Whatever Ezra Levant is doing/saying at any given moment, it's not worth talking about.I mean, really. This guy couldn't even run a successful conservative rag in Alberta. He competed in the Special Olympics of North American publishsing -- and lost. Memo to all Canadian bloggers: he's not worth it.
Sadly, the quest for martyrdom that Ezra's involved in has managed to gull in some of the brighter lights of the American blogosphere in to using him as an example of why Hate Speech laws are teh evil. Reading some of them, you'd think Levant was being brough before a star chamber and tortured in to a confession. It's really a ridiculous situation -- the HRC isn't able to compel Levant's appearance, and its rulings can be appealed in court whatever the outcome -- but apparently we in Canada are a bunch of jack-booted proto-fascists. Weirdly, Glenn Greenwald essentially adopts the Goldberg thesis -- liberals are just fascists in drag!
See, I agree with Warren Kinsella on this one:
Firstly, let me say that I am a censor. I believe there are reasonable and proper limits on human expression.I suppose you're free to argue that no, there's no difference in those two acts that should be addressed by law. You could also argue that there's no difference between a black man being killed and a man being killed because he's black. I'd disagree strongly with you, and in fact I generally argue strongly in favour of hate crime legislation. Motive is a key element in any criminal prosecution, and there's an old saying that goes something like "even a dog knows the difference between being kicked and being tripped over." What's in your head when you commit a crime is actually very material element to any crime, and it's totally within our conventional understanding of what the law should do.
Secondly, I believe that words and images have power. Words and images have the power to wound and hurt and, sometimes, persuade people to kill.
Thirdly, I believe that we are entitled, as a society, to sanction (civilly or criminally) those who use words and images to deliberately or recklessly inflict harm on others - as with laws relating to the propagation of hate, or laws prohibiting child pornography, or defamation codes, or laws designed to sanction pornography that promotes violence against women and children...
"Don't you think there is a difference between a young guy painting a happy face on his school wall - and a skinhead who paints a swastika, and the words 'DEATH TO THE JEWS' on the front of a synagogue? Isn't there a qualitative difference between one action, and the other? Hate laws are designed to address that difference, aren't they?"
All of this, of course, is outside of the issue of whether or not Ezra Levant is being oppressed (he's not) or whether he's in any danger of suffering any penalty from the state (highly, highly unlikely.) Because, well, see Canadian blogging rule number one, above. If we absolutely have to talk about this, I'd prefer to talk about more serious related issues than the pathetic wailing of wealthy white conservatives who occasionally learn that they can't, in fact, shit all over Muslims and their faith ad infinitum without consequence.