Wednesday, June 25, 2008

From an article written by...

...Imam Zijad Delic in the Ottawa Citizen:
The limitless free speech model -- which posits that the solution to harmful and hateful speech is more and better speech -- does not work for minority communities, and our complaints illustrate that.
Too bad, Imam Delic. It works for me, and I'm a minority of one. What you propose doesn't work for me.

What your complaints best illustrate is that you are willing to use the force of law, and are ultimately willing to use "main force", to compel some level of obedience to your standards.

I object, and I refuse.

Quite frankly, I obviously respect you far more than you evidently respect me. Because: as long as you physically leave me and mine alone, I don't give a rodent's butt about your standards--except that you're welcome to them, and you are free to live by them. And that's not me giving you permission--that's me understanding your rights.

You are also free to offend me, to call me and the ideas I hold dear every and any name and insult you can muster, wherever and whenever you like, and you are free to tell people that you don't think they ought to support me in any way; you are free to tell people that they ought to dislike me.

As long as I treat you likewise, what you can't properly ever do is touch me, or tell others that they should touch me, in any physical, tangible way, ever, at all. And, consequently, you can't properly shut me up.

Your problem with the "solution to harmful and hateful speech [being] more and better speech" is actually only that you understand that accepting that definition requires more effort on your part than you are willing to provide; accepting such a definition requires skill and patience--and, ultimately, better arguments, and it requires a commitment not to coerce others. Simply, your abject lack in those areas is exactly why--and the only reason why--that definition doesn't work for you.

You wrote:
The fact is that a discussion of free speech cannot be divorced from a discussion of who in our society has the power to express themselves and through which medium.
Oh, horse puckey. Wrong. The fact, instead, is that a discussion of free speech must be divorced from a discussion of who in our society has the power to express themselves and through which medium.

In any case, as long as you have access to a working mouth, let alone a podium, a megaphone, a CB radio or a photocopier, you unarguably already have all the tools you need to express yourself.

If you want room in a national magazine, you are free to buy one or build one, and all you need then do is freely convince enough people to read it. That's what Macleans has already done; you just don't want to have to go to the trouble yourself. If I didn't know how hard you are working to take away my ability to speak freely, I'd have to say you were just plain lazy. As it is, you merely value expediency in getting what you want over principles. In other words, you are impatient and willing to push people around.

Besides, the fact I read your article is more than evidence enough that you have sufficient access to express your views. You plainly disagree with me and, yet, here you are: in the Ottawa Citizen, with a potential world-wide audience--and it didn't cost you a dime. Clue in, Imam Delik: you have the freaking Internet.

All of which are side issues.

Understand this, Imam Delic, my right to free speech is not up for negotiation in any case. It's mine, pure and simple--and no one except a band of arrogant, self-righteous, presumptuous thugs would ever consider curtailing it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A beautiful article on...

...use of the semi-colon (Slate).

From the article:
Slate's founding editor, Michael Kinsley, once noted to the Financial Times that "[t]he most common abuse of the semicolon, at least in journalism, is to imply a relationship between two statements without having to make clear what that relationship is." All journalists can cop to this: The semicolon allows woozy clauses to lean on each other like drunks for support.
I use semi-colons but only ever as a way of joining discrete sentences that share not the same general thinking but, instead, more the same thought. In other words, I use them only when the connection between two sentences is clearly much closer than the general relationship between other sentences in the same paragraph. I use them to recognize a connection, not to imply a connection.

I also don't ever use semi-colons to connect anything that couldn't otherwise stand as two complete sentences.

I love punctuation, so: how about you? How do you use semi-colons, if you do?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Where things come from...

Talking about Ireland's refusal to go EU over at Werner Patel's place...

One well-known writer (whose name shall not be mentioned; I'm not interested in laying troll-bait) noted the essential difference between the view of human rights held in Europe as opposed to Britain and North America. Succinctly, the difference is that Europeans generally regard human rights as mere permissions granted by God or government, while the classical liberal (British/North American) tradition holds that humans have rights innately, entirely regardless of the opinion of governments, God or deists/theists.

That difference is glaringly obvious when examining the machinations of the EU dogmatists--just as obviously as it is when examining the "Civil" legal theory of Quebec law as opposed to the (albeit eroding) "Common Law" underpinnings of English Canadian law.

