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Dr. Dreimer's Diary, 1st Q, 2014
3rd Q, 2013
January - June, 2013
January - June, 2012
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. (Oscar Wilde, 1854 -- 1900)
The idea for Dr. Dreimer’s diary came from the excerpts from the diary of Samuel Pepys published daily in the National Post. We thought it would be interesting to write a modern diary using the more formal language of an earlier era – in this case we have attempted an approximation of 18th Century expression. What is perhaps most evident is the capitalisation of nouns, which gives an emphasis, and suggests a cadence entirely missing from current written expression. The language is more cumbersome and formal, and tends to favour the use of parallel structure for rhetorical emphasis.
Style is inseparable from attitude and tone. Dr. Dreimer observes mankind as if from a great height, or from another, more sensible century.
His judgements are often unflattering, and his scorn and
disdain palpable. They may be expressed directly, but are
often revealed through an ironic approval of some mindless folly. He may
appear to some as a pompous windbag; to others as a curmudgeonly but
As it has turned out, the diary is not a conventional diary at all. Apart from the occasional references to the mythical Aunt Myalgia, languishing in the Shady Hollow Psychiatric Facility in downtown Toronto, or to the Lumpenbangen Studios in the inner reaches of Hamilton, or to the Haven of Wind-in-the-Pines at Silver Lake, we gain little insight into the trivia of Dr. Dreimer’s own life.
The diary is, in fact, a commentary on events in the news.
March 30, 2014
Man’s Reach so often doth exceed his Grasp; it affords us some Amusement to observe the unceasing Efforts to achieve a Perfection of Society, in which all Citizens will be equally treasured, and none will experience the Slight of Offense.
This Aim, laudable though it may be, is not achievable. We are often led to wonder at what Point it will be generally agreed that the Enforcing of an Ideal causes more social Damage than an Acceptance of an imperfect Reality.
We wrote on February 20 of a Case of Microaggression at McGill University.
Brian Farnan, a Vice-President of the Students Society had expressed his annoyance with mid-term Examinations accompanied by an altered Video of President Obama which showed him as kicking open a Door.
In this Age of Super-Sensitivity, where one’s Neighbour, superficially benign, may actually be an Informant for the Cultural Sensitivity Police, this was a grievous Error.
What might appear to be a simple Image of Anger and Frustration is subject to a particular parsing of Meaning, and may be seen through a selective Prism which casts the most innocent Thought or Act as a Horror, a callous Stroke of Opprobrium, enlarged on a great Screen of dark Deeds.
Thus, Mr. Farnan was coerced into making the following Apology.
The image in question was an extension of the cultural, historical and living legacy surrounding people of colour — particularly young men — being portrayed as violent in contemporary culture and media. By using this particular image of President Obama, I unknowingly perpetuated this living legacy and subsequently allowed a medium of SSMU’s communication to become the site of microaggression; for this I am deeply sorry.
The situation is both Orwellian and Kafkaesque.
Before each Thought or Action, the Citizen must place a Filter: could my Neighbour possibly construe this as offensive -- not just to him – but to some hypothetical Being somewhere on the Planet? It is not only my Intention which must be pure, but my every Step must be considered as a potential Transgression against the Ideal that no one should ever feel offended. This is the typical Element of Fear of Thoughtcrime through which Big Brother controlled the Citizens of Oceania.
But there is also an Element which is Kafkaesque. In Kafka’s Work, it is suggested that the Citizen is a Victim of an opaque System of Justice which operates outside the Realm of Logic or Consistency. Guilt is assumed. Only the Punishment must be determined.
A little Reflection will show that, in Fact, the Guilt of every Citizen is assured in the World of hyper-sensitive Multiculturalism. Every Interaction between Citizens, properly parsed and correctly prismed, will reveal a hidden Prejudice.
There was a recent article in the National Post (March 28) describing the Experience of Anisa Rawhani, a University Student who decided to wear a Hijab for Eighteen Days as a Kind of social Experiment. Her Conclusion: "If anything, people were nicer. Much nicer."
But stop! Why were People being nicer?
Was it the Niceness of Condescension? Oh you poor Thing, enslaved by that awful Religion? That is a Kind of Prejudice.
Was it to pretend that they were unprejudiced? Does that Fact itself not reveal their Prejudice? Surely those being nice must be considered as guilty of Evil as those who are not nice. As in the world of Kafka – or as in the Catholic Church – Sin is original, and Guilt is a pre-existing Condition.
And if People are being nice to Wearers of the Hijab, does that not imply a Prejudice against those lacking that Head-Covering?
The only thing one can do is to throw oneself upon the Mercy of a Human Rights Commission, or a Cultural Sensitivity Committee, and be prepared to die "like a dog."*
It is interesting that the McGill Students Society has had a Change of Heart, and has rescinded the Order requiring an Apology from Mr. Farnan.
But this is no Cause for Rejoicing. The Chief Regret of the Councillor introducing the rescinding Motion seemed to be that the Matter had brought the Concept of Microaggression into Disrepute, and the Students regard the Incident as a Farce.
We would contend that there are Limits to the Perfectibility of Humankind; the Failure to have some approximate Idea of those Limits will always result in Farce.
March 29, 2014
We think it only fitting to mention that Earth Hour is to be celebrated Today.
Thousands of earnest anthropogenic Climate Change Believers will be turning off Lights and electrical Appliances, activating Candles and replicating the primitive Circumstances of Days gone by.
Theirs is a symbolic Tribute to Darkness; they celebrate a Rejection of modern Convenience and Industrialization. They express in Token the Desire to return to the Caves from which Mankind emerged Thousands of Years ago.
This is all in Accord with the Notion that Humanity is a Blot upon the Earth, and that the Earth would be a far better Place were the Presence of Man minimized.
It is, in our View, an odd Expression of Self-Loathing and Self-Denial.
While it would seem reasonable to suggest that there are Limits to Growth, we are skeptical of our Ability to predict them, and of our Capacity to effect an orderly Dismantling of human Society. We would note that, as Societies gain Wealth, the Increases in Population tend to decline as a Result.
The current Fashion is driven by such Organizations as the Club of Rome, which declared in 1993:
The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy
to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of
global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.
...The real enemy then is humanity itself. Democracy is no longer well
suited for the tasks ahead. —From the Club of Rome’s "The
First Global Revolution" p. 71,75 1993
Maurice Strong, a Member of the Club of Rome has said:
Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?
Faced with the Choice of muddling on as we are, and engineering the Collapse of Industrial Civilization, we think Muddling looks rather attractive.
In our own modest Way, we plan this Evening to celebrate the Antithesis of Earth Hour -- Human Achievement Hour. After all, more People live longer and in more Comfort than at any Time in the Past.
We are currently at Wind-in-the-Pines. We will, as usual at this Time of Year, have the Woodstove alight, and the Television Set activated. It is our Custom, because of the exorbitant Hydro Rates – a Result of the Mad and ineffective Green-Schemery Meddlings of the Liberal Government – to have only one electric Lamp in Operation. This Evening, we will splurge with Two.
It is worth the Cost to celebrate the Advancements of Science, and express our Faith in the Future of the Human Race.
March 28, 2014
Each Day some new Felicity descends upon us. Yesterday it was the News that the British Law Society approves and encourages the Principles of Sharia Law in Matters of Inheritance.
Today, we have learned that Liz Sandals, the Minister of Education for Ontario, has suggested that there might be some Benefit to a Memorization of Multiplication Tables, but has not seen fit to make such Drudgery a Requirement in the Curriculum. (National Post, March 28)
We confess that we are so hopelessly out-of-date that we did not know that Memorization of essential Verities had been relegated to the Category of quaint Antiquities.
Apparently Ms. Sandals’ Remarks were made in the context of Declining Competency in Mathematics. Of Grade Three Students, 67% meet provincial Standards; in Grade 6 the Figure is 57%.
As usual, we see this Matter in a much larger Context. The Abandonment of the Multiplication Table is Part of a determinedly optimistic View of the World which has no Basis in Reality.
Society has gone from a Belief in original Sin, to a Belief in original Goodness.* Life itself is assumed to be a Journey inherently happy; human Beings will bloom in the Absence of Obstacles; they will flit joyously from a Sip of the Nectar of Self-Esteem to a Taste of cornucopian Praise; finally, they will be blessed with the long cool Draught of an assured, pre-ordained Achievement.
We knew the Fantasy had begun as early as 1968, when the Hall-Dennis
Report – a Report on Education in Ontario -- was vouchsafed from above.
The Report was entitled Living and Learning. We remember Nothing
of its Content.
We don’t need to.
What we remember is the Cover of the Report: it depicted some joyous Children running, free of Care through a flower-strewn Meadow.
That Picture conveys a World View.
Is it any Wonder that, many Years later, we have Human Rights Commissions devoted to the Notions that None should be offended, and that Equality of Result is an achievable End?
Is it any wonder that we have a Health Care System which falsely pretends to Equality of Access? That False Perception comes at the cost of Coercion – all Citizens are required to use the Government System, or are forced to travel abroad to obtain timely Care.
Is it any wonder that we embrace Multiculturalism, pretending that cultural Values which are diametrically opposed, are, in fact, compatible?
Some idealistic Notions are compatible with Reality; Others are
not. We wish there were more Skepticism with Respect to Experiments more
properly conducted on the Big Rock Candy Mountain.
March 27, 2014
We often express our Gratitude that we live in so advanced and progressive an Age.
The latest Cause for our Elation comes from the News that the British Law Society has given Guidance to its Members to enable them to draft Wills in Accordance with Sharia Law. (National Post, March 26)
Thus, in Case there might be an unfortunate Practitioner troubled by the Circumstance that a Client might wish to ensure that a Son inherit twice the Amount given to a Daughter, based on Islamic Principles, that Practitioner need be troubled no more.
Nor should he or she be disturbed at the Notion that Children born out of Wedlock, or adopted, or married in a Church or a Civil Ceremony, might be excluded, based on religious Principles of Exclusion.
For now, The British Law Society has explained how such Sharia Principles may be given Force in Accordance with existing British Law.
Now, it seems to us reasonable that an Individual should dispose of his Property according to his Desires. If he wishes to follow the Advice of a Fortune Teller, or abide by Principles established by the Great God Hypothetica, or make his Decisions by a judicious Throwing of Darts, we would take the Position that there should be no Law against Eccentricity in the Disposition of one’s worldly Possessions.
On the other Hand, we question the Wisdom of a Law Society which decides to give a symbolic Blessing to any particular Form of irrational Thinking.
Religions are very popular, but there is no Evidence for the Validity of any of them.
And of all Religions currently in the News, it appears to us that
Islam is the least in Accord with the Notions of individual Freedom,
Democracy, the Equality of the Sexes, and the Separation of Church and
We are rather in Favour of these Notions, since they seem to be consistent with the Attempt to determine what the World is really like, to discover the real Nature of human Beings, and to create the greatest Happiness for the Greatest Number. We think that the best Conclusions are derived from Evidence, and the Adoption of ancient and arbitrary Prisms for Viewing the World lead to Distortions and unhelpful Oppressions.
And, from a practical Perspective, those Societies which have gradually made Religion an unimportant Element in Governance, and of lesser Significance in the Culture, are those which have provided the greatest Wealth, Comfort, and Freedom for their Citizens.
It has been suggested that the Action of the British Law Society is a Precursor to the greater Recognition of Sharia Law in British Society, with religious Principles overriding established British Practice in some Disputes.
We continue to remain puzzled why modern Democracies seem so vulnerable to Self-Loathing, or are so easily entranced by the focussed Demands of Insistent but primitive Ideology.
Indeed, perhaps neither Self-Loathing nor Hypnotic Vulnerability are the operative Factors; the Reason may simply be found in a Failure to understand that Tolerance is not an ultimate and unvarying Good, a Cause for unthinking Self-Congratulation, but a Notion appropriate to some Circumstances, and not Others.
March 25, 2014
We are intrigued to see, in this Day’s Post, an Article by Dr. Haroun Gajraj, reprinted from The Daily Telegraph.
Dr. Gajraj is a vascular Surgeon, who, after eight Years, stopped taking Statin Drugs. He says:
"After looking more closely at the research, I’d concluded statins were not going to save me from a heart attack, and that my cholesterol levels were all but irrelevant."
While we ourselves have claimed the Designation "Heretic" for about eight Years, it has been our Observation that Doctors, with very few Exceptions, have believed that Statin Drugs are on a par with the Second Coming in their Benefits to Mankind.
Indeed, when Dr. Gajraj told his own Physician of his Decision, he pretended that he had experienced muscle Pain in his Arm.
A Test of his Cholesterol Levels showed that they were somewhat lower without the Statin Medication.
Dr. Gajraj had eliminated Sugar from his Diet, and was consuming more Animal Fat.
Once again, this is consistent with our Understanding that the
popular View of the Evil of Animal Fat stems from a superficially
convincing but flawed Study by Ancel Keys in the 1950's.
Finally, Dr. Gajraj confirms our own Belief in stating that "numerous studies have linked high cholesterol levels with increased longevity in the elderly."
We draw a Number of predictable Conclusions.
1. Charles Mackay was correct when he said "Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one."
2. Although Francis Bacon suggested the Scientific Method four hundred Years ago, it involves a Way of Thinking rather foreign to Mankind; Science is no Match for popular Bandwagons.
3. The World is a dangerous Place. Be hesitant in accepting the claims of those who speak in the name of science; one must determine first whether that ‘science’ is indeed the master, or merely the tool of self-interest, self-aggrandisement, or political agenda. (Observation # 176)
March 24, 2014
We note with Approval the Comments in this Day’s Post by Matthew Fisher. Mr. Fisher, it seems to us, is entirely accurate concerning Mr. Putin’s latest Adventures and the Responses they have occasioned.
Our own Mr. Harper has visited Kiev, and been the leading Voice in calling for economic Sanctions. Mr. Fisher predicts that Mr. Harper will be the only Leader calling for the Expulsion of Russia from the Group of Eight industrialized Nations.
The relatively muted Response from Europe is understandable because many Countries depend on Russian Oil. Rather than seeking their own Sources, they have followed the McGuintyish Path to Salvation through Green Energy, which has an attractive Appearance, but is troubled by functional Deficiencies.
Mr. Fisher also notes that some European Countries have become addicted to the Flow of unsavoury Funds from wealthy Russians.
Thus Principle is often sacrificed to Practicality.*
We wonder, however, whether it would not be prudent to make great Effort to minimize Dependency on Russian Oil, and Russian Spending. Otherwise, it may be found that, in the long Run, Accommodation to Russian Expansion is unacceptably expensive.
Mr. Fisher also touches on Mr. Obama’s Response, which, we confess, we find far more interesting:
U.S. President Barack Obama acts as if he would rather walk on glass
than speak plainly
We consider Mr. Obama a perfect Exemplar of our long-held Theories about Left Wing Thinking.
It is our Contention that those on the Left inhabit a world of Theory, in which People are rational, well-meaning, and amenable to being swayed by the same idealistic Notions to which they Themselves have pledged undying Loyalty.
There is no Place, in their World View, for messianic Ambition, committed Aggrandisement, or casual Evil.
Thus, Mr. Obama confuses good Speaking with good Actions. A fine Speech is a wonderful –and relatively easy – Substitute for achieving a desired Result.
Mr. Obama committed many fine Words to a Rapprochement with the Islamic World in 2009, but seems hardly to understand how such a Nirvana might be achieved, in the Light of certain "irreconcilable differences."
He believes that the United States is not – or should not be – a Leader; in a World of Equals, his Country is just another at the Round Table of Debate. He would not presume to suggest that Western Democracy is worthy of Emulation. He believes in American Exceptionalism as much as the British believe in British Exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek Exceptionalism.
The Idea of individual Initiative – which seems to have been a driving Force in the economic Power of his Country – is to be seen in a Context of more important Government Cossetting. To a successful Entrepreneur he would say: "You didn’t build that."
Indeed with the Attempt to enlist all Citizens in a comprehensive Government Health Care Scheme, while overriding existing private Arrangements, Mr. Obama supports social Democracy over Self-Reliance.
The notion of Freedom of Speech, which would appear a Cornerstone of a free Society, seems to rather less important than protecting the good Reputation of Mohammed:
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.
Thus Mr. Obama, on Principle, ignores the rather unpleasant Truth, that the World is not so much a Round Table of agreeable Debaters, as a Hierarchy of competing and not necessarily fair-minded interested Parties. We remember a Snippet of Wisdom from our Teaching Days: If the Teacher does not control the Classroom, someone else will.
Mr. Obama sees himself as a New Age, egalitarian Teacher, who hopes a muted Expression of fine Words and high Ideals, delivered from a Seat at the Back of the Classroom, is enough. A happy, non-interventionist Equality combined with a Commitment to co-operative good Manners will ensure that the Exams are passed with flying Colours.
The Fact that that little Rascal Putin is at the front of the Classroom, building a Fire on the Desk, is a Reality not anticipated, and is perhaps best dealt with by another Round of Golf.
Thus the both Practicality of the Europeans and the Principles of Mr. Obama seem to be working in Mr. Putin’s Favour.
