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Dr. Dreimer's Diary, 2nd Q, 2014
3rd Q, 2013
January - June, 2013
January - June, 2012
Back to Dr. Dreimer's Diary
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.
June 19, 2014
We note with Interest the Attempt of Kendra Behringer to claim that she is being discriminated against in seeking Employment because of "Body Modifications."
The particular Modifications to which Ms. Behringer refers are visible Piercings of the Skin, of which Ms. Behringer herself has a significant Number. Success in her Quest would require a Change to the Alberta Human Rights Act. A Petition has garnered Two Hundred Signatures.
We would be the first to admit that the Degree of Acceptability accorded to all Adornment is arbitrary.
There are doubtless Tribes in the Phillippines where the Absence of a Tattoo would be a great Scandal, and other Cultures where a Shirt and Tie would appear ludicrous and insulting in a Sea of Loin Cloths.
The Fact is, that Cultures are complex, and evolve multitudinous Signals to convey Information without the Use of Words.
Thus, the wearing of a short red Dress at a Funeral is considered inappropriate, while a Tuxedo is out of place at a Neighbour’s Barbecue.
Employers, from a practical Perspective, cannot stray too far from
Convention, lest they alienate those whose Custom they wish to attract.
Bank Tellers do not wear Bikinis; Lawyers do not present in Court
wearing T Shirts and Bermuda Shorts.
One of our chief Arguments in Favour of the formerly proposed Quebec Charter of Values – which forbade the wearing of religious Symbols by Employees during working Hours – was that such Restriction allowed the Government to send an important symbolic Message: the State is secular, and resists the Influence of Religion in its Operations.
In View of the Dissension caused by religious Differences, and the Fact that all Religions are based on Nothing more than Speculation, such a Message seems to be entirely appropriate.
Thus, while it is entirely possible that multiple Piercings of the Human Body may one Day become de riguer, at the Moment, they send a Message of Reversion to Primitivism, or Rejection of current cultural Norms.
We think it wonderful for Ms. Behringer to give Expression to her deeply felt aesthetic Sense.
But she must recognize that Employers have the Right to influence Customers and other Staff Members in a Manner that will enhance their cultural Acceptance, and hence their Profits.
Ms Behringer should search the World for those Cultures which might have a better Appreciation of her currently preferred Modifications.*
*She might, of course, be expected to wear a loin cloth.
June 13, 2014
We confess that we prefer Films in which the Characters with twirled Moustaches and Black Hats are given an ignominious Result, while Characters who are clean shaven and wear white Hats ride off into a rose-hued Sunset which suggests many happy subsequent Dawns.
We understand that real Life is not like that, but –and we are sure we are not alone in this – we often prefer Illusion to Reality.
Thus, we must express our Disappointment that Kathleen Wynne and her thoroughly disreputable Party gained a Majority in the Ontario Elections Yesterday.
The List of Scandals is a long One: Caledonia, Green Schemery, oppressively decreed Wind Turbines, E-Health, Ornge, Gas plants cancelled to save Liberal Seats, and MaRS.
It seems inconceivable that Voters would return a Leader so long marinated in the Soup of McGuinty Misdeeds. We find it difficult to believe that Ms. Wynne does not believe that vast Government Schemes, the Picking and Choosing of Winners and Losers, are essential Elements in Governance.
Such Meddlings in the Past, seem often to involve Benefit to a cosy Circle of Liberals, and an unconscionable Waste of Taxpayers’ Money.
Mr. Hudak, of course chose to ignore Mario Cuomo’s Advice: You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.
He decided to campaign in blunt Prose.
Voters – like us, perhaps in preferring Illusion – were more
entranced with Ms. Wynne’s Suggestion that Spending can be continued to
Infinity. Unlike us, they were able to forget or ignore the black Hats
and twirling Moustaches which seem to be the natural Accoutrements of
the Liberal Party.
One is always tempted to salvage some Bit of Good from a Tale of Disaster.
In this Case, we see two tiny Glints of Gold in the Rubbish.
The First arises from the Fact that Mr. Hudak has resigned. In our Diary, August 2, 2013, we noted – after the Conservatives had languished in five bye-elections:
We have concluded that Mr. Hudak is an ineffective Leader of the Conservatives.
Some People are suited to a Task; Others are not. Whatever Qualities Mr. Hudak possesses – and we are sure they are many – being an effective political Leader is not one of them. There is now an Opportunity for the Party to make a better Choice.
Secondly, we cannot see how Ms. Wynne’s Approach to Government can ignore Reality forever. Ontario Voters, so far distinguished by their incomparable Stupidity, may yet send the Liberal Party into a well-deserved Wilderness where, with Fasting and Prayer, they may decide to purchase Razors, and bleach their Hats.
June 8, 2014
Eeyore was our favourite Character in The House at Pooh Corner.
Thus, it is perhaps not surprising that we are, by Nature, of a gloomy and melancholy Disposition, with a particular Attunement to Signs of the Decline of Civilization.
While there are many such Signs, we choose, Today, to focus on merely Two.
The first arises from the Experience of Athar Khan, a Student at York University, who is taking one of those wonderfully modern Courses dealing with wonderfully modern Conceptions of Social Values. If "Social Values" sounds somewhat vague and imprecise – well – that is exactly the Impression we wish to convey.
Mr. Khan was interviewed recently by Mr. Levant on The Source. It appears that Mr. Khan made remarks during Class which hinted at a Criticism of Islam -- which Remarks upset a female Student who exhibited the not uncommon Sensitivity of those professing that particular Religion when Suggestion is made of any Error or Inappropriateness in their Faith.
After the Class, Mr. Khan was able to point to the Words in the Koran upon which his Remark was based. The female Student admitted that she had been unaware of that particular Reference.
The Significance of this Story lies in the Fact that the Professor suggested to Mr. Khan that Criticisms of Islam were inadvisable.
This, then, is the Nadir to which we have sunk.
The Notions of free Enquiry and Freedom of Speech, of Open Debate and a Seeking for Truth – these Principles are to be curtailed and confined, clipped and restrained – all in Deference to that great and over-arching Principle: No one must be offended.
Especially, we may add, if the Offence involves religious Belief – which is, in itself without any rational or evidentiary Foundation.
Instead of defending the Values of our Civilization, we have decided to subvert them, and adopt the Values of Another.*
Our second Signal of the Decline of Civilization is the News that, according to a recent Poll, Kathleen Wynne is judged, by a slight Margin, to be favoured as the Leader of the Province of Ontario.
Ms. Wynne’s Marination in the McGuinty Soup of Stupidity, Profligacy, and Amorality seems to count for Naught.
If Ontarians are stupid enough to elect Ms. Wynne, all subsequent and consequent Harms may be seen as richly deserved.
* We would refer the Reader to the Parable of the Peaceabilians, Diary, February 14, 2011.
