Monday, January 29, 2007

Didn't you know? Tyranny is the NEW Liberty!

There is much that is disturbing about this piece of reporting.

... As a piece of reporting, I mean--not for what it reports.

For while it is, no doubt, a wonderful and brave thing that journalists like Joseph Brean* do by exposing "racists" like Jared Taylor, it is, I don't think, expecting too much of them that their discourse should respect the rules of reasonable argument. This, I hasten to add, not just out of respect for fairness, but because that's how free societies work and, more importantly (though perhaps more abstractly), because that's how free societies are sustained.

Brean takes some extremely dubious stuff as rote in his analysis of Jared Taylor's recent Halifax debacle, and while I am forced to let most of it go without comment (due to the piece's being so ambiguous and even contradictory in fairly crucial spots), let me just draw your attention to this ripe little plum here (my emphasis):
Canadians have a "lewd curiosity" about racism, says Karen Mock [too fitting --ed.], former executive director of the CCRF [sic! Canadian Race Relations Foundation]. They also have the naive confidence that good argument will refute lies. Together, she says, curiosity and confidence make for a broad vulnerability to the propaganda strategies of modern "race realism."
These, it is important to recognize, are pivotal statements in Brean's piece, as what follows from them is a lengthy ( ... extremely lengthy) lament over the apparent inability of average citizens to recognize a racist if he (the racist) assumes an appearance of gentility and cultivation (Brean's words, not mine).

And it is for this reason, Brean contends, that Jared Taylor should not be allowed to voice his goofy little opinions in public.

Now ... Never mind the hysterically stupid suggestion that Canadians have a '"lewd curiosity" about racism'--as though Canadians were a short step from shaving all their heads and putting white laces in their Docs, rather than, as they do, vociferously and self-consciously condemning racism even as they happen to skim past the word in a dictionary. Just leave that. Let us focus instead on the more obvious problem here: that Brean (via Karen Mock) takes as his starting point, for a defense of the right of all Canadians to the liberty Canada promises, a declaration of the inability of Canadians to defend liberty!-- Sorry, no! A declaration of the apparently fundamental opposition of Canadians to liberty, and the need for them then to ban apparently "bad" arguments in order that they shouldn't betray their right to liberty by exercising their liberty!

I mean?!

I will freely admit that I have a very cynical view of the bulk of the citizens of this country (i.e. that they don't have the intelligence, or the education anyway, to be able to differentiate between good and bad arguments; that they couldn't recognize a bad argument if it set their dog on fire), but I certainly would never dream of suggesting to the few Canadians who do understand what Canada is (in concept anyway) that they are naive for thinking that good arguments refute lies.


Because that's all a country that boasts the right to life, liberty and security has got!

So to that--I would have thought patently obvious--end, let me just say ... How dare the National Post waste my time (and money) with this sophomoric, pig-ignorant gunk! How dare it assume that I have so little intelligence or imagination that I am supposed to accept that the best Canada can offer is, as Brean and his politburo mentor Ms. Mock suggests, a tenuous middle-ground between Nazism and Stalinism, as if these absurd extremes of right and left need bear even the vaguest resemblance to a true liberal democracy! How dare they print something so stupid and credulous as this:
They are the undecideds, the swing voters of racial harmony, and because of their disinterest, they are the most vulnerable to propaganda about the evils of different races. Should they ever go to the bigots, Dr. Mock says, together they would make up roughly the portion of Germans who elected Hitler.
I mean, are we really meant to believe from this that Canada is at some risk of becoming a fascist state?! Because it believes that even idiots have a right to free speech? Is education in this country so barren that Canadians have been brought up to believe that Hitler's rise to power was as a consequence of the strength of his ideas? And not, that is, as a consequence of the total absence of even semi-substantial opposition to them? 'Cause, you know, it's that kind of systemic vapidity that got Germany into all its troubles in the first place ...

But I'm complicating things by humouring these, ahem, fine points. As basic and necessary as that alphabet of thinking (
that I was on about last Wednesday) is to the inhabitants of a country that fancies itself, and its people, free, there also needs to be an understanding that, concurrent to the expectation that people behave according to their country's (and, therefore, their own) best interests, there simply has to be a systemic trust that they will do so. Otherwise, it's just not a free country anymore.

Give me liberty, after all, or give me liberty!

*There's an uncanny stink of my old friend Bradley Miller about this guy. And they're both based out of Halifax it looks like too. Friends? ... Brean seems to have taken over where Brad left off ... Nom de plume, peut-ĂȘtre? Je ne sais pas.