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I hates the hate...

Flash's post below regarding Jared Taylor's interesting visit to Halifax, and the ensuing discussion, got me thinking. A few times during the discussion, the term "hate speech law" was thrown around. I am guilty, I did it, too. Now, I am going to throw something in here for the sake of argument, and I presume that one will ensue, but hate speech laws make me cringe. Hate crime laws are a different story, but speech should never be considered a crime except in cases in which it is actually used in the commission of a crime - threats, blackmail, and such. Hate speech laws are the thin edge of a wedge that could so very easily expand should a legislature be put in the mind to expand them. I prefer the clear and concise US First Amendment; there is no room for argument, no quibbling. If things that are said sometimes hurt or make me angry or upset; fine, that's life.

People are not always nice, nor are they always right. However, as individuals, we always have options - we can argue, we can mobilize, we can research, or we can simper and whine behind the protection of the state's skirts. Many things can be said about the odious views of Jared Taylor, but he is out there actively promoting them to the masses while we sit and wonder whether the law will protect us from his vile verbiage. If indeed Taylor is wrong, and most of us around here seem to think that he is, then let's do something constructive about it rather than taking the Dalhousie University approach and sit and hope he'll go away.

He won't.

So what do we do about toads like Jared Taylor? We research their statements and expose them for the bullshit they are. For instance, as one of the commentors in Flash's post wrote, Taylor refers to the X% of crimes committed by various non-white racial groups. Would it not also be relevent to see how these racial groups are represented across the economic spectrum and then look and see how crime itself is distributed economically? Stuff like this has already been done, and the racial arguments never stand up.

Let Jared Taylor shout to the rooftops - just make sure that others are doing the same, but with facts. The truth shall indeed set us free.

It is a sadly typical Canadian thing to have laws protecting people against harmful speech while at the same time maintaining a racist aboriginal policy that keeps our native population in poverty and at the fringes of society. Let them die from polluted water and inadequate housing, but by God don't call them names!

There is important work to be done here, people.

Kevvy, you bastard, read my comment to your post. Hmmmphh, stealing my thunder... one string at a time Desroches... ;o)

I haven't read it yet, we must have been writing at the same time.

Fools seldom differ.

Well said, Kevvyd. Hoping it'll all go away hasn't worked yet, and there's no reason to expect it will in the future. That's one of the reasons I volunteer, to try to make a difference.

Okay, I just read graven's comment and he's right, I just rewrote him. So sorry.

;)

For those (like me) too lazy to flip back anfd forth here are my comments to Kevs earlier post. Laws limitting speech make me cringe as well.

Flash - I picked you (and others) out for comments to your own post wrt "hate speech" laws

It seems the "Daily Snooze" agrees with Kevvy and me. I will paste in the following quote from the editorial because I can't voice it with any more clarity:
"But freedom of speech is not like a garment that can be donned or discarded at whim.It is one of the bedrock principles of a free society.
Freedom of speech means that even odious opinions have a right to be heard. It also means those opinions are open to criticism.
Freedom of speech means that the demonstrators had a right to heckle and harangue, rebut and refute, question and contradict.
But it does not mean they had a right to commit assault."
I'll also reiterate a comment I made yesterday: the best way to combat racist, hate-filled people like Taylor is to show them for the jackass they are - in a public forum. This means debate and refutation, NOT assault; or trying to have various authorities "gag" them with the machinations of the state legal system and other bureaucracies.
Flash et al. - I can appreciate your good intentions. However, If you cannot bear to hear him, don't listen, and if you strongly object to his statements, speak up, exercise YOUR right, and say so.
If free speech is a right of all people in our society, then no-one has the right to try and shut up those they disagree with, or those they don't like. I know why there are hate-speech laws, and I agree that incitement to attack, kill or maim anyone should be controlled, but one should be very careful about too freely using them to censor others.
Its a slippery slope. Laws and legal structures are typically amoral - one can easily adhere to the letter and ignore the spirit. It doesn't take much imagination to see those laws and structures being abused - to limit the expression of ideas, simply because one group or another doesn't like them. The Inquisition? Nazi Germany? Granted, the intents may have been different in those cases, but their actions were "legal" by the laws of the time.
I also dislike censorship. I have a problem with other people telling me a cannot listen to certain speeches, or watch certain shows, or read certain books, because they are perceived to be "bad" by some portion of society. As if the rest of us are too stupid, or too impressionable to discriminate against those words or actions that are morally wrong. Not because I want so much to listen to racists, or peruse child pornography, or anything else equally as odious - But because laws never seem to be specific enough about banning such things - loose wording, subject to interpretation - and therefore subject to abuse. Hands up, how many other people had "Catcher in The Rye" banned from their school libraries? Or "Roots" for that matter? There are some things which I reserve the right to make up my own mind about. I am equally as intelligent, moral and discriminating as most of society, more so than some and maybe less so than others

This 1994 studylooks at Canadian hate laws...how effective they are and how easily (or not) they can be used by the Crown. The author is an Aussie considering the usefulness of such laws for their own region.

