Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"But It's So Much Easier To Demand A Debate Than To Actually Have One!"

Via Ezra Levant

In December of 2007, four law student sockpuppets for the Canadian Islamic Congress filed a Human Rights complaint against Mark Steyn and Maclean's Magazine. To justify their complaint they whined:

True to Canada's tradition of free speech, we decided to engage Steyn in a debate about his views... we asked Maclean's for an opportunity to debate Steyn... It's about ensuring that our media outlets provide a forum for open debate and argument.

And so Mark Steyn has agreed to a debate.

...we've put in a request to let me go mano a mano with the Sock Puppets. Don't care how many there are: One, two, or all three. If Daniel Simard wants to come out of his hiding place, he's welcome to join in for a grand reunion of the original Sock Puppet Four. I'd much rather go mano a mano with the real complainant, Mohamed Elmasry, but his mano is stuck up the Sock Puppets so I guess it's unavailable.

And how did the sockpuppets respond? They refused, of course.

Their main reason is that this is not what they have initially agreed to and that they would not have the time to prepare for such a debate. The other reason they offered is that their complaint is with Macleans' magazine and not Mark Steyn personally.

So the problem is that they wouldn't have enough time to prepare. Perhaps they shouldn't have been calling for a debate since December of 2007 then. And how about that line that their complaint is with Macleans and not with Steyn himself. My only response is to refer you to Ezra's list of quotations in which the sockpuppets explicitly demand a debate with Mark Steyn personally.

Hmm. It's almost as if they have no interest in exchanging views in the "marketplace of ideas." It's almost as if their intention was to strong-arm a magazine and a best-selling author into obeisance to their radical views and not to engage in any manner of liberal dialogue on the subject of Steyn's writings.

Pay attention, would-be abusers of section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act. This is what happens when you bite off more than you can chew. Macleans didn't capitulate, Steyn is as truculent as ever, and the sockpuppets are left looking craven and petty. I couldn't be less suprised that they declined the offer to debate. If they aren't completely humiliated already by the public reaction to their complaint, an hour or two spent discussing the issues with Steyn would certainly be enough to send them scurrying with their tail between their legs.

It's only right that Mr. Levant be given the last word on the matter:

These aren't liberals, interested in an exchange of ideas. These are bullies, interested in not only one-way multiculturalism, but a one-way "debate": they talk, and Canada obeys.

What a bunch of cowards.

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