Suck it, Europe. You too, Canada.
Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Violating Human Rights to Defend Them:
"At a time when the U.S. government is often (and often justly) criticized for compromising civil liberties in pursuit of terrorists, New York Times legal writer Adam Liptak reminds us of one respect in which Americans are indisputably freer than other Westerners: They can speak their minds without fear of being prosecuted for offending people. In countries such as Canada, France, England, Germany, and the Netherlands, by contrast, freedom of speech can be overriden in the name of equality and multiculturalism. Mark Steyn, the Canadian writer accused of violating British Columbia's hate speech law by saying unnice things about Islam in Maclean's, tells Liptak:What we're learning here is really the bedrock difference between the United States and the countries that are in a broad sense its legal cousins. Western governments are becoming increasingly comfortable with the regulation of opinion. The First Amendment really does distinguish the U.S., not just from Canada but from the rest of the Western world.
In hearings before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, the lawyer representing Maclean's noted that the province's law gives writers accused of hurting people's feelings little recourse:Innocent intent is not a defense. Nor is truth. Nor is fair comment on true facts. Publication in the public interest and for the public benefit is not a defense. Opinion expressed in good faith is not a defense. Responsible journalism is not a defense.
An attorney with the British Columbia Civil Liberties Union (which is siding with Maclean's) explains the Canadian attitude this way:Canadians do not have a cast-iron stomach for offensive speech. We don't subscribe to a marketplace of ideas. Americans as a whole are more tough-minded and more prepared for verbal combat.