June 1, 2014
Tutu Changes All
We are ensconced at Wind-in-the-Pines, which has a constantly voracious Maw for Repair and Improvement. Sometimes we wonder whether we own the Property, or whether this is an Illusion: it holds us fast in a Grip of Neediness.
However, we must take a few Minutes from replacing the Railing Cap, to express our Joy and Gratitude -- our constant Worry about Climate Change has, at last, been quieted.
Our Worry has arisen from the Fact that there appears to be a great Conflict as to whether Climate Change is caused principally by Mankind, or not. There is also Dispute as to whether we are at the Edge of a Precipice, a modest Step from an Abyss of Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Tsunamis, Earthquakes, Droughts, and Rising Waters which bring an End to Civilization as we know it – or not.
We have continued to express our Skepticism with Respect to the Alarmists.
We have noted the "ulterior" Motives cited in 1993 by the Club of Rome:
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
We are fond of quoting Maurice Strong’s* sunny Optimism:
Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?
We have been impressed by the Failure of Predictions of submerged Islands, Millions of Refugees, Rising Temperatures, and angry Climate Gods.
We have noted that, although Levels of Carbon Dioxide have been rising, Temperatures – for the last Sixteen Years or so – have not.
We have seen that many of those with Claims of Expertise – like
Judith Curry, James Lovelock, and the One hundred and twenty-five
Scientists who upbraided Ban Ki-Moon for linking Hurricane Sandy to
anthropogenic Climate Change are expressing Caution.
We have also observed that prominent Climate Alarmists say one thing, but do another.
At the same Time, the Climate Alarmists have continued to preach their cheerful Message of Death and Destruction to all who will listen.
Thus we are pleased that Bishop Desmond Tutu, who is currently visiting Fort McMurray, has shone a kindly Light into the Miasma of our Confusion.
The good Bishop has referred to the oilsands as "filth" created by greed:
"The fact that this filth is being created now, when the link between carbon emissions and global warming is so obvious, reflects negligence and greed," Tutu told more than 200 rapt attendees a conference on oilsands development and treaty rights in Fort McMurray. (National Post, May 31)
We are at Peace, at last. What we have been longing for is the Voice of unimpeachable Authority. We are grateful that one of Desmond Tutu’s Expertise and Eminence, has now spoken.
We assume Bishop Tutu has certain Credentials. He would believe in a Virgin Birth, and a Rising from the Dead. He would believe that, after Millions of Years of Evolution, and Tens of Thousands of Years of Human History, God, having ignored all the other Species, and the Souls of all previous Human Beings, decided, at one particular Moment, to save Humanity. Or at least, if not to actually save it, would provide a Possibility for Salvation for those fortunate enough to be born in the right Place at the right Time. Those who came a bit earlier, or had the Misfortune to espouse other Beliefs because of an Accident of Birth – well – they are out of Luck.
In someone with such a clear, logical, moral View of the World, we can place our complete Trust.
Those Oilsands are definitely Filth. Our Contribution to the
Suzuki Foundation is in the Mail.
*A Member of the Club of Rome
May 28, 2014
Being on the side of the angels allows many a pact with the devil. (Observation #243)
We have observed that there is great Satisfaction in being in the Path of Righteousness. For being so positioned, we can flatter ourselves with unstinting Praise, and, perhaps more importantly, condemn the Unbelievers with a great Purity of Contempt.
Nowhere is this more true than with the Religion of Environmentalism. If one can convince oneself that one is saving the Planet, that sacred End may be used to justify any Means.
The Planet Savers are opposed – as long as they themselves have heat, plastics, and automobiles -- to Pipelines, the use of Oil, and Fracking to obtain natural Gas. Wrapped in white Garments and Sporting the Haloes of moral Purity, the Believers are generally exempt from any Challenge. For who would have the Courage to suggest that those so clearly on the side of the Angels, might engage in clandestine Pacts with the Devil?
We must report with great Glee, that at least one such Pact has been exposed. It is unlikely that much will be made of it in the Media at large: for they have made the Decision that linking Hands with the Angels of the Day is more pleasing and prudent than asking awkward Questions.
Last Evening, on The Source, we heard some recorded Excerpts of a "Sting" Operation engineered by Project Veritas.
In the Recordings, it was shown that two Film Producers, Josh and Rebecca Tickell, apparently known for their environmental Projects, agreeing to accept Money from "Muhammad" – whom they believe to be from a wealthy Family in the Middle East, and whose stated Purpose is to prevent the United States from becoming independent of foreign Sources of Oil.
Much to do is made of the Necessity of Secrecy in the Matter of
"We're confident that we can keep this zip-locked. You know, tight. Tight. Air-tight forever," Josh Tickell is heard saying. "If we don't protect who is kind of funding this thing … if we have to disclose that or that becomes a necessary part of it, the whole enterprise will not work."
Rebecca Tickell adds: "Because if people think the film is funded by Middle Eastern oil it will, it will not have that credibility," and Josh Tickell says, "It's money, so in that sense we have no moral issue." (Newsbusters, May 21, 2014)
In Addition to the eager Willingness of the Tickells to promote their Agenda – the Halt to Development of Energy Independence, and – a necessary concomitant -- the Preservation of Sales of Middle East Oil -- we learn of the Participation of two Actors, Ed Begley Jr. and Mariel Hemingway. We assume that they are keen to appear in the proposed Film; they express Agreement with the Idea that the Source of Funding should not be disclosed.
While this Exposé is based on a Deception – "Muhammad" is not real – we think it not inappropriate to echo the Question of Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla:* Cui Bono?** It would not surprise us to learn that Funding for much Environmentalism flows from Springs of questionable Purity. In the current State of Affairs, however, the Asking of such Questions is considered unseemly. Most People prefer to be seen on the Side of the Angels.
*2nd Century B.C.
**Loosely translated: Follow the money.
May 27, 2014
Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise. (Thomas Gray, 1716 - 1771)
We see in the National Post that a new Memory Test has been developed by Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto. The Test purports to give early Indication of Alzheimer’s Disease.
We would avoid taking any such Test like the Plague.
True, it might well give Reassurance, and we understand the Benefits of Reassurance – providing that it be unscientific, facile, and inexpensively obtained.
Thus, we admit that we are subject to a Variety of Terrors, and the loss of our Faculties is one of them. On occasion, when confronted with clear Evidence that something firmly in our Grasp last Week, has turned to a Shimmering in the Wind, we attempt to remember old Street Addresses, and old Telephone Numbers.
Upon convincing ourselves that our Recollection of these ancient Numbers is correct (actual Verification, of course, would somewhat diminish the Fun of the Thing) – we ascribe our Incompetence to a Quantum Physics Event, and murmur our Appreciation of the wondrous Unpredictabilities and Uncertainties of Existence.
