesn’t mean we can’t crash and burn. Free speech is no guarantee of advancement or prosperity. It must be the servant of the truth in order for it to really benefit and serve the individual and society. If it seeks to distance itself from the truth simply to be maximally offensive, then it really is advocating a pseudo anarchy.

If we begin to treat freedom of speech as an end in itself, without reference to a genuine search for the truth, we will suffer the consequences. While living under the yoke tyranny is the worst possible scenario, anarchy and societal collapse brought about by licentious speech and expression is a close second, and it will eventually lead, by necessity, to an imposition of a dictatorship to restore order. We cannot blindly believe that “maximally offensive speech” by two competing groups in our society will not have lethal consequences down the road. To believe this is to engage in wishful and foolish thinking. The reality is that the more unreasonable, offensive and damaging our speech, the more the common good is eroded when it does not have truth as its object. The more offensive and false something is, the more it attacks civilization and bring us that much closer to anarchy which, in turn, brings us that much closer to the tyranny we are seeking to avoid. At the end of the day, as we realize that “free speech” has both salvatory and ominous consequences, that it can lead to the betterment of society or its demolition, it is all the more urgent that all citizens take an active role in seeking to identify and then defend the common good to ensure those who misuse their freedom do not win the day. That is the only way to ensure that both the common good and freedom are preserved. We cannot have one without the other. The real security for a civilization cannot rely on either license or star chamber thuggery. This is a legal fiction because we cannot merely rely on a system or a legal way of saving an internally corrupt culture. Legalism, in the service or in the constraint of free speech, will not save us.

Why, for instance, does society see the issue of defamation as a matter of justice rather than as a matter of free speech? Because we still have a sense (even today) of the sin of falsely ruining someone’s reputation. Strictly speaking, it is indeed a matter of free speech, but we have removed it from the “free speech” debate because we all recognize the common good inherent in protecting the good reputation of all citizens. But imagine if our culture were to regain the sense of an objective truth and start to include other issues in this same “protected civic class”? Consider pornography. What if, as a society, we were to recognize the objective attack of pornography on the dignity of women – where we would consider porn no less an attack on human dignity as we do defamation? Would we still be having the debate over whether porn was a matter of free speech? Of course not. An earnest examination and search for the truth allows our society to not only uphold the common good, but also preserve free speech for those issues which are legitimately open to disagreement.

The Current State

The great problem in our culture today is that we have lost the consensus of what the common good is. Our society is so fractured among various special interest groups and world views that any attempt to protect the “common good” as conceived by a small number of political power brokers is invariably seen by the other side as an encroachment on their freedoms. The further we move away from an objective moral and social standard, the more arbitrary the manufactured standard becomes, the imposition of which is perceived as a totalitarian effort. The truth binds a society together in such a way to protect both the common good and authentic freedom. Conversely, the further we move away from this truth, the further away we move from the common good and freedom. This is very dangerous to our society since it means people are pushed to the boundaries of this debate. Those who are currently marginalized and have politically incorrect opinion want to recapture their rightful freedoms that have been immorally stripped from them. To do this, they are more prone to have only the very minimum restriction on freedom of expression, even if it led to an immediate and present danger against the common good. Conversely, those who want to protect their idea of the common good (however false it is) would prefer to impose it on the public and restrict freedom of expression.

Ultimately, however, when the common good and free speech are placed in opposition to one another, as is the case today, and where there is no agreement on what the common good is, it is paramount that freedom of speech be preserved despite the risks involved. The reason for this, of course, is because only through freedom of speech can our civilization be exposed to what the common good is or is not. The common good is reached through dialogue and debate, through the free exchange of ideas, and the refinement thereof. It does not come from the Star Chambers or any of its members.

FD discussion thread on the above essay

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New Mexico, January 30, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The case of a Christian photographer who refused to photograph a same-sex “commitment ceremony”, was heard before the New Mexico Human Rights Division on Monday.A same-sex couple asked Elaine Huguenin, co-owner with her husband of Elane Photography, to photograph a “commitment ceremony” that the two women wanted to hold. Huguenin declined because her Christian beliefs are in conflict with the message communicated by the ceremony.The same-sex couple filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Division, which is now trying Elane Photography under state antidiscrimination laws for sexual orientation discrimination. … (Source)

If this is not a frontal assault on freedom of belief and expression, I don’t know what is.  Message to the Left:  you can’t force people to act against their will in approving your sexual debauchery.  Get real and learn the basics of civility. 

