William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Punishment Of Pre-Thoughtcrime On The Rise: You Could Be Next

Progress to the future!

Progress to the future!

Certain Canadians have been tried, convicted, and sentenced for pre-thoughtcrime.

Bound to have happened, you will say, especially given events such as the howling drooling hate-filled mob that terrorized Brandon Eich out of a job. Eich’s thoughtcrime was so intolerable to the Tolerance Brigade, and so easy to punish, that it was only a matter of time before the earnest would direct their fury towards pre-thoughtcrime, which is thoughtcrime which has not yet happened.

Trinity Western University in British Columbia runs along Christian principles. According to the CBC (Canada’s more muscular NPR/PBS), students at TWU “must sign a strict Christian covenant governing behaviour, including abstaining from sexual intimacy ‘that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.'”

Now a sane man reading that would say to himself, if he could be brought to say anything, “A Christian university which asks its students to act like Christians? Ho hum.” But, as you are an intelligent reader and thus will have already guessed, we are not dealing with sane men.

The CBC reports:

The Law Society of Upper Canada has voted 28 to 21 against the accreditation of Trinity Western University’s proposed new law school in B.C.

The vote means graduates from the B.C. university would not be able to practise in Ontario.

The Law Society of Upper Canada is anxious to tell Canadians that its decision had nothing to do with the way TWU would teach the law. No, sir. Instead, the Society did not like that if they allowed the school, enrolling students would allow future lawyers who would commit thoughtcrimes (hence the pre-thoughtcrime).

In an even-for-lawyers long-winded hearing to deny TWU’s accreditation, a Mr. MacKenzie (pdf, pp. 28-29) said that lawyers “have a special responsibility to honour the obligation not to discriminate on grounds that include sexual orientation.” Yes, a “special” responsibility, and where, presumably, “sexual orientation” is a code phrase for sodomy.

MacKenzie’s argument (p. 29) which was echoed by others and which won the day was this:

I don’t think any of us should disagree with the approval committee’s finding that Trinity Western University has a curriculum that complies with our requirements nationally for entry level competence, but I do have a very considerable concern about the questions of values that is raised by the Community Covenant requirement, which, in my respectful submission, must be discriminatory on the basis of sexual orientation.

There is more than one organization that can accredit TWU. One such group, the B.C. Law Society, already has.

But—there had to be a but—“a non-profit organization founded to ensure women’s equality rights under the law, argued against the university law school’s accreditation [with this second group] in B.C.” The ladies who run this organization, and the men who work there, too, found it intolerable that TWU would graduate lawyers who committed thoughtcrimes. Unfortunately for these incensed ladies, the “B.C. Law Society voted to accredit the school.”

But a busybody lawyer named Michael Mulligan challenged the accreditation ruling in such a way that he has forced the accreditation society to reconsider its decision.

Mulligan believes the vast majority of lawyers take issue with the university’s covenant, which he says is at odds with a core principle of the lawyer’s oath to uphold the rights and freedoms of all according to the law, and will vote against it.

Should we tell Mulligan that if “all” had the same rights and freedoms, there would be no need of prisons in Canada? Let it pass.

A third group, the Nova Scotia Law Society, also approved TWU, but only on the proviso that students there not commit thoughtcrimes and that TWU drop the covenant. The Globe and Mail reports, “Detractors say allowing Trinity Western to train only those law students who agree to abide by the covenant is discriminatory.”

Why, yes, it is discriminatory. Just as it is discriminatory for the various law societies to withhold accreditation. Just as it is discriminatory to arrest bank robbers or to choose “organic” over non-organic food (can you even have non-organic food?).

Rod Dreher reports on the Brigade’s efforts in the US, quoting from the Heritage Foundation, which quotes the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty: “the American Psychological Association, the accrediting body for professional psychology programs, threatened to revoke the accreditation of religious colleges that prefer coreligionists, in large part because of concerns about codes of conduct that prohibit sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior.”

Why stop at law schools and psychology programs? TWU and other private universities also have nursing and education schools. The Tolerance Brigade can’t let Christian and Muslim nurses and teachers have contact with patients where the potential for contamination is high, can they? Should we close all hospitals named after Saints?

Diversity Update! Here comes the bride. And another one. And another one! Meet world’s first married lesbian THREESOME…and they’re expecting a baby due in July. Anybody commenting negatively on this story will have his name taken down.

