Bizarre Defence of Mark Steyn

I should confess that I haven’t really been following the whole brouhaha over Steyn being the subject of a human rights complaint. I’m sure it’s helping his book sales though – the pundit’s equivalent of a wardrobe malfunction I guess. In the meantime it’s curious as to what kinds of defences are being offered for Steyn. Here’s Joseph Hayyim taking a crack at it:

“My concern in the whole situation boils down to this: When one is prevented from spreading lies, one can be prevented from telling truth. It sounds obvious and trite, though so many believe that it is “wrong” to offend, and that this sin trumps all. Is free speech hate speech if it offends? Is it so very wrong to offend? If we have the decency to avoid offense in most cases, will we not have the wisdom to speak painful truth?”

Holy confusion, Batman! Mr. Hayyim appears to suggest that it’s okay to offend, not just with some kind of painful truth – but also with lies! I wonder what would happen if I wrote a post where I assert that Mr. Hayyim is a convicted sex criminal. Yes it might offend and it might be factually incorrect, but is that so wrong? I suspect that I would receive a letter from Mr. Hayyim’s legal counsel in short order asserting that it is.


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