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(CNSNews.com) – Conservative groups say the truth about a new “multi-drug resistant microbe” prevalent among homosexual men is not being presented to the public because of political correctness.

Almost two weeks ago, researchers announced they have isolated a new form of MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an infection that is spreading through San Francisco’s homosexual community and could spread to the general community.

“These multi-drug resistant infections often affect gay men at body sites in which skin-to-skin contact occurs during sexual activities,” said Binh Diep, the University of California-San Francisco scientist who led the team that made the finding.

In fact, the researchers determined that this variant of MRSA infection is 13 to 14 times more prevalent in homosexual men than for the general population.

But the media are now obscuring that fact, according to Matt Barber, director of cultural policy for Concerned Women for America (CWA).

“The real story here is the way that the media have whitewashed this outbreak,” Barber told Cybercast News Service. “It is amazing to see what they’ve done with this.”

Barber said the initial reporting of the outbreak was “pretty solid” and news accounts related the facts “as is,” but the coverage began to change after conservative groups like CWA noted that this variant is primarily spread by men having anal sex.

“The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and other organizations began to jump up and down a bit and scream, and The New York Times and other organizations started to backpedal,” Barber said.

“The story was no longer the dangers associated with the outbreak – and the behaviors associated with it,” said Barber. “The story now became about how groups like mine were supposedly misrepresenting the outbreak as some sort of ‘new gay plague’ or ‘the new AIDS’ – things we never said.”

Indeed, HRC accused CWA and others of being “anti-gay bigots” for recommending that one way to stop this outbreak of the infection is for homosexual men to curtail having anal sex – at least for a while.

“Serious medical issues deserve serious consideration, not wildly off-the-mark press releases from anti-gay groups trying to capture media attention,” HRC President Joe Solmonese said in a news release.

“We saw this kind of hysteria in the early 1980s around HIV/AIDS, and I’ll be damned if we will sit idly by in 2008 and let them perpetrate that type of anti-gay hysteria without calling them out on it,” he said.

Since the homosexual backlash, the University of California-San Francisco has apologized for the fact that the study mentions homosexual men.

“We regret that our recent news report (1-14-08) about an important population-based study on MRSA USA300 with public health implications contained some information that could be interpreted as misleading,” the university’s Web site said.

“We deplore negative targeting of specific populations in association with MRSA infections or other public health concerns, and we will be working to ensure that accurate information about the research is disseminated to the health community and the general public,” it added.

Even the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has taken a somewhat politically correct line. In a statement issued recently on the new outbreak, the government agency said it is “not a sexually transmitted disease in the classic sense” – and that spread of the bacteria could be stopped by washing hands and covering open wounds.

“We never suggested that it was a sexually transmitted disease,” CWA’s Barber countered. “We only talked about the specific behaviors that are causing this infection to spread.”
Facts, not ideology, needed

Internationally known infectious disease specialist Dr. John Diggs is siding with the conservatives. The Massachusetts-based physician said treating any infection in a politically correct manner could be dangerous. Treating MRSA that way could prove fatal.

"This outbreak is especially troubling because it is a community-based form of MRSA," said Diggs, who is an executive committee member of the Physicians Consortium. "Until recently, MRSA has typically been confined to hospitals. The implications are very serious, because we don't know exactly where this is going to go."

Medically speaking, any break in the skin that is exposed to the organism can then set off an infection, which can destroy "a lot of tissue" before it's brought under control, Diggs said.

"You can take something that was relatively isolated in a small place, and suddenly, when it spreads to the general population, things such as school wrestling matches, or football games or basketball games or other sporting events, can take on a specter - they can become deadly," he added.

The fact is, the epicenter for this outbreak is among men who are having sex with men, Diggs told Cybercast News Service. Researchers identified the rates of drug resistance on the basis of ZIP codes, not ideology.

“The particular ZIP codes they looked at were ones that were associated primarily with men who were having sex with other men,” he said, “the Castro district in San Francisco and also a healthcare center called the Fenway, here in Massachusetts, in Boston.”

