This protection has become urgent in the years since 9/11 with the concomitant increase in verbal attacks on Muslims. In Canada, the most prominent free-speech extremists are Ezra Levant, who provocatively republished the insulting Danish cartoons denigrating the Prophet Mohammed in 2005, and Mark Steyn, who has been generalizing about Muslims for years. Both these authors have tried to shift the Canadian consensus by normalizing previously unacceptable levels of speech.
And normalizing is exactly how it happens. Shifts in the general consensus regarding minorities are progressive and incremental. We don’t notice. Then we wake up to find ourselves in a changed environment, as did the Norwegians after Anders Breivik went on a murderous rampage last summer. Mr. Breivik was part of a growing continuum of radicals fixated on the idea that Muslims, as an undifferentiated group, are conspiring against the West. In his eyes, he was a patriot. Unfortunately, history is rife with such people. They are nourished on incessant, unbridled hate speech.Ooo, scary. In reality, though, there is something far scarier than Steynian "generalizations" and "Levantine "provocations": the chill that would result from curbing them and the concomitant general erosion of freedom that would be the inevitable result. And, sorry Erna, I'm not willing to put a sock in it because you think, delusionally, that that's the best way to put the kibosh on more Anders Breiviks. (Notice how Erna, good little lefty that she is, never flags the "incessant, unbridled hate speech" of the jihadist/Islamist variety. That's because in her bizarro world--where, perversely, West is worst and the Third World is hallowed--doing so is perceived as both being and engendering the hated "hate.")