Transcript: Christopher Hitchens | Jan 07, 2007

[Theme music plays]

The opening sequence rolls. The logo of “Big Ideas” featuring a lit lamp bulb appears against an animated green slate.
Then, Andrew Moodie appears in the studio. The walls are decorated with screens featuring lit lamp bulbs, and two signs read “Big ideas.”
Andrew is in his early forties, clean-shaven, with short curly black hair. He’s wearing a gray sweater.

He says HELLO!
I'M ANDREW MOODIE AND THIS IS
BIG IDEAS.
NOW, WHEN LAST SUMMER, MEL
GIBSON WAS STOPPED IN CALIFORNIA
FOR SPEEDING AND DRUNK DRIVING,
A LEAKED POLICE REPORT DESCRIBED
A DRUNKEN GIBSON DECLARING THAT
JEWS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THE
WARS IN THE WORLD.
AND I HAVE TO SAY THAT, YOU
KNOW, I HAD TO ASK MYSELF...
WHAT IF HE'S RIGHT?
SO I DID A LITTLE RESEARCH AND I
WAS SURPRISED TO DISCOVER THAT
KIM IL-SUNG, THE FOUNDER OF
NORTH KOREA WHO ATTACKED SOUTH
KOREA IN 1950, WAS ACTUALLY BORN
KIM IL GOLDBERG!
AND GENERAL PERVEZ MUSHARAF?
LEADER OF PAKISTAN, A COUNTRY
POISED FOR NUCLEAR CONFLICT WITH
INDIA?
I FIND OUT THAT HIS REAL NAME IS
MANISHEVITZ!
OKAY, SO THE INFORMATION COMES
FROM jewsruletheworld.com
BUT WHAT IF??
THEN, EVEN IF IT ISN'T TRUE, CAN
ONE JUST ASK QUESTIONS?
AS IN, WHAT DO YOU CALL IT...
UH, FORMULATING A HYPOTHESIS?
[Chuckles]
THAT'S RIGHT, A HYPOTHESIS.
ALL KIDDING ASIDE, GIBSON WAS
SKEWERED BY THE MEDIA AND
RIGHTLY SO.
BUT HIS STATEMENTS WERE NOT
INTENDED FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION.
IT WAS A DRUNKEN RANT AIMED AT A
POLICE OFFICER.
IS THAT A HATE CRIME?
WELL, HOW ABOUT DAVID AHENAKEW,
A FORMER CHIEF OF THE ASSEMBLY
OF FIRST NATIONS AND A
RECIPIENT OF THE ORDER OF
CANADA, WHO ONCE TOLD A REPORTER
THAT HITLER WAS ATTEMPTING TO
CLEAN UP THE WORLD WHEN HE FRIED
6 MILLION JEWS IN THE HOLOCAUST?
HE WAS CHARGED AND FOUND GUILTY
OF PROMOTING HATRED.
HIS ORDER OF CANADA WAS TAKEN
AWAY AND HE WAS CHARGED 1,000 dollars.
NOW HERE'S THE QUESTION OF
TODAY'S EPISODE--
SHOULD HE HAVE BEEN?
IS FREE SPEECH TRULY FREE IF YOU
CAN'T SAY THINGS THAT ARE
ABHORRENT, DESPICABLE...
WRONG?
OR TO PUT IT MORE SUCCINCTLY,
DOES FREEDOM OF SPEECH INCLUDE
THE FREEDOM TO HATE?
AND IF YOU PUT 'BE IT RESOLVED'
IN FRONT OF IT, WHAT YOU GET IS
THE PROPER WAY OF FORMULATING
CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY-STYLE
DEBATE, WHICH IS WHAT HAPPENED
EARLIER THIS FALL WHEN THE HART
HOUSE DEBATING CLUB AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO ENGAGED
WITH THE RESOLUTION IN FRONT OF
A PACKED AUDITORIUM.
COULD IT BE BECAUSE SOMEONE VERY
CONTROVERSIAL AND FAMOUS WAS
GOING TO SPEAK?
LET'S WAIT TO FIND OUT.
AND IN THE MEANTIME, LET'S HEAR
THE ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR AND
AGAINST HATE SPEECH AS FREE SPEECH.

A clip plays in which a young man dressed in a black robe sits behind a desk in a wood-lined auditorium.
A caption reads “Ethan Hoddes as Speaker of the House.”

Ethan says I MUST WARN
MEMBERS THAT, IN THIS HOUSE,
THERE WILL BE NO SMOKING, NO
TAKING OF SNUFF...

[Audience laughter]

Ethan continues NO DISCHARGING
OF FIREARMS, RINGING OF CELL
PHONES, OR ANY OTHER DISORDERLY
CONDUCT.
THE RESOLUTION BEFORE THE HOUSE
TODAY IS: BE IT RESOLVED THAT
FREEDOM OF SPEECH INCLUDES THE
FREEDOM TO HATE.

Interjection: HEAR HEAR!

[Applause]

Another man in his twenties appears at the podium. He has short brown hair and wears glasses and a black suit.
A caption reads “James Renihan as Prime Minister.”

James says LADIES AND
GENTLEMEN, SECTION 3.19, SUB. 2
OF THE CANADIAN CRIMINAL CODE
MAKES IT A CRIMINAL OFFENCE TO
WILFULLY PROMOTE HATRED AGAINST
ANY IDENTIFIABLE GROUP BY
COMMUNICATING STATEMENTS OTHER
THAN IN PRIVATE CONVERSATION.
AND AN INDIVIDUAL WHO VIOLATES THIS LAW
AND PROMOTES HATRED AGAINST AN
IDENTIFIABLE GROUP CAN BE PUT IN
PRISON FOR UP TO 2 YEARS.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE VALUE
OF SPEECH AND THE REASON WHY IT
IS RECOGNIZED AS A FUNDAMENTAL
RIGHT IN ALL LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES
IS THAT, WHEN YOU ARE ABLE TO
SPEAK FREELY AND SPEAK YOUR
MIND, YOU ARE ABLE TO ACTUALLY
SELF-ACTUALIZE YOURSELF AND
FULFILL YOURSELF.
YOU ARE ABLE TO ANNOUNCE TO THE
WORLD WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU
BELIEVE IN.
IF YOU RESTRICT PEOPLE FROM
SPEAKING THESE THINGS AND LEAVE
THEM MAINLY TO THE WORLD OF
THOUGHTS AND BELIEFS, YOU DENY
THEIR EXISTENCE AS A SOCIAL
PERSON, SOMEONE WHO'LL REALLY
ONLY FIND THEIR REALIZATION AND
LET THE WORLD KNOW WHO THEY ARE
IF THEY CAN SPEAK ABOUT THE
THINGS THAT THEY HOLD NEAREST
AND DEAREST TO THEM.
IT IS AN UNFORTUNATE REALITY
THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO THINK
THAT A CORE PART OF THEIR
PERSONALITY, AND THAT SOMETHING
THAT IS IMPORTANT TO THEM,
MANIFESTS ITSELF IN HATRED
TOWARDS OTHER GROUPS AND BELIEFS
ABOUT THOSE GROUPS.
AND THAT IS SOMETHING THAT WE
MUST PROTECT IF WE BELIEVE
INDIVIDUALS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO
ACTUALLY BE INDIVIDUALS IN
SOCIETY.
AND IF WE LOOK TO THE HEURISTIC
DEVICE OF THE SOCIAL CONTRACT, I
WOULD PUT TO YOU THAT NO
INDIVIDUAL WOULD AGREE TO
RELINQUISH THE RIGHT TO BE AN
INDIVIDUAL MERELY FOR THE
SECURITY THAT THE STATE OFFERS THEM.
INDEED, CONDEMNING PEOPLE'S
ABILITY TO SPEAK TELLS THEM THAT
THEY CANNOT ANNOUNCE TO THE
WORLD WHO THEY ARE AND BE THE
PERSON THAT THEY SEE THEMSELVES
TO BE, AND THIS IS NOT SOMETHING
WE CAN EVER TAKE AWAY FROM
SOMEONE SIMPLY BECAUSE WE DON'T
LIKE THE KINDS OF THINGS THEY'RE
TALKING ABOUT.
RORY.

Rory says BUT WHEN
SOMEBODY'S IDEA OF
SELF-ACTUALIZATION GOES BEYOND
SPEECH TO ACTUAL VIOLENCE, WE
RESTRICT THAT.
SO SPEECH THAT HAS A PROBABLE
CONSEQUENCE OF VIOLENCE, WHY IS
THAT ALLOWED?

