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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

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Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion...

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Salim Mansur and the Fascism of Human Rights Commissions

600 people came out in London Ont., to protect HRCs - but the 'free' media, had no time to cover 'free' speech.

by StFerdIII

Human Rights Commissions: Useful or Obsolete? Part 2: Salim Mansur and Ezra Levant from josephinejosephine on Vimeo.

Text from a speech given by Salim Mansur, Professor and writer on Political Affairs, to a crowd of 600 people, protesting the existence, of HRCs and their destruction of free speech and free thinking. No major media organisation bothered to cover the event, which is not surprising. Why expect a 'free' media to report on a huge gathering of people discussing 'free' speech ?

Speech by Salim Mansur
(April 13, 2009 in London, Ontario)

The making of the “human rights commission” in Canada at the beginning some time in the 1960s was at first seemingly a good idea, then the arguments were brought together in favour of the idea. The arguments were persuasive then and the rest followed, and we have now the accumulated evidence, hence history, of the functioning of the HRCs across our Dominion. Four decades later we come together at this moment in our country’s history where there would be few, if any, Canadians willing to make any credible argument in support of the HRCs to continue functioning as guardians of our speech in a free society.

How did we arrive at this situation? It is because of the battle Ezra Levant along with Mark Steyn and the Maclean’s magazine were forced into in defending their rights as free Canadians to speak, write and publish materials irrespective of how such materials are deemed by some or many to be unacceptable politically, aesthetically, theologically or by any other consideration apart from the claims of specific personal injury that might be proven in a properly constituted court of law.

The battle to make this right of free speech unimpeachable by any extra-legal body such as the HRC is not quite over yet, and it will be over only when the legislatively provided power to the HRC to monitor and punish free speech is revoked. But the arguments behind the idea that went into the making of the HRCs, I submit to you, have been demonstrated to be flawed and false as a result of what Ezra Levant had to endure in asserting his right to exercise free speech as a free born Canadian in a liberal-democracy.

I am not an absolutist on the matter of free speech, and I imagine neither are my co-panelists this evening on the subject. We agree that free speech cannot be an open invitation to cause injury to an individual, or a group, and if such injury occurs as a result of free speech that is malicious and is proven so then the responsible individual should be prosecuted and punished by a properly constituted court according to the laws provided in the criminal code.

How did we then in Canada arrive at the HRCs and made them the guardian of free speech? Very briefly, the proponents were misguided for they failed to look deep and far enough in history about human condition so that they would then have been able to look into the future and know in advance the flawed outcome of what they were proposing. The failure of their imagination on this matter was a result of the poverty of their philosophy.

Our world is paradoxical. From Socrates and Plato to Einstein and Kurt Godel, our greatest minds have informed us about this. It means most pointedly our humanly constructed world is an imperfect world wherein fallible human beings make imperfect choices and live with their unintended consequences. From this James Madison, one of the founding fathers of the great republic to the south of our Dominion drew forth the following conclusion: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”

We forget this wisdom at our peril. Checks and balances, the rule of law, properly constituted courts with real laws, real judges, real lawyers, where any individual brought to face justice is deemed innocent until proven guilty, and where truth and nothing but the truth matters over and above all other things, are the means and not the end by which free individuals protect their freedom.

What was so terribly wrong with the idea of the HRC in the matter of making it the guardian of free speech is the view that freedom can be enhanced for everyone positively by abridging the freedom of those few whose speech might cause offense to the many. At first the inherent problem in such an approach might be imperceptible to the proponents, who we assume are fair-minded, but in time the imperceptible becomes inevitably an unbridgeable chasm. The proponents of the HRC were fair-minded, or made every attempt to be so, but they were poorly informed of history and philosophy.

They disregarded the deep problem at the heart of the freedom paradox, and engineered the tyranny of “positive” freedom over the greater need to protect “negative” liberty; in other words, the proponents of the HRC subscribed to the doctrine of positive freedom to “do” something or “acquire” something which is distinct from the doctrine of negative liberty to be “free” from interference of any authority to live according to one’s preference irrespective of whether such interference is benign or malevolent.

It is on this distinction that human history has hung in balance between tyranny resulting from unintended consequences of acts committed by good and fair-minded people, and freedom where individuals make their own choices free of any authority save their own. This is why the HRCs in Canada as guardians of free speech are abomination and they need to be dismantled entirely, or at a minimum their authority to monitor and punish free speech revoked without any further delay.

I will make two other brief observations. In my recent weekly column for the Sun Media in reviewing Ezra Levant’s book Shakedown I wrote, “The lamest excuse for constraining free speech is preventing people from being offended. Imagine if human rights commission-type commissars had prevailed at the beginning of the Renaissance and Reformation. The modern world would have been aborted at its conception.” Imagining HRC-type commissars or inquisitors aborting the modern world was not on my part hypothesis. It happened.

In the early years of Muslim history, the 8th-9th century of the Christian era, the battle over free or rational thinking was fought and lost in Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid caliphate and the heart of the rapidly expanding Islamic empire and civilization. The Muslim free thinkers, those who insisted upon rational inquiry and reason to be taken legitimately as one of the means to understand and explain revelation, were officially labeled as blasphemers and apostates, hounded in public and silenced by imprisonment or capital punishment. Then the inevitable followed, the lights began to go out in the Islamic civilization and eventually darkness prevailed, the initial momentum of the original impulse of Islam as freedom for pagan Arabs came to a halt, and others particularly Europe emerging from its own imposed darkness through Renaissance and Reformation took the civilizational lead, and the Muslim world receded ever since then into what we might now call the black hole of ignorance, bigotry and violence.

