“F” stands for “Free Dominion”.
That is what Dr. Michael Geist wrote in his ‘internet freedom countdown’.
“F” could just as easily could have stood for “Fournier” – as in Connie and Mark Fournier, who have done more for the freedom of speech and freedom on the Internet than any other Canadians. And this time, I am not using hyperbole!
20 years to the day and in the very building I had signed my marriage license, I came to observe and blog about a court case involving Free Dominion: Connie and Mark Fournier. It was a civil case involving anonymity on the internet and both the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Dr. Geist’s Electronic Frontier Foundation were intervenors in the case. Having heard of the latter two and considering any court case they both thought important enough to intervene in to definitely have a significant impact on my own internet and speech freedoms, I came to spectate. (OK – I have to admit – I am a Geist ‘acolyte’.)
While following this particular case and many, many more, I came to deeply admire Connie and Mark. Over the years, they have made significant impact on the evolution of our speech and internet rights, always from a deeply principled perspective.
Now, before you get the idea that I agree with Connie and Mark’s political views, let me stop you right there. They are social conservatives who come from a Christian perspective. I am a libertarian, just this side of turning into an-cap. And a militant ignostic as well as a registered Kopimist.
Despite the greatly different views we hold on a myriad of topics, I came to like and deeply respect the Fourniers. Even when we discussed topics we disagreed on, they were respectful and principled and debating things with them has always been a pleasure.
Full disclosure: the one principle both the Fourniers and I completely and totally agree on – and it is perhaps the most important principle of them all – is the importance of freedom of speech.
I came to understanding the true and essential need for freedom of speech as the cornerstone of our civilization and the internet as the vehicle through which it is anonymously and effectively delivered because I was not only born on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, I was also born the daughter of a political dissident. Perhaps because of this, I learned early on that without the freedom to criticize and ridicule political and religious ideologies and figures, you lose the means of defending all your other rights and freedoms. And while I don’t know the route that brought Connie and Mark to the same conclusions, it is a demonstrated fact that they have not only lived by that principle, they have sacrificed all to preserve freedom of speech in Canada (and, by extension, all Magna Carta countries) and have put their financial and physical security – their very well being on the line to protect anonymous speech (in their case, on the internet), which is so very crucial in preventing the abrogation of free speech in public spaces.
OK – I have now sketched in the background so that you, my dear reader, are aware of what I know, think and whatever prejudices I may have regarding my review of Connie Fournier’s new book: ‘Betrayed! Stephen Harper’s War on Principled Conservatism’.
One more thing before I start: here is a most excellent review of the book by Jay Currie (and, no, I did not read his review before I had made my own mind up). The comments are excellent!
‘Betrayed! Stephen Harper’s War on Principled Conservatism’ by Connie Fournier is a truly scary book.
Connie Fournier is both intelligent and eloquent and has the skill to line the little pearls up, one by one, till they form a brilliant necklace – or an effective noose…
Yes, I saw a part of the journey that Connie so accurately describes in her book – but I truly only saw a small part. Yet, step by step, event by event, convoluted happening by convoluted happening, she lights the path and puts forward some very convincing evidence that points not just to the corruption of our ‘progressive’ leaning bureaucracy but also demonstrated how the Harper ‘iron fist’ is affecting things behind the scenes (whether through direct action or through carefully selective inaction). Limited by the legal rulings still muzzling her, she succeeds in getting the important points across in a logical, accurate and believable manner.
This book has bought into focus the consistency with which the Harper government has sought to control, regulate and stifle internet communication. The book stops before the Trans Pacific Trade Treaty – again, a Harper government ‘baby’, the leaks about which prove the veracity of everything else written in the book.
Yes, I would recommend it as a read – even though I disagree with Connie’s conclusion that the Green Party would be the natural place to cast a protest vote for. No – I think the Pirate Party of Canada is a much better candidate, as their abid opposition to Bill C-51 is coupled with opposition to copyright consumer right abuses that the TPTT imposes as a supra-national law. If there is no Pirate Party candidate in your riding, please, do consider running for them. If my health were better, I most certainly would do my best to try to run for them!
But, again, I digress…
This is an important book to read for everyone who understands the crucial role freedom of speech plays and who would like help navigating the legal jungle of bills and attempts to deny it to us, the citizens – especially as it relates to the electronic medium.
Whether neo-Con or not, this book will open your eyes to the systematic process that is already in place to persecute political foes of the party in power and is written in such an accessible way that even non-techies will understand the implications of the proposed muzzling legislation coming from Harper’s ‘Conservative’ government.