James says WELL, I THINK
THE BIG DIFFERENCE IS BECAUSE
VIOLENCE IS SOMETHING THAT
ACTUALLY CONCRETELY AND DIRECTLY
INTERFERES IN ANOTHER
INDIVIDUAL'S ABILITY TO ACTUALLY
BE THEMSELVES AND TO
SELF-ACTUALIZE IN SOCIETY.
SO THAT IS WHERE WE CRIMINALIZE
THOSE THINGS AND ANY INDIVIDUAL
WHO, BECAUSE THEY HEAR HATED
SPEECH, RESULTS IN ATTACKING
ANOTHER, THAT PERSON SHOULD
CERTAINLY BE PUT IN JAIL AND
SHOULD HAVE THEIR RIGHTS
CURTAILED.
BUT TO BAR IT FROM THE OUTSET,
TO SAY THAT “JUST IN CASE
SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN, WE REFUSE
TO ALLOW YOU TO BE AN
INDIVIDUAL” IS NOT PERMISSIBLE
IN A PROPERLY-WORKING LIBERAL
DEMOCRACY.
THE SECOND ARGUMENT I'D LIKE TO
LOOK AT IS THE PROBLEM OF
SELF-CENSORSHIP THAT ARISES IN
THESE CASES.
NOW, I PUT TO YOU, LADIES AND
GENTLEMEN, THAT MOST OF US
PROBABLY ARE NOT SURE WHAT
EXACTLY CONSTITUTES HATE SPEECH.
WHAT ARE ITS LIMITS?
WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO DO
TO COME WITHIN THE AMBIT OF THIS
PROVISION?
AND THE PROVISION IS AS I READ
TO YOU AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS
SPEECH.
IT NECESSARILY NEEDS TO BE BROAD
IF IT'S TO HAVE ANY PURCHASE IN
SOCIETY AT ALL.
WE CANNOT SIMPLY STIPULATE WHICH
THINGS ARE HATRED AND WHICH ARE
NOT.
BUT THE NECESSARY RESULT OF THIS
IS THAT THERE WILL BE MANY
INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE CONCERNED
THAT SOMETHING THEY HAVE TO SAY
MIGHT FALL WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF
THIS STATUTE, MIGHT ACTUALLY BE
HATE SPEECH, AND THUS WILL ELECT
NOT TO SAY THESE THINGS BECAUSE,
SHOCKINGLY ENOUGH, THEY DO NOT
WANT TO BE A CRIMINAL AND THEY
DO NOT WANT TO RISK GOING TO
JAIL FOR 2 YEARS EVEN IF IT'S
ACTUALLY THE CASE THAT THIS IS
LIKELY TO HAPPEN BECAUSE THEY'RE
WORRIED ABOUT IT HAPPENING.
NOW WHAT IS THE RESULT OF THIS?
THIS MEANS INDIVIDUALS ACTUALLY
SELF-CENSOR THE THINGS THEY'RE
GONNA SAY IN WAYS THAT ARE
DETRIMENTAL, NOT SIMPLY TO THEM,
BUT TO SOCIETY AT LARGE.
BECAUSE IT MIGHT BE THE CASE
THAT THERE ARE INDIVIDUALS THAT
HAVE STRONG OPINIONS ON
IMMIGRATION ISSUES, ON FOREIGN
POLICY ISSUES, ON ISSUES OF
RELIGION AND SOCIETY, ON ISSUES
OF CANADIAN INVOLVEMENT AROUND
THE WORLD, ON ISSUES OF
TERRORISM THAT THEY WORRY ABOUT
BRINGING INTO A POLITICAL
DISCOURSE BECAUSE THEY FEAR THAT
THOSE COMMENTS MIGHT BE TAKEN AS
HATE SPEECH, BECAUSE THEY STATE
THAT A CERTAIN RACE SHOULDN'T BE
ALLOWED TO IMMIGRATE.
THAT WE SHOULDN'T BE CONCERNED
ABOUT CERTAIN PEOPLE IN THE
WORLD.
AND THESE ARE COMMENTS THAT,
WHETHER YOU AGREE WITH THEM OR
NOT, NEED TO EXIST WITHIN THE
DEMOCRATIC DISCUSSION THAT THE
SOCIETY IS BASED ON.
NOW, THIRDLY AND FINALLY, I
WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT IT
IS IN FACT DETRIMENTAL AND
INJURIOUS TO THE ACTUAL AIMS OF
THIS LEGISLATION TO BAR THE
PUBLIC DISCOURSE OF HATRED.
NOW, I ASSUME THAT IN DRAFTING
THIS POSITION, THE INDIVIDUALS
WHO SUPPORT IT WOULD LIKE IT TO
BE EFFECTIVE.
THAT THEY, IN FACT, WOULD LIKE
TO SEE HATE SPEECH DISAPPEAR
FROM PUBLIC SPACES.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
THIS MEANS THAT WHEN SOMEONE
MAKES A COMMENT THAT IS HATEFUL
TOWARDS A RACE, ETHNICITY, OR
ANY GROUP WITHIN OUR SOCIETY,
THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THAT
SOCIETY TO CALL IT OUT, TO
INTERROGATE IT, AND TO POINT OUT
ITS HISTORICAL INACCURACIES, ITS
FACTUAL INACCURACIES, ITS
IRRATIONALITY, OR THE FACT THAT
IT ACTUALLY MAKES PEOPLE FEEL
UNCOMFORTABLE.
AND WHEN YOU LOSE THE ABILITY TO
INTERROGATE THESE THINGS, YOU
ACTUALLY LOSE THE ABILITY TO GET
AT THE ROOT CAUSES AND FEELING
AND ISSUES THAT ACTUALLY CAUSE
SUCH HATE SPEECH TO EXIST.
SO WHILE CHRISTINA AND I SAY ALL
PEOPLE SHOULD BE FREE TO SPEAK,
WE DO BELIEVE THEY SHOULD BE
FREE TO SPEAK.
IT DOESN'T MEAN THAT WE ALWAYS
APPROVE OF THE THINGS THEY'RE
SAYING IN CONTENT.
BUT IF WE WANT TO HAVE AN EQUAL
SOCIETY, WE NEED TO REALLY
ADDRESS THOSE QUESTIONS AND SHOW
THEM TO BE WRONG.
MERELY CREATING THE TABOO OF
CRIMINALITY AND TRYING TO ERASE
THEM ENTIRELY DOES NOTHING.
IT ALLOWS THE PRIVATE DISCOURSE
TO EXISTS IN HOMES AND
SCHOOLYARDS, TO BE THE ONLY AREA
WHERE THESE ISSUES ARE BROACHED
AND, THUS, IS NOT AN EFFECTIVE
WAY TO HELP PEOPLE, WE PROUDLY
PROPOSE.

[Applause]

A woman in her early twenties with short chestnut hair appears at the podium.
A caption reads “Adrienne Lipsey as Member of the Opposition.”

Adrienne says TODAY, WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT TWO CONSTRUCTIVE
POINTS.
THE FIRST IS GONNA HAVE TO DO
WITH THE INDIVIDUAL HARMS THAT
ARE COMING OUT OF THE PRESENCE
OF HATE SPEECH IN CANADIAN SOCIETY.
AND THE SECOND HAS TO DO WITH OUR
CONFLICTING MODEL ABOUT WHAT
FREEDOM OF SPEECH MEANS, AND THE
VALUE THAT IT HAS IN THAT SAME
SOCIETY.
THEN, OF COURSE, WE'LL BE
TELLING YOU WHY EVERYTHING
THAT'S BEEN SAID ON SIDE
GOVERNMENT TODAY IN THAT ONE
SPEECH, THEY'VE ALREADY MESSED IT UP.
IT'S ALREADY WRONG.
SO WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT
TODAY ON SIDE OPPOSITION?
WE POSIT TO YOU IN THE AUDIENCE
AND YOU, Mr. SPEAKER, THAT THE
WORLD WE ARE LIVING IN TODAY,
ALTHOUGH IT MIGHT SOUND TRITE,
IS A MORE GLOBALIZED ONE THAN
WE'VE BEEN LIVING IN THE PAST.
WE DO HAVE THAT GLOBAL VILLAGE
AND, AS I ROLL MY EYE BECAUSE
IT'S A BIT OF A CLICHE, WE OUGHT
TO RECOGNIZE THAT IT'S TRUE.
WE'RE INTERACTING WITH DIFFERENT
PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT
ETHNICITIES ON A GREATER SCOPE
THAN EVER BEFORE, AND WE THINK
THAT DEMANDS A CERTAIN AMOUNT
OF SENSITIVITY AROUND THESE
ESPECIALLY INFLAMMATORY AND
VOLATILE THINGS SUCH AS HATE
SPEECH.
SO, FOR THAT REASON, WE THINK
THAT THERE IS AN EGREGIOUS HARM
THAT CAN BE DONE BECAUSE WE HAVE
PEOPLE INTERACTING IN A WAY THAT
THEY'VE NEVER DONE BEFORE.
SO LET'S LOOK AT THE INDEPENDENT
HARM THAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE
PEOPLE HAVING HATE SPEECH AS
PART OF THE DISCOURSE.
WE THINK, JUST LIKE REN DOES,
THAT SELF-ACTUALIZATION IS AN
IMPORTANT THING.
BUT WE THINK THAT
SELF-ACTUALIZATION WHICH--
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO AREN'T IN
ON THE JARGON, IT IS JUST
BASICALLY POSITING YOURSELF AS
A PERSON IN THE SOCIAL REALM--
IS VERY, VERY MUCH SOMETHING
THAT'S DAMAGED WHEN YOU'RE BEING
HATED AT ALL THE TIME.
WE THINK THAT'S AN INTUITIVE AND
UNDERSTANDABLE THING, BUT WE
NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE EXACT
HARMS THAT COME FROM BEING PART
OF A MINORITY GROUP THAT IS
BEING SEGREGATED AND
SYSTEMATICALLY HAVING HATRED
FLUNG AT YOU.
WE THINK THAT IT RUINS YOUR
ABILITY TO JUST FUNCTION AS AN
EQUAL PART OF SOCIETY EVEN IF
THERE ARE LEGAL PROTECTIONS FOR
YOU AS A LEGAL PART OF SOCIETY
BECAUSE THERE'S NO CULTURAL
WEIGHT BEHIND THAT, OR YOU FEEL
THAT YOU ARE ALIENATED.
WE THINK THAT THAT IS A HUGE
DAMAGE TO SELF-ACTUALIZATION.
IT MEANS YOU CAN'T PARTICIPATE
FULLY BECAUSE THERE'S ALWAYS A
CONSTANT AND OFTEN VEHEMENT,
POTENTIALLY RACIST VOICE
TELLING YOU THAT YOU ARE NOT
WELCOME THERE.
SO, FOR THAT REASON, WE THINK
THAT THIS IS A VERY STRONG HARM
THAT WE NEED TO PREVENT,
ESPECIALLY WHAT I'VE TOLD YOU IN
LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT WE HAVE
MORE PEOPLE INTERACTING FROM
DIFFERENT, DISPARATE
EXPERIENCES.
THE MORE INTERESTING POINT, I
THINK, IS THE IDEA OF
SELF-CENSORSHIP.
AND THE IDEA HERE, AS BROUGHT TO
YOU BY SIDE GOVERNMENT, IS THAT
THIS IS A VERY AMBIGUOUS THING,
THIS PROPOSITION, AS OUTLINED IN
THE CRIMINAL CODE, LIKE WE DON'T
REALLY KNOW HOW TO INTERPRET IT
AND DIFFERENT PEOPLE HAVE TO
FORCE THEIR OWN CONSIDERATION ON
THE MATTER.
AND WE DON'T REALLY SEE A MARKED
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS FORCED
CONSIDERATION ON THE PERSONS'
BEHALF OF THEMSELVES, AND
POTENTIALLY BRINGING THAT DEBATE
OUT INTO THE PUBLIC SPHERE.
WE THINK IF THIS PERSON HAS THE
CONVICTION WHICH WOULD LEAD TO
ANY SORT OF CONSTRUCTIVE
DEMOCRATIC ANALYSIS OR ANY
CONSTRUCTIVE DISCOURSE, THEY'RE
GONNA SAY IT ANYWAY.
WITH THIS WORMING OUT,
POTENTIALLY, WE WILL ADMIT, ARE
PEOPLE WHO ARE SORT OF
AMBIVALENT ABOUT THEIR VIEWS AND
ARE CONSIDERING SAYING SOMETHING
THAT THEY DON'T NECESSARILY
BELIEVE IN.
WE THINK THAT'S A GOOD THING.
WE WANT TO COMBAT PEOPLE WHO ARE
ON THE FENCE ON ISSUES SUCH AS
HATRED AND RACISM BECAUSE THAT
WILL SORT OF STEM THE TIDE OF A
SORT OF GROUP MENTALITY, WHICH
LEADS TO BAD THINGS LIKE
GENOCIDE OR MORE, IN A CANADIAN
CONTEXT, THE IDEA OF DEFAMING
GRAVES, ETC.
WE THINK THAT GROUP MENTALITY
AND THAT AMBIGUITY OF THOUGHT IS
SOMETHING WE WANT TO COMPETE.
SO, BECAUSE I'VE TOLD YOU TODAY
ABOUT HOW WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE
OUR OWN MULTICULTURALISM AND,
MORE IMPORTANTLY, WE HAVE TO
RECOGNIZE THE INDEPENDENT HARMS
THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS,
AND FOR EVERYTHING ELSE THEY'VE
SAID, WE BEG TO OPPOSE.

Interjection: HEAR! HEAR!

[Applause]

Now another woman in her twenties, with short black hair, appears at the podium.
A caption reads “Christina Veira as Minister of the Crown.”