Diggs noted that the study itself pointed out that the infection manifests as “an abscess in the buttocks, genitals or perineum” and concluded that it “probably started out in San Francisco, and has been disseminated by the frequent cross-coastal travel” of homosexual men traveling from San Francisco to Boston.

“Men who practice anal sex, men who have promiscuous sex, men who have multiple partners in short periods of time are much more likely to spread this disease,” he said. “It’s not because of who they are. It’s because of that they do.”

“Now I know that a lot of people have attacked those who have brought this to people’s attention as being homophobic, but the real issue – and you have to face the facts – is that men who have sex with men have very high rates of sexually transmitted disease,” Diggs said.

“When you face that reality, then you have to start taking a serious look and deciding that the best public health intervention is to discourage behavior that causes the infection to spread.”

The biggest problem with this new strain – as with any variant of MRSA, Diggs said, is that it is increasingly difficult to find drugs that will effectively combat the problem. (Source

One of the biggest threats to our civilization today is from people who are politicizing science for their own twisted ends.  This is how a civilization begins to completely fall apart: by ignoring or obfuscating the plain consequences of certain acts because they do not compute with a particular (sexual) ideology.

So, in other words, instead of admitting the truth, we would prefer to die. How very sad.

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Exhibit #1: One day last month, I gave a talk in Rome about how the supposedly liberal ideology of multiculturalism has made possible the spread in Europe of the highly illiberal ideology of fundamentalist Islam, with all its brutality and – among other things – violent homophobia. When I returned to my hotel, I phoned my partner back home in Oslo only to learn that moments earlier he had been confronted at a bus stop by two Muslim youths, one of whom had asked if he was gay, started to pull out a knife, then kicked him as he got on the bus, which had pulled up at just the right moment. If the bus hadn’t come when it did, the encounter could have been much worse.

Not very long ago, Oslo was an icy Shangri-la of Scandinavian self-discipline, governability, and respect for the law. But in recent years, there have been grim changes, including a rise in gay-bashings. The summer of 2006 saw an unprecedented wave of them. The culprits, very disproportionately, are young Muslim men.

It’s not just Oslo, of course. The problem afflicts most of Western Europe. And anecdotal evidence suggests that such crimes are dramatically underreported. My own partner chose not to report his assault. I urged him to, but he protested that it wouldn’t make any difference. He was probably right.

The reason for the rise in gay bashings in Europe is clear – and it’s the same reason for the rise in rape. As the number of Muslims in Europe grows, and as the proportion of those Muslims who were born and bred in Europe also grows, many Muslim men are more inclined to see Europe as a part of the umma (or Muslim world), to believe that they have the right and duty to enforce sharia law in the cities where they live, and to recognize that any aggression on their part will likely go unpunished. Such men need not be actively religious in order to feel that they have carte blanche to assault openly gay men and non-submissive women, whose freedom to live their lives as they wish is among the most conspicuous symbols of the West’s defiance of holy law…  (Source)
 

 Exhibit #2:

An Islamist cleric who has defended suicide bombings and the execution of homosexuals is to be allowed to enter the UK, sparking a major row between government departments. (Source)

A few questions to ask my liberal readers:

(1) Are these instances of violence and “homophobia” going to increase or decrease as Europe continues to saturate its natural population?

(2) Are you likely to see more or less political pressure by the Islamicists to take away “gay rights” now that the Christian population has been fined, muzzled, and consigned to political and social irrelevancy?

(3) Where do you see the human rights struggle for “gay rights” in the context of a semi to full blown Sharia State?  Will gays enjoy more or less freedom?

(4) Do you think the Christian community will be more or less likely to support the current gay political establishment in their fight against Sharia, considering how it has been treated in the past?

(5)  Do you think it is wise, from a purely political and demographic basis, to continue to attack the traditional Judeo Christian family with anti-life and anti-Christian legislation when your political base is being eroded by the injection of  a real “anti-gay” philosophy?

(6) How long do you think the Gay-Islam alliance will last in attacking the former Christian West?  And more importantly, how do you reconcile such diametrically opposing moral and civic views?