But to take a Test specifically designed to illuminate a dark,
inevitable Corner of the Future seems inadvisable.
Our Position is that, the Things of which we are terrified are so numerous, with a Potential to transfix us, to freeze us in a helpless Wretchedness, that we would prefer to continue in an untroubled Ignorance. This is especially so if the Terror be implacable, relentless and unstoppable. If the Terror is, with early Warning, preventable, the Argument might Change. Even, so our Bias is towards not dwelling upon negative Possibilities.
Otherwise, our Life would be taken up with Anxiousness – an Anxiety which, we suspect, would be insatiable. For once we had determined that we are not at immediate Risk for Alzheimer’s – would we not wish to set our Mind at Ease with Respect to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Pancreatic Cancer, and Multiple Sclerosis?
And once we had determined our Immunity in those Matters, would not a good Medical Dictionary provide us with new Worlds to investigate?
We would rather continue to cross the dark Road of Ignorance, our Eyes fixed on the Greenery, the pleasant Images on the other Side. Being caught in the Beam of Distant Knowledge – which might reveal an unstoppable and crushing Force bearing down upon us --is Something we would eschew. Let it be hidden, fogged, and mercifully obscured.
May 26, 2014
'Tis Education forms the common mind,
We feel greatly blessed to live in an Era of scientific Exploration and Discovery.
Every Day, we may be assured, some knotty Problem is being poked, prodded, and picked at in order to enhance our Perception of Truth.
However, we have observed that the Results of Investigation are not universally soothing.
Indeed, this very Day, the National Post brings us News that:
University students who complain until they get a better grade
and view their
You could have knocked us over with a Diploma attached to a helium-filled Balloon!
A Survey of One Thousand University of Windsor Students showed a Correlation between Students evincing a Sense of Entitlement in the academic Sphere, and those who showed that same Sense of Worthiness in their Expectations of Employment. (National Post, May 26)
Academic Entitlement was suggested by a positive Response to Statements such as:
It’s OK to make demands on a professor so he makes exceptions for me.
The tuition I pay entitles me to a passing grade.
It is suggested that those with an elevated sense of Worthiness may, in the Workplace, be dissatisfied with their Pay, be less loyal, be in conflict with Bosses, and have Difficulty in retaining Employment.
This Research, of course, puts our entire World View in Disarray. Surely it is the Bedrock of Assumption in the educational System that Students are to be pumped as full of Self-Esteem as possible, in the Hope that all Doubts, Hesitations, or niggling Apprehensions of less than perfect Worthiness be expelled from every Orifice.
We have been pleased to see the great Progress which has been made in recent Years. The Zero – as a Grade – has been banished to the Nothingness from which, in more primitive Times, it was carelessly allowed to materialize. Other Gradings are, fortunately, on the Way out; they are soon to be replaced by personalized smiley Faces artfully crafted by individual Teachers, based on their intuitive Divinations.
Indeed, the whole Notion of Competition -- and the invidious Comparisons which must inevitably follow – have been seen for the soul-destroying Influences, the Blasts of heartless Reality which they truly are. They lead, inevitably, to Misery and Despair. Each Student is considered to exist in his own personal Vacuum, where he may contemplate the Rose Petals and Saffron of his own Delectability.
Naturally, it has always been expected that radical Shifts of Attitude – which are a Hallmark of human Psychology – would occur after Graduation. The Student, a happy Balloon, inflated with a Sense of Superiority would immediately adapt to the Pin-pricks of Negativity, and the Slings and Arrows of Fortune which have occasionally been observed to assail the Air in the outside World.
But this may not be so!
Will it be discovered that there is no Free Lunch? That Villainy may be wreathed in smiling Platitudes? That Nirvana is more than a short, flower-strewn Walk from our present felicitous Circumstance?
Our Breath is bated.
May 21, 2014
In Defence of a prudent Xenophobia
We are intrigued by the labyrinthine Account of the labyrinthine Meanderings of the upwardly mobile Dr. Arthur Porter.
Mr. Porter is in the News this Day as One who has committed "the biggest corruption fraud in Canada" (National Post, May 20)
It appears that Dr. Porter received 11.25 Million Dollars through a shell Company Sierra Asset Management from the Construction Firm SNC Lavalin. It is also noted that Dr. Porter appeared as a strong Advocate for the Company in the Building of the McGill University Health Centre, of which he was Chief Executive Officer.
Doubtless in the highly rarefied Circles of which we, alas, are not a Part, such Incidents are fairly Routine. However, it is now claimed that there was a causal Relationship between the two Events.
We must note, with a certain Degree of Awe, that Dr. Porter’s Career appears quite magical. He was born in Sierra Leone in 1956, and, according to Wikipedia:
He studied in Canada at Western University in London, Ont., Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine in London , U.K., and he also attended Harvard, the University of Toronto and the University of Tennessee, obtaining medical management and administration certifications, degrees in medicine, natural sciences, medical and radiation oncology.
In 2008 he was made a Privy Councillor and appointed as President of the Security Intelligence Review Committee.
We confess that we are troubled by a certain Amount of old-fashioned Xenophobia. We think it is quite correct that Candidates for President of the United States be required to be born in that Country. Similarly, we think that Positions such as that of President of the Security Intelligence Review Committee be reserved for those whose Origin gives no Grounds for questioning of Loyalty.
Our Backwardness of Thinking may be revealed by the Fact that we thought Michaelle Jean’s Birth in Haiti should have excluded her from becoming Governor General.
Indeed, we are not sure that we would wish Judges in the Supreme Court have had their early Opinions and Outlook formed in Afghanistan, France, China, North Korea, or the United States.
Dr. Porter was forced to resign from the both the Security Intelligence and McGill Health Centre Positions because of his Dealings with the Lobbyist, Ari Ben-Menashe.
Dr. Porter sent Mr. Ben-Menashe $200,000 without much due Diligence. Dr. Porter was quoted as saying his Association was:
to help the development of that poor little African country...I suppose my love for Sierra Leone and my love for maybe doing something trumped my usual rigour.
(National Post, February 28, 2013)
Precisely. While we are intellectually attracted to the Idea that we live in a wonderful Global Village, and national Boundaries count for Naught, we have instinctive Reservations. We think that appointing those from other Countries to Positions where the national Interest is expected to be served without Dilution, carries the Whiff, the slight Colour, of Imprudence.
May 16, 2014
Religion represents a wonderful marriage of persistence and alchemy: lies, repeated often enough, acquire the lustre of truth. (Observation #237)
It is our further Observation that Repetition in itself is a powerful Tool, employed in many Areas of Life to influence the permeable Mind. The advertiser repeats his Pitch or Jingle in an Attempt to program the Mind of the Consumer. When Mrs. Jones is in the Supermarket, she will perceive the Cereal Gluten Good and its Band of Merry Granules as familiar Names deserving of her Dollars.
