Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Apology

Stephen Harper was right and brave to make the apology to aboriginals for our sins of cruelty.

Chretien, who after all was Indian Affairs Minister for many years, didn't rise to the occasion. Nor did Martin or Ryan Baloney.

I believe the Prime Minister's apology to be sincere and real and important.

I also believe that it is time for aboriginals - while never forgetting - to press on into the future and stop the endless kvetching.

Bring up your children with pride. Let no child fall to drugs or alcohol or bad marks in school. Expect only the best from one another.

The Freedom to Offend

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A couple of years ago, a Canadian magazine published an article arguing that the rise of Islam threatened Western values. The article’s tone was mocking and biting, but it said nothing that conservative magazines and blogs in the United States do not say every day without fear of legal reprisal.

Things are different here. The magazine is on trial.

Two members of the Canadian Islamic Congress say the magazine, Maclean’s, Canada’s leading newsweekly, violated a provincial hate speech law by stirring up hatred against Muslims. They say the magazine should be forbidden from saying similar things, forced to publish a rebuttal and made to compensate Muslims for injuring their “dignity, feelings and self-respect.”

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, which held five days of hearings on those questions here last week, will soon rule on whether Maclean’s violated the law. As spectators lined up for the afternoon session last week, an argument broke out.

“It’s hate speech!” yelled one man.

“It’s free speech!” yelled another.

In the United States, that debate has been settled. Under the First Amendment, newspapers and magazines can say what they like about minorities and religions — even false, provocative or hateful things — without legal consequence.

These are the opening paragraphs taken from this morning's coverage in the NY Times of an obscenity that was going on here in town last week. For the full NY Times story, read here.

Several bloggists alerted me to this story when I returned from holiday. They, and I, have been surprised by how puny the media and public reaction has been to this nightmare.

Maclean's magazine and Mark Steyn have both said publicly that they hope they lose this case so that the merits can be argued in a real court, not the quasi-judicial farce of the Human Rights Tribunal where the sacred cow is HURT FEELINGS, for god's sake.

The people in this case who are claiming hurt feelings, by the way, have had no problem characterizing Jews as rats and vermin who need be exterminated.

This is both a simple and an extremely complex matter.

But let me say this:

I am a Jew.

The Holocaust is a central and abiding through line in my mental and emotional life. It rears its ugly head unbidden on average once a week and has for a great many years.

One of my favorite Rabbis says about the Holocaust, "Forgiveness is not in the equation. You cannot forgive the monstrous."

I agree with him.


None of the above means wallowing in victimhood or self-pity or stopping in one's tracks from living life to the fullest.

Nor does any of the above mean I want to curtail any fool's right to say any foolish thing.

When you say something stupid, foolish, hurtful or damaging, these are my choices: Change the channel, toss the newspaper, laugh at your idiocy or denounce you in equal or louder voice.

We cannot, must not have the "state" regulate expression of opinion. Offensiveness is the central right of a healthy democracy.

Crocodile Crock

I have it on excellent authority that the first NPA caucus meeting after Sunday's win for Peter Ladner was an unholy mess.

Instead of being grown-ups and recognizing that a contest had just been held and one man had won, the shreiking meemies apparently cried and cajoled and hectored with plaints like,

"How could you do that?"

"Sam was the greatest mayor we've ever had."


and like that.

And we wonder why this sorry slate is going down.

Crocodile Rock