Return of the Censors
Freedom of the press is
on trial in Canada.
The trial is
before a court with the Orwellian title of the
British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. The accused
are Maclean`s magazine and author
Mark Steyn. The crime: In mocking and biting tones,
they wrote that Islam threatens Western values.
Had Steyn written that, given the
Crusades, colonial atrocities in
Africa and the
slave trade, Christianity had
been on balance a curse, he would not be in the
dock. In the United States, these charges would have
been tossed out by any federal judge, who would have
admonished the plaintiffs that, here in America,
we have a First Amendment.
The United States, however, is an isolated exception,
Western nations seek to impose wider restrictions on
what has come to be called "hate speech."
Questioning the Holocaust is a crime in
Canada and Europe, as British historian
David Irving discovered when he was sentenced to
prison in Austria. To say the
Armenian massacres of 1915-1924 were an attempt at
genocide is a crime in Turkey.
In France, animal rights champion
Brigitte Bardot has been fined $23,000 for provoking
discrimination and racial hatred by denouncing Muslims
who slaughtered a sheep in a religious ceremony. Bardot
had been punished
five previous times for her statements.
In 1990, writes Adam Liptak of The New York Times,
Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech,
June 12, 2008] Chief Justice of the Canadian Supreme
Court Brian Dickson wrote, in upholding the conviction
of one James Keegstra for anti-Semitic slurs:
commitment to eradicate hate propaganda and, most
importantly, the special role given equality and
multiculturalism in the Canadian Constitution
necessitate a departure from the view … that the
suppression of hate propaganda is incompatible with the
guarantee of free expression." [R.
There you have it. Canada`s commitment to
multiculturalism and the equality of all religions,
races and cultures requires the
silencing of those who do
not believe all races, creeds and cultures are
The dogmas of the Diverse Society dictate that the
cherished rights of the Free Society be sacrificed on
altar of social tranquility.
What has caused this reversal of the advance of
Western Man has come to believe there
are more important values than freedom, if men use
their freedom in ways our new Lords Temporal find
Nor is this anything new. Censorship has always had
powerful patrons and not always benighted backers.
In the Middle Ages, pious men
sought to silence heretics because they believed the
Faith led to Paradise, while its loss led to Hell for
all eternity. The Christian censorship we mock today was
born of men`s deepest convictions about the most
important thing in life: salvation.
And, indeed, most men accept some form of censorship.
Most of us believe that published or spoken lies that
ruin good names should be punished by
libel and slander laws. Most of us believe there are
military secrets that must be protected. Not a few
Americans believe that the moral codes imposed on
Hollywood by the
Legion of Decency helped protect society from the
toxic pollution that poisons our children. Most of
FCC sanctions against filthy language or racist
slurs on the airwaves.
Nor is government censorship unknown to America.
President John Adams signed the
Sedition Acts, which called for the incarceration of
journalists who wrote insultingly of him. Abraham
suppressed newspapers that denounced his war.
Woodrow Wilson imprisoned the Socialist Eugene Debs
A new censorship is now arising. We read of speech
codes on campuses,
sensitivity training for freshman, and tribunals
before which students are made to
grovel and recant for joking references that
offended some minority or other.
"The best test of truth," said
Justice Holmes, "is the power of thought to get
itself accepted in the marketplace."
Elijah Lovejoy was lynched in Alton, Ill., in 1837
for advocating abolition—against the view of the
marketplace. Truth is truth, whether the majority agrees
Yet, one`s money ought to be on the new censors, for
men who believe deeply in something, even when wrong,
usually triumph over men who believe in nothing.
Today, the true believers in Islam and the true
believers in diversity über alles are making
common cause against those who believe in freedom of
speech and the press. As the former have the convictions
and increasingly the power, they may prevail, and not
only in Canada and Europe.
A new orthodoxy is arising. Freedom`s finest hour may
be behind us.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Patrick J. Buchanan
no introduction to VDARE.COM readers;
his book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, can be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its
Empire and the West Lost the World,
Paul Craig Roberts.