Makwira and his wives, Malawi, 1903 (Wikicommons). Older men had first priority.
Younger men could gain access to women only through war or adultery.
my last column, I reviewed the findings of Butovskaya et al. (2015) on
testosterone and polygyny in two East African peoples:
Testosterone levels were higher in the polygynous Datoga than in the monogamous
Hadza. This difference is innate.
Datoga men were more aggressive than Hadza men on all measures used (physical
aggression, verbal aggression, anger, and hostility)
Datoga men were larger and more robust than Hadza men
All of these characteristics seem to be adaptive under conditions when men have
to compete against other men for access to women
levels were not only higher in the Datoga but also more variable. Alvergne et al. (2009) studied this variability in Senegalese men, finding that the monogamous
ones differed from the polygynous ones in the way testosterone levels changed
with age. The levels were higher in the polygynous men than in the monogamous
men between the ages of 15 and 30. After 45, this pattern reversed: the
monogamous men had the higher levels. At all ages, the polygynous men were more
extraverted than the monogamous ones, this quality being defined as
"pro-social behavior which reflects sociability, assertiveness, activity,
dominance and positive emotions." Extraversion may assist a reproductive
strategy of seducing women, rather than providing for them.
when Africans gave up hunting and gathering for farming, there was selection
for a new package of male traits. Some of these traits are physiological
(higher testosterone levels), some anatomical (denser bones, greater arm and
leg girth; changes to muscle fiber properties, etc.), and some behavioral (polygyny,
aggressiveness, extraversion, etc.). But this selection didn't eliminate older
genotypes, at least not wholly. There seems to be a balanced polymorphism that
allows a minority of quieter, monogamous men to thrive in a high-polygyny
society like Senegal. When polygynous men become too numerous, they may spend
too much time looking for mating opportunities and not enough checking up on
their current wives to avoid being cuckolded. It might be better for some to live continuously
with one wife.
versus Euro Americans
above differences within sub-Saharan Africa (Datoga vs. Hadza, polygynous
Senegalese vs. monogamous Senegalese) are also seen between African Americans
and Euro Americans. In all these cases, the differences are of degree and
proportion, rather than absolute and non-overlapping.
contradictions of a high-polygyny society
levels are normally higher in all young men, but why are they higher still when
polygyny is common? The reason seems to be the scarcity of available women.
High-polygyny societies generate a shortage of mateable women, and this
shortage is managed by giving priority to men who are at least ten years past
puberty. For instance, among the Nyakyusa: "[...] there is a difference of
ten years or more in the average marriage-age of girls and men, and it is this
differential marriage-age which makes polygyny possible" (Wilson, 1950, p.
concentrating celibacy among young men, this age rule compels them to seek sex
through warfare or illicit means. According to Pierre van den Berghe (1979, pp.
the more men are polygynous in a given society, the greater the age difference
between husbands and wives. [...] The temporary celibacy of young men in
polygynous societies is rarely absolute, however. While it often postpones the
establishment of a stable pair-bond and the procreation of children, it often
does not preclude dalliance with unmarried girls, adultery with younger wives
of older men, or the rape or seduction of women conquered in warfare. Thus,
what sometimes looks like temporary celibacy is, in fact, temporary
promiscuity. These young men often devote themselves to warfare during their
unmarried years and sometimes homosexuality is tolerated during that period.
young men in a high-polygyny society, warfare—typically raids against
neighboring communities—is the main way to gain access to women. In a sense,
war becomes a means of resolving the demographic contradictions of a
high-polygyny society. Polygyny creates a wife shortage among young men, and
this contradiction is resolved by turning it outward. As warriors, young men
are encouraged to satisfy their sexual urges through raids against neighboring
peoples. Warfare thus becomes endemic.
