So apparently a conservative news organization is being shut down in Canada because of “truth” laws, or as I call it “censorship.”

I’m going to combine some responses I made on another thread here.

First of all the predictable liberal response, yay censorship (when it suits our purposes).

I’m not sure I really want the government to determine what is “true” and what is a “lie”. Free speech you know.  As it is, the government does not even determine truth in a court of law.  No, it is not the state that determines truth, but it is the jury of peers that does it.

In america with such strong freedom of speech we could call and did call michael jackson a pedo,  or call rupert murdoch a lying nazi. In england it is illegal to do so thanks to “truth” laws that protect against slander. The net affect of such laws is not necessarily the telling of “truth” but simply a duller and less controversial media. “Truth” is an awful slippery idea, because instead of protecting the public it may simply eliminate anything controversial.  So in america I can call Rupert Murdoch a liar that runs a propaganda machine but in Canada if you call him a liar he’ll sue you for lying. Seems fair.

Now I understand that people have the feeling in america that somehow if a group of people says something evil, there is some way to stop them some civil suit at least.  But go read the supreme court decision about westboro baptist church — yeah those nuts who have anti-gay protests at military funerals.   The supreme court decided in favor of westboro baptist by a score of 8-1.  Something about free speech, you know.  It’s in the constitution somewhere.  But not in the constitution of the UK, so they would never get away with it there.

Maybe you think free speech is overrated, and we should shut down fox news and the westboro baptist church.   Certainly that’s a valid stance to take, many nations do.

And protections for corporations are also very wide.   From my reading of Nike V Kasky it seems that corporations can lie all they want and the redress is not to sue them but that someone else will compete with the falsehoods and tell the truth.   Now there are restrictions on commercial free speech, but commercial free speech restrictions pertain to contract law when the advertisement makes a verbal contract with the customer that it can not fulfill. However, they can lie all they want. So for instance a beer advertisement can lie and say that people that buy our beer get laid all the time and are handsome, but they can’t say that if you buy 6 beers you will get laid 6 times and will become handsome because that would indicate a contractual obligation.

Notice also that the usa is different in its slander laws from the UK and Canada. In the usa you can slander and libel someone all day, and they can not win a suit against you. Because they must prove you had malicious intentions. All you have to do is get up on the stand and say, “I thought what I was saying is true, and I mean him no harm.” Gavel. Case dismissed.

By the way, the defense of “I meant no harm” is not a defense in other nations.  Only the usa requires you prove malicious intent.

When you cheer for Canada’s laws against lying, laws for “truth” whatever that is, no doubt about it, you are anti-free-speech.  That’s the tradeoff you are making.