Canada’s Bill C-16 and Tyranny
A Graduate Student has Found that Bill C-16 not only legislates morality, it is above rational inquiry
Since the Sexual Revolution took hold in Canada and throughout the Western world, its citizens have gone along with its rationale for removing legislation related to Christian sexual ethics. It is because “you can’t legislate morality”.
As its best Canadian apologist, then Justice Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau famously put it in 1967, “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” Trudeau’s genius lay in connecting the sentiment that morality can’t be legislated with the sense that the state was far too intrusive (and prudish). The law would force the state to ‘butt out.’
Neutrality was thus presented as the path to greater individual liberty, and the Sexual Revolution took hold of the law.
The truth, however, is that is impossible to be legislatively neutral. Inherent in every law is some idea of the good that it seeks to promote or preserve. No governing authority, furthermore, can be understood to be morally neutral. If it were, it would claim no good and there would be no reason to follow it outside the threat of its coercive power.
Without promoting some good, authority is indistinguishable from tyranny, being above the corrections of rational objection and appealing purely to power.
Pure neutrality could not be the foundation of a civil society.
But Trudeau did appeal to a sense of the good, the good of human freedom liberated from the Christian sexual ethics woven into English common law. And he claimed that his legislation only applied to the private realm. [Whatever Trudeau’s intent, it would not stay there for long]
Sexual liberation vs individual freedoms
Conservatives will cite the fact that the good promoted by the Sexual Revolutionaries has not been as advertised. It has allowed for abortion on demand, an evil even acknowledged in the original Hippocratic oath of ancient Greece, and it has encouraged both the dissolution of the family and the widespread sexual exploitation of the most vulnerable.
As the recent cases of Harvey Weinstein and politicians ranging from former U.S. President Bill Clinton to current President Donald Trump make clear, there is a growing sense that the good of the Sexual Revolution in these areas isn’t so good after all.
More troubling still however is the way in which the historic freedoms enjoyed in the West, woven into the common law tradition, are also being sacrificed in the neutering of progressive legislators.
What is abundantly clear is that the original premise that “you can’t legislate morality” could not be more erroneous.
It is plainly impossible not to legislate morality. The question is which vision of morality will be enforced and by what sort of government?
Bill C-16, which added gender expression and gender identity as protected grounds to the Canadian Human Rights Act, and also added provisions dealing with hate propaganda, incitement to genocide, and aggravating factors in sentencing to the Criminal Code is yet another bill that claims to be an extension of the logic of the Sexual Revolution, i.e. it maximizes individual freedom.
What is becoming increasingly clear, however, is that it promotes group rights at the expense of individual rights, that it is immune to rational scrutiny or criticism (thus tyrannous), and that it accordingly suspends everyone’s individual liberties.
The Panopticon State
Contrary to its original stated ambition of limiting the state and maximizing individual freedom, it is apparent that there is no realm in which the state will not involve itself.
This includes into the realm of academic freedom, upon which University of Toronto Professor Jordan B. Peterson made his dissent known. Peterson stated that he refused to assent to ‘compelled speech’ as a point of principle.
Is there any room for people of principle in tolerant Canada?
“Lindsay Shepherd, a Wilfrid Laurier University graduate student and teaching assistant, landed in hot water with the university over a video clip, featuring controversial University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson, she used in a critical thinking course. After receiving complaints, the university claimed she created a toxic environment. Shepherd had a meeting with faculty and administration, here are excerpts from the secretly recorded conversation.”
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