It is ironic that a devotee [i.e. Ezra Levant] of one brand of speech chill should portray himself as champion against another. But that doesn't make him wrong about the human rights commissions. What are we, in high school? This isn't about personalities, it's not about political team sports, and it doesn't necessarily even have to be about free speech absolutism. For now, it can and should be about simply this: should Canada's human rights commissions accept complaints about the published word, and, given that they do, what effect does that have on free speech as a general concept in Canada?As ever, an even-handed, clear-headed, well-reasoned piece from Chris Selley. It is notable, also, for its assertion that Warren Kinsella is "a talentless, preening bore." (So, really, we should say: even-handed, clear-headed, well-reasoned, penetratingly insightful.)
Selley cuts to the heart of the matter:
Consider Levant's justification for running the cartoons: "We're not publishing them for their editorial merits. They're boring cartoons, they're bland. We're not running them because we share their views," he told the CBC (between jabs at the national broadcaster). "We're running them because they're the central fact that caused radical Muslims around the world to riot." Not that he should have had to justify it to anyone, but to me, that's absolutely unimpeachable.Indeed it is. And precisely the reasoning Warren Kinsella used when he posted a photograph he took in a boy's toilet depicting two swastikas and the slogan "White Power."