Burny and the Nazis
I see from several of my favourite blogs a news story reporting that the Toronto Police now list "Nazis" as a potential victim group of "hate crimes".
And why not? Nazis can be hated, too. In fact, they are widely hated, and they should be. So it's not surprising that they are sometimes victims of crime.
But that's the problem with the phrase "hate crime". Hate itself is not a crime. And a crime is criminal whether or not it is motivated by hate.
Merging the two into a legal phrase is a trick, designed to blur the distinction. It is an attempt to criminalize the feeling of hate.
This corrosive legal idea was introduced into Canada in the 1960s and 1970s. Canada's Official Jews were the political midwives of the "hate speech" provisions in both the Criminal Code and various human rights laws.
As I've written before, these laws were obviously not enacted in response to any real criminal threat. Just twenty years after the Second World War, one out of five men on the street in Canada was a war veteran who had personally helped dispatch the Axis. The idea that our stable, liberal democracy might have erupted in pogroms or even revolution at the behest of a few eccentric racists is laughable.
No, the hate speech laws weren't in response to a legal need. They were in response to a political and psychological need. The Canadian Jewish Congress wanted to show the bruised Jewish community that they were alert and vigilant ethnic bosses -- perhaps to make up for their shameful political silence during the Holocaust itself.
And, for many of the individual Jews who agitated for these laws, it is clear to me, after reading hundreds of pages of archival material, that hate speech laws were a form of therapy. Jews, who were beaten literally and metaphorically during the Holocaust, could now do a little beating of their own. Call it a prototype for the movie Inglourious Basterds, a Jewish revenge fantasy.
That's what Canada's hate speech laws were built for: so Nazi-obsessed Official Jews could act out a muscular, state-sanctioned vengeance for the Holocaust, a Holocaust where the Jews had been physically and politically weak. It was a do-over, to be played out here in Canada, safely.
Now the Official Jews could purge their guilty feelings of impotence on hapless eccentrics like Ernst Zundel who, with his German accent and irridentist views, was a perfect voodoo doll for the Jews to stick with little legal pins.
Seriously: could you find a more mottled crew of misfits than those who have been prosecuted under our hate laws over the years? I wish I could recall the name of the Official Jew who I once heard gush that when he visited Zundel in jail, he smelled of his own urine. I saw such a beatific satisfaction in his eyes, I wish I could have shown him a videotape of himself, rejoicing in the degradation of a political enemy. How un-Jewish.
But forgive the lengthy tangent. Let's talk about Canada's hate laws, and their extension now to Canadian Nazis. Bernie "Burny" Farber, the High Priest of Official Jewry, Grand Poohbah of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said:
“How does Nazi fit into that,” questioned Bernie Farber, of the Canadian Jewish Congress, when the category was pointed out by the Town Crier.
“A Nazi can never be a victim but only a victimizer,” he said.
First: is it really surprising to Burny that another group has weaseled its way into the political class called "victim"?
Seriously, did Burny and the CJC architects and defenders of hate speech laws really think that they could maintain a monopoly over who could use these hate laws?
Perhaps back in the 1960s and 1970s, when these things were still new, the CJC's shortsightedness could be understood, if not forgiven. But really, in 2010? After Jew-hating groups like the Canadian Islamic Congress and the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada have availed themselves of the Jewish-created human rights commissions? Can Burny truly be surprised that others are trying out his trick?
It is nothing more than arrogance and solipsism that would make Burny think that a law could only be used by him. True enough, the Jews did set down plenty of jurisprudential sediment using these hate speech laws -- it was practically a Jewish monopoly until ten years ago. But in Canada we believe in rule of law -- in other words, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. If Official Jews can use hate laws to prosecute their political enemies, why can't Muslims?
And, indeed, why can't Nazis?
Did Burny really think that the Jews could ride on the back of the hate crimes tiger forever, without winding up in the tiger's mouth?
But that is not my quarrel here. Because the list that Nazis are now added to is not some human rights commission list; it's a police list, which presumably refers to the Criminal Code.
In other words, the Toronto Police are not putting Nazis on the list of political victims, but on the list of victims of crime. Perhaps they even have a basis for that -- again, it would not be surprising that self-identifying Nazis get the tar kicked out of them a lot.
Which is the real reason why Burny's comments are so repulsive.
All of the above is merely a recital of the problem with defining legally favoured groups: and that is, others will want in on that list, be they Muslim, Nazi or whatever.
That's not news.
What's news here is that Burny reveals just how illiberal he is when it comes to violence.
Because that's what we're talking about: crimes investigated by police, not speech investigated by HRCs.
Burny says that Nazis "can never be a victim".
Does Burny really think that a Nazi can never be the victim of a crime?
Does he really think that a Nazi ought to suffer a crime without the protection of the law?
Does he think that merely declaring oneself to be of a certain political view -- no matter how odious -- renders one an outlaw, outside the protection of police?
Is this just more of Burny's revenge fantasy?
To help you understand the illiberal nature of Burny's assertion, let us choose a less detestable victim of crime -- a prostitute.
No-one would ever say that a prostitute can never be a victim of rape. For even a prostitute has the protection of the law.
But Burny is saying one ought to be able to do anything to a Nazi -- that a Nazi can never be a victim of a hate crime. It's like saying a prostitute should be considered un-rapeable before the law.
Thank God that Burny is increasingly regarded as marginal, both within the Jewish community and in government. Because he clearly is still living in the 1960s, thinking that he can make changes to our laws that only harm his political enemies, and that his enemies themselves cannot use.
Could you imagine if Burny's legal theories were given force -- that the state could declare certain persons anathema, and that you could punish them in any way?
How long do you think such a puncture of the rule of law would take before it was Jews who were the ones you could molest with impunity?
And that, finally, is my point.
A real Jew, with a Jewish understanding of justice, would never state that a Nazi can't be treated as a victim of a crime.
A real Jew would rail against Nazis, detest them, defame them, debate them, disparage them -- but never deny them the basic human right to be free from criminal violence.
I never thought my esteem for Burny could fall any lower, but the man has hit rock bottom, and started digging.