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The chief characteristic of our age is “deferred adulthood”. All over North America and Europe there are millions of people going to college for no good reason. Certainly, there’s no reason why the sum of knowledge the average American has accumulated by the time he’s completed a bachelor’s degree should take twenty years to inculcate. We need to redirect the system to telescope education into a much shorter period. Instead, we’ve implicitly accepted that our bodies mature much earlier than our great-grandparents’ but that our minds don’t. We enter adolescence much sooner and leave it much later – in some cases, not until middle age. We’ve created a world where a thirty-one year old European male can stroll into a nightclub, tell the babes he lives at his mom and dad’s place in the same bedroom he’s slept in since he was in diapers-and he can still walk out with a hot-looking date. This guy would have been a laughing stock at any other point in human history. (Mark Steyn, America Alone, p.191)

I am not sure what is sadder.  The guy or the chick who is attracted to him.

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Now that the HRCs are getting the light shone on them and Canadians are beginning to express their disgust with these Star Chambers, I think we have a good chance of gutting these tribunals for good.  The strength of any government institution is predicated on how much trust and respect they are afforded in our society. If there is a significant opposition to any punitive quasi-judicial body like the HRCs, it’s only a matter of time before they are disbanded.  People will simply not accept their kangaroo judgements.  A court — even one three rungs down from Judge Judy — still needs at least the tacit support of the Canadian public. Well, these kafka kourts who operate as fraudulent fronts for personal political inquisitions of the Left don’t have it. And if you don’t have the support of the public, then you have no moral authority to be doing, declaring, or deciding anything.

If the Levant and Steyn cases go ahead, there will be even MORE scrutiny and opposition to the HRC methods. If these cases don’t go ahead, it will call into question these Commissions’ legitimacy and impartiality.  Why, for instance, would Levant and Steyn get off while Christians are still being fed to the lions?  What will this demonstrate? It will demonstrate that those individuals who have the prominence and fame to defeat and brow beat the Commission back into its hole will be successful while everyone else who does not have the necessary stature is fair game. In other words, if you are publisher or a popular writer, you may be safe — for now.  But, as for everyone else, there are two rules and laws of these Star Chambers: one for the famous and one for everyone else who isn’t famous.

Isn’t that a form of discrimination?

If Levant and Steyn get off, it will mean that S.13 will be really reserved for the new subclass of Canadian society:  Christians and White Supremicists.  Everybody else is given a free ride.

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CE’s home page. See half way down under “The Edge”

Permanent link here.

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Apparently the head honcho of the AHRC — some guy named Sherlock…ooops…Charlach — has come out of the closet and tried to explain some of the star chamber techniques.  I guess he can read the writing on the wall about the future of the HRCs in this country.  Anyhow,  this is what our Sleuth has to say:

First, no one is ever “hauled” before a commission investigator. Individuals who have had a complaint made against them are invited to respond in person or in writing to the allegations. This opportunity is provided to ensure fairness in the process. (Source)

 To which Ezra corrects him thusly:

There’s some legalese in there, but its meaning is pretty plain: Shirlene McGovern, or any other human rights officer, can come into my office whenever she thinks it’s reasonable, to “examine” it. No search warrant necessary. She can even come into my home, if she gets a court order — but such a court order can be applied for and granted without notice to me. That’s the kind of ambush usually reserved for getting warrants to break in on crack houses. Again, without a warrant, she can take any documents I have, including on my computer. Oh, and section 24(1)(c) allows for such search and seize orders to be granted not just against me but anyone else who refuses to answer questions put by investigators like Shirlene McGovern. That’s the power of these commissions — before I’m even found “guilty”. Mackintosh says I was “invited to respond in person or in writing to the allegations.” Indeed I was — with search warrants to enter my property and take my computer if I refused Mackintosh’s hospitality. I called these people fascist — I think they meet the definition of that stern term. (Ezra Levant.com)

Can you believe this? I don’t know what is more outrageous: the fact that this kind of thuggery is actually law or the fact that Sherlock is either completely ignorant, completely incompetent, or is misleading the public.  I was thinking that if I was ever summoned by one of these star chamber commissars that I would simply skip the meeting and save myself the time and the lawyer’s fees.  I didn’t know that there really would be a knock at the door.  I find it only mildly ironic that the Star Chambers charged with ferreting out the Nazis are themselves employing SS tactics.  

Sherlock ends his commentary by telling us not to be so hasty…

To prejudge the outcome of the complaint against Levant and to suggest that the commission is limiting free speech is unfair to everyone involved.