22 Comments

  1. Eich was not terrorized out of a job by the furor over his prop 8 support.

    The search for a new CEO at Mozilla was very contentious. Half the BoD ended up resigning over the selection of Eich, not because of his prop 8 support, but because they wanted an outsider with experience in the mobile apps market (something Eich didn’t have).

    It would take a complete idiot, which Eich isn’t, to not see the writing on the wall after half the BoD resigns in protest over his selection as CEO.

    To suggest that the furor over his prop 8 support had more to do with Eich’s resignation than half his BoD resigning in protest is simply absurd.

  2. This should be welcome news as the rapture must surely be nigh. But then again, every day is judgement day for the modern christian. Just whip yourself with a cat o nine tails and you will be cleansed of the filth of this world.

  3. Briggs

    April 26, 2014 at 9:02 am

    MattS,

    Say, that’s a pretty good re-write. Focuses attention on the business angle while diverting it from the uncouth and barbaric behavior of Eich’s enemies, which is the real point. Might be the best revision of a recent cultural event I’ve seen. As a debating tactic, it also serves to distract from the main point of my article. Good job.

    HowardW,

    I wonder if you really think untutored and irrelevant insults are useful to anything save self-stroking your own ego? Why not try a real argument instead?

  4. One wonders why you have to graduate from an accredited school to practice law in the first place. Or pass the bar.

  5. “Focuses attention on the business angle while diverting it from the uncouth and barbaric behavior of Eich’s enemies”

    That the behavior of those behind the public uproar over his prop 8 support was uncouth and barbaric (which it was) is not evidence that it had anything to do with Eich’s resignation. It doesn’t help your cause any to make them out to be more powerful than they really are.

    And if it distracts from the main point of your article, why include it in the first place.

  6. The other day I wanted a hamburger and went to Burger King for one. I discriminated against Wendy’s and McDonalds. Every time you make a choice you discriminate.

  7. Mulligan, eh? An appropriate name for someone taking a second swing. Law is much like golf — the lowest lawyer wins.

    can you even have non-organic food?

    A long time ago, Time or Newsweek ran an article where they pointed out that a concrete block fit every description of a “healthy” meal. Low fat, no cholesterol, no sugar, etc. Wish I could find it.

  8. Law schools are a fairly recent invention, and there are a few states where one can still read for the law, and not bear the costs of an expensive law school. See: http://www.shareable.net/blog/how-to-become-a-lawyer-without-going-to-law-school

  9. can you even have non-organic food?

    Table salt is inorganic (NaCl is devoid of covalently bonded carbon atoms). That’s all I can think of, until eeeevil Monsanto develops crystalline, silicon-based tomato plants.

    I once saw “organic sea salt” and “carbon-free sugar” at the grocery store. After the ruckus I caused, the wife won’t take me shopping anymore.

  10. As it turns out, MattS is a descendant of the fine gentlemen that ‘airbrushed’ Trotsky out of all those photos and records after he had his unfortunate ‘accident’. People like him also served as a key figure in the National Socialist party, working closely with Herr Goebbels to make sure ‘history’ had just the right je ne sais quoi that happily aligned with that of the elites, actual history be damned*.

    When not revising history in the face of all historical and logical data and evidence, MattS enjoys sunsets, long walks on the beach, and demonstrating for the world that, no matter how iron-clad the historical record for a given event might be, it can still be rewritten all while polishing his jackboots to a high, glossy, shine.

    *Godwin Rule violation? Hey, if the jackboot fits…

  11. Briggs:

    “The Law Society of Upper Canada is anxious to tell Canadians that its decision had nothing to do with the way TWU would teach the law. No, sir. Instead, the Society did not like that if they allowed the school, enrolling students would allow future lawyers who would commit thoughtcrimes (hence the pre-thoughtcrime).”

    So the argument is that just because TMU’s law students have been taught according to Christian principles which might lead them to practice law in a way that the Law Society deems discriminatory does not necessarily mean that TMU graduates necessarily will. Denying TMU’s accreditation therefore constitutes wholesale judgement against a *group* and levies sanctions before *individual* students have even begun to practice law, much less commit any actual violations.

    On the face of it, that sounds like an argument I could support.

    “In an even-for-lawyers long-winded hearing to deny TWU’s accreditation, a Mr. MacKenzie (pdf, pp. 28-29) said that lawyers ‘have a special responsibility to honour the obligation not to discriminate on grounds that include sexual orientation.’ Yes, a ‘special’ responsibility, and where, presumably, ‘sexual orientation’ is a code phrase for sodomy.”

