The kiddie porn defense bar tells us that obscenity law threatens the First Amendment. Thus, it would seem, we're all in danger of being muzzled unless we give a pass to people who want to sell pictures of children being forced into sexual encounters with animals.
I have yet, however, to hear any member of the civil liberties industry rise up against the actual attack on free speech that happened yesterday at the University of Ottawa. Here's how the MSNBC story starts:
Coulter speech canceled after protesters' threats
Ottawa University talk off amid fears for safety of right-wing pundit
Ann Coulter supports resolute law enforcement and the death penalty. She has other strident and controversial views on social issues, and I am neither endorsing nor denouncing them here. That's not what this post is about. It's about the censorship-by-intimidation practices that some on the Left undertake when they shed the civil liberties tutu and don the Political Correctness police mufti that fits them so much better.
A question: When will others of us who support the death penalty in academic debates be accused of racist "hate speech" and threatened with getting beaten up? Or, as happend to Ms. Coulter, also threatened -- by university officials, no less -- with criminal prosecution?
Here's the MSNBC story:
OTTAWA - A protest by hundreds of students led organizers to cancel a Tuesday night speech by American conservative commentator Ann Coulter at the University of Ottawa.
A spokesman for the organizers said Coulter was advised against appearing after about 2,000 "threatening" students crowded the entrance to Marion Hall, posing a security threat.
"It would be physically dangerous for Ann Coulter to proceed with this event," said conservative political activist Ezra Levant inside the hall.
"This is an embarrassing day for the University of Ottawa and their student body . . . who chose to silence her through threats and intimidation."
A protest organizer, international studies student Mike Fancie, said he was pleased they were able to stop Coulter from speaking.
"What Ann Coulter is practicing is not free speech, it's hate speech," he said. "She's targeted the Jews, she's targeted the Muslims, she's targeted Canadians, homosexuals, women, almost everybody you could imagine."
"This has never happened before," she told the newspaper. "I go to the best schools, Harvard, the Ivy League and those kids are too intellectually proud" to threaten speakers.
Levant blamed the bedlam on university academic vice-president Francois Houle, who had written Coulter to warn her that Canadian laws make provisions for hate speech.
"Promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges," he warned her in the letter, which Coulter quickly leaked to the media.
The university has refused to comment since. Levant said Houle's advice to Coulter had emboldened students to block her appearance.
For a university academic vice-president to effectively threaten a conservative speaker with prosecution tells you just how far it's gone. This when, not long ago, Hofstra Law School invited Lynne Stewart -- the "civil rights" lawyer convicted of providing material support to terrorists (i.e., tantamount to treason) -- to be part of the faculty in a seminar on legal ethics.
That's not a misprint. The civil liberties industry picks lint off its sleeve as one law school dean threatens a controversial pro-law enforcement speaker with jail, while another law school dean invites a convicted facilitator of terrorists to educate the students about ethics.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is where we are.