* Lest we be thought to be sounding holier-than-thou, we would note that we are not immune from this Sacrifice. Our Experience with Hydro One in Ontario has shown that they treat us with the utmost Disdain and Contempt. If we were governed by Principle, we would decline their Services, choosing to have solar Panels and a Hand Crank – for cloudy Days – instead. However we lack the Funds to install solar Panels and our Enthusiasm for the Hand Crank is limited. Thus we choose the practical, if demeaning Choice.
Mr. Putin has been observed on Limerick Lane.
March 21, 2014
We are intrigued to see that National Aeronautics and Space Administration is predicting the End of Civilization.
We have always been aware that, in about 500 million Years, the Sun will become too warm, and Plants will begin to die out, with Civilization not too far behind. The End predicted by NASA is to arrive somewhat sooner, but, we hope, will still leave us Time to pack our Bags.
Apparently a Team of Mathematicians, funded by NASA, has concluded that the "Elites" consume too much, and Famine among the "Commoners" will reduce all our Societies to Rubble. (National Post, March 19)
We only wish we could take this Matter at Face Value, and continue to work on the Construction of the self-sufficient underground Bunker which has consumed a good Portion of our Energy over the last few Years.
But Alas! There are too many worrying Details.
The Mathematicians have, apparently, used a Set of Four Equations through which "numbers" have been "run." This sounds suspiciously like those Computer Models of Climate Change which have led to Predictions of such stunning Whimsicality.
And then we have the familiar Call to immediate Action. An environmental Writer, Nafeez Ahmed has warned that the Predictions constitute "a highly credible wake-up call." Policy Changes are "required immediately." Derrick O’Keefe, a former Editor at Rabble.ca sees, as the only alternative to Extinction -- Socialism.
The Mathematical Models themselves suggest only a severe Restriction
of Birth Rates or a "reasonably equitable" Distribution of Resources
will avoid the Doomsday Collapse.
We would note that Robert Thomas Malthus, writing in 1798, observed that Population increased geometrically, but that the Food Supply increased arithmetically. The Result could only be Epidemics, Famines, and Wars which would keep Population aligned with the Supply of Food.
Two hundred Years later, his Logic seems unassailable, but Factors which he could not foresee have rendered his Predictions invalid.
We have come to see "Science" too often used as a Mask for political Agenda. Our Observation # 176:
Be hesitant in accepting the claims of those who speak in the name of science; one must determine first whether that science is indeed the master, or merely the tool of self-interest, self-aggrandisement, or political agenda.
One of the most interesting Quotations of recent Times is this one from The Club of Rome, 1993:
The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. ...The real enemy then is humanity itself. Democracy is no longer well suited for the tasks ahead. —From the Club of Rome’s "The First Global Revolution" p. 71,75 1993
Sometimes, it would appear, there really are Conspiracies. There are those with the unbendable Mind-Set of the Socialist Central Planner. They will not rest until the World has been neatly organized according to their own infallible Perceptions of Nirvana. NASA, with a Team of Mathematicians, a Bunch of Computers, and a Set of Four Equations, seems to have joined the Club.
March 20, 2014
We were surprised to learn that one of our favourite Politicians, Alison Redford, has resigned as Premier of Alberta.
We should hasten to add, lest it be thought that we approve of Ms. Redford, that our favourite Politicians are those who inspire us to critical Comment, especially those who seem worthy of a satirical Limerish or Limerick*.
Just last Evening, we were nodding in Approval as Lorne Gunter made his Prediction on the Sun News Network that Ms. Redford would not last as Premier for more than Twelve Months. Indeed, beyond Approval – we confess that we are often gripped with an unbecoming and probably sinful Pleasure in a happy Anticipation of the Decline of the Unworthy from their Positions of Prominence.
Alas, our gleeful Contemplation was almost immediately cut short; the News of Ms. Redford’s Resignation was flashed a few Moments later at the Bottom of the Screen.
It has been said that Ms. Redford was an urban Sophisticate out of Touch with the rural Folksiness said to persist in Alberta. Urban Sophisticates take expensive Trips and Accommodation for unauthorized Guests as their due, while rural Folks know the Cost of a Tankful of Gas for the Pickup.
We have already suggested our own View. ** Ms. Redford was formerly a human Rights Lawyer, and has worked at the United Nations. We would contend that such Employments require -- or create -- a certain Manner or Habit of Thinking.
The United Nations, boiled down to its Essence, is an Organization which aspires to control the World. It does not seek a Mandate from the governed. That is so pre-Twenty-First Century. Rather, it seeks to govern based on the infallible Knowledge of Experts. The Experts will feed Data into their Computers, and the Computers will produce the most wonderful Schemes for the Amelioration of Man and the Improvement of his currently wretched Existence. ***
It reminds us a little of Mr. Swift’s Description of the Grand Academy of Lagado.****
Those involved in the Human Rights Industry similarly have a clear and certain Knowledge of how those in oppressed Groups must be favoured, and those not in oppressed Groups must be smitten for their good Fortune. This will be done outside the legal System developed over the Centuries. That antediluvian Relic is simply too out of Touch with fresh, modern, progressive Thinking.
The common Element in both Areas of Employment is evident: The Elites know best. It is fitting and appropriate that they impose their Wills on the Unwashed Commoners. Further, they should be well-rewarded for their selfless Devotion to those only minimally worthy of their Beneficence. No Payment, in fact, is too great for their Sacrifice.
Thus, we think Ms. Redford’s fatal Flaw was her Failure to realize that the Re-Establishment of Monarchic Principles is, as yet, regrettably incomplete.
*Thus we count Mr. McGuinty and Mr. Trudeau as at the very Top of our List of favourite Politicians, they having inspired us to our most enjoyable Flights of Derision.
**Diary, March 13.
***No better Symbol can be found than The International Panel on Climate Change.
****See Chapter 5, A Voyage to Laputa, Gulliver’s Travels.
March 18, 2014
Handsome is as handsome does.
When we were in elementary School, we remember hearing this Proverb, but being of tender Years and having an Intellect less than robust, we were puzzled as to its Meaning. Only some Time later did it make any Sense to us: superficial Appearances are not as important as Deeds.
And now that we do understand it, it seems hopelessly irrelevant and out-of date. It expresses a Sentiment quite shockingly out of Temper with the Times.
The modern Version, comprehensible to today’s Citizen would read:
Aboriginal lesbian single Zoroastrian Mother is as aboriginal lesbian single Zoroastrian Mother does.
And of course, that makes no Sense whatever. For everyone knows that one’s racial Background, religious Affiliation, sexual Orientation, Gender, and one’s marital, and motherhood Status, are far more important in the grand Scheme of Things than what one actually does.
Now, it may be true that Membership in a Group is not quite the same as having a pleasing Appearance – but we would contend that to emphasize such Memberships represents a similar Error of Focus as that which is directed to and overwhelmed by Superficialities.
In last Weekend’s Discussion between Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn – a Discussion on the Sun News Network about Freedom of Speech -- the Point was made that the Notion that Citizens should be treated as Individuals has succumbed to a new Type of Tribal Thinking. It is now held that Citizens should not be treated equally, but differently -- according to a Variety of Group Identities to which they may lay Claim.
It is well known, of course, that those seeking Government Employment are favoured or disfavoured according to their Race and Gender.
In the Matter of Sentencing, it is proper and common Practice to take Account of the deprived Background of an Aboriginal who has committed a criminal Act.
The Tribalism is especially evident in that wonderful down-the-rabbit-hole World of Human Rights Commissions. Individuals are seen entirely as Representatives of particular Groups of Victims.
This is why the Commissions always provide a legal Assistance for the Complainants. Complainants always claim Membership in a Victim Group. They may be Muslims, Tenants, Gays, cultural Minorities, obese Ladies with inconvenient Parking Spots, or rejected foreign Applicants seeking Exemption from Engineering Exams.
The Commissions always require Defendants to pay for their own legal Defence, since those Defendants belong to other Groups which have no established Victim Credentials. They may be Christians, Atheists, Landlords, heterosexuals, Caucasians, Employers, Condominium Boards or Engineering Societies.
We are just now beginning to observe the wonderful Spectacle of Victim Groups in Conflict. Recently a Lesbian launched a Complaint against a Muslim Barber because he would not provide her with a "Businessman’s Haircut."
It is Mr. Levant’s clever Conceit to see each Victim Group being assigned a Value represented by a Playing Card. In the Game of Victim Draw, a Caucasian Male might be considered a Two, a Caucasian Female a Three. The aboriginal lesbian Zoroastrian single Mother referred to above would be considered a Queen. A Muslim would, understandably, hold the Trump Card – Ace or King.
It would be a great Saving if the Card System could be determined with both Nicety and Finality. The most difficult of Disputes could be determined in a few Minutes, simply by considering the relative Card Values of the Participants.
The Question might reasonably asked -- how did we traverse the Plain Trail of Equal Treatment to arrive at so rocky a Road of Hills and Chasms – the biased Terrain of committed Favouritism?
The Answer, is, of course, that the Path to the Abyss is always paved with noble Ideals. Equality of Treatment is not perceived to have the same Value as Equality of Result. In order to obtain Equality of Result, it is necessary to examine the Deficiencies of each Participant in the Race, and make Compensation. It is the wonderful Arrogance of those whose Hearts bleed, to think that they can determine the appropriate Compensation for each Type of Victim.
Thus, through a magical Alchemy, the Fool’s Gold of Equality is wrought from the leaden Stuff of Discrimination and Favouritism.
The Problem may also be seen as the Attempt to resolve the competing Claims of Justice and Mercy. It has been decided that Mercy, dispensed by those who see themselves as morally superior, is to be paramount. All Victims will receive Compensation for their Affiliation with the appropriate Victim Tribe or Tribes. The Cost will be borne by Others.
Justice is nowhere to be found.
March 15, 2014
Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret.
You can drive out nature with a pitchfork, but she keeps on coming back.
Semel emissum volat irrevocabile verbum.
Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled.
(Horace, 65 -8 B.C.)
The Pleasantness of Perfection is always sought, no Matter that it is as elusive as the Breath of Smoke in the Wind.
We are intrigued to see that Sheryl Sandberg, the chief Boss and Pooh-Bah of Facebook is leading a Campaign to ‘ban’ the word "Bossy." (National Post, March 15)
It is felt that such a Word, when applied to Girls, will cause them to renounce their Inclinations to Leadership, and shrink into a Violethood of demure Submission. If the Word is banned, then Girls of indomitable Forcefulness will, unintimidated, surge to the Peaks of Greatness. They may, indeed, become Pooh-Bahs of unparalleled Attainment, and bestride the World as Amazonian Collossae.
We confess to a certain Ignobility of Spirit: we are not entirely displeased when an Amazonian Collossa reveals herself to be more than a little silly.
First, Ms. Samberg has said in an Interview:
I was called bossy when I was in ninth grade...and that hurt.
It seems superfluous to point out – but we will anyway – that the Hurt of being called "bossy" did not, in fact, deter Ms. Sandberg from attaining her present Status of Pooh-Bahood. Indeed, we might speculate that such an demeaning Appellation taught her that Obstacles abound in every Race, and simply reinforced her Resolution to forge her Way to Greatness.
Second, we are not sure how advisable it is to attempt to retire Words. Often the Aim is euphemistic: we assume that there is a magical Relation between the Object and its Name. Thus, an Unpleasantness can be banished simply by altering its Name.
In our Lifetime, the Term "crippled" has given way to "handicapped" to "disabled" to "challenged." We suspect that "alternatively abled" is currently making a strong Showing and "triumphantly impaired" is waiting in the Wings. The unfortunate Truth is, that new Words cannot make up for no Legs. If the word "Bossy" is banned, some other Word will take its Place – perhaps "assertive." But if the Term is applied to those who seem – how shall we describe it? – bossy – will "Assertive" become a term of Opprobrium too powerful for polite Society?
As unstoppable as the Tendency to Euphemism may be, we think that it should be severely restricted. The Term "Bossy" does not imply Evil incarnate. It is a Word entirely appropriate to describe those who have an annoying Tendency to tell Others what to do in a Manner that is neither subtle nor considerate.
Finally, it strikes us that Ms. Sandberg’s Call for the Banning of the word "Bossy"– based on what someone said to her when she was in the ninth Grade -- suggests a certain Arrogance and Propensity for inappropriate Meddling.
If we were not constrained by our own impeccable Sense of Tact, our infallible Apprehension of Good Taste in all Matters, we would say she sounds awfully bossy.
March 13, 2014
We are still recovering from the News that Mr. Péladeau is planning to do a corporate Restructuring of the Province of Quebec, so that it will reflect his Ambition of Separation.
Today, we have suffered another Shock to the Delicate Balance of our nervous System: Alison Redford, the Queen of Alberta, has decided to reimburse Taxpayers for their generous Funding of her $45,000 Trip to attend the Funeral of Mr. Mandela.
We know not what the World is coming to. Surely it wobbles worrisomely on a Trajectory thought to be comfortably predictable.
Ms. Redford had expressed Shock and Horror at the Cost of her Travel. She had accepted full Responsibility for the Outrageous Expenditure. That, of course, is political Responsibility – that particular Type of Responsibility which is designed for Newspaper Headlines, and is intended to induce Citizens to make minimal clucking Noises, nod with Approval, and turn to the Sports Pages. It is an Acceptance of Responsibility in Principle, but has no actual Consequence in Deed.
Finally, Ms. Redford had expressed the Belief that she was riding a Sea of General Approval, was being carried forward on a Tide of Murmuring Approbation which saw her moving on to confront the great Challenging Waves of the Future.
Perhaps her first Error was to repay an Amount of $3,000 to cover the
cost of Transportation for a Friend of her Daughter. It is wise, in
Matters of Wrongdoing, not to admit any small Errors, or make any minor
For then, the Matter of Responsibility becomes an entirely different Fish in an entirely different Kettle. Those formerly silent, perceiving Weakness, may look for logical Consistency, and require further Deeds of Reparation.
It would appear that Queen Redford has encountered just such Intransigence, and has decided that her political Future is less than assured.
We suspect that the Repayment is not enough, since it comes with Tardiness, and after such Reluctance.
It will undoubtedly come as a great Surprise to the Reader that we have always harboured some Reservations about Ms. Redford. She was a Human Rights Lawyer and once worked for the United Nations. It is hard to imagine how one could remain untainted by either Experience.
Further, before she became Premier, she promised Mr. Levant that she would repeal the Censorship Provisions of the Alberta Human Rights Act. She has not done so.
We shall be most interested to see what happens in her political Career.
March 11, 2014
We prefer life to unroll smoothly – like a Thread from a Spool in a Machine calibrated to a Nicety of Precision. Sudden Catchings of the Thread, or an unexpected Alteration in the Speed of the Spool’s Turning suggest an unwelcome Uncertainty, and a troubling Unpredictability.
We must, therefore, confess to a Discombobulation of our Serenity upon learning that Mr. Péladeau, the billionaire Businessman and Media Magnate, has declared as a Candidate for the Partie Québécois.
Can Mr. Péladeau, as Chantal Hébert notes in L’Actualité, so used to playing First Fiddle, be content with a secondary Instrument in the separatist Orchestra?
Mr. Coyne suggests that Mr. Péladeau is not so much going into Politics as launching a Takeover Bid. (National Post, March 11)
It is usually held that Businessmen in Quebec are Federalists, probably preferring the Evils they know than risking the Uncertainties of Dangers unknown. But it appears that Mr. Péladeau’s primary Purpose is to pursue the Cause of Separatism: he has acknowledged that, in the Absence of that Issue, he would be content with the Humdrum of Billionairehood and Media Magnateism. (Graeme Hamilton, National Post, March 11)
Mr. Péladeau has agreed to put his Holdings into a blind Trust, but has rejected the Idea of selling. The Possibility of Conflict of Interest would appear to be high, since many Government Decisions might affect the Prosperity of his Investments. And, as Mr. Coyne points out, since his Holdings include Media Outlets, Editorial Decisions might be seen as influencing Mr. Péladeau’s Reputation in Government.
It is also noted that Mr. Péladeau’s anti-union Stance is at odds with the Leftishness of the Partie Qébécois.
We admit that Mr. Péladeau’s Position has a certain Appeal. The Idea of creating a Country out of a Province, and running it as a Business must be seen as an exhilarating Challenge.
We note some Obstacles.
The Rest of Canada, we suspect, is somewhat over-weary of Tantrums and Blackmail, and would not be displeased to see Quebec leave, under the Conditions that certain Areas remain Canadian.
We have always seen Quebec as an unrealistic Teenager, longing and impatient for Independence while living at Home, driving Father’s Car, relying on Mother to do the Laundry, seemingly unaware that, in the real World, Rent must be paid, and a Living must somehow be earned. He asks for a higher allowance, while baulking at doing the Dishes or taking out the Garbage. Unless treated with exceptional Deference, he threatens to leave, not quietly with a small Suitcase, but taking the main Staircase and disruptive Amounts of Plumbing and Wiring from the Family Residence.
It might be interesting to see an Independent Quebec discovering that the Omphaloskepsis of Language Laws and a generalized Resentfulness of Attitude are of little Help in paying the Bills.
Separation, with Conditions, might be a good Thing for Everybody.
It will be interesting to see what Success Mr. Péladeau can achieve.
March 9, 2014
We have made further Reflection on the Opposition to the Quebec Charter of Values. Our Ruminations – uninformed by Expertise in any Field of Endeavour – may be found in the Drivel Section. We consider Religion as an expression of Tribalism.