    Sodomy being code for “effing someone in the backside.” I can be even “cruder” if you like. Point being that “politically correct” is code for “euphamism”, and its purview is not limited to any one portion of the entire political spectrum.

    But that’s just an aside. Here’s the meat: should *any* institution of education *ever* be allowed to condone lawbreaking as part of its curriculum?

    “Bound to have happened, you will say, especially given events such as the howling drooling hate-filled mob that terrorized Brandon Eich out of a job.”

    Wait a tick. Are we talking about corporate enterprise here, or education? At what point should the gummint step in to protect a CEO from the beliefs of his customers vs. the point at which it should step in to keep a law school from teaching students that it’s ok to break the law? This isn’t apples and oranges, its a fruit salad.

    Pun not intended, but I’ll leave it.

  12. Fletcher Christian

    April 26, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    HowardW – You missed out the bit about the sacred ceremonies of burning copies of “Origin of Species” and books about post-19th century cosmology. Geology, too. After all, isn’t it well known that all today’s landforms were carved out by Noah’s Flood? Not to mention burning Galileo in effigy.

  13. DAV: “A long time ago, Time or Newsweek ran an article where they pointed out that a concrete block fit every description of a “healthy” meal. Low fat, no cholesterol, no sugar, etc. Wish I could find it.”

    Bill Cosby on the merits of cake for breakfast is an easy find if you don’t.

    “*Godwin Rule violation? Hey, if the jackboot fits…”

    It’s a Law, not a Rule. If I may mix metaphors: there are no violations, only exceptions. Anyway, if the original subject of the argument IS Stalin (or a proxy like Trotsky), invoking Hitler would seem in bounds. But if the discussion leaps from law school accreditation to Stalin but leaves out Hitler, a corrollary to Godwin might be in order.

    The footwear doesn’t matter either. I’ve seen images of guys in sandals and tee-shirts that appear appropriately attired for lounging on the beach save for the AK-47, grenades and RPG that they’re toting. It’s the look in their eyes and the locked and loaded nature of their weapons that signify imminent and deadly intent.

    There’s a big difference between calling someone an absurd idiot vs. saying they should be dragged behind the woodshed and shot because they’re an absurd idiot. Communist, fascist … anyist — I don’t care who’s trying to kill me, only that they are.

    One way to interpret Godwin is that it’s the person who brings Hitler up first might be the one most itching to pick up the gun.

  14. Possibly of interest in this discussion is an article by Robert Martin, professor of law, emeritus, at the University of Western Ontario. written a few years ago.

    http://www.canadianjusticereviewboard.ca/archive-Rob_Martin_Legal_Ed_in_Canada.doc

    No punches were pulled in the writing of said article.

  15. From New Zealand
    Is it then true that Christians shall not act like Christians? If could you get these legal academics to say that plainly could you not get them prosecuted for religious discrimination or is that not against the law any longer.?

    I notice that in Russia the Russian Orthodox Church is the established church after so many years of killing off Christians because they were Christians, the numbers were in the thousands I have heard, though not very much reported in the West. Canada is off on the same path-‘ Prevent them from earning a living and so shut them up’.

  16. “But that’s just an aside. Here’s the meat: should *any* institution of education *ever* be allowed to condone lawbreaking as part of its curriculum?”

    Any university courses in American history from 1763 to 1789, that fails to correctly point out how wrong those treasonable colonials were?

  17. Surely the basic issues are these.

    Is TWU acting within the law applying to British Columbia in the way it selects and admits students.

    Does the Course offered met the required accreditation standards.

    If both these are true then surely the only sanction point is if a Practicing lawyer who studied at TWU fails to follow applicable discrimination law or fails to execute the duties of an officer of the court. Then it should be the individual sanctioned, not the institution that taught them years before.

  18. Fletcher Christian

    April 28, 2014 at 5:20 am

    Mike Ozanne – I think a snippet from the TV programme “Shogun” is relevant here. Feudal lord says: “There is never any excuse for rebellion.” Westerner, well into becoming naturalised, says something like: “Lord, with respect I disagree.” Sharp intake of breath from all present. “And what might that excuse be?” from the lord. Westerner: “If the rebels should win.”

    “Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason? Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason.” – John Harrington

    All the signers of the Declaration of Independence were traitors. If they had lost, they would all have been hanged. It’s another case of the truism that the winner writes the history books.

  19. The Shogun scene goes as follows:
    Toranaga: “[Another person] says that the Netherlands were vassals of the Spanish king until just a few years ago. Is that true?”

