Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ezra Levant is No Hero, Even if You Agree with Him

Update Below

I do not agree with Human Rights Commissions, Hate Crime laws or other such tribunals.

I think they are too easily misused to quash freedom and liberty and can be counter-productive to their stated claim. Like prohibiting anything, prohibiting or punishing certain speech or publication does not stop such speech, but drives it underground. I would rather have them out in the open, so I know who my enemies are. Any government power that can be used against "the bad guys" can easily be used against "the good guys" given the right circumstances.

And I don't trust the government.

So that means that I begrudgingly side with Ezra Levant on principle. He should have the right to publish or say anything he wants, so long as it does not cause harm to anyone else. He should not have to answer to anyone not directly involved, let alone a government commission, no matter how minor or seemingly friendly. If his words incite violence, or are untrue, he should be sued and impoverished. Those that oppose his bigoted views should take him on head on, with more speech, louder speech and ridicule him into oblivion. Boycott his work, his publications or any publication or media outlet that employs him. Hit him where it hurts, in his wallet.

Defending free speech requires more speech, not less.

Despite that, Levant is no hero for free speech. He is, in my opinion*, merely an opportunist, looking for any public platform to spout his anti-Muslim garbage. And the Alberta Human Rights And Citizenship Commission has given him such a platform.

Remember how all this came about. In the middle of Canada's conservative heartland, Alberta, Levant couldn't successfully run a conservative political magazine. In an effort to boost sales, he pulled the Mohammed cartoon stunt. The cartoons, which were easy to find on the internet, were long past being news until Levant whipped up the fury again. Even with that and nuzzling up to the government teat, Levant couldn't keep his magazine going, after some private businesses such as Chapters-Indigo chose to stop carrying his magazine, especially the issue in question.

In other words, it was a stunt to try to make Levant money. And it backfired.

But then Syed Soharwardy handed Levant a gift - he made a HRC complaint.

Now, Levant could have merely answered by sending a registered letter. He was not compelled to appear the other day, he chose to. He could have left it at that and it is very likely the AHRC would have dropped the complaint (as they do with most) because it has no merits.

But he didn't. Instead he video taped it, posted it on Youtube, all after inciting his martyrdom on his blog for days before the event. He is even begging for donations from his followers for something that has yet to cost him anything besides the time he chose to take. He is begging for donations for a case that is not likely to succeed and not likely to actually cost him money. He is promoting himself as a saviour of "free speech" but "call now with your donation, before its too late!" Benny Hinn would be proud.

In other words, it is a stunt to make Levant money.

Every conservative who is donating money and supporting this is doing nothing more than wasting their money and aiding anti-Muslim bigotry.

Of course, from my perspective, all of this was a predictable result of the very existence of the HRC. Indeed, such things were predicted in 1644 by John Milton in Areopagitica. One of the main thrusts of Milton's argument is that by persecuting free speech and freedom of the press, the state gives credibility and credence to positions that would not otherwise merit it. If the government is so worried that it needs to silence an opponent, then they must have something worth listening to. Likewise, he argued, persecutions give those being persecuted a state sanctioned platform for their views, thus causing them, again, to get more credibility than they deserve and to be spread farther then they otherwise would.

Certainly, that is the case here. Levant has used the HRC as a platform to attack Islam in general and Soharwardy in particular. Merely peruse the comments at his blog or at the Shotgun (neither of which will get a link from me - use Google if you must) to see the depths of anti-Muslim hatred he has stirred because of this. He is even getting support from some who would not associate with such opinions under normal circumstances. And of course, this failed Conservative politician and failed publisher is now in the centre of the spotlight again, his face on camera, spouting his nonsense.

Its like giving the madman on the corner a megaphone and a 3 piece suit instead of ignoring him.

Ezra Levant is a lot of things, but, in my opinion*, he is not a hero for free speech.

*Update:

It appears, if you read Mike Brock's comments in the comments section below, that I had not sufficiently clarified that thinking Ezra was an anti-Muslim bigot was my opinion (for the reasons I give in the comments, as well as those by Dr. Dawg) and not a "statement of fact". In an effort to avoid confusion for Mike and others that may read this, I have updated this post to make it clear that it is my opinion. After all, it seems Ezra, the king of free speech, is in a suing mood and I really want to keep my house.

Labels: , , , , ,

52 Comments:

At 9:04 PM, Blogger Catelli said...

Wow. Just, wow.

I think of all the commentary I've read on this topic, you've done the best.

Can I crudely summarize your point? This isn't about hatred vs. free speech, its one kind of idiocy against another kind of idiocy.

Or did I misread that?

 
At 9:08 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Catelli,

Yeah, that pretty much says it all.

Its also about one idiot pretending to be for free speech, while manufacturing a crisis in order to bilk money out of gullible followers and other idiots giving him every chance and platform to do so, because they won't use other, more effective means to fight his bigotry.

Insert smarmy Voltaire quote here.

 
At 9:24 PM, Blogger Robert McClelland said...

I think you need to go take a look at what the HRCs do before spouting nonsense about them. Cases involving speech are rare. Most involve people whose rights have been trampled by employers and the government.

Just read this case for example and then see if you'd repeat your claim about them.

 
At 9:35 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Rob,

I still disagree. No matter how much I despise Ezra Levant, this is an attack on his right to free speech and his freedom of the press.

And as I point out, it has given him a platform to spout his nonsense and made him more popular among the troglodytes.

Not exactly what they were going for...

 
At 9:54 PM, Blogger Robert McClelland said...

No it isn't. It's nothing more than a investigation to determine whether or not the complaint has merit or should be dismissed; which it likely will be.

