Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"When they can ban guns, they can burn books..."

I don't remember exactly where the title of this entry comes from -- though I did google the phrase and ran up on this -- but I was reminded of it during some downtime at work earlier this week when I came up on this, from the inimitable Mark Steyn...

Last week's letters page included a missive from Jennifer Lynch, Q.C., chief commissioner of the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission, defending her employees from the accusation of "improper investigative techniques" by yours truly. Steyn, she writes, "provides no substantiation for these claims," and then concludes:
"Why is this all important? Because words are important. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be given free rein. History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred."

Amazing. We poke fun of the gun-controllers and their so-called "reasonable limits" on the Second Amendment all the time in this country, but at least the First Amendment remains off-limits, at least for now. And I know well that hateful words do lead to hurtful actions, but I've said it before and I'll say it again -- if the targets of the hurtful actions were able to defend themselves, one would think the ones who were doing the hurtful things might think twice about said actions. But maybe that's the bloodthirsty warmongering Texan in me coming out.
As for the line that is the title of this entry, I wonder if that's what Bill Whittle had in mind when he said that once the Second Amendment goes, the First will soon follow. Whether he did, such an observation seems to be coming true north of the border. Steyn, though, being the brilliant pundit he is, notes that there seems to be a set of double standards in play here...
It's true that "hurtful actions that undermine freedom" and lead to "unspeakable crimes" usually have some fig leaf of intellectual justification. For example, the ideology first articulated by Karl Marx has led to the deaths of millions of people around the planet on an unprecedented scale. Yet oddly enough, no matter how many folks are murdered in the name of Marxism-Leninism, you're still free to propound its principles at every college in Canada.

Steyn goes on to point out the ineffectiveness of such laws in the absence of certain other laws in the early days of the Nazis' rein in Germany...
The problem the Jews found themselves up against in Germany and elsewhere was not the lack of hate-speech laws but the lack of protection of the common or garden laws — against vandalism and property appropriation and suchlike.

Which, of course, goes back to what we here in the States say all the time about the Second Amendment being the guarantor of all the rest of the amendments. But of course Canadians are finding their right of self-defense with a firearm gutted a little more all the time, it seems. So it would only follow that their other rights would be infringed upon for the sake of public safety. As the rest of Bill Whittle's observation goes, "if some unelected elite determines that the people can't be trusted with dangerous guns, then it's just a matter of time until they decide they can't be trusted with dangerous ideas, either." And of course, what we're seeing is that unelected elite saying the Canadian public can't say things about a certain group of people. (More on the Canadian government's persecution of Steyn here.) It makes one wonder, though, how many in this great land would advocate for such things here. For teh childrenses, you know. And once again, there are many who wouldn't really care, and while they should care, I can almost understand why they wouldn't.
"Hey, you used your First Amendment rights to shit all over my Second Amendment rights for years, you asshole, YOU'RE the one who set the precedent that got us here..."