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Offline The Ruxted Group

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A WINNABLE WAR
« on: May 06, 2007, 20:25:32 »
Shared in accordance with the "fair dealing" provisions, Section 29, of the Copyright Act - http://www.cb-cda.gc.ca/info/act-e.html#rid-33409

Third in a three-part editorial.
A good war
A world war, too


Link to Original Article on Ruxted.ca

A Winnable War

Over the past two weeks The Ruxted Group has demonstrated that the current war is a ‘good’ war in that it is both just and necessary and that it is a global war, too – a world war.

The current global conflict is characterized as the war between Civilization and Barbarism. The secular, liberal West and its institutions are under global pressure from radical Islamists who hate and despise the western civilization and all its manifestations. What we need to realize is the outward signs of our civilization which so excite the ire of the radicals reflect our deepest cultural roots, and if we are to win this conflict and remain as a vibrant, free community we need to understand our cultural heritage and harness its strengths against all challengers both at home and abroad.

The West’s scientific, economic, social and cultural strengths are based on our heritage of individual liberty, property rights and limited constitutional governments. History shows that the greater the range of personal liberties and property rights available to citizens the greater their nation’s scientific, economic and cultural range becomes as well.  The role of government is to protect these liberties and rights at all times and in all places, allowing the citizens to enjoy the outcomes of their own pursuits. Historically, nations which have gone farthest down this road have always been wealthier and more capable than neighbouring nations which restrict their citizen’s rights and freedoms. Comparing classical Athens to Sparta, Elizabethan England to 16th century Spain, Republican Venice to the Ottoman Empire, or the four contemporary Asian “Tiger” economies to present day China we see small states with limited access to resources successfully outperforming rivals many times larger with vast reservoirs of human and material resources. When property rights, human liberty and limited constitutional government are combined with vast reservoirs of human and natural resources, we get the United States, the most powerful military, economic and cultural nation in history.

How can we, Canadians, use our cultural legacy to defeat the jihadis at home and abroad? We must strengthen our cultural underpinnings and harness them to deflect the appeal of radicals at home, and provide the resources we need to defeat barbarism abroad.

Individual liberties are best expressed by free speech. Canadians need to remove limitations on the free exchange of ideas, knowing and trusting from experience ranging back to classical Greece that the best antidote to hateful and harmful speech is more speech, allowing good ideas the ability to grow, spread and displace bad ones. Efforts to restrain free speech only work in our enemies’ favour.  Indeed the ability to arbitrarily suppress ideas is one of the aims of the Islamic radicals. To this end we need to remove politically correct “speech codes” on campus, remove so called “hate legislation” from our criminal codes (criminalizing speech is always the mark of a dictatorship), remove restrictions on political discussion embedded in election acts and more. We also need to encourage truly balanced discussion on the issues of the day by all members of society, and discourage the current trend to suppress dissenting views on the issues of the day by powerful media elites. We are stronger when all Canadians exercise their free speech rights and join in debating the issues of the day.

Abroad we need to encourage the same free flow of ideas in the societies we are assisting. Freedom of thought and speech is not, somehow, a uniquely Western attribute; both liberal and conservative societies thrive when thought and speech are free; only illiberal societies benefit from authoritarian control over ideas. In Afghanistan we should be looking for a local Conrad Black, and helping him – or her! - establish as many newspapers and news outlets as possible. Where the infrastructure permits, we should be establishing ISP’s and providing Internet cafés and blogging software, so local people can interact with the wider world. Even establishing chains of coffee shops across the land for locals to congregate and discuss the issues of the day would be a tremendous step forward for encouraging free speech in their society.

Property rights are the practical expression of our political rights, and the basis of our prosperity. Canada needs to ‘free’ the wealth of its citizens from the heavy, inept hand of the bureaucratic collective – all the real wealth there is – to ‘work’ for the common wealth of all.  Canadians currently pay out more in taxation than they do on food, shelter and transportation combined, yet our personal wealth is our own property, and the basis of how we can decide to live our lives. Understanding that our wealth is our property, and ours by right, means we as Canadians will have more choices in all matters, and more resources to carry out the choices we make as individuals. The release of our wealth back into the productive economy will provide jobs and increasing prosperity to all Canadians, and provide the Government with greater resources to devote to the “Three D” strategy of Defence, Development and Diplomacy when dealing with the rest of the world. When service members, aid workers and diplomats have access to a wide range of tools and resources, then missions like Afghanistan can be conducted much more quickly and effectively; and governments may choose to undertake many peace support operations throughout the world without worrying about burnout or over stretch.