The oppressive Government, determined to retain the Loyalty of its captive Citizens, will ceaselessly suggest that, under the benevolent Guidance of the esteemed Leader, a Nirvana of Wealth and social Harmony is just around the next Corner of Sacrifice and Misery.
Indeed, we suspect that Susceptibility to Repetition is the Achilles Heel of the human Psyche.
Possibly that Susceptibility is evolutionary in Origin: the Tribe will function best only if there is one Leader and many persuadable Followers.
We have noticed that we ourselves are not immune to repetitive Propaganda. Although it is our firmly held Position that the Climate Change Alarmists will not deserve our Attention until they have shown an Ability to make Predictions confirmed by Fact, we sometimes find ourselves puzzled at their persistent Claims. For Example, the latest U.S. National Climate Assessment Report suggests:
Devastating droughts in the Southwest, ruinous floods in New York City, killer wildfires in Colorado, intense heat waves in the Plains: These are the some of the disasters that are being exacerbated by global warming, and problems will continue to worsen in the decades to come, according to a massive federal climate report released Tuesday at the White House. (USA Today May 6)
These dire Warnings were repeated without Qualification on national News Broadcasts. One could almost see the little "Tch, tch" Head Movements of the Newscasters, implying: "what blind and unresponsive Fools we Mortals be. Thank God I have a Bunker at my Lake Muskoka Cottage with three Years’ Supply of Food and Drink."
Yet these are some Quotations from the report:
There has been no universal trend in the overall extent of drought across the continental U.S. since 1900.
Other trends in severe storms, including the intensity & frequency of tornadoes, hail, and damaging thunderstorm winds, are uncertain
lack of any clear trend in landfall frequency along the U.S. eastern and Gulf coasts
when averaging over the entire contiguous U.S., there is no overall trend in flood magnitudes
(Judith Curry at Climate etc.)
In Spite of This, we find Ourselves, if not swayed, at least led to minor Hesitation at the Persistence of the Alarmists.
Fortunately, there are also occasional Reminders that "Climate Science" is often more like Religion than Science. In this Day’s Post, Peter Foster advises us of the Resignation of Lennart Bengtsson from the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Professor Bengtsson, a Swedish Meterologist has
long expressed skepticism about the certainty professed by the International Panel on Climate Change...he has in particular questioned its downplaying of the significance for its models of the lack of warming in the 21st century. (National Post, May 16)
Professor Bengtsson, in his Letter of Resignation, stated:
I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become unbearable to me...Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship, etc....It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy.
We have earlier noted that the Scientific Stance – one of Skepticism and Reliance upon Evidence-- does not find an easy and welcoming Harbour in the human Mind. Far more compatible is the pleasing Certainty of Belief, supported not so much by Evidence, as by the comforting, persistent, and repetitive Bleatings of the Herd.
May 15, 2014
We have employed a Couple of Hours on this rainy Day in expressing our Opinion on the great Debate about Graduates in Law from Trinity Western University.
These Graduates have been denied Accreditation by the Ontario and Nova Scotia Law Societies, because of the Fact that, as Members of the University, they are required to sign a Covenant by which they agree to uphold Christian Values with Respect to sexual Relations and Marriage. This apparently harmless Agreement makes, of course, a public Proclamation that their Views are incompatible with the secular Values of the Ontario legal System.
We are torn between – on the one hand -- our instinctive Atheism, and
– on the other hand -- our well-known kindly Benevolence and our
Approval of Freedom of Expression.
We confess our Benevolence has succumbed to our Atheism. Our complete Thoughts may be found in the Drivel Section
May 10, 2014
The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so.*
Our Opinions are so often contrarian, that we experience a disproportionate Delight when we discover that a particular View of ours is held by Others. It is especially pleasing when we have held an unpopular gloomy Apprehension which seems borne out by later Events.
Thus we confess to an unseemly Pleasure to read an Article entitled Autopsy of a failed presidency by Michael Goodwin. (National Post, May 9)
Mr. Goodwin notes Mr. Obama’s Failures in foreign Policy as shown by Events in Russia and the Middle East. His anti-Israel Stance and "soft-shoe shuffle" in dealing with Iran’s nuclear Ambitions further suggest his Incompetence. Mr. Obama’s flawed Footwork with Obamacare and his Stumbles in using the Revenue Service as a political Tool show him to be a Klutz on the Dance Floor in the Hometown Gymnasium as well.
In his Autopsy, Mr. Goodwin writes:
The evidence is everywhere that his ideas are flawed, that his view of economics, diplomacy, the military, history, science and religion are warped by his own narcissism.
In Addition to Narcissism, Mr. Goodwin notes a second Cause of Mortality: the uncritical and unwavering Devotion of liberal Media Organizations, and leading Democrats:
They said "aye" to any cockamamie concept he came up with, echoed his demonization of critics, and helped steamroll unpopular and unworkable ideas into reality.
We do enjoy saying: "We told you so." In November of 2008, we wrote in a Letter of private Correspondence:
It will be interesting to see how Barack Obama deals with the world. He seems, in my view, to share the Jack Laytonesque notion that evil is chimerical; world problems can be solved by sitting down with those whose 14th Century values hold us in contempt, and, over a glass of beer or two, coming to a mutually beneficial understanding.
Indeed, we have begun to suspect that we have an unerring Sense which allows us to detect bad Politicians. When we first saw Dalton McGuinty on Television, we thought him to be essentially insecure, and manifestly insincere. We were amazed when he was elected.
We have similar Doubts about Mr. Trudeau, whom we see as too self-absorbed to be useful.
If we should be proven correct in our Fears, we will consider setting up Shop as a Palm Reader, and Diviner of Chicken Entrails.
* (Gore Vidal, 1925 - 2012)
May 9, 2014
We have long deplored Beliefs based on Supposition, derived without adequate Evidence.
It is our Perception that from earliest Times, Mankind has been held in Thrall to fanciful Accounts of why Things Happen. We are bound in a Chain of Causality, and always seek a prior Explanation of Circumstance. When that Explanation is not evident, it is thought best to construct One.
Thus we have the Gods of Thunder, Rain and Lightning; the Sea and Sun are given human Characteristics and Motivations.
Gradually, we have come to understand how the World actually works: there are no Gods of Thunder, nor is the Sea a capricious Entity capable of benign or malign Intent.
But how slow the Process is! How long do People cling to the Notions that our Lives are directed and monitored by Beings for whom no reasonable Evidence exists. An imaginary God – to whom a Personality and Motivation can be attributed -- is considered better than the Indifference which is all that Evidence can offer.
We deplore such Beliefs because they tend to inhibit the Discovery of
how the World actually works. They also -- unchecked by any Constraint
of Evidence -- are used to influence the Way in which Society functions.