 
At 10:31 PM, Blogger Muslims Against Sharia said...

A Nazi fuck thinks a Jew is no hero? Say it ain't so!

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Oh, ho! Now I'm a "Nazi fuck"?

Hahahahahahahaha!

Yes, truly the words of a Muslim group looking to reform and update Islam.

Or not.

Keep digging, MAS. You are really convincing people you are who you pretend to be with fine commentary like that.

Keep up the good work.

 
At 12:29 AM, Anonymous underground capitalistwarrior said...

Yes of course we are all right wing nuts, just like Churchill when he tried to warn Europe of the dangers of Hitler and a re-armed Germany. First they come after Ezra, then they come after YOU jack ass!. Keep pretending it's all a concoction of right wingers until the shit hits the fan and when it does & I and my cohorts stand up to the liberal fascists, you will probably be hiding in the closet or behind the couch hoping to God that we win and you don't have to face the gulag.
best wishes
jch in california (left coast battleground)

 
At 12:39 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Excellent...the anti-Muslim bigots are coming out of the woodwork.

I must be doing something right. And all the way from California! Must be good friend of MAS.

I am a libertarian and an atheist. I won't be praying to any god, nor hiding anywhere. Of course, my rights have never been affected by a Muslim, but by rightwing authoritarian scum like you. So guess who is really more of a danger to my liberty?

I'm more likely to be defending my freedom from hate filled thugs like you, than from any Muslim. And make no mistake meat-wrench, I will be defending it.

 
At 1:57 AM, Blogger jj said...

Great post, Mike, just excellent.

Ezra is an opportunistic dickhead who's using this whole thing as a venue to put on a show, and yes, make a few $$$. I'm amazed at the number of people who are falling for it, hook line & sinker.

The complaint will probably be rejected, as it should be, although Ezra would dearly love for his little drama to continue.

What a jerk.

(P.S. - "Meat-wrench"?! LOL)

 
At 11:35 AM, Anonymous A Real Libertarian said...

Wow, more princple from the self professed 'Libertarian'.

Now he agrees with Ezra, but hates him anyways.

Principles be damned, even if Ezra is right, Mike still hates him.

Kind of like realizing that being a Libertarian would align you most clearly with a Conservative Government, but still supporting the NDP instead.

What a joke this blog is.

 
At 12:12 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Hey real-stupid-libertarian, how are my principles damned? I am standing up for Levant's right to say or publish anything he wants, so long as it does not cause harm to others. That's called the non-aggression principle. It doesn't say I have to like him or agree with him.

And I don't - Levant is a cowardly racist nit. You realize that he was all for censorship and quashing free speech back in 93 when a student newspaper at his University published and anti-Israel cartoon (not anti-Jewish, but anti-Israel - there is a difference)? Oops I guess free speech and free expression is only good when you agree with Ezra, right? Some principles you've got there....

And you still think the Conservative government is libertarian at all? You really are stupider than I thought. See if you can detect the irony in a 'libertarian' supporting a government - any government. Try googling 'market anarchist' if you are really interested in where I stand.

And, once again, I don't support the NDP, Liberals OR (especially) the Conservatives. They are all statists and all what to take my liberty.

But then, you aren't really a libertarian, except for perhaps a 'vulgar libertarian' like the CATO guys or the American Enterprise Institute...no, you are just another slack-jawed no mind CPC Harper bot all pissy because someone dares call you on it.

Now, it you think this blog is a joke, feel free to piss off and not read it. I understand we use big words and nuanced arguments that you little brain can't comprehend. So, as I said in the other thread, go play with the BT in the sand box, the adults are trying to talk sonny.

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger KevinG said...

Ha, you big "liberal fascist" :)

I wonder if he understands that a liberal and a fascist are polar opposites - one arguing for individual liberty and one arguing that individual interests are subordinate to the state's interests?

I agree with you though. I disagree with many of Ezra's positions and almost of his interpretations of events but fully support his right to say them.

He may not be a 'hero' but he did a very credible job of defending free speech and arguing that the HRC commissions are getting well beyond their mandate.

 
At 1:13 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Keving,

Thanks, but if Goldberg doesn't get it enough to write a whole book...

And yeah, its been tough typing all this while holding my nose, but it is the right thing to do.

 
At 3:02 PM, Blogger Mike Brock said...

You realize that he was all for censorship and quashing free speech back in 93 when a student newspaper at his University published and anti-Israel cartoon (not anti-Jewish, but anti-Israel - there is a difference)?

By my calculations, Ezra Levant was 19 years old in 1993. He is now 35. Even if what you are saying is true, are you prepared to call every single person who has changed their positions over the period of 15 years, especially since they'd been a teenager, a hypocrite?

Once again, as I've been writing, you guys just don't want to address the issue, you're hunting for ways to attack the messenger while doing it, in order to bolster your moral superiority.

 
At 3:07 PM, Blogger Mike Brock said...

Oh look! From Wikpedia (referenced text)
As head of the U of A's speakers committee, Levant flew in controversial lawyer Doug Christie, best known for his advocacy in defence of Holocaust deniers and accused Nazi war criminals, for a debate.

In University, at the age of 20, Ezra Levant, a practicing Jew, actually DEFENDED the right of anti-semites and Nazi war criminals.

Kind of throws your hole "hypocrisy" evidence right out the door.

Looks like Ezra has a history of defending people who actually hate him. So where are you left wing idiots getting this evidence of Ezra's two-sidedness on the free speech issue? Blind assumption? Your anus?