Christina says WE ON THIS
SIDE OF THE HOUSE TODAY BELIEVE
THAT EVEN IF YOU BELIEVE THAT
HATRED IS SOMETHING THAT YOU
SHOULDN'T HAVE IN SOCIETY, AND
THAT IT IS GREATLY DETRIMENTAL
TO SOCIETY, WE DON'T BELIEVE IT
IS SOMETHING THAT YOU SHOULD
NECESSARILY BE PUTTING PEOPLE IN
JAIL FOR.
WE BELIEVE
THE MERE ACT OF JUST GETTING UP
AND SAYING THAT “I HATE GROUP X;
I BELIEVE THAT GROUP X SHOULDN'T
BE HERE,” NOT INCITING PEOPLE TO
NECESSARILY GET RID OF THEM, NOT
TELLING PEOPLE THAT YOU KNOW WHO
WILL COMMIT A CRIME, FOR
EXAMPLE--
SORRY, AS REN WAS TALKING ABOUT.
WHEN YOU GO ON A RADIO SHOW--
NOT RIGHT NOW, THANK YOU--
WHEN YOU GO ON A RADIO SHOW, AND
YOU GOT UP AND YOU SAY THAT YOU
HATE A CERTAIN GROUP, THAT'S
CONSIDERED HATE SPEECH IN OUR
SETTING.
WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE
PERSON AT THE KLAN'S MEETING,
KNOWING THAT THE GROUP OF YOUNG
KIDS ARE VERY WROUGHT UP, WANT
TO BEAT SOMEBODY UP, TELLING
THEM TO GO DO THAT, OR JUST
SPEWING HATE.
THAT'S NOT WHAT'S COVERED UNDER
THE HATE SPEECH.
UNDER HATE SPEECH, IT'S JUST IF
YOU GET UP AND SAY THAT YOU HATE
AND YOU SAY THAT OTHER PEOPLE
SHOULD.
WE BELIEVE ON THIS SIDE OF THE
HOUSE THAT THAT'S NOT SOMETHING
YOU SHOULD BE GOING TO JAIL FOR.
WHETHER OR NOT OTHER PEOPLE DOWN
THE ROAD CHOOSE TO, 6 MONTHS
FROM NOW, ACT ON WHAT YOU HEARD,
WHETHER OR NOT YOUR OPINIONS
HAVE HAD SWAY ON THEM, THAT
ISN'T NECESSARILY YOUR PROBLEM,
BUT A PROBLEM WITH THAT PERSON
AND PERHAPS A PROBLEM WITH
SOCIETY AT LARGE.
ANYONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO SAY
THEIR OPINIONS WITHOUT HAVING IT
CENSORED AT ANY POINT, BUT I'LL
TAKE YOUR POINT.

Rory says ARE YOU
SERIOUSLY SUGGESTING THAT JERRY
FALWELL GOING ON THE RADIO AND
SAYING THAT GOD HATES FAGS IS
NOT CONNECTED TO GAY-BASHING?

Christina says WHAT I'M
GOING TO SAY IS THAT “GARY.”
FALWELL GOING ON THE RADIO AND
SAYING THAT GOD HATES FAGS--
IF HE DOES GET UP AND SAY THAT
AND OTHER PEOPLE LISTEN TO THAT
AND THEY CHOOSE TO GO OUT, THAT
DOES NOT, UH--
IF IT WAS--
IF HE SAID IT TO A GROUP WHERE
HE KNOWS PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GO
OUT AND GAY-BASH, THEN THAT
ISN'T COVERED UNDER THE CRIME.
WE'RE TALK--
IF HE DOES SAY IT AND PEOPLE
CHOOSE TO TAKE THAT INTO THEIR
ACCOUNT, THEY PROBABLY ALREADY
HELD THAT FEELINGS BEFORE.
THE FEELING OF HATRED WOULD
EXIST WHETHER OR NOT WE STIFLED
“GARY” FALWELL.
ALL THAT HAPPENS IS, WHEN WE
HAVE HIM ON THE RADIO SHOW, YOU
CAN ALSO HAVE QUESTIONS COMING
IN SAYING, “WHY DO YOU BELIEVE
THAT?”
BECAUSE UNTIL YOU CHOOSE TO
ENGAGE WITH IT, UNTIL YOU STOP
LOCKING UP PEOPLE JUST FOR
SPEWING THE HATE, AND RATHER
DEAL WITH WHY THEY HAVE IT IN
THE FIRST PLACE--
UNTIL YOU BELIEVE THAT, WE DON'T
BELIEVE THAT ANYTHING CAN
ACTUALLY COME ABOUT.
SO WE ON THE SIDE OF THE HOUSE
HAVE TALKED TO YOU ABOUT THE
VALUE OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
WE'VE TALKED TO YOU ABOUT HOW
WHAT IT LEADS TO RIGHT NOW IS IT
LEADS TO SELF-CENSORSHIP, THESE
LAWS, AND LEADS TO MANY
DETRIMENTAL EFFECTS.
AND WE TALKED TO YOU FURTHERMORE
ABOUT HOW WE DON'T BELIEVE, IF
ANYTHING, THAT THIS SHOULD BE A
CRIMINAL ACT; THAT YOU SHOULD
NOT BE SEVERELY LIMITING ONE
PERSON'S FREEDOM FOR SPEWING
THEIR OWN OPINIONS.
AND FOR THESE REASONS, WE BEG TO
PROPOSE.

[Applause]

Now another man in his twenties with short black hair and a goatee appears at the podium.
A caption reads “Rory McKeown as Leader of the Opposition.”

Rory says RIGHTS ARE A
CONVENIENT FICTION THAT WE AS A
GROUP, WE AS A SOCIETY, BUY
INTO IN ORDER TO MAKE EVERYDAY
LIFE BEARABLE.
I DON'T HAVE A
RIGHT TO LIFE BECAUSE GOD CAME
DOWN AND SPAKE, “LO, RORY SHALL
HAVE A RIGHT TO LIFE.”
IF YOU BELIEVE THAT, THAT'S
OKAY; YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO DO THAT.
I HAVE A RIGHT TO LIFE BECAUSE
IT WOULD BE AWFULLY INCONVENIENT
IF I STARTED DENYING THE RIGHTS
OF EVERYBODY ELSE TO LIFE.
AND SO, SOCIETY COMES TO A
CONSENSUS AND WE CREATE THE
FICTION OF A RIGHT TO LIFE.
THE SAME THING IS TRUE OF EVERY
SINGLE RIGHT.
EVERY RIGHT TO PROPERTY EXISTS
BECAUSE WHEN PEOPLE HOLD
PROPERTY AND CAN PROFIT FROM IT,
THEY DEVELOP IT TO THE BENEFIT
OF THE COMMONS.
AND THE SAME THING IS TRUE OF
SPEECH.
SO I WANT TO TALK TO YOU TODAY
ABOUT WHY THE FREE SPEECH, OR
THE DISCOURSE THAT WAS DISCUSSED
ON THE SIDE OF GOVERNMENT
BENCHES, IS ABSOLUTELY AND
TOTALLY IRRELEVANT TO THIS
ROUND--
BECAUSE OF ONE VERY SIMPLE
FOUR-LETTER WORD.
AND THAT IS HATE.
HOW DOES HATE ADD TO DISCOURSE?
I ASKED, DOES JERRY FALWELL
STANDING UP AND SAYING “GOD
HATES FAGS” ACTUALLY ADD TO
DISCOURSE?
BECAUSE YOU CAN'T GO TO Mr.--
Rev. FALWELL AND SAY, “PLEASE
JUSTIFY THAT RATIONALLY.”
HE'LL GO BACK THE BIBLE.
HATE IS THE LITTLE EJECTOR
BUTTON OF RATIONALITY FROM A
CONVERSATION.
IT'S WHEN YOU PULL BACK THE
ONION FAR ENOUGH AND FIND AT ITS
CORE THAT SOMEONE SIMPLY CANNOT
JUSTIFY THEIR BELIEFS AND
THERE'S A LITTLE KERNEL OF
HATRED RIGHT AT THE CENTRE.
'CAUSE OTHERWISE IT'S IRRATIONAL
ARGUMENT.
OTHERWISE, IT'S DISCOURSE.
BUT YOU'RE ALREADY DISAGREEING.

James says WELL, NO, EXACTLY!
THAT'S THE POINT.
SO WHEN JERRY FALWELL SAYS THIS,
YOU HAVE LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE
IN THE WORLD POINTING OUT HOW
IRRATIONAL AND STUPID IT IS,
THUS TEACHING OTHERS THE
FALLACIES OF HATE INSTEAD OF
JUST RESTRICTING IT TO PRIVATE
HOUSEHOLDS, WHERE THERE IS NO
SUCH DISCUSSION.

Rory says RIGHT.
SO WHEN PEOPLE STAND UP AND SPEW
HATEFUL DISCOURSE, PEOPLE ARE
AUTOMATICALLY GOING TO RECOGNIZE
THAT THIS ISN'T TRUE.
BUT LOTS OF PEOPLE SUBSCRIBE TO
ERNST ZUNDEL'S PAMPHLETS DENYING
THE HOLOCAUST.
EVEN THOUGH ERNST ZUNDEL TRIED
TO CLAIM THAT UFOs WERE NAZI
TECHNOLOGY THAT HAD SPIRITED
AWAY THE LEADERSHIP OF THE THIRD
REICH TO ANTARCTICA.
NOBODY WHO WAS BUYING THESE
PAMPHLETS, WHO WAS PAYING FOR
THESE PUBLICATIONS, SEEMED TO
NOTICE THIS.
'CAUSE EVERYTHING WE'VE HEARD
FROM REN AND FROM CHRISTINA IS
GENEROUS AND KIND AND GOOD.
BUT IT PRESUMES THAT WE'RE
DEALING WITH RATIONAL ACTORS.
I WANT TO DEAL WITH CHRISTINA'S
CONSTRUCTIVE POINT--
BECAUSE SHE SAID MAKING THIS
CRIMINAL IS WHAT'S WRONG.
MAKING SPEAKING YOUR OPINIONS
CRIMINAL IS A TERRIBLE THING.
BUT I'D ASK YOU, IF I HATE A
GROUP ENOUGH TO GO ON THE RADIO
AND TALK ABOUT HOW I HATE THEM,
IS IT REASONABLE FOR ME TO
ASSUME THAT SOMEONE'S VIEWS
MIGHT BE MORE EXTREME, AND THAT
SOMEONE MIGHT GO OUT AND HURT
PEOPLE?
I THINK IT'S REASONABLE.
AND WE DO PROSECUTE PEOPLE FOR
REASONABLY FORESEEABLE
CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR ACTIONS.
BUT LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THIS IN
CONTEXT BECAUSE WHAT WE HAVEN'T
HEARD VERY MUCH IS HOW OFTEN
SECTION 3.19, SUB. 2 IS ACTUALLY
USED AND AGAINST WHOM IT IS
USED, BECAUSE YOU'RE RIGHT.
THIS ISN'T GONNA PROSECUTE UNCLE
RANDY, WHO HAS A FEW TOO MANY
BEERS AT DINNER AND STARTS
RAMBLING INTO A TIRADE AGAINST
IMMIGRANTS.
THIS IS USED AGAINST ACADEMICS
WHO USE THEIR POSITION OF POWER
TO ENFORCE THEIR OPINIONS ON
THEIR STUDENTS.
THIS IS USED AGAINST PEOPLE WHO
ARE DETERMINED ENOUGH IN THEIR
OPINIONS THAT THEY DO START
RADIO TALK SHOWS PREACHING
HATRED.
AND THEN THE QUESTION BECOMES
“WHOM ARE WE TRYING TO PROTECT
WITH THIS?”
BECAUSE YOU CAN STAND UP AND SAY
ANY OFFENSIVE THING YOU WANT IN
A ROOM LIKE THIS, AND ANY GROUP
THAT IS TARGETED BY WHAT YOU SAY
PROBABLY HAS THE GRAPES TO LOOK
YOU IN THE EYE AND SAY, “GET
LOST, THAT MAKES NO SENSE.”
BUT YOU CAN'T OFFER THAT KIND OF
JUSTIFICATION FOR THE BLACK KID
IN THE PLAYGROUND WHO'S PICKED
ON; YOU CAN'T OFFER THAT KIND
OF JUSTIFICATION TO THE GAY KID
IN HIGH SCHOOL WHO'S BASHED
BECAUSE THIS ENVIRONMENT IS
ALLOWED TO EXIST.
SO LET'S GO BACK TO WHAT MY
COLLEAGUE TOLD YOU.
SHE TOLD YOU THAT WE LIMIT
RIGHTS WHEN WE SEE NEGATIVE
CONSEQUENCES.
WE LIMIT PEOPLE'S FREEDOMS WHEN
WE SEE THAT EXERCISING THOSE
FREEDOMS CAN HAVE NEGATIVE
RAMIFICATIONS.
AND WE DIDN'T REALLY HEAR THIS,
ANYTHING ABOUT THIS FROM
CHRISTINA, EXCEPT TO SAY, “IF
YOU'RE JUST SAYING THE HATE,
YOU'RE NOT DOING THE HATE.”
BUT AS I'VE SHOWN YOU, YOU CAN
EXPECT THAT IF YOU'RE OUT THERE
PREACHING AND PROMOTING AND
PROMULGATING HATRED, THAT
SOMEONE'S ACTUALLY GOING TO
LISTEN TO YOU.
THERE CLEARLY IS A MARKET FOR
THIS.
BUT WHAT HAVE WE HEARD FROM
GOVERNMENT TODAY?
WE HEARD A VERY SIMPLISTIC
ANALYSIS THAT TELLS YOU THAT
YOUR RIGHTS END WHERE YOUR
NEIGHBOUR'S NOSE BEGINS, WHICH
IS HOW WE EXPLAIN IT TO GRADE 5
STUDENTS.
BUT WE'RE NOT GRADE 5 STUDENTS.
AND I THINK WE CAN HAVE A
SLIGHTLY MORE SOPHISTICATED
DEBATE ABOUT WHERE SOMEBODY'S
NOSE BEGINS.
IS IT SIMPLY A QUESTION OF DOING
PHYSICAL HARM?
OR IS IT A QUESTION OF CREATING
A POISONED ENVIRONMENT?