We have also written about the great Alison Redford, her Penchant for Pooh-Bahishness, and her evident Delight in taking very expensive Trips by Airplane paid for by the generous and compassionate Taxpayer. We attempted to write a Limerick, but were unable to conform to the high Standards set by the Limerick Purity Defence League of Canada. We have had to be content with a Limerish, instead. See Limerick Lane.
March 6, 2014
We are amused that our Opinion with Respect to the Quebec Charter of Values is so opposed to that of the indignant and horror-struck Bien Pensants.
We note in this Day’s National Post, there is an Editorial which calls the Legislation "one of the most regressive pieces of legislation the country has seen in decades." And in an Article dealing with the Levant libel Trial, Christie Blatchford, oddly ends in full Flight of Fulmination by saying:
...I’d also be wearing a veil 24/7 if I lived in Quebec, to tell Premier Pauline Marois what I think of their stupid, and racist, "charter of values."
While we think that Quebec often exhibits Evidence of advanced Paranoia in Matters of the Preservation of the French Language, it seems that the Requirement that religious Symbols be excluded from the Government Workplace is an entirely sensible one.
Like any Employer, it is reasonable that the Government should maintain a Dress Code. Bikinis and Evening Gowns, and Worn Jeans with Holes at the Knee are hardly consonant with the Image of Competence and Efficiency which any Government might wish to project.
Similarly, it is not merely understandable, but laudable that the Government wishes to avoid the Impression that it approves of particular Religions, or of Religion in general.
There is no Evidence for the Validity of any Religion; thus it may be seen as superstitious Nonsense which may be engaged in as a private Recreation, but is hardly fit subject for loud Proclamation while representing the Government to the Public.
Indeed, as we have noted elsewhere,* from a practical Perspective,
those Societies which have focussed on Science, and restricted the
Influence of Religion in the Operation of Government have been far more
successful in creating both Comfort and Freedom for their Citizens,
than those which have allowed Religion to overcome Common Sense.
When one considers how Religion, when given Prominence and Precedence, gives rise to Blasphemy Laws such as those in Pakistan, which, in turn, lead to Oppression and Injustice, to the Tyranny of Ignorance and Malignity, one would think that Quebec would be universally applauded for its Desire to show a separation of Religion and State.
However, Canada, with a silly Smugness of preening Self-Congratulation, has decided that it is to be defined, not by the Ladder of Values by which it has achieved its Height, but rather by an idealistic Devotion to Multiculturalism, and a Tolerance which is seen as a Good and End in itself. We are fond of noting that Tolerance extended to Intolerance looks very much like Stupidity. **
While a Diversity of religious Expression may not always be harmful, -- when carried out privately-- it would seem prudent not to allow Religion Differences to become prominent in the Sphere of public Debate, or be shown in the Apparel worn by Government Employees during working Hours.
The Reason that Uniforms are worn by Police Officers is to suggest that they are not acting in their personal Capacities, but as Representatives of the Legal System – the Ethos -- of the Jurisdiction in which they are employed. To add religious Symbols is to suggest not Uniformity, but personal Preference and Belief.
We think the same Argument applies to all Representatives of Government who interact with the general Citizenry.
*See Letter to Jason Kenney,
March 5, 2014
The World is a confusing, unpredictable, and dangerous Place; it is not surprising that much Effort is expended to bring Order and Security from the perceived Chaos.
It is always assumed that if a little Bit of Order is a good Thing, then even more Order is better; the Implication is that a completely ordered Existence will bring Nirvana.
We reflect on some recent Examples of the Desire for Order.
Kendra Lindon, a bus Driver for a Student Transportation Company was fired for picking up Five Students in her personal Vehicle when her Bus failed to start, and she was uncertain of the Time of Arrival of a replacement Bus. She did not transport the Students to the School, but merely rescued them from the Cold.
She acted, of course, against Regulations.
At a recent Manning Centre Conference, Mark Steyn noted that the City of Sacramento has Plans to make illegal the Use of non-fitted Sheets in Hotel and Motel Rooms.
We give much Thanks that a Government somewhere has the Fortitude to stand up and protect us from the Devastation which can so easily be wrought by non-fitted Sheets.
Vancouver has recently banned the Door Knob. They suffer from an Infirmity of Grasp, and seek to lever Accolades from the elderly, the infirm, and those who lie awake at Night, in anguished Fear of non-fitted Sheets.
In Quebec, the Language Police, have rebounded in Confidence after
being ridiculed for their Attempts to purify a Restaurant Menu by
removing the Pollution Italian Names. Full of Enthusiasm for their
Cause, they have threatened Eva Cooper, the owner of a Clothing Boutique
who advertised in English only on Facebook. She has been ordered to make
a compliant Translation of the Page under Threat of a Fine.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have re-classified a Fire-Arm imported from Switzerland so that Owners must give up their suddenly illegal Weapons.
We have long suspected that the Police prefer a passive and vulnerable Citizenry, who will conveniently die rather than resist illegal Attack. In this way, it is assured that Criminals will be dealt with by competent and caring Professionals: Hierarchy and a wonderful Tidiness will be preserved. Any Citizen-held Fire-Arm anywhere is a Threat to their World View.
Indeed, the regulatory Impulse is never seen as an Outlet for Meddling by otherwise repressed authoritarian Busybodies; rather, it is always justified by the Need for the Safety and Security of an ordered World.
While we note that the Quebec Language Police have apparently made some Retreat in the Face of Public Condemnation, and the Federal Government has seen fit to reign in the Police by proposing a Bill granting a five-year Amnesty for Owners of the re-classified Weapons, we think that the general Trend is towards more Regulation which pays no Heed to Common Sense.
We have two relevant Observations:
#279. Most will give up an acre of freedom for a closet of security.
#243. Being on the side of the angels allows many a pact with the devil.
March 1, 2014
We feel indeed blessed to live in such a Time of beneficial Advancement. Constantly do we see old Ways of doing things hauled to the Curb of our Custom, to make Way for the favouring Felicities of the Future.
We read in this Day’s Post that Alberta is casting a fond Eye towards the Nirvana of Education, to be achieved in 2016. By that Era of Enlightenment, traditional Methods of Teaching will be blessedly banished, replaced by "an unstructured system to craft ‘engaged thinkers,’ ‘ethical citizens,’ and ‘entrepreneurial spirits.’" (National Post, March 1)
Surely the brave new World is close upon us! The world of gormless Layabouts, mischievous Subversives, and incurious Clods will be transformed in a Wave of new Thinking.
The magical Wand – the Philosophy informing the new Era -- appears to be Discovery. Students will learn not from being taught, but rather by self-directed Discovery. Teachers will merely be as Signposts, pointing helpful Arrows in the Direction of yet to be discovered Troves of learning Treasure. Indeed, we suspect that a Computer, loaded with Arrows, might well be found to be a cheaper and more reliable Option than the more fallible human Operatives currently in Use.
Upon Reflection, we consider how Faulty has been our own Education. In the early Years, we were taught by cruel Techniques of Memorization. We learned that 5 x 2 = 10, and 2 + 2 = 4.
How much better had we simply been allowed to congregate in small
Groups, fired with the Thirst for such indispensable Wisdom. As we
remember our own undeniable Precocity and that of our erstwhile
Classmates, we can state with near Certainty that we would have
discovered such Verities with scarcely a single Arrow.
Now, as with any new Advancement, there are always the Dinosaurs, the Stick-in-the-Muds of Tunnel Vision and retrograde Thinking.
It has been pointed out that Quebec, which ignored the general Trend of Discovery Learning in Mathematics, has retained its Rankings in Performance, in league with Countries like Macao and Japan. The Rest of Canada, has slipped to the levels of Poland and Estonia.
In 2006 a Team of Researchers examined more than One Hundred Empirical Studies and concluded:
After a half-century of advocacy association with instruction using minimal guidance, it appears that there is no body of research supporting the technique. (National Post, March 1)
Fortunately, we are not condemned to live in a World of Negativity, our Horizons foreshortened to the Tips of our Noses. There is a wonderful Planet of Discovery beckoning for all with the Vision to apprehend it.
We can hardly wait to set Foot on the flower-strewn Paths towards that cloudless, all-embracing Sky.
February 28, 2014
We count ourselves lucky to be living in an Age of extreme Benevolence.
We have received, in the last Day or so, two wonderful Gestures of Generosity.
The first is a Repetition of an Offer by The Amazing Kreskin. Undeterred by our somewhat churlish Failure to acknowledge his previous Communication (See Diary, December 16, 2013), Mr. Kreskin has repeated his Offer to enhance our Money, Prosperity, Influence and Leverage, Power, Love, Romance, Social and Professional Connections, Good luck, Riches, and significant happiness and fulfillment.
This will be accomplished through a "Mental Empowerment Exchange Period" of One Year, or 8,760 Hours. At a Cost of only Thirty Dollars, it seems that Mr. Kreskin is working for .34 cents per Hour.
We do have our Principles. We could hardly consider paying a Wage so unconscionably low.
Our second Offer comes from our local Hydro Utility.
They appear to have been overcome by a Rush of benevolent Feelings generated by the recent Christmas Season. They are offering a programmable Thermostat, installed by a certified Technician, with a Value of Four Hundred Dollars. Yet it is absolutely free.
One of the wonderful Features of this free Device is that it can be adjusted remotely through an Internet Connection.
A Brochure, brightly coloured and featuring "A Company of Laughing Faces"* – all Happy Customers and Employees of Horizon Utilities– poses some typical Questions.
"What’s the catch?" one smiling young Woman asks.
"No everything really is free, including installation," responds the
happily disingenuous Employee. "The Ontario Power Authority covers the
cost of this incentive to residential customers to help reduce the use
of electricity in Ontario and save everyone money."
The Truth is, in Fact on the other Side of the Brochure: "...during the peak times when demand is high, these thermostats can help us reduce the risk of power outages by allowing us to briefly adjust the thermostat."
Ah, the protective Arms of Big Brother. For the Hydro Utility, being a Monopoly, is simply the Government wearing a private Face. Big Brother will – when the Occasion requires – decide our Temperature. Our personal Comfort will be sacrificed for the greater Good. How can one object?
The more Things the Government provides for us, the more it has the Right to determine how much, when, and of what Quality. We have seen this in the Health Care System. It is now creeping into the Energy System. Will Food be next on the List?
Benevolence, whether that of the Amazing Kreskin, or that of a Government Monopoly is not always what it seems.
Government is seen often to provide Security, but to exact a Charge in the Coin of Freedom.**
*Nadine Gordimer Short Story
**Observation # 279: Most will give up an acre of freedom for a closet of security
February 27, 2014
We see that the Criminal Review Board in Manitoba has decided to allow Vincent Li unescorted Visits from the Selkirk Mental Centre. (National Post , February 27. See Diary, February 26.)
Even though Mr. Li should be "reintegrated into society," as his Psychiatrists desire, and even if he should lead an exemplary Life, dying in a Serenity of extreme old Age, we think the Principle is wrong.
Had Mr. Li’s previous schizophrenic Episodes consisted of an inappropriate spreading of Marmalade on the Carpet, requiring an extreme Cleaning, or even complete Replacement of the stickied Fibre, his "Reintegration" would seem not unreasonable.
The Danger of a Violent Beheading of other Citizens is an entirely
As we have said before, we see this as an Example of misplaced Idealism and Psychiatric Self-Congratulation. The potential Danger to the Public is being callously ignored.
It would seem Mr. Li is not alone in his Susceptibility to Fits of Madness.
February 26, 2014
We are pleased to have made an accurate Forecast.
Indeed, we may consider applying for our License of Divination, with the Prospect of setting up Shop as the Oracle of Hamilton.
For, back in 2011,* we responded to the news that Vincent Li, who beheaded a Bus Passenger during a schizophrenic Episode was making "rapid progress" with his mental Illness:
We have the uneasy Feeling that Mr. Li is being regarded by the medical Profession as a somewhat challenging Problem of Engine Repair, which sees the Correction of faulty Brain Circuitry akin to the Replacement of an erring Microchip.
We fear that it is only natural that one charged with such a Project look forward to some halcyon Day which will produce the following News Item:
Vince Li now Cured.
Dr. Ima Success, of the Selkirk Mental Health Centre, announced today that Mr. Vince Li is now cured. "As long as he’s on his meds, Mr. Li is fine," said Dr. Success. "We look forward to the successful Completion of his upcoming Cross-Country Tour, courtesy of Greyhound Bus Lines."
The Tour has not yet been announced, but it would seem that Preparations are being made.
Those in charge of Mr. Li’s Treatment now wish him be moved to an
unlocked ward at Selkirk Mental Centre, and to be given unescorted
Passes to the City of Selkirk. (Sun News, February 24)
Now, we are sure that, when on Medication, Mr. Li is a charming Fellow. Those who see him on a daily Basis are undoubtedly unable to distinguish him from the average Citizen.
It has been stated by Dr. Steven Kremer at a Criminal Code Review Board:
Our overall goal is to eventually have Mr. Li re-integrate into the community.
However, the unfortunate Fact remains: Mr. Li has a dangerous Brain. It is not his Fault, but his Circuitry is deficient. There can be no Assurances that Mr. Li will not decide that he no longer requires his Medication, or that a Medication which was once sufficient may not become deficient. The Threat is underlying, and constant.
We see this entirely as a Matter of the blind Hubris of the Medical Profession. The Doctors, quite naturally, wish to claim Success in a difficult Case. But the Public should not be required to take the Risk associated with a Brain for now quiescent, but of a dangerous and unpredictable Potential.
February 25, 2014
As we have watched the Rise of Justin Trudeau, our Amusement has been challenged by Horror. Our mocking Perception of the Absurdity of his Rise is leavened by Trepidation concerning the Damage he might do should he actually become Prime Minister.
Frankly, we never thought he would become Leader of the Liberal Party. We think that Politicians, earnest, stable, and reliable Entities, should have had some serious Brushes with Reality. They should have overcome some Obstacles in the real World, showing some Expertise in Business, Law, or other Profession.
We thought that Mr. Trudeau, whose sole Accomplishment of Note seems to have been born with a famous Name, would hardly advance on Charisma alone. However, it seems that Charm linked with excellent Hair are formidable Elements of Appeal not to be ignored.
Perhaps it is instructive that President Obama’s Rhetoric of Hope and Change, combined with a Fluency of Expression seems to hide a Multitude of Incompetencies.
Mr. Trudeau’s latest Gaffe appears to be a Jest about the Situation in Ukraine. When asked on a Quebec Radio Broadcast whether Canada should do more to help Ukraine, Mr. Trudeau replied :
It’s very worrying especially because Russia lost in hockey,
they’ll be in a bad mood.
Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Canada has said that the Joke is inappropriate in View of the Fact People have died in the Streets in Kiev. He will ask Mr. Trudeau to apologize.
It has been observed that those in the Media have, with very few Exceptions, ingested Left-Wingism with their Mothers’ Milk, and received additional large Dollops in High School and University. They have a natural Tendency to ignore Mr. Trudeau’s Gaffes, and focus their Attention on his Charm and Hair.
One is like to encounter Criticism of Mr. Trudeau only from Sun News. In Return, Mr. Trudeau prefers not to speak to Sun News Reporters, and tends to make rapid, sparsely worded Exits when they come into his Field of Vision.
We were surprised, therefore, to see last Evening, on CTV News, a Mention of the Ukraine Gaffe. Further, it was the first Item of News. What was also astounding was that Reference was made to Mr. Trudeau’s previous Infelicities: his Admiration of the Dictatorship in China, and his Assessment that the "root cause" of the Boston Marathon Bombings was to be found in Feelings of Isolation and Rejection.
We know not what the World is coming to.
Perhaps it is significant that, after the Liberal Policy Convention of this past Weekend, Mr. Trudeau declined to hold a Press Conference, as is the Custom. Could this be because his Minders were fearful of what he might say in an unscripted Moment?
Should Mr. Trudeau become Prime Minister, can we be assured that he will be accompanied by Official Winnowers on any Appearances on the International Stage? Their Function, of course, would be to launder his Remarks before public Display on the International Communications Clothesline.
February 23, 2014
We note with Interest that the City of Vancouver, perceiving that it suffers from a Frostiness of Atmosphere is launching a Campaign termed "The Engaged City." (National Post, February 21)
It is suggested that Warmth and Conviviality be fostered by the use of "shared tables at restaurants where strangers could eat together." Envisioned also are "a city-wide block party day in summer, a potluck day in winter."
Vancouverites are encouraged to embrace a "Just Say Hello" Campaign, and to form "meaningful connections" with Neighbours.
We have long lamented the terrible Blight of Inequality in our Land, and this gives us further Cause for the Gnashing of our few remaining Teeth, and the Grimacing of our already wrinkled Visage. For why should there be such Aggregations of Stupidity as are here revealed? Why should the Pooh-Bahs of Vancouver be able to claim Possession of such a Multiplicity of moronic Ideas, while other Jurisdictions have been neglected, and betray a relative Skimpiness of Silliness?
These are Questions we have pondered before, but no Light of Revelation has ever been made known to us. It must, we suppose, simply be attributed to the powerful but enigmatic Force of natural Variability.
