A War Against Words




A War Against Words by Bridget Geegan Blanton

Award winning Canadian writer Mark Steyn authored the book 'America Alone' that puts forth the thesis that Western nations will be irreversibly changed from unassimilated Muslim immigration. Five months after the reprint of a chapter from this best-selling book in the weekly Canadian news magazine 'Maclean’s', five law students in league with the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) put forth an unreasonable request.

They demanded that an author of their choice be given the opportunity to respond to the excerpt in a 5-page spread. They also demanded complete editorial control over both the cover of the magazine and the content of the response. In the five months prior to these demands, 'Maclean’s' had printed numerous responses to the 'American Alone' piece. Publisher and editor-in-chief, Ken Whyte at 'Maclean’s' stated in reply to the demands of the CIC that “I would rather go bankrupt than let somebody from outside of our operations dictate the content of the magazine.”

A complaint against Mark Steyn and 'Maclean’s' has been filed with three Canadian Human Rights Commissions (HRC) in three separate provinces. The cases were brought by Mohamed Elmasry, President of the CIC; along with the law students from Toronto. According to the interpretation of the CIC, the excerpt stigmatized Canadian Muslims and exposed them to Islamophobia.

At issue here, from the CIC perspective, is the ‘intent’ behind the article. In reality, neither Steyn nor 'Maclean’s' ever advocated any form of violence against Muslims. The piece put forth an opinion, an argument, a viable thesis based in factual research and statistics in regards to immigration, failure to assimilate and the negative effect upon Western nations. In short, this case is about freedom of speech vs government sponsored censorship.

Make certain that you have a little time on your hands before asking a Canadian about the HRC. Canadian public discourse describes the HRC as more adept at undermining liberty than it is at protecting human rights. The HRC is viewed as an antiquated, quasi-legal, kangaroo court that has long outgrown its 1970’s civil rights mandate. The HRC is a government agency not a court of law. Canadian taxpayers will pick up the CIC grievance tab as these tribunals go forward while Steyn and 'Maclean’s' will pay dearly to defend their right to free speech.

The CIC has stated that their interest in pursuing this complaint is in protection of “Canadian multiculturalism and tolerance.” (source: Canada.com) According to multiple Canadian sources the CIC is not interested in “tolerance” instead they’re focused on “the abolition of public discourse that is critical of Islam”. (source: The Calgary Herald)

If you don’t think that this situation could or ever would happen in America; think again. Our universities are engaged in a vigorous suppression of free speech. I’ve lost count of the number of ‘conservative’ voices that are shouted down, banned or are dis-invited on college campuses. Consider the whole global warming issue, detractors from the Al Gore ‘take’ on the science behind the proposed climate change are subject to vitriolic censorship. Debate is strictly prohibited. Who’s afraid of a little vigorous public debate? People with something to hide.

Intimidation is a powerful tactic employed to squelch public dissent. Utilized like a silencer, it is a stealth measure that effectively censors the very thought of free speech. Consider the consequences that Steyn and 'Maclean’s' are enduring as a result of publishing an individual’s opinion in the free press. One might stop and measure the merit of such a brass act of freedom in dollars and cents before speaking their mind.

The fear of offending some special interest group may no longer warrant exercising the right to free speech. Do we or do we not stand up for freedom of speech no matter how unpopular the message may be? Being supposedly ‘offended’ does not warrant the use of taxpayer dollars to mandate censorship; there is no real injury and thus, no case. It’s a frivolous waste of precious resources better spent elsewhere.

In the book 'America Alone', Mark Steyn is essentially challenging America to reclaim her historic identity as the land where freedom rings. Are we still the ‘home of the brave’? Steyn believes that it is America alone who is capable of standing up to tyranny. Do we step up to the plate or do we cower from intimidation? That is the question we must ponder.








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