Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Good thoughts

I just came across this at Harry's Place.

Becta, the government's educational technology agency, has refused to consider a book called "Three Little Cowboy Builders" because they had "concerns about the Asian community and the use of pigs raises cultural issues" and because they "could not recommend this product to the Muslim community".

The important thing to notice about the BBC article cited there is that no Muslim voice is heard crying out for defense against the cultural imperialism and aggression of books that include pigs. Nor, among the many more or less silly things that Muslims have protested against, have I ever heard of any upset over the depiction of pigs cooked, raw or on all four trotters. This has all been decided by yet another government committee full, undoubtedly, of people who have completed several Diversity Training courses and are therefore qualified to impose a complete homogeneity of opinion all the time quivering in empathetic self-righteousness.

Which, unfortunately, is only going to be reinforced by what is happening across the Atlantic in a former dominion. A little while ago, the magazine Macleans published an excerpt from Mark Steyn's America Alone. Now he is being hauled before an especially Canadian quango called the Human Rights Commission because he has offended Islam. Similarly, Ezra Levant, once publisher of the Western Standard, may be about to suffer a similar fate because he published the Danish cartoons in that magazine.

I am sure you can imagine what Steyn and Levant have to say about such commissions per se (if you can't, go here, here or here), but they are not the only ones.

Alan Borovoy, general counsel to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the chap who helped found these commissions in the 1960s and ‘70s, was equally appalled. Writing in the Calgary Herald, he said “during the years when my colleagues and I were labouring to create such commissions, we never imagined that they might ultimately be used against freedom of speech”.
There's a great video going the rounds that features Levant's first meeting with the HRC. Among the many great points made by him is the obvious one that nothing of any import can be said that is not offensive to someone. Free speech cannot be regulated according to the sensibilities of the thin-skinned. Well, it couldn't. But now we have Human Rights Commissions, or BECTA, or any other well-intentioned organisation set up by the government to make people think good thoughts. The Catholic Church couldn't do it; Stalin couldn't do it. Do we have to?


Riri said...

it's another case of "where do you draw the line?" eh! But this time on free speech.

NoolaBeulah said...

It's just that these cases are nowhere near any lines that conform to common sense. They're way southward of silly.