For students of history, politics and philosophy the free fall of the Islamic civilization into its own dark age since the lights went out has stood as a cautionary tale. The most recent example of this story is the implosion and disintegration of the mighty Soviet Union where policing free speech eventually brought about its demise. The communist rulers in Moscow, as those in ancient Baghdad, were dismissive of the obvious in the words of Elias Canetti, the Bulgarian-born writer and 1981 Nobel Prize winner for literature that the “origin of freedom lies in breathing,” and the end result was predictable.

In his book Ezra Levant provides us with a baffling array of stories of how utterly Orwellian are the HRCs in what they do and the personnel hired to administer them. One such story that caught my notice at a very intimate level is that of Arman Chak narrated through pages 106-109 in Shakedown. From Levant: “Chak comes from an ambitious family; his brother, Farhan Chak, ran as a candidate for the federal Liberal party until party officials discovered that he had padded his resume – and that he was a raging Jew-hater.”

Arman Chak is a lawyer; his support for his brother was not about family solidarity, it was about religious solidarity, and in particular the unity of the Muslim world, or ummah. Levant again: “Chak and his brother were regular writers to a radical website called Pakistan Link. There, they would rail against Muslims who took a moderate approach to politics. Arman Chak argued, for example, that the country of Bangladesh had no right to exist.”

I don’t know Arman Chak, but I do know the sort of persons who are Arman Chak. I encountered them. When Ezra Levant was yet to be conceived I was dodging knives, bayonets and guns as a young adult fleeing away from the wreck that was East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, engineered by the Arman Chaks of Pakistan in 1971. I was fortunate to escape the genocide now mostly forgotten – according to some estimate as many as 3 million Bengali Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, were killed by the Pakistani military and their fundamentalist supporters during this period, and some 10 million Bengalis were made refugees in India.

Many of my friends I went to school with and many relatives were among the victims. School, college and university residents were specifically targeted. Intellectuals were gathered from their homes and work places and eliminated. Under harrowing circumstances I escaped with my mother and two younger sisters for refuge in my grandparents’ home in Calcutta, my native city and the original home of my family, and from there I eventually made my journey to Canada.

I do not think even Kafka in his most imaginative moment would have conceived an individual of Arman Chak’s background sitting as a lawyer for a Canadian HRC. Or should I say only Kafka could have conceived such truth stranger than fiction, and only in Canada of the HRC could such fiction come to haunt us as real?

This brings me to my final observation. The Arman Chaks of our world are not only busy engineering the next killing field as in Darfur or in some of the failed states of the Arab-Muslim world, they have appointed themselves as the global guardian of our free speech. The Organization of Islamic Countries, administered by rulers giving full meaning to Lord Acton’s observation of power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, were successful last year in getting the UN General Assembly adopt their resolution on the “defamation of religion” that would prohibit free speech if found to offend religious sensibilities of these rulers and their Arman Chaks.

What sort of religious sensibility do these members of the OIC care about? The world was given evidence of such sensibility 30 years ago on Valentine’s Day when Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran took upon himself the role of literary critic and judged the author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie, required to be killed as an apostate on the basis of Shariah or Islamic laws for his literary imagination that offended him and a vast number of Muslims around the world. Rushdie survived his literary critic turned judge-executioner, but there are others who have been less fortunate. Never can this happen in Canada, fair-minded Canadians will say in unison.

Then how is it, we may ask, that the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission has an Arman Chak as one of its personnel, and Ezra Levant is made subject of the sort of inquisition in Canada that is the norm among the OIC members? Our politicians cannot afford to remain silent any longer on this matter, nor we as Canadians can afford to remain waiting to hear from our politicians as the HRCs engage in the travesty of abusing our freedom in the name of human rights.

In conclusion, let me reiterate here what I have stated publicly on other occasions. In our time in Canada a terrible wrong has been done to Ezra Levant as it has been done to many others documented in his book. It is only in adversity that the true strength of mind and heart of an individual is displayed. Ezra Levant is Canada’s version of Alfred Dreyfus wrongly accused, and as a result of this injustice he has also shown to all of us that he is also Canada’s version of Emile Zola, the brave defender of freedom and justice who would not take a wrong done to his fellow-man silently lying down.

Emile Zola pulled together the good people of France to win Dreyfus’s case by addressing his pamphlet J’Accuse to the President of the French Republic, Felix Faure, in January 1898. Among the many memorable phrases from Zola’s impassioned plea for justice and freedom for Dreyfus was this, “truth is on the march and nothing can stop it.”

Ezra Levant’s book Shakedown is the Canadian version of J’Accuse, and like Emile Zola’s passionate prose Levant’s own is directly addressed not only to the Canadian people but to Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to do justice and protect freedom at the minimum by revoking section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. “Truth is on the march and nothing can stop it,” and it will be a terrible burden for Mr. Harper and his government to carry in the future should they fail to remove on their watch the stain on Canada’s democracy that Ezra Levant has so carefully exposed.

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