Friday, February 23, 2007

They Hate Us for Our Freedom

In a rare, but not unprecedented, unanimous 9-0 judgment earlier today, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the security certificate sections of Canada's anti-terrorism laws. The Court said that these certificates violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Every judge, man or woman, left or right, Liberal appointed or Conservative appointed, agreed.

Not surprisingly, the Court has essentially ruled that it is unconstitutional for the state to hold a person indefinitely, without charge or trial or being able to see the evidence against them. For those of us that value freedom and liberty, this is absolutely obvious. Those kinds of powers are usually exercised by totalitarian, fascist and dictatorial states like Cuba, the former Soviet Union, South Africa under apartheid, Saddam's Iraq and Pinochet's Chile to name but a few. Canada is not, nor should not be in this league.

The Court, in essence, has balanced the real danger of terrorism versus cost to our civil liberties of these draconian measures and civil liberties rightly won.

Let's put the "problem" into perspective:

In 2004, according to the US State Department, approximately 2000 people were killed world wide from acts of terrorism. In the past 20 years, about 5000 Western civillians have died "due to jihadist and Arab insurgent violence", including Lockerie, Bali, Madrid, London and 9-11.

Canada hasn't had a terrorist attack since 1985, when Air India was bombed. Last year, the "Toronto 17" were apprehended while possibly planning an attack (though the real threat may have been exaggerated and the 17 may have been coaxed into action by the government's own mole) without resorting to extraordinary police powers or judicial measures.

According to Michael Rothschild, a former business professor at the University of Wisconsin, your odds of being killed in a plausible terrorist attack in your lifetime are 1 in 1282:

Even if terrorists were able to pull off one attack per year on the scale of the 9/11 atrocity, that would mean your one-year risk would be one in 100,000 and your lifetime risk would be about one in 1300. (300,000,000 ÷ 3,000 = 100,000 ÷ 78 years = 1282) In other words, your risk of dying in a plausible terrorist attack is much lower than your risk of dying in a car accident, by walking across the street, by drowning, in a fire, by falling, or by being murdered.
Further, prescription drugs are 16,400% more dangerous than terrorism.

So in response to this minuscule danger, the government decided to allow the state to arbitrarily detain people without charge or trial indefinitely while not allowing them to see or challenge the evidence against them. Today the Supreme Court said "Not so much."

Now given this logic and the clearly totalitarian nature of the law, one would expect that most people who value freedom and liberty would be overjoyed at this development. Sadly, this isn't so. As Canadian Cynic points out, some are quite devastated by this:


  • Socialist Gulag: "For the second time in a week the Liberal elites in this country provided aid & comfort to those who wish us harm all in the interest of maintaining slavish devotion to that damn charter."

  • Civitatensis: "Friends of Osama?"

  • Canadian Blue Lemons: "Who will rid us of these pestilent priests and protectors of the enemies of our society?"

  • Dr. Roy: " Canadians are less safe today thanks to the fiberals and the fiberal supreme court."

  • mesopotamia west: "Court in Bed with Terrorism."

There are others. I am amazed that people still think that security certificates and indeed the other sections of the anti-terrorism act are necessary considering the (lack of) magnitude of the problem.

Are these people really so scared by the remote possibility of dying in a terrorist attack that they would gladly give the state - hell anybody - the power to throw them in a tiny prison, essentially forever?

Are they truly that cowardly?

I almost wish they were. I believe with these people it is something deeper and more sinister. As the Vanity Press discussed yesterday, I think it occurs because these people are projecting their own hatred of our freedoms outwards. They want to do exactly what they say the jihadis what to do - take away our liberty and impose their moral view on everyone, to use the full force of the state to make society in their narrow image of reality. How else can one explain people that on one hand, do not want the government to have the power to force someone to do their job when it comes to marrying gay couples, but are more than happy to grant that same state the power to detain and imprison people indefinitely without charge or trial, on the other hand? They agree with what they say the jihadis believe - that we are corrupt, morally bankrupt, promiscuous and on the verge of collapse. They propagate these things despite all evidence to the contrary, as demonstrated here and at the Vanity Press.

Read just some of those posts above. They see enemies everywhere, in society, in different religions and even in other political parties. They want the power the state wields over all of us, in order to be able to change us to their liking, by force if needed. They abhor the idea that people can be different from them, live different from them and even think they are wrong. The Supreme Court saying 'no' to that power is what angers them, not the thought that the terrorists are under every bed. They abhor us being free, acting as we like. Each one of them want to be rid of the Charter in order to force upon us some fix for some perceived moral outrage in society - abortion, gay marriage, women's rights, non-white immigration or the lack of Christianity in our institutions as examples.

