Like a Chicken Who Loves Colonel Sanders

Via Ezra Levant, via Mark Steyn, via Five Feet of Fury: Naomi Lakritz’ write-up of that patently absurd “The System Works” argument appears in the Calgary Herald. Maybe you’ve heard this one. Canada’s Human Rights Commission figures out it has been harassing an innocent man, as a result of its very own proceedings, dismisses the complaint, and this just goes to show how successful it is at protecting the freedoms of everyone.

LakritzUniversity of Calgary law professor Kathleen Mahoney is absolutely right when she says the outcome of Levant’s case demonstrates the process works. It does, indeed, and without such institutions as human rights commissions, where would people go for redress? In other countries, when people feel their racial or religious identity is under attack, they take up arms. Here, we have a civilized outlet for making such complaints — the human rights commission.

Just disgusting. Levant responds:

Kathleen Mahoney is a left-wing kook. And she’s a thin-skinned liberal fascist in her own right. Here’s a story in the Globe and Mail about her own human rights complaint filed against Alberta Report, for daring to suggest that some Aboriginal kids benefited from residential schools.

The article cited by Levant tells a grim tale:

In the past year, the Regina Leader-Post, Alberta Report, the North Shore News, the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix and The Toronto Star have all had to appear before tribunals to answer charges of publishing “discriminatory” material, in violation of the human-rights codes in their provinces. A quick refresher: Human-rights law was created to prevent discrimination in lodging and employment. So why is it now being used to prevent the dissemination of certain ideas? Isn’t this the sort of thing the free-expression section of the constitutional Charter of Rights and Freedoms is supposed to prevent?

The strangest case of the bunch is the one against Alberta Report. Last year, reporter Patrick Donnelly wrote a feature article for the magazine entitled, “Scapegoating the Indian residential schools: The noble legacy of hundreds of Christian missionairies is sacrificed to political correctness”. The thrust of Mr. Donnelly’s argument was that residential schools, government-funded institutions operated by religious orders, were on the whole positive for natives.

His argument was supported with quotes from former students and teachers, many of whom said that they had nothing but positive memories of the residential system. He alleged that this point of view has been buried by Indian advocates hungry to capitalize on white guilt by portraying the institutions as a form of cultural genocide.

Whether his analysis is insightful or misguided is, legally speaking, entirely beside the point. Or rather that’s the way the law used to work. Not any more.

University of Calgary law professor Kathleen Mahoney responded to the publication by filing a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission, alleging that Alberta Report had “expose[d] First Nations people to hatred or contempt on the basis of their race or ancestry”. She asked for remedies including “an apology, damages, and an order that the respondents attend education sessions about human rights in Alberta.”

The creepy call for “education sessions” was not laughed out of the Alberta commission. Instead, the commission has asked Alberta Report to respond to the complaint. It will then consider whether to prosecute the magazine.

So what we have here — assuming Lakritz and Mahoney are on the up-and-up — is a situation in which the people get their rights from the government, after the government defines what they are, and this includes supposedly “free” speech.

Levant owns the chicken analogy, and he thinks it’s lame. I disagree. The only way it could fit any better, to my way of thinking, is if the chicken saw one of his fellow chickens tossed into the McNugget hopper, and lucky for him the blades were suddenly jammed at exactly the right moment, allowing the intended victim to walk away — and the first chicken, because of this, gleefully began clucking away about how the machine works.

The longer I’m on the planet, the more suspicious I am of intellectuals who base their arguments about a bureaucracy on a fundamental axiom that the bureaucracy consistently produces results that are “correct,” by virtue of possessing the authority to define exactly what “correct” is. It is a child’s discourse. I expect anyone of respectful intelligence who’s graduated from the sixth grade, or anyone of mediocre intelligence who’s graduated from the eighth, to immediately see what’s wrong with it.

For a law professor to use it, or a Calgary Herald columnist to use it, is tantamount to admitting said user-of-argument somehow expects to be kept out of the machine’s blades. Access to attorneys, names in the rolodex, knowing where the bodies are buried…whatever.

The most likely and common ace up the sleeve: A determination to spend the balance of one’s career staying well away from the wild frontier. To stick to doing what others are already doing. After all, is the highest point of a mountain not at its center? Of course it is, and so to the center we shall stick. Thus, the McNugget blades will always be whirring treacherously against the flesh of another chicken who ventured too far. Not us. So what’s to worry about?

These people are, quite plain and simply, not to be trusted. They pretend to be the guardians of a civilized society. In reality, they don’t belong in one.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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