It is somewhat ironic, given the recent high profile of hate propaganda laws in Canada, that little formal use has been made of the anti-hate provisions contained in the Criminal Code. Despite a high level of concern about the incidence of `hate crimes' in Canada,[49] provincial Attorneys General have commonly demonstrated a reluctance to institute criminal proceedings.[50] This reluctance may, at least partly, be attributable to concerns about the implications of providing racists with a forum for their views. As Kallen has commented


The extensive publicity afforded the hate propagandizing activities of Keegstra and Zundel through the considerable media coverage of their trials provoked heated controversy over the appropriateness of a criminal charge and a public trial as a means of deterring hate propagandists.[51]


It is difficult to determine whether `trial publicity' does advance the cause of vocal racists, but clearly there is something unpalatable about the profile and notoriety achieved by defendants in such case. It is disturbing to note that more than 10 years after Jim Keegstra was charged under the hate propaganda provisions of the Criminal Code, his case is still before the Canadian courts, and still of considerable media interest.[52] This high profile is particularly troubling in light of the `revisionism' in which some judges have allegedly engaged in the course of their judgments in hate propaganda cases.[53]

...

The debate would be rather more productive if it was able to extend beyond the boundaries of rights discourse, and a preoccupation with abstract free speech issues. Other matters--including the suitability of conciliation as a dispute resolution mechanism, and the implications of criminalisation--also require attention. Analysis of such matters would be advanced if it drew on other theoretical perspectives as well as empirical evidence. An examination of the operation of existing racial vilification provisions will facilitate a more broadly constructed debate, which in turn, can more effectively inform decisions on further law reform.


The whole article is pretty interesting. While I consider any restrictions on free speech a bad idea, I still want a tool to go after the guy who (for example) incites a mob to lynch their middle-Eastern neighbour, or convinces his pals to take their baseball bats to the local gay bar. Such tools most likely exist in other parts of the criminal code, though.

Hate Speech laws are counterproductive if they basically give those charged under it and their repugnant views extra publicity.

That's a good point Bri - had the protesters not been there, Taylor's visit would probably not even had made the news, but because of those guys he now has Page 1 publicity...

Indeed, but I'm still suspicious of why they were there in force - someone had to have tipped them off ahead of time.

And fluoride is a communist conspiracy!

Just had to throw that in there.

Interesting reference Briguy. But I think legislation to handle incitement to do violence was already there. It (along with all other criminal offenses) is covered under conspiracy legislation, Part 8 of the criminal code:
.... Counselling offence that is not committed

464. Except where otherwise expressly provided by law, the following provisions apply in respect of persons who counsel other persons to commit offences, namely,

(a) every one who counsels another person to commit an indictable offence is, if the offence is not committed, guilty of an indictable offence and liable to the same punishment to which a person who attempts to commit that offence is liable; and

(b) every one who counsels another person to commit an offence punishable on summary conviction is, if the offence is not committed, guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 464; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 60.

Conspiracy

465. (1) Except where otherwise expressly provided by law, the following provisions apply in respect of conspiracy:

(a) every one who conspires with any one to commit murder or to cause another person to be murdered, whether in Canada or not, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to a maximum term of imprisonment for life;

(b) every one who conspires with any one to prosecute a person for an alleged offence, knowing that he did not commit that offence, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable

(i) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, if the alleged offence is one for which, on conviction, that person would be liable to be sentenced to imprisonment for life or for a term not exceeding fourteen years, or

(ii) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, if the alleged offence is one for which, on conviction, that person would be liable to imprisonment for less than fourteen years;


(c) every one who conspires with any one to commit an indictable offence not provided for in paragraph (a) or (b) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to the same punishment as that to which an accused who is guilty of that offence would, on conviction, be liable; and

(d) every one who conspires with any one to commit an offence punishable on summary conviction is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

(2) [Repealed, 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 61]

Conspiracy to commit offences

(3) Every one who, while in Canada, conspires with any one to do anything referred to in subsection (1) in a place outside Canada that is an offence under the laws of that place shall be deemed to have conspired to do that thing in Canada.
Idem

(4) Every one who, while in a place outside Canada, conspires with any one to do anything referred to in subsection (1) in Canada shall be deemed to have conspired in Canada to do that thing.


And/or under Part 1, section 22 of the criminal code:

22. (1) Where a person counsels another person to be a party to an offence and that other person is afterwards a party to that offence, the person who counselled is a party to that offence, notwithstanding that the offence was committed in a way different from that which was counselled.

Idem

(2) Every one who counsels another person to be a party to an offence is a party to every offence that the other commits in consequence of the counselling that the person who counselled knew or ought to have known was likely to be committed in consequence of the counselling.
Definition of “counsel”

(3) For the purposes of this Act, "counsel" includes procure, solicit or incite.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 22; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 7.

The problems the courts run into with these legislations... is proving agreement and intent to commit the crimes counselled or discussed.... i.e. the crime isn't fact (an offense) until actually commited. Hate legislation skips right through that to essentially say that agreement or intent to follow through isn't necessary. It borders on rendering a charge on hearsay, infringing on peoples' civil rights to not be subjected to wrongful search and seizure, and wrongful prosecution. Its my opinion that the article quoted by Briguy was correct, you only give people like Ernst Zundel and Jared Taylor a public forum to air their odious views, without any direct, meaningful challenge to their validity or morality, while lengthy and sticky civil suits are dragged through the court.

Never mind that hate-motivated violence is already a criminal offence as all violence is....

Thanks for posting that, graven. See guys, when hateful speech becomes a hate crime, we're already covered.

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