When we work to rebuild a nation like Afghanistan, property rights need to be codified and formalized. Part of our aid to Afghanistan should be to encourage farmers and small business owners to own their land and property outright, and to ensure their tax code is fair and efficient, allowing people to keep their earnings so they may invest in their future, which is also the future of Afghanistan.

Finally, we need to understand the role of government. The growth of government in Canada has come at a price of reducing our liberties and property rights; inhibiting our prosperity and the resources needed to protect our society. The growing gap between our personal incomes and those of our American neighbours is the most visible sign, but the inability of governments to match deeds to words in this conflict or in stability building ideas like “Responsibility to Protect” is also a negative outcome of government growth. Governments exist to protect these rights, not to establish arbitrary limits to speech, or grasp property from our hands through taxation and regulation. We as Canadians must work to ensure our politicians and the Bureaucracy are limited in size and extent, that each level of government knows and respects their jurisdictional boundaries, and that we roll back government intrusions against free speech and property rights.

When we work to rebuild nations like Afghanistan, we need to ensure that the organs of government like the Army, Police and Judiciary are as efficient and honest as possible, but also to limit the power of these institutions so the inevitable corruption and mistakes of human beings does the minimum of harm to the institution and the greater society it is part of.  We must also recognize that this is the work of generations – Afghanistan, like most of its neighbours, struggles under the heavy hand of an illiberal social and political order.  Allowing the people to develop into free, functioning liberal or, much more likely, conservative society will take much time and effort on their part and time and sacrifice on ours.

This formulation is not to suggest defeating Islamic Radicals at home and abroad will be a matter of a few easy adjustments. Free speech requires constant effort and attention by all citizens to listen, analyze and participate in order to refute bad ideas and spread good ones. Property rights imply that citizens are responsible for the consequences of their use of property.  Ownership and use of property requires constant attention by the owners to ensure positive outcomes. Re-establishing limited constitutional government requires major efforts by citizens at all levels, since arbitrary government power over our lives is not only the goal of the enemy, but also the goal of many other individuals and groups in our society. The ability to feed off the resources of the taxpayer is a great incentive to increase the powers and privileges of all levels of government and the bureaucracy, and many individuals and groups which benefit from the growth of government will use all available means and resources to maintain their power and privilege.

This is the great struggle of the 21st century, the struggle between Civilization and Barbarism. Our cultural inheritance of individual liberty, property rights and limited constitutional government provide the tools we need to defeat the capricious and arbitrary societies the barbarians of all stripes wish to establish. All that is needed now is for us to pick up these tools and put them to use. The work ahead will be long and difficult, but the rewards along the way will make it all worth while.

The Ruxted Group reminds readers of the words of Martin Luther King: "If you have not discovered something you are willing to die for, then you are not fit to live."

Canadian soldiers are engaged in a 'good' war, it is also a world war, and it is a war they can win.  They are willing to fight and die for their country; is their country willing to get behind them and reaffirm the strengths which made us mighty and victorious in past good, world wars?
« Last Edit: May 06, 2007, 20:29:28 by The Ruxted Group »

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2007, 20:43:13 »
Amen!!
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Offline GAP

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2007, 21:41:36 »
The message is not getting out to the people. There are too many people with their own agenda's stirring the pot, and the MSM is grabbing whatever sells.
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Offline Flip

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2007, 11:42:17 »

Posted by: GAP 
The message is not getting out to the people. There are too many people with their own agenda's stirring the pot, and the MSM is grabbing whatever sells.
 


It's easy to understand why - We have not yet lined up to turn in extra pots and
pans or uncoiled barbed wire along any beaches.

We're simply not scared enough.

Few have sacrificed anything at all.
Very few have sacrificed anything willingly.

The soccer stadium video from before the Taliban fell was
somehow not compelling enough.