 
At 4:45 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Wait, I thought stuff that happened back in 93 and 94 didn't count?

Look Mike, I have stated very clearly that I defend Ezra's right to say and do anything. I'm on his side. If you read my post you'll note that also state very clearly that I do not like HRC and state very clearly, and on principled philosophical grounds, why we should not have them.

In short, I'm on Ezra's side when it comes to free speech, so I'm not exactly sure what you are pissing and moaning about. I have addressed "the issue".

You'll also note, if you read, that I have not defended Soharwardy and in fact, consider him as much of a fool as Ezra.

Just don't try to pretend its the only issue.

I consider Ezra and anti-Muslim bigot. I am fighting against this by pointing out his hypocricy and bigotry, and pointing out his ulterior motives in all that. None of that implies I don't think he should have the right to do it.

Next time, take some time out of constructing your straw men of 'the left' and try reading what I wrote.

You'll also note i refrain from saying 'the right', and talk specifically of his supporters. You really ought to try that.

 
At 5:03 PM, Blogger Mike Brock said...

Look Mike, I have stated very clearly that I defend Ezra's right to say and do anything. I'm on his side. If you read my post you'll note that also state very clearly that I do not like HRC and state very clearly, and on principled philosophical grounds, why we should not have them.

I understand that. I never made any allusion to the contrary. Don't try and confuse the issue. I will not be your straw man.

consider Ezra and anti-Muslim bigot. I am fighting against this by pointing out his hypocricy and bigotry, and pointing out his ulterior motives in all that. None of that implies I don't think he should have the right to do it.

Yes, you're doing this by providing no evidence to back up your claims. I wonder, if you were sued for libel and/or defamation of character by Ezra Levant for misrepresentation of him as a bigot and having an ulterior motive, what would your defense to the court be?

Your feeling as to his intentions?

I'm sorry, but you've said that you're pointing out his hypocricy and bigotry, you've pointed out nothing. You've stated a premise and a conclusion. That, does not an argument make.

Your evidence requires me to take your word for it because you have not cited the basis for, or given any specific examples.

... And before you try can call me on the "free speech hypocrisy" argument in regards to civil action for defamation, I would remind you, and make clear, that attempting to characterize somebody as a "bigot" without proof to back it up, may not be a criminal office, but you may be civilly liable for causing harm to somebody's reputation and therefore be subject to compensatory action.

I challenge you to justify your assertions. Drive by smears of people's character without evidence to back them up is nothing short of slander.

 
At 5:37 PM, Anonymous A Real Libertarian said...

Drive by smears of people's character without evidence is a regular practise for the NDP and Liberals in Canada.

Mike likes those 'libertarian' types.

 
At 5:39 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Ezra's anti-Muslim nonsense on The Verdict, here.

His own take on that here.

How about his diatribe about hijabs after a little girl lost her life in Edmonton last year? Turns out no one involved was Muslim, but Ezra went to town anyway. And he lost his column at the Sun as a result.

How's that? In my opinion, he's a bigot. The irony of him suing someone for stating their opinion ought to sink to you right now.

 
At 5:41 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Kinda like calling me a Nazi eh ral dumb libertarian. Go one now, the grownups aren't done...shoo.

 
At 5:55 PM, Blogger Mike Brock said...

Ezra's anti-Muslim nonsense on The Verdict, here.

His own take on that here.


First of all, the video link doesn't work. Second of all, I just read his article. I found nothing bigoted about it. If you could deconstruct that article, using proper citation and argumentation to present a meaningful case as to how that article proves that Mr. Levant is in any way bigoted, then I challenge you.

Maybe it's that he referred to Islamic dictatorships "hell holes". Is that what offends you? And if it does, why? Stop acting like your validity of your position is self-evident because it isn't.

All you are doing is throwing links at me now, and stating conclusions. Is it seriously beyond your ability to understand why this type of argumentation is flawed?

You saying "Mr. Levant is bigoted because he wrote this article", is the logical equivalent of saying, "Jesus Christ rose from the grave because the bible said so".

What's wrong with each of these statements? They assume that an underlying premise is already implicitly true. In your case, that the article is bigoted, and in the second case, that the bible is accurate. They both fail a logical test, because they are drawing conclusions from an unproven premise.

In our imaginary court proceedings against you for libel, you will be expected to qualify your characterizations that Mr. Levant is a bigot, not just by providing articles, but actually proving why the articles themselves are bigoted.

 
At 6:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop acting like your validity of your position is self-evident because it isn't.

I've always found there to be an interesting parallel between the devoutly religious and the devoutly political.

People on the left always act as if the truthfulness of their premises are self-evident. It is why Rational Mike can't relate the plain and simple, vanilla logic of Mike Brock. He doesn't feel the need to qualify himself, because he assumes everyone should just see it his way to begin with.

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Ok then, let see if I have this straight:

Ezra is the champion of free speech because his is standing up to a government agency investigating him because of a spurious complaint by someone who was offended by his publishing of cartoons.

Not only must I agree with his stand on free speech (which I do) and support him (which I do, begrudgingly) I am NOT allowed question his motives in doing this, say I think he is a bigot based on his words (which in my opinion are bigoted against Muslims - you may hold a different opinion). No, I am not allowed to express my opinion or else, as Mike Brock says, Ezra can complain to a state agency and sue me for saying something that insulted or offended him.

And Mike Brock, champion of free speech, is ok with that.

Gotcha.

How's that old double standard working out?

Oh by the way, the other thing that must be proven in the hypothetical case, Mike, is that Ezra's reputation and\or livelyhood was harmed by my words. Yes, that the personal opinion of an obscure blogger will harm Ezra Levant, the man whose last column for the Sun was so odious, he was let go (and I would have linked to that in the above, but the Sun doesn't carry it anymore).