Thus, the Catholic Church is against Contraception, Abortion, and
Expression of Homosexuality. Islam often favours Stoning for Adultery,
or claims that Apostates and Unbelievers merit Death.
We are pleased – we think – to see some Support for our Position against Superstition in this Day’s National Post.
It is claimed that, with a Decline in Religion, a new Window has been opened to "black magic, Satanism, and belief in the occult." This is, indeed, most regrettable, and we have every earnest Hope that the new Window can be quickly closed, and that Black Magic, Satanism and the Occult can be left to languish outside the Realm of rational Discourse.
However, we should add that this Lament is being made by the Organizers of a Conference on Exorcism. Their Solution is to the Rise in Black Magic is to train 200 Roman Catholic Priests in the fine Art of casting out Evil from those who perceive themselves possessed by the Devil.
We must admit that we have some Reservations about the Use of Fire in quelling Conflagrations.
Nor are we entirely convinced by the Protestations of Pots, and their Aspersions of the Blackness of Kettles.
May 8, 2014
We give daily Thanks that we live in an Era of advanced Thinking.
Indeed, so rapid is the Progress from the crabbed and unworthy Concepts of the Days of our Youth, that we expect to see the Achievement of Nirvana within our Lifetime.
The latest News of our Ascent into greater Spheres of Understanding comes from our Alma Mater, the University of Toronto. The Students’ Union there has decided, in a Flash of inspired Insight, to abandon the Notion of having Student Representatives acting on behalf of Faculties, Colleges, and Programs – such as Engineering, Trinity College, and Medicine. (National Post, May 8)
This Old World Thinking sees Students as identified most closely with a College or Field of Study, and does not recognize the new Realities.
The new Reality of Life in Canada is that Students, like ordinary Citizens, are seen as Members of Groups claiming Minority and (preferably) /or (faute de mieux) Victim Status. Gone are the Days when Ambition led to Success seen in Terms of Competence, Esteem, or material Reward. In the brave New World of greater Sensitivity, Success is measured in terms of Recognition and Recompense for being able to claim Oppression by the Majority.
Thus, Representation on the new Union will be for the following Categories:
1. "Racialized" Students
2. LGBTQ Students
4. International Students
5. Indigenous Students
6. Students with Disabilities
7. Mature Students
9. First Year Students
One might object that there might be many Students who do not fit in these Minority Categories.
However, this means, by Definition, that they are in the Majority, and are not deserving of Representation.
Another minor Difficulty might arise if an older black lesbian international first Year commuter Student wished to contact her Representative. The Decision-making Process might well take excessive valuable Time from her Studies.
We may, perhaps, be accused of an unwarranted Leap of Comparison – but we are reminded of the wonderful Victory of Marise Myrand, who obtained a Parking Spot near the Door of her Condominium because she was fat. And, again, of the Lady who wished to cut down the Oak Trees in Yard of the School which her Daughter attended, because of an Allergy to Acorns. She was unsuccessful, but we suspect that in a few Years’ Time, the School itself will be razed upon parental Allegations of a Sensitivity to Bricks.
We have no Doubt that the Tyranny of Minorities will be, by every conceivable Measure, superior to the Tyranny of the Majority, and that we will all live happily ever after.
May 4, 2014
The smoking Email
We have written a number of times* on the Matter of Benghazi. It has always appeared to us that the Administration of Mr. Obama, wedded to a Narrative of Self-Congratulation on the Matter of the War Against Al-Qaeda, was most anxious to pretend that the Attack on the Libyan Consulate Office on September 11, 2012, arose from a spontaneous Demonstration of Dissatisfaction on the Part of some Muslims. It was claimed that the Cause was a Film, Innocence of Muslims.
It is well known that some Muslims are very quick to take Offence at any Slight to their Religion, and the Obama Administration was quick to blame -- not Muslims for their exaggerated Sensitivity -- but for the Film for its Lack of Tact and incendiary Content.
Indeed, Mr. Obama most famously declared:
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.
Rather than defend the Principle of Freedom of Speech, it was seen as prudent to uphold the peculiar Islamic Notion that their Religion is beyond Criticism. While Mr. Obama did state that nothing could excuse the Attack, he did, with this Statement, suggest that there was, indeed, an Excuse.
With this Ploy, it was hoped that the Failure of the Administration to send requested Reinforcements before the Attack, or a Rescue Party during it, would not be condemned. The Film, Innocence of Muslims was a convenient Scapegoat.
What has now come to Light is an Email sent by Ben Rhodes, a Communications Advisor for the White House to others responsible for the Massaging of Messages. The Document states the Goals:
To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.
...[to] reinforce the president and administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.
(National Post, May 1, 2014)
This information was obtained by Judicial Watch, which had to go to a Federal Court in order to obtain it. They have stated:
Now we know the Obama White House’s chief concern about the Benghazi attack was making sure the President Obama looked good.
We find it interesting that this Information appears on page Ten of the National Post. We wonder whether it is true, as Sun News often claims, that the Media tend to look with a benign and tolerant Eye on the Misdeeds of Liberals, reserving their Outrage and Opprobrium for any Failings of Conservatives.
Our Observation #273. Propaganda is never more necessary than in a universe of disagreeable realities.
May 1, 2014
...moral disapproval is a muscle we are always anxious to flex... (Robert Fulford, National Post, August 24, 2010.)
We are intrigued to see the Uproar over Donald Sterling’s Racist Remarks. Mr. Sterling, in a Quarrel privately recorded, expressed the Desire that Ms. V. Stiviano, a Lady of black and Mexican Descent, refrain from publicising her Association with black People:
You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it … and not to bring them to my games."
While we can understand Prejudice on the Grounds of Culture – Prejudice based on Race alone seems somewhat illogical. Of course, Men are not ruled by Logic, and tribal Sentiments based on Colour have a long History. It is perhaps significant that Mr. Sterling is reputed to be Eighty; he grew up in a Time when Racism was conventional, and his Views have not altered along with those generally held in Society.
As much as Mr. Sterling’s Remarks to his Female Acquaintance seem mindlessly offensive, we tend to agree with Mark Steyn on this Matter, who wrote three years ago:
Let us accept for the sake of argument that racism is bad, that homophobia is bad, that Islamophobia is bad, that offensive utterances are bad, that mean-spirited thoughts are bad. So what?
As bad as they are, the government’s criminalizing all of them and setting up an enforcement regime in the interests of micro-regulating us into compliance is a thousand times worse. (National Post, May 1)
Of course, in this Instance, it is not the Government that is
enforcing Action against Bad Thoughts, but the National Basketball
Association. But some Question might still be raised as to whether
private Expression of Bad Thoughts, recorded and sold to those who exult
in publishing them, should result in a Loss of Property.
