Banning "Hate Speech" in Canada
Tuesday's Washington Times documents an absurd attempt at online censorship in Canada. Apparently, a private individual filed a "hate speech" complaint with the Canadian government after reading a comment on an ultra conservative message board:
The remarks were posted on FreeDominion.ca, a sister site to the conservative U.S. forum FreeRepublic, by FreeDominion member Bill Whatcott, a former homosexual prostitute turned outspoken Christian activist.
“I can't figure out why the homosexuals I ran into are on the side of the Muslims,” Mr. Whatcott wrote on the Web site. “After all, Muslims who practice Sharia law tend to advocate beheading homosexuals.”
He also attributed the worldwide Muslim fury at the Danish Muhammad cartoons to “violence and discrimination inherent in Islamic theology.”
The complaint, which has not been made public, reportedly said the posting “has a discriminatory content against Muslims, and Free Dominion contributes to disseminating hate literature by allowing it to be on its Web site.”
Regardless of the merit of Mr. Whatcott's remarks, the idea of running to the government every time you read something online that offends you is ridiculous. Encountering opinions that offend you is what a society based on free expression is all about. It's what gives you the right to express opinions that might offend others. This is why "hate speech" laws are a bad thing: they are an invitation to censorship.
Hopefully, common sense will prevail, and Canada's Human Rights Commission will refuse the role of politically correct cybernanny.