Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Ez Makes An Exception

Within Levant’s (ideological) framework, then, only public bodies (specifically, publicly-funded human rights bodies) are understood as a threat to freedom of expression. Private businesses and property owners that use their money and power to restrict speech somehow exist outside of Levant’s analysis and beyond his commitment to free speech. (As does the public system of laws and courts that enforces private property rights at the expense of free expression.)

He's definitely pro-frivolous lawsuit.

25 comments:

Ti-Guy said...

This isn't news. Even though the laws with regard to property and defamation limit expression far more severely and more often than the hrc's, they're fine with the speechies. I really think Ezra just hates the fact that the hrc's are accessible to anyone Per Ezra, you should only be as free as what you can afford.

KC said...

I agree that Ezra is a hypocrite in his misuse of libel laws.

But the protesting on private property argument is a red herring. No one person owns all the property in Canada, yet the government exercises jurisdiction throughout. Any protestor has the option of moving to public property or the private property of a more agreeable owner. Its more of a "time and place restriction" (which are usually agreeable to even the most adamant of "speechies") than censorship.

Ti-Guy said...

Any protestor has the option of moving to public property or the private property of a more agreeable owner.There was a case a while back in the States (that might have been overturned by now) that decided that malls in fact constitute public space...that they now served the function of the public square, which the malls had in fact helped to destroy.

These arguments about private property are only valid when it comes to individuals; when it comes to corporations, different principles have to apply, since they (arguably) can exert the power one normally could only expect from the State in the past and have done much to claim "private" ownership of a number of different commons.

KC said...

since they (arguably) can exert the power one normally could only expect from the State I would argue that the power exercised by private corporations is inherently different than that exercised by the state--particularly in relation to expression. At best a corporation can limit your options. The state can take away your freedom altogether.

A corporation can only expel you from the four corners of its property. You can always go elsewhere. The state can throw you in the slammer. My employer says "if you do X you can't work here and you'll have to go elsewhere". My government says "if you do X we'll stop you from doing X, physically if necessary".

Thats a pretty significant difference from where I sit. Maybe malls should be deemed public space for the purposes of public protest but I dont think it makes one a hypocrite to see a difference between preventing protests on private property and preventing protests period.

Ezra is a hypocrite for a lot of reasons. This isnt one of them.

Ti-Guy said...

I'm more than familiar with the rights of property holders. I don't need another explanation of how property rights work.

I'm not making a legal argument, I'm making a moral one. And the distinctions made between the rights that property confer versus those of the State are largely without difference.

By the way, your ignorance of what the corporation is legally able to do versus what it, in reality, all too often does strikes me as naive. Sure, the State can put you in prison...the corporation quite often ruins you, your family, your dog, etc. in ways the State could only dream of in its most sadistic incarnation.

rabbit said...

There's no question that governments are by far the greatest threat to freedom of speech. They have the power, enforced at the point of a gun, to tell every single Canadian how to behave. And they do so constantly.

With private enterprize, people usually have the option of not doing business with the organization. If a mall owner is doing something offensive then one can shop elsewhere. And mall owners are keenly aware of that fact, and tend to behave accordingly.

Ti-Guy said...

There's no question that governments are by far the greatest threat to freedom of speech.Bullshit. You are naive if you don't regonise the power of the media (corporate as it is) to shape thought and in that manner control expression. It's even more incidious because it convinces people that their expression is truly free, when in fact, it is largely just a regurgitation of their propaganda.

The State can be a threat to freedom of expression and one has to be constantly vigilant with regard to it. But it is, nominally, subject to transparency and democratic oversight, whereas the corporation is not.

Seriously, speechies, move on to real issues and discuss those. Your endless complaints about your right to babble on and on got stale long ago.

I notice they're always blithering most on blogs that don't generally ban or moderate/delete comments. Poor, censored dears.

KC said...

the distinctions made between the rights that property confer versus those of the State are largely without difference.You'll have to elaborate. Corporations cannot forcibly confine you (in Canada at least). That is a pretty significant difference.

You can for the most part avoid the power of the corporation by avoiding their property (not that difficult) and not having dealings with them (usually not that difficult). You cannot avoid the power of government.

KC said...

So the solution to corporate media conglomerates is to hand a monopoly over expression over to the even more powerful state? That makes a lot of sense.

Ti-Guy said...

You'll have to elaborate. Corporations cannot forcibly confine you (in Canada at least). That is a pretty significant difference.

Did you happen to read my remark about what corporations can do versus what they *do* do? Especially when they've got hundreds of expensive lawyers to argue the legality of their actions?

Like I said, I don't need to have the law explained to me and I'm not presenting legal arguments.

You can for the most part avoid the power of the corporation by avoiding their property (not that difficult) and not having dealings with them (usually not that difficult). You cannot avoid the power of government.

Read more books.

So the solution to corporate media conglomerates is to hand a monopoly over expression over to the even more powerful stateAre you familiar with the concept known as a strawman?

bigcitylib said...

KC,

Actually, there are cities/towns etc. where the mall is really the only place to hang out. It is also frequently the case that such structures have been built on what was once public land (with the cooperation of the municipal authority) , and have taken over the function of public land.