Everyone of my relatives and friends will be getting a copy from me!
We are all children of the Magna Carta!
OK, being an immigrant to The West, I am an adoptive child of the Magna Carta – and that much more appreciative of her!!!
John Robson is making a documentary on the Magna Carta, just in time for her 800th anniversary.
And not wanting to be beholden to any pressure from potential funders, he is crowdsourcing the funding – through Kickstarter: the kicker with Kickstarter is that unless you raise the full amount, you get nothing…
So, please, if you can, do support this most worthy enterprise!
And as a bonus, here is Professor John Robson on the Magna Carta – starting with the story of Alfred the Great:
General warrants, anyone?
This does not even address the problems inherent in breathalyzer tests.
In other words, if we refuse to submit to a test with an instrument we know is likely to give an artificially high reading and against which there is no defense (as the analyzed sample cannot be retained for more accurate re-testing), we are automatically deemed guilty.
Please, don’t get me wrong: I do not advocate drunk driving. As a matter of fact, I will not drive after having had any alcohol – and will abstain from drinking alcohol if I expect to be driving. Even if I were well under the legal limit, if I were to get into an accident and harmed someone, knowing my reflexes might have been impaired by my irresponsible consumption of alcohol, I would have a hard time living with myself. So, I always drive sober!
In other words, the inaccurate readings of the breathalysers are not likely to ever affect me in the least and I truly ‘have nothing to hide’ – as the video stresses! It is not about ‘hiding something’ – it is about the principle involved!!!
How can so many of our ‘best and brightest’ be so dense?
A few days ago, I posted on the 2nd Amendment and a pro-gun ownership ad. After a short comment exchange, I received this response from CodeSlinger which, in my never-humble-opinion, deserves a full post of its own.
It is that important!
And this ramifies into the whole issue of the source and nature of rights and morals.
By claiming that rights are conferred by the state and morals are a matter of consensus, the neo-liberals utterly destroy the concepts of rights and morals. They reduce rights to the status of mere privileges, and they reduce morals to the status of mere laws.
In this way, neo-liberalism is no better than the religions it denigrates. Neo-liberals claim that rights and morals are handed down by the state, while religious people claim that rights and morals are handed down by God. They do not recognize that a man has rights simply by virtue of existing, nor do they understand that right and wrong are determined solely by what kind of creature a man is.
A man is a living creature capable of reason and compassion. From this it follows immediately that his inalienable rights are life, liberty, privacy, property, self-defence and self-expression. It also follows directly that whatever causes a man harm by violating his rights is wrong, and whatever is not wrong is right.
Recognition of these principles places strict limits on the rightful power of the state vis-à-vis the individual, much the same way that the American Constitution was intended to do, only more so. It leads to the understanding that the only legitimate purpose of the state is to equally protect the equal rights of each and every individual. Everything the state does beyond that causes more harm than good.
And, of course, this flies in the face of everything the neo-liberals want, which is why they hate the Constitution and the principles of inalienable individual rights and universal morality on which it is based.
These principles give them freedom to do as they please, but also burden them with responsibility to take care of themselves — all without violating the rights of such others as have not violated theirs.
But neo-liberals would rather give up their rights and freedoms and bow down to the state, which they want to make all-powerful, because they foolishly think an all-powerful state will take care of them. This desire is hopelessly unrealistic and childish, and it is exactly what religious people want from their God.
Thus when neo-liberals call themselves citizens of a state, they mean exactly the same thing that religious people mean when they call themselves children of God. In this regard, religious people are more honest than neo-liberals, because they acknowledge that being taken care of by an all-powerful entity reduces them to the status of children — or chattel, which they acknowledge when they compare themselves a flock of sheep.
Neo-liberals seek to spare themselves this admission by secularizing their beliefs and values. But a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.
The cultural Marxists who created neo-liberalism, complete with its politically correct self-sacrificial secular Edenism, were highly accomplished psychologists and sociologists. They knew perfectly well that this would happen. If they tore down traditional religious and family values and created widespread conditions leading to arrested emotional development, there would be only one possible replacement that could meet the subconscious psychological needs of the resulting post-modern tribe of hopelessly lost adult children: the apotheosis of the totalitarian state.
That’s right, neo-liberals worship the totalitarian state, even while they fancy themselves to be oh-so-sophisticated and secular.
This is what really underlies their rabidly relentless attack on the Constitution and the principles it is based upon.