relationship between polygyny and war has often been noted in studies of
(1959) says African warfare emphasized taking captives, rather than killing the
enemy. Kelly's discussion of Nuer warfare provides an interesting perspective
on this phenomenon. In Nuer warfare the main casualties were younger men and
older women, with male and female mortality being almost equal. Younger women
and children were captured. Female captives were valued because they could be
used to generate bridewealth when they were married to other Nuer, whereas
captive boys were adopted into the lineage of their captor and would require
bridewealth payment when they married. Consequently, few males were taken captive
(Kelly 1985:56-57). (White and Burton, 1988)
their cross-cultural study of the causes of polygyny, White and Burton (1988)
conclude that "polygyny is associated with warfare for plunder and/or
polygyny is seen as associated with the expansion of male-oriented kin groups
through favorable environments, facilitated by capture of women or bridewealth
via warfare. Following this analysis, it is difficult to see polygyny as having
benign effects upon the lives of all women. Rather, polygyny produces benefits
for senior wives, who have sons and can mobilize the labor of junior wives and
children (Hartung 1982); it has negative effects on women who become slaves,
captives, or junior wives, or who do not have sons.
now come to a leading cause of the African slave trade. Polygyny led to
warfare, which led to a surplus of unwanted male captives. These captives could
be sold as slaves, but local markets would soon be saturated. The excess supply
had to be sold farther away, with the result that slave trading networks began
to reach the Middle East as early as the time of Christ (Frost, 2008).
outsiders from the Middle East and Europe would later get more and more
involved, becoming not only traders but also captors, it was Africans
themselves who initially controlled the supply chain. In its early stages, and
even later, this trade was driven by factors internal to Africa.
I discuss this subject, some people will counter that certain studies have shown
an absence of racial/ethnic differences in testosterone levels. Let me discuss
these studies at some length.
meta-analysis concluded: "After adjustment for age, black men have a
modestly but significantly 2.5 to 4.9% higher free testosterone level than
white men." Here, “adjustment for age” means comparing black and white men
of the same age. The conclusion isn't surprising, since African American men
have a testosterone advantage only from puberty to their early 30s. At other
ages, their testosterone levels are either equal to or less than those of Euro
meta-analysis has two other flaws. First, it included only studies on "men,"
thus excluding studies on teenagers, among whom the race difference is greatest.
it included Rohrmann et al. (2007). This study suffers from serious
methodological problems, as I will now explain.
study concluded that "contrary to the postulated racial difference,
testosterone concentrations did not differ notably between black and white
study also found that 45-69 year old black men have higher testosterone levels
(5.62 ng/ml) than do 20-44 year old black men (5.35 ng/ml). Such a finding is
paradoxical and indicates a faulty dataset. The authors used serum samples from
the National Center for Health Statistics that had been earlier collected for
its Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). The
authors state they used 1,479 samples that remained out of an initial total of
1,998. Over 25% of the original samples were missing. The authors state that
some samples were missing because they were being used for another study.
same serum bank had in fact been used for research on a sexually transmitted
disease. This was the study by Fleming et al. (1997), who reported that more
than 25% of adults between 30 and 39 years of age were positive for HSV-2
(Herpes Simplex virus type 2). Those samples may have been set aside either for
further testing or for legal reasons. The serum bank would have thus lost some
of its most polygynous donors.
study measured salivary testosterone in young men (15-30 years) from the United
States, Congo, Nepal, and Paraguay. Americans had the highest levels (335
pmol/l), followed by Congolese (286 pmol/l), Nepalese (251 pmol/l), and
Paraguayans (197 pmol/l).
were these Americans? They are simply identified as ... young Americans—a
demographic that is now less than 60% of European descent. In Boston, where the
study was conducted, public schools in 2005 were 46% black and 31% Latino
(mainly Puerto Ricans and Dominicans). The authors also state that "the
USA participants were recruited by public advertisement." The pool of
participants may have therefore resembled that of people who give blood in
exchange for payment, i.e., it may have been disproportionately poor and
non-white. In any event, the results are unusable without any information on racial
Congolese participants were likewise unrepresentative of Congolese in general.
They were Lese who inhabit the Ituri forest in proximity to the Efe pygmies.
Many Lese are, in fact, partly of pygmy ancestry. As such, their testosterone
levels would be closer to that of hunter-gatherers with lowers levels of
polygyny and less male-male competition for mates.
study concluded that testosterone levels did not differ between African
American and Euro American boys between the ages of 6 and 18. Such a finding is
to be expected for the first few years of this age range, when no difference
should exist between the two groups. The main flaw, however, is that the participants
were compared not by age but by Tanner stage. Since African Americans enter
puberty earlier, this study compared younger African American boys with older
Euro American boys.
levels may differ between the two groups because of earlier maturation by
African American boys. But why would this difference persist beyond adolescence
and into the mid-twenties? This question remains unresolved because none of the
participants were older than 18.
