Thursday, November 3, 2016

How the Left Muzzles Opposition - David Solway




by David Solway

Official and quasi-official bodies that purport to defend “human rights” and that enjoy legal recourse to implement their decisions are perhaps the most potent agencies enforcing conformity to the prevalent ideology

The engines of anti-democratic subversion have been grinding away for decades. The signs and portents all around us. The emergence of the scourge of political correctness and the lockstep leftist agitprop of the mainstream media, for example, are sure indicators of advancing democratic collapse. According to Reporters Without Borders, Canada ranks 18th and the U.S. 41st in its World Press Freedom Index -- a rather shabby performance for ostensibly enlightened democratic nations. Political disinformation has come to supplant journalistic integrity in a sustained effort to steer the electorate toward the socialist agenda of anti-individualism, bigger government, state welfarism and bureaucratic expansion. 

Another important way of facilitating the leftward drift is to mutilate the historical archive or reject the value and influence of history altogether. The historical register which binds a nation to its past and creates a holistic sense of national identity thus becomes a non-factor in the political and cultural zeitgeist. In Canada, for example, we have a postcolonial prime minister who believes that Canada is not determined by its history -- “There is no core identity… in Canada,” Justin Trudeau bloviates, ignorant or dismissive of the institutions developed by classical British liberalism in the country, namely “freedom to associate, speak, create, and to be entrepreneurial.” Similarly, Title IX in the U.S. has materially watered down school curricula to the extent that students no longer have a secure grasp of their country’s history, or any grasp whatsoever -- although the process of epistemic decay dates back many years.

In line with this movement of social engineering, importing third-world refugees with no experience of democratic institutions, particularly from the Islamic Middle East and North Africa, and seeding these immigrants in vote-sensitive regions guarantees loyalty to the progressivist, anti-democratic project and renders the eventual destination of one-party rule increasingly probable. The Hart-Celler 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, promoted by Ted Kennedy, and Canada’s policy of multiculturalism, adopted by former PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1971, opened the floodgates. The flood is now in full tide.

There is yet another weapon in the ideological arsenal of the left which has been extremely effective in forcing compliance with and muzzling opposition to its homogenizing diktats. Official and quasi-official bodies that purport to defend “human rights” and that enjoy legal recourse to implement their decisions are perhaps the most potent agencies enforcing conformity to the prevalent ideology. This is because they have the power to levy onerous fines and judgments sufficient to damage and even lay waste the lives and careers of those who run afoul of their manifold proscriptions. They are the ringwraiths of the dark kingdom. Their websites, however, are golden; after all, protecting “human rights” sound like a noble endeavor. But there is a clandestine flavor to them too. Few know the trivial nature of many of the complaints and the drastic penalties levied for even inadvertent misdemeanors or honest mistakes. Passive or unsuspecting individuals will feel the wrath of these ersatz magistracies. At the same time, those who are cognizant of their sway and peremptory intent make sure to keep their heads down and act as they are expected to, cowering beneath the shadow of punitive reprisal. Compliance with the progressivist orthodoxy is thus assured.

We see how these bodies work in the “preponderance of evidence” clause in Title IX with respect to university adjudication of sexual misconduct claims. The model discards the “burden of proof”/”presumption of innocence” core in civil justice proceedings and, as Joseph Cohn writes in FIRE, “reduces evidentiary standards,” failing to “take into account many due process protections [that] ensure the basic fairness of trials.” It all comes down to what “seems likely” instead of “beyond a reasonable doubt” as the warrant for judicial miscarriage gradually enters the mindset of our cultural authorities. The latitude for abuse is chasm wide.

This powerful bureaucratic adjunct to the progressivist war machine in my country goes by the name of Social Justice Tribunals, within which operates the Human Rights Tribunal, a quasi-judicial, provincially based Star Chamber in which designated “victim groups” -- racial minorities, Muslims, women, female students, “misgendered” people, former criminals, social outliers, disabled persons (which could mean anyone suffering from stress, dyslexia, memory problems, etc.) -- are pro forma prioritized and the most frivolous and untenable suits filed by malcontents are favorably adjudicated. In a typical instance, a prospective renter felt so “broken” and “alone” when he was turned down by the landlord that he won substantial monetary compensation from the unsuspecting offender. In truth, it is the respondent who is “alone” and the system that is “broken.” $5000 plus “prejudgment interest” for feeling hurt seems like a profitable exchange and a tantalizing incentive for others to invest in the complaint industry.

