(I)n April 2001 France created a state secretary's office for victims, which is supposed to deal with "the memory of past and present victims, and also with potential victims," and that opens up, one will have to admit, a very broad spectrum. On December 30 of that same year, a High Authority for fighting discrimination and equality (Haute Autorité de Lutte contre les Discriminations et pour l'Egalité), which is to defend all persons who have to suffer because of "their origin, gender, physical appearance, family name, sexual orientation, handicap, age, religion, or opinion," was created. We see the danger: the creation of a clientele of unfortunate persons who did not know they were unfortunate but whom these provisions will stimulate. We are not thereby healing wounds but creating new ones. "I was unhappy, I didn't know it, the government convinced me of it." Will we someday create a new ministry for the emotionally distressed? We are diverting public power from its traditional responsibilities and reducing it to the role of a psychologist, a social worker, a consoler of the afflicted.Bruckner doesn't mention whether the Haute Autorité can ease the pain of the afflicted with lots of moolah, as our "human rights" system is set up to do, but one can easily see how a monetary payoff would add exponentially to the incentive to feel wounded and seek redress. Then, too, there's added incentive because there's no downside to complaining. Even if you lose, you win, because you've subjected the person who you think has wronged you to the ordeal of the "human rights" process--which is punitive in and of itself since it can cost him many thousands of dollars in legal fees and time wasted having to fight back--while you're not out of pocket so much as a cent. As for Bruckner's quip about "a Ministry for the Emotionally Distressed": can you think of a better way to describe our HRCs 'n' Ts?
Monday, April 26, 2010
French (and Fresh) Insight Into Canada's 'Human Rights' System
I am reading--devouring, really--Pascal Bruckner's brilliant, thrilling The Tyranny of Guilt, which is billed as "an essay on Western masochism." I thought I'd share this passage, which, though written by a Frenchman from a French persepective, pinpoints almost everything that's wrong with Canada's understanding of "human rights" (my bolds):