James says ACTUALLY,
RORY, YOUR SOPHISTICATED
ANALYSIS WAS “THERE ARE NO
RIGHTS,” FULL STOP.
BUT I'D LIKE TO LET YOU KNOW IF
THERE ARE NO RIGHTS AT ALL, THEN
IS IT AT ALL INAPPROPRIATE TO
BAR ALL SPEECH?
WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE RULES THAT
YOU THINK GOVERN THE IDEA OF
WHEN WE GET TO LIMIT RIGHTS IF
THEY DO NOT EXIST?

Rory says AS I SAID, AS A
SOCIETY, WE'VE DEVELOPED A
CONSENSUS THAT WE ALL HAVE
CERTAIN RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
BECAUSE THEY'RE USEFUL.
WE ACCEPT FREEDOM OF SPEECH
BECAUSE WE THINK THAT THE TRUTH
IS IMPORTANT.
WE THINK THAT, IN GOVERNMENT
CERTAINLY, TRANSPARENCY IS
IMPORTANT, AND NEITHER IS
POSSIBLE WITHOUT FREEDOM OF
SPEECH.
BUT I'VE SHOWN YOU, REN, THAT
ALL THIS DISCOURSE THAT YOU WANT
TO PROMOTE, ALL THIS RATIONAL
DEBATE BETWEEN THE FORCES OF
TRUTH AND JUSTICE, AND THESE
HATE-MONGERS ACTUALLY CAN'T
HAPPEN 'CAUSE THERE IS NO
DEBATE.
PEOPLE WHO GET UP AND SPEW
RACIAL HATRED, WHO SPEW HATRED
AGAINST WOMEN, WHO SPEW
HOMOPHOBIA, AREN'T ACTUALLY
GOING TO RATIONALIZE IT TO YOU.
THEY AREN'T GONNA PRESENT
STUDIES THAT BACK UP WHAT THEY
THINK.
THEY'RE JUST GONNA SAY, “I
HATE.”
AND WITH THOSE TWO WORDS, THE
DEBATE HAS ENDED.
YOUR CHANCE OF PERSUADING THEM
IS GONE.
SO WHAT I WOULD SAY IS THAT IF
YOU HAVE ENOUGH PEOPLE ON THE
RADIO SAYING, “I HATE,” YOU
CREATE A CLIMATE OF FEAR.
I WALKED INTO THIS ROOM PAST A
YOUNG COUPLE, OBVIOUSLY VERY
MUCH IN LUST, TRADING SPIT IN
THE HALLWAY.
BUT A MAN AND A WOMAN.
HONESTLY, IF JERRY FALWELL
WEREN'T ON THE RADIO SAYING “GOD
HATES FAGS,” HOW MANY MORE GAY
MEN WOULD FEEL COMFORTABLE
SHOWING AFFECTION IN PUBLIC?
AS SOON AS A MINORITY GROUP
FEELS IT HAS TO CHANGE ITS
BEHAVIOUR BECAUSE OF FEAR OF THE
DISAPPROVAL OF THE MAJORITY,
THAT'S THEIR FREEDOM TO
SELF-ACTUALIZE BEING INFRINGED
UPON.
AND IF THAT'S ACCOMPANIED BY
ACTUAL FEAR, I THINK THAT'S A
FAR MORE EGREGIOUS VIOLATION OF
RIGHTS THAN TELLING SOMEONE THEY
CAN'T STAND UP AND SAY “I HATE.”
WE WERE TOLD THAT THIS CARRIED A
RISK OF SELF-CENSORSHIP, THAT
PEOPLE MIGHT NOT BE SURE IF WHAT
THEY WERE GOING TO SAY
CONSTITUTES HATE SPEECH.
I THINK THAT'S FINE.
I THINK IT'S OKAY TO MAKE
RATIONAL PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HAVE
A DEBATE STOP AND THINK, “DO I
HAVE SOMETHING TO BACK UP MY
POSSIBLY INFLAMMATORY OPINION?”
WE'D CERTAINLY HAVE A LOT FEWER
BAR FIGHTS IF PEOPLE STARTED
DOING THIS.
I DON'T THINK IT'S WRONG TO
IMPOSE A RESPONSIBILITY ON
INDIVIDUALS TO CONSIDER HOW THEY
THINK AND WHAT THEY'RE SAYING.
JUST AS IMPORTANTLY, IT'S NOT AS
IF WE HAVEN'T HEARD IT BEFORE.
IT'S NOT AS IF THESE ARE NEW AND
CHALLENGING IDEAS THAT COULD
REFINE OUR IDEA OF WHAT MAKES
CIVIL SOCIETY.
THEY'RE TIRED, OLD IDEAS THAT
HAVE HAD THEIR TIME; THAT HAVE
BEEN TRIED AND BEEN REJECTED BY
A CIVIL SOCIETY.
AND IF THE SAD, PATHETIC PEOPLE
WHO WANT TO CONTINUE SPEWING
HATRED GET LOCKED UP, I HAVE
VERY LITTLE TIME FOR THOSE WHO
WOULD OPPOSE THIS BECAUSE,
SOONER OR LATER, THEY ARE GONNA
COME ACROSS IMPRESSIONABLE
MINDS, AND THAT'S THE CONTEXT
THAT ADRIENNE AND I HAVE TALKED
ABOUT.
'CAUSE IF ENOUGH PEOPLE SAY IT'S
OKAY TO HATE, THEN PEOPLE START
TO BELIEVE THAT IT'S OKAY TO
HURT.
AND I THINK THAT THAT'S A PRETTY
REASONABLE ASSUMPTION.
I THINK IT'S REASONABLE TO
ASSUME THAT PEOPLE PROMOTING
HATRED CAN FORESEE THE
CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR ACTIONS IN
CONCRETE, HARMFUL ACTION.
AND SINCE WE DO CRIMINALIZE
ACTIONS THAT CAN PREDICTABLY
RESULT IN HARM, THIS IS AN
APPROPRIATE RESPONSE TO IT.
YES, IT'S A DIFFICULT SITUATION.
YES, FREEDOM OF SPEECH HAS
ACQUIRED SOME SORT OF TOTEMIC
VALUE IN WESTERN SOCIETY.
BUT IF FREEDOM OF SPEECH RESULTS
IN BLOODY NOSES, LITERAL BLOODY
NOSES, OR WORSE, THEN IT IS
ACCEPTABLE TO LIMIT IT JUST AS
WE WOULD LIMIT SOMEONE THROWING
A PUNCH.
AND WE STAND PROUDLY AGAINST
DECRIMINALIZING HATE SPEECH.

[Applause]

Now Christopher Hitchens appears at the podium. He’s in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short wavy brown hair. He’s wearing a black suit and a checkered shirt.
A caption reads “Christopher Hitchens as himself.”

Christopher says OKAY.
UM...
FIRE!
FIRE, FIRE, FIRE.

Suddenly, the clip stops and Andrew Moodie appears in the studio.

He says NO, NO,
THERE'S NO FIRE.
IT'S MORE LIKE THE FIREBRAND,
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS INSTEAD!
THAT WOULD EXPLAIN THE BIG
CROWD.
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS IS A
JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR HAVING,
IN THE PAST, BECOME KNOWN FOR
HIS 'TAKE NO PRISONERS' ATTACK
ON HENRY KISSINGER, MOTHER
TERESA, AND BILL CLINTON.
TODAY, HITCHENS IS BEST KNOWN AS
A VIGOROUS DEFENDER OF THE U.S.
INCURSION INTO IRAQ AND OF THE
URGENT NEED TO FIGHT WHAT HE HAS
TERMED ISLAMO-FASCISM.
SO LET'S GO BACK TO CHRISTOPHER
HITCHENS SHOUTING 'FIRE!' IN A
CROWDED THEATRE.

The clip resumes.

Christopher says FIRE!
FIRE, FIRE, FIRE.
NOW YOU'VE HEARD IT.
NOT SHOUTED IN A CROWDED
THEATRE, ADMITTEDLY.
AS I REALIZE, I SEEM NOW TO HAVE
SHOUTED IT IN THE HOGWARTS
DINING ROOM.

