The Lynch List, 03-Mar-2010

This is the William Whatcott edition of the Lynch List:

Some commentary on the William Whatcott exoneration for hate speech at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal from George Jonas:

The Saskatchewan Appeal Court didn’t actually add insult to injury, only replaced injury with insult. It twisted what it didn’t dare to confront. The judges didn’t exonerate Whatcott on the basis that the state has no business telling people who to ridicule and belittle in a free society. No. After much hairsplitting and parsing, the judges exonerated Whatcott on the basis that he didn’t really ridicule, belittle and affront.

Judges aren’t legislators, of course. They can’t re-write the law, only interpret it. The fact they can’t lay an egg, though, shouldn’t preclude them from smelling one that’s rotten. And Canada’s human rights legislation stinks.

Canada’s federal and provincial human rights codes, commission and tribunals aren’t protecting human rights. They are protecting human ambitions against human rights. They’re protecting our ambition not to be rejected, ridiculed, belittled and affronted against our right to choose our associates, words and ideas freely. There are noble ambitions and ugly rights, but unless our worst rights outrank our best ambitions, we aren’t free.

Rob Breakenridge at the Calgary Herald also weighs in on this case:

To use the argument that a violent person might be motivated by another’s sharp but legitimate political criticism, is an invitation to censor almost anyone. Perhaps by criticizing Whatcott, I’m encouraging someone to commit violence against Christians. Perhaps by criticizing the tribunal, I’m encouraging some nut to set fire to their offices.

And finally, my own comments, available here.

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