And most tragic of all - Canadians can no longer descern between good and evil.
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Offline cameron

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2007, 12:41:06 »
Excellent article, I disagree on one point though.  Words are often the spark that ignite the fires of violence, therefore hate crime legislation is necessary.  Hate propaganda whether of a racist, sexist, religious, or nationalist nature, isn't just normal free speech because it incites and encourages attacks, whether physical or psychological (and the latter can be just as if not even more harmful) on a particular group.  Humans being the imperfect creatures that we are, even in a liberal democratic society some restrictions on our liberties are necessary.  Overall however, this another excellent article from the Ruxted Group, keep up the good work. :salute:
"All men dream: but not equally.  Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out their dream with open eyes, to make it possible."

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Offline Thucydides

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2007, 09:02:47 »
Since human beings ARE imperfect, providing an arbitrary and capricious method to smother free speech is dangerous in liberal democratic societies and absolutly devastating in authoratarian societies. Since this is the desired end state of the Islamic radicals, we should ensure this weapon is not already at hand (as attempts by Islamic "representatives" to damage or shut down "Western Standard" for reporting on the Danish cartoon story would indicate).

Ditch the hate crime laws and use your own powers of speech and thought to incite tolerance and respect.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2007, 03:39:23 »
 There is a great question here:
"Canadian soldiers are engaged in a 'good' war, it is also a world war, and it is a war they can win. They are willing to fight and die for their country; is their country willing to get behind them and reaffirm the strengths which made us mighty and victorious in past good, world wars?"   :cdnsalute: 
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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2007, 13:48:43 »
Individual liberties are best expressed by free speech. Canadians need to remove limitations on the free exchange of ideas, knowing and trusting from experience ranging back to classical Greece that the best antidote to hateful and harmful speech is more speech, allowing good ideas the ability to grow, spread and displace bad ones. Efforts to restrain free speech only work in our enemies’ favour.  Indeed the ability to arbitrarily suppress ideas is one of the aims of the Islamic radicals. To this end we need to remove politically correct “speech codes” on campus, remove so called “hate legislation” from our criminal codes (criminalizing speech is always the mark of a dictatorship), remove restrictions on political discussion embedded in election acts and more. We also need to encourage truly balanced discussion on the issues of the day by all members of society, and discourage the current trend to suppress dissenting views on the issues of the day by powerful media elites. We are stronger when all Canadians exercise their free speech rights and join in debating the issues of the day.


Hence the politically correct dictionary to know what people are really talking about.

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Offline Vash13

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2007, 19:54:45 »
Quote
There are too many people with their own agenda's stirring the pot

Good in respect to discovery and progress, which is the core of the article, HOWEVER, if you have turned on the TV lately, we see the vast majority of reality when it comes to agenda.  If these things are what the extremists see of our culture, and associated with it, things like race, and religion, it's no wonder they want to kill us all.  The gluttony, greed, needless want, self-centered egotism, debauchery, corruption, the list could go on forever.  This of course, does not justify their actions and in fact, I would argue it would be at least in part a case of hypocrisy.  It is up to us to change this situation.  One way or another.
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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2007, 20:04:34 »
Speaking of which, does anyone out there know if there is a list of Red Fridays?  Is it every month or what?  RSVP


Try looking at www.redfridays.ca - let your fingers do the walking/surfing.
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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2007, 21:06:50 »
Property rights are a pillar of a free and democratic (and prosperous) society.  Unfortunately, many left wing groups pretending to do good have expropriated the public rights argument.  This is illustrated in the Squatters case in Vancouver and the issue of Rent control in Alberta.  Be careful of Ed, he's not as strong as Ralph and may cave.  Rentals suck still in Winnipeg because of our little experiment in rent control.

I've never complained about the absolute of paying taxes, it does buy civilization.  My ***** is always the amount and the accountability of the government.

Last point about opent societies.  More books are translated into Spanish each year than have been translated into all the Arabic languages.... ever.
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Offline pbi

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2007, 08:37:59 »
While I agree with much of this article, I wonder about a couple of things.

