The Tyee – Doug Christie: The Unauthorized Obituary

16 03 2013

It has been said that I am sometimes self-destructive in my honesty. (My boss recently advised me to remove a description of only a partial achievement of a goal from my annual review.) I do think honesty and transparency are important. However, I am quite sure I still harbour as many dark secrets as most.

That said, I do believe there is benefit in admitting when you’re wrong, or at least admitting you’re no longer quite so sure you’re right. Especially when you take a stance in a public forum such as Twitter or a blog. In a comment recently, I made reference to Doug Christie, a lawyer who recently died in BC. At the time, I’d only just recently heard of him (I’m still learning to be a proper Canadian), and my information was based solely on an interview he gave to the CBC that I’d heard shortly before his demise. In the interview he stated  “Free speech is the one thing you have to give to your worst enemy if you want to keep it for yourself.”

Source: The Tyee – Doug Christie (deceased)

This struck a chord, and my “support the under-dog” genes kicked in. I am often prepared to support a stance I don’t personally agree with merely to ensure a fair airing of all views and a level playing field for discussion. However, since then, I came across this article in The TyeeThe Tyee – Doug Christie: The Unauthorized Obituary. In it a case is made by Tom Hawthorn that Mr Christie was actually quite adept at suppressing free speech when it didn’t suit his own goals, and that perhaps his personal views were more aligned with the extremists he’d defended than he’d indicated in the CBC interview. The article basically says that many (self included obviously) had taken this “free speech” element from the CBC interview and spread it to the 4 internet winds… without knowing the background and alleged hypocrisy of Mr Christie.

So, not wishing to be seen to only share half a story, I offer you the above link to the Tyee to at least obtain another perspective. As I mentioned – I’d never heard of the guy prior to the CBC interview, so claim no information or personal agenda beyond those two data points. I merely meant to use the reference as an example of supporting a principle not always being personally beneficial, and that its ramifications could include supporting someone whose view you fervently do not support.

However, hypocrisy (though I’m quite sure I entertain it in myself) is never worthy of support. I leave it to you to make your own decisions regarding Mr Christie… and perhaps lend me some better examples of a principled stance in support of another person that is perhaps self-harming.

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