The practical Barrier to this Group-Huggishness is the most obvious. The Reason that one does not greet Strangers in a busy City is that there are too many of them. One’s Time would be almost entirely consumed in superficial and meaningless Expressions of Recognition.
Far more important is the Matter of Privacy, and the Right to proceed
uninterrupted in the Pursuit of One’s daily Tasks.
And, as Colin Ellard, a Psychologist at the University of Waterloo points out: "One person’s friendliness is another’s anxiety trigger...Introverts can feel pressured to engage in social interactions."
We are pleased that Mr. Ellard has recognized the special Needs of Introverts, a hugely neglected Portion of our Population. We hear too much about Accommodations for visible Minorities, Cultural Fragments, and those with diverse sexual Preferences. But when have we heard a single Voice raised on behalf of Introverts?
We ourselves have a Black Belt in Introversion. We think that Strangers should stay as far away as conveniently possible. We will not speak to them without a formal – preferably written – Introduction. We think they should observe the same Protocol.
Exceptions may be made in cases of Emergency; we might enquire as to the Health of an elderly Lady inconveniently run over by a Bus. But that’s about it.
Should the new Warmth and Conviviality Movement achieve any Degree of Success in Vancouver, we will cross it off our List of proposed Destinations.
Saying hello to Strangers and sharing Restaurant Tables indeed!
February 22, 2014
On February 14, we noted the following, concerning the Leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives:
However, it is our Impression that Mr. Hudak is to be noted primarily for his outrageous, over-the-top, egregious Blandness. After a hard Day in the Legislature, it is not beyond our Imagining that he would sit down to share a mulled Ale with the unelected Premier Wynne. The Chat would be without Acrimony. There would be no glowing Coals or simmering Rancours.
Indeed, if Mr. Hudak has a burning Passion, we suspect that it is not for Issues, but for getting elected by not stepping on any sensitive Toes.
We are pleased to report that Mr. Hudak has now refuted the Characteristic of Wishywashiness which seemed to part of the outstanding and forceful Blandness of his Character. We admit that we thought we detected in Mr. Hudak the terrible Disadvantage of a McGuintyish Spine.
It will be remembered that X-Rays were once taken of Mr. McGuinty and of the common Earthworm, and a Comparison revealed that the Earthworm had a Spine of superior Strength and Stiffness; the Spine of McGuinty appeared as but a Gossamer of vaguely hopeful Intentions.
We had some Apprehension that Mr. Hudak had acquired that same
Weakness of Will, that Absence of Backbone which led Mr. McGuinty into
his manifold and extraordinary Errors.
But, praise Murphy, that does not appear to be the Case.
Mr. Hudak has now acted with a Steeliness of Resolve and Strength of Character which leaves us gasping in open-mouthed Admiration.
He has stated forcefully that he has abandoned his Plan to ban compulsory Union Membership. This Policy was introduced in a White Paper some Eighteen Months ago. The Argument was, as we understand it, that there should be a right to work, without the Necessity of Union Membership.
This Decision gives us much Comfort, and re-establishes Mr. Hudak in our Mind as a Man of Principle, Consistency, and unflinching Resolve.
February 20, 2014
Today’s Topick: Eradicating impure Thoughts, including Thoughts which might be considered, either now or in the Future, as impure. Thoughts considered innocent in the Mind of the Thinker, but subject to Reinterpretation by others. And perhaps we should add – Thoughts arguably innocent which might, with a little Jostling, lead to impure Thoughts.
We suspect a Preoccupation with such Matters might be considered an Anxiety Disorder defined thus:
Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry; by repetitive behaviours aimed at reducing the associated anxiety; or by a combination of such obsessions and compulsions.
We have examined Canadian Society, and made our Diagnosis: It’s verging on a complete mental Breakdown because of an Obsession with impure Thoughts.
We refer, of course to the recent Case of "Microagression" at McGill University.
Brian Farnan, a Vice-President of the Students’ Society at McGill, sent a Message: "Honestly midterms get out of here." Harmless enough perhaps, but Mr. Farnan included a Link to a Video which had been altered to show President Barack Obama kicking at a Door on his Way out of a News Conference.
In his own Mind, Mr. Farnan’s Thought was innocent, but Someone Else recognized it as inherently impure, and made Complaint.
In an Anguish of Guilt, Mr. Farnan apologized:
The image in question was an extension of the cultural, historical
and living legacy surrounding people of colour — particularly young men
— being portrayed as violent in contemporary culture and media.
By using this particular image of President Obama, I unknowingly
perpetuated this living legacy and subsequently allowed a medium of
SSMU’s communication to become the site of microaggression; for this I
am deeply sorry.
Of course, what is deemed socially acceptable will vary according to Time and Place. But the Attempt to eradicate all Offensiveness, especially that associated with Humour, is doomed to Failure. Further, it has the potential to lead to a National Anxiety Disorder in which Fear pervades all Discourse, and all Thoughts remotely involving Criticism must be suppressed.
Consider some of the Symptoms of the Canadian Obsession with a World of Sweetness and Light.
Human Rights Commissions take the Position that no Citizen should feel offended, even in a Comedy Club. It is increasingly held that no Student should be given Grades which might reflect badly upon his Competence. It seems to be considered the Right of Engineers who fail qualifying Exams to be accommodated into the Practice of their aspired Profession.*
Indeed, the World is to be made so perfect a Place that nothing may be said or done which might, by Someone, somewhere, be considered offensive.
That way Madness lies. When every Thought must be tested for Impurity, for Potential for Slight, when Reservation must be piled upon Qualification, Stasis and mental Paralysis are the Result.
The only safe Topick is the Weather. But you’d better be careful. Black Clouds or darkening Skies are unambiguously offensive. The red Sky at Night may not be considered an aboriginal Delight. A sub-tropical Storm carries worrying Connotations. Are such disturbances inferior to tropical Storms? What Cultures are quintessentially sub-tropical?
Emily Dickinson’s 'Slant of Light' might pass -- as long as the Slant is observed only in the West.
*See Diary, February 15.
February 18, 2014
The ruling passion, be what it
Some Degree of Certainty is a necessary Prelude to all Action and Enterprise. One does not put one’s full Weight on a stepping Stone of questionable Solidity, but moves only gingerly, or perhaps encourages others to forge boldly ahead – as a Prudence to see whether their fall into the Abyss proves a fearful Hypothesis.
Thus, it is not surprising that People prefer to espouse a widely held Opinion, for its very Popularity is a Signal that others have gone before, and a Sanctuary of Certainty and Comfort seems assured. Popularity is the Engine of a Bandwagon running confidently down an agreeable Gradient. Few wish to get in its Path. It is far more comfortable to be on Board, drinking the Wine of mutual Regard, happy in the Triumph of the Moment, than to be outside, on the Fringe, pointing out the jagged Rocks of contrary Fact some Distance down the Road.
Thus it is that erroneous but popular Beliefs roll on to attain an old Age of Serenity and Reverence. The jagged Rocks seem capable of almost infinite Postponement.
We have been reminded of the Persistence of erroneous but popular Opinion by an Article in this Day’s National Post, which recounts the Story of John Yudkin who wrote a book called Pure, White and Deadly in 1972. The Book argues that Sugar is a great Threat to good Health.
The Work was much reviled in its Time, the Message not being much in Accord with the Tastes of Consumers or in the Interests of those making a Profit from the Sale of Sugar. Professor Yudkin was "uninvited" to various Conferences, and others which he organized were cancelled as a Result of Pressure from Sponsors. The British Nutrition Foundation never invited anyone from Professor Yudkin’s widely recognized Department to sit on its Committees. (National Post, February 18)
Of particular Interest is the Opposition from Ancel Keys. In the 1950's Mr. Keyes had conducted a study of some European Countries which showed a link between saturated Fat and Heart Disease. It was terribly convincing, but only because Mr. Keyes chose only those Countries which proved his pre-conceived Hypothesis. Had he chosen different Countries, he would have been unable to draw the Conclusions which he did. It was a classic Example of an Inversion of the Scientific Method suggested by Francis Bacon some Four Hundred Years ago. Mr. Keys started with the Hypothesis, and then gathered Evidence in Justification.
The Producers of Oils and Margarines were happy to lend their
unbiased Support. It is telling that the Heart and Stroke Foundation,
which most People probably believe is unbiased, is quite fond of sharing
a Bed – or a Bicycle Ride – with the Makers of Becel Margarine.
Professor Yudkin, in his Book, had the Temerity to suggest that there was no causal Link between saturated Fat and Heart Disease. Mr. Keys was not amused.
Readers may have noticed that, in the last few years, the Stance against saturated Fat has been gradually weakening. It has taken about Sixty Years, in a supposedly modern "scientific" Age, for a perceived Decline in a Popular but erroneous Idea.
One does not have far to look for similar Examples of wildly popular Ideas which maintain their Currency, despite Evidence of serious Debasement.
Chief among these is the Theory of anthropogenic Global Warming. Although there has been an increase in atmospheric Carbon, no global Warming has been registered for about Sixteen Years. This would appear to put a serious Dent in the Argument that increased Carbon Dioxide causes Warming. While it may have that Effect, there are obviously other Forces at play which seem to work in a contrary Direction. This makes Prediction a Matter of uninformed Speculation.
However, this past Weekend we observed Mr. Kerry* in full Attack Mode, warning of Climageddon, and mocking Skeptics as equivalent to Members of The Flat Earth Society.
Another of our Favourites is the Theory that Statin Drugs prevent Heart Disease. We have already written on this Matter. See Diary, January 15, 2014, and Diary, May 19, 2011.
The Discovery of Truth proceeds apace; Habits of Thinking, not so fast. Mr. Charles Mackay recognized it all back in 1841:
Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.**
*See Drivel, February 17
February 17, 2014
We have had a Period of Amusement in posting two Comments to a National Post Article on the Matter of Climate Change. We are not surprised to discover that our Opinions do not receive universal Approval. We have published our Comments and two Replies in the Drivel Section.
February 15, 2014
The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.*
We continue to marvel at the unequal Distribution of Stupidity. It often seems to aggregate in those whose Preoccupation with the Big Rock Candy Mountain blinds them to the simple Realities of Life in the Here and Now.
One of the most egregious Manifestation of that Preoccupation in Canada would seem to be in the Establishment of Human Rights Commissions. These Commissions, focussed entirely upon discovering Victims in need of Government Assistance, seem completely oblivious both to their inherent Unfairness and to the Damage to Justice wrought by their unbalanced Judgments.
They are inherently unfair, of course, because they provide legal Assistance to Complainants while requiring Defendants to pay for their own legal Counsel. There is no Penalty for false Claims, nor Compensation to the unjustly accused. Customary legal safeguards – such as against hearsay evidence – are ignored.
We had thought the most extraordinarily damning Example of the Danger of such Commissions was shown in the Marise Myrand Decision of 2010. Ms. Myrand, an obese Lady with Health Deficiencies, was awarded a Parking Spot belonging to another Owner at her Condominium Building. The Condominium Board was required to pay Ten Thousand Dollars for not taking the Spot from the other Owner and acceding to her Request.
But, last Evening, Mr. Levant brought to our Attention another Example probably more outrageous.
Ladislav Mihaly, an Engineer from Czechoslovakia made a Complaint Against the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA), claiming Discrimination.
Mr. Mihaly had refused to take three Technical Tests and failed the National Professional Practice Exam three Times.
The Judge, Moosa Jiwaji, awarded Mr. Mihaly Ten Thousand Dollars, and has required APEGA to twist itself into a Pretzel of Accommodation.
Among other Things, APEGA must review Mr. Mihaly’s Experience in Consultation with the Foreign Institutions which he has used as References, match him with a Mentor, and give him Assistance in raising his Standards and increasing his Fluency in English. (Mr. Mihaly has already been in Canada for 15 years.)
The Commission also expressed Sympathy with Mr. Mihaly’s Frustration and the Effect of his Circumstance on his Family.
This Decision seems airily unconcerned with two Matters. First, Mr. Mihaly failed an Examination three Times, and refused to take three others.
Second, it suggests that foreign Professionals are to be given preferred Access to professional Status in Canada. Professional Organizations should be wary of requiring that Immigrants pass professional Examinations, and should take extraordinary Steps to ensure their Success. This runs the Risk of Licensing the unqualified in Professions such as Engineering or Medicine where the Safety of the Public may be compromised.
Typical of Mr. Levant, he has made some Exploration into the Background of the Judge, Moosa Jiwaji. What emerges from Mr. Jiwaji’s frequent Twitterings is the Portrait of a Kenyan still obsessed with the Struggles in his Country of Origin, an angry Immigrant with some questionable Biases.
We were particularly struck with the comment:
A constitution means DICK.
It is unfortunate that Human Rights Commissions, such questionable Institutions, should become a Platform for the Expression of questionable and potentially dangerous Perceptions.
* (Albert Einstein, 1879 -- 1955)
February 14, 2014
We see that the awful Liberals were unsuccessful in the Bye-Elections held yesterday in Thornhill and Niagara. The Conservatives retained the Thornhill Seat, while the New Democratic Party won a more difficult Victory in Niagara.
The unelected Liberal Premier, Kathleen Wynne, declared "a hard night," while expressing Optimism for the Future.
It seems to be the general Opinion that the Residents of Ontario will soon be given an Opportunity to dismiss the misgoverning Liberals and send them into a deserved Oblivion.
Their Tenure has been plagued with costly Scandals, moral Bankruptcy, and fatuously spendthrift Green-Schemery.
In a reasonable Universe, no Liberal would be elected in the next Election.
Alas, the Universe is not renowned for its Rationality.
While in Theory, we would favour the Election of Mr. Hudak’s Conservatives, we confess that even with a great Pumping of our political Bellows, we have been unable to Fan the Flames of our Interest into the full Roar and Flame of Enthusiasm.
We have no Recollection of moral Outrage from Mr. Hudak over Mr. McGuinty’s Abandonment of the Law when the former Premier trembled and capitulated in the Face of Native Displeasure.
Nor have we been roused – by Mr. Hudak -- to Fury over the hapless
Lavishing of Taxpayer Funds on E-Health, Ornge, or the cancelled Gas
Nor has Mr. Hudak raised a mild Peep over some of our favourite Issues – the holding of Muslim Prayers in a public School – or the Persecution of Karen Dockrill for her Mom and Baby Depot in Whitby. Nor has he ever hinted that Natives might be required to respect the Legal System. We once e-mailed him to see if he had any Opinion about the oppressive Ontario Human Rights Commissions. We never received a Reply.
We admit that it might be too much to ask that a Conservative Leader of the modern Age have any Sympathy for some of our own dearly held Prejudices, many of which have been derived from the Theories of Attila the Hun.
However, it is our Impression that Mr. Hudak is to be noted primarily for his outrageous, over-the-top, egregious Blandness. After a hard Day in the Legislature, it is not beyond our Imagining that he would sit down to share a mulled Ale with the unelected Premier Wynne. The Chat would be without Acrimony. There would be no glowing Coals or simmering Rancours.
Indeed, if Mr. Hudak has a burning Passion, we suspect that it is not for Issues, but for getting elected by not stepping on any sensitive Toes.
The Alternative, of course is the NDP (Numb-Dumb Pocket-Pickers), of whom the less said, the better.
It will be interesting to see which will be considered the Least of three Evils.
February 12, 2014
The Dark Abyss, Human Sacrifice, and the Fields of Heavenly Light
We wrote yesterday of a Course offered at Huron College by Dr. Ingrid Mattson, a Convert to the Religion of Islam. Today, we decided to write about the Fudging of historical Temperature Records by Dr. Jim Hansen, Head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies from 1981 - 2013.
In a brief Moment of Omphaloskepsis, we were reminded of the oft-observed Similarity between Religion and Belief in anthropogenic Global Warming.
We have concluded – on the Basis of absolutely no Research whatever – that the human Mind has a special Affinity for three interrelated Concepts: the Dark Abyss, Human Sacrifice, and the Fields of Heavenly Light. We have an imperfect Idea of why this should be so. But it does seem to be true.
Consider, first, the Dark Abyss, the World of Danger.
At any moment, the poisonous Snake may uncoil, and sink its venomous Fangs into a hapless Victim. The Tiger may leap from its hidden Screen of Trees, and with Speed and powerful Jaws obtain a reluctant repast. At the Edge of the Cliff, Footing may be lost on a loose Pebble, the Earth may crumble unexpectedly, and the dark Abyss will become the Maw for the momentarily Careless, or even the prudent but unlucky.
In a World full of such Dangers, it is not hard to see why the Dark Abyss is a shadowy Resident in human Consciousness.
Where the Abyss lurks, it is not unreasonable to find the Existence –in the human Imagination --of the Heavenly Fields of Light. Life is at once too precious and too fragile to be conceived as it is. Surely, if there is a Dark Abyss, there must be Fields of Heavenly Light, where all Injustice is made right, and Struggle is replaced with Repose.
But nothing in Life is easy. The Heavenly Fields are not to be attained by Desire and wishful Thinking alone. The Road is long, steep, and twisting. Hardships must be undergone, Demons must be overcome. Human Sacrifice is necessary.
This we, think, is why the Religion of Islam has an Appeal. The very Sacrifices it requires are a Measure of its Credibility. Life should not be easy; the Heavenly Fields are not for Everybody.