Quote
Individual liberties are best expressed by free speech. Canadians need to remove limitations on the free exchange of ideas, knowing and trusting from experience ranging back to classical Greece that the best antidote to hateful and harmful speech is more speech, allowing good ideas the ability to grow, spread and displace bad ones. Efforts to restrain free speech only work in our enemy's favour.  Indeed the ability to arbitrarily suppress ideas is one of the aims of the Islamic radicals. To this end we need to remove politically correct “speech codes” on campus, remove so called “hate legislation” from our criminal codes (criminalizing speech is always the mark of a dictatorship), remove restrictions on political discussion embedded in election acts and more. We also need to encourage truly balanced discussion on the issues of the day by all members of society, and discourage the current trend to suppress dissenting views on the issues of the day by powerful media elites. We are stronger when all Canadians exercise their free speech rights and join in debating the issues of the day.

So, what would this mean in reality? Are we prepared to let radical imams preach freely in mosques in our cities and suburbs? Only if they don't preach violence? Well, then-if you believe that, you believe in reasonable limitations on free speech. Are we prepared to make sure that everybody gets a chance to speak freely, not just people with lots of money and media access (although, to be fair, access to the Internet has rapidly changed that playing field...). If you believe that, then "everybody" means "everybody", not just the people we like to hear or who make us feel good. And how do we make sure that the objects of hateful or threatening speech have the ability to reply with equal strength?

Are there consequences to unlimited free speech? For example, how long should we let a man incite a crowd to violence before we shut him down? Until they start throwing rocks? Or just until they start chanting? Should anybody be allowed to go about inciting whatever they want, regardless of consequences? Remember, we aren't talking just about the world of academic debate by educated and civilized individuals. We are talking about the right of anybody to say anything, anywhere. The speaker may have bad intentions, and the audience may just be looking for the words of an "authoritative" speaker to justify their actions. Again, I think these are no-brainers for reasonable limitations. What are reasonable limitations? Society has to keep on working that out, between the legislatures and the courts, until we reach something we can live with.

To me, a truly "civil" society is one in which there are reasonable limits on all of our actions, including speech, such that no legitimate group (especially minorities) feels personally endangered by the acts and words of another group. (there is a thin, grey line between "endangered" and "offended" and I'm not smart enough to know where it lies) If you consistently and intentionally allow one group in society to terrorize another, you don't (IMHO) have a civil society. Worse, you may find that the threatened group abandons civil discourse and retaliates by other means. The fact that pretty well all civilized western nations have some sort of restriction in this regard suggests to me that the requirement is recognized and tolerable. The restriction is better than the probable outcome of its absence. The fact that some people encourage silly, cowardly restrictions on what certain people can say in certain circumstances does not, in any meaningful way that I can see, undermine the need for reasonable restriction, any more than the abuse of any reasonable restriction means we should dump it.

On the issue of property rights, I'm not sure how wise this is in all cases. It works for us (altough it is certainly interpreted differently in different parts of the liberal Western democratic world) but I don't know that forcing it on societies where it doesn't exist is going to be useful, or if we might just be engaging in cultural engineering that is a bridge too far. If there  is nothing in a society to support a concept such as property rights, are we really going to ram it down their throats, or is it better to let it evolve naturally, as it did in Western society (you don't see too many feudal societies in Europe anymore, right?). To me this is like fast-tracking women's rights in male-dominated, misogynist societies-will it really help the women and the society, or just make the women into targets for backlash?

Finally, if we are going to make this into a crusade for Western liberal values, then we better make damned sure that we (the collective "we"-not just Canada) lead by example and avoid practices that make a mockery of these values. Probably the only thing more irritating and ineffective than a foreign moral crusader is a hypocritical foreign moral crusader.

Cheers
« Last Edit: May 29, 2007, 08:43:59 by pbi »
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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2007, 10:11:26 »
While I agree with much of this article, I wonder about a couple of things.

So, what would this mean in reality? Are we prepared to let radical imams preach freely in mosques in our cities and suburbs? Only if they don't preach violence? Well, then-if you believe that, you believe in reasonable limitations on free speech. Are we prepared to make sure that everybody gets a chance to speak freely, not just people with lots of money and media access (although, to be fair, access to the Internet has rapidly changed that playing field...). If you believe that, then "everybody" means "everybody", not just the people we like to hear or who make us feel good. And how do we make sure that the objects of hateful or threatening speech have the ability to reply with equal strength?