In short, I'm only entitled to free speech as long as I agree with Ezra. Not just agree with him, I must love him and not question his motivations. If I say anything else, I must submit detailed reasons and qualifications to Mike Brock, who will determine if my opinion is valid and whether Ezra really is a bigot. Even if Ezra himself is allowed, according to his own testimony at the HRC, to be able to say or publish anything he wants, even if its unreasonable.

Did I miss something?

How about I make it simple. When someone and based on a single example. When someone sees a tragic accident that results in the death of a child, where the bus driver involved was wearing a headscarf and immediately attacks Muslim women for wearing hijabs and flies off on a tangent about "political correctness" and immigration adversely affecting Canada, when NO ONE INVOLVED WAS MUSLIM, I think it is immensely reasonable to assume Ezra has a thing against Muslims. I n my opinion, such a leap in logic can only be explained by prejudice against Muslims and their symbols. That, among other things, is why I think he is an anti-Muslim bigot. You may not share that opinion. (PS. I'd link to this, but as I said, the Sun pulled it. I'm going from memory).

Does that pass your logical muster Mike? Is my opinion valid?

Fantastic. You should really apply to an HRC as an investigator, you would be good at it.

 
At 9:54 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Oh and I'd also like to point to Terry Glavin, who makes many of the same points I do:

"In either case, you’re ignoring the part where I wrote that I think the complaint against Levant is ludicrous, and the part where I wrote that I’m generally against human rights tribunals policing speech in the first place, and the part where I wrote that I hope Levant will win - a hope I clearly harbour regardless of whether he is “loathsome” or not.

Am I not allowed to write about motive and context? Shall we have a list of directly relevant matters that we are not allowed to raise in discussion about this case?"



Oh wait, that's right. According to anon there, nuanced arguement means nothing when it comes from 'the left'...we must bow to the 'vanilla logic' of Mike Brock.

 
At 10:34 PM, Blogger Balbulican said...

Yo Mike...don't miss the latest comments from "Muslims Against Sharia" at Stageleft and Mike Brock's site. We finally coaxed them out of their shell. Hilarious.

 
At 10:34 PM, Blogger Mike Brock said...

Ezra is the champion of free speech because his is standing up to a government agency investigating him because of a spurious complaint by someone who was offended by his publishing of cartoons.

You know, here's my problem with you at this point. You are spreading lies about Ezra Levant. You said that Ezra was a complete hypocrite based on his actions in University, but after a little bit of research, I found proof (something you lack by the way), that the exact opposite was true.

We see that Ezra Levant was defending the rights of anti-semites to free speech, and invited one to speak openly in a forum. He took flak from his own community for doing this, I'm sure.

But you try to paint a fallacious picture of him. You try to claim that he tried to silence people he disagreed with. But this is plain and simply not the case.

Now that you have no defense on this point—and i think you owe Mr. Levant an apology for spreading lies about him, by the way—you simply fall back on the fact that it is just your personal opinion that he is a bigot.

Your only proof at this point, is something he wrote that no longer exists.

Based on available facts, who has more credibility at this point? You ,or Mr. Levant? You've been caught telling a lie, something you heard through heresy, accepted as truth carte blanche, and proceed to promulgate.

You wish to cast Mr. Levant as a hypocrite and a bigot, yet the way in which you have gone about it, in my opinion casts doubt on your credibility. So who's the bigot? The person who just decided that he hates someone so much, that he's prepared to promulgate anything negative he hears about said someone? Or the guy who stood up for free speech rights in University, defending the people who hated him, and now stands up for those same rights?

Just explain to me, what makes you think that you have any credibility at this point.

It is my opinion, based on available facts, that even if Mr. Levant is guilty of everything you accuse him of, you are just as guilty as him. You undermine your entire credibility by seeking to knee-jerk character assassinate Mr. Levant, with no regard to the truth. The only truth that matters to you is the truth that says Mr. Levant is a bigot hypocrite.

Simply coming out and saying you "begrudgingly" agree with him, does not redeem you from the ulterior motive of your post: to convince people that Ezra Levant is a horrible human being. Well, why don't you look in a mirror?

 
At 11:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was going to comment... but Brock kind of finished this conversation already.

 
At 11:04 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"You try to claim that he tried to silence people he disagreed with. But this is plain and simply not the case. "

No, I have given two incidents, on here and one over in your thread. You have merely chosen to ignore or minimize them. We see him trying to punish the publication of cartoons and trying to have hate crimes charges laid, even after the RCMP finds no basis to. (see my link above). Therefore, I think it plainly is the case - Ezra will happily try to silence opponents if it suits him.

"Your only proof at this point, is something he wrote that no longer exists. "

Yes, of course, the Sun column, which the Sun pulled after they fired him over the contents. The fact that The Sun thought it was bad enough to terminate him means nothing. The fact that it was widely reported and linked at the time means nothing. Because I cannot not produce it for you means I cannot have a basis for thinking he's a bigot? Down the memory hole eh?

"You've been caught telling a lie,"

No I haven't. That you minimized the basis of my opinion doesn't make it a lie.

"The only truth that matters to you is the truth that says Mr. Levant is a bigot hypocrite."

Which I have shown, based on the available fact to be true in my opinion.

"to convince people that Ezra Levant is a horrible human being."

No, it is to convince people that his positions regarding Muslims are wrong and that his motives may be far more mundane than the lofty "freedom of speech" soap box his is currently on.