Harsh Punishments and restricted Freedoms are simply the Price to be paid for Seventy-two Virgins. Or, as we have sometimes speculated – because of the Dangers inherent in the Translation of old Texts and bad Handwriting -- one seventy-two-year-old Virgin.
Now consider the earthly Religion of anthropogenic Global Warming.
There is the Dark Abyss: the Seas rise to obliterate Manhattan. Innocent
Islanders lose their Habitats, Crops burn in the Fields. People in their
Millions flee to the North and South Poles, the Shift in Weight tips the
Earth out of its Orbit, and it hurtles, untethered, towards the Sun.
But, of course, there are heavenly Fields. The Earth’s Climate, for the first Time in the History of the Planet, will cease to Change. Peaches will grow in Niagara, Wheat will be harvested in the Prairies, and the Polar Bear will rejoice on his Ice Floe. President Obama will be re-elected for his tenth Term. The United Nations will finally decide what we should eat and which Laws should govern in Member Countries. Peace will break out in the Middle East.
But, again, none of this is easy. There must be human Sacrifice. We must stop burning Fossil Fuels and return to the Caves. The industrial World must be dismantled in favour of a Collection of Feudal agrarian Economies. Nirvana will then have been achieved.
But -- back to our intended Topick. We said above that our Ruminations arose from our Intention to discuss the Fudging of Temperature Data.
It has been discovered that NASA has been changing historical Temperatures to suit the preferred Narrative of Global Warming. Older Temperatures have been cooled, and more recent Readings have been warmed.*
This has been done under the Watch of Jim Hansen, who has been as spectacularly wrong in his Predictions as he has been faithful to his religious Belief.
In 1984, he predicted a huge Loss of Ice in the Antarctic. Instead, the Amount has risen steadily.
In 1986, he predicted the highest Temperatures on Earth in the last One Hundred Thousand Years – by 2001.
In 1988, he predicted that the West Side Highway in Manhattan would be under Water between 2008 -2018.
In every Direction. Mr. Hansen sees the Abyss; it is no Surprise that he calls constantly for Human Sacrifice in order to achieve the Heavenly Fields of Light. Where he feels the Abyss is insufficiently delineated, it is only a Mercy to darken the Colours with an unscientific Carbon Brush.
We see this as simply Evidence of a powerful – but irrational – Force in the human Psyche.
*The Site Watts Up details some Examples; the Information is readily available on the Internet.
P.S. A Cynic might argue that Fear of the Abyss and Desire for the Fields of Heavenly Light are often simply useful Tools for ambitious Realists who manipulate the Gullible in order to gain Prominence and Power.
February 11, 2014
Tolerance extended to the intolerant looks very much like stupidity.*
We are intrigued to see that Huron College, an Affiliate of the University of Western Ontario, is offering a Course in the Proselytising Of Islam. It is entitled:
The Muslim Voice: Islamic Preaching, Public Speaking and Worship.
There is no Doubt that such a Course could be of inestimable Benefit to those wishing to spread the Word about a Religion which we personally find has much to recommend it.
The Notions that Religion should control the State, that Apostates should be put to Death, and that Adulterers should be stoned – all fill us with an ineffable Sense of Warmth and Coziness which we have been unable to attain in our Considerations of competitive Belief Systems -- such as those presented by Zoroastrianism and Scientology.
We have been especially enraptured by the Fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie for the Writing of a Novel, and the impassioned and tangentially deadly Response to satiric Cartoons created by some provocatively Impious Danes.
What we do find just slightly disturbing is that the Course is offered only to Muslims.
An Atheist, Moray Watson, attempted to enroll, was accepted, but
later was barred from the Course. The Description of the Course was
changed so that it was limited to "those engaged in public speaking on
behalf of Muslim Communities." (National Post, February 11.)
Since Mr. Watson, an Atheist, could hardly be considered a Member of a Muslim Community, he would not qualify.
Even so, we do not see why an Atheist or dedicated Scientologist might not have an academic Interest in the Techniques of Islamic Proselytizing. After all, such Expertise might well be transferrable to the Popularizing of all Manner of worthy Ideas.
We note that the Course is being given by a Convert, Dr. Ingrid Mattson, former President of the Islamic Society of North America. (ISNA).
ISNA has been listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Terrorist Funding Case, and has been associated with the Muslim Brotherhood (Middle East Forum, January 29, 2009)
We are disappointed that Dr. Mattson seems to wish to conduct her Course away from the Eyes of prying Atheists. Those without ulterior Motives are not known for carefully arranging their concealing Cloaks, or making Hidden Places for their Daggers.
February 8, 2014
We see that the Government, at last is paying some Attention to Groups which have Status as Charities, but which are engaged in excessive political Activity. (National Post, February 8)
Charities are able to receive Donations which allow the Donor to claim a tax Exemption. The Government foregoes the Tax which it would otherwise collect on such Gifts. In that Way, the Government – that is the general Taxpayer – gives a financial Blessing to the Charity. It helps direct Money which might otherwise go to a new Pair of Shoes, or a Kitchen Blender, to the Benevolent Institution.
If the Charity provides Food for the Homeless, or Crutches for the Disabled, then it would appear that God is in his Heaven, and all is Right with the World.
If, however, the Charity is largely engaged in political Activity, then the Tax Exemption simply helps to fund that Activity. If the "Charity" is expending Funds to place political Advertisements favouring the Anarchist Candidate in Moose Jaw, then the Taxpayer is, in Effect, subsidizing a particular Political Viewpoint with which he may not agree.
One of the best Examples of a phony Charity is the David Suzuki Foundation. The Foundation, apparently, employs a Contingent whose sole purpose is to lobby the Government. Dr. Suzuki himself has been seen in an Advertisement extolling the non-existent Virtues of the certifiably awful former Liberal Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty.
No one is arguing that Organizations devoted to political Advocacy should not exist. And they are most welcome to display Wisdom or hopelessly poor Judgement in their Choice of Causes.
However, it does not seem appropriate that the general Taxpayer be
required to fund their political Activities.
It is noted that Ethical Oil, a non-charitable Group which advocates for the Oilsands, has been behind the Move to audit questionable Charities.
What is of most Interest to us in this Story is the Response of Ross McMillan, president of Tides Canada, one of the targeted Organizations:
All Canadians should be deeply concerned if charities are being targeted by the CRA for political reasons.
This strikes us as a most wonderful Obfuscation. It is an Example of a Technique described correctly as "begging the question." The Term is used incorrectly about 99% of the Time to mean "Raising the Question." In fact, "Begging the Question" is a Fallacy described thus:
The fallacy of petitio principii, or "begging the question", is committed "when a proposition which requires proof is assumed without proof." (Wikipedia)
Mr. McMillan appeals to our Sense of Indignation: here is the manifest Injustice of a poor defenceless Charity being ruthlessly attacked by a politically motivated Opponent.
But it is precisely the Validity of Charitable Status which is the Issue. The Advocacy Group Ethical Oil is merely asking that the Bedclothes be pulled away to determine whether it is a Grandmother who speaks with a friendly and enticing Voice, or a predatory Wolf who should be required to reveal Tail, Teeth, and All to a too-gullible Public.
February 7, 2014
In this Day’s Post, George Jonas contrasts the Immigrants of old with some of the Immigrants of Today.
He notes that it was taken for granted, until the 1960's, that Immigration was desirable only in so far as it was of Benefit to the Host Country. The Immigrant would derive Benefit by eventually becoming a Member of the Society in his chosen Destination. The Immigrant would express Loyalty to the Values of the Society of which he became a Part.
In more recent Years, some Immigrants have seemed to desire to share the Wealth of their adopted Society, but, paradoxically, not the Values from which the Prosperity was, arguably, derived.
The Response in Canada has been one of Accommodation. Mr. Jonas notes that Turbans have been accepted in lieu of Hard Hats, and the Oath of Loyalty to the Queen made by the Toronto Police Board Commissioner was amended to accommodate an Asian Police Commissioner.
In particular, Mr. Jonas notes the Difficulty of fundamentalist Islamic Culture, which considers Loyalty to Faith as more important than Loyalty to Country.
He concludes that, if Canada abandons its own Culture and considers itself a "clean slate for anyone to write on what he will, immigrants of the new school will be ready with their own texts, including some that are not very pleasant."
We are pleased to see this Expression of our own Views.
We have been appalled to see Turbans worn by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Willingness to see Police Officers in Toronto wear the Hijab. Muslim Prayers are held in secular Schools, and the Supreme Court has refused to uphold the legal Tradition that those who testify in Court should do so without Masks.
It is our Contention that, as so often happens, well-meaning Citizens are bamboozled by high-sounding but impractical Ideals.
Multiculturalism rests upon the idealistic but faulty Notion that all Cultures are equally worthy of Respect. It is assumed that Tolerance is an unimpeachable Good: the more of it, the better. No one stops to think that Society could not function without a great Deal of beneficial Intolerance.
Toleration of Fraud, Theft, and Assault is not helpful to the common Good.
Much of the Approval of Multiculturalism is an Exercise in Self-Congratulation: my Tolerance is greater than thine; my Goodness is an ineffable Beacon of Light which illuminates the dark Places of the World which you, regrettably inhabit.
It is Time that Canadians had more Confidence in their own Traditions, and stood up against those who wish to destroy them.
In particular, those who claim Religion as an unanswerable Trump Card, should be made to realize that our Society is essentially secular, and that the Comforts and Freedoms we enjoy derive in great Measure from a Rejection of religious Thinking in Favour of Scientific Enquiry and a Concern with Facts. Facts should trump Fantasy. Evidence is more important than Superstition.
We note that Britain, France and Germany have all come to the Conclusion that Multiculturalism is a flawed Ideal. Canada would profit from the same Realization.
Observation #234. Tolerance extended to intolerance looks very much like stupidity.
Observation #101. Tolerance is like alcohol: in moderate amounts, it softens hard edges, and lubricates the machinery of social interaction; in excess, it leads to foolishness, incoherence, the annihilation of principle, and the destruction of the essential self.
February 6, 2014
Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque revenit.
(You can drive nature out with a pitchfork, yet she’ll constantly be running back.*)
We are intrigued to learn that a United Nations human rights Committee has criticized the Roman Catholic Church for its Attitudes towards Homosexuality, Contraception and Abortion, and has urged it to make Sex Education mandatory. (National Post February 6)
The Criticism has come as part of a Report on the Matter of Abuse of Children by Priests.
The Church has responded by claiming that the Issues criticized are Matters of Culture, while Abuse is a separate Problem of Sin and Criminality.
We are the last to have any Fondness for the United Nations, which we see as a meddling Busybody attempting to rule the World without the Formality of being elected by those it wishes to control.
On the other hand, even a stopped Clock tells the correct Time twice a Day; Fools may occasionally stub their Toes, and exclaim in Truth.
The Church, as we see it, is heavily invested in an unrealistic View of the World. It pretends to the old Notion that Man is in a Chain of Being – a Creature between Beast and Angel; the angelic Element is All; the animal Element must be denied or strictly confined.
We do not know the current Church Position on Evolution, which shows that Man is an Element in a quite different Chain of Being, a Development from simpler Forms of Life. Nor do we know how it responds to the Fact that all Creatures are built from the same genetic Building Blocks -- that human Beings are 80% Mouse and 96% Chimpanzee. But we suspect that these are uncomfortable Peas under a comfy Mattress of ignorant Repose.
In the Clash between Ideal and Real, the Ideal is not destined for lasting Victory. The Church has presumed that the chaotic Element of Sexuality can be denied or controlled, fitted neatly in a Box of crystal Purity.
Thus, Priests are asexual, Homosexuality is unnatural, Marriage is sacred, and Divorce is abhorrent. Contraception, which allows for sexual Enjoyment without Prospect of Offspring, is banned.
In short, the Catholic Church shows every Determination to ignore the Realities of human Sexuality.
Reality, alas, has a certain persistent, whack-a-mole Quality. It
is not surprising that the Church has encountered Difficulties in the
Matter of sexual Abuse among the Clergy. Faulty Cultures may indeed lead
to abhorrent Crimes.
*Horace (65-8 BC), Epistles I.X.24
February 5, 2014
Certainty and Simplicity
We said yesterday that Humankind prefers Certainty and Simplicity. The two Words go well together in Concept, for Certainty requires a Rejection of Alternates, a paring down of Nuance; it can only walk confidently abroad with Simplicity as its stable Ground.
And if Simplicity is muddled with Suggestion, or hedged with Conditions, Certainty puts on a mournful Face, and slips into the Abyss.
In Today’s News we see two Examples of Certainty wedded to Simplicity.
In the first Instance Chiheb Esseghaier, on Trial for plotting to attack a Passenger Train bound for Toronto, thinks it relevant to blame Canada’s Attempt to "bring secularism to Afghanistan through military force." (National Post, February 5) He also rejects the Criminal Code under which he is being tried, because it is human Law, as opposed to God’s Law.
When someone suggested to Mr. Esseghaier that there were different Interpretations of God’s Will, Mr. Esseghaier replied that "there was only one God and He had given his last revelations to the Muslim prophet Muhammad."
If you deny his last revelation that means there is a problem.
It must be wonderful to inhabit a World of such Certainty.
But it is not the only such world.
Yesterday, there was a Debate between Bill Nye, former Host of The Science Guy, and Ken Ham, a Creationist, at the Kentucky Museum of Creation. The Debate concerned Evolution. Mr. Ham had to go no farther than the Bible for his Conclusions that the Earth was created in six Days, six Thousand Years ago. Using the same Source he was able to express Belief in Noah’s Ark and refute the Notion that it is possible to date the Ages of Rocks.
Mr. Ham’s World is also one of Certainty and Simplicity: the Answers are all to be found in one Book, cobbled* together in 382 A.D.
We confess that we are not exempt from the general Desire for simple Certainties, and there is one to which we cling with considerable Ferocity.
In our World, we are certain that those who Claim Certainty based on what Someone once said about what they thought that God said, are letting their Desire for Certainty overwhelm their Capacity to think rationally.
It’s as simple as that.
*Contrary to popular Opinion, the Bible was not dictated by an Angel arising out of a Volcano; nor was it transcribed by ethereal Spirits using sacred Feathers and holy Ink.
February 4, 2014
Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.*
Mr. Mackay’s Statement is as true Today as it was when he published it in 1841.
Indeed, we suspect that it is an eternal Verity, and will be just as true One Hundred or Two Hundred Years hence. Man’s Propensity to think in Herds may well be an adaptive Result. The Tribe is more powerful than the Individual alone, but for the Tribe to function effectively, there must be a Congruence of Opinion. There must be few Leaders, and many Followers who bleat their Assent to the Opinion of the Moment.
We are pleased to see, in this Day’s National Post, an Article by Rob Breakenridge entitled: We need a better David Suzuki.
Mr. Breakenridge states that we need "great scientific minds who can serve as ambassadors and popularizers of science," but notes that the Emperor Suzuki, parading and revered by the enthusiastically woolly-headed, has been shown to be unpleasantly naked.
He refers to Dr. Suzuki’s ill-considered Suggestion that a future Earthquake might mean ‘bye-bye Japan’ and require an Evacuation of the West Coast of North America. He also notes Suzuki’s Opposition to genetically modified Foods is not supported by scientific Research.
We would add, of course, that Dr. Suzuki’s Views on Climate Change
seem more driven by financial Opportunism than a Concern for Truth.
Indeed, Dr. Suzuki is an Entertainer who loves to prance and declaim, pocketing the Proceeds from his Performances, using ‘Science’ only as a Prop, a Facade with which to impress the Crowds.
Mr. Breakenbridge concludes: "It’s time to find a new David Suzuki."
We are not sure that this Desire is appropriate. We suspect that "Popular Science" may share oxymoronic Status with "Military Intelligence," and "Government Enterprise." Science tends to be careful and tentative, always subject to Revision in the Light of contrary Evidence. But Men prefer Certainty and Simplicity, and the Comfort of being in the Cocoon of Popular Sentiment.
Any new David Suzukis should come with a warning Label: Entertainment only; Viewer Discretion is strongly advised.
*Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
February 2, 2014
We are pleased to have discovered, quite by Chance, a Program on I Channel called Closer to Truth. It consists of Conversations between Robert Lawrence Kuhn and a variety of knowledgeable People on the Topicks: Cosmos, Consciousness, and God.
We confess that we have a Predilection for pondering on those Matters most resistant to being pondered upon.
Last Evening, we saw an Episode which dealt with the Question: What is God like?
We were astounded to find all of our Biases confirmed. Highly intelligent Professors trotted out all the Notions that have never made any Sense to us: that God is personal, omnipotent, omniscient, and an all round jolly good Fellow. A Variety of Scenarios was suggested with respect to the Attainment of an Afterlife, all of which, to us, had the Scent of human Minds working beyond their Capacity, desperate to make Sense out of the incomprehensible.
The most comprehendable God was that described by a Rabbi – a Deity much like his Creations -- full of Changes and Fallibilities – a God who can be challenged for his Sins.
The world abounds with miraculous Circumstance. That anything should exist at all is not comprehensible to the human Mind, which is wedded to the Notion of Cause and Effect: If something Exists, how could it always have existed? Where did it come from? God is no Answer, for the Question remains – where did he come from?
