Why America is Great and Almost Everywhere Else Sucks

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I was just reading a bit on the Mark Steyn hubbub up north. He is being accused, essentially, of hate speech for writing an article about Islam.

He was in Vancouver B.C. in front of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal last week. So I am reading about all the happenings, and I find a bizarre quote. Now, I see this sentiment often expressed outside U.S. borders, but it is still incomprehensible to me each time I see it. The Chief of the Canadian Human Rights Commission wrote, "Mr. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be given free reign. 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."

Now let us examine the quintessentially American perspective of the issue, from James Madison in Federalist 10 (emphasis added):

By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

Shorter Madison: it is impossible for us to change your opinions by force, so the only way to prevent you from expressing things we don't like is to take away your liberty to do so, but as that liberty is what we are trying to protect, that doesn't work either. So we'll instead work to control the potential negative effects of what you say, instead of destroying your right to say it.

Sounds good to me. Actually, it sounds like the only free and sane way to be. Anything less makes no sense to me at all. Yes, people hating people sucks. But government telling me I can't hate people, or express that hatred, sucks even more. I won't use the loaded word "fascist," but it is the exact sort of thing that many of the Americans before us fought and died for. Not specifically the right to speak hatred, of course, but the right to speak hatred is a necessary precondition of self-government, and that's something worth fighting and dying for. slashdot.org

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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