For the record, I don't hate Ezra Levant. I have never met the man. But I deeply disagree with his politics and his attitude toward Muslims, based on his own words and actions. And I will question his motives and intent in his actions if I like.

No apologies.

 
At 11:26 PM, Blogger Mike Brock said...

You have merely chosen to ignore or minimize them. We see him trying to punish the publication of cartoons and trying to have hate crimes charges laid, even after the RCMP finds no basis to. (see my link above). Therefore, I think it plainly is the case - Ezra will happily try to silence opponents if it suits him.

I read the article, and you know, you obviously didn't read the article very closely. Let's examine Ezra Levant's article together, here, shall we?

The fourth sentence of his article in which your indict him with hypocrisy is this:

It cost millions of tax dollars, and more than that, was an energetic expression of the government's opposition to racial and religious discord. Libertarians were rightly upset that speech -- no matter how vile -- could be criminalized

So up front, Ezra Levant establishes he is against hate speech legislation.

But Mr. Levant asks the question:


Why was Keegstra's offensive but non-violent anti-Semitism taken to the Supreme Court, but Kathrada's is tolerated with impunity?


You know, this was not proof at all. I didn't have to minimize it. Ezra Levant is saying he disagrees with hate speech legislation at the beginning the article, he is merely criticizing courts for not applying the law that he disagrees with in the first place, in a balanced manner. In fact, the entire article plays into Ezra's point, that hate speech legislation is a bad idea, because it's ultimately applied in a political way.

You've proven nothing. You just dug yourself even deeper into a credibility hole. Did you even read the article in question? If so, did you read it carefully?

You are grasping at straws. You still have no evidence.

 
At 8:15 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Nice of you to gloss over the fact that despite that he says he is against hate speech laws, he still demands they be used against that Muslim cleric, even though the RCMP found no basis for a charge.

No, nothing hypocritical about that....

Look, we agree that he has the right to speak and publish those cartoons and we both agree that HRC and hate laws are dangerous to free speech. I support this despite the fact that, in my opinion, based on his past actions and his own writings, he is an anti-Muslim bigot. You clearly disagree with that - in your opinion Ezra is a great guy.

From just the 4 incidents we covered, I think its clear that he supports free speech when it is convenient. To whit, the incident in 93 (which you equivocated and minimized) shows he is not above complaining about cartoons, the incident in 94 with Doug Christie shows he is willing to tolerate speech when he wants to, the incident with the Imam indicates that he wanted hate speech laws applied even though he says he doesn't agree with them and that the RCMP found no evidence to support, and now he is going out of his way to manufacture a circus over a frivolous HRC (that, as I think we both agree should have been turfed the first time it was read and never have gotten this far) and rightly fight for free speech.

I take that, and his now unfortunately unreachable writing from the Sun, as the basis for my opinion (and the opinion of a lot of other people, like the publishers of the Sun for instance) that Ezra is an anti-Muslim bigot.

You don't accept this as valid, therefore I have to shut up and stop slagging him. Free speech indeed.

You are entirely missing Ezra's point as well - I don't have to justify my opinion to you, or an HRC investigator or anyone else. Though I believe my opinion is reasonable, as Ezra said at the hearing, I can say it even it I'm patently unreasonable.

This entire thread, which started by supporting Ezra but questioning his motives, has devolved into an arguement that I am not allowed to hold the opinion about Ezra that I do because Mike Brock thinks there is no 'proof'...

Its not good enough that I support his position, I have to like him and every opinion he spouts. Well, I don't so get over it.

PS. Proof is for math. I think you want evidence. And I believe I have done enough to justify my opinion. If it hasn't met your personal burden, that's your problem not mine. We will simply have to disagree about Ezra Levant.

 
At 10:45 AM, Blogger Dr.Dawg said...

Brock, settle down. Running around calling people liars and threatening them with the possibility of lawsuits doesn't look good on you.

I take your point that Levant was only 19 when he got pissed at the student newspaper, and (I hope) we've all changed our opinions since we were 19. I know I have. But the fact is that Levant is a bigot.

Two examples, one already provided, but it bears reiteration. His column about the "Muslim" bus driver was so vile that the Calgary Sun pulled it, and, as I understand it, dropped him as a columnist. The Calgary Sun is not a leftist newspaper.

The second is his vicious attack on Liberal MP Omar Alghabra. I have blogged about that one here. Note Levant's sleazy references to Alghabra's ethnic origins.

The main point is being lost. This current complaint has no merit. That doesn't mean we have to elevate Levant to sainthood.

 
At 11:08 AM, Blogger RH Potfry said...

It's really hard to take you seriously with that photo of you on a motorcycle with dark glasses. I'm trying, but I keep giggling.

 
At 3:13 PM, Blogger bigcitylib said...

Mike Brock,

He is saying he is against hate speech legislation at the beginning of the article in principle, but closes the article calling for it to be used in this instance. Difficult to square that circle. It isn't as though he is arguing that, even though this case is far more loathsome than Keegstra's he STILL WOULD NOT employ the law. He's saying let 'er rip.

 
At 10:50 AM, Anonymous realist/not/racist said...

Interesting post from a guy who titles his blog “No Heaven. No Hell. No State. Just Science, Reason and Liberty.” Luckily I’d never heard of Ezra Levant before, so my viewing of the videos wasn’t filtered through any bias about the messenger.

I’d suggest you educate yourself about Islam from the primary sources (the Koran and hadiths), and about mainstream Muslims from forums and blogs intended for the ummah (worldwide Muslim community), rather than relying on statements by non-Muslims or western Muslim organizations (both of which have an agenda), Muslim “reformers” (who have been marginalized by the ummah, which is why most have taken refuge in non-Muslim countries), or your own (I presume) Judeo-Christian or secular libertarian values.

