Aristotle on Words

As I said previously,, the speech is properly thought of as an organ of the body. However, what sort of organ is it? What is its function? Aristotle clarifies this in On Interpretation, where he states that “spoken sounds are symbols of affections in the soul, and written marks symbols of spoken sounds” (16a3). And we must be careful to consider that speech (or writing) is, again as Aristotle says that speech “is a quantity…for it is measured in long and short syllables.” And so when there is a restriction on speech, it is really a restriction on the soul’s affections, because they cannot find expression through the speech, which is the speech’s function, to express symbols of affections in the soul, at least, according to Aristotle that seems reasonable.

And so, simply from this, we see that the normal sense that prevails in modern University culture, namely, that a one-sided analysis of the “right” of people who object to speech is all that matters, we must take up the discussion from the point of view of those souls to be shut down under such a policy. And a trivial dismissal cannot be made, for, as we see in, an injury to the speech is worth as much as a wounded belly or broken thigh. The responsibility that people have not to infringe the speech of others is quite ancient. And freedom of speech means, under certain circumstances, a duty to listen. Speech and listening are reciprocal, in a sense. It is only through both speaking and listening that people can fully develop their souls, which, as the drivers of the speech, must be kept in practice. If people stop speaking, then it stands to reason that they will fall out of practice.


This is the royal motto: DIEU ET MON DROIT.

But how should it be translated? The common translation is “God and my right.” However, this is not the only possible translation. At the outset, I should let the reader know that I have had it translated by a Judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia as “GOD IS MY LAW.” And this is a right and reasonable translation if we only admit a few principles. The first is from Mrs. Beeton’s

The law is not particular as to orthography; in fact, it distinctly refuses to recognize the existence of that delightful science. You may bring your action against Mr. Jacob Phillips, under the fanciful denomination of Jaycobb Fillipse, if you like, and the law won’t care, because the law goes by ear; and, although it insists upon having everything written, things written are only supposed in law to have any meaning when read, which is, after all, a common-sense rule enough.
(The Book of Household Management. Mrs. Isabella Beeton. Retrieved on December 19, 2016 from

And thus, we should beware any notion that an ancient motto like DIEU ET MON DROIT has any precise meaning, due to orthography. This motto, as a legal signifier, is meant to be heard, not seen. The “s” in “est” is perhaps more seen than heard, and, indeed, if we allow that “et” means “est”, we are left not with a sentence fragment, “God and my right” (this sentence no verb), but with a full independent clause: GOD IS MY LAW.

There is further evidence for this if we consult an online Anglo-Norman dictionary, which shows that there is not much standardization of orthography in Anglo-Norman. Here is a selection from the entry for “estre”, that is, the verb “to be.”

estre3, eistre, ester, estere, estier, estiere, etre; istre; aistre, astre (ethre Receptaria 92 93); seo, siu, su, sue, sui; es, iés; e, es, est, eist, eit, et, estz; (Anglo-Norman Dictionary. Retrieved on December 19, 2016 from

And so we see that a single “e”, or “et”, can mean the third person indicative, which would render the motto quite clearly GOD IS MY LAW. This is also the version given by Diderot in his Encyclopédie, to wit:

Dieu est mon droit, (Hist. mod.) c’est le mot ou la devise des armes d’Angleterre, que prit d’abord Richard premier ou Coeur de – lion, qui vivoit à la fin du xije siecle, ce qu’il fit pour marquer qu’il ne tenoit son royaume d’aucun mortel à titre de vassal.
(Retrieved December 19, 2016 from

This, translated into English by Susan Emanuel, is as follows:

God is my right. Dieu est mon droit is the motto or device of the army of England, first taken by Richard the Lionheart who lived at the end of the thirteenth century, which he did to mark that he took his kingdom from no mortal as a vassal.
(Retrieved December 19, 2016 from–god-is-my-right?rgn=main;view=fulltext)

The term droit poses a legal translation challenge. However, let use use the Canadian Law Dictionary, Fifth Ediction, by John A. Yogis, Q.C.:

DROIT (drwä) Fr.: a right. Law; the whole body of the law. (Canadian Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition, p. 89)

Thus it seems quite possible that a proper translation is “God is my whole body of the law,” or “God is my whole right.” And in this sense, we see firmly captured, in only four words, the notion of the King being governed not by the law of humans, but by the Law of God, which is the Law that makes the King. And we find this quite consonant with the Old Testament, in which God, through Moses, commands that

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you…Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons. (Deuteronomy, cap. 5 ss. 2, 5-9)

Therefore, it is quite clear that the word, that is, law, as Delivered by Moses, should not be diminished nor added to. And therefore, requiring University students to obey anything outside of the bible is clearly a damnable heresy intended to deprive them of the protection of Royal Government, which is freedom under the Monarch, whose office is to discharge the duties historically discharged by Moses, and subsequently by Jesus Christ, either in the monarch’s own proper person, or through delegates within the King’s faith.

The oldest English legal textbook, Horn’s Speculum Justitiariorum, the Mirror of Justices, makes this plain in even clearer terms:

we discovered that law is nothing else than the rules laid down by our holy predecessors in Holy Writ for the salvation of souls from everlasting damnation, although it be obscured by false judges. And we found that all Holy Writ consists of the Old Testament and of the New.
(Mirror of Justice, p. 2. Retrieved on December 19, 2016 from

Freedom of Speech, Part II.