You've described where the impetus is coming to erode Britain's autonomy and common law legal tradition; in Canada the eroding of common law and individual autonomy comes just as directly from the heavily Quebecois (in other words: European) influenced eastern Canadian large-L Liberal party and the NDP/marxist and Bismarkian/European influenced Fabian statists they raid for practical ideas on how to increase or (where necessary) re-apply the power of the State.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Freedom, limits and blasphemy.

"I don't think freedom of expression should mean freedom from blasphemy," said Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade, the chairman of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference. "There can be no freedom without limits."
Look: there is *no* proof for the existence of a deity--not any proof, not for any of them, not God, not Allah, not Odin or Zeus. There is proof that each of those had adherents, but--again--no proof whatsoever for the existence of the deities themselves.

That makes *all* religious/theological belief mere opinion.

Freedom with limits is just newspeak code for a discussion regarding the size of the cage and who gets to be the zookeeper. Making blasphemy illegal just makes religious people the zookeepers.

I am a human being. I am no one's property and no one's rightful subject, and I am likewise subject to no deity or deities.

So, to Mr. Wade of Senegal or any others who would restrict or remove my freedom of expression based on such charges:

If you attempt to charge me, convict me, fine me or jail me based on your mere wish not to be offended, understand that I will always take those attempts as mortal threats to my life, peace and security, and that I will hold all who act in support of such attempts as mortal enemies as well.

I will not instigate aggression, but--anytime I choose, whenever it suits me, and whenever I think it's necessary and appropriate--I *will* fight back.

In other words: Don't Tread on Me.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Pay attention.

These people get it.

For reasonable people who believe in equality and safety for all, it is easy to condemn Boissoin’s hurtful and inflammatory language. Furthermore, the temptation is strong to want to silence such an angry diatribe which might find an audience of people willing to join his war against equality.

While it is difficult to support Boissoin’s right to spew his misguided and vitriolic thoughts, support his right, we must.

If Boissoin was no longer able to share his views, then who might be next in also having their freedom of expression limited. Traditionally, the LGBT community’s freedom has been repressed by society and its laws.

Plus, it is far better that Boissoin expose his views than have them pushed underground. Under the glaring light of public scrutiny, his ideas will most likely wither and die.

The BCHRC should pay attention.

h/t Ezra Levant

(You know, I really don't know much aboutwhat Ezra thinks about a lot of things; I'm just not that familiar. But I agree completely with his opinion regarding so-called Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals. There are courts for real grievances.

Commissions and tribunals are insults just by their existence; they are designed specifically to control people politically as opposed to control acts of aggression or fraud.)

What Mark Steyn and Macleans are putting up with in BC is both absurd and frightening; the Commissioners are acting like ideological thugs--but the Alberta Human Rights Commission order against Rev. Stephen Boisson is so dementedly juggernautish in it's bullying, the reasonable mind staggers.

As Mr. Levant (properly) puts it:

It is the most revolting order I have ever seen in Canada. Ever.

I'll excerpt a few lines from her ruling:

In this case, there is no specific individual who can be compensated as there is no direct victim who has come forward...

That's insane already. No-one was hurt. The complainant was an officious intermeddler, a busybody, the town scold, an anti-Christian activist named Darren Lund who had an axe to grind, and Andreachuk gave it to him.

Dr. Lund, although not a direct victim, did expend considerable time and energy and suffered ridicule and harassment as a result of his complaint. The Panel finds therefore that he is entitled to some compensation.

So a busybody with no standing spends time filing complaints -- and gets a tax-free reward for doing so. Oh -- and for his "suffering". Not suffering at the hands of Rev. Boission, but "as a result of his complaint". People in the community ridiculed Lund for filing the complaint -- as they should. And so Andreachuk will get the pastor to pay for that. Why the hell not? Who's going to stop her? Her political patron, Ed Stelmach?

There's more--and it's not pretty. Go Read. And pay attention (and, no--as it happens I don't agree with the good Rev one tiny bit...but that's not the point).

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wal-mart in Peace River Alberta

Check over at QandO for a neat article on Wal-Mart.

We have a Wal-Mart coming to Peace River (Alberta) really quick. I mean, it's already here, it just hasn't opened. I couldn't be more pleased. Middle of June.

I work in a small, family-owned business here in Town and there's some competetive crossover with stuff Wal-Mart carries. So: we're gonna have to work to keep customers happy, and that's great because it means that--besides making business more fun, more challenging--every other small retailer in town is gonna have to up it's game, too. The best way to do that is to treat customers better than Wal-Mart does...and that's not easy. Wal-Mart is really good at what they do.

Customers have *all* the power in Wal-Mart territory.

That's a good thing (fun link).