Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dubya's Bequest to the Left

Imagine this, if you will:
OTTAWA (June 23, 2008) In response to a series of controversies over the war in Afghanistan, the government has tabled an outright ban on any organizations that are opposed to Canadian participation in that conflict. They do so three days after the summer adjournment of the House of Commons.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay said organizations will be free to discuss the war in Afghanistan in public space, as long as they do it "within a pro-troop realm," and that all organizations will be investigated to ensure compliance.

"You have to recognize that the troops have a choice over their own bodies," the Minister said. "We think that these pacifists, these dissenters, they're anti-troop in nature ... The way that they speak about the brave men and women who choose to serve this country is demoralizing. They call them murderers, all of them do ... Is this an issue of free speech? No this is an issue of troop's rights."

And when you've finished laughing, take a little gander at this.

Yes; stuff of God-awful dime-store fiction though the above would appear to be, it's the real deal--if only on the scale of student politics, and involving that more unacceptable brand of controversy known as abortion.

And did I hear you guffaw particularly loudly at that "Is this an issue of free speech? No this is an issue of troop's rights" line? Brilliant, wasn't it? Again: not mine. I wish that I could have come up with a line as ripe as that! Here's the original:
Is this an issue of free speech? No, this is an issue of women's rights.
Yeah, because they're, like, totally mutually exclusive categories!

You know what this style of argument is called, right? You know what this is called! And it's gotta satisfy you as much as it does me, because you know that odds are the speaker thinks Stephen Colbert is just about the funniest thing that's ever gone on TV (after Jon Stewart and Bill Maher of course). This is classic, classic argument from truthiness!

And where else are we hearing arguments exactly like this? Arguments of the 'Is this an issue of free speech? No, this is an issue of human rights' variety?




Damian Penny turns up this gem re. the above-quoted Gilary Massa:
“It’s an interpretation, which is fine,” Massa remarked in response to Moran’s statement.

“People should be allowed to have different opinions and try to convince each other and have a dialogue in a respectful manner. As student union representatives, we think that creating a safe space on campus means allowing people to use their freedom of speech, of course without being hateful or discriminatory. But they should also be able to use these words without fear of being clamped down on.”
... But only if we're talking about the right to use the phrase "Israeli Apartheid".