I’ve never been remotely tempted to link to Little Green Footballs before but on this issue I am 100% in agreement. LGF has a post that includes 3 Youtube videos of Ezra Levant, a conservative Canadian publisher, testifying before and being questioned by the Alberta Human Rights Commission. He is being investigated on charges of violating the law by republishing the infamous Danish Muhammed caricatures.
Levant delivers an impassioned opening statement that correctly blasts the commission as an Orwellian outfit that violates human rights in the name of defending them. Spot on, Mr. Levant. He’s quite belligerent in his answers to the bureaucrat questioning him; he should be. Such star chamber proceedings are repugnant to liberty, as is the whole procedure. And I liked his answer when asked what his purpose was in republishing the caricatures:
We published those cartoons for the intention and purpose of exercising our inalienable rights as free-born Albertans to publish whatever the hell we want no matter what the hell you think. I’ve probably given 200 interviews with people other than the state where I give a very thoughtful and nuanced expression of my intent. But the only thing I have to say to the government about why I published it is because it’s my bloody right to do so. And it’s my right to do so for reasonable intentions and it’s my right to do so for extremely unreasonable purposes. I refuse to concede to you that what my political thoughts in my mind are or my heart are will determine whether or not an artifact is legal or illegal.
I may not like Levant’s political views, but I’ll stand up and cheer for that statement. He is absolutely right. I return once again to my most basic creed, the fundamental axiom of my view of the world, expressed so perfectly by HL Mencken:
What do I primarily believe in, as a Puritan believes in Hell? I believe in liberty. And when I say liberty, I mean the thing in its widest imaginable sense – liberty up to the extreme limits of the feasible and the tolerable. I am against forbidding anybody to do anything, or say anything, or think anything, so long as it is at all possible to imagine a habitable world in which he would be free to do, say and think it. The burden of proof, as I see it, is always upon the lawmaker, the theologian, the right-thinker. He must prove his case doubly, triply, quadruply, and then he must start all over and prove it again. The eye through which I view him is watery and jaundiced. I do not pretend to be “just” to him – any more than a Christian pretends to be just to the Devil. He is the enemy of everything I admire and respect in this world – of everything that makes it various and amusing and charming. He impedes every honest search for the truth. He stands against every sort of good will and common decency. His ideal is that of an animal trainer, an archbishop, a major-general in the Army. I am against him until the last galoot’s ashore.
This simple and childlike faith in the freedom and dignity of man – here, perhaps, stated with undue rhetoric – should be obvious, I should think, to every critic above the mental backwardness of a Federal judge. Nevertheless, very few of them, anatomizing my books, have ever showed any sign of detecting it…
For liberty, when one ascends to the levels where ideas swish by and men pursue Truth to grab her by the tail, is the first thing and the last thing. So long as it prevails the show is thrilling and stupendous; the moment it fails the show is a dull and dirty farce.