The caravan of protesting truckers is, we hear, now on the way to Washington, D.C., after thoroughly disrupting Calgary, Canada, and perceptions of Justin Trudeau as a relatively harmless boob. He is now being seen as a harmful boob. D.C., meanwhile, has established itself as a locale where disruptive and even violent protesters are honored by a giant painted endorsement on a public street by order of the mayor when their alleged cause is sufficiently “woke,” and violent protesters from the other side of the ideological spectrum are charged with felonies and held in prison for many months.
This should be interesting, in the old Chinese saying sense.
Here is Ethics Alarms veteran Glenn Logan’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Quote Of The Week: Naomi Wolf”…
I think in the end, the best complaint available is the double-standards being applied. When protests are ostensibly in favor of a left-liberal position, they are protected speech no matter how much lawlessness is involved. That same protest involving the same level of lawlessness is considered worthy of an emergency act invocation if the protest is not favored by left-liberals.
I get your point about the trucks blocking traffic Jack, and I don’t disagree. I have always believed that interfering in lawful commerce is illegal (and tortious as well) and should be prosecuted both criminally and by civil action when it happens. The First Amendment, and whatever the Canadian equivalent is (however weakly codified) does not protect actions that interfere with lawful commerce or disturb the peace to the point of mischief.
Regardless, it becomes difficult to see the forest for the trees when you are a disfavored group. You feel put upon by the government without taking the time to recognize that no matter how trenchant and necessary your protest seems to you, putting everybody else in difficulty is not lawful, and therefore your protest isn’t lawful. Assemble peacefully, protest away, but don’t block people from enjoying the freedom you are supposedly supporting. Don’t keep them up at night honking horns and yelling slogans, that’s just pure criminal nuisance.
Somewhere, when we decided to look the other way for groups like Occupy (whatever) and put up with “sit ins” and “die ins” and what-not (remember those, older folks?), but not so much when people are protesting government edicts popular with the ruling class.
It’s time to reclaim the law, and force protests to conform with it, no matter who’s protesting what.
8 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quote Of The Week: Naomi Wolf””
The issue, of course, is when the state stops looking the other way just when opponents if the political leadershio stand to benefit.
Yes. Well, that’s always the way, isn’t it? Speaking only for myself, I could put up with it if we would return to consistent rationality in law enforcement.
Alas, in today’s tortured political environment, that seems to fall under the rubric, “Living in hope is not a plan.”
“The First Amendment, and whatever the Canadian equivalent is (however weakly codified) does not protect actions that interfere with lawful commerce or disturb the peace to the point of mischief.”
Well I’m glad you asked.
Canada also has a constitution, although ours wasn’t predicated on the same base narrative as America’s. As an outsider looking in, America’s constitution is almost paranoid in nature, usually you don’t draft the founding documents to a nation’s governments under the auspices of governments being tyrannical and specifically with an emphasis on protection from that tyranny. I make no negative values judgement there… They work, in a stiffly rugged way. To highlight the differences between Canadian and American constitutional theory: Where the founders wrote “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” in America’s declaration of independence, Canada’s founders instead wrote in “peace, order, and good governance”.
Our constitution is more malleable, and over the years, it’s been broadly re-imagined. Instead of enumerated amendments to the constitution, in 1982, Canada codified our rights in a portion of our constitution called “The Charter of Rights and Freedoms”.
“Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms
1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”
Basically a this-is-not-a-suicide-pact line, this was further expanded on with the Oaks test, which I wrote about here: https://humbletalent.substack.com/p/the-oakes-test?utm_source=url .
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.”
First on the list, exactly where it should be.
Thanks for the write about the Oaks test.
America’s constitution is almost paranoid in nature…
Truer words have never been written. However, given the nature and method of our founding, that makes perfect sense.
So instead of providing a near absolute prohibition on denial of certain rights, Canada essentially allows their rights to be revoked if needed, using the “only in case of reasonableness” construction which our Founders expressly eschewed. Canadians never need question whether or not a right may be abridged, only whether or not it was “reasonable” and “justified” by the current definition of a “free and democratic society.” The Oaks Test (thanks for the link, very informative) seems somewhat similar in construction to what we call “strict scrutiny.” In effect, though, it seems to work more like our “intermediate scrutiny” test, given the table you presented. To my mind, this is all very Canadian and appropriate to what I understand of their governing ethics.
