I caught the Michael Coren show last night at 8pm. That'd be the Aug. 14th show. Guests were Kathy Shaidle, Bob Tarantino, Jason Cherniak and Nickolas Packwood.
First off, Congrats to Kathy Shaidle for not biting Jason Cherniak on TV, even though she clearly wanted too. Pretty good self control for a Hamilton chick!
Congrats to Jason Cherniak for showing up to face off with all those scary conservatives and risking getting bit. See? She can behave if she really wants to. For short periods anyway. ~:D
The large issue of the day was censorship in Canada and the behavior of the various Human Rights Commissions/Tribunals these last few years. One very telling exchange was regarding the hate speech laws. I'm going to paraphrase rather broadly here, so let's not have any lawsuits shall we? Everybody did a great job, this is deep concept time here.
The issue was Holocaust denial, Cherniak basically said he was quite satisfied to live in a country with laws making that illegal, and that there are some things you shouldn't be able to say. The rest of them didn't think this was such a good idea, mostly because the list of things you can't say changes over time and gets longer too. Tarantino mentioned that up until fairly recently there were blasphemy laws in Canada and they were used to persecute groups such as the Jehovah's Witnesses for slagging the Catholic Church. There have always been things you can't say, and that the only thing different these days is the particulars of the subject matter. These days the Catholic Church can't slag homosexuality. Same manure, different pile.
I got thinking about that a little bit. Cherniak's attitude is quite common, I hear it all the time. It is that government can and should punish people for saying things that are "wrong". There's some stuff curled up in this assumption I want to pull out.
First, there are some things you should be punished for saying.
Second, government can identify these things accurately and deal with them justly. As in, government as a thing, system, concept, is capable of doing that job.
Third, and this is the big one, our Canadian government can be trusted to do this.
Fourth, this is a good idea for Canada.
I don't have time to get into this today in any great depth, but I think the conversation has cut down to some core, basic beliefs that differentiate political thought in Canada. There are those who believe as Jason Cherniack does, that the answer to those four issues is yes. There are those who believe the answer to at least one of those is no. Then there are nutcases like myself and Kathy Shaidle who say NO! to all four. Not just no but HELL NO! and bang on the table really freaking hard.
My reasoning starts from the fact that "government" is basically a tool we humans use to do things. There are some jobs it can do, and some jobs it can't do. Controlling speech justly is in the can't-do category right next to alcohol prohibition. Even trying to do it with the best possible intentions leads inevitably to a situation much worse than letting the bad people say the bad things whenever they want. I'll add that the HRCs are NOT proceeding from the best possible intentions, to put it ridiculously mildly.
More upon this later, my friends.
The Busy Phantom