Friday, April 8, 2011

Human Rights Laws Lead to Despotism

A copy of the blog post has been sent to Jeff Poirier, Senior Policy Analyst, Ontario Human Rights Commission. No reply expected or received.

The European Court of Justice recently ruled that car insurance companies discriminate by charging men higher premiums than those charged to women. The court ignored that fact that these premiums are business decisions based on real-world experience. The frightening point is that the ruling was based on the court's concept of human rights.

Human rights legislation is essentially idealism on paper. It is subject to gross violations of common sense, to whims and notions. Historically, utopian idealism has often led to despotism -- the Spanish Inquisition, American vigilantism, Soviet Communism, Nazi Holocaust, the agrarian utopia pursued by the Khamer Rouge in the 1970s,  In each case, the protagonists believed they were purifying the world of some evil -- heresy, social unrest, religion, non-Aryans, or capitalism. Similar attempts at purification are discernible more recently and closer to home.

A second feature of utopian behaviour is the need to expand. In the examples above, the action was halted, either externally by an outside party or internally by time.

In its near-Messianic yearning for more power, the Ontario Human Rights Commission seeks its version of the perfect society. It has asked for authority to levy unlimited fines on anyone with whose opinions it disagrees. The Commission believes this will purge society of social evils. This is evident in its links to "human rights."

Such tribunals search for more wrongs to correct. For example, overriding the family's right to determine children's education, this Commission has arrogated to itself the mandate to decontaminate all educational material, including that used in homeschooling. All must be approved to insure conformity to the Commission's idea of propriety.

Several years ago, this same Commission sought authority to censor the Internet.

Almost sadistically, it wants to punish anyone who causes injury to another's "dignity, feelings and self-respect" These are the vague, undefined words on which such tribunals base their destructive decisions.

Even if the case is dismissed after horrendous legal costs to the defendant, he has no legal recourse against the complainant as he would have in a real court. The process itself is the punishment, and the perpetrators feel justified..

This conforms to the utopianism described by Brooklyn College philosopher Thomas Molnar as a "delirious ideal stamped with the madness of logic." He continues, "[T]hey want so thoroughly to organize freedom that they turn it into slavery."

Professor Emeritus Ian Hunter of the University of Western Ontario Law School describes how this has occurred. "An important part of the answer I suggest lies in the essential theological nature of human rights legislation. To a secular society, the quest for equality fulfills the same yearning as, in centuries past, did the quest for God. The religious vision of heaven . . . has been replaced by a utopian vision of an egalitarian society to be obtained through charters, human-rights commissions, affirmative action and legislated codes of behaviour."

Before this fledgling despotism begins to fly, we have a choice. Abolish human rights commissions and tribunals altogether, and leave such matters to real courts where innocence is presumed. Or turn human rights laws into real laws with strict limitations and definitions of all operative words. The present criteria of political correctness, feelings, tendencies and vagueness merely fuel the utopian fires of despotism.

The public immediately saw these tribunals as cash cows. By lodging a no-cost complaint, one might demand and receive thousands of dollars. The solution is to order levied fines to be paid into general revenue, not to the complainant. The resultant steep decline in complaints would prove the commissions were hardly needed in the first instance.

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