Various African studies
studies have found lower testosterone levels in African populations than in
North Americans. This difference might be partly due to the effects of
malnutrition or infectious diseases, notably among the Zimbabwean subjects
studied by Lukas et al. (2004). The main reason, however, is that these studies
mostly had middle-aged or even elderly participants. Lukas et al. (2004) report
a mean age of 42.18. The scatter plot (Fig. 2) suggests a logarithmic decline
in testosterone with age, but there were too few participants below 25 for
analysis of that age group. The same criticism applies to Campbell et al. (2003), a study of testosterone levels in Ariaal pastoralists from northern
Kenya. The mean age was 46.8.
addition, some of these studies concern hunter-gatherers, like the !Kung of
Namibia and the Ituri Forest pygmies of the Congo, who have low polygyny rates
and weak male-male competition for mates (e.g., Winkler and Christiansen, 1993). Their low testosterone levels are thus to be expected.
A., M. Jokela, C. Faurie, and V. Lummaa. (2010). Personality and testosterone
in men from a high-fertility population, Personality
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men are smaller, less robust, and less aggressive than the more polygynous
Datoga (Wikicommons - Idobi).
differ in paternal investment—the degree to which fathers help mothers care for
their offspring. They differ in this way between individuals, between populations, and
between stages of cultural evolution.
the earliest stage, when all humans were hunter-gatherers, men invested more in
their offspring with increasing distance from the equator. Longer, colder
winters made it harder for women to gather food for themselves and their
children. They had to rely on meat from their hunting spouses. Conversely,
paternal investment was lower in the tropics, where women could gather food
year-round and provide for themselves and their children with little male
sexual division of labor influenced the transition to farming. In the tropics,
women were the main providers for their families as gatherers of fruits,
berries, roots, and other wild plant foods. They were the ones who developed
farming, thereby biasing it toward domestication of wild plants.
may be seen in sub-Saharan Africa, where farming arose near the Niger's
headwaters and gave rise to the Sudanic food complex—a wide range of native
crops now found throughout the continent (sorghum, pearl millet, cow pea, etc.)
and only one form of livestock, the guinea fowl (Murdock, 1959, pp. 44, 64-68).
Many wild animal species could have been domesticated for meat production, but
women were much less familiar with them. Men knew these species as hunters but
had little motivation to domesticate them. Why should they? Women were the main
so women shouldered even more the burden of providing for themselves and their
offspring. Men in turn found it easier to go back on the mate market and get
second or third wives. Finally, men had to compete against each other much more
for fewer unmated women.
was thus a causal chain: female dominance of farming => female reproductive
autonomy => male polygyny => male-male rivalry for access to women. Jack
Goody (1973) in his review of the literature says: "The desire of men to
attract wives is seen as correlated with the degree of women's participation in
the basic productive process." The more women produce, the lower the cost
sub-Saharan Africa, the cost was often negative. Goody quotes a 17th century
traveler on the Gold Coast: the women till the ground "whilst the man only
idly spends his time in impertinent tattling (the woman's business in our
country) and drinking of palm-wine, which the poor wives are frequently obliged
to raise money to pay for, and by their hard labour maintain and satisfie these
lazy wretches their greedy thirst after wines."
cites data from southern Africa showing that the polygyny rate fell when the
cost of polygyny rose:
Basutoland one in nine husbands had more than one wife in 1936; in 1912, it was
one in 5.5 (Mair 1953: 10). Hunter calculates that in 1911 12 per cent of Pondo
men were plurally married and the figure was slightly lower in 1921. In 1946,
the Tswana rate was 11 per cent; according to a small sample collected by
Livingstone in 1850 it was 43 per cent. The figures appear to have changed
drastically over time and the reasons are interesting. 'The large household is
now not a source of wealth, but a burden which only the rich can bear' (Mair
1953: 19). Not only is there a specific tax for each additional wife, but a
man's wives now no longer give the same help in agriculture that they did
before. One reason for this is that the fields are ploughed rather than hoed.