Are there consequences to unlimited free speech? For example, how long should we let a man incite a crowd to violence before we shut him down? Until they start throwing rocks? Or just until they start chanting? Should anybody be allowed to go about inciting whatever they want, regardless of consequences? Remember, we aren't talking just about the world of academic debate by educated and civilized individuals. We are talking about the right of anybody to say anything, anywhere. The speaker may have bad intentions, and the audience may just be looking for the words of an "authoritative" speaker to justify their actions. Again, I think these are no-brainers for reasonable limitations. What are reasonable limitations? Society has to keep on working that out, between the legislatures and the courts, until we reach something we can live with.

To me, a truly "civil" society is one in which there are reasonable limits on all of our actions, including speech, such that no legitimate group (especially minorities) feels personally endangered by the acts and words of another group. (there is a thin, grey line between "endangered" and "offended" and I'm not smart enough to know where it lies) If you consistently and intentionally allow one group in society to terrorize another, you don't (IMHO) have a civil society. Worse, you may find that the threatened group abandons civil discourse and retaliates by other means. The fact that pretty well all civilized western nations have some sort of restriction in this regard suggests to me that the requirement is recognized and tolerable. The restriction is better than the probable outcome of its absence. The fact that some people encourage silly, cowardly restrictions on what certain people can say in certain circumstances does not, in any meaningful way that I can see, undermine the need for reasonable restriction, any more than the abuse of any reasonable restriction means we should dump it.

On the issue of property rights, I'm not sure how wise this is in all cases. It works for us (altough it is certainly interpreted differently in different parts of the liberal Western democratic world) but I don't know that forcing it on societies where it doesn't exist is going to be useful, or if we might just be engaging in cultural engineering that is a bridge too far. If there  is nothing in a society to support a concept such as property rights, are we really going to ram it down their throats, or is it better to let it evolve naturally, as it did in Western society (you don't see too many feudal societies in Europe anymore, right?). To me this is like fast-tracking women's rights in male-dominated, misogynist societies-will it really help the women and the society, or just make the women into targets for backlash?

Finally, if we are going to make this into a crusade for Western liberal values, then we better make damned sure that we (the collective "we"-not just Canada) lead by example and avoid practices that make a mockery of these values. Probably the only thing more irritating and ineffective than a foreign moral crusader is a hypocritical foreign moral crusader.

Cheers

Slightly off your points but, while I agree with you, especially with your last paragraph, I think: We, the liberal West including Canada, came to our ‘reasonable limits’ through a long, steady process of trial and error going back 2,500 years.  That process is unique to a handful (out of 200± UN members states) of liberal societies – almost exclusively founded in North-West Europe.

It is vital to point out that conservative (mostly Asian) societies also have very acceptable socio-political values – they are different from ours but in no way can they be ‘unacceptable.’

The problem lies in illiberal societies.*  They have little, often none, of the liberal traditions we take for granted.  Some (many? most?) have, in fact, traditions which make it hard for liberal or conservative values to take root and find nourishment.

It may be better, even necessary, to introduce simple, basic values – like ‘free speech’ and then watch, patiently, as the illiberal society learns that it must find and impose reasonable limits.

Here at home (where I think your concern lies) I agree, broadly, that ‘who governs least governs best' and so I worry about each and every ‘limit’ but there must be some ‘reasonable’ limits on most things – including speech.

----------
* a phrase adapted from Fareed Zakaria in a 1997 Foreign Affairs aricle
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline pbi

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2007, 10:58:09 »
Roger that.

Cheers
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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2007, 11:48:48 »
Seems to me that arguments against completely free speech focus on "reasonable limitations" in response to the idea that minority rights would be endangered.

So the question to be asked is this.  Do you believe the only thing preventing a majority of people in our society from abusing minority rights are our so called "hate laws"?  In other words would the majority of people you know call blacks n*****s if they could get away with it?  Would they let someone else get away with it?

The answer is of course not, but the mentality of those who preach for censorship is pessimistic to the extreme and somehow they believe that absolute free speech will only ever be used by racists, radicals and fear mongers to incite riot, hate and the dissolution of our way of life.