As we stated previously, the Speech, as an organ, is given absolute protection in the Laws of Aethrlbirht, the first King of the English to receive baptism. In the days of Augustine, Aethelbirht decreed, in his laws that

If the speech be injured, XII shillings. (Laws of Aethelbirht, s. 52)

Further on, in the same collection of laws, we find that

If the belly be wounded, let ‘bot’ be made with XII shillings. (ibid., s. 61)

In this law, therefore, we find that an injury to the speech is taken to be equivalent to a serious wounding of the belly. And further on,

If a thigh be broken, let ‘bot’ be made with XII shillings. (ibid, s. 65)

Clearly, the protection afforded to the speech against ‘injury’, and note the use of the word ‘injury’, not ‘wound’ nor ‘break’ but ‘injury’, is absolute, and certainly fixed as of the date of the making of these laws. The speech may be injured in any number of ways, and, indeed, any attempt to restrict it in a manner more burdensome than that on the date of this law of Aethelbirht constitutes the injury, an injury on par in severity of punishment with those of breaking someone’s thigh or wounding someone’s stomach. There is in this law no mention of feelings or dignity. In fact, in reading this statute, feelings and dignity are later inventions that have given a pseudolegal justification to the destruction of our ancient customary protection of the speech.

The speech may be injured by what I will call the ablative injury. The ablative injury is when the speech organ itself is physically worn down, and, in an extended sense, if it is mutilated or otherwise rendered materially inoperative. This sort of injury may be macroscopic, to the speech itself, or microscopic, to the nervous system and tissues which control the voluntary operation of the speech. For when the law protects the speech from injury, in contemplation it must also protect all of the parts of the body which drive the speech, including the nerves, brain and other tissues required for their support, like the heart, lungs and liver.

The ablative injury to speech may also be accomplished via agreement, as, for example, if, as a condition of employment, I agree to not say the phrase “snow is white.” This would be interpreted as a voluntary injury to speech, in both the sense that I would be deprived of speaking, but, more importantly, I would be deprived of my power of speaking truly, as snow is white. It is questionable whether one may consent to being injured.

Thus we see that the ablative injury is constituted whenever an inhibition is put upon an individual, unless sanctioned by right, that is, by law. The However, statutes must be construed according to prior enactments, if they speak to a topic. As stated above, any injury to the speech is an injury on a par with a broken leg or a wounded stomach. These are not trifles, as, for example,

For every nail, a shilling (ibid, s. 55)

And so any statute that would, but for the statute require conduct that injures the speech must be read as requiring a restraining of bodily liberty, and infringing the liberty interest, a restriction that is grave and perilous. The clear reason for Aethelbirht’s discussion of the value of various injuries is to establish a framework of just compensation for injuries to the body parts mentioned in the laws. In this sense, it sets the penalty for various criminal injuries that would be acknowledge to exist by custom. Thus there is a good argument that any attempt to injure speech is in fact a breach of the criminal law, much as it would be a breach of the criminal law to injure someone’s thigh bone or stomach.

We must read Aethelbirht’s law not as creating these injuries, but as fixing the penalties for acts that, by their inclusion in his laws, must be taken to have been considered unlawful and criminal by custom. Certainly this is not a list of mere civil actions, we are dealing with woundings which, prior to the advent of antibiotics and blood transfusions, were often fatal. Certainly a broken thigh could be fatal, as the femoral artery runs through it. We must therefore, in determining the relative weight of injuries, remember that any restriction on speech is a corporal restraint and is in fact an injury on par with a broken leg.

It therefore is untenable to give much weight to the psuedolegal claims of injury that are brought before many administrative and corporate tribunals, concerning “dignity”, “feelings”, “emotions” and other pseudolegal concepts that we do not find mentioned in our ancient law. Certainly, it is difficult to fathom that the injury of one’s speech is at all proportional to hurt feelings—it is a punishment as violent and damaging as breaking of the thigh. And we must point out that all such restrictions, but for pseudolegal justifications supporting clearly unconstitutional statutes, would be clear injuries and violations of our ancient laws.

On Freedom of Speech

“If the speech be injured, XII. shillings”
The Laws of King Aethelbirht, LII.

People often, in error, think of speech as what is expelled by the speech, which is properly considered an organ, as we see definitively in this statute. This law comes in a collection of laws dealing with numerous matters, ranging from the restitution for stolen church property (twelve-times the value) to the injury to various body parts, such as the teeth and collar-bone. Thus we see that the protection that English law affords to speech is absolute; any injury to the speech is illegal and contrary to our ancient law.

According to Wikipedia, the Anglo-Saxon shilling was a coin worth about 1/20th of a pound of silver. Thus, 12 shillings is about 3/5ths of a pound of silver. Today’s spot price for silver is about $19 CAD, so the fine for any instance of injury to speech should be about $136 CAD.

Further, the University relies on students essentially injuring themselves by way of adhesion contracts that students are forced to sign as a condition of admission. If students were required to break their collarbones as a condition of admission, that would obviously be illegal and unreasonable; that students are required to injure their speech as a condition of admission is similarly unreasonable.

It is true that this law might be altered by subsequent Canadian legislation, and it is: in the Criminal Code where certain forms of hate speech are prohibited. Universities, however, have no ability to require students to accept restrictions on speech not contained in the criminal code and to force students to obey them upon pain of expulsion.

Indeed, all case law purporting to establish restrictions on expression which has not been clearly legislated is obviously and clearly unconstitutional. We must abandon the erroneous belief that we are regulating the emission that the speech expresses; regulations on the speech are equivalent to iron fetters around the neck.

Freedom of Expression

Freedom of expression is enshrined in various documents. Consider this:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, s. 19)

Or this:

Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.(Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s. 2)


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