My liberty, freedom and way of life is not threatened by religious zealots on the other side of the world, who may hate us because of bad Western foreign policy decisions over the last 50 years, it is threatened by these people. They are here, right now fighting hard to get the power of the state to do to us exactly what they claim to fear from the terrorists. They are a far greater threat than terrorists will ever be. They are the terrorists best friends.

They hate us for our freedom.

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12 Comments:

At 1:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lack of magnitude. We are under the constant threat of those people who have already infiltrated Canada.

If you love those Muslims so much, why don't go and live there. Let's how you much they value your freedoms as an infidel. You'll be lucky to survive a few weeks before they chop your silly head off.

You need serious professional help.

 
At 8:28 AM, Blogger Mike said...

See, a perfect example of what I was talking about. Despite the fact as presented above, that we are not "under constant threat" , anonymous presents his paranoid projection on me. People "infiltrating Canada"?

No anon is either a seriously deluded paranoid (in which case he or she needs the real professional help) or simply dislikes the fact that in Canada, we want people to be free. Considering he is targeting "Muslims" and equating them to terrorists, I suspect the latter.

He raises something that I did not - that these people operate with undertones or overt racism as well. Any body who is "dark" - Muslims, Sikhs, Arabs - anybody who is non-Christian need to be neutralized and removed from society. He would happily take away our rights, and freedoms solely because we are not like him or her, happily lock us all up, if he or she had the chance. Down on the farm, we call that a fascist - a totalitarian.

So anon, which is it, are you a bed-wetting paranoid coward or a bigoted, hate mongering fascist? Those appear to be the only options.

And either way, people like YOU are the real threat to freedom in this country, not islamists on the other side of the world and not imaginary infiltrators (who can be dealt with by the police without resorting to totalitarian measures, even it they are real).

Scum like you are the real enemy here.

 
At 4:17 PM, Anonymous civitatensis said...

There have been overreactions on all sides, including my own. The security certificates have not been struck down, though the media keep saying the same thing!

I would leave a more substantive comment to your good post, but when science, reason and liberty have to conclude that people with other opinions are "scum" (i'm not anon, btw), the argument may already be lost.

 
At 8:32 PM, Blogger Mike said...

civitatensis,

I am well aware of the ruling, but as my post stated, the principle behind it is important - that the state cannot detain a person indefinitely without charge, trial or seeing the evidence against them. Everything else - 1 year grace periods to fix the issue, whether certificates existed before - are merely legal minutia that I frankly could care less about. I do not need a Charter to instruct me how to be free, not a state appointed court to enforce it.

The thrust of my post is that the people like yourself who slammed the decision because you think the state SHOULD be allowed to lock up people arbitrarily. The entire rest of the post flows from that, and used science, reason and a defense of liberty as its basis.

As for "scum", sorry but when an anonymous coward comes to my blog and leaves that drivel and launches an ad hominem attack on me, they get whatever I decide to give them. Notice I did not delete the idiot's comment. Anon has a right to his opinion and a right to express it, but should not expect me to respect it when it based on illogic and mindless repeating of crap from Fox News...

You are more than welcome to post your rebuttals here, as you are not "anonymous" and seem have a little more intelligence. I will respond in kind.

And you'll pardon me, but as a libertarian, I take defending freedom and liberty pretty seriously, especially from the power of the state. I do and will go over the top in doing so and I make no apologies for that.

 
At 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this post is a bit much. The SCC certainly did not go that far. They agreed that the individuals could be detained, only that there has to be an open process - namely a non-public trial in front of an independent and impartial judge with legal counsel.

Remember that a federal judge on a repeated basis looks at each case and determines that there is enough evidence to hold these individuals. The SCC only said that there should be a trial with legal counsel.

Your "facts" are kind of funny. It's like saying the chance of some serious crime in a small community is so small that there should be no police or RCMP station in the area - rather they should focus on major cities.

The differences between car accidents (negligence) versus individuals who intentionally want to kill citizens is a little different.

 
At 10:14 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"Your "facts" are kind of funny. It's like saying the chance of some serious crime in a small community is so small that there should be no police or RCMP station in the area - rather they should focus on major cities."

