First they came for Mark Steyn, but I said nothing because I wasn’t Canadian…

An item in the news, for those of you freethinkers who think that political correctness is your friend. Mark Steyn is being sued by the Canadian Human Rights commission for his study of demographics in the book AMERICA ALONE.

Citing previous cases, Mr. Steyn noted both that no accused has ever won a case once the CHRC referred it to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and that truth is not a defense when dealing with the commission or the tribunal.

Whereas facts, quotes and statistics may be accurately cited by the author, what the commissions bases its judgment upon is whether the person reading it is offended.

“Offense is in the eye of the beholder,” Mr. Steyn said. “A fact can be accurate, but offensive to some people. The commissions aren’t weighing facts but hurt feelings.”

Another danger raised by Mr. Steyn is that a First Amendment defense does not apply in Canada, despite the article’s being an excerpt from a larger work originally published in the U.S.

… Ron Gray, the leader of Canada’s Christian Heritage Party (CHP) and another target of the tribunal… (is)… facing a CHRC complaint after reprinting on the party Web site an article critical of homosexual activism that had appeared in the U.S.-based news site WorldNetDaily — a positive review of a series of legal essays published on the topic by the Virginia-based Regent University Law Review in 2002.

“I felt this information was important for the Canadian public and our party members to have access to because the debate over same-sex ‘marriage’ was raging at the time,” Mr. Gray said.

An Edmonton man named Rob Wells would come across the article four years later and file a complaint against Mr. Gray and the party. Citing previous cases investigated by the CHRC, Mr. Gray said Canada’s human rights commissions are targeting Christians and social conservatives.

The selectivity of the cases referred to the human rights tribunal by the CHRC is also disconcerting to Paul Tuns, editor of the Interim, Canada’s largest pro-life monthly newspaper with a circulation of approximately 34,000.

“There seems to be a trend where Christians and conservatives are always on the losing side,” he said.

Like Mr. Steyn, Mr. Tuns is concerned that a state apparatus is giving its stamp of approval to certain views over those it deems politically incorrect.

“I would be against these tribunals even if they were ruling in favor of our side,” he said. “Essentially, the human rights tribunals are making decisions on what seems offensive to one group or another. Offensiveness is not the same as harmfulness. Offensiveness is subjective, and it’s difficult for the alleged perpetrators to guess what would be offensive to someone.”

While the Interim has thus far avoided any CHRC complaints, its sister publication Catholic Insight, a popular Catholic monthly in Canada, also received news last month that it faced a complaint over articles critical of homosexual activism.

“The one case I know where a Christian responded by filing a complaint against an individual who had defamed him, the CHRC refused to hear the complaint,” he said.

Mark Steyn, in a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt, mentions that Mark Steyns’ joking reference to Robert Ferrigno’s science fiction novel PRAYERS FOR THE ASSASSIN is actionable in the Canadian law court. Got that? If an author writes a passage in a speculative novel about the future, and a second party quotes it or refers to it, and a third party is offended, the second party faces legal penalties. If the act of quoting or joking about a book is criminal, obviously the act of writing it is illegal.

(The Human Rights Commission) complained, you remember that novel we talked about on this show a couple of years ago, Robert Ferrigno’s Prayers For The Assassin. …. But they complained about me mentioning plot twists of that book. You remember the Super Bowl, where it’s the all-male cheerleading team. …. And part of their official complaint to the Human Rights Commission is that Steyn says there will be all-male cheerleaders at the Super Bowl.

Well, every left wing novelist on the planet should be extremely disturbed that you can take the plot twists of novels and make them actionable in pseudo-courts. Every left wing novelist should be on my side over this. Unfortunately, they won’t be, because they’re left wing novelists.

Margaret Atwood, remember that futuristic novel you wrote about how a group of religious zealots had taken over America, and compelled women into oppressive, degrading roles, forcing them into polygamous harems, making them wear veils and so on, and abiding by a particularly strict version of religious law? You remember how you made the bad guys Christians, despite that fact that Muslims, in real life, in the real world, in the present day, now, are doing those exact same things?

What makes you think the Muslims do not have a right to be offended with you? (I mean your side’s leftwing definition of rights, the politically correct definition, not the real definition.) What makes you think the Muslims will not see the parallels between what you criticize dishonestly in us, and what you would be criticizing, if you were honest, in them?

Ah, I love science fiction. Ours is the only genre any more that talks about real issues.

Just so we are clear about what we are talking about:

Canada’s Human Rights Commissions were started in the 1970’s on the recommendation of activists who said that there needed to be a cost-free informal court system where vulnerable people like immigrants could seek redress in cases of discrimination in matters of employment, services and accommodation. The legislation bringing them into existence gives them permission to disregard the usual rules of legal procedures meant to protect defendants’ rights such as rules of evidence, presumption of innocence, bias of witnesses or representation. Its officers and adjudicators do not have to have legal training but are political appointees, commonly representatives of special interest groups.

If there were any justice in the world, the word “McCarthyism” would drop out of public parlance — since Soviet archive records shows McCarthy was right, and that the people he accused were, in fact, guilty — and since McCarthy operated strictly within the laws of evidence for Senate investigations — and the word to replace it, the word that would conjure up heretic-hunting disregard for normal rules of evidence and legal training, the word that would be a synonym for the hysteria of a witch-hunt, would be “Canadianism” or better yet “Leftwingism.”