So there is a moral case to be made in such cases.

Ti-Guy said...

The confusion between property and expression has been a toxic contribution to this debate. And when we see what has happened down South, it is baffling why some Canadians would advance it.

rabbit said...

I cannot help but notice that the great atrocities of the 20'th century were carried out by governments, not corporations.

The Holocaust, Stalinist Russia, China's cultural revolution and great leap forward, and countless unnecessary wars. Although corporations sometimes played a role, the primary perpretrators were governments.

Governments may be necessary and are capable of doing much good, but they are also the greatest threat to our freedom and well being, and that fact must never be forgotten.

And yes, even in a democracy.

Ti-Guy said...

I cannot help but notice that the great atrocities of the 20'th century were carried out by governments, not corporations.They were also challenged and eventually undone through state action or forces coordinated by the state...enlightened states like ours, for example.

rabbit said...

Well, as I said, governments are also capable of doing great good. That does not mean that one stops being wary.

But what are you arguing? That because Canada is a democracy we need not be on guard against the government eroding our basic freedoms?

Although the history of (true) democracies is vastly less bloody than tyrannies, there are many examples of egregious violations of peoples' rights. There is some truth to the statement that democracies sometimes resemble two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch.

Ti-Guy said...

That does not mean that one stops being wary.Except when it's a Conservative government though, eh? Then one must become insensate to everything until somethings can no longer be ignored (if then).

Like I said many months ago, I don't trust you and your ilk to defend anyone's freedom at all and it galls me endlessly that you present yourselves as champions of democracy and freedom. Doubtless compensation for real lives that are meaningless.

The rest of your comment was a pointless strawman.

Gerrard787 said...

"I'm not making a legal argument, I'm making a moral one." - tiToo funny. Stick to being BCL's vulgar lapdog ti.

"Sure, the State can put you in prison...the corporation quite often ruins you, your family, your dog, etc. in ways the State could only dream of in its most sadistic incarnation." - tiWhere does this mytical "corporation" exist ti?

Your version appears to come out of that laughably implausible movie, "Michael Clayton", which daft lefties liked so much.

Gerrard787 said...

"The State can be a threat to freedom of expression and one has to be constantly vigilant with regard to it. But it is, nominally, subject to transparency and democratic oversight, whereas the corporation is not." -tiYou actually think that. Wow. You're a stranger bird then I ever imagined.

Ti-Guy said...

By the way, Rabbit...Do you know why Ezra lies all the time?

Terrence C. Watson said...

Ti-Guy,

"There was a case a while back in the States (that might have been overturned by now) that decided that malls in fact constitute public space"

Was that the Pruneyard case in California?

I kind of like that one.

But, really! Stop whining en passant about how Dawg allows evil demons like me to comment on his blog.

We have to crawl out of the abyss sometimes, if only to take a turn at annoying the filthy hippies.

Ti-Guy said...

It might have been that case, but I thought it was more recent.

But, really! Stop whining en passant about how Dawg allows evil demons like me to comment on his blogWhere have I whined about this? And you're not an evil demon; you're a slightly unsavoury sprite.

rabbit said...

Like I said many months ago, I don't trust you and your ilk to defend anyone's freedom at allYou like to categorize people, don't you Ti-Guy? Does that keep your universe all neat and tidy for you?

If you don't like people "of my ilk" defending anyone's freedom, maybe you should get off your fat arse and speak out against the politically correct speech codes that politicians try to ram down Canadian's throats.

If you think restrictions on speech will never be applied to people "of your ilk" then you're the very definition of a fool.

Terrence C. Watson said...

Ti-Guy,

Over at Dawg's place, maybe three weeks back. Maybe more, but I can't find the thread at the moment.

You complained that you were banned for being a sexist pig (my term, not yours) but that it wasn't fair because he allows Teh Evil Right-Wingers to comment freely.

I wrote a really funny response, too!

Ti-Guy said...

I wrote a really funny response, too!I saw it. I laughed 'til I coughed.

I'm sure I'd never get banned from Dawg's (like I have been, many, many many times) if I just pretended to be an unreachable, unteachable rightwing ideologue. They're the Helen Kellers to his Ann Sullivan.

Captain Guyliner said...

You folks are missing Levant's point. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right that is formalized in s. 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter ONLY protects the citizens of Canada from GOVERNMENT action. Its easier to understand Levant's arguments about "freedom of speech" if you imagine the phrase "2(b) rights" wherever he says it.

Libel and defamation are private causes of action that are not considered legal exceptions or limits to free speech. The causes merely put a price on speech that is injurious to another's reputation. So yes, you can say what you like, but you will be answerable in court to the person who claims against you in a civil proceeding.

As I'm sure you can understand, the above is fundamentally different from the government telling a citizen that they CAN'T say something and will be punished if they do. The Charter was set up to prevent the government from taking such action without the strictest of legal constraints (i.e. proper judicial consideration).

Levant's point is that the HRC's have applied their mandate in a manner that is overbroad and that "chills" a person's ability to exercise their 2(b) rights to the fullest extent of the law --> and he happens to be right.