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Happy Warrior

Death to Freedom

by Mark Steyn

For half a decade, ever since the Canadian Islamic Congress attempted to criminalize my writing, I’ve found myself waging a grim campaign for freedom of speech in my native land. We’ve had some success along the way, seeing off the Islamic enforcers, and getting a disgraceful federal law first rendered unenforceable and then repealed by the House of Commons. My comrade Ezra Levant and I are excitable chaps: As I like to put it, we went Magna Carta on the Canadian censors’ medieval ass. My publisher, Ken Whyte, is rather more house-trained, and used to say that the end game was getting the issue to the supreme court in Ottawa and having it ruled unconstitutional. He seemed confident we had the votes.

No, we don’t. Last month, the Canadian supreme court, at a stroke, undid all the good work of the last five years, reaffirmed the state’s role in the thought-crime business, rejected truth as a defense, and took a narrow, generation-old ruling on “hate speech” and carelessly broadened it. And they did it unanimously. Nearly four centuries after John Milton declared, “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties,” on the highest court in one of the oldest democratic jurisdictions on earth there is not a single vote for the rough-and-tumble of unfettered speech necessary to any free society.

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