Here’s a letter from August 17, 2009, defending Ezra Levant ( as if he needed a defender).
In defending Janet Keeping of the Sheldon Chumir Foundation, Dan Shapiro criticizes Ezra Levant’s own defense of allegedly “unethical” criticism of Canada’s Human Rights Commission on the grounds that he “misses her point about the ethics of debate.”
Shapiro asserts his colleague’s position that “it is unethical to attack one’s opponents rather than their policies” and that by doing so, “they obscure the main issue […] and alienate the audience’s support.”
The irony missed by Mr. Shapiro, however, is that the only reason the HRCs are facing wide-spread public scrutiny today is precisely because Mr. Levant had spoken up in a belligerent and “rude” fashion. Mr. Levant has stated repeatedly that he holds the right to speak in the most offensive manner possible, that this right is worthy of defense and ought to be placed above one’s own subjective desire to protect one’s delicate feelings. He has never denied this stance and I’m astonished that Mr. Shapiro and Ms. Keeping have somehow missed the point.
To limit one’s comments to the subjective confines of polite discourse sets pre-determined boundaries to a debate, usually enforced through apparatuses of the state. For evidence of this, go no further than the Canada’s HRCs themselves. These organizations have inflicted real injuries to their targets (as opposed to imagined, subjective wounds), including censorship, state-imposed fines and usurpation of basic human rights, in order to quell open and public criticisms of political policies.
It is unfortunate that the Sheldon Chumir Foundation has opted to criticise private individuals instead of focusing on the ethically-challenged apparatchiks in our HRCs. It is truly a sad day when the self-anointed keepers of ethical debate favour state-sanctioned politeness over individual liberty.Rob Huck
I think this was published.