We suspect that some small Proportion of the Population has made Remarks in Private which would not reflect well upon them if they were proclaimed for all to see in a local Newspaper.
Indeed, in this particular Case, it might well be argued that Mr. Sterling is concerned only that Ms. Stiviano not promote her Association -- not with black People generally -- but only those black People who appear to be Rivals to Mr. Sterling in their fond Admiration for her Person.
Mr. Steyn questions the Justness of the Financial Penalties imposed upon Mr. Sterling:
In a free society you should be able to make racist remarks in private without being fined and losing your property rights. Because the alternative is worse.
We would add that Mr. Sterling’s Racist Views have – apparently -- been widely known for many Years. The sudden Explosions of Horror and Outrage over this private Conversation seem not entirely untainted by an Element of Theatre.
Perhaps the most accurate Comment comes from Bill Maher:
Sterling def. a racist, but take away his team? Clippers shldn't have played yesterday? Calm down, being an asshole is still legal in America
April 25, 2014
The more irrational the belief, the more spirited and indignant defence it requires.*
There is much Interest – and some Disturbance – in observing the Attempts of those committed to the Religion of Islam to maintain that it is beyond Criticism. The Impulse is observable also in Christianity, in the Notion of the Infallibility of the Pope.
But Christianity seems to have outgrown some of its Certainty: indeed, one of the most admirable Things about Christianity is that it has transformed from a Stasis of Rigid Belief into a Cocoon from which the Butterfly of Reason has been able, on Occasion, to emerge.
Islam, however, is still entranced with the Notion that the correct Path in human Affairs has been settled, with wonderful Precision, back in the Seventh Century. As Mark Steyn has recently** observed, more Books are translated in Spain in a single Year than into Arabic in the last Thousand Years. Who needs new Books, when all the important Ideas have already been discovered?
We note two Examples of Muslim Response to Criticism.
The first is the Action of the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has engineered the Cancellation of showings of the Film Honor Diaries at the Universities of Michigan and Illinois.
The Film examines the Violence against Women in Cultures characterized by their Focus on "Honour." It recounts the Experiences of Nine Women who have encountered that Violence. It deals with forced Marriages, Honour Killings, and Genital Mutilation.
Doubtless the Islamic Council perceived this Film as creating less than desirable Publicity for their Religion. When Refutation with Fact is awkwardly difficult or clearly impossible, Censorship is an easy, No-muss, No-Fuss Alternative.
We would note that Duplicity seems not unknown to the Council. It has
claimed that it equally deplores Violence against Women, but objects to
the "Bigotry" of the Film’s Creators. (New American, April 7, 2014)
But in May, 2007, CAIR was listed as an unindicted Co-Conspirator in an Investigation of a Charity which provided Funds for the Terrorist Group, Hamas. An FBI Agent, Lara Burns characterized it as a "Front Group for Hamas."
From The New American:
Tawfik Hamid, a former Islamist terrorist who later renounced his past and exposed Islamic tactics, wrote in the New York Times in 2007 that CAIR uses the "charge of Islamophobia as a tool to intimidate and blackmail those … who rightly criticize current Islamic practices and preachings..Islamophobia could end when masses of Muslims demonstrate in the streets against videos displaying innocent people being beheaded with the same vigor we employ against airlines, Israel and cartoons of Muhammad."
A second Example of attempted Censorship concerns a Seven Minute Film The Rise of Al-Qaeda, to be available at the National September 11 Museum in New York. An interfaith advisory Group has requested Changes. (National Post, April 25)
The sole Imam in the Group has said:
The Screening of this film in its present state would greatly offend our local Muslim believers as well as any foreign Muslim visitor to the Museum.
Note that the Objection is not to Matters of Fact, but to the possible Offense that might be given by those Facts.
Those who believe that they already embody Perfection are unlikely to embrace Change. It would appear that Violence in the Name of Islam has little Fear of an Epiphany of Enlightenment.
**See Diary, April 19th
April 24, 2014
All things bright and beautiful,
(Anglican Hymn, 1848)
We cheerfully admit that Soppiness of Thought can sometimes be considered as a self-protective Strategy: Illusions are merely Mechanisms for Coping, a soothing Varnish for unpalatable Truths.
At the same Time, the great Danger is that Illusions can be carried too far, or extended into Realms where they are ultimately damaging rather than protective. Indeed, one of our favourite Ideas -- which seems to have almost infinite Applications -- is that the Attempt to achieve or impose an Ideal which cannot be supported by Reality ends up creating a Mess bigger than the one that, it was hoped, was to be dispelled.
In this Category we would put Canada’s Health Care System, and various Measures to curtail Freedom of Speech in order to avoid Hurt Feelings.
The Anglican Hymn quoted above is a wonderful Example of the whitewashing of "Nature." It pleases us to think that the Universe is grandly benevolent, arranged just for our Benefit by a kindly Creator. We often use the word "natural" to suggest Something inherently good, as opposed to Something perverse – or perversely human.
It is interesting that native Peoples have managed a wonderful propaganda Coup by suggesting that their Culture is a "natural" one – one in which Man was, traditionally, in Harmony with Nature, having enlightened Conversations with Brother Rabbit, who would obligingly jump into a cooking Pot, or Brother Beaver, who would offer up his Pelt as a Protection against the Cold. How different from the perversely anti-natural World of Supermarkets and Gas Heating!
A Breath of Reality brought to Illusions about the Natural World is
presented in Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You, by Dan
For, in Fact, the Natural World which we would like to see as an Example of organized Benevolence, is somewhat less agreeable.
Dr. Riskin recounts delightful Tales of forced Copulation among Ducks, traumatic Insemination among Bedbugs, and Penis Fencing among Flatworms.
A Mosquito in Belize may infect you with a Botfly Larva, and another in Africa may deposit Plasmodium, which causes Malaria.
Shrikes are birds which impale small Animals on barbed-wire Fences in order to render them helpless for being torn apart with its hooked Beak.
The Australian Box Jellyfish has a Venom which causes Potassium to leak out of human red Blood Cells, which causes the Cells to break apart. The leaked Potassium interferes with the chemical Mechanisms involved in the Beating of the Heart, and the Heart stops.
The Emerald Cockroach Wasp will sting a Cockroach, drag it to an underground Lair, and then lay an Egg on top of it. When a Maggot hatches, it burrows into the Cockroach, eating the Organs in a "careful Sequence" in order to keep it alive as long as possible. The Cockroach stays alive for several Weeks.
In Short, Nature is unacquainted with the Marquess of Queensberry. Beyond being "red in tooth and claw" it is as violent, as ingenious, and as cruel as is necessary in the Great Race of genetic Survival.
We think the Book provides some cautionary Examples to those who are inclined to believe in a World of organized Benevolence, and Nature as a Haven of motherly Nurturing.
