Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pro-censorship mental gymnastics...

Lea Anderson writes in The Calgary Herald:
Demanding the elimination of human rights laws to allow a journalist to be offensive or contemptible to a fellow Albertan is not the longstanding western tradition I know.
Actually, Lea, (other than the quickly overturned Alberta Press Act) allowing a journalist to be offensive or contemptible to anyone, Albertans included, is *exactly* the longstanding western tradition I know.

But let me ask you, Lea: what mental contortions could lead you to actually propose censorship while stating:
Milke demands we gut our human rights laws, the very week George Bush requested China allow more basic rights and freedoms, and the week Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died. He was famous for chronicling the abuses and terror of the Russian gulags, one of the biggest human rights catastrophies ever.
??? I just don't get that. Solzhenitsyn was punished because he was a journalist who offended someone.

Perhaps you aren't familiar, Lea...China and The Soviet Union aren't exactly known for...uh...freedom of expression. In fact, and to be specific, Soviet bureaucrats found Solzhenitsyn very offensive; that's why they put him in the Gulag.

I understand you might find this complicated, Lea, but it might help you to read the next bit and pay special attention to the bolded, underlined parts.

From Wikipedia:
During World War II, he [Solzhenitsyn] served as the commander of an acoustic recognizance unit in the Red Army, was involved in major action at the front, and twice decorated. In February 1945, while serving in East Prussia, he was arrested for writing a derogatory comment in a letter to a friend, N. D. Utkevich, about the conduct of the war by Joseph Stalin, whom he called "the whiskered one," "Khozyain" ("the master") and "Balabos", (Odessa Yiddish for "the master"). He was accused of anti-Soviet propaganda under Article 58 paragraph 10 of the Soviet criminal code, and of "founding a hostile organisation" under paragraph 11.[12] Solzhenitsyn was taken to the Lubyanka prison in Moscow, where he was beaten and interrogated. On 7 July 1945, he was sentenced in his absence by a three-man tribunal of the Soviet security police (NKGB) to an eight-year term in a labour camp, to be followed by permanent internal exile. This was the normal sentence for most crimes under Article 58 at the time. [emphasis mine]
In other words, Lea, I think your position on this subject is kinda contemptible; the sheer lack of logic you display is offensive to me, especially every time I think of you voting.

I admit though, I was especially entertained by this word salad of yours:
Milke's attempt to defend free speech abuses by eliminating human rights is an assault on our dignity.
You toss those terms together ("free speech", "abuses", "rights", "assault", "dignity") with such careless, delicious abandon; it reads almost like you understand them.

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