So this is a bit of a delicate post to write, because I'm going to disagree with two friends, one of whom is a fellow DJer. This is about the whole legal tiff referenced in the last post by Fern, where a friend, Dr. Dawg, has won a court case against some truly nasty Internet scum, people for whom I have zero respect and whom I would probably not miss if they disappeared magically from the face of the Earth.
But let me lay my cards on the table: by my own sympathies, I am what Dr. Dawg calls a Speech Warrior (tm). I feel that I have good reasons to believe that the "American approach" to speech matters is the most optimal one so far, barring the nonsense about speech being money, Citizens United, etc. But the idea that even an allegedly impartial court should be able to decide what thoughts are permitted to survive in public rubs me the wrong way for a whole lot of reasons, and makes me suspicious even of libel and defamation laws.
That said, I respect those who consider otherwise, as they have a point in the need to protect people and society from lies and the sort of harmful propaganda that leads to genocides, and so on. The horrible scumbags in question do certainly represent a tendency on that continuum. I can understand that those, like Dr. Dawg, who don't share my conviction on free speech, but share most of my other convictions, would therefore feel that they have the right to make use of Canadian law to protect themselves against what they probably correctly see as a sort of rhetorical assault. And while the law stands as it does, I don't begrudge them that opportunity.
And this is where I come to disagree with Fern. The courts in Canada are adversarial for a reason. They aren't calm legislative arbiters, serving a public function to lay down guidelines. They are legal boxing rings, or maybe pitched battles. And while that may seem unfortunate to some practically-minded people, people who just want well-engineered solutions, the "set phasers on pulverize" nature of the courts is one of its most important and best features. Consequently, one cannot simply be politically neutral and support both sides. One side must lose.
If you contribute to both sides (say, the Fourniers), and your political side loses (Dr. Dawg), then you have contributed to the financial costs imposed on your own political compatriots. And make no mistake, Dr. Dawg is a political compatriot par excellence: pro-choice, anti-racist, pro-environment.
Like I said, this debate saddens me, because I think it's ultimately the sort of clash of personalities that tends to rend left-wing sites asunder: the "engineering-minded" vs. the "battle-minded." When it comes to the courts, though, the "battle-minded" are right. There is no neutral solution-finding, only winners and losers. And the Free Dominionites must be ground legally into the dust.
ADDED by fh on June 19/12: Isn't this an interesting development? I wonder who will debate.