If all we ever do is deny racists the right to speak out then we also deny individuals and our society the opportunity to expose the racist to the full force of the derision he or she deserves. 

As a result racism exists as an open secret, it is taught and learned, and on those rare occasions when the racist crosses the invisible line of "hate" the issue becomes a matter of law and disappears from the public consciousness. 

The majority give it no further thought, and as a result most likely have an imperfect understanding of why racism is so wrong.  Meanwhile other racists are free and clear to believe what they will and blame the censorship on their minority of choice without ever hearing just how wrong they are.

Of course as has already been pointed out these "hate laws" are also used by people trying to stifle legitimate speech on the grounds that offense does indeed constitute endangerment.

"If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind." John Stuart Mill
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Offline pbi

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2007, 14:33:04 »
Quote
So the question to be asked is this.  Do you believe the only thing preventing a majority of people in our society from abusing minority rights are our so called "hate laws"?  In other words would the majority of people you know call blacks n*****s if they could get away with it?  Would they let someone else get away with it?

No, I don't believe that, but that argument is inherently tricky. In fact, I think it is probably true that what generally keeps us all acting in a civil manner (more or less...) toward each other is not just laws and police alone, but rather a general willingness to believe that we should behave in a certain way. If, for example, all 2.5 million people in Toronto decided to disobey the law, the 7,000 or so Toronto police could do little about it before they collapsed from exhaustion. But, fortunately, that is a very unlikely scenario in a civil society that works. Still,  I believe that we still have to account for human nature, and the need for society to be able to sanction those individuals who decide to act in a non-civil or threatening way. This sanction process (laws, courts and police) does not replace civil good will and decent behaviour: it underpins it, and backs it up when needed.

If we follow the argument to its ultimate conclusion, we can easily say that no law by itself really stops bad behaviour of any sort: it just contributes to an atmosphere in which law abiding is more acceptable and encouraged.  Does this mean that laws are then inherently useless? Should we get rid of laws against murder and dangerous driving because-- what the hell-- people will kill each other and drive like idiots anyway, laws or not?

Probably not, and that really isn't the focus. Sadly, the human experrience seems to indicate that even with the sanctions we have in place (and some societies have more than others) we still have people who do use the communication of ideas in ways that threaten or frighten people who may not have adequate ways of responding. Worse, these ideas can be (and have been) expressed in ways that legitimize and encourage violence against other people in the same society. To me a civil society is not about absolute freedom: in fact the two things are probably incompatible.A civil society (IMHO) is about reducing risk and insecurity while striking a balance with individual liberties. This is a dynamic balance and varies from place to place and age to age, but I do believe that it includes reasonable limits on expression.

Cheers
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The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out...

Offline Thucydides

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2007, 22:49:11 »
I would say the argument against hate crime laws was pretty clearly laid out in the editorial; the ability to arbitrarily silence speech (for any grounds whatsoever) is actually one of the objectives of our enemies, and as was seen in the "Danish Cartoon" affair, or earlier on with Saloman Rushdie being sentenced to death for the book "The Satanic Verses", they would enthusiastically use any means possible to carry it out. Offering the armed power of the State to our enemies to suppress speech is hardly the way to advance the cause of free speech or protect it in our own society.

The other thing we need to consider is since the enemy is going to use extreme measures to advance their cause, we need to consider how far we must go to defend our way of life, harness our cultural power and offer a better alternative when attempting to "disaggregate" radicals from the masses. If they are offering an "all or nothing" package and we can only respond with half measures, then we will hardly be able to keep our own side resolute and committed, much less attract their best and brightest to our side.

My own personal fear is simply this: we can win this war, but we may end up going down the path of Fascism in order to harness our resources to win. What sort of victory would that be if we loose our soul in the process? Far better to harness the best parts of our culture and trust the lessons of over 2500 years of Western Civilization (rather than the illiberal notions of "political correctness" that are now in vogue).
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline pbi

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2007, 12:43:53 »
Surely we are able to duistinguish between the moral cowardice represented by PC and the need to have reasonable limits on behaviour in a civil society?

Cheers
The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. ...

The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out...

