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“Stay Quiet and You’ll Be Okay”

By Mark Steyn

“….In Copenhagen, in Paris, in Garland, what’s more important than the cartoons and the attacks is the reaction of all the polite, respectable people in society, which for a decade now has told those who do not accept the messy, fractious liberties of free peoples that we don’t really believe in them, either, and we’re happy to give them up – quietly, furtively, incrementally, remorselessly – in hopes of a quiet life. Because a small Danish newspaper found itself abandoned and alone, Charlie Hebdojumped in to support them. Because the Charlie Hebdo artists and writers died abandoned and alone, Pamela Geller jumped in to support them. By refusing to share the risk, we are increasing the risk. It’s not Pamela Geller who emboldens Islamic fanatics, it’s all the nice types – the ones Salman Rushdie calls the But Brigade. You’ve heard them a zillion times this last week: “Of course, I’m personally, passionately, absolutely committed to free speech. But…”

And the minute you hear the “but”, none of the build-up to it matters. A couple of days before Garland, Canadian Liberal MP (and former Justice Minister) Irwin Cotler announced his plan to restore Section 13 – the “hate speech” law under whichMaclean’s and I were dragged before the Canadian “Human Rights” Commission and which, as a result of my case, was repealed by the Parliament of Canada. At the time Mr Cotler was fairly torn on the issue. We talked about it briefly at a free-speech event in Ottawa at which he chanced to be present, and he made vaguely supportive murmurings – as he did when we ran into each other a couple of years later in Boston. Mr Cotler is Jewish and, even as European “hate” laws prove utterly useless against the metastasizing open Jew-hate on the Continent, he thinks we should give ’em one more try. He’s more sophisticated than your average But boy, so he uses a three-syllable word:

“Freedom of expression is the lifeblood of democracy,” said Cotler, who was minister of justice under Paul Martin.

“However…”

Free speech is necessary to free society for all the stuff after the “but”, after the “however”. There’s no fine line between “free speech” and “hate speech”: Free speech is hate speech; it’s for the speech you hate – and for all your speech that the other guy hates. If you don’t have free speech, then you can’t have an honest discussion. All you can do is what those stunted moronic boobs in Paris and Copenhagen and Garland did: grab a gun and open fire. What Miliband and Cotler propose will, if enacted, reduce us all to the level of the inarticulate halfwits who think the only dispositive argument is “Allahu Akbar”….

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