Observation #241. Most creatures are locked in a scheme of necessary murder; this reality tends to inhibit our expressions of gratitude to an infinitely wise and beneficent creator.
April 19, 2014
We are tempted to say that "great Minds think alike."
After writing our Lament over the Totalitarianism of the Left yesterday, we encountered a Comment by Mark Steyn in the National Post: The Slow Death of Free Speech. (National Post, April 18)
We regret that we cannot compete with Mr. Steyn in Liveliness of Style. While Mr. Steyn’s Prose ascends like a Rocket, and explodes in a Shower of multi-coloured Stars, we must be content to proceed, at earthbound Donkey Pace, with necessary Pauses for Rest and Deliberation, laboriously erecting hand-lettered Signs of Caution.
Mr. Steyn has his own List of Examples of Restrictions of Speech, and notes the totalitarian Tendency thus:
But, once you get a taste for shutting people up, it’s hard to stop. Why bother winning
the debate when it’s easier to close it down?
Two Items in Mr. Steyn’s Fusillade we found particularly interesting. The First was a Reference to Comment from Erin Ching, a Student at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania:
What really bothered me is the whole idea that at a liberal arts
college we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion.
This, perhaps, suggests the Depths to which our Polite Society has sunk.
The second, and related Idea concerns the Dangers of Polite Society: it attempts to stifle Free Speech in order to achieve Safety: a wonderful Nirvana where none is offended, where no one is troubled by a contrary Opinion.
The biggest ‘safe space,’ Mr. Steyn notes, is the Muslim World, where all Debates have been settled for Centuries. According to a Report from the United Nations Human Development Programme in 2002: "more books are translated in Spain in a single year than have been translated into Arabic in the last 1,000 years."
Free speech and a dynamic, innovative society are intimately connected: a culture that can’t bear a dissenting word on race or religion or gender fluidity or carbon offset is a society that will cease to innovate, and then stagnate, and then decline, very fast...the ‘safe space’ is where cultures go to die.
April 17, 2014
Being on the side of the angels allows for many a pact with the devil. (Observation #243)
Freedom of Speech is not absolute: Time and Place may impose Limitations. Falsely crying "Fire" in a crowded Theatre is the Example most often given. It would also be inappropriate to rise during a Church Service and proclaim that God is Dead. And some Statements may be considered libellous.
However, it is an Inclination in human Beings to wish to silence those Opinions with which they disagree. We all have our inner Totalitarian. Some Effort is required to maintain the Notion -- attributed to Voltaire – that one should defend to the Death the Right to express an Opinion contrary to one’s own.
What is interesting is that Totalitarianism, so often identified with "conservative" or "right-wing" Thinking, is now identified with "progressive" or "left-wing" Ideology.
This may, perhaps, be explained by the Fact that "established" Opinion is now "progressive." Quite naturally, those in the Mainstream are less than enamoured of Criticism. Beyond that, those on the Left have an untroubled Faith in the Correctness of their Views. They are so caring and egalitarian that a Suppression of Contrary Opinion seems no more than a Defence of an Infallibility, a Holiness of unimpeachable Pedigree.
The other Day (April 12), we noted the Case of Brandeis University, which, because of Protests, cancelled an honorary Degree for Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ms Ali is an implacable Critic of Islam; Criticism of Islam is on the current Correctness Index of prohibited Ideas.
Just recently, Professor Janice Fiamengo attempted to give a Speech at the University of Ottawa entitled: What’s Equality Got To Do With It? Men’s Issues and Feminism’s Double Standards.
A Student Group, The Revolutionary Student Movement decided it did not wish to hear about Men’s Issues or the Possibility of a Double Standard within Feminism, and disrupted the Lecture, forcing its Cancellation.
In May, of 2013, Community Groups applied Pressure on the local Police, who leaned on a Thornhill Rabbi, in order to effect the Cancellation of a Speech by Pamela Geller. Ms. Geller is also known for her anti-Islamic Stance.
In November of 2010, a Speech by Christie Blatchford at the University of Waterloo was cancelled when three Students occupied the Stage and refused to leave. Ms. Blatchford had written a Book criticising the Ontario Government for not treating Citizens equally during the Confrontation in Caledonia in 2006. We assume that the Protesters were unhappy with the Notion that Aboriginals might not deserve preferential Treatment.
In March of 2010, Ann Coulter was warned of the Dangers of Canadian Hate Speech Laws by Francois Houle, Provost of the University of Ottawa. Her Speech at the University was later cancelled because of Protests. Ms. Coulter is a right-wing Commentator from the United States who has pointed out that the Preponderance of Terrorists are Muslims.
It would appear that many Students, having ingested the Pablum of left-wing Notions in their tender Years, having had their Idealism reinforced with the Rebar of Righteousness in High School, and having had their Ideas encased in the Concrete of Correctness at University, feel sufficiently smug and sanctimonious to dabble, unashamed, in reeking and sulphurous Pacts with the Devil of Totalitarianism.
But we would be remiss if we did not point out that their Behaviour simply reflects an Attitude in Society in General. Consider the adamant Claims that the "Science" of Climate Change is settled. Real Science is never settled; it is always subject to the Contradictions of Evidence.
What is "settled" is the political – left-wing -- Notion that Mankind would be better off if it were controlled by Experts at the United Nations. Under the Threat of anthropogenic Global Warming, the silly Idea of Democracy can be relegated to the Dustbin of History, and the Totalitarian Reign of the benevolent, technocratic Elites can begin.
Pacts with the Devil indeed.
April 12, 2014
We have noted before that Tolerance seems to have been elevated – in some Areas -- to an unimpeachable Good.
Perhaps, in that Regard, it is like Freedom, a Concept to which the usual Reaction is an immediate Warmth of Approbation.
What is forgotten is that both Concepts can be understood only in Terms of their Opposites, and are relative, not absolute. Freedom is certainly a Good Thing, but cannot be absolute. If there were complete Freedom for human Action, there could be no Order within which a civilized Society might function.
And so with Tolerance: while it is good to be tolerant, some things should not be tolerated. If there were Toleration of Theft, Assault, and Murder, the World would be a significantly less comfortable Place.
Thus, Tolerance must always be selective; some things should be tolerated, others not.
It is today’s Fashion, that extreme Tolerance must be shown towards Islam.
For Example, Brandeis University had planned to award Ayaan Hirsi Ali with an honorary Degree in Social Justice on May 18th, when she was to speak at their Commencement.
Ms. Ali, however, has been a powerful critic of Islam. She has noted in a Memoir, Infidel, that
the Koran givers Muslims "a legitimate basis" for domestic abuse and urged Westerners to stop kidding themselves that "Islam is peace and tolerance." (National Post April 10)
In a later Work, Nomad, she said: "Islam is imbued with violence, and it encourages violence."