Then again, if at first there was Nothing, how could Something arise from it? And yet, Things do exist, and their Being is paraded before us every Day – a Refutation of all our Attempts at Logic.
Another Miracle is the Emergence of Life from inanimate Matter, which suggests an Element in the Universe which strives for Consciousness.
Consciousness itself is a Mystery. Where is it to be found in the human Brain, or can it be found at all? What is it that separates artificial from conscious Intelligence?
Our powerful Sense of Free Will is another Enigma. There seem to be only two Explanations for our Decisions. First, they are determined by an inexorable Chain of Cause and Effect. Each Decision is a Result of an Interaction between the external Circumstance and the Mind Set – the Accumulation of all Experience registering in the Brain at a particular Instant. In that Case, Free Will is an Illusion only; Decisions are inevitably determined.
To the Rescue comes Quantum Mechanics – in which an element of Randomness is introduced. But if Decisions are based on random Elements, Free Will becomes a Will o’ the Wisp – and a Mockery is made of all human Behaviour.
The Problem becomes: how does one retain the Notion of Causality while escaping the Implications of Determinacy?
The great Error, as we see it, is to be overcome by Miracles, to be gob-smacked by Mysteries.
In the Face of the Inexplicable, some throw up their Hands in Despair, and create other Miracles, devise further Mysteries to make a Narrative which appeals to our Sense of Justice, and provides a theoretical Escape from the Exigencies of Struggle.
We have no Objection to such Creativity in itself. Some of the Ideas of the learned Professors are interesting.
The great and enormous Danger is to believe so strongly in our Hypotheses that we think we have discovered the Truth in God ‘A,’ or God ‘B.’ And the final Folly is to believe that all others should be of our Opinion, to the Extreme so often shown by Followers of Islam.
Our Observation #174 reads thus:
P.S. The Documentaries are available by googling closertotruth.com.
February 1, 2014
Without Dreams, we would remain in a Stasis of Content. However, Dreams, like Kites flown without the String of Caution, are subject to dangerous Flights into the Unknown, and Dances with Downdrafts which send them to disagreeably sudden Encounters with Earth.
We admit to a possibly morbid Fascination with the Clashes between Dreams and Reality.
The latest Example is brought to our Attention By Matthew Fisher in The National Post. (January 30)
Mr. Fisher notes that Europeans, who are fond of lecturing Canada about the Horror of Oilsands, and of complaining of the Evil of Fracking, have decided to give up on their Plans for "Mandatory Targets" for modest Amounts of Renewable Energy.
Apparently the Costs are too great for Economies that are less than robust.
They have discovered, for Example, that Winds blow unpredictably, and Windmills require auxiliary gas-fired Plants to provide a Continuity of Power.
Mr. Fisher notes that Europeans still aim to rely on renewable Sources for 27% of their Power by 2030, and refuse to admit the obvious Short-comings of their Green Dreams.
We should note that the pathetic Entity which is the Liberal Mis-Government of Ontario, clings to the same Notions that Taxpayers be forced to encourage the Development of doubtful Sources of Energy, while at the same Time paying the higher Costs of Electricity which Result.
Indeed, Dreams implemented by Government are the most dangerous, for, in spending the Money of Taxpayers, there is no Sense of the Caution or Responsibility which might accompany a personal Outlay. And Government Dreams are usually elevated on every Scale but that of Modesty.
It is the unfortunate Truth that the larger the Dream, the greater the Explosion and Depression when it has a sudden Encounter with Earth.
He who invents a Device which can reliably determine the Viability of Dreams deserves all Accolades and much Treasure.
The Original Equipment Unit, Common Sense, seems
under-utilized and of little Efficacy.
A number of Statements above have been recorded, in slightly different Form, in our Observations Section. (# 287-90)
January 30, 2014
We see that the White House has received a Petition calling for the Expulsion of Justin Bieber from the United States, and the Cancellation of his Green Card.
The Petition contains more than 100,000 Signatures, which is of a Size which requires an official Reply.
Mr. Bieber seems prone to getting arrested for childish Behaviour. Most Children, not unnaturally, believe, initially, that they are the Centre of the Universe, and over the Period of their formative Years, discover that they are not.
In Mr. Bieber’s Case, that salutary Conditioning has been reversed, and unusual Amounts of Fame and Fortune have led him back to his original Misconceptions.
Such a Reversal is, perhaps, not inevitable, but it requires some
powerful Sense of Perspective to see through the Allures and Delusions
of Grandeur. This Perspective, Mr. Bieber evidently lacks.
In the Giddiness of his Flight, aspiring Icarus flew too close to the Sun; the Wax which secured the Feathers of his Wings melted, and he fell headlong into the Sea.
The Story has been known, with Variations, to have been repeated.
Everything seems to depend on the Distance from the Sun, and the Quality of the Wax which holds everything together.
A Bieber-Believer has been noted on Limerick Lane.
Observation # 253: Early Gods are likely to have power before they have wisdom, and fame before they have perspective.
January 29, 2014
The Term Government Enterprise must surely qualify as one of the most amusing Oxymorons -- not far behind Military Intelligence on the Scale of Risibility.
We see in this Day’s National Post the sad News that an Attempt to grow Lettuce on the Rooftop of a Garage in Vancouver has failed. This Fact would be of little Interest were this an Enterprise undertaken by Ebenezer Watkins on the Roof of the Double Garage behind his House -- that same Garage which provides Shelter for his two Bicycles and accredited Mensa Vehicle.
But, as might be suspected by the modern urban Sophisticate, this was an Enterprise undertaken with the Encouragement and financial Blessing of the City of Vancouver on a large underground Parking Facility. As Brian Hutchinson’s Article points out, the City of Vancouver is led by Gregor Robertson, "perennial contender for the World’s Greenest Mayor."
It is a Measure of the current Fashion of Thought, that the term "Green" refers to an admirable Spirit of Environmental Concern, rather than meaning "naively foolish," or "wet behind the ears."
The City of Vancouver, in this Instance, has not suffered egregious financial Loss. It is owed a mere $13,104 in unpaid Rent.
Mr. Hutchinson points out that Losses on a Bike Lane Experiment in the same City amounted to $3.2 Million, with $2.4 million estimated as the Cost to local Businesses because of Removal of parking Spaces.
Hmmm. Where have we heard this Story before?
In the 1970's, the Bricklin Automobile seemed like a solid building block to Wealth to the Government in New Brunswick. The Car turned out to have Feet of Clay, and the Company failed, owing the Government $23 million.
In the 1980's, it was decided that Cucumbers could be profitably grown in a Greenhouse in Newfoundland. The Government was enthusiastic; the Cucumbers, lacking Sunlight, were insufficiently co-operative, and the Taxpayers lost $22 million.
Here, in our beloved Ontario, the Government has decided that Windmills are the Wave of the Future, and has encouraged the Construction of giant Structures exempt from municipal Objection or any Assessment of Hazard.
The Windmills, are hugely inefficient; the Power, fitfully produced, cannot be stored, and must often be sold at a Loss. Nearby Residents complain of adverse Effects on their Health and Well-Being, as well as a Diminution of Property Values.
Playing with other People’s Money presents an Attraction which is almost irresistible to Legislators, particularly when the perceived Benefit is seen to be measured in Accolades for Prescience and Courage, and in the Expansion of Government Power.
We think our Observation #84 is relevant:
In the fashioning of any government enterprise, efficacy is but a footnote to empire.
We would note, too, that it is in the Nature of Governments to believe that Central Planning is always superior to organic Change -- that the calculated Wisdom of the Few must trump the Effects of self-interested Decisions of the Many.
Thus our Observation #73.
Evolution trumps revolution. Great changes are achieved incrementally, each step building naturally on the last. It is the folly of government to believe in the efficacy of great leaps -- and its hubris the attempt to implement them.
January 28, 2014
Too much of a good thing is always a bad thing*
We see in this Day’s Post that Ontario is about to raise the minimum Wage. This is something to be expected from Governments, especially socialist Governments, because it provides the stirring Impetus for a wonderful Wave of Warm Feelings and a blessed Tide of Self-Congratulation to wash over the Parliamentarians responsible. These Waves and Tides are guaranteed to soothe any nagging Doubts of Inadequacy, and reinforce an innate Sense of kindly Benevolence.
As Andrew Coyne points out in a Commentary in the same Edition, such Increases are effective in the World of Government Magicnomics, less so in the real One:
The problem is that simply fixing wages in law doesn't necessarily
force businesses to pay
Mr. Coyne notes that such Measures are an Attempt to do social Justice "on the cheap" – trying to put the Cost of Redistribution of Wealth onto a small Group, while aware that those theoretically burdened have the Means to lighten the Load.
Mr. Coyne also correctly notes that the Number earning the minimum Wage is small; often they are Students or others who work on a part-time Basis.
Mr. Coyne’s alternative "Modest Proposal" is to give the Poor more money, and let Wages perform their Function in the Market Place.
This might, he suggests, involve a "universal income guarantee" – but might simply be like other existing Benefits – like the Guaranteed Income Supplement for Seniors. Our Objective should be a minimum Income, rather than a minimum Wage.
There is of course, a kind of minimum Income already; it is called
However, we confess that we would like to see a minimum reasonable Income for all Citizens. It would be a wonderful Social Experiment which would test our own gloomy Perception of Mankind.
For while the Hope would be that those who chose not to work as a Result would occupy themselves in thinking great Thoughts, writing Plays, busking in the Subway, and knitting colourful Scarves, we have considerable Apprehension that this Nirvana would not be achieved.
We are fearful that People, without the Drive of Necessity and the Spur of social Competition would become irritable, listless, out of sorts, and miserable.
The theoretical Basis for our Suspicion is that we are Animals incapable of rejecting, on an idealistic Whim, those Conditions of Necessity which have driven us to Success.
Our Example drawn from real Life would be large Numbers of aboriginal Tribes, who are paid to do absolutely Nothing, and respond accordingly.
But let us bring on Nirvana, and see what happens. But none should be surprised if the glister is Fool’s Gold -- and tests out as an Obduracy of Lead.
*Observation # 286: All dreams must defer to an underlying paradoxical principle: too much of a good thing is always a bad thing.
January 25, 2014
We think any significant Optimism about the human Condition is best kept in Check, since there are large Parts of the World still in Thrall to most primitive Superstitions.
Our customary Gloom has been reinforced by the News in Yesterday’s National Post that a Man called Mohammed Asghar, 70, has been sentenced to Death in Pakistan for claiming – in Letters produced during his Trial – that he is the Prophet Muhammad.
Mr. Asghar had been treated in Edinburgh for paranoid Schizophrenia prior to his Return to Pakistan in 2010. His arrest arose from a Dispute with a Tenant who brought the Charge of Blasphemy against him.
In the Enlightenment that is Pakistan, Laws against Blasphemy provide for Life in Prison or Death. They provide, of course, a convenient Lever for dealing with one’s Enemies, as appears to be true in Mr. Asghar’s Case. Politicians who have attempted to reform the Laws have been killed.
One of the Politicians, Salmaan Taseer, Governor of the Province of Punjab, was murdered by his Bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri. Mr. Qadri claimed he "killed an apostate who insulted the prophet" and was considered a Hero by many. (BBC South Asia News, October 1, 2011)
It is tempting to recoil in perfunctory Horror, wrap ourselves in a comforting Shawl of smug intellectual Superiority, and think that this has Nothing to do with Us.
While we doubt that we will regress to the level of Pakistan, the Forces of Folly and sinister Superstition are alive and well in supposedly advanced Societies.
We recall President Obama’s declaring, after the attack on the
Benghazi Consulate, that the Cause was an anti-Muslim Film; he stated
that "the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of
It would appear that Freedom of Speech must bow to religious Sensibilities.
Here in Canada, a similar Hierarchy of Values would seem to obtain. Turbans are worn by Officers in the RCMP; Muslim Prayers are held in public Schools; the Supreme Court refuses to uphold the Notion that those who testify in Court should do so with their Faces visible.
And, virtually all the pusillanimous Popinjays of Punditry in Canada have postured in Paroxysms of Outrage and Pious Superiority over the Suggestion that religious Symbols should not be worn by Government Employees during working Hours.*
We continue to be amazed that Societies which have made so much Progress by disdaining Superstition, and attempting to discover how the World actually works, would hold Religion in such high Esteem.
It is said that every Civilization bears within it the Seeds of its own Destruction.
But perhaps these Elements are merely Evidence of a temporary Phase, a Death Wish that will dissolve in the persistent Light of Science and Reason.
In the Meantime, we see Pakistan as a cautionary Symbol.
* See Observation #258
January 23, 2014
It has long been our Contention that our fair Land would advance greatly in Wisdom were there a Diminution in the Number of naked Emperors frolicking about, fetchingly fitted in their fabulous but fantastical Finery, divinely dressed in their dazzling but diaphanous Duds.
For we have noted that such Paradings seem to have hypnotic Power, a strange Seduction of ordinary Sense, such that Crowds are driven from Hums of muted Admiration to virtual Hymns of mindless Accolades.
Our Land seems particularly susceptible to seeing Finery where Nakedness puts on its Pretense; the Population of small Boys unschooled in Complicity, innocent of the Alchemy which sees Gold sparkle where only leaden Dullness reigns, seems distressingly small.
We are pleased that the Defrocking of one such Emperor has already begun. Dr. David Suzuki has recently been shown on Australian Television, revealing that he is unaware of the Cessation of Global Warming, and is ignorant of the Sources of global Temperature Measurements. He has claimed an Increase in Hurricanes and Cyclones, contrary to the Facts.
Most recently, he himself has regretted Remarks made about the Fukushima Earthquake: that if a second Earthquake should arise, it would mean "bye bye Japan;" that an Evacuation of the West Coast of North America would be required. (Huffington Post, January 20)
It has taken, of course, Years for Dr. Suzuki’s Nakedness, his Proclamations of Emptiness to be exposed.
We should, perhaps, take some small Solace from the more rapid Disrobing of Neil Young, who has recently concluded a Tour to raise Funds to oppose the Oilsands.
It has been shown that Mr. Young has a tenuous intellectual Grip of the Subject of his Tour. In his Flights of foolish Fantasy, Fort McMurray looks like Hiroshima after the nuclear Blast, and Canada ships Oil to China.*
Mr. Young’s Hypocrisy with Respect to climate Change is shown by the Fact that his five Tour Busses idled outside during his Concerts. He feels that he gains Absolution for his own Transgressions – and License to continue – because he is on the Side of the Angels and deplores in others what he himself practises without Stint. (Sun News, January 20)
The Indian Chief at his Side, Adam Allan, whose Nation derives Revenues from the Oilsands, was paid $55,000 by the Tides Foundation, an American Group which devotes considerable Funds to meddle in Canadian Affairs.*
The Director of Communications for the Chief, Eriel Deranger, who sees nothing wrong in the Band's being paid by foreign Entities with political Agendas, has previously worked for Tides-funded Organizations.*
The Honor** the Treaties Tour itself was funded by Organizations which receive Monies from the Tides Foundation.
Thus Mr. Young, Indian-jacketed Canadian Oilsands Alarmist, is exposed as no more than a Shill for an American "environmental" Organization.
In both these Exposures, Mr. Ezra Levant of the Sun News Network has played a Key Role.
We have long thought that there should be a Journalism Emperor’s Clothes Award to encourage Investigations which look beyond the Pretense of Finery to reveal the awkward Truths beneath.
**Note the American spelling.
|January 21, 2014
We have long held that our Universal Health Care System, since it does not allow for any legal Alternative, is oppressive, and coercive, and represents the kind of Tyranny inappropriate in any Jurisdiction which claims to give its Citizens the most elementary of Freedoms.
It is the classic Case of giving up Liberty for a Measure of Security. This, in itself, would be acceptable, if that Exchange were voluntary. However, it is not: the Exchange is forced upon all Citizens whether they wish it or not.
As with any System run by Government, it suffers from all the predictable Flaws of Central Planning. The System, with its scarce Resources comes first; the Patient, in his needy Numbers, comes second.
As a Result, the Patient is constantly scrambling for Advantage. Those on Sports Teams, those in the System, or those who know Useful People will, quite understandably, seek their own Interests first.
Those without any special Levers to tilt the System, must wait.
Thus the Protestations of Equality and the Proclamations of Efficiency are shown to be false and chimerical, a cruel Joke on the vast Majority who have no special Influence.
|A Symptom of this Malady is shown in this Day’s National Post,
which recounts the story of retired Nurse, Marlene Driscoll, who lives
Ms. Driscoll recently travelled to the Turks and Caicos Islands to obtain Surgery on her Knee, provided by her Calgary Surgeon. The Cost was Forty Thousand Dollars.
The Surgeon has explained the Difficulty in Calgary: "too many surgeons, too few operating rooms."
In the same Article, we learn that another Calgary Surgeon is leaving the System altogether, in order to offer Surgery for a Fee in Calgary. We hope that he is only the First of many. *
Ms. Driscoll, herself, has a most peculiar Comment:
I believe we have the greatest system going. The problem is you can’t get access. It’s very difficult to get access.
This seems like boasting of the sleek and efficient Automobile in
your driveway – noting its singular minor Deficiency – the Engine is
controlled remotely by a Neighbour, who is noted for his irrational
Whims of Grumpiness, and occasional Fits of Malice.
