A View From the Cheap Seats

June 10, 2008

Tribunal of the Century


By Rich Trzupek

Last week witnessed the Trial of the Century, although – to be fair – it wasn’t actually a trial and it hasn’t been much of a century so far. Still, we must be grateful for what we have.

It was a classic battle, pitting freedom of the press versus oppressive government. What was most surprising was not the fact that this “trial” did not occur in a country ruled by a totalitarian regime, like Iran, Cuba, China or any of the other usual suspects. Rather, it took place in that bastion of democracy, that liberal-haven to our north: Canada.

This was a not a surprise, because the trial was part of a logical, liberal progression that started under the country’s ultra-liberal, ex-Nazi sympathizer premier: the late, not-so-great and entirely unlamented Pierre Trudeau.

What was most surprising was the fact that a trial this important was ignored by so many for so long. Last week’s events in the Great White North are a harbinger of things to come in the States – of things that are already have come to pass to some extent – and that will only get worse under the Brave New World that our new Dear Leader, Barack Hussein Obama promises to impose on us.

If a group of our fellow countrymen dare to exercise their constitutional right not to listen to crappy music by boycotting the Ditzy Chicks, excuse me – the Dixie Chicks – because the Chicks have exercised their constitutional right to have a dopey opinion, well then there is no shortage of pundits, politicians and pathetic panderers to puerile privilege prepared to pummel the protesters. (Sorry, there has been a tragic outbreak of alliteration in the Chicagoland area…). “This is censorship!” they’ll cry.

Similarly, if the government suggests that it might be worthwhile to attempt to tap into communications between Osama bin Laden and Ali bi Krazy, because it’s 2008 and we have this little communication tool called the internet and, much to our surprise, internet communications also pass through the United States, this plainly won’t do either. This is “domestic spying”! This is the first step in taking away our ancient right to surf disturbing porn sites in peace! If the Continental Army didn’t suffer though Valley Forge so that we could anonymously oogle nude, bisexual, Amish cheerleaders, then what was the point?!

But, just across the border, the government of Canada, through its bizarre mind control ministry, otherwise known as the Human Rights Commission, tries to muzzle free speech and we hardly hear a word. Where are outraged pundits? Where, Sweet Jesus, are the outraged liberals? If freedom of the press is not a liberal virtue, then what’s left?

Canada’s biggest news weekly, Macleans, published excerpts from Mark Steyn’s best seller “American Alone” back in 2006. (A book that the brilliant, and brilliantly satirical, Steyn advertises thus: “Best seller in America – Hate crime in Canada”).

In his tome, Steyn presents a carefully thought out, convincing and amusing case that radical Islam represents a dire threat to western, Judeo-Christian civilization. He points to increasing Muslim birth rates, combined with decreasing birth rates in the west, along with a substantial minority of fanatics in the Muslim population who – by their own admission – do not approve of western culture. His conclusion? The west is in for some very tough times.

A small, yet terribly aggrieved, group of Muslims complained. That’s fine, but in Canada you can complain to the Humans Rights Commission, which operates official, yet oddly extra-legal, tribunals designed to ensure that no one gets their feelings hurt – ever.

The persecution (yes, yes, I know what this word is supposed to be – I’m simply being accurate) admitted that Steyn noted that the majority of Muslims are not nut-balls, but that wasn’t good enough. Apparently Steyn should have made the point in ALL CAPS, or added a couple of “really, reallys” to satisfy them.

If in fact they could be satisfied, which I doubt. All they wanted, they piously explained, was editorial control over Macleans for a week in order to print a 5,000 word counter-argument. Oh, and they get to design the cover too. That’s all.

Since the magazine wouldn’t surrender to these very reasonable demands, the complainants took the only step they had left to get their message out: they took Macleans to kangaroo court. And when I say the “only step they had left”, I am of course discounting letters to the editor, interviews on the television and radio, articles in other publications, access to the entire internet and shouting across the fence to their neighbors, for none of these other modes of communication are available to them, apparently.

They sniffed that Steyn’s book (no matter the disclaimer about the reasonable Muslim majority) had incited hatred and violence against the Muslim community in Canada. One must acknowledge that there have been peaceful, democracy-loving Muslims who have been the target of unreasonable violence and hatred in North America. However – and this may be a stretch – I think that the fact that their crazy co-religionists blow up embassies, office buildings and each other in the name of religious revolution has a little more to do with eliciting this reaction than the musings of an accomplished, insightful author.

We should not excuse violence and hatred that harms an innocent. Of course. Do we even need to say this? We should, however, be realistic enough to admit where said violence and hatred comes from, and – no matter what – we should not assume that the situation will be improved by stifling the free exchange of ideas.

