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Off topic: Think politicians don’t want control of the Internet? Read this:

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“if you include a link to a site “where hate material is posted”, you could go to jail for two years.”

This is how, as a Canadian commentator explains:

If you wanted to confirm the notion that elections are a waste of time, you could hardly do it more swiftly than the new Canadian Conservative majority government is with its omnibus crime bill. Clause Five criminalizes the “hyperlink” – that’s to say, if you include a link to a site “where hate material is posted”, you could go to jail for two years.[ … ]

It’s happening because it’s the kind of remorseless incremental annexation of individual liberty to which the permanent bureaucracy has become addicted. And, as I always say, the lesson of the post-Second World War west is that you don’t need a presidency-for-life if you’ve got a bureaucracy-for-life. It’s an outrageous law, poorly written. For example, you might link to a harmless bit of fluff at blandpap.com, but two years later somebody might have posted some “hate material” in a far corner of that site that you’ve never read and have never linked to. Tough. As the typically crappily drawn law currently stands, you’re guilty of a crime. – Mark Steyn

This law may well pass for the simple reason that politicians want an opportunity to silence any inconvenient person who has access to the Internet, merely by getting a staff member to research all links they have made until something incriminating is found. All federal parties in Canada supported legislation making it a criminal offence for private citizens to gather information on candidate’ views on issues and disseminate it – because the political class as a whole wanted to control what issues could be raised during an election. (A court later struck that law down.)

And if you don’t think some of your fellow citizens would like a law of this type for your country, you may not know them as well as you think.

Three key errors that people who want  a future make (errors that cost them money and waste their time):

1. Voting Conservative/Republican as if that is going to solve something. Almost all members of the political class today think the same: They think they can run your life better than you can. The words they use may differ according to the tastes in masters they think they are appealing to.

Many people assume that the dismal Republican performance in cutting the country-killing deficit in the United States is due to loss of nerve or incompetence. No, it is due to being members of a governing class that could not imagine actually doing what constituents who voted mostly want: Quit spending their money on foolish projects. The political class is no longer capable of quitting; the system will collapse first. Put bluntly: Its hard core support now comes mainly from the beneficiaries of those projects.

2. Imagining some help from the private sector (good, old-fashioned free enterprise and all that). The private sector is in business to make money, period. It can make money under oppressive government or responsible government. Responsible government is a civilized taste, whether in ancient Athens or today, not a common one. Worldwide, most people prefer a self-proclaimed saviour ranting from high on a platform. And business goes along with whatever sells – American Sign Language for deaf witnesses/defendants in the courts or government-paid ice cream at public executions of dissenters.  It’s the paying customer who decided what the job is.

3. Mistaking bright spots for a general trend. Now and then someone who has incurred the anger of Islamists by warning against them gets acquitted of the “crime” of offending them. But that crime remains on the books, and others won’t be so lucky. When a raped girl was caned to death in Bangladesh recently (Islamic fatwa), widespread outrage ensued. But another girl will suffer a similar fate and never be heard of.

Will a collapse of government under seas of debt usher in a new era of freedom? No, because the people who most hate (really seriously hate) government of any kind are career criminals – unless they become the government, which they would, given a collapse. In some places, you wouldn’t notice a difference of course but in Toronto, for example, you would.

So what do I recommend? Individual declarations of independence. Mark Steyn has vowed to break the proposed law every chance he gets. I will too – though it won’t be very hard for me because lots of my posts are already considered “hate” by people who need the reassurance of stale deadbeat tax-funded ideas that never did any good for those who indulge in them but sound nice in the ear canal.