Don’t you love the fact that he is preparing the ground work for a possible “acquittal” to make nice with a very pissed off public? 

Save it, buddy.  Why don’t you just quit your position and retain some shred of personal dignity? You don’t have to work for the Commission. If you were a true patriot, you would resign.

In any case, a 100% conviction rate is a pretty good reason to prejudge, Sherlock.  And as far a limiting free speech, what the hell do you think thousands of dollars in lawyers’ fees and wasted time are?  What these functionaries need to get through their heads is that free speech should indeed be free, as in: you shouldn’t have to pay the lawyers to exercise it.  It seems that these liberals think free speech is “free” the way health care is “free”. Pathetic.

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Dr. Genuis answered that it is consistent use of condoms that has proved “difficult to achieve” and calls for a more “comprehensive” approach than simply encouraging those “who choose to be sexually active” to use a condom.
 
He says that condoms cannot be “the definitive answer” to STDs because they “provide insufficient protection” against many common diseases transmitted through “‘skin to skin’ and ‘skin to sore’” contact. These include human papillomavirus, herpes simplex virus, and syphilis, which, he says, are often transmitted despite condom use.But the greatest problem with condoms, he writes, is that people, particularly “aroused youth,” do not use them consistently, “regardless of knowledge or education”.

“In theory, condoms offer some protection against sexually transmitted infection; practically, however, epidemiological research repeatedly shows that condom familiarity and risk awareness do not result in sustained safer sex choices in real life.”

The use of condoms has been adopted as the central pillar of the fight against STDs in general, and HIV in particular, by most international health organisations. In recent years the slogan, “Abstinence, be faithful, use a condom,” also known as the “ABC strategy”, has been adopted as a means of appeasing “faith-based” organisations such as the UK’s Catholic overseas aid agency CAFOD that has adopted condoms as a key part of its programmes.

Dr. Genuis writes, “The relentless rise of sexually transmitted infection in the face of unprecedented education about and promotion of condoms is testament to the lack of success of this approach”.

He cites numerous large studies that have shown this failure even in countries such as Canada, Sweden and Switzerland that have “advanced sex education programmes.”

“The ongoing assertion that condoms are ‘the’ answer to this escalating pandemic reminds me of Einstein’s words, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’.” (LifeSiteNews)

According to an article by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, published in Planned Parenthood’s Family Planning Perspectives May/June 1989, condoms have an 11.4 to 22.3 percent failure rate among teens. Studies of five brands of condoms, reported in the British Journal of Medicine July 11, 1987, showed a failure rate of 26 percent due to rupture and slippage alone. And the New England Journal of Medicine Mar. 23, 1989 showed condoms have a failure rate of 10 to 33 percent for preventing pregnancies in women 25 years and younger….Even intact condoms have naturally occurring defects (tiny holes penetrating the entire thickness) measuring five to 50 microns in diameter — 50 to 500 times the size of the HIV virus, writes C. Michael Roland, head of the Polymer Properties Section at the Naval Research laboratory in Washington, D.C. and editor of Rubber Chemistry and Technology, in a published letter to the Washington Times.

“. the rubber comprising latex condoms has intrinsic voids about 5 microns (0.0002 inches) in size,” Roland states. “Contrarily, the AIDS virus is only 0.1 micron (4 millionths of an inch) in size. Since this is a factor of 50 smaller than the voids inherent in rubber, the virus can readily pass through the condom.”

In addition, condom manufacturers allow 0.4 percent of any given batch to be defective, before a recall is ordered….Studies done by Georgetown Medical University and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., published in Nature, Sept. 1, 1988, show that latex gloves, made to much higher specifications than the condom, have pores 50 times larger than the 0.1 micron HIV virus. (Source)

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 In a LifeSiteNews interview, following the March For Life in Washington last Tuesday, Bella producer Leo Severino revealed the upcoming schedule for the movie’s distribution into Canada and other international markets. Bella will be released into select Canadian markets in the first week of March, in Australia beginning Feb. 21 and Mexico on April 25…Severino briefly addressed a function put on by the Filipino Family Fund following the March for Life. In his comments to the group the Bella movie producer revealed it has been confirmed that so far at least 12 mothers have changed their minds about aborting their babies after seeing the movie. He said they learned about the most recent two that day from participants in the March. Severino told LifeSiteNews “all were scheduled to abort and through Bella they changed their minds.”… (LifeSiteNews)

I am sure the abortion witches won’t be happy about the babies that got away…but c’est la vie…at least for those babies.