Among the Pondo, 'the use of the plough means that the amount of grain
cultivated no longer depends on women's labour' (Goody, 1973)
polygynous marriage has become less common in southern Africa, polygynous
behavior seems as frequent as ever. To a large degree, polygynous marriage has
given way to more transient forms of polygyny: prostitution and other informal
Goody also notes that women are much less self-reliant in the northern savannah of West Africa:
In savannah regions where water is scarce and trees scattered, their collection may make great demands on a woman’s time. So too does the grinding of hard grain, in the absence of mills. In all these domestic pursuits the savannah is more demanding on a woman’s time than the forest and consequently she can often make less contribution to agriculture. (Goody, 1973)
Yet polygyny rates have remained high. Goody gives the example of Ghana. Polygyny rates are about the same in the north and the south, yet in the north men participate much more in farming. So
what is going on? Goody concludes that "female farming and polygyny are
clearly associated in a general way" but ultimately the "reasons
behind polygyny are sexual and reproductive rather than economic and
productive." It would be more parsimonious to say that the polygyny rate
increases when the cost of providing for a woman and her children decreases for
men. Over time, low-cost polygyny selects for men who are more motivated to
exploit sexual opportunities. This new mindset influences the subsequent course
of gene-culture coevolution.
gene-culture coevolution has gone through four stages in the evolutionary history
of sub-Saharan Africans:
hunter-gatherers were already oriented toward low paternal investment. Men had
a lesser role in child rearing because year-round food gathering provided women
with a high degree of food autonomy. Women were thus selected for self-reliance
and men for polygyny. Pair bonding was correspondingly weak in both sexes.
mindset guided tropical hunter-gatherers in their transition to farming. In
short, female-dominated food gathering gave way to female-dominated
horticulture—hoe farming of various crops with almost no livestock raising.
Women became even more autonomous, and men even more polygynous. There was thus
further selection for a mindset of female self-reliance, male polygyny, and
weak pair bonding.
similar process occurred with the development of trade. Female-dominated
horticulture tended to orient women, much more than men, toward the market
economy. This has particularly been so in West Africa, where markets are
overwhelmingly run by women. Trade has thus become another means by which
African women provide for themselves and their children.
horticulture has given way to male-dominated farming (pastoralism, cereal crops) in some regions, such
as the northern savannah regions of West Africa. Despite higher male participation in farming, the pre-existing
mindset has tended to maintain high polygyny rates. We see a similar tendency
in southern Africa, where polygyny rates have fallen over the past century, and
yet polygynous behavior persists in the form of prostitution and less formal
The Hadza and the
of subsistence, mating system, and mindset are thus interrelated. These
interrelationships are discussed by Butovskaya et al. (2015) in their study of
two peoples in Tanzania: the largely monogamous Hadza (hunter-gatherers) and
the highly polygynous Datoga (pastoralists). In their review of previous
studies, the authors note:
hunter-gatherer societies, such as the monogamous Hadza of Tanzania (Africa),
men invest more in offspring than in small-scale pastoralist societies, such as
the polygynous Datoga of Tanzania [12-14]. Polygyny and between-group
aggression redirect men's efforts from childcare toward investment in male-male
relationships and the pursuit of additional mates . When men participate in
childcare, their testosterone (T) level decreases [15-18]. Muller et al. 
found that, among the monogamous, high paternally investing Hadza, T levels
were lower for fathers than for non-fathers. This effect was not observed among
the polygynous, low paternally investing Datoga. (Butovskaya et al., 2015).