I believe free people have a right to govern themselves as they will, and if their Constitution is (to the American mind, perhaps) weakened by a “not-a-suicide-pact” construction, that’s a problem for Canadians if it is a problem at all.
My entire view of the matter in Canada with respect to the invocation of the Emergencies act, just like the confinement of citizens for mere infection by the Rona in Australia has been essentially a shrug. Their rules, their problem. I do not subscribe to the view of many on the right that the Canadian government’s actions threaten the United States in any meaningful way, and even if they do, that’s too damn bad. It’s their country.
“The Oaks Test (thanks for the link, very informative) seems somewhat similar in construction to what we call “strict scrutiny.” In effect, though, it seems to work more like our “intermediate scrutiny” test, given the table you presented. To my mind, this is all very Canadian and appropriate to what I understand of their governing ethics.”
My take is slightly different. Our standard is absolutely and obviously different, but with some obvious recent exceptions our government, I think, is more mindful about our rights than yours, and so our government is more likely to succeed at an Oakes test. How many constitutional strict scrutiny cases do American courts hear every year? Look back at that chart, there were only about 100 Oakes calculations in the last 30 years. Your government is one of extremes, your left is further left than our left, your right is further right than our right, and it’s cutthroat. I think the reason you have so many constitutional cases isn’t a testament so much to the strengths of your laws, but the character of your governments, who tend to try a more “what might I get away with?” approach (read into that whatever party affiliations you want) with something between very little and no respect for your constitution.
“My entire view of the matter in Canada with respect to the invocation of the Emergencies act, just like the confinement of citizens for mere infection by the Rona in Australia has been essentially a shrug. Their rules, their problem.”
This has been my view as well. Australia is so weird to me. I’ve said this before, I don’t understand the culture. I don’t like there, I don’t have any friends there. I would love to have a discussion with an Australian, because as abhorrently as I think they’ve been treated, all those sick camps, all the lockdowns and restrictions and mandates, all that loss of freedom… I wonder if they’re actually supported by a vast majority of Australians.
The thing is, throughout this pandemic, there have been two broad groups of people: The terrified, and the annoyed. There’s a spectrum from there, some people were more scared than others, some people were more annoyed than others. But when you consider the likelihood of either group to call in and speak to their congressperson, up until recently, I think that the scared people were more vocal, and in politics, the squeaky wheel tends to get the grease. Once that changed (And you’re welcome, on behalf of Canada’s Truckers, or which I am not one, but was there in spirit with), you started to see all kinds of mandates ad restrictions roll back. Regardless of how you felt about the lockdowns, my impression is that those politicians were playing to their impression of their bases.
Which is why Australia confuses me. They’re still going full bore. It’s an election year. And those protests looked well attended. Are we being fed a very disproportionate view of Australia’s truth, or is Australia’s government chalk full of idiots? I have no idea.
Humble Talent said:
How many constitutional strict scrutiny cases do American courts hear every year?
I don’t rightly know. I’d say as many as 5-10 per year, although that’s just a guess and it might be way off. A quick search revealed a fair number in 2020, and a couple so far this year at the appellate levels, I have no idea below that.
But to be sure, America is a much bigger country with more cases, so I’m not sure a comparison of numbers makes much sense.
I do agree that our extremes are “more extreme” than what you have in Canada, and I also agree that our governments tend to try to get away with as many violations of rights as they can sneak past the courts on procedural or jurisdiction-shopping grounds, with some unfortunate success.
Regarding Australia, I think we are of a mind. I have met a few of them, even got drunk with a number of their sailors back in the day in Pearl Harbor, but I don’t think that gives me much insight 🙂
Once that changed (And you’re welcome, on behalf of Canada’s Truckers, or which I am not one, but was there in spirit with), you started to see all kinds of mandates ad restrictions roll back.
Heh. Well, thank a trucker for me if you know any… 🙂
I’m as baffled about Australia as you, but they did start off as a prison colony. So maybe acceptance of government intrusion is just passed down through the generations. Hey, it’s a theory…
Late (sorry) but this is up today as a Comment of the Day, along with the previous comment.