*Of course the Ability to purchase Private Insurance -- currently forbidden -- would seem to be a prime Requirement for the proper Success of such Enterprise.
|January 20, 2014
We see that Mr. Neil Young has not been restrained by Commentary which exposes his Ignorance and his Flights into Hyperbole. Mr. Young has recently claimed that Canada sells oil to China, and that Fort McMurray resembles Hiroshima.
We supposed he should be given Marks for Determination, although they can hardly be expected to make up for the Accumulations of Zeroes awarded for Speaking without Thinking.
According to Mr. Young, the Flooding in Calgary this Summer is Proof of Climate Change. (Sun News, January 20) Of course, the Climate is always changing, but we assume Mr. Young means that Man-Made Climate Change – usually called Global Warming – is the Cause of the Disaster.
The great Difficulty with this Theory is that there has been no Global Warming for the past Sixteen Years.
Apparently the Canadian Association of Oil Producers offered to meet with Mr. Young and Chief Adam Allan* in Discussion before a Concert in Calgary, providing only that the Moderator be neutral. Not surprisingly, the Activists refused, preferring not to be exposed to contrary Arguments. The completely unbiased Moderator was acknowledged environmentalist Saint, David Suzuki.
During the Session, Mr. Young admitted to flying private Jets. It is not unusual for environmental Hypocrites to march forward with Sasquatchian Carbon Footprints, while at the same Time exhorting lesser Beings to burn their Furniture and return to the Caves in order to save the Planet.
|Mr. Young’s Conscience, however, is clear. He is reported as
By spreading the word and doing what I'm doing now I may possibly be able to reverse the damage by the change I can make in other people.
This seems a most felicitous Solution indeed!
We wonder in what other areas this Stratagem might apply. Doubtless a Robber of Banks could ease his Conscience by going on Tour to inveigh against Theft, and a Cooker of Books achieve Salvation by Preaching against Fraud. By this Means, one’s own Theft and Fraud could be continued with Conscience in Perpetuity, providing only that it be counterbalanced by a Diminution of those Activities in others.
Mr. Young does not cease to amaze us with his Capacity for making Stupid Remarks.
He has been observed on Limerick Lane.
* Chief of the Chipewyan First Nation and Recipient of $55,000 from the American Tides Foundation under suspicious Circumstances.
|January 18, 2014
Towards the End of the Novel, 1984, Winston Smith is tortured at the Ministry of Love. It is there that he learns that when O’Brien, the Government Torturer, holds up four fingers:
Sometimes they are five, sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once.
Such is the wonderful Power and Beneficence of Government that Torture may be equated with Love, and Four Fingers may be classified as five, three, or any Number at all, depending only on the Whim of Big Brother.
Thirty Years after that imagined 1984, the Ontario Government shows how well it has learned the Skills of big Brotherhood.
For it has now initiated an Administrative Internship Pilot Program. This Program is to "open up promotion possibilities for its employees." (Sun News, January 17)
|However, the Program is open only to those who "self-identify as
a black female."
We are reminded of the Government’s Refusal to enforce the Law in Caledonia against Native Protestors, while continuing to apply it in any Matters involving non-native Residents.
And again, the Refusal of the Government to close a Restaurant in Violation of Health and Safety Regulations because it is a Native Restaurant.
The Ontario Human Rights Code is not enamoured of Discrimination based on Race, but its Pronouncements are little more than Four Fingers raised.
Depending on the Mood of the Government, the Four Fingers may be Three, Five, or simply None at all.
|January 17, 2014
Following the Money
It may well be that there are many Protestations of Belief founded on the Bedrock of purest Principle, and many Advocations made on the Basis of an unimpeachable Devotion to the greater Good of Mankind.
On the other hand, it never hurts to ask the Question "Cui Bono?" * – to follow the Money.
For, in doing so, it often transpires that a greater Understanding of Men and their Motives is obtained.
Mr. Ezra Levant, on The Source last Evening showed that Mr. Neil Young’s recent Appearance with Chief Adam Allan of the Chipewyan First Nation was not entirely as it seemed. (See Diary, January 13)
Chief Allan’s Tribe benefits from Employment in Oil Sands, and from millions of Dollars in Revenue earned by Band Companies involved in the Business of Oil. It would seem unlikely, therefore, that he would endorse Mr. Young’s nuclear Vilifications and apocalyptic moonscape Visions of that very Enterprise which provides his Band with so much Benefit.
But there he was, sharing a Stage with Mr. Young, and those Stalwarts of Climageddon, David Suzuki and Andrew Weaver.
Mr. Levant has uncovered the Fact that the Tides Foundation, an Organization based in San Francisco and devoted to "environmental initiatives" – not the least of which is to stop Development of the Oil Sands -- paid $55,000 to a numbered Alberta Company.
|The numbered Alberta Company just happens to be – when the number
is peeled away – the Chipewyan Band, whose Chief is Adam Allan.
Mr. Allan seems to have hit upon a wonderful Stratagem: profit from the Business of the Oil Sands and accrue Revenue from opposing the very same Enterprise.
The Matter leads one to question Mr. Young’s Role. Was he also paid by a foreign Organization to compare Fort McMurray to Hiroshima and to revive discredited Claims of Cancer Deaths?
We will probably never know. But such a Revelation would not surprise us.
The Tides Foundation has a Canadian Arm which has tax-exempt charitable Status. Yet it funds Groups which engage in political Advocacy. It is a Disgrace that Foreign Organizations are permitted to pursue their political Agendas in Guise of Charity. In effect, they are being subsidized by Canadian Taxpayers.
We need to follow the Money.
|January 16, 2014
The egalitarian Impulse and the Tyranny of the Minority.
Inequality is an intrinsic, inherent Condition for all living Things. Some Creatures are faster, stronger, more intelligent than others. Sensitivity, passion, cheerfulness, depression, gregariousness, and a hundred other Characteristics seem spread about with the clumsy, unsteady Hand of a blind and heartless Indifference.
As we imagine a more ideal World , the Notion of Equality comes to the Fore. Great Efforts are made to compensate for Inadequacies, and to retard the Advancement of those seen to have unequal Advantage. Thus Civilization constantly battles the underlying Realities, in an attempt to "show the Heavens more just."*
The Question then becomes, at what Point does the Attempt to counter Inequality become foolish, futile, and result in a Reduction of the general Good?
We seem determined to find out, by exalting those who are perceived or self-perceived as Victims, and requiring others to accommodate to their Needs, their Comforts, and their Desires.
The recent Case of the Student at York who wished Exemption from having to mingle with female Classmates is an Example. Our Laws seem to suggest that if an individual Request for Comfort be based on religious Grounds, the Majority must make Accommodation. The York University Administrators have ordered Compliance with the Law, even suggesting that the Female Students be sequestered, not merely from Interaction with the Complainant, but from Knowledge of that very Truth. Thus Gender Equality and Truth are sacrificed for the Comfort of one Individual.
|We are reminded of the Acorn Lady, who, in 2012, wished to have
Oak Trees removed from the School Grounds, in order to protect her
Daughter, who suffered from an Allergy to Acorns. Doubtless, given her
Sway, she would wish the Species of Tree to be removed entirely from the
Landscape, much to the Dismay of Squirrels and of Manufacturers of Kitchen Cabinets and
Oak Toilet Seats.**
The latest Example comes from our own fair City of Hamilton, where Lynne Glover is now pursuing a Human Rights Complaint because the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Elementary School seems unable to remove all Traces of Milk and Eggs from the Lunch Room. Her Daughter, Elodie is severely allergic to those Foods. (National Post, January 15)
At some Point, the Demands of Victims simply cannot be accommodated. Special Deficiencies may have to be content with special Remedies which do not involve general Sacrifice. The Attempt to create a Nirvana of Equality must eventually founder on obdurate Realities. Idealism, carried too far, results not in an Improvement, but in a Degradation of the common Good.
*King Lear (III, iv, 36)
**See Diary, November 14, 23, 2012
|January 15, 2014
One would think, in this Age of Science, that extraordinary popular Delusions would be a Thing of the Past.
One would have thought, for Instance, that so long after Darwin, and after the Discovery that all Life is built of the same genetic Blocks, Religion would be in a Mode of considerable Retreat.*
On the contrary, of course, it continues to make Claim for exaggerated Respect. One has only to see the Furor over Quebec’s Proposal that the Wearing of overt religious Symbols by Government Workers be banned during Hours of Employment. One would think that Quebec had questioned the Validity of the Proposition that 2 + 2 = 4.
Similarly, with the Matter of Climate Change. There has been no global Warming for the last Sixteen Years – in spite of the Increase in Greenhouse Gasses. This has put a considerable Dent in the Theory that Man is responsible for Climate Change. Despite this inconvenient Truth, the Alarmists continue undeterred, blaming Mankind for Floods and Freezes, Tsunamis and Typhoons. Certain Hollywood Celebrities miss no Occasion to inveigh against Fossil Fuels, and the vile, destructive Habits of ordinary Consumers.
It has long been our Contention that there is a third popular Delusion – that Cholesterol is the Cause of Heart Disease, and that Statin Drugs are a useful Remedy.
We had Occasion, some Eight Years ago, to be given a Prescription for Lipitor, but after examining some skeptical Commentary,** decided that it was likely ineffective and possibly dangerous. In the intervening Years, we have encountered much Support for our Position – but it has been our Impression that the Cholesterol Theory has remained a Dogma for practising Physicians. The Worship has been encouraged by the disinterestedly pious – the large Drug Companies.
In this Month’s Issue of Alternatives, Dr. David Williams has an Article on Statin Drugs which simply confirms our long-held View. The Theory behind the Use of Statins is that at a certain Level of Blood Cholesterol, Individuals are protected from Heart Attacks and Strokes. Dr. Williams states:
There’s not a single clinical study that shows this to be the case.
Research continues to
|While there are increasing Questions about the Theory, the
Response among the Committed has been to suggest that even lower Levels
of Cholesterol are necessary.*** It is currently proposed that the Number
of those taking Statin Drugs be doubled.
Dr. Williams notes that Claims of Benefits from the Use of Statins are often based on deceptive Evidence. For example, let us suppose, out of One Hundred People, Four might experience a cardiovascular Incident. If, with Treatment, only Three should experience an Incident, it would be proclaimed as a 25% Reduction in Risk. But this does not mean that the Risk of each Individual is reduced by 25%.
Further, Dr. Williams lists some of the potential Dangers of Use of Statins.
1.There are numerous studies which show that 20 - 30% of all Statin Users will develop Diabetes.
2. A Study of those 75 and older showed low Levels of Cholesterol were associated with Frailty, mental Decline, and early Death. (Ann Med 11;43 (4): 292 - 301)
3. At least 10% of Statin Users will experience muscular Aches or Fatigue. (J. Appl Physiol 11;111 (5):1477-1483)
Other statin side effects include memory and cognitive impairment, stomach pain, diarrhea, depression, irritability, liver damage, inability to metabolize fats and fsat soluble vitamins, sexual dysfunction, greater risk of cataract development, osteoporosis (particularly in the knees), mineral depletion, anemia, fatigue, increased bruising and risk of hemorrhagic stroke, nerve damage, impaired immune response, and higher risk of cancer.
We have observed elsewhere that the Scientific Method, proposed some Four Hundred Years ago by Francis Bacon, finds no comfortable Welcome or Ease of Stay in the human Brain. Once an Idea gains Popularity, once Reputations are invested, and Money carves a Channel through the Bedrock of Principle, contrary Evidence is but a Gossamer in the Wind.
The World – modern though it may appear to be – is a surprisingly
dangerous and deceptive Place.
***This sounds exactly like the Response of Climate Change Alarmists: in the Face of Contrary Evidence – yell louder.
|January 14, 2014
We must return once more to the Matter of York University, and its Decision that a Student expressing a Desire not to interact with Females – based upon religious Conviction – be accommodated. (See Diary, January 10)
In this Day’s National Post, Chris Selley notes some of the Commentary suggesting that "some Values and rights are simply not up for Negotiation" (Winnipeg Free Press) and "The claim of a student to vulnerable sensibilities rooted in religious faith should have no purchase on our judgment." (Craig Walker, head of Queen’s University drama department.)
Mr. Selley makes the Point that, had the Student in Question proceeded with the Matter, he might well have succeeded in his Claim – since Religion has Protection of the same Degree as Gender, Race, and sexual Orientation.
This, of course, is Nonsense, since Religious Belief is not fixed and immutable. It is an Aspect of Culture. Indeed, since it is based on absolutely no credible Evidence whatsoever, it represents a Kind of Thinking which should not be glorified, but given minimal Weight in a Balance of competing Claims.
Mr. Selley notes that the Quebec Charter of Values contains a Stipulation that Requests for religious Accommodation be "consistent with the right for equality between men and women."
In other Words, it suggests a Hierarchy of Rights which does not appear in the Federal Charter of Rights.
It is a Measure of idealistic Folly to proclaim that all "Rights" must be protected equally, and ensures that Squabbles amongst those who perceive themselves as aggrieved will continue in Perpetuity.
|Three Cases come to Mind.
In 2005, Marise Myrand claimed a Parking Spot near the Door of her Condominium, based on her Obesity and poor Health. Her "Right" was upheld against the Right of another Owner who had obtained the Space as Part of her Condominium Ownership.
In 2013, Comedian Guy Earle was forced to pay $15,000 in a Human Rights Judgment. The Right of Lorna Pardy not to have her "pre-existing condition of generalized anxiety disorder" be aggravated by insults trumped the Right of Freedom of a Comedian to insult those in the Audience creating a Disturbance.
And in 2012, a Complaint was made by Faith McGregor, who was refused a "businessmen’s haircut" by Barber Omar Mahrouk, whose Religion forbids the Touching of Women other than Wives.
It is clear that some "Rights" are merely Desires, Compensations for Distress, or are based on religious (cultural) Peculiarities.
Rights should be more narrowly defined. In particular, Religion should be seen as no more than cultural Habit, which should not interfere with Protections given on the Basis of unalterable Characteristics.
As we have so often argued before, we think Human Rights Commissions to be the work of the Devil -- the Devil who persuades otherwise sensible People that Dreams, Desires, Wishes, and Rights are synonymous.
|January 13, 2014
Searching for a Heart of Gold – the interesting Case of Neil Young.
It is our Conceit that those who search for a Heart of Gold are not displeased to discover a Pit of Sulphur – since the Discovery of One suggests the Existence of the Other.
We know not whether Mr. Young has discovered his Heart of Gold – the Cynic in us suggests that it is unlikely – but he seems to have discovered the Pit of Sulphur. This Pit, is, of course the Oilsands, and the Discovery enables Mr. Young to reveal and revel in his own golden Opposition to the hellish Destruction which he deems them to represent.
Last Fall, Mr. Young made the following Pronouncements:
The fact is, Fort McMurray looks like Hiroshima. Fort McMurray is a wasteland. The Indians up there and the native peoples are dying. The fuel’s all over, there’s fumes everywhere. You can smell it when you get to town.
People are sick. People are dying of cancer because of this. All of the First Nations peoples up there are threatened by this. Their food supply is wasted, their treaties are no good. They have the right to live on the land, like they always did, but there’s no land left that they can live on. All the animals are dying.
(Edmonton Journal, September 12, 2013)
Frankly, we are suspicious of Hyperbole. As Mr. Leacock famously remarked, "When the facts aren’t good enough, I always exaggerate..." We suspect that Mr. Young, having found what he supposes to be his sulphurous Pit, wishes to leave no Room for Debate. If the Facts aren't good enough, he will exaggerate.
More recently – yesterday at Massey Hall – Mr. Young teamed up with those Stalwarts of Climageddon, David Suzuki and Andrew Weaver. One would have thought that a Heart of Gold would have studiously avoided the Company of the baser Metals – especially those whose leaden Intellects resist all Alchemy.
For it seems clear that neither the Wizard Suzuki* nor the Modeller Weaver seems to be aware of the Failure in Accuracy of the catastrophic Climate Models in recent Years.
At the Event, the Opportunity was taken, according to Peter Foster’s Article in this Day’s Post, to criticize the Chief Controller of the Sulphurous Pit, Beelzebub Harper, for his Failure in the Matter of Climate Change Policy.
Once one has grasped certain central Concepts – Concepts that distinguish clearly between Sulphurous Pits and Hearts of Gold – it must be comforting to hold on to them, and repeat them endlessly. Why, after all, should Facts stand in the Way of cherished Certainties?
It is fitting that Mr. Young expressed his Belief in the Alternative to a "dirty future" as a "door into the sunshine." (National Post January 13)
Sulphurous Pits begone! The Heart of Gold gleams still -- bright and beckoning in the Sunshine.
* See: David Bullzuki and the Apocalyptic Wizards, Drivel, December 3, 2011.
|January 10, 2014
We continue to be grateful that we live in an Age in which manifold Stupidities are paraded across the Stage of the daily News. From the Display, we are afforded considerable Amusement, some Degree of Shock, and occasional Outrage.
The latest Example of Folly concerns York University, where a sociology Professor, J. Paul Grayson, responded to a Request by a Student that he be separated from female Classmates on the Grounds of Religion. (National Post January 10)
Professor Grayson forwarded the Request to the Dean of his Faculty and the Centre for Human Rights at the University, hoping to obtain a "principled statement from the university."