Offline Thucydides

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2007, 12:51:13 »
Surely we are able to duistinguish between the moral cowardice represented by PC and the need to have reasonable limits on behaviour in a civil society?

Cheers

We were able to historically (both PC and so called "Hate Crime" legislation only dates back to the second half of the 20th century, and really only came to the fore within our own lifetimes), and I suspect the author(s) of the editorial were of the opinion that social norms regulating behaviour are part of our cultural inheritance and much stronger and more effective in the long run than arbitrary laws and regulations.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Greymatters

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2007, 11:27:55 »
First, >applause< for the article.

Second, ref hate laws, we are driven to using the law to silence these type of people.  There was a time when a person who said nasty things about others was silenced by public censure or force.  A man called your wife a (bad name) and asked why she wasnt in the kitchen, you knocked his teeth in.  A man made a reference to your background based on visible features or the way you spoke, he better back it up with strength.  These people learned to use the law and 'free speech' to their benefit to express publicly contrary and often unacceptable ethics and morality.  Now, the general public who do not accept these extreme beliefs or comments are forced to push back with further definitions on what is and is not acceptable public language. 

Its no different than profanity on t-shirts.  In the 1960's it was unthinkable that a person would walk around with a shirt that said 'F*** It" or any of a hundred different sayings now available.  Although they are free to do so on their own and in their social group, they must realize that they risk offending others who dont agree with their slogan.  Hence the display of these types of shirts is now restricted in the workplace, schools and other areas.  If people wont use common sense, we'll damn well do it for them!

Offline Thucydides

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2007, 11:51:25 »
If people wont use common sense, we'll damn well do it for them!

The problem is who is "we" and what defines "common sense". The Taliban would be quite pleased to apply thier version of common sense and damn well do it to you! Hence the warning against arbitrary use of State power.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline KevinB

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2007, 13:31:37 »
FWIW Michael Ignatieff's Book "The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an age of Terror" has some good points about this.
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Offline pbi

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2007, 08:57:49 »
The problem is who is "we" and what defines "common sense". The Taliban would be quite pleased to apply their version of common sense and damn well do it to you! Hence the warning against arbitrary use of State power.

I think the question of "who" will always keep changing. At one time in Canada (say up until the 1960s) this was IMHO decided very much by ruling elites (we could go all the way back to the Family Compact if we want an extreme example) who had a pretty tight grip on what could be said or published. Then, as electronic media (and literacy) became universal across Canada starting in the 1960s, I think that that public opinion became much more of a force in shaping what was considered to be acceptable, and the making of laws tended to reflect these public feelings. Now, with the Internet allowing even greater expression, the impact might even be greater. So, the "who" question is probably best answered by "whoever can generate the most effective pressure at the moment". That, IMHO, is always a moving target that will be reflected, in arrears, by our laws.

As to the "what": that changes too. At one time, speaking out against the Crown could see you in court. At the same time, nobody really cared much if people publicly characterized Jews as shifty thieves and blacks as monkeys or children. (If you doubt this, just pick up various Canadian publications from the 1920s and 30s and do a bit of research. I have a copy of the Cdn Defence Quarterly from 1936 that refers to a Jewish businessman as a "Shylock".) Today, the situation is completely reversed. Twenty years from now it will have changed in some other way.

To me the objective should not be to have no reasonable restrictions on speech, nor to legitimize hate speech by giving it a platform, but to see existing laws applied in an intelligent way.  And that, of course, is the challenge for our entire legal system, on all sorts of issues.

Cheers
« Last Edit: June 04, 2007, 09:00:21 by pbi »
The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. ...

The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out...

Offline Greymatters

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2007, 22:12:43 »
The problem is who is "we" and what defines "common sense". The Taliban would be quite pleased to apply thier version of common sense and damn well do it to you! Hence the warning against arbitrary use of State power.

That is always the danger isnt it? Who is the right 'we'?

Offline Bobby Rico

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Re: A WINNABLE WAR
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2007, 22:20:06 »
Good article.  I especially like the notion of removing hate legislation from the criminal code.  Though I'm not a proponent of hatred toward any individual or group, I believe in freedom of speech, all speech, even if that speech may be harmful.
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