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I have been called an extremist and a hardliner by virtually ALL THE MEDIA which wrote about me between 1995 and 2000. And especially by the people who I stood (and still stand) against.
I was branded an extremist and hardliner because I just wouldn’t accept; not even to debate, to what degree my RIGHTS were sacrosanct, as a person living within a democracy.
I am referring to Quebec’s cultural laws which forbid the unrestricted use of the English language; making the use of English in many circumstances ILLEGAL. Not to mention the OFFICIAL Québécois restrictive schooling and job opportunities DENIED to the English speaking and Ethnic communities.
Even though the Canadian Constitution states that I am an equal person, Quebec’s language laws state otherwise. And worse than that, the Supreme Court of Canada’s various decisions on the subject have either supported racist Quebec language laws, or have found ways to obfuscate the Quebec government’s anti-rights principles.
For this I am branded an extremist and a hardliner. For which I accept a great deal of PRIDE.
In one of many live television debates with several members of the media, and an English speaking Québécois apologist, I was told that my position was:
A) Unhelpful to the debate.
B) So intransigent that I am making a problem greater than it really is.
C) Extremism and a hard-line position only invites the same in return.
In the minds of my detractors; what I should be doing instead of saying to the government with its racist laws: “Get the hell out of my face”; is that I should be intelligently laying out my contention for equal rights, in order for them to be argued in a civilized, non hard-line, and compelling manner.
I made the point during this televised debate, that something’s are inarguable, and NOT open to debate: such as my right to be an equal citizen. Therefore; the only acceptable position to me, is one of intransigence.
To the contrary, the Editor In Chief of the Montreal West Island newspaper “The Chronicle” , Brenda O’Farrell, made the pont that EVERYTHING is debatable. At that I asked her the following question:
“If I was to ask you to sleep with me, and you said no, what part of that is debatable”?
Her response was that it is not the same thing. My response was that it was EXACTLY the same. The loss of rights and the imposition of others upon your person is ALWAYS the same in EVERY situation. It is only different in the matter of degrees and context.
My right to sleep with Brenda O’Farrell began and ended with her two letter word. No. Anything further is NOT open for debate.
After my brief analogy, there was silence from the other side of my position. I further went on to ask which part of NOT wanting to debate a sexual violation is extreme and hard-line? I answered the question myself. All of it is extreme and hard-line.
“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue”. These are words spoken by the late US Senator Barry Goldwater.
There are many issues which face mankind that are NOT DEBATABLE. And for those who debate whether a despot is VERY bad, a LITTLE bad, or not really ALL THAT bad are idiots. And in their very own way, they are more dangerous than the despots.
As a former big “L” Liberal, I always wanted to see both sides of every argument. But now that I have learned a little bit more about life, I have also learned that being a moderate is not just a waste of time, but a weakness that is very often fatal. Moderates seem NEVER to take definitive positions on anything.
On CNN the other night, Ariel Sharon, Israel’s Prime Minister was described as a hardliner. I guess that wanting to survive, and to unconditionally protect your people from terrorist attacks is hardline. GOOD ON SHARON.
I have heard that President George W Bush is a hardliner when he is referred to for his position on Iraq. Saddam Hussein is a proven murdering thug who is a KNOWN danger to his neighbors and the stability of the world. And Bush is determined to stop him. His is a hardline position. GOOD ON BUSH.
The Founding Fathers of the USA were extremists and hardliners in their stand against “Taxation Without Representation”. Part of their creation was the greatest Bill of Rights since the Magna Carta. In it they took some very extreme and hardline positions. GOOD ON THEM.
Abraham Lincoln was an appeaser on the question of slavery, until even he could not withstand the call to arms against the slave states. Lincoln finally took the unprecedented position to change the US Constitution to recognize the Humanity of Black Africans. This was an act that was considered in those days to be extreme and hardline. GOOD ON LINCOLN.
Rosa Parks and the entire Civil Rights movement in the USA was considered by their enemies, and many within the mainstream media to be extreme and hardline, simply because they would NOT compromise on their rights to be equal to Whites in EVERY way. They didn’t flinch from their hardline position. GOOD ON THEM.
It was said that Sir Winston Churchill was an extremist and hardliner because he advocated war against Germany long before there was no other choice. History has proven him right. GOOD ON HIM.
President Ronald Reagan was an extremist and a hardliner in his uncompromising position against the Soviet (Evil Empire) Union. Because of Ronald Reagan, the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain both came crashing down. GOOD ON REAGAN.
Equal Rights are NEVER won by compromise and moderation. Thugs are NEVER defeated by appeasement. Even the great “pacifist” Mahatma Gandhi was extreme and hardline in his pursuit of Indian independence from Great Britain. GOOD ON GANDHI.
Meanwhile, when it came to taking a real position on the Hindu/Islamist issue, he crapped out and became a moderate. India and Pakistan are still at war by any other name.
It is also fascinating how people who stand for UNAMBIGUOUS rights are virtually always deemed to be extremists and hardliners. Yet; the people who are perceived to be”moderates”, and who demonstrate, and very often riot while promoting their position, and offer themselves up as human shields to protect a despotic regime such as Iraq, are NOT considered to be extremists or hardliners.
In my opinion; the position of the so-called moderates who do NOTHING in the face of threats and despotism, are in many ways far MORE extreme and hard-line than the position of people who are willing to do what is right, and often costly and painful.
Had Winston Churchill’s advice about Hitler’s Germany prevailed prior to the moderate Chamberlain signing the Munich debacle in September of 1938; almost exactly one year before Germany invaded Poland, perhaps 6 MILLION Jews would not have been disenfranchised, tortured and murdered.
And perhaps the Nazis would NEVER have been able to capture France, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, Poland and much else of Europe. Also: perhaps the Japanese would not have had the impetus to attack Pearl Harbor if there was no other enemy facing the USA.
We will never know these things, because Churchill did not prevail. The “moderates” won the day and cursed the world to a war that cost more than 100 MILLION lives, unimaginable suffering, incalculable cultural losses, and an inestimable dollar cost. This was the price of “moderation” that led to World War II.
Can we afford to pay this price in 2003, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE DON’T HAVE TO?
Congrats Howard to you and Anne on your 41st. I have had my Ann for 47 and it has been a great ride.
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