I find myself slightly ashamed. I have discovered a new hero, a champion of free speech and our Constitutional rights — and he’s not an American.
He’s a Canadian by the name of Ezra Levant, and he’s currently facing a “hearing” before Canada’s Human Rights Commission because a few years ago, when he was the publisher of the Western Standard, a magazine, and he chose to publish the infamous Mohammed cartoons. It seems some Muslims in Canada were so upset over that move, they filed a complaint with the HRC (he refuses to call it by its formal name, as he considers it a gross perversion of the concept of “human rights,” and he has a point), which is putting him on non-trial for his offense.
It should be noted that the same commission has filed charges against Mark Steyn for similar offenses, and further noted that in its several years of existence, has a perfect record for convictions — and has never acquitted anyone.
Well, Mr. Levant was summoned to the Kommissar to answer for his horrific offenses — but he came loaded for bear. My colleague Jim Addison beat me to the punch but Charles Johnson has the fourth part of this amazing series, and one of his readers, a fine person called “MagnaniomousCoward,” posted a link to the the first three videos on a file-sharing site. (They’re in FLV format there, but I’m working on converting them, and might post them in a different format myself.)
Mr. Levant is posting the videos on his own YouTube channel. I’d advise anyone with the slightest interest and concern to download them as quickly as possible, as YouTube has a history of deleting videos that offend Islamist sensibilities (now THERE’S a delightful oxymoron), and these do that in spades.
Mr. Levant’s travails — and absolutely brilliant and inspirational response to his persecution — remind me of a very fundamental truth that we all take for granted, a founding principle not only of the United States, but Western civilization itself.
We talk a great deal about rights, but sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between a “right” and a “privilege.” If something is a right, then it is not something that can be freely regulated or limited or curtailed by the government. If it is a privilege, then it exists solely at their pleasure, and can be revoked at any time.
So, how does one readily distinguish between a right and a privilege?
Mr. Levant has put me in mind of what I think is a perfect test to separate the two. I call it the BIFFLI rule:
If the government asks why you exercised a certain right or privilege, then you should answer. If the action in question is a privilege, then you should explain your rationale for doing what you did, and why you thought it was a good idea at at a time.
But if it’s a right, then there is one answer you can give that, by rights, will instantly resolve any and all questions and concerns that the government may have, and remove all doubt about whether you had the right to do something:
“BECAUSE I FUCKING FELT LIKE IT!!!!!”
Let’s run that argument through a few test cases.
“Mr. Tea, why did you call that person an ‘evil, sick, scum-sucking maggot and a boil on the buttocks of humanity?'” Yup, it fits here.
“Mr. Tea, why did you drive your car down the sidewalk?” Nope, doesn’t work.
“Mr. Tea, why did you kneel down in your front yard and pray to the Great Green Arkleseizure?” OK, that works.
“Mr. Tea, why did you tell the police they couldn’t search your house without a warrant?” Absolutely works.
Mr. Tea, why did you spray-paint ‘Kilroy Was Here’ on the World War II Memorial?” Sorry, doesn’t fly.
“Mr. Tea, why did you plant a flag in your neighbor’s yard, declare that you had claimed it in the name of The Republic Of New New Hampshire, and attempt to sell the mineral rights to Donald Trump?” Fun notion, but nope.
“Mr. Tea, why do you want to own a gun?” Absolutely.
There. In a nutshell, you have the answer to most of your questions about your rights.
And I have to thank Mr. Levant, who showed me just how to apply this test, but in considerably less vulgar fashion. Sir, you are a hero to all of Western civilization.
Here’s hoping Canada doesn’t make you into a martyr.