No-one is above, no-one is beneath
I was interviewed today by a newspaper reporter doing a story on Canada's broken human rights commissions. I tried to sum up some of my recent thoughts more concisely than I've done on my blog. Talking about it with the reporter helped me work through my thinking.
It's all about the rule of law.
And the rule of law means that no-one is above the law and no-one is beneath the law.
That is, no-one is so powerful or mighty -- or so saintly, if they do say so themselves -- that they are exempt from the restrictions of the law. That's what Eliot Spitzer's downfall was about, in part: a law enforcer who thought legal limits didn't apply to his own bad behaviour. In the context of Canada's human rights commissions, HRC staff and activists who admit to posting "hate messages" on bigoted websites are acting above the law. Their brazen violation of the very laws they are supposed to enforce is a form of corruption -- they think they're above the law. (I happen to believe there ought not to be a law banning "hate messages"; but these folks do.)
The HRCs also push people "beneath" the law, too. As I described here, CHRC staff refused to accept a complaint from Andrew Guille, someone they found politically descpicable. I don't doubt that Mr. Guille is impolite company. But just as no-one is so mighty that he cannot be restrained by the law, neither is anyone so lowly or disreputable that he cannot seek remedy in the law. That's why we still have trials for people who are "obviously" guilty of horrible crimes -- no-one is above, and no-one is beneath. But the CHRC does both, all the time.
That's a form of corruption. We know this instinctively when it comes to real police -- we do not permit them to abuse accused or even convicted criminals, and we do not give police special dispensation when they commit crimes themselves.
My feelings towards human rights commissions, especially the CHRC and their busiest customer Richard Warman, have curdled as I've learned more about them. Before I started researching the matter, I thought it was simply a matter of philosophical disagreement about where lines should be drawn between what's merely "offensive" and what's an actual "crime." But I don't think that's our real difference. Our real difference is that I believe in the rule of law, and giving even those we despise natural justice. When push comes to shove, the CHRC and its courtiers don't. They believe in what Warman has called "maximum disruption". Warman says he likes tussling with his foes because it's "fun". But that's not justice. That's harassment. We'd be distressed if we heard a policeman saying he was motivated by how much fun he has arresting people, or using his Taser. Same thing should go for the human rights industry.
I first had a flash of this when I saw the videotape of Richard Warman campaigning against his nemesis, David Icke. That's where I saw Warman giggling gleefully with his co-conspirators as they talked about physically assaulting Icke, and "humiliating" him.
I felt it again when I read about the outrageous ex parte attempt by Warman and his enablers at the Canadian Jewish Congress to block foreign websites from Canada. That application was properly dismissed by the CRTC, but the very fact that Warman and the CJC though they could -- in a hearing with no opposition invited -- set up a system for blocking 33 million Canadians from surfing where they want to surf, shows the true character of the people we're dealing with here.
As Warman himself says on page 8 of this speech, he'll use "almost any means necessary" to win his little wars. He won't even rule out violence -- only "indiscriminate violence". If that all sounds dramatic or hypothetical, you don't know the violent history of the ARA, the group Warman was speaking to. Forget about what the ARA's critics have to say about their violence -- just spend a few moments poking around their own website.
I'm sorry, that's just not what human rights activists say or do. They don't gleefully call for the humiliation of their ideological opponents; they don't counsel young people to physically assault their opponents; they don't demand that the Internet be censored in one-sided, private hearings; they don't engage in limited and half-hearted condemnations of only certain kinds of violence towards their foes.
I just re-read Warman's legal threat against me. I stand behind every word complained of, and every word I've written since. I realize that his lawsuit is just another nuisance suit, just another attempt to wreak "maximum disruption" on an opponent. I'm just lucky he hasn't given a speech about me to the ARA, in which he nods and winks to them about how not to assault me.
But, if I'm reading things right, the CHRC's and Warman's campaign is no longer working. More and more, Canadians are waking up to the awful realities of these Orwellian HRCs and the type of people who support and use the HRCs. In the past forty years, these commissions have not had as much PR as they've had in the last two months. They're being denormalized. People are starting to scrutinize their excesses and take an interest in their inner workings.
Dear friends, I think that the tide is turning. And, God-willing, the only "maximum disruption" that will happen is what should happen: the out-of-control, capricious, abusive human rights apparatus in Canada will be uprooted. Let's all keep at it.