The "principled statement" from both Sources was that the Student be accommodated. The Vice-Dean argued that the "academic integrity" of the Course would be at risk if "the sincerity of the student’s beliefs" were not respected.
Thus, it would appear that, at York University, sincere religious Beliefs are more important than the Right of Females to interact in a Classroom with devoutly sexist Males. One wonders how far this Principle might be taken. Suppose that sincerely held religious Beliefs should require the Offering of Public Prayer at the Beginning and End of each Class, the smoking of Marijuana throughout, or the carrying of a loaded Machine Gun for the Protection of devout Sexists.
As we have often noted before, Freedom of Religion – the Freedom to worship the God of one’s Choice – has become entangled far too closely with the Freedom of religious Observance. There is a Tendency to give Way to Requests to observe Religion, even when those Observances are in Conflict with Tradition, with proclaimed Secularism, or with long established legal Safeguards.
Thus, we have Turbans in the Ranks of the Mounted Police, Muslim Ceremonies in a secular School, and the Supreme Dithering of the Terrified Court in the Matter of a Witness requesting to be masked while giving Testimony.
|We have referred, thus far, only to the Requirement
of the Vice-Dean.
The Director of the Human Rights Centre, Noel A. J. Badiou relied, not surprisingly, on the Ontario Human Rights Code to say that Accommodation was required. He also noted that "case law does not encourage the exploration of the reasoning behind these religious observances."
We can hardly imagine better Grounds for repealing the Code and disbanding the odious Commissions which are its oppressive and noxious Flowers. Religion, it would appear, is the trump Card. No one will seek to expose the irrational Thinking and Superstition behind it. No one will say, at last: "This is enough."
It is a Source of continuing Fascination how Societies which have prospered by separating Religion and State, by attempting to see and understand the World as it really is -- not through the Prism of vain Hopes or the dark Tunnels of Dogma -- are now embarked on a Return to the very Ignorance in which they were once held Thrall.
The only Element of Light in this sad and sorry Tale is that perhaps increasing Numbers of clear-sighted Citizens will be willing to call Religion to Account, and work towards a Society freed from the heavy Yoke of Ignorance and Folly which, once again, it seeks to impose.
Post Script: Professor Grayson ignored the Recommendations, and with his Colleagues, passed a Resolution stating: "accommodation for students will not be made if they contribute to material or symbolic marginalizations of other students, faculty or teaching assistants." On Thursday, Provost Rhonda Lenton noted that a Resolution of the Matter had been reached with the Student. However, the Order from Martin Singer, Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and professional Studies – written last October 18 -- that Professor Grayson "respect the faculty’s legal obligation to accommodate the religious practice of X" has not been rescinded.
The comparative Anatomy of the York University Pooh-Bah (Poohbahticus Yorkus Idioticus) is discussed on Limerick Lane.
|January 8, 2014
Peering into the Mind of a Climate Activist
Most people will know that the RCMP, so efficient at smashing down Doors to retrieve Firearms from the Houses of displaced Homeowners in High River, unaccountably allowed two Climate Activists holding Signs to appear on a Stage with Stephen Harper last Monday.
Mr. Harper was discussing Business Matters at an Event held by the Vancouver Board of Trade. The Activists, dressed as Waiters, held signs appealing for Climate Justice.
We have now learned that another Activist, Brigette DePape – she of the "Stop Harper" Sign Fame – was heard to expound her Views on Tuesday to Jerry Agar, of the Sun News Network.
Ms. DePape avowed that she had taken "creative action to protest Harper’s inaction on climate change," stating: "We believe in a different way." (Sun News, January 7)
Activists "believe in a transition to a green and just economy where there are good green jobs for people."
A Press Release issued by Ms. DePape on the Occasion of the Protest at the Vancouver Board of Trade Event suggested that recent natural disasters, such as the Ontario ice storm and typhoon the Philippines, are caused by "climate change and energy pipelines."
We note that there has been a significant Shift in Language by Climate Activists. They no longer speak of "Global Warming." Possibly this is because there has been no Warming for the last Sixteen Years, and recent Episodes of Falling Temperatures and ferocious Frigidity suggest an obvious Contradiction.
|The new Term is "Climate Change." It is, of course,
impossible to deny Climate Change – since it is historical, inexorable
and inevitable. But, in the Mouths of Activists, "Climate Change" is
Code for "Man-made Climate Change."
Thus, while it is difficult to attribute Disasters of Weather to Warming – since there has been no recent Warming – it is more plausible to see the Cause as "Climate Change." But if one admits that a Disaster may be a Result of "Climate Change" – which is entirely possible – but something that could only be determined over a long Period of Time – one finds that one has agreed that we should busily engage in whatever the Alarmists think to be the Remedy.
This Remedy turns out to be – what else – a wonderful Greening – a Reduction in the same Greenhouse Gasses which have been shown to have no inevitable Link to Global Warming.
Thus, Ms. DePape sees Salvation in a "green and just economy where there are good green jobs for people."
At this Point, it seems fair to say that Ms. DePape is in Favour of Pies fashioned by Windmills, baked by solar Radiation, and floated, mouth-wateringly, in the Sky.
Alas, Alternatives to Fossil Fuels are not currently economical.
Indeed, Economies are neither inherently just nor unjust. They are efficient or inefficient. Efficient Economies may allow for more Justice, but primitive Economies – such as those obtained by stopping the Production of Greenhouse Gasses and returning to the Caves -- are unlikely to provide the Lifestyle to which Ms. DePape has become accustomed.
We are grateful to Ms. DePape. She allows us to peer, however briefly, into the Mind of a Climate Activist.
|January 7, 2014
The Triple Package
The Battle between the Real and the Ideal is a constant Source of Fascination.
For Mankind constantly dreams of a World closer to imagined Ideals of Perfection, yet must always awaken – sooner or later – to the Limitations of the imperfect Reality of what actually exists. The Ideal World is, quite understandably, the most popular. It gains all the Votes from respectable Members of polite Society. The Real World, like a regrettable Necessity is ignored when possible, and when Recognition becomes unavoidable, is bundled in a green Bag, labelled "Trash" and put out for Collection and Removal to some hoped - for Dump Site in the Sky.
The Disparity is, once again, suggested by the Front Page Headline of Today’s Post:
Tiger Mom’s new theory of success sparks uproar.
Amy Chua, a Professor of Law at Yale University has had the Temerity to suggest, in a Book called The Triple Package, that some cultural Groups are more successful than others. She lists Mormons, Cubans in Miami, Nigerians, Jewish-Americans, and Americans with Indian, Chinese, Iranian, or Lebanese Backgrounds. All these Groups, according to Ms Chua, are driven by Notions of Superiority contending with Insecurity. They tend to have superior Control over Impulse.
Of course this is Heresy. For the prevailing Myth is that all Cultures are Equal. Any Suggestion that they are not is immediately termed "Racism." The label "Racist" is considered damning with a Finality of the End of Days; it is irrefutable – any Defence is simply considered further Proof of the Crime.
No one, of course, bothers to make the Distinction between Racism and Culturalism. Racism refers to Generalizations made on the Basis of Race, while Culturalism refers to Generalizations made on the Basis of Culture. To generalize on the Basis of Race seems presumptuous;* to generalize on the Basis of Culture seems potentially unkind, but not unrealistic.
There is some Excuse for the Confusion between Race and Culture, because it is often true that certain Races are identified with certain Cultures.
The current socially accepted Myth is that all Cultures are worthy of equal Respect.
By adopting this Myth, it is hoped that Discrimination on the Basis of Race and Culture will be eliminated. It is, indeed, a wonderful and idealistic Myth. But that, of course, is what it is – a Notion not supported by the Facts.
Indeed, we would argue that Discrimination – a leaping to Conclusions based on superficial Appearances is a sort of handy Rule of Thumb built into human Beings based on a primitive Strategy for Survival. We are not defending Discrimination, simply noting its pervasiveness. If the Stranger is adorned with the Symbols of the hostile Tribe on the other Side of the Mountain, he may receive a poisoned Dart of Disapprobation; if he wears the Marks of the friendly Tribe on the other Side of the River, he may receive a more gentle Welcome. Who really views the Man dressed in an expensive Business Suit, and the Man clothed in a Rumple of Patches with an Equality of Regard?
The wise Man will be on guard against unfair Discrimination, while accepting that Discrimination may also be justified by the Facts.
It is not surprising that Ms. Chua’s Book – which, oddly, has yet to be published -- has sparked "Uproar." The Post Article notes that Critics see the book as "an irresponsible festival of stereotypes," since it is suggested that " all other groups are somehow lesser."
We are pleased that one Commentator, Morton Weinfeld, has said:
It should be possible to discuss cultural differences without evoking charges of racism. In my view, cultures are important and cultures can differ – otherwise why are we discussing multiculturalism and reasonable accommodation.
While we understand the fear that some Cultures may be less regarded, and that Individuals claiming that Culture may face Prejudice on that Account, we confess to having an unseemly and pitiless Regard for Reality. We are, in fact, more Darwinian than Somewhere-Over-the-Rainbowish.
If a Culture advocates the Stoning of Adulterers, and is remarkable for its Acceptance of Honour Killings, is it inappropriate that harsh Criticism is levelled, and those within the Culture feel the Sting of Rebuke? If a Culture holds that its Religion is sacrosanct, and that Criticism be met with Death, are Ridicule and Opprobrium not just? And if some Cultures exhibit more Patience and Perseverance – more "impulse control" which leads to social Success – is this not a Challenge to other Cultures which may lead them to compete and thrive?
As always, the Ideal of Equality doth with the Fact of Merit challenge. Doubtless there is a middlish Path which may be wound between the Hills of being nice to Everyone, and the Valley of speaking the unpleasant Truth.
Forced to choose, we think the Pleasantness of Equality to be chimerical, and worthy of Slight; truthful Merit should bear the Palm.
*Although Studies by J. Phillippe Rushton have suggested otherwise – to great Disapprobation and Controversy. But Criticism on the Basis of an unalterable Characteristic seems pointless and unfair.
January 5, 2014
It is Sunday, and we cast about for Ways in which to promote our new Religion of Abracadabra, which is based on the Worship of the Great God Murphy.
We suspect that our Failure to see the Religion in the Ascendant arises from an Excess of Diffidence and a lamentable Lack of Aggression.
We have come to this Conclusion after hearing, on the Sun News Network, the Story of Molly Norris, which has been kept in a Hush of sibilant Whispers, relegated to the still, dark Backwaters of the collective Unconscious.
The Story begins in 2010, when an Episode of South Park was to depict Mohammed, a Matter considered outrageous by many Followers of Islam. Death Threats were received, and duly noted: the Episode was modified as a Result.
In Response, Molly Norris, a Cartoonist in Seattle, drew a Cartoon advertising an "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," to be held on May 20th. It showed a Poster supposedly sponsored by "Citizens Against Citizens Against Humour."
Although the Concept was Fiction, many tried to organize real Events in which Mohammed would be depicted.
A Court in that Bastion of Freedom and Common Sense, Pakistan, declared that such Events would damage the religious Beliefs of Users of Facebook, and the Government blocked, on a temporary Basis, the Facebook Site in Pakistan.
An American-Yemeni Imam, Anwar al-Awlaki, called for the Death of Ms. Norris.
Further, in March of 2013, the Al-Qaeda Magazine Inspire, put Ms. Norris on a Wanted: Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam List – along with Salman Rushdie and Pastor Terry Jones.
Nobody knows, apparently, what has become of Ms. Norris. Anthony Furey, of Sun News suggests that Ms. Norris may have changed her Name, upon learning from the FBI that Threats against her Life were credible. (Sun News, January 5, 2014)
But what is significant is that there has been no Outrage. Mr. Obama was quick to condemn the Film Innocence of Muslims, and suggest that the Future must not belong to those who would "slander" the Prophet of Islam. But he has not seen fit to uphold the Right of Freedom of Expression for those who would satirize, criticize, or ridicule – or even portray -- Matters "forbidden" solely on religious Grounds.
We understand that even the Massacre at Fort Hood, in which the Perpetrator, Nidal Hasan, who had been in touch with the same Anwar al-Awlaki, and who shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) before shooting, has been classified as a "Workplace Incident."
While there are technical legal Reasons given for this Designation – the Military Code has no Category for Terrorism – the Protestations sound hollow. Much could have been done to publicize the Incident as Terrorism, while prosecuting according to legal Technicalities.
We would note that our own Supreme Court of Canada, when faced with the Request of a Witness to testify with her Face covered, in Defiance of all our legal Tradition, came firmly down on the Side of not having the foggiest Idea. In a jaundiced Quivering of Cowardice, the learned Fools threw the Question back to Trial Judges.
The Message, then, is clear. Terrorism Works. Ignorant Superstition trumps Rationality. Few care enough about Freedom of Speech to speak their Convictions. In the Face of militant Religion, it is best to cower in Silence.
We cannot say for certain that a new Dark Age is upon us. But the looming Shadows are not propitious.
In the Meantime, it would appear that our fledgling Religion, Abracadabra, would do well to develop a Strategy of Terror – if it is to compete with any level of Success for the Hearts and Minds of the potentially faithful.
January 3, 2014
We are bathed in a warm Suffusion of Gratitude, which doth lighten our Heart and keepeth us in a beneficent Balance of Spirits. For lo, we live in a most fortunate Era where the Experts of the United Nations give us most timely Advice and propitious Guidance.
We know not how the World struggled in the dark Past, when Experts of the United Nations were but little known – or – Horror of Horrors – as yet unimagined or anticipated.
We shudder to think on those Times of overwhelming Gloom and Despair.
So – let us with gladdening Countenance and bolstered Hope, consider one of the most recent Expert Pronouncements: Meat is to be taxed, so that fewer Animals will be consumed. If fewer Animals are consumed, fewer Animals will be maintained. If fewer Animals are maintained, they will emit fewer Greenhouse Gasses.
Influencing human behaviour is one of the most challenging aspects of any large-scale policy, and it is unlikely that a large-scale dietary change will happen voluntarily without incentives," they say. "Implementing a tax or emission trading scheme on livestock's greenhouse gas emissions could be an economically sound policy that would modify consumer prices and affect consumption patterns.
(The Guardian, December 20, 2013 quoting Nature Climate Change)
We are in Awe at the inexorable Logick of it. We are struck, as if by
a great Searchlight of welcome Illumination. For we know that if fewer
Greenhouse Gasses are emitted, there is little Doubt – nay – it is a
Certainty that Global Warming, which has not been evident for Sixteen
Years, will be significantly retarded.
Tears of Joy well in our opened Eyes, to think that the Experts, unbiased, unelected, unasked, have seen fit to propose the Alteration of our purchasing Habits, and the Improvement of our customary Diet to reduce a Threat which, while not yet in Evidence, hovers with malign Intent upon our very Doorstep.
As we write this, we note that the outdoor Thermometer at
Wind-in-the-Pines has risen from -35 to
We think that the Recommendations of the Experts should be implemented without Delay, by all Governments anxious to control the Climate of the Earth.*
* We note that Governments, either through Absence or Ignorance, have been woefully deficient in the Past. Ice Ages and Warmings have been permitted without Regard to Suitability or subsequent Effects. It is Time Governments took their Responsibilities seriously, and showed a modicum of Initiative.
January 1, 2014
We are ensconced at Wind-in-the-Pines, where we suffer grievously from Global Warming.
All the Warming, with a Sophistication befitting the world class Thinkers so enamoured of it, seems to have travelled to other Parts of the Globe, leaving Silver Lake and its Environs with precious little Heat, and a great Deal of Cold and Snow.
The Snow was somewhat diminished over the Weekend, when the Temperature climbed above the Point of Freezing, but was more than replenished Yesterday.
The Forecast was for "Flurries" and "Snow Squalls." In our Naivete, we imagined a Brevity of Squalls interspersed with some Dustings of Snow, and set forth for Mariposa to obtain Food and Supplies.
What we encountered was a steady Fall of Snow, which coated the back Windows of the Serviceable Six within Minutes. Ahead, the Windshield was clear, but the Discernment of the Edge of the Road was a challenging Enterprise, as Details disappeared in an overwhelming Background of White which was further obscured by a relentless Dappling of the Air with the same Colour.
We achieved Mariposa, our Supplies, and eventually, despite the Wipers becoming encrusted with Ice, the familiar Sign for Wind-in-the-Pines.
Our Skepticism with Respect to Forecasts has been considerably
This Morning, the Thermometer registered an outside Temperature of Twenty below, and The Woodstove is now struggling to achieve a civilized Degree of Comfort Inside. Its roaring yellow Maw requires a constant Appeasement of Logs, and its considerable Heat seems to extend only a Modesty of Distance through the Air before dissipating in the Coldness of the Room.
We understand that Cairo has recently received its first Fall of Snow in a hundred Years. In 2012, the Danube River, uncharacteristically, froze.
Perhaps such Events will modify the Cries of the Alarmists, who seem to prefer to ignore the Fact that there has been no Global Warming for the past Sixteen Years. Or, if that bowing to Reality seems unlikely, perhaps those who have gone mad in Herds will begin to return to their Senses, slowly, One by One.*
*Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. (Charles Mackay, 1841)