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Must Choose -- Free Speech -- OR -- the Right Not to be Offended -- Can't Have Both

Reader comment on item: Will Geert Wilders Show His Film on the Koran[, Fitna]?

Submitted by Sofa Sogood (United States), Jan 28, 2008 at 01:27

New Civil Right -- or Human Right -- The Right Not to Be Offended.


It follows, then, (makes as much sense) that there ought to be a

New Right to Violent Rioting If Offended --

And certainly the Right to Sue If Offended.

I'm very personally offended (it's affected my self-esteem and I've had to be treated by a psychotherapist for Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder because I fear I'm losing my freedoms) by the statement that "freedom of expression doesn't mean the right to offend." Can I sue, or should I riot? Or am I committing the crime of "Offense" by expressing my feeling of being offended? Or is their expression of being offended at my expression of feeling offended at their expression of being offended by my freedom of expression, an "Offense?"

Our neighbor, Canada, is having its own legal jihadist attack on free speech -- (soon to be brought to the U.S.) and Canada is losing by a mile of self-infliction.

And their HRC has Decided -- solved -- the above conundrum. There will be no counter-suing. If convicted of the crime of offense which you have protested, that proves you have no respect for the "law against offense" and therefore you have forfeited your right to sue on the basis of the law that you protested against. (Steynposts, 22 January 2008 "Human rights for me but not for thee.")

Aside from one suit against Maclean's Magazine and Mark Steyn -- Mark Steyn quoted an Imam saying something like, "The Muslim population will grow like mosquitoes;" and another suit against Steyn in which one of the points of the complaint is, in a review of a TV sitcom about some Muslims in Canada, Steyn wrote, "Moderate Muslims are a rarity; Moderate Muslims who are actually funny are an even greater rarity;" (will I and Dr.Pipes Blog be sued for quoting this?) there is also a suit against

Ezra Levant, publisher of a conservative magazine, Western Standard, who is being sued via the Canadian Human Rights Commission for publishing the Danish cartoons -- or rather for the crime of "Causing Offense and Hurt Feelings."

From information provided on the blogs, no case brought before the HRC in Canada has ever been decided in favor of the defendant. Not surprising since the Commissioners who decide have no law to guide them. It's strictly up to their personal judgment. Also, none of them have any legal or judicial background.

The "plaintiffs' can do this cost free. The defendants must pay all expenses no matter what the outcome is. This will have the effect of publications self-censoring to avoid litigation, and end discussions of matters of vital importance.

Here is the video of Ezra Levant's prepared statement to the HRC, a protest in defense of Free Speech. He's heavy and rough on the seemingly mild woman interviewing him, but keep in mind the extent of her power over him. He is certainly rude, and even crass. Nevertheless, every word he says about Free Speech is absolutely right and true.

Super ironic is that at one point she absent-mindedly tosses off, "You've got a right to your opinion" -- which is exactly what he doesn't have.


"I Don't Answer to the State."

"We have the right to be rude. It's not a cost-free right; being rude shouldn't be. It marginalizes us socially; removes us from polite company; loses us friends. A business -- such as a magazine -- that is offensive may lose readers, advertisers and even staff and investors....I was happy to answer for the conduct of our magazine to anyone who asked -- reporters, readers, the public in general. I probably get asked about the decisioin once a week, and it's been two years now. But I won't explain myself to the government."


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