Either one is free to speak or one is not. If not then by what authority is the censorship done? If there is a law against speech then there is. Then its up to that nation to decide which speech should or if any should be censorsed. I have an impression there is not just a slander law in Canada but some kind of speech control law. I think they push they are just prohibiting speech that advocates violence against someone. Then they twist this into anything they don't like and censor till the cows come home. I always find its just a tool for those identities trying to impose themselves upon society who once were not accepted. or that they have a unique relationship with society and want protection from criticism. Its always identity groups. Once again it comes down to the right of man to tell the truth. tHerefore we must all suffer insults because we must not suffer censorship from gov't or private action. Slander laws work because they oppose lies. there is no such thing as hate speech. Its a fraud of a invention to justify censorship and punishment of unwelcome speech by powerful interests. Creationism bumps into this and merely reveals the wicked attempt to destroy Anglo-American historic freedoms. Robert Byers
Denyse, I often refer back to the only practical knowledge I have on these dynamics, and that was in my former job of working in a very dangerous environment with dangerous people (I'm on disability now, so I'm not working there - but not because of working there ;) ) But anyway, the difference between a good administrator in that kind of environment - one who keeps people safe is in setting up priorities for the people who work there. One administrator from years ago did not like our mentally ill residents cursing. Literally (where do you think I came up with that analogy? ). The new administrator was a lot more practical: "Say what? You're going to tell a schizophrenic man who believes you're his enemy not to curse at you? Don't you think it would be far more practical and effective to tell him to put the chair down?" And after that little bit of educating and empowering, we became much more effective. It's these kinds of experiences, which make me want to just go and (not literally) knock some sense into some people. Seriously though. These people really believe they are creating a more genteel society; and that's what's so scary about them. They have such good intentions. And they're very vocal here too. CannuckianYankee
Cannuckian, come home, dammit! No but seriously you are right of course. It was exactly the point I made to literary mavens this evening. Budgets intended to combat stuff like child purn will get wasted on stupidities around the "perpetually offended". Defamation insurance will be unaffordable because no one can predict the amount created by the uncertainty. Sensible people shut up abruptly, and who will we be hearing from then? O'Leary
When a society starts to incriminate law abiding citizens simply because they have an opinion that is out of sync with one particular groups, you create an environment where there's no strong boundary between what is legal in the moral sense, and what is not. I would expect an increase in violent crime simply because some people will feel that they can't vent in any other way, but also because they're really confused as to what's really expected of them. Here's how that dynamic works. You set up laws to protect people from real dangers; the molesters, murderers and bullies. Your whole system is designed to do just that. Then while you're busy doing your policing in order to keep things safe, somebody comes along and says "no cursing. I'm offended, so there will be no cursing!" And they're serious about it, and if they yell it loud enough it gets the attention of those who are supposed to be doing the real protecting; either because they agree, or they just want the pest out of their hair. Either way it works. Meanwhile down the street there's a woman being molested and down the other street there's a child being beaten up by bullies, and we can no longer hear their screams because this anti-cursing person is yelling louder than them. I tell you, it's bound to cause confusion. It's a really sick society that misconstrues such priorities. CannuckianYankee
Mung at 1: It's not so much that there is no freedom of association as that society here became obsessed with people's feelings and with preventing hurt feelings, righting past injustices where everyone involved is dead, etc. The instrument was "human rights" laws. As a matter of fact, Canadian bloggers wouldn't link to this very post because they were afraid of aggravating any current charges or accusations against them. One problem is that some people's hurt feelings are much more highly regarded than others. Major public figures have been hauled before tribunals here for supposedly insulting Islam. I know of no one who has ever been hauled before a tribunal for insulting Christianity, and doubt Christians would typically want to prosecute such a case. But that's just IT, don't you see?! Those who do want to prosecute such a case are free to chip away at everyone's freedom to discuss public affairs without fear. DrREC, it's worse than "justifiable"; there's also the famed notwithstanding clause, by which any province can opt out of a Supreme Court decision or federal law. What keeps Canada a reasonable place to live is the vast majority of hard-working citizens who look after their neighbours and avoid crime and violence. The trouble is, "human rights" legislation puts them at unknown risk. O'Leary
Seems like the error is in Canada's charter on rights and freedoms. We'll see how far it compounds. Universal rights and freedoms, sure--but only as limited by what is 'justifiable' (as determined by the government that such charters are supposed to protect citizens from). DrREC
Obviously we are going to now need to create a database of "hate-links" so that service providers can monitor their use an inform the government. Is it illegal to have a "hate-site" or merely to link to one? I take it there's no freedom of association in the great white north. Mung

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