et al. (2015) confirmed these previous findings in their own study:
males reported greater aggression than Hadza men—a finding in line with
previous reports [29,30]. It is important to mention several striking
differences between these two cultures. There is a negative attitude toward
aggression among the Hadza but not among the Datoga. In situations of potential
aggression, the Hadza prefer to leave . In contrast, aggression is an
instrument of social control—both within the family and in outgroup relations
in Datoga society. Datoga men are trained to compete with each other and to act
aggressively in particular circumstances 
authors also confirmed differences in reproductive behavior between the two
research indicates a difference in the number of children in Hadza and Datoga
men achieved after the age of 50. This may be interpreted as differences
attributable to different life trajectories and marriage patterns. Beginning in
early childhood, boys in the two societies are subjected to different social
and environmental pressures (e.g., it is typical for Datoga parents to punish
children for misbehavior, while parental violence is much less typical for Hadza
parents). Hadza men start reproducing in the early 20s, but their reproductive
success later in life is associated with their hunting skills . In the
Datoga, men marry later, typically in their 30s. Male status and, consequently,
social and reproductive success in the Datoga are positively correlated with
fighting abilities and risk-taking in raiding expeditions among younger men,
and with wealth, dominance, and social skills among older men. In the Datoga,
as in other patrilineal societies, fathers do not invest directly in child
care, but children do benefit from their father's investment in the form of
wealth and social protection, as well as various services provided by father's
patrilineal male relatives . In polygynous societies, spending resources on
attracting additional wives may be more beneficial [40,57,58]. It would be
difficult for some men to invest directly in providing for all their children,
given that men with multiple wives can father a considerable number of
children, and that households with wives may be located at substantial distance
from one another.
behavioral difference seems to be mediated by differing levels of androgens,
such as testosterone:
effect of androgens, such as T, operates through stimulation of androgen
receptors [21-23]. The androgen receptor (AR) gene contains a polymorphic and
functional locus in exon 1, comprising two triplets (CAG and GGN). This locus
supports a regulatory function that responds to T, with fewer CAG repeat
clusters being more effective in transmitting the T signal . Moreover, the
length of the GGN repeat predicts circulating and free T in men.
the androgen receptor gene, the authors found fewer CAG repeats in the Datoga
than in the Hadza. The number of repeats was also more variable in the Datoga.
The Datoga's higher and more variable polygyny rates thus seem to correlate
with higher and more variable levels of testosterone.
authors also wished to see whether these differing levels of testosterone
correlate with differing levels of aggressiveness. To this end, they
interviewed the Hadza and Datoga participants:
were asked to provide information including their age, sex, marital status,
number of children, ethnicity and aggression history (especially fights with
other tribal members). All questions were read aloud in one-to-one dialogues
and further explanations were provided, if necessary. Self-reported aggression
was assessed with the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ; ). The
BPAQ includes 29 statements, grouped into four subscales—physical aggression (9
items), verbal aggression (5 items), anger (7 items), and hostility (8 items)—answered
on aLikert scale anchored by 1 (extremely uncharacteristic of me) and 5
(extremely characteristic of me).
aggression was found to correlate negatively with CAG repeat number. Age group
did not predict aggression.
More polygyny =
stronger sexual selection of men
the authors suggest that Datoga men, with their higher polygyny rate and
fiercer competition for access to women, have undergone greater sexual
selection. They have thus become bigger and more masculine than Hadza men.
Although this selection pressure also exists among the Hadza, the driving force
of sexual selection has been weaker because Hadza men are more monogamous and
less sexually competitive:
findings are in concordance with other research, demonstrating that even among
the relatively egalitarian Hadza there is selection pressure in favor of more
masculine men [59-62]. At the same time, preference for more masculine
partners, with greater height and body size, is culturally variable and
influenced by the degree of polygyny, local ecology, and other economic and
social factors [59-62]. Many Datoga women commented that they would like to
avoid taller and larger men as marriage partners, as they may be dangerously
violent [44,62]. Only 2% of Hadza women listed large body size as an attractive
mate characteristic . Hadza marriages in which the wife is taller than the
husband are common, and as frequent as would be expected by chance . (Butovskaya et al., 2015)
is consistent with what we see in nonhuman polygynous species. Successful males
tend to be the ones that are better not only at attracting the opposite sex but
also at fighting off rivals. They thus become bigger, tougher, and meaner.
P.F.M., J.A. Simoneau, M.R. Boulay, O. Serresse, G. Thériault, and C. Bouchard.
