Putting a muzzle on the right to disagree
Censorship’s pure arrogance says: ‘I’m so correct that I can decide on behalf of everyone which ideas may be expressed in public’
of North America (ICNA), which paid for the pro-Islam ad. A quick Internet search reveals numerous allegations about ICNA connections to alQaeda, Hamas, anti-Semites, extremists, terrorists and war criminals. No doubt ICNA would deny these allegations.
It’s bad enough that politicians, bureaucrats and judges would have the power to censor speech they disagree with.
But censorship becomes even worse when inquisitors purport to know the true meaning and intent of a bus ad, based not on the ad itself, but on Google searches conducted by city employees two years after the removal of the ad.
Censorship is pure arrogance, expressing the attitude: “I’m so correct in my thinking that I can decide on behalf of everyone which ideas may be expressed in public.”
Whether a politician, bureaucrat or judge, the censor effectively looks down on other people as incapable of arriving at the ‘correct’ opinions, namely the opinions of the censor. These days, censors try to hide their arrogance behind a moral crusade to stamp out “offensive,” “hateful” and “discriminatory” speech.
It’s a nice theory, except for the fact that reasonable people disagree frequently and strongly about whether something is offensive or not. The censor pretends that we all agree about what should be banned as discriminatory, when in fact we don’t.
Ultimately, censorship deprives all members of the public the benefit of being able to hear and consider all opinions, and make up their own minds about what is true or false.
One could argue that, as a forum for the free expression of ideas, the outside of a public transit bus should be less free than a public sidewalk.
The Supreme Court may one day clarify its 2009 decision to strike down Vancouver’s ban on political ads.
But in the interim, it’s disappointing to see a politician, a bureaucrat and then a judge acting in unison to censor an ad they disagree with. -TROYMEDIA
Calgary lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which acted for the American Freedom Defence Initiative in the above-mentioned court action.