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VATICAN, January 28, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A campaign for a moratorium on abortion that began in Italy and is now being expanded to a worldwide effort by the Vatican, is being joined by people from across the ideological and religious spectrum, including individuals often identified with extreme leftism and atheism.

The idea for a worldwide moratorium on abortion originated with Giuliano Ferrara, a non-Christian journalist and former head of the Italian Communist Party in Turin.  Although he was once associated with a movement that in most of the world has come to identify itself with abortion, euthanasia, and other elements of the “culture of death”, Ferrara is now strongly pro-life.

Ferrara is joined by Lenin Raghavarshi, an Indian atheist and winner of the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.  Raghavarshi told Asia News, “It is ridiculous and absurd to suggest that abortion is a solution to hunger, in order to control population growth.  What’s more the concept  – typical of UN organisations – that overpopulation represents the greatest danger to the health of a nation has no basis at all in reality….. In reality the world should urgently look at socio-economic and political issues to eliminate hunger, poverty, misery among people”.

Raghavarshi identifies the global push for abortion with an agenda that serves the interests of multinational corporations at the expense of the poor and vulnerable.

Perhaps the most prominent intellectual to have added his voice to Ferrara’s call for an international moratorium on abortions is the British philosopher Roger Scruton, whom the New Yorker magazine once called “the most influential philosopher in the world”.  According to the Italian Catholic news agency Chiesa, he immediately endorsed the campaign after its announcement.

Ferrara has reportedly stated that he wishes to bring together such prominent intellectuals, as well as others such as Mary Ann Glendon, the former Harvard professor who is now US ambassador to the Vatican, and American bioethicist Leon Kass, to sign the petition.  He would also like to see “five million pilgrims of life and love, all in Rome next summer” to request that the United Nation’s “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” be amended to include “the right to be born,” reports Chiesa. (LifeSiteNews)

When you have atheists endorsing the pro-life ethic, you gotta know that abortion is on its last breath.

Look at poor, old Henry here, still pimping for the victimhood cause.  Whassamatter guys, hard up for sympathy these days?

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I was originally going to write a rather critical post on abortion to mark the 20th anniversary of the Morgentaller decision and the political eunuchs who refuse to enact an abortion law in this country, despite the majority of Canadians who want some protection for the unborn. Instead, I will simply point my readers to a piece that I wrote some time ago here.  Last week, I also wrote my own abortion confession.

And here is the video I released last week as well:Instead of the usual condemnations to those responsible for the legal, political, and social protection of abortion, I want to say something to the women who have had abortions:

Don’t be afraid to ask for forgiveness.

There is no sin so heinous that God cannot forgive and bring you healing. He loves you and he wants you back. Abortion is wrong, very wrong. But we know that the individual circumstances surrounding it are very complex, with coercion from affected parties usually playing a significant role.

I remember a few years back, a young woman at my place of employment came to me and related to me her life story. Her mother could not take care of her and basically abandoned her to the State. She was jostled about in our children’s “aid” system being thrown here and there with various foster families. One of these foster families’ “foster father” raped her at 16. The State then made arrangements for her to have an abortion. She told me it had ripped her up inside to know that she had killed her child. But she had never had the opportunity to talk about it with anyone until the day she spoke with me.

There is a hidden and crushing silence of abortion in this country. It is the great unspeakable crime that we dare not discuss. We are afraid of facing the reality of what abortion is and what it has done to women. We don’t want to confront it because it is protected by the euphemism of “choice” – as in, “it was your choice, bitch, now live with it”.

The pro-life movement must continue to offer forgiveness, healing, and understanding to women who have had abortions. It’s important to stess to these women the dignity that they still have. The vast majority of women who have undergone an abortion suffer an intolerable silent pain from a culture which doesn’t want to hear about the cross they carry every day. We must be there to listen, to learn, and to love.

We must also be there to remind them of their personal dignity and what repentance and healing can offer them.

My dear sister, God is waiting for you. Simply say yes and come back. Grace and love await you. God will never abandon you.