[Audience laughter]

Christopher continues BUT THE
POINT IS MADE.
EVERYONE KNOWS THE FATUOUS
VERDICT OF THE GREATLY
OVER-PRAISED JUSTICE, OLIVER
WENDELL HOLMES, WHO ASKED FOR AN
ACTUAL EXAMPLE OF WHEN IT WOULD
BE PROPER TO LIMIT SPEECH OR
DEFY IT AS AN ACTION.
GAVE THAT OF SHOUTING 'FIRE'
IN A CROWDED THEATRE.
IT'S VERY OFTEN FORGOTTEN WHAT
HE WAS DOING IN THAT CASE WAS
SENDING TO PRISON A GROUP OF
YIDDISH-SPEAKING SOCIALISTS,
WHOSE LITERATURE WAS PRINTED IN
A LANGUAGE MOST AMERICANS
COULDN'T READ, OPPOSING
PRESIDENT WILSON'S PARTICIPATION
IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR, AND THE
DRAGGING OF THE UNITED STATES
INTO THIS SANGUINARY CONFLICT,
WHICH THE YIDDISH-SPEAKING
SOCIALISTS HAVE FLED FROM
RUSSIA TO ESCAPE.
IN FACT, IT COULD BE JUST AS
PLAUSIBLY ARGUED THAT THE
YIDDISH-SPEAKING SOCIALISTS WHO
WERE JAILED BY THE EXCELLENT AND
OVER-PRAISED JUDGE OLIVER
WENDELL HOLMES WERE THE REAL
FIREFIGHTERS; WERE THE ONES WHO
WERE SHOUTING 'FIRE' WHEN THERE
REALLY WAS FIRE IN A VERY
CROWDED THEATRE.
INDEED.
AND WHO IS TO DECIDE?
WELL, KEEP THAT QUESTION IF YOU
WOULD.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BROTHERS
AND SISTERS, I HOPE I MAY SAY
COMRADES AND FRIENDS.
BEFORE YOUR MINDS, I EXEMPT
MYSELF FROM THE SPEAKER'S KIND
OFFER OF PROTECTION THAT WAS SO
GENEROUSLY PROFFERED AT THE
OPENING OF THIS EVENING.
ANYONE WHO WANTS TO SAY ANYTHING
ABUSIVE ABOUT OR TO ME IS QUITE
FREE TO DO SO, AND WELCOME, IN
FACT.
AT THEIR OWN RISK.

[Audience laughter]

Christopher continues AND...
BUT BEFORE THEY DO THAT, THEY
MUST HAVE TAKEN, AS I'M SURE WE
ALL SHOULD, A SHORT REFRESHER
COURSE IN THE CLASSIC TEXT ON
THIS MATTER, WHICH ARE JOHN
MILTON'S
AREOPAGITICA,
AREOPAGITICA BEING THE GREAT
HILL OF ATHENS FOR DISCUSSION
AND FREE EXPRESSION...
THOMAS PAINE'S INTRODUCTION TO
THE AGE OF REASON, AND I WOULD
SAY JOHN STUART MILL'S ESSAY,
ON LIBERTY
IN WHICH IT
IS VARIOUSLY SAID.
ALSO, I'LL BE VERY DARING AND
SUMMARIZE ALL THREE OF THESE
GREAT GENTLEMEN OF THE GREAT
TRADITION OF ESPECIALLY ENGLISH
LIBERTY IN ONE GO.
WHAT THEY SAY IS IT'S NOT JUST
THE RIGHT OF THE PRESENT WHO
SPEAKS TO BE HEARD.
IT IS THE RIGHT OF EVERYONE IN
THE AUDIENCE TO LISTEN AND TO
HEAR.
AND EVERY TIME YOU SILENCE
SOMEBODY, YOU MAKE YOURSELF A
PRISONER OF YOUR OWN ACTION
BECAUSE YOU DENY YOURSELF THE
RIGHT TO HEAR SOMETHING.
IN OTHER WORDS, YOUR OWN RIGHT
TO HEAR AND BE EXPOSED IS AS
MUCH INVOLVED IN ALL THESE CASES
AS IS THE RIGHT OF THE OTHER TO
VOICE HIS OR HER VIEW.
INDEED, AS JOHN STUART MILL
SAID, IF ALL IN SOCIETY WERE
AGREED ON THE TRUTH AND BEAUTY
AND VALUE OF ONE PROPOSITION,
ALL EXCEPT ONE PERSON, IT WILL
BE MOST IMPORTANT--
IN FACT, IT WOULD BECOME EVEN
MORE IMPORTANT--
THAT THAT ONE HERETIC BE HEARD
BECAUSE WE WOULD STILL BENEFIT
FROM HIS PERHAPS OUTRAGEOUS OR
APPALLING VIEW.
IN MORE MODERN TIMES, THIS HAS
BEEN PUT, I THINK, BEST BY A
PERSONAL HEROINE OF MINE, ROSA
LUXEMBURG, WHO SAID THAT THE
FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS MEANINGLESS
UNLESS IT MEANS THE FREEDOM OF
THE PERSON WHO THINKS
DIFFERENTLY.
MY GREAT FRIEND, JOHN
O'SULLIVAN, FORMER EDITOR OF
THE NATIONAL REVIEW
AND I
THINK PROBABLY MY MOST
CONSERVATIVE AND REACTIONARY
CATHOLIC FRIEND, ONCE SAID,
UH...
IT'S A TINY THOUGHT EXPERIMENT.
HE SAYS, IF YOU HEAR THE POPE
SAYING HE BELIEVES IN GOD, YOU
THINK, WELL THE POPE'S DOING HIS
JOB AGAIN TODAY.

[Audience laughter]

Christopher continues IF YOU
HEAR THE POPE SAYING HE'S REALLY
BEGUN TO DOUBT THE EXISTENCE OF
GOD, YOU BEGIN TO THINK HE MIGHT
BE ONTO SOMETHING.

[Audience laughter]

Christopher continues WELL...
IF EVERYBODY IN NORTH AMERICA IS
FORCED TO ATTEND AT SCHOOL A
TRAINING IN SENSITIVITY ON
HOLOCAUST AWARENESS AND IS
TAUGHT TO STUDY THE FINAL
SOLUTION ABOUT WHICH NOTHING WAS
ACTUALLY DONE BY THIS COUNTRY,
OR NORTH AMERICA, OR THE UNITED
KINGDOM WHILE IT WAS GOING ON.
BUT LET'S SAY AS IF IN
COMPENSATION FOR THAT,
EVERYONE'S MADE TO SWALLOW AN
OFFICIAL AND UNALTERABLE STORY
OF IT NOW, AND IT'S THOUGHT AS
THE GREAT MORAL EXEMPLAR, THE
MORAL EQUIVALENT OF THE MORALLY
LACKING ELEMENTS OF THE SECOND
WORLD WAR, THEY WAY OF STILLING
OUR UNEASY CONSCIENCE ABOUT THAT
COMBAT.
IF THAT'S THE CASE WITH
EVERYBODY AS IT MORE OR LESS IS,
THEN ONE PERSON GETS UP AND
SAYS, “YOU KNOW WHAT, THIS
HOLOCAUST?
I'M NOT SURE IT EVEN HAPPENED.
IN FACT, I'M PRETTY CERTAIN IT
DIDN'T.”
INDEED, I BEGIN TO WONDER IF THE
ONLY THING IS THAT THE JEWS
BROUGHT A LITTLE BIT OF VIOLENCE
ON THEMSELVES.
THAT PERSON DOESN'T JUST HAVE A
RIGHT TO SPEAK.
THAT PERSON'S RIGHT TO SPEAK
MUST BE GIVEN EXTRA PROTECTION
BECAUSE WHAT HE HAS TO SAY MUST
HAVE TAKEN HIM SOME EFFORT TO
COME UP WITH; MIGHT BE--
MIGHT CONTAIN A GRAIN OF
HISTORICAL TRUTH; UM...
MIGHT, IN ANY CASE, GIVE PEOPLE
TO THINK ABOUT WHY DO THEY KNOW
WHAT THEY ALREADY THINK THEY
KNOW?
HOW DO I KNOW THAT I KNOW THIS
EXCEPT THAT I'VE ALWAYS BEEN
TAUGHT THIS AND NEVER HEARD
ANYTHING ELSE?
IT'S ALWAYS WORTH ESTABLISHING
FIRST PRINCIPLES.
IT'S ALWAYS WORTH SAYING, “WHAT
WOULD YOU DO IF YOU MET A
FLAT-OUT SOCIETY MEMBER?”
“COME TO THINK OF IT, HOW CAN I
PROVE THE EARTH IS ROUND?”
“AM I SURE ABOUT THE THEORY OF
EVOLUTION?
I KNOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE
TRUE.
HERE'S SOMEONE WHO SAYS THERE'S
NO SUCH THING AS ALL-INTELLIGENT
DESIGN.
HOW SURE AM I OF MY OWN VIEWS?”
DON'T TAKE REFUGE IN THE FALSE
SECURITY OF CONSENSUS AND THE
FEELING THAT WHATEVER YOU THINK,
YOU'RE BOUND TO BE OKAY BECAUSE
YOU'RE IN THE SAFELY MORAL
MAJORITY.
ONE OF THE PROUDEST MOMENTS OF
MY LIFE, THAT'S TO SAY IN THE
RECENT PAST, HAS BEEN DEFENDING
THE BRITISH HISTORIAN, DAVID
IRVING, WHO IS NOW IN PRISON IN
AUSTRIA FOR NOTHING MORE THAN
THE POTENTIAL OF UTTERING AN
UNWELCOME THOUGHT ON AUSTRIAN
SOIL.
HE DIDN'T ACTUALLY SAY ANYTHING
IN AUSTRIA.
HE WASN'T EVEN ACCUSED OF SAYING
IT; HE WAS ACCUSED OF
PERHAPS
PLANNING TO SAY SOMETHING THAT
VIOLATED AN AUSTRIAN LAW THAT
SAYS, “ONLY ONE VERSION OF THE
HISTORY OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR
MAY BE TAUGHT IN OUR BRAVE,
LITTLE TYROLEAN REPUBLIC THE
REPUBLIC THAT GAVE US KURT
WALDHEIM, A SECRETARY-GENERAL OF
THE UNITED NATIONS, A MAN WANTED
IN SEVERAL COUNTRIES FOR WAR CRIMES.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Christopher Hitchens. Author, ‘Orwell’s victory.’ Hart House, University of Toronto. November 15, 2006."

Christopher continues YOU KNOW, THE COUNTRY THAT GAVE--
THAT HAS JORG HAIDER, THE
LEADER OF ITS OWN FASCIST PARTY,
IN THE CABINET THAT SENT DAVID
IRVING TO JAIL.
YOU KNOW THE TWO THINGS THAT
HAVE MADE AUSTRIA FAMOUS, GIVEN
IT ITS REPUTATION BY ANY CHANCE?
JUST WHAT I'VE GOT YOU.
I HOPE THERE ARE SOME AUSTRIANS
HERE TO BE UPSET BY IT.

[Audience laughter]

Christopher continues WELL, A
PITY IF NOT.
BUT THE TWO GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS
OF AUSTRIA ARE TO HAVE CONVINCED
THE WORLD THAT HITLER WAS GERMAN
AND BEETHOVEN WAS VIENNESE.