(And keep in mind that virtually all Muslim thought leaders view the Koran not as an allegory but instead as the literal word of God on how human beings should live, and Muhammad as the perfect human being who should be imitated as much as possible, and this has been the mainstream viewpoint for virtually the entire history of Islam. The reason reformers who advocate viewing the Koran and Muhammad’s life as allegories are routinely the subject of death fatwas is because they are viewed as having left Islam and are therefore apostates.)

 
At 12:20 PM, Blogger Mike Brock said...

He is saying he is against hate speech legislation at the beginning of the article in principle, but closes the article calling for it to be used in this instance. Difficult to square that circle. It isn't as though he is arguing that, even though this case is far more loathsome than Keegstra's he STILL WOULD NOT employ the law. He's saying let 'er rip.

No, he's pointing out the law applies hate laws inconsistently, and he's being tongue and cheek. The fact is, you (and Mike) refuse to see the nuance, because it doesn't help you in selling your point that he is a hypocrite.

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"No, he's pointing out the law applies hate laws inconsistently, and he's being tongue and cheek. "

That's not how I interpret it, but you may have a different opinion.

"The fact is, you (and Mike) refuse to see the nuance, because it doesn't help you in selling your point that he is a hypocrite."

Or it could be that you are seeing nuance that isn't there because that helps you in your belief that he isn't a hypocrite. I'll raise you one libel suit against a former employee.

It appears this is a difference in interpretations, eh? A difference of opinion based on the same set of circumstances and facts.

 
At 3:51 PM, Blogger bigcitylib said...

Mike Brock,

That does not read tongue in cheek to me. It reads ranting and raving.

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger VinceP1974 said...

Certainly, that is the case here. Levant has used the HRC as a platform to attack Islam in general and Soharwardy in particular.

Good! At least some good will come from this abuse of power by the government.

All Free Men should be repulsed by Islam, the religion as codified in the Koran, Hadith, and Sira.

It's absolutely imperative that any society reject the fullness of Islam ... if that soceity cares about itself and its future.

A religion which mandates its followers engage in an endless war of conquest against all others by any means they can has no place in the modern world, and it is not bigotry to speak against it.

If being a vocal critic of Islam is bigotry then by that statement Mike of this blog is a bigot also.

If Levant is a hypocrite, then Mike is a hypocrite.

 
At 11:23 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Vince,

Thank you for proving my point. Mainstream Islam is no different than mainstream Christianity or Judeasim - a harmless and quaint mythology the generally helps people cope with the world around them.

And each has their literalist, fundamentalist radicals that are more than willing commit acts of violence to uphold their bizarre interpretations of their religions ideas.

I don't go for any religion.

But clearly you are a scholar of Islam (and not some moron repeating talking points he got from other morons at SDA). Why don't you tell us which parts of the Koran (which you have actually read, right?) tell Muslims to "which mandates its followers engage in an endless war of conquest against all others by any means they can".

Considering, of course, that Christians and Jews were, for over 1000 years, allowed to practice their religions in peace, while Europe was burning Jews at the stake and Protestants and Catholics were slaughtering each other in war after war.

I personally would reject Christianity for the same reasons.

 
At 12:22 PM, Blogger VinceP1974 said...

Islam is unlike all other religions. You're simply wrong when you assume it's no different.

>And each has their literalist, fundamentalist radicals that are more than willing commit acts of violence to uphold their bizarre interpretations of their religions ideas.

This is false. There are no violent imperatives in either Judiasm or Christianity. When one takes a fundamental or literalist view of the Bible, you find no sanction for violence in either a literal or figurative sense.

In Islam , you do find proscriptions for violence, thus the more pious the Muslim the more accepting the Muslim is toward the doctrines of Jihad.


The greater deference given to teh Sunnah as the complete rules by which one should live their live means greater acceptance of the doctrines of Jihad.

So you're wrong when you try to equate fundmentalisms. You simply don't know what you're talking about. And it shows because you then go off to talk about Jews and Christians.

Guess what? Anyone who knows even a little bit about Islam would stick to discussing Islam and not change the subject. What Christians or Jews do is irrelevent when discussing Islam or Muslims.

>Why don't you tell us which parts of the Koran (which you have actually read, right?) tell Muslims to "which mandates its followers engage in an endless war of conquest against all others by any means they can".

Thank you for demostrating you know very little about Islam. People who know things about islam would not be asking for this.. even if they disagreed that these verses support my case. Anyone familiar with Islam is familiar with these verses.


Are the enough (my next post will be an example of great historical significance of how these verses are used) ?

Qur'an:9:5 "Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war."

Qur'an:9:112 "The Believers fight in Allah's Cause, they slay and are slain, kill and are killed."

Qur'an:9:29 "Fight those who do not believe until they all surrender, paying the protective tax in submission."

Ishaq:325 "Muslims, fight in Allah's Cause. Stand firm and you will prosper. Help the Prophet, obey him, give him your allegiance, and your religion will be victorious."

Qur'an:8:39 "Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah."

Qur'an:8:39 "So fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief [non-Muslims]) and all submit to the religion of Allah alone (in the whole world)."


Ishaq:324 "He said, 'Fight them so that there is no more rebellion, and religion, all of it, is for Allah only. Allah must have no rivals.'"

Qur'an:9:14 "Fight them and Allah will punish them by your hands, lay them low, and cover them with shame. He will help you over them."

