Nazis, news, and accountability

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The University of New Brunswick’s student newspaper, The Baron, made a new attempt at stirring the pot on the matter of freedom of speech. Following an interview with Michael Thurlow, the self-proclaimed leader of the National Socialist Canadian Labour Revival Party, The Baron published an uncensored op-ed written by Thurlow himself.

The article, titled “Sex, Love, and Tomahawks,” was centered on Thurlow’s defense of the European colonialists against “Anti-White narrative being pushed in media and academia.” Posters with this same quote were found on the University of New Brunswick’s campus just a week before. While Thurlow’s op-ed is written in a tone that merely defends the population from experiencing “European Guilt,” and he claims to not be a white supremacist, the subtle hate speech is easy to pick up on.

In his piece, he targets Indigenous peoples, defending the residential school system and stating that, “it was the only way to attempt to civilize an incredibly, and historically proven, uncivilized society, and … it has worked.”

Many people can see how this is wrong, how it suggests supremacy, and promotes hate against the Indigenous by attacking the nature of their people. And many readers (and social media spectators) made it clear to The Baron that it was not OK to publish such a piece.

Following the outrage, The Baron editor-in-chief Anna De Luca, published a statement defending her actions and claiming that it was “freedom of speech” and that The Baron is not “a political activist organization.” She stated that refraining from publishing that piece would be “holding the hands of students and protecting them from discomfort.”

I’m not sure if De Luca realizes that in Canada, freedom of speech does not apply to hateful messages like the one she has proudly published. Students are not as naïve as you make them out to be; we are aware of the varying views of the people around us no matter how much we might disagree with them. And claiming that the rest of the newspapers hire “shitty, biased editors” who just “stroke their own dumb ego when they choose who to offer a platform” is not only a far-fetched claim, but also shows how naïve The Baron’ executive staff really is.

“We believe, also, that culture and civilization are the applied genetic expressions of a population and that a civilization functions best when it is racially homogeneous for that reason,” is just one of several gems that Thurlow included in his op-ed.

“We do not believe in a ‘Superior Race’ but believe that all races are superior in the lands which they evolved to be superior through natural selection of successful genes,” is yet another gem, painting supremacy through the unsaid fact that he believes Europeans are superior because they established hospitals, police stations, and universities.

The executive staff of The Baron confuses this hate speech with them being “Uncensored. Unbiased. Completely Unafraid,” which they proudly display as their paper’s slogan. While I agree that controversial opinions should get equal representation in the press, I also believe in Canada’s Charter of Rights, which states that there are reasonable limits in expressing freedom of speech.

Just because Thurlow cleverly worded his hateful agenda to disguise his hate speech, it does not make it acceptable to publish. The Baron has a responsibility to its students, the residents of New Brunswick, and the citizens of Canada to practice discretion and not just publish everything that is written under the sun.

And no, it is not political activism you practice when you refuse an article, it is just accountability.

       

Yvonn Yu

2B Political Science & Science

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