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black and white subjects persist after adjustment for anthropometric, lifestyle,
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Switzerland (Wikicommons). Today, antifas are becoming an extrajudicial police,
just as human rights commissions are becoming a parallel justice system.
three years ago, Canada’s human rights commissions had the power to prosecute
and convict individuals for "hate speech." This power was taken away after
two high-profile cases: one against the magazine Maclean's for printing an excerpt from Mark Steyn's book America Alone; and the other against the
journalist Ezra Levant for publishing Denmark’s satirical cartoons of the
prophet Mohammed. Both cases were eventually dismissed, largely because the
accused were well known and popular. As Mark Steyn observed:
they didn't like the heat they were getting under this case. Life was chugging
along just fine, chastising non-entities nobody had ever heard about, piling up
a lot of cockamamie jurisprudence that inverts the principles of common law,
and nobody paid any attention to it. Once they got the glare of publicity from
the Maclean's case, the kangaroos
decided to jump for the exit. I've grown tired of the number of Canadian
members of Parliament who've said to me over the last best part of a year now,
"Oh, well of course I fully support you, I'm fully behind you, but I'd
just be grateful if you didn't mention my name in public.” (Brean, 2008)
the dismissals, both cases had a chilling effect on Canadian journalism. Maclean's made this point in a news
gratified by the decision, Maclean's
continues to assert that no human rights commission, whether at the federal or
provincial level, has the mandate or the expertise to monitor, inquire into, or
assess the editorial decisions of the nation's media. And we continue to have
grave concerns about a system of complaint and adjudication that allows a media
outlet to be pursued in multiple jurisdictions on the same complaint, brought
by the same complainants, subjecting it to costs of hundreds of thousands of
dollars, to say nothing of the inconvenience. (Maclean's, 2008)
situation had come about gradually in Canada. At first, human rights
commissions fought discrimination only in employment and housing, and there was
strong resistance to prosecution of people simply for their ideas. This
situation changed from the 1970s onward. Human rights took the place in society
that formerly belonged to religion, and human rights advocates acquired the
immunity from criticism that formerly belonged to the clergy. Discrimination was
no longer wrong in certain cases and under certain circumstances. It became
evil, and people who condoned it in any form and for any reason were likewise
view of reality progressively transformed human rights commissions. On the one
hand, they were given an ever longer list of groups to protect. On the other, their
scope of action grew larger, expanding to include not only the job and housing
markets but also the marketplace of ideas. Their power increased until they
became a parallel justice system, the key difference being that they denied the
accused certain rights that had long existed in traditional courts of law,
particularly the presumption of innocence and the right to know one’s accuser. All
of this was made possible by section 13 of the Human Rights Act (1977):
13 ostensibly banned hate speech on the Internet and left it up to the
quasi-judicial human rights commission to determine what qualified as
"hate speech." But, unlike a court, there was no presumption of
innocence of those accused of hate speech by the commission. Instead, those
accused had to prove their innocence. (Akin, 2013)
2012, the House of Commons repealed section 13. The ensuing three years brought
a return to normal and a dissipation of the chill that had descended on Canadian
journalists and writers.
our Indian summer is coming to an end. In Alberta, the human rights commission
is pushing to see how far it can go, and Ezra Levant is again being prosecuted:
October I will be prosecuted for one charge of being "publicly
discourteous or disrespectful to a Commissioner or Tribunal Chair of the
Alberta Human Rights Commission" and two charges that my "public
comments regarding the Alberta Human Rights Commission were inappropriate and
unbecoming and that such conduct is deserving of sanction."
last year I wrote a newspaper editorial calling Alberta's human rights
commission "crazy". (Levant, 2015)
month in Quebec, the government passed a bill that greatly expands the powers
of its human rights commission to prosecute "hate."
59, introduced by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard's Liberal government, would
make it illegal to promote hate speech in Quebec, without defining what hate
speech is. Despite this, it would expand the definition of hate speech to
include "political convictions" for any speech deemed by Quebec's
human rights bureaucracy to promote "fear of the other", an absurdly
vague term which could easily lead to prosecutorial abuses.