According to the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, perceived “negative treatment” involving “personal characteristics” is “enough to prove discrimination under the Code.” The list of such “personal characteristics” protected under the code is daunting. Nor is there any way of knowing what punishments will be inflicted upon the accused since there are no sentencing guidelines. The whims of the tribunal are decisive and, as we’ve seen, the monetary penalties it habitually imposes are exorbitant. The accused know they had better extend their line of credit. As one adjudicator reasons (article 77 of the judgment in question), “Economic interests and rights do not trump human rights...”

Ay, there’s the rub. Human rights, of course, are anything the tribunal wishes to regard as such, and rarely if ever apply to the defendant, whose freedom of speech and source of income are at the mercy of immoral and avaricious accusers. And they are myriad, as are the decent and bewildered objects of the tribunal’s legalistic depravity. I have surveyed many cases of outrageous decisions manifesting arbitrary rulings and outright bias on the part of the adjudicators. The fact that the complainant is generally provided with free legal counsel, a privilege not afforded to the defendant, in itself tells us all we need to know about the skewed and appalling nature of this kangaroo court. (Full disclosure: I have a personal stake in the matter, as someone dear to me -- I have been advised to refrain from explicit comment -- is now being summoned before the tribunal in a case resting on “subjective feelings” and a series of wholly provable misrepresentations.)

Given this penumbral court’s record, the verdicts handed down are pretty well predictable. The plaintiff, no matter how absurd or extortionate or false the suit, almost invariably wins. Even his or her withdrawal from a case is a form of victory as the defendant is saddled with prohibitive legal costs. In Shakedown: How Our Government Is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights, Ezra Levant reports on innumerable such suits. Those who put up principled resistance are more than likely to find that the Social Justice tank will roll right over them. Levant himself has had to pay over $100,000 in legal fees for defending his right to publish the Danish cartoons and lost his print newspaper the Western Standard into the bargain. What we are remarking is an ancillary, though critical, formula for the advancement of social despotism, the ideological crux of the leftist agenda that functions under the sign of “justice.” But as historian Curtis McManus asks in Clio’s Bastards, “what kind of Justice is it that tells us there are only certain things that human beings can say, think, and feel?” Such “purging and cleansing” are intellectual crimes and cultural degradations, “starting points for tyranny.”

It is impermissible to say this in the current cultural milieu, but we are moving by seven league strides toward a dispensation, as beleaguered University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson explains, in which the weaker members of society -- the low achievers, the dysfunctional, the comparatively unsuccessful, the resentful -- eventually replace their betters in the seats of preference. They cannot tolerate the inexorable lottery of life, that is, the hierarchical structures in which the talented or fortunate rise to the top rungs and the less talented or less fortunate huddle in the bottom percentiles. The hierarchical structures do not, obviously, disappear, but are inverted. We subsequently find ourselves constrained or governed by society’s former losers, incompetents, maladroits or moral idiots -- in the etymological sense of the word “idiot”, the Greek ιδιωτικός: private; enclosed; shut in; i.e., self-encapsulated power mongers and career narcissists. 

It comes as no surprise, then, that our “social justice” types present themselves as paladins fighting for the downtrodden; in reality, they are unaccountable partisans and well paid drones in thrall to the Dunning-Kruger syndrome, a condition in which the intellectually and ethically defective overestimate their level of competence and intelligence. It shows. In accordance with leftist doctrine, the outcome of their efforts is to make the productive strata of society falter and decline. Businesses, which supply the tax base from which tribunal remoras draw their salaries, can be forced into failure as a result of preposterous and unjust claims. Meanwhile the hundreds of millions of dollars wasted annually to maintain this parasitical institution constitute a blight on the fiscal conscience of the nation.

No matter. The Human Rights juggernaut persists in carrying out its mandate. By brandishing the cleaver of ruinous fines and professional umbrage that can seriously disable or even destroy a person, family, or business, Social Justice casts its real victims into a social or economic oubliette from which there is little chance of escape. Tyrannical regimes ensure their rule over their citizenry by violent means, including summary execution. Here, no need to deprive people of their lives; their livelihoods will do.

Unfortunately, the organizational dynamic of the left is difficult to resist as shifting coalitions among allied groups -- what Samuel Eldersveld in Political Elites in Modern Societies called “stratarchy” -- inevitably cohere around a strong conventual leadership and a sense of cultural momentum initiated by that leadership and its affiliates and subsets. Camouflaging its true nature -- the practice of legislative coercion, the crushing of dissent by the threat of social ostracism, job termination, and crippling financial deprivations, and the advancement of bureaucratic collectivization at the expense of individual self-reliance and enterprise -- the progressivist consortium flourishes under the rubrics of freedom, compassion, social responsibility and “Human Rights.”

Ironically, what are lost in the process are human rights. And once human rights grow extinct, the left will have consolidated its political hegemony.

David Solway

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/11/how_the_left_muzzles_opposition.html

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

No comments:

Post a Comment