Brandeis University had a sudden Change of Heart, claiming – quite implausibly – that it had been unaware of Ms. Ali’s Views and their Expression.
In Fact, the University appeared to bow to Pressure exerted by 85 out of 350 Members of Faculty, who asked that Ms. Ali be removed from the List of Degree Recipients. The Muslim Students' Association claimed the Degree was a "personal attack" which made them feel "isolated and unwelcomed."
In another incident, Eric Brazau dressed like a Muslim on a Toronto Street, and handed out Flyers which, according to the Judge who heard the Case against him, "vilified Muslims and disparage[d] their Religion." In February, he was sentenced to Nine Months in Jail by the Judge, S. Ford Clements. Judge Clements opined that Mr. Brazau "knew the material would deeply wound and anger Muslims." (Bare Naked Islam)
In both these Incidents, it appears that Freedom of Speech and Truth are considered of lesser Importance than the Hurting of Feelings. In one particular Area – Criticism of Islam – Tolerance reigns supreme. Or, looked at another Way, there is extreme Intolerance of Criticism of a particular Religion.
It is the Conceit of Islam to assume Infallibility, and reject any and all Criticism as Sacrilegious Outrage. This is Nonsense. It is clear that many Passages in the Koran are inimical to the Foundations of Free Speech and the Practices of modern democratic Societies. To pretend that such fundamental Differences do not exist will not make them go away.* To make that Pretense in order to avoid hurt Feelings suggests a Misallocation of Priorities.
On what Basis is Tolerance currently being exercised? It is clear that while a certain ill-considered Idealism may sometimes be at Play, much "Tolerance" is simply Submission to Bullying.
April 11, 2014
One is always gratified to find one’s own Opinion echoed, and so we admit to a certain malicious Delight in reading a recent Assessment of Mr. Obama by Michael Goodwin entitled Obama’s chickens have come home to roost. (National Post, April 1)
Mr. Goodwin states that, for Mr. Obama, "Nothing important has worked as promised, and there is every reason to believe the worst is yet to come." Mr. Goodwin notes the Contrast between Mr. Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine, and the "mayhem" of the Affordable Healthcare Act, and suggests that each represents a Flowering of Mr. Obama’s Policies.
In foreign Affairs, Mr. Obama has signalled a Retreat from a Position of American Prominence and Influence; at Home his idealistic but coercive Plans have encountered Reality, and been thrown into practical Disarray. We cannot resist quoting Mr. Goodwin:
A Caesar at home, and a Chamberlain abroad, the President simultaneously provokes fury and ridicule.
Mr. Goodwin aptly quotes a remark of Mario Cuomo, Governor of New York (1983 - 1994):
"You campaign in poetry, you govern in prose," noting that Mr. Obama has not discerned the Difference.
In the Matter of foreign Affairs, we are reminded of Mr. Roosevelt’s
advice: "Speak softly, and carry a big stick." It is, of course, the Big
Stick that allows one to speak softly. Lacking the Big Stick, one feels
compelled to shout louder, and become the angrily ineffectual Parent.
Mr. Obama does not shout, and speaks with the Softness of Eloquence. But, since he believes the Stick is unnecessary, he is not taken seriously.
Indeed, we see Mr. Obama as a marvellous Exemplar of left-wing Thinking, which is always too optimistic. The Leftern World is one in which Evil does not exist, and, since Goodwill and Good Intentions are the inherent Qualities of Mankind, all Conflicts can be settled, if not by Eloquence, then by an Exchange of Convivialities.
In dealing with one’s fellow Man, we suspect that it is prudent to expect the Best, but prepare for the Worst.
We are tempted to see a positive Element in Mr. Obama’s Reign: surely it will make Voters somewhat more realistic in assessing those who promise Hope and Change, but who have no practical Experience in – and no concrete Proposals for – the effecting those Marvels.
But in doing so, we may, ourselves, have succumbed to an Excess of
Mr. Obama has been observed on Limerick Lane.
April 8, 2014
We are not surprised that Ms. Marois has lost the Election to the Liberals in Quebec.
It seems clear that her promising Trajectory turned with the Introduction of Pierre Karl Péladeau as a Star Candidate. Mr. Péladeau, who announced his Goal of making Quebec a separate Country, went almost immediately from a Supernova to a white Dwarf, which mysteriously transformed into a Black Hole. The Black Hole then sucked away almost all the remaining Enthusiasm for the Party.
We note with Interest that Kelly McParland, writing in this Day’s Post, observes that many in Quebec will regret that the Charter of Values -- which would restrict the Wearing of religious Symbols by Government Employees during working Hours -- will now never be instituted.
Predictably – since every Commentator outside Quebec has quivered with Indignation at the Horror which they deem the Charter to represent – Mr. McParland expresses his Discomfort at the Thought that, had Ms. Marois been elected, the Charter might well have been put into Effect:
For all their differences, Canadians in the rest of the country are firm in their aversion to ethnic or religious bias. There are always pockets of blindness, but in no other corner of the country could you suggest that public sector jobs be closed to anyone caught displaying a crucifix, wearing a turban or a kippa, or covering their head with a veil, and expect to win an election on it.
As one who inhabits one of those regrettable Pockets of Blindness, we must protest at the Mischaracterization in this Comment. For no one suggests that Jobs be withheld from those wearing religious Symbols. They may wear such Symbols to their Hearts’ Content when they are not at Work. It is simply that they should abide by a perfectly reasonable Dress Code during Working Hours.
We do not expect Government Employees – while working – to proclaim, with Symbols, their Political Affiliations, or their Opinions on Gay Marriage, the Death Penalty, anthropogenic Climate Change, or the Need for Raising the Minimum Wage. In the same Way, so do we expect them to refrain from proclaiming their religious Faiths.
The Notion that overt Expressions of religious Preference should be
encouraged is, perhaps, superficially attractive to those who have
imbibed the Notion of "Freedom of Religion" with their Mother’s Milk.
But we think there is a great Difference between having the Freedom to worship the God of One’s Choice, and the Freedom to engage in any Practice which claims the Sanction of Religion.
Taken to its logical Conclusion, any Action – the Destruction of the World Trade Centre comes to mind -- could be claimed as legitimate by referring to a religious Text. Indeed, it is the Irrationality at the Heart of every Religion that we see as potentially dangerous.
If, for a Moment, we imagine a Society in which the Wearing of religious Symbols becomes widespread, we cannot think that the Effect would be unifying. Surely Citizens would be divided into religious Tribes, each certain of its own sacred Superiority. As an Atheist, we would have, in Defence, to wear our own Symbol of Disapprobation of all those religiously inclined.
We bristle with Antagonism at the very Thought.
No. Public Expressions of religious Faith should not be banned – but neither should they be encouraged. Those Societies which have made Religion secondary, which have separated Church and State, are those which have provided more comfort and Freedom for their Citizens than those which have given