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’

La Jornada (Canada) - - ENGLISH SECTION -

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.

Newspapers in Spanish

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.