[Audience laughter]

Christopher continues NOW, TO
THIS PROUD RECORD, THEY CAN ADD,
THEY HAVE THE COURAGE, FINALLY,
TO FACE THEIR PAST AND LOCK UP A
BRITISH HISTORIAN WHO'S
COMMITTED NO CRIME EXCEPT THAT
OF THOUGHT AND WRITING.
AND THAT'S A SCANDAL.
AND I CAN'T FIND A SECONDER,
USUALLY, WHEN I PROPOSE THIS,
BUT I DON'T CARE.
I DON'T NEED A SECONDER.
MY OWN OPINION IS ENOUGH FOR ME
AND I CLAIM THE RIGHT TO HAVE IT
DEFENDED AGAINST ANY CONSENSUS,
ANY MAJORITY, ANYWHERE,
ANYPLACE, ANYTIME.
AND ANYONE WHO DISAGREES WITH
THIS CAN PICK A NUMBER, GET IN
LINE, AND KISS MY ASS.

[Audience laughter]
[Smattering of applause]

Christopher continues NOW, I
DON'T KNOW HOW MANY OF YOU DON'T
FEEL YOU'RE GROWN-UP ENOUGH TO
DECIDE THIS FOR YOURSELVES AND
THINKING YOU NEED TO BE
PROTECTED FROM DAVID IRVING'S
EDITION OF
THE GOEBBELS
DIARIES,
FOR EXAMPLE, OUT
OF WHICH I LEARNED MORE ABOUT
THE THIRD REICH THAN I HAD FROM
STUDYING HUGH TREVOR-ROPER AND
A.J.P. TAYLOR COMBINED WHEN I
WAS AT OXFORD.
BUT FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DO, I'D
RECOMMEND ANOTHER SHORT COURSE
OF REVISION.
GO AGAIN AND SEE NOT JUST THE
FILM AND THE PLAY BUT READ THE
TEXT OF ROBERT BOLT'S WONDERFUL
PLAY,
MAN FOR ALL SEASONS--
SOME OF YOU MUST'VE SEEN IT--
WHERE SIR THOMAS MORE DECIDES
THAT HE WOULD RATHER DIE THAN
LIE OR BETRAY HIS FAITH.
AND AT ONE MOMENT, MORE IS
ARGUING WITH A PARTICULARLY
VICIOUS WITCH-HUNTING
PROSECUTOR, A SERVANT OF THE
KING, AND A HUNGRY AND AMBITIOUS
MAN.
AND MORE SAYS TO THIS MAN, UM...
“YOU'D BREAK THE LAW TO PUNISH
THE DEVIL, WOULDN'T YOU?”
AND THE PROSECUTOR, THE
WITCH-HUNTER SAYS, “BREAK IT?!”
HE SAID.
“I'D CUT DOWN...
I'D CUT DOWN EVERY LAW IN
ENGLAND IF I COULD DO THAT, IF I
COULD CAPTURE HIM.”
AND MORE SAYS, “YES, YOU WOULD,
WOULDN'T YOU?
AND THEN, WHEN YOU CORNER THE
DEVIL AND THE DEVIL TURNED
AROUND TO MEET YOU, WHERE WOULD
YOU RUN FOR PROTECTION, ALL THE
LAWS OF ENGLAND HAVING BEEN CUT
DOWN AND FLATTENED?
WHO WOULD PROTECT YOU THEN?”
BEAR IN MIND, LADIES AND
GENTLEMEN, THAT EVERY TIME YOU
VIOLATE OR PROPOSE TO VIOLATE
THE FREE SPEECH OF SOMEONE ELSE,
YOU, IN POTENTIA, YOU'RE MAKING
A ROD FOR YOUR OWN BACK BECAUSE
THE OTHER QUESTION RAISED BY
JUSTICE OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES IS
SIMPLY THIS--
“WHO'S GOING TO DECIDE--
TO WHOM DO YOU AWARD THE RIGHT
TO DECIDE WHICH SPEECH IS
HARMFUL?”
OR WHO IS THE HARMFUL SPEAKER?
OR TO DETERMINE IN ADVANCE WHAT
ARE THE HARMFUL CONSEQUENCES
GOING TO BE THAT WE KNOW ENOUGH
ABOUT IN ADVANCE TO PREVENT?
TO WHOM WOULD GIVE THIS JOB?
TO WHOM ARE YOU GOING TO AWARD
THE TASK OF BEING THE CENSOR?
ISN'T IT A FAMOUS OLD STORY THAT
THE MAN WHO HAS TO READ ALL THE
PORNOGRAPHY IN ORDER TO DECIDE
WHAT'S FIT TO BE PASSED AND WHAT
IS FIT NOT TO BE, IS THE MAN
MOST LIKELY TO BECOME DEBAUCHED.
DID YOU HEAR ANY SPEAKER IN THE
OPPOSITION TO THIS MOTION,
ELOQUENT AS ONE OF THEM WAS, TO
WHOM YOU WOULD DELEGATE THE TASK
OF DECIDING FOR YOU WHAT YOU
COULD READ?
WHO WOULD, TO ME, WOULD GIVE THE
JOB OF DECIDING FOR YOU, RELIEVE
YOU OF THE RESPONSIBILITY OF
HEARING WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE TO
HEAR?
DO YOU KNOW ANYONE?
HANDS UP.
DO YOU KNOW ANYONE TO WHOM YOU
WOULD GIVE THIS JOB?
DOES ANYONE HAVE A NOMINEE?
YOU MEAN THERE'S NO ONE IN
CANADA GOOD ENOUGH TO DECIDE
WHAT I CAN READ?
OR HEAR?
I HAD NO IDEA.
BUT THERE'S A LAW THAT SAYS
THERE MUST BE SUCH A PERSON, OR
THERE'S A SUBSECTION OF SOME
PIDDLING LAW THAT SAYS IT.
WELL, TO HELL WITH THAT LAW
THEN.
IT'S INVITING YOU TO BE LIARS
AND HYPOCRITES, AND TO DENY WHAT
YOU EVIDENTLY KNOW ALREADY.
ABOUT THE CENSORIOUS INSTINCT,
WE BASICALLY KNOW ALL THAT WE
NEED TO KNOW AND WE'VE KNOWN IT
FOR A LONG TIME.
IT COMES FROM AN OLD STORY ABOUT
ANOTHER GREAT ENGLISHMAN; SORRY
TO SOUND SO PARTICULAR ABOUT
THAT THIS EVENING, Dr. SAMUEL
JOHNSON...
THE GREAT LEXICOGRAPHER, AUTHOR
OF THE FIRST--
COMPILER, I SHOULD SAY--
OF THE FIRST GREAT DICTIONARY OF
THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
WHEN IT WAS COMPLETE, Dr.
JOHNSON WAS WAITED UPON BY
VARIOUS DELEGATIONS OF PEOPLE TO
CONGRATULATE HIM...
OF THE NOBILITY OF THE QUALITY;
THE COMMONS, THE LORDS;
AND ALSO BY A DELEGATION OF
RESPECTABLE LADIES OF LONDON
WHO TENDED ON HIM IN HIS FLEET
STREET LODGINGS AND
CONGRATULATED HIM.
“Dr. JOHNSON,” THEY SAID, “WE
ARE DELIGHTED TO FIND THAT
YOU'VE NOT INCLUDED ANY INDECENT
OR OBSCENE WORDS IN YOUR
DICTIONARY.”
“LADIES,” SAID Dr. JOHNSON, “I
CONGRATULATE YOU ON BEING ABLE
TO LOOK THEM UP.”

[Audience laughter]

Christopher continues ANYONE
WHO CAN UNDERSTAND THAT JOKE,
AND I'M PLEASED TO SEE THAT
ABOUT 10 percent OF YOU CAN...

[Audience laughter]

Christopher continues UM,
GETS THE POINT ABOUT CENSORSHIP,
ESPECIALLY PRIOR RESTRAINT, AS
IT'S KNOWN IN THE UNITED STATES,
WHERE IT'S BANNED BY THE FIRST
AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION.
IT MAY NOT BE DETERMINED IN
ADVANCE WHAT WORDS ARE APT OR
INAPT.
NO ONE HAS THE KNOWLEDGE THAT
WOULD BE REQUIRED TO MAKE THAT
CALL
AND,
MORE TO THE
POINT, ONE HAS TO SUSPECT THE
MOTIVES OF THOSE WHO DO SO--
IN PARTICULAR, THE MOTIVES OF
THOSE WHO ARE DETERMINED TO BE
OFFENDED; OF THOSE WHO WILL GO
THROUGH A TREASURE HOUSE OF
ENGLISH, LIKE Dr. JOHNSON'S
FIRST LEXICON, IN SEARCH OF
FILTHY WORDS TO SATISFY
THEMSELVES AND SOME INSTINCT
ABOUT WHICH I DARE NOT
SPECULATE.

[Audience laughter]

Christopher continues NOW I
AM ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED THAT THE
MAIN SOURCE OF HATRED IN THE
WORLD IS RELIGION.
AND ORGANIZED RELIGION.
ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED OF THEM.

[Applause]

Christopher continues AND I'M
GLAD THAT YOU APPLAUD BECAUSE
IT'S A VERY GREAT PROBLEM FOR
THOSE WHO OPPOSE THIS MOTION,
ISN'T IT?
HOW ARE THEY GOING TO BAN
RELIGION?
HOW ARE THEY GOING TO STOP THE
EXPRESSION OF RELIGIOUS
LOATHING, HATRED, AND BIGOTRY?
I SPEAK OF SOMEONE WHO'S A
FAIRLY REGULAR TARGET OF THIS,
AND NOT JUST IN RHETORICAL FORM.
I HAVE BEEN THE TARGET OF MANY
DEATH THREATS.
I KNOW IN, WITHIN THE SHORT
DISTANCE OF WHERE I'M CURRENTLY
LIVING IN WASHINGTON, I CAN NAME
TWO OR THREE PEOPLE WHOSE NAMES
YOU'D PROBABLY KNOW, WHO CAN'T
GO ANYWHERE NOW WITHOUT A
SECURITY DETAIL BECAUSE OF THE
CRITICISMS THEY'VE MADE OF ONE
MONOTHEISM IN PARTICULAR.
THIS IS IN THE CAPITAL CITY OF
THE UNITED STATES.
SO I KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT
AND I ALSO HAVE TO NOTICE THAT
THE SORT OF PEOPLE WHO RING ME
UP AND SAY THEY KNOW WHERE MY
CHILDREN GO TO SCHOOL--
AND THEY CERTAINLY KNOW WHAT MY
HOME NUMBER IS, AND WHERE I
LIVE, AND WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO
DO TO THEM AND TO MY WIFE AND TO
ME, AND WHO I HAVE TO TAKE
SERIOUSLY BECAUSE THEY HAVE DONE
IT TO PEOPLE I KNOW--
ARE JUST THE PEOPLE WHO ARE
GOING TO SEEK THE PROTECTION OF
THE HATE SPEECH LAW IF I SAY
WHAT I THINK ABOUT THEIR
RELIGION, WHICH I'M NOW GOING TO DO.

[Audience laughter]

Christopher continues
BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE ANY, WHAT
YOU MIGHT CALL, ETHNIC BIAS.
I'VE NO GRUDGE OF THAT SORT.
I CAN RUB ALONG WITH PRETTY MUCH
ANYONE OF ANY, AS IT WERE,
ORIGIN OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION, OR
LANGUAGE GROUP, EXCEPT PEOPLE
FROM YORKSHIRE, OF COURSE.
UM...

[Audience laughter]

Christopher continues WHO ARE
COMPLETELY UNTAKEABLE.

