We’ve got some great laws here. In fact, in the years after the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was proclaimed back in the 1980s, politicians made some spectacular hay with its provisions.
At least one Alberta MLA suggested that some groups (specifically gay people) had “too many rights.”
The saddest part was the applause she drew.
The way I see it, we’re on the right track if we’re upsetting conservatives.
That aside, among the freedoms guaranteed in the charter is that of speech.
Section 2.b sets it out as
“…freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;”
However, we also have this in the above-linked Charter:
“1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” (Bolding mine.)
Now that sounds pretty good. Most folk could do with being on a bit of a leash. After all, we’ve got to get along.
What it really means is anyone who puts up enough of a fuss can get a fundamental right kicked to the curb if doing so is alleged to be for the common good.
I can even be okay with that to a degree.
But here’s the galling part.
We have Hate Crime legislation here, and I have concluded this not a good thing.
I don’t approve of spreading hate. I would rather such awfulness didn’t exist, but it does. Making it a Criminal Code offence is not the way to rid ourselves of it.
I sure don’t want it encouraged, but making it a crime forces it underground, or makes the perpetrators of the crime lie about why it was committed.
Telling the truth gets things out in the open. More importantly,
letting people spew their hatred in public gets the real cause of the hate out in the open.
I believe the root cause of hate is fear.
Hiding feeds it.
Bring it out to the light and let it starve in the face of reason, truth, compassion, and reality.
When we’re afraid to speak out about our prejudices we whisper about them instead. Rumors go around those who perpetuate these myths are never confronted. They’re not taken to task. They are not given the chance to grow and change.
On occasion a hate-monger goes to trial and gets to be a martyr for his or her despicable belief structure. This feeds the whisper campaign even more.
Education, not a criminal record, is the best way to tackle the problem. We can’t force people to change their prejudices. We can only show them why they are wrong.
Among the problems we have is we’ve taken “equal” and equated it with “the same.”
This is wrong and stupid.
No one is the same as anyone else.
Hatred stems from fearing our differences. Forcing hate down to a whisper stifles discussion and understanding in favor of rumors, half-truths, and blatant lies.
How are you ever going to know you’re wrong if you can’t make your mistakes in public without fear of going to jail for something you believe?
The above is a touchy subject.
The effects of spreading lies and hate, commonly violent acts, is already a crime.
But what do you think about spreading the lies and hate?
Should that be a crime, too?
I think it should be eradicated with education, not legislation. Laws do not change minds. If they did, then we would have long since eliminated drinking and driving, murder, and just about everything else.
What do you think?
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Education, Not Legislation
Jasper townsite from Whistler's Mountain.