59 would empower Quebec's human rights commission to investigate anonymous
complaints, or to launch investigations on its own, without any complaint,
culminating in charges before Quebec's Human Rights Tribunal. The tribunal
would be able to impose fines of up to $10,000 for first offenders, $20,000 for
repeat offenders. Those found to have violated the legislation would be named
and shamed on a publicly accessible list of offenders, maintained by the
government. (Editorial, 2015)
new law also casts a wider net by defining two forms of complicity in hate
speech, direct and indirect:
in or disseminating the types of speech described in section 1 is prohibited.
in such a manner as to cause such types of speech to be engaged in or
disseminated is also prohibited. (Gouvernement du Québec, 2015)
speech" is supposedly defined in section 1 of Bill 59, but this section
merely repeats the same term:
Act applies to hate speech and speech inciting violence that are engaged in or
disseminated publicly and that target a group of people sharing a
characteristic identified as prohibited grounds for discrimination under
section 10 of the Charter of human rights and freedoms (chapter C-12).(Gouvernement du Québec, 2015)
short, "hate speech" will be defined by the Quebec Human Rights
Commission, the only limitation being that the speech must target a protected
did this piece of legislation come to be? It had been sold to the public as a
means to fight Islamist terrorism and, as such, gained the support of many people,
including right-wing politicians who thought its “ant-hate” language was just window
dressing to make it more palatable. In its final form, however, there are no
references at all to Islamism or terrorism. As columnist Joanne Marcotte points
in the bill is this goal mentioned. It doesn't seem that this is the intention
of the Liberal Party, which is perhaps more concerned about a supposedly
Islamophobic current of opinion than about the pressure that radical religious
fundamentalists are exerting on our values of individual freedom.
no mention of the following words appear in the bill: fundamentalism,
fundamentalist, radicalism, radicalization, terrorism, religious (as in
it isn't surprising that only two groups to date have supported the bill: The
Canadian Muslim Forum and the Muslim Council of Montreal. (Marcotte, 2015)
Joanne Marcotte notes ironically, this bill was pushed through by a
center-right government that claims to believe in individual freedom. Even more
ironically, the strongest support for the new law comes from the far left. A
demonstration in Montreal against Bill 59 was broken up by a hundred antifas.
The police were there but not one antifa was arrested (Kamel, 2015).
is a growing trend in Western countries: a strange alliance between
center-right regimes and far-left antifas. For all intents and purposes, the
latter are becoming an extrajudicial police, just as human rights commissions
are becoming a parallel justice system.
a brief lull, a new offensive has begun against "hate speech" in
Canada. Quebec is leading the way with legislation that is not only punitive
but also broadly-worded. Hate speech is whatever the human rights commission
considers to be hate speech.
Quebec, existing laws are likewise being interpreted more punitively and more broadly,
as seen in the prosecution of Ezra Levant for "disrespectful" speech.
This trend may lead to new legislation in other provinces and perhaps at the
federal level, especially if the Liberal Party takes power on October 19.
the Liberal Party of Canada is legally distinct from the Liberal Party of
Quebec, the two work together and cater to the same clientele. The major
difference is that the former defines itself as center-left and the latter as
center-right. In practice, the difference is trivial, "left" and
"right" referring more and more to the same ideology. Today, the left
pushes for cultural globalism (multiculturalism, antiracism), while the right pushes
for economic globalism (outsourcing to low-wage countries, insourcing of
Bill 59 may thus become a template for federal legislation. The Liberal leader,
Justin Trudeau, has in fact promised to amend the Human Rights Act while not
spelling out his plans, other than to say he will recognize transgendered
individuals as a protected group.
will I be packing my bags and going south of the border? No, I love my country too
much and, frankly, I don’t envy Americans. The U.S. doesn’t have anti-hate laws
because it doesn’t need them. Most Americans have fully internalized the antiracist
ethos and can be counted on to be willing partners in their own dispossession.
situation is different in Canada, especially in Quebec: the new ethos is more
recent, has a weaker hold on people, and cannot be counted on “to do its job.”
This is why we have legislation like Bill 59. It’s a sign of weakness, not of
D. (2013). Hate speech provision in Human Rights Act struck down, The Toronto Sun, June 26.
Gouvernement du Québec (2015). Bill no. 59: An Act to enact the Act to prevent and combat hate speech and speech inciting violence and to amend various legislative provisions to better protect individuals, Assemblée Nationale du Québec.
L'homme n'est ni ange ni bête, et le malheur veut que qui veut faire l'ange fait la bête — Pascal
Welcome to my blog! For the most part, this page will be an extension of my website, with comments relating to my research. But it will also branch out into more general discussions of human evolution.