And yet, there are more cops in Metro Toronto than in the rest of the province of Ontario combined for that very reason...

"The differences between car accidents (negligence) versus individuals who intentionally want to kill citizens is a little different."

Not it is not different. That I face the possibility of death is irrelevant as to how or why. It is the probability of death that allows me to weigh the pros and cons of the measures used to protect me from it. I face more danger from those events than from terrorism. I have a greater chance of being murdered, which is definitely not "negligent", than from terrorism. Do you propose we lock up people indefinitely, without charge or trial to protect us from murderers? The probability of my dying in a terrorist attack is so low that it does not warrant the price of giving the state that kind of arbitrary power to "protect me". Its not worth it.

You may think that this is "a bit much" but I don't. I don't trust the government - any government - to act nice when it has that kind of power. No government ever has. Would you want the state to have the power to do that to you? Until yesterday, they did.

 
At 5:22 PM, Blogger Scott Tribe said...

I agree entirely with your postings and your follow-ups in comments, Mike.

The one thing where they are remotely close to any semblance of truth is - it has been mentioned by more then 1 news release that the Supreme Court ruling - and the overwhelming unanimous ruling - has buoyed the Liberals because they feel it blunts an already dubious attack by Harper and the Tories that they are "soft on terror". Well, it appears the Supreme Court and the Liberals both agree that there need to be reasonable limits to anti-terror legislation.. and all they have to do to counter the soft on terror meme is to ask the Tories if they think the SCC is "soft" as well.. because that was a classic liberalism type ruling on liberty and rights.

(I also note the 2 Conservative appointed judges - the Chief Justice Mclachlan is a Mulroney appointee, and the recent one from Harper - seemed to not think anyone was being "soft" by ruling the way they did.

 
At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott Tribe, the liberals enacted the unconstitutional legislation - how does that put wind in their sails?

"Do you propose we lock up people indefinitely, without charge or trial to protect us from murderers? "

Again, I propose having a special hearing in front of a federal court judge that is not make public due to security threats.

Your fear of the government locking you up because of this bill is ill-founded. A Judge assesses at the Crown's evidence on various occasssions and must find that there is due cause to keep the person locked up.

And no, I don't think they should be locked up indefinitely. However, maybe they should be deported if found guilty.

 
At 7:55 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"Again, I propose having a special hearing in front of a federal court judge that is not make public due to security threats."

What security threats could possibly justify secret trials, which is what you are advocating?

"Your fear of the government locking you up because of this bill is ill-founded. A Judge assesses at the Crown's evidence on various occasssions and must find that there is due cause to keep the person locked up."

And yet, we have had at least 4 people locked up for 5+ years, without a judge assessing the evidence, without a trial, without even being able to see the evidence against them, in the most Kafkaesque manner. But I shouldn't worry right? The state would never do that to me, I'm a good guy and those guys must be bad (even though we do not know what, if any, evidence exists showing these guys are "bad" and if it exists what quality it is).

In case you've been asleep for the last 20 years, we live in a country where at least 5 men have been wrongfully convicted of murder in public trials. Why would I trust a judge in a secret trial, where even the defendants can't see the evidence against them?

My questions is, how can you NOT fear the government locking you up when they have power like that? Because you are not a Muslim man? Because you are not an Arab? All the state needs to do is to change their mind about who "the bad guys" are and they can target you. After all, they already have the power and the apparatus. You know they don't even have to tell you they have changed the definition of what or who is not acceptable.

 
At 10:11 PM, Blogger Scott Tribe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10:12 PM, Blogger Scott Tribe said...

You didnt apparently read my reasoning very well, Anonymous... but
the 2 are definitely related.

It blunts the Tories attack, as I've said.

 
At 2:19 PM, Anonymous E in MD said...

And no, I don't think they should be locked up indefinitely. However, maybe they should be deported if found guilty.

- - - - - -

You don't think they should be locked up indefinately so it's better to let those found guilty go home? That's rediculous! We're talking about people being able to contest charges in a public forum because it's easy for a judge to be bought off, be corrupt, be partisan, hate certain kinds of people, owe someone a favor or what have you and have someone use them as a tool to abuse power. Lack of a public trial makes this situation a lot easier to have occur because by having a trial behind close doors it is not subject to scrutiny by other non-involved parties. When nobody's watching, abuses will happen. Even in a public trial people can be wrongfully convicted. Behind closed doors it is even worse.

 

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