Ishaq:300 "I am fighting in Allah's service. This is piety and a good deed. In Allah's war I do not fear as others should. For this fighting is righteous, true, and good."

Ishaq:587 "Our onslaught will not be a weak faltering affair. We shall fight as long as we live. We will fight until you turn to Islam, humbly seeking refuge. We will fight not caring whom we meet. We will fight whether we destroy ancient holdings or newly gotten gains. We have mutilated every opponent. We have driven them violently before us at the command of Allah and Islam. We will fight until our religion is established. And we will plunder them, for they must suffer disgrace."

Qur'an:8:65 "O Prophet, urge the faithful to fight. If there are twenty among you with determination they will vanquish two hundred; if there are a hundred then they will slaughter a thousand unbelievers, for the infidels are a people devoid of understanding."


Ishaq:326 "Prophet exhort the believers to fight. If there are twenty good fighters they will defeat two hundred for they are a senseless people. They do not fight with
good intentions nor for truth."

Bukhari:V4B52N63 "A man whose face was covered with an iron mask came to the Prophet and said, 'Allah's Apostle! Shall I fight or embrace Islam first?' The Prophet said, 'Embrace Islam first and then fight.' So he embraced Islam, and was martyred. Allah's Apostle said, 'A Little work, but a great reward.'"

Bukhari:V4B53N386 "Our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah alone or pay us the Jizyah tribute tax in submission. Our Prophet has informed us that our Lord says: 'Whoever amongst us is killed as a martyr shall go to Paradise to lead such a luxurious life as he has never seen, and whoever survives shall become your master.'"

Muslim:C34B20N4668 "The Messenger said: 'Anybody who equips a warrior going to fight in the Way of Allah is like one who actually fights. And anybody who looks after his family in his absence is also like one who actually fights."

Qur'an:9:38 "Believers, what is the matter with you, that when you are asked to go forth and fight in Allah's Cause you cling to the earth? Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? Unless you go forth, He will afflict and punish you with a painful doom, and put others in your place."

 
At 12:25 PM, Blogger VinceP1974 said...

An example of Muslims providing to Non-Muslims by what legitimate reason the Muslims had for attacking Non Muslims without provacation:

In 1786 Jefferson and John Adams went to negotiate with Tripoli's envoy to London, Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman or (Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja). They asked him by what right he extorted money and took slaves. Jefferson reported to Secretary of State John Jay, and to the Congress:

The ambassador answered us that [the right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet (Mohammed), that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman (or Muslim) who should be slain in battle was sure to go to heaven.

 
At 5:00 PM, Anonymous realist/not/racist said...

Mike,

You can find 3 side-by-side translations of the Koran here:
http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/009.qmt.html#009.029

And a good place to start to get a feel for what educated religious Muslims are debating (among themselves) is here:
http://www.ummah.com/forum/index.php

(It may be a conservative site but it certainly isn’t one for “radicals” (although it gets its fair share, of all stripes). You’ll have to register to see the hidden “Comparative Religion” thread, which is the most interesting.)

Since by stating that “mainstream Muslims” are no different than "mainstream Christians” you indirectly commented on (and disagreed with) my previous post where I stated that the mainstream Muslim view has always been that the Koran is the literal word of God, I’ll comment again (my final one).

Your Muslim neighbors in Ottawa and western Muslim organizations may have mainstream Muslim views, but they most decidedly do not set them. In addition, there are plenty of examples in history where a not-large group of thought leaders grabbed the “moral high ground” and brought the mainstream along for the ride (the American and Russian (communist) revolutions come to mind). As a secular libertarian, I hope you’re very confident that the Muslim mainstream and/or Muslim religious thought leaders don’t read the Koran and hadiths literally.

After all, there are hundreds of millions of people in this world who are the exact opposite of libertarian: they hate, maybe even fear, free choice, and want an “authority” to provide rigid structure to not only their lives, but to the lives of everyone in society. How else to explain the historical appeal of fascism and, yes, the current appeal of “fundamentalist” Islam across large swaths of world? How else to explain the advance of sharia in Muslim-predominate modern democratic societies such as Malaysia?

Good luck

 
At 5:56 PM, Blogger VinceP1974 said...

To add on to what Realist said...

Of course not every Muslim promotes Sharia or promotes Jihad.. but their religion does.

And the nature of Islam makes it extremely unlikely that the texts that support the imposition of Sharia and Jihad will be disregarded by consesus any time soon.

Indeed with the gradual collapse and eventual abolition of the Caliphate, it appeared that maybe such concepts were gone for good.

But that is not what happened.

Serious thinkers in the post-Caliphate Muslim pondered why it should be that islam was back in the condition that it was in when Mohemmed was around and they came to the conclusion that Islam was in such a poor state because Muslims , over time, moved to far from the original teachings and so the only way to restore teh caliphate (which is the only legitimate system of law , according to islam), then Muslims need to be pious and obey the sharia and not only that, the way to reestablish Islam is to retrace how Mohemmed established it in the first place.

This is the conclusion reached by Muslim Brotherhood and Khomeni in their cicles.

So how was Islam established? Well first they had a small core of non-threatening.. non-consicpious Muslims.

They gave off no indication that they posed a risk to the host society.

Then as their numbers grow they begin to form a community identity. And they interact with the majority not as individuals but as a community. And this is when the indoctrination starts , the hate-inculcation against Non Muslims.. and so it goes.. the enclave expands.. major strive with non-mulsims persists until one side pushes out the other.

This process is going on all over Europe today. This process has been slow in America, I believe, because the immigrants we usually received were not part of this project. We took in skilled non-religious Muslims who wanted to live in the US for the benefits of living here.. Not because they wanted to implement the Muslim Brotherhood's plan of infiltration.