[Audience laughter]

Christopher continues UM...
AND I'M BEGINNING TO RESENT THE
CONFUSION THAT'S BEING IMPOSED
ON US NOW, AND THERE WAS SOME OF
IT THIS EVENING BETWEEN, UH,
RELIGIOUS BELIEF, BLASPHEMY,
ETHNICITY, PROFANITY, AND WHAT
ONE MIGHT CALL MULTICULTURAL
ETIQUETTE.
IT'S QUITE COMMON NOW FOR PEOPLE
TO USE THE EXPRESSION, FOR
EXAMPLE, “ANTI-ISLAMIC RACISM.”
AS IF AN ATTACK ON A RELIGION
WASN'T AN ATTACK ON AN ETHNIC
GROUP.
THE WORD “ISLAMOPHOBIA,” IN
FACT, IS BEGINNING TO ACQUIRE
THE OPPROBRIUM OF THE--
THAT WAS ONCE RESERVED FOR
RACIAL PREJUDICE.
THIS IS A SUBTLE AND VERY NASTY
INSINUATION THAT NEEDS TO BE MET
HEAD-ON.
WHO SAID, “WHAT IF FALWELL SAYS
HE HATES FAGS?
WHAT IF PEOPLE ACT UPON THAT?”
THE BIBLE SAYS YOU HAVE TO HATE
FAGS.
IF FALWELL SAYS HE'S SAYING IT
'CAUSE THE BIBLE SAYS SO, HE'S
RIGHT.
YES, IT MIGHT MAKE PEOPLE GO OUT
AND USE VIOLENCE.
WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT THAT?
YOU'RE UP AGAINST A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO
WILL SAY, “YOU--
DON'T YOU PUT YOUR HANDS ON OUR
BIBLE OR WE'LL CALL THE HATE
SPEECH POLICE!”
NOW WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO WHEN
YOU'VE DUG THAT TRAP FOR YOURSELF?
SOMEBODY SAID THAT ANTI-SEMITISM
AND KRISTALLNACHT IN GERMANY WAS
THE RESULT OF TEN YEARS OF
JEW-BAITING.
TEN YEARS?!
YOU MUST BE JOKING.
IT'S THOSE OUT OF 2,000 YEARS OF
CHRISTIANITY, BASED ON ONE VERSE
OF ONE CHAPTER OF St. JOHN'S
GOSPEL, WHICH LED TO A POGROM
AFTER EVERY EASTER SERMON EVERY
YEAR FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS,
BECAUSE IT CLAIMS THAT THE JEWS
DEMANDED THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
BEYOND THE HEADS OF THEMSELVES
AND ALL THEIR CHILDREN TO THE
REMOTEST GENERATION.
THAT'S THE WARRANT AND LICENCE
FOR AND INCITEMENT TO
ANTI-JEWISH POGROMS.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT
THAT; WHERE'S YOUR PIDDLING
SUBSECTION NOW?
DOES IT SAY St. JOHN'S GOSPEL
MUST BE CENSORED?
DO I WHO HAVE READ FREUD AND
KNOW WHAT THE FUTURE OF AN
ILLUSION REALLY IS, AND KNOW
THAT RELIGIOUS BELIEF IS
INERADICABLE AS LONG AS WE
REMAIN AS STUPID, POLY-EVOLVED
MAMMALIAN SPECIES, THINK THAT
SOME CANADIAN LAW IS GONNA SOLVE
THIS PROBLEM?
PLEASE.
NO, OUR PROBLEM IS THIS--
OUR PRE-FRONTAL LOBES ARE TOO
SMALL, AND OUR ADRENALINE GLANDS
ARE TOO BIG, AND OUR
THUMB-FINGER OPPOSITION ISN'T
ALL THAT IT MIGHT BE.
AND WE'RE AFRAID OF THE DARK,
AND WE'RE AFRAID TO DIE, AND WE
BELIEVE IN THE TRUTHS OF HOLY
BOOKS THAT ARE SO STUPID AND SO
FABRICATED THAT A CHILD CAN--
AND ALL CHILDREN DO--
BUT AS YOU CAN TELL BY THEIR
QUESTIONS, ACTUALLY SEE THROUGH
THEM.
AND I THINK IT SHOULD BE,
WRITTEN RELIGION TREATED WITH
RIDICULE--

Interjection: BRAVO!

Christopher says AND
HATRED, AND CONTEMPT!

[Some applause]

Christopher continues AND I
CLAIM THAT RIGHT.
NOW LET'S NOT DANCE AROUND; NOT
ALL MONOTHEISMS ARE EXACTLY THE
SAME AT THE MOMENT, BUT ALL
BASED ON THE SAME ILLUSION--
THEY'RE ALL PLAGIARISMS OF EACH
OTHER--
BUT THERE'S ONE IN PARTICULAR
THAT, AT THE MOMENT, IS
PROPOSING A SERIOUS MENACE NOT
JUST TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, BUT TO
QUITE A LOT OF OTHER FREEDOMS,
TOO.
AND THIS IS THE RELIGION THAT
EXHIBITS THE HORRIBLE TRIO OF
SELF-HATRED, SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS,
AND SELF-PITY.
I'M TALKING ABOUT MILITANT
ISLAM.
GLOBALLY, IT'S A GIGANTIC POWER.
GLOBALLY, IT'S A GIGANTIC POWER.
IT CONTROLS AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT
OF OIL WEALTH.
SEVERAL LARGE COUNTRIES AND
STATES WITH AN ENORMOUS FORTUNE,
IT'S PUMPING THE IDEOLOGY OF
WAHHABISM AND SALAFISM AROUND
THE WORLD, POISONING SOCIETIES
WHERE IT GOES, RUINING THE MINDS
OF CHILDREN, STULTIFYING THE
YOUNG IN ITS MUD TROUSERS,
TRAINING PEOPLE IN VIOLENCE,
MAKING A CULT OF DEATH AND
SUICIDE AND MURDER.
THAT'S WHAT IT DOES GLOBALLY,
IT'S QUITE STRONG.
IN OUR SOCIETIES, IT POSES AS A
CRINGING MINORITY, WHOSE FAITH
YOU MIGHT OFFEND, WHICH DESERVES
ALL THE PROTECTION THAT A SMALL
AND VULNERABLE GROUP MIGHT NEED.
NOW, IT MAKES QUITE LARGE CLAIMS
FOR ITSELF.
DOESN'T IT?
IT SAYS IT'S THE FINAL
REVELATION.
IT SAYS THAT GOD SPOKE TO ONE
ILLITERATE BUSINESSMAN IN THE
ARABIAN PENINSULA THREE TIMES
THROUGH AN ARCHANGEL, AND THAT
THE RESULTING MATERIAL WHICH, AS
YOU CAN SEE WHEN YOU READ IT, IS
LARGELY PLAGIARIZED FROM THE OLD
AND THE NEW TESTAMENT...
ALMOST ALL OF IT, ACTUALLY,
PLAGIARIZED INEPTLY FROM THE OLD
AND NEW TESTAMENT.
IT'S TO BE ACCEPTED AS A DIVINE
REVELATION AND AS THE FINAL AND
UNALTERABLE ONE, AND THAT THOSE
WHO DO NOT ACCEPT THIS
REVELATION ARE FIT TO BE TREATED
AS CATTLE, INFIDELS, POTENTIAL
CHATTEL SLAVES AND VICTIMS.
WELL, I TELL YOU WHAT, I DON'T
THINK MUHAMMAD EVER HEARD THOSE
VOICES.
I DON'T BELIEVE IT.
NOW THE LIKELIHOOD THAT I'M
RIGHT AS OPPOSED TO THE
LIKELIHOOD THAT A SHEPHERD WHO
COULDN'T--
UH, BUSINESSMAN--
WHO COULDN'T READ HAD BITS OF
THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT
RE-DICTATED TO HIM BY AN
ARCHANGEL, I THINK PUTS ME MUCH
MORE NEAR THE POSITION OF BEING
OBJECTIVELY CORRECT.
BUT WHO IS THE ONE UNDER THREAT?
THE PERSON WHO PROMULGATES THIS
AND SAYS, “I'D BETTER LISTEN
BECAUSE IF I DON'T I'M IN
DANGER”?
OR ME, WHO SAYS, “NO, I THINK
THIS IS SO SILLY, YOU CAN EVEN
PUBLISH A CARTOON ABOUT IT.”
AND UP GO THE PLACARDS, AND UP
GO THE YELLS AND THE HOWLS AND
THE SCREAMS, “BEHEAD THOSE!”
THIS IS IN LONDON, THIS IS IN
TORONTO, THIS IS IN NEW YORK.
IT'S RIGHT IN OUR MIDST NOW.
“BEHEAD THOSE!
BEHEAD THOSE WHO CARTOON ISLAM!”
DO THEY GET ARRESTED FOR HATE SPEECH?
NO.
MIGHT I GET IN TROUBLE FOR
SAYING WHAT I'VE JUST SAID ABOUT
THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD?
YES, I MIGHT.
WHERE ARE YOUR PRIORITIES,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN?
YOU'RE GIVING AWAY WHAT'S MOST
PRECIOUS IN YOUR OWN SOCIETY AND
YOU'RE GIVING IT AWAY WITHOUT A
FIGHT, AND YOU'RE EVEN PRAISING
THE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO DENY YOU
THE RIGHT TO RESIST IT.
SHAME ON YOU WHILE YOU DO THIS.
MAKE THE BEST USE OF THE TIME
YOU'VE GOT LEFT.
THIS IS REALLY SERIOUS.
NOW...
IF YOU LOOK ANYWHERE YOU LIKE--
BECAUSE WE'VE HAD INVOCATIONS OF
A RATHER DRIVELLING AND SICKLY
KIND TONIGHT IF OUR SYMPATHY,
WHAT ABOUT THE POOR FAGS?
WHAT ABOUT THE POOR JEWS, THE
WRETCHED WOMEN WHO CAN'T TAKE
THE ABUSE?
AND THE SLAVES AND THEIR
DESCENDANTS, AND THE TRIBES WHO
DIDN'T MAKE IT AND WERE TOLD
THAT THEIR LAND WAS FORFEIT.
LOOK ANYWHERE YOU LIKE FOR THE
WARRANT FOR SLAVERY, FOR THE
SUBJECTION OF WOMEN AS CHATTEL,
FOR THE BURNING AND FLOGGING OF
HOMOSEXUALS, FOR ETHNIC
CLEANSING, FOR ANTI-SEMITISM--
FOR ALL OF THIS, YOU LOOK NO
FURTHER THAN A FAMOUS BOOK
THAT'S ON EVERY PULPIT IN THIS
CITY AND IN EVERY SYNAGOGUE AND
IN EVERY MOSQUE.
AND THEN JUST SEE WHETHER YOU
CAN SQUARE THE FACT THAT THE
FORCE THAT IS THE MAIN SOURCE OF
HATRED IS ALSO THE MAIN CALLER
FOR CENSORSHIP.
AND WHEN YOU'VE REALIZED THAT
YOU'RE THEREFORE, THIS EVENING,
FACED WITH A GIGANTIC FALSE
ANTITHESIS, I HOPE THAT STILL
WON'T STOP YOU FROM GIVING THE
MOTION BEFORE YOU THE RESOUNDING
ENDORSEMENT THAT IT DESERVES.
THANKS AWFULLY.
NIGHT-NIGHT.