Can’t happen here you say? It’s already happening here. Just last week, the City of Bloomington arrested a young man who got into a verbal (non-physical) confrontation with another young man. One of these young men happened to be gay. The other was not. One of them was not arrested. The other was, and was charged with a “hate crime”. Care to guess which young fellow was arrested? And that’s not the first time that the Thought Police have used “hate crime” statutes as a means to impose their will in this country.

Tell me that we won’t see more of the same once “President Touchy-Feely, We All Have To Respect Each Other” assumes office. “We all have to respect each other” is classic liberalspeak for: “you better start thinking like I do, or there WILL be consequences”.

Or, to quote William F. Buckley Jr.: “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

God help us.



  1. Mark Steyn is one of the greatest columnists in print. More proof that the cheese has slipped off the liberal cracker.

    Comment by Wild Bill — June 11, 2008 @ 3:00 pm | Reply

  2. You got that right Bill. I read a lot of people and I think to myself: “hell, I’m a better writer than that guy!” (I refer to this as my “Eric Zorn syndrome”). But, when I read Steyn, I think “not only will I never be as good a writer as him, I’ll never be as sarcastic as him either.” The bastard…

    Comment by trzupek — June 11, 2008 @ 3:47 pm | Reply

  3. Ricardo,

    Not to detract from your serious subject, but there has not been a “tragic outbreak of alliteration in the Chicagoland area.” The world will little note, nor long remember that what we have witnessed here is merely a tragic misuse of a literary term.

    In a recent On Language column in the NY TImes Magazine, William Safire notes, “Sounds and not letters are what make alliteration. In the most famous example of vowel sounds — Charles Churchill’s 1763 ‘apt alliteration’s artful aid’ — only the first two words are roughly alliterative; although the last two begin with the same letter, they are not alliterative.”

    Affectionately yours,


    Comment by Pamela Landers — June 16, 2008 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

  4. I had contemplated saying: “I can’t stop P-eeing” instead, but I didn’t think that line would make it past the editors at the Mighty Examiner.

    And of course, you are right Pam. You are always right, which is what makes you so annoying!



    Comment by trzupek — June 16, 2008 @ 4:15 pm | Reply

  5. Dear Cheap:
    I have known since the first time I picked up a Streamwood Examiner that you were delusional, but I assumed you were just ignorant. Not until this column did I realize just how blatantly dishonest you are.
    It frightens me that there are people who actually take this drivel seriously.

    Comment by Poindexter — June 22, 2008 @ 8:16 am | Reply

  6. As much as it pains me to respond to a comment posted by someone who is apparently incapable of distinguishing between the title of a column and the author of said column, I must wonder: what exactly enraged you so about this particular piece, Mr. Poin-in-the-arse?

    Do you pretend that the Tribunal, to which Mr. Trzupek refers, did not occur? Do you support such proceedings? Or would you rather that these kinds of mind-control tactics were swept under the rug? No, no – perhaps it’s not that. Maybe it’s that you can’t imagine that it could happen in the US and you can not fathom any connection between so-called hate crime statues and this kind of thinking. Brining up these issues may be “dishonest” in your world, but your sort of lazy, casual ignorance is imbecillic in mine.

    Comment by David Johansen — June 23, 2008 @ 12:13 am | Reply

  7. Hey Poindexter – to paraphrase Steve Martin talking to another blowhard in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” – ‘by the way, you know, when you’re posting these little “thoughts”? Here’s a good idea – have a POINT. It makes it SO much more interesting for the reader.’

    There’s plenty to pick on with these columns, why don’t you try pointing something out? I’m sure typing up all the un-backed up insults made you feel all good, but like most of us learned long ago, masturbation best kept in private. So why not clean off your keyboard, find a grown-up to define “example” for you, and try again.

    Comment by Pubicus — June 25, 2008 @ 6:54 am | Reply

  8. The above may just be the greatest comment in the history of comments. Wow – just… wow.

    Comment by trzupek — June 25, 2008 @ 8:29 am | Reply

  9. Pubicus-1

    Comment by Wild Bill — June 26, 2008 @ 9:23 am | Reply

  10. […] past June, I published this column about Mark Steyn’s ordeal at the hands of Canada’s Human Rights Tribunal, aka: goodthink […]

    Pingback by threedonia.com » Blog Archive » Flame On! — December 20, 2008 @ 1:03 pm | Reply

  11. This will remind most of those long forgotten days of studying feverishly for SAT’s but, one of my favorite quotes of all time is (yes this is from TV); “If Christian is to KKK then Muslim is to what?” Think before you answer people…Muslim Extremist! Every religion has finatics, it just happens to be a poor choice of terminology that both extremes of the Muslim Religion happen to contain the word “Muslim”. No matter how you dice it, we teach our children to love and to hate. No book can do that, even the bible, in and of itself.

    Comment by P. Fox — January 5, 2009 @ 11:19 pm | Reply

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