I cant speak for what's going on in Canada because i dont know.

I can predict this will be met with the usual retorts that I'm being a bigot, i'm painting with a broad brush.. i'm paranoid .. i'm a racist.. and all the other cliches that people who dont know what dawa is will say otherwise they'd have nothing to day at all.

Here's a bit of history... you tell me what has changed:

"More Moslems came, and soon a small mosque was built, which attracted yet others. As long as Zoroastrians remained in the majority, their lives were tolerable; but once the Moslems became the more numerous, a petty but pervasive harassment was apt to develop. This was partly verbal, with taunts about fire-worship, and comments on how few Zoroastrians there were in the world, and how many Moslems, who must therefore posses the truth; and also on how many material advantages lay with Islam. The harassment was often also physical; boys fought, and gangs of youth waylaid and bullied individual Zoroastrians. They also diverted themselves by climbing into the local tower of silence and desecrating it, and they might even break into the fire-temple and seek to pollute or extinguish the sacred flame. Those with criminal leanings found too that a religious minority provided tempting opportunities for theft, pilfering from the open fields, and sometimes rape and arson. Those Zoroastrians who resisted all these pressures often preferred therefore in the end to sell out and move to some other place where their co-religionists were still relatively numerous, and they could live at peace; and so another village was lost to the old faith."

Boyce, A Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism, pp. 7-8;

 
At 7:01 PM, Anonymous realist/not/racist said...

No reply to Vince or me (and I don't agree with everything Vince posted), so I’ll add an ad hominem argument, since that’s typical for your blog.

Get your lazy fat ass off the motorcycle, walk to the library, and exercise your lazy fat brain by reading Islamic texts, starting with the Koran. Vince proved you know nothing about the Koran.

Your kids someday might thank you.

 
At 7:37 PM, Blogger VinceP1974 said...

Realist: The ultimate Litmus test for those who are so eager to silence critics of Islam with labels like "racist" or "islamophobe" is when that person dwells in Bible stories, or history of the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church.

Believe me, anyone who knows things about Islam knows those things because he went to through some self-guided effort to learn them.

Such a person who understand islam would not then refuse to speak in terms of Islam when debating Islam.

Only the person who knows nothign about it has the incentive to change the subject to anything, no mattter how pathetically irrelevent. So instead of striving for truth, he continues to engage in delusion and lie.

And then don't forget, the type of Leftist who revels in calling people racist are usually the first ones to boast how "open-minded" they are.. how they have no problem being exposed to new exicting ideas.

Year by year goes by and puported Leftist principle after princple gets shown to be a sham.

They'll go to Saddam's Iraq and protect HIS GOVERNMENT against US Miltiary action, yet where were these peolpe in the past 5 years when Iraqi was being killed by Iraqi, Persian, Saudi, Syrian?

Where are the VW buses from Europe to stand with Iraq against foreign beligerents?

Oh no where. Just like they are for anything else of true significnce.

But watching them come out to call whoever it is they're told to ahte this week every name in teh book (that was last published in 1968 and desperately needs updating)

 
At 1:39 PM, Blogger Charles Anthony said...

Mike, you asked: "Did I miss something?" up above and I believe that you missed something very important.

Levant is FORCED against his will to present himself at the tribunal. He is also FORCED to foot his own bill to present himself at the tribunal.

You are suggesting that he is USING the tribunal as a soapbox and that claim is spurious.

 
At 1:59 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Charles,

Levant was NOT FORCED against his will to show up anywhere. He chose to go in person. He could have answered with a registered letter (under $10) or to say nothing at all. Therefore he voluntarily chose to present himself to the investigator, because doing so suited his own agenda (as noted by 3 days of run-up ranting and the presence of the camera).

Also, this was not a tribunal, but a single person investigating the merit of the claim. There is a difference.

Don't get me wrong here, he should even have to do THAT. This claim against him is spurious and should have been dismissed out of hand before it got this far. It should be dismissed now. I still believe that, as I stated in the first line of this post, that we should not have HRCs or hate speech laws, and instead use our existing common law to remediate speech which provably caused harm.

But lets not clutch our pearls and scream about jackboots and star chambers here, because that is not the case. It shows yet another reason why we should not have these kinds of tribunals, but it is no where near the seriousness it is being made out, except in Ezras fertile imagination.

I would like to point out that a far worse threat to free speech is the reverse onus of our libel laws resulting in SLAPP lawsuits, which, ironically, is exactly what Ezra is doing himself right now. That's right, Ezra is suing someone for writing a letter to the editor that offended him, in an effort to quash his speech.

So, given that, among other things, you'll pardon me if I don't fall for his grandstanding and jump on his bandwagon.

 
At 2:22 PM, Blogger Charles Anthony said...

Thank you, Mike for that reply.
I had the demands of the HRC thing completely wrong.

You have actually won me onto your side.

 
At 2:33 PM, Blogger Mike said...

No problem Charles. Sorry if I was a bit snarky in my reply.

 
At 8:50 PM, Anonymous realist/not/racist said...

A secular libertarian focusing on a publisher’s motives for publishing a satire of a religion, rather than on his right to. Wow.

You would fit in well in Islamic societies. You’d probably be in prison or dead, so your apartment would be available.

 
At 9:45 PM, Blogger Merle Terlesky said...

I could not agree with you more regarding Ezra Levant and check out my blog please at http://merleter.blogspot.com/

I will repost your post on my blog if thats ok??

 

Post a Comment

<< Home