[Applause]

Christopher says STAY COOL.

The clip ends and Andrew reappears in the studio with a caption that reads “Andrew Moodie.”

He says IT IS OBVIOUS
THAT HITCHENS IS PROUD OF
DEFENDING HOLOCAUST DENIER DAVID
IRVING AND THE CORE OF THE
ARGUMENT IS, “HOW CAN I HAVE
FREE SPEECH IF I'M NOT ABLE TO
DEFEND THE SPEECH OF SOMEONE
SAYING SOMETHING THAT I HATE?”
HOWEVER, IT'S
ACTUALLY PRETTY EASY TO DEFEND
SPEECH OF SOMEONE IF THAT SPEECH
DOESN'T POSE AN IMMEDIATE REAL
THREAT TO YOU OR A PARTICULAR
GROUP THAT YOU'RE A PART OF.
WOULD HITCHENS CHANGE HIS MIND
IF SOMEONE--
LET'S JUST SAY, OH, I DON'T
KNOW, UM--
NOAM CHOMSKY?
WERE TO BEGIN TO PEN PAMPHLETS
INSINUATING THE NEED FOR POGROMS
ON FORMER TROTSKYISTS WHO
SUPPORT WAR ON TERROR?
PERHAPS ABSOLUTE FREEDOM OF
SPEECH IS FINE WITH THOSE WHO
ARE BLESSED WITH A GIFT OF THE
GAB AND AN ABILITY TO SHIELD
THEMSELVES WITH WORDS.
BUT THEN, NOT EVERYBODY FALLS
INTO THAT CATEGORY.
AS SOMEONE WHO WORKS IN THE
FRONT LINES OF--
OR, PERHAPS THE BACK ALLEYS--
OF FREE SPEECH, I'M AWARE THAT
MY POSITION COMES WITH CERTAIN
RESPONSIBILITIES.
FREE SPEECH IS NEVER A FREE
LUNCH.
IF YOU CROSS A CERTAIN LINE--
AND THE LINE CHANGES WITH THE
TIMES--
YOU PAY.
IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN AND WILL
ALWAYS BE THUS.
OH YES, UH, THE RESOLUTION
CALLING FOR THE
DECRIMINALIZATION OF HATE SPEECH
WAS UPHELD BY THE AUDIENCE
LISTENING TO THE ARGUMENTS OF
THE HART HOUSE DEBATING CLUB BY
205 TO 87 VOTES.
NEXT WEEK, IT'S THE BEGINNING OF
OUR 5-WEEK RUN OF THE 2007 BEST
LECTURER COMPETITION--
TEN ONTARIO PROFESSORS COMPETING
FOR YOUR VOTE.
YOU CAN SEE
WHO THEY ARE, AND STUDY OUR
VOTING PROCEDURE, ON OUR WEB
SITE AT
www.tvo.org/bestlecturer
AND NOW, SPEND A FEW MINUTES
WITH OUR JURY, WHOSE JOB WAS TO
SELECT THE TEN FINALISTS.
HERE ARE THE NOVELIST, CAMILLA GIBB,
MACLEAN'S MANAGING
EDITOR, TONY KELLER, AND
GLOBE AND MAIL'S
COLUMNIST, MARGARET WENTE,
GIVING US THEIR IDEAS ABOUT WHAT
MAKES A GREAT LECTURER.

Tony Keller, Camilla Gibb and Margaret Wente sit at a round table in front of a TV set.
Tony is in his forties, clean-shaven, with receding curly blond hair. He’s wearing a black suit and a pink shirt.
Camilla is in her late thirties, with long chestnut hair in a ponytail. She’s wearing a white blazer over a brown shirt.
Margaret is in her fifties, with short blond hair in a bob and bangs. She’s wearing a silver blazer.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Tony Keller. Managing Editor, Maclean’s."

Tony says THERE IS THIS
NOTION THAT THE LECTURER'S
PASSE, THAT KIDS NEED--
ALL THEY NEED ARE AUDIO-VISUAL
AIDS, OH, THEY'RE ALL ON TEXT
MESSAGES, THEY'RE ALL ON CELL
PHONES...
THEY'RE ALL THAT--
THEY HAVE LOW ATTENTION SPAN,
AND THE IDEA OF SOMEONE STANDING
IN FRONT OF A CLASS FOR 30, 40,
50, 60 MINUTES AND TALKING JUST
DOESN'T WORK ANYMORE.
I DON'T BUY IT. UH...
I THINK THAT, IF ANYTHING, ONE
OF THESE THAT'S ESSENTIAL ABOUT
UNIVERSITY IS THAT IT NOT JUST
REVEAL TO YOU THINGS THAT YOU
HAVE NOT LEARNED BEFORE BUT IT
PROVIDE YOU WITH EXPERIENCES
THAT YOU HAVE NOT HAD BEFORE,
AND IT SEEMS TO BE ALL THE MORE
REASON THAT YOU WANT PEOPLE--
AS LONG AS THEY'RE VERY GOOD AT
IT--
TO STAND UP IN FRONT OF A CLASS
AND JUST SAY THERE ARE ALL THOSE
OTHER DISTRACTIONS; WE'RE GONNA
PUSH THEM ASIDE AND IT'S JUST MY
VOICE, MY IDEAS, AND YOU'RE
GOING TO HAVE TO FOCUS ON THESE
FOR 50 MINUTES.
MANY DIFFERENT WAYS OF DOING
THAT--
SOCRATIC METHOD, STRAIGHT
LECTURE...
BUT IT SEEMS TO ME THAT IT'S
REALLY IMPORTANT...

Camilla says BUT THERE IS--

Tony says TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT.

Camilla says THERE'S
PROBABLY MORE PRESSURE, I THINK,
NOW, ON UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS--

Tony says YES.

The caption changes to "Camilla Gibb. Novelist, ‘Sweetness in the belly.’"

Camilla says TO BE ADEPT
PERFORMERS AND TO BE ABLE TO
CAPTURE--

Tony says CAPTURE THEIR--

Camilla says THEIR
AUDIENCES IN A WAY THAT...
WELL, CERTAINLY, WHEN I WAS AN
UNDERGRADUATE, THERE WASN'T THAT
SORT OF ONUS, AND THERE WASN'T
THIS IDEA THAT YOU WERE
COMPETING WITH OTHER FORMS OF
INFORMATION DELIVERY.

Tony says YEAH.
AND COMPETING WITH THEM NOT JUST
IN SOME BROAD SENSE OUTSIDE THE
CLASSROOM, BUT COMPETING WITH
THEM DIRECTLY IN THE CLASSROOM
AND THAT, IN MANY CLASSROOMS,
EVERYONE'S GOT A LAPTOP, AND
THEY'RE DOING THINGS ON THEIR
LAPTOP THAT ARE NOT RELATED TO
THE LECTURE.

Camilla says MM-HMM.

The caption changes to "Margaret Wente. Columnist, ‘The Globe and Mail.’"

Margaret says BUT TONY, I
THINK THERE SHOULD BE MORE OF
THIS, ON TEACHING--

Tony says YES!

Margaret says AND
LECTURING.

Tony says ABSOLUTELY!

Margaret says NOT ON--
NOT THE KIND OF LECTURING WHERE
YOU'RE BASICALLY TEACHING
CHAPTER 2.
OR TEACHING THE TEXTBOOK.

Tony says EXACTLY.

Margaret says BUT THE KIND
OF LECTURE IN WHERE YOU'RE
ADDING A LOT OF VALUE THROUGH
INSIGHT OR SYNTHESIS...

Tony says YEAH.

Margaret says OR, UH...
OR THE COMMUNICATION OF BIG
IDEAS.
AND THAT'S THE KIND OF THING
THAT A TEXTBOOK CANNOT DO.
A TEXTBOOK ALSO CAN'T TEACH YOU
OR SHOW YOU HOW TO THINK.

Tony says YEAH.

Margaret says AND THE BEST
OF THESE LECTURERS ARE SHOWING
YOU HOW TO THINK BECAUSE THEY
ARE, IN A WAY, THINKING OUT
LOUD.
AND YOU CAN SEE HOW THEIR
ARGUMENT UNFOLDS.

Tony says YEAH.
I THINK, OFTEN, YOU KNOW,
THERE'S A TREMENDOUS PRESSURE IN
BUSINESS, AND I THINK NOW AS
WELL IN ACADEMIA, TO HAVE A
VISUAL THAT GOES ALONG WITH YOUR
LECTURE--
TO HAVE A POWERPOINT
PRESENTATION THAT GOES WITH YOUR
LECTURE.
AND I THINK, IN MOST CASES--
NOT ALL, BUT IN MOST CASES--
THIS ACTUALLY DETRACT FROM THE
LECTURE BECAUSE SOMEONE FEELS A
NEED TO HYPER-SIMPLIFY WHAT THEY
HAVE TO SAY, TO PUT IT DOWN IN
FOUR WORDS, IN A SERIES OF
FOUR-WORD SLIDES, WHICH THEY
WILL THEN SORT OF REPEAT IN
THEIR WORDS AS THEY'RE
SPEAKING--

Margaret says I HATE
POWERPOINT.

Tony says REPEAT THE
WORDS--
YEAH, THEY'RE REPEAT THE WORDS
THAT ARE UP ON THE SCREEN, IT'S
CRAZY!

Margaret says I HATE
POWERPOINT BECAUSE POWERPOINT
SIMPLIFIES.

Tony says YEAH!

Margaret says AND
UNIVERSITY SHOULD BE ABOUT
COMPLEXITY.
IT SHOULD BE ABOUT NUANCE.
IT SHOULD BE ABOUT STRUGGLING
WITH INTERESTING AND DIFFICULT,
AND CHALLENGING IDEAS.

Camilla says NOT ON KEY
MESSAGES.

Tony says YEAH.

Margaret says NO.

Camilla says YOU KNOW, IT
DOES GET VERY--

Margaret says IT'S NOT
ADVERTISING.

Tony says THERE WAS THIS
GREAT JOKE THAT WAS GOING AROUND
THE INTERNET, I DON'T KNOW IF IT
WAS A YEAR OR TWO AGO, AND IT
WAS THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS
REDUCED TO POWERPOINT.

Margaret Laughs.

Tony says AND THE
ABSURDITY OF TAKING THE BEAUTY
OF LANGUAGE AND SUCH COMPLEX AND
EXPANSIVE THOUGHTS, AND REDUCING
THEM TO A SERIES OF FIVE-WORD
PHRASES.
AND...
THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT YOU DO NOT
WANT PEOPLE TO BE EXPOSED TO AT
UNIVERSITY BECAUSE THERE'S SO
MUCH OF THAT ALREADY IN THE
WORLD.
YOU WANT THE OPPOSITE AT
UNIVERSITY.

The clip ends.

Andrew says COME BACK NEXT
WEEK AND PARTICIPATE IN THE BEST
LECTURER COMPETITION.
FOR
BIG IDEAS,
I'M ANDREW
MOODIE.

[Theme music plays]

The end credits roll.

bigideas@tvo.org

416-484-2746

Big Ideas. Producer, Wodek Szemberg.

Producers, Lara Hindle, Mike Miner, Gregg Thurlbeck.

Logos: Unifor, Canadian Media Guild.

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 2006, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Christopher Hitchens