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For many nations, it’s already too late. As Romania and other Communist countries belatedly discovered, even a repressive dictatorship has a hard job coercing the populace into breeding once they’ve lost the habit. When I’ve mentioned the birth dearth in newspaper columns on abortion, pro-”choice” readers have insisted it’s due to other factors [editor's interruption here - of course, the mysterious "other factors" to avoid having to deal with their easy sex lives] – the generally declining fertility rates that affect all materially prosperous societies, or the high taxes that make large families prohibitively expensive in materially prosperous societies. But this is a bit like arguing over which came first, the chicken or the egg – or, in this case, which came first, the lack of eggs or the scraggy old chicken necked women desperate for one designer baby at the age of 48. Whether or not Russia, Japan, and Europe’s fertility woes derive from abortion, what should be obvious is that the way abortion issue is posited-as an issue of personal choice – is in and of itself – symptomatic of the existential crisis of the dying West.” (Mark Steyn, America Alone, p.189)

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But, in addition, do they really want – after Ezra’s example, mind you – to call Mark Steyn, the Victoria Falls (“The Smoke that Thunders”) of prolific columnists – into one of their style-less chambers to “explain himself?” If Mr. Levant contains multitudes, how to describe Mr. Steyn? He is a prodigy of immense resource and industry. Compared to him, Trollope was a slacker, Dickens a wastrel, and Proust a miniaturist. He inundates. Books, columns, blogs and obiter dicta in a thousand venues – if Mr. Steyn goes before one or all of these commissions, he will be firing off columns between questions. He’ll write a column on a question while it is being asked. I urge our guardians to consider their own interests: Stay a while before essaying this profitless and useless venture.A Maclean’s/Steyn confrontation, in tandem with the prairie whirlwind we all know as Levant rampant – this is too much at one time for the meticulous and tidy tribunals that alone are our guardians against every stray thought that might fracture our fabulously delicate Canadian sensibilities. While they are preoccupied with Steyn-Levant, overwhelmed, exhausted and undone by Steyn-Levant, battered, borne-down on and befuddled by Steyn-Levant – who will watch out for us?Who will there be to read before we read, and tell us what is proper for us? Who will be there to edit the editors, to copy check the copy checkers? Who will shield our vulnerable law-students, and who will tend to the commission’s most industrious serial complainant. There is one person, so eggshell brittle that he has drummed up a fierce amount of business for the HRCs. Is so loyal a customer now to be ignored because the Steyn-Levant tsunami is about to rumble mercilessly on shore? (Rex)

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Are there limits on freedom of expression? Freedom of speech? We have those freedoms guaranteed in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms but some are now saying that freedom of speech is under attack in Canada and Charter Rights and multiculturalism collide. A case in point is right here in Toronto where a group of law students are taking Macleans magazine before the human rights commission over claims the magazine is anti-Muslim. CFRB’s Ottawa bureau chief Brian Lilley takes an indepth look into the topic.

Click here to listen.

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In this case, the criteria are designed to bolster something that Canadians hold dear: a tolerant multicultural society. But isn’t Canada strong enough to withstand free debate on the topic of multiculturalism – indeed on any topic – even if some of the debate is offensive?Many of us in so-called protected groups are regularly offended by what we read, hear and watch. But I am not willing to risk the freedom to raise my own voice in order to silence those whose ideas I dislike.This is a bitter truth for some. But if you accept the government’s right to censor for the value of tolerance and multiculturalism, you must also accept the government’s right to censor for peace and harmony. And that is the justification given for most of the odious censorship laws in the world. (Toronto Star)

My goodness. Over two weeks since Ezra pulled a 9/11 on the AHRC, the Toronto Star has removed its collective head out of its arse and come up for some much needed air to comment.  The Leftwing media in this country, being thoroughly humiliated once again in refusing to cover the most important story of the year, has finally caved and – gasp – got it right!

The answer to their questions is as follows:

Yes, Canada is strong enough to withstand free debate on multiculturalism. But liberals are not – obviously.  Dogmas must not be questioned, don’t you know? 

Yes, freedom needs to tolerate offensive speech. This is indeed  a bitter truth. Conservatives can handle it. Liberals cannot.

That’s why we have human rights commissions.  Liberals created them and still support them to this day.

If you really believe in free speech, Mr. Liberal, then let’s see you DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. 

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