    Blackthorne: “Yes.”

    Toranaga: “Therefore, the Netherlands – your allies – are in a state of rebellion against their lawful king?”

    Blackthorne: “They’re fighting against the Spaniard, yes, but – “

    Toranaga: “Isn’t that rebellion? Yes or no?”

    Blackthorne: “Yes. But there are mitigating circumstances. Serious miti- “

    Toranaga: “There are no ‘mitigating circumstances’ when it comes to rebellion against a sovereign lord!”

    Blackthorne: “Unless you win.”

    Toranaga looked at him intently. Then laughed uproariously. “Yes, Mister Foreigner…you have named the one mitigating factor.”

    Let’s be frank here the UK Parliament is supreme in making law and raising taxes, because Fairfax and Cromwell were better at killing people than Rupert of the Rhine. The 1832 Reform Act was passed in the face of burning cities. What freedom and democracy we currently enjoy is pretty much the result of *succesful* law breaking.

  20. Trinity Western University (TWU) IS allowed to have an accredited law school — this after a vote was forced by a petition: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/trinity-western-university-s-law-school-approved-by-b-c-law-society-1.2606964

    The gist of the rationale for not accrediting the proposed new law school appears (based on a skim of the transcript of the meeting leading to the initial vote) to have centered on Canada’s Charter of Freedoms that ban discrimination/exclusion of any orientations; the school’s Christian-based standards would invariably exclude homosexuals, or at least those practicing. Having a law school effectively openly exclude a class of orientations (gays, etc.) would seem to have violated a fundamental legal requirement to not engage in such exclusion.

    So, among other opinions expressed, there was a fundamental Canadian legal requirement butting head-to-head with the school’s religious-based values & practices.

    At its core, this was a legal issue, not one of the imposition of trendy values [punishment of “thought crime”] by a liberal membership of an oversight organization.

    Not having read the overruling vote, I’d suspect the offsetting legal factor was Canada’s fundamental right for those of religious orientations/denominations to “congregate” [simply based on this being an offsetting legal principle/doctrine in Canadian law]. As TWU is privately funded (apparently not getting any government funding) membership in the school might be considered a form of ‘congregating’ and thus would not be exclusionary under Canada’s law.

    But I’m guessing somewhat.

    The point being that one must understand the applicable law and its arcane nuances to pass judgment. Leaping to “thought crime” is fun, and easy, but invariably involves imposing local values & legal principles — and many things we in the USA take for granted simply don’t apply over there, other fundamental precepts apply differently, etc. Canada is, compared to the USA, rather liberal overall, but it still manages to hone to its own laws, which are often very similar…but different enough to make any extrapolations from the USA to Canada an error-prone undertaking…

  21. Mike Ozanne: “Any university courses in American history from 1763 to 1789, that fails to correctly point out how wrong those treasonable colonials were?”

    As you and others have subsequently pointed out, the winner changes the rules once they’ve won:
    —————————–
    18 U.S. Code § 2384 – Seditious conspiracy
    If two or more persons … conspire to overthrow … the Government of the United States … shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
    —————————–

    All you gotta do is plan it with at least one other person. Not actually attempt to do it, just plan it.

    There are everyday forms of pre-thoughtcrime statutes on the books. Assault for instance, but that’s not particularly contentious. Although … start talking castle doctrine or gun control and the gloves come off.

  22. Ken: “Trinity Western University (TWU) IS allowed to have an accredited law school — this after a vote was forced by a petition … The gist of the rationale for not accrediting the proposed new law school appears … to have centered on Canada’s Charter of Freedoms that ban discrimination/exclusion of any orientations …”

    The link you provided was a story about British Columbia, Briggs is discussing Ontario. Same law school (in Ontario) but different provinces and accreditation rules.

    The Ontario law society specifically discusses the differences with B.C. in this transcript: http://www.lsuc.on.ca/uploadedFiles/ConvocationTranscriptApr102014TWU.pdf

    Worth a read. My summary of their reasoning is this:

    1) We don’t want to restrict free exercise of religion, nor put private religious colleges out of business,

    2) but we don’t want to punish law students for something that wasn’t an issue when they first enrolled,

    3) but we don’t want our lawyers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation either …

    4) … oh crap, who would we rather have po’d at us?

    I oversimplify of course. There was one very elegant argument about Hutterites and pictures on driver licenses.

    There was also a significant amount of signalling that TWU could do away with having its students sign a morality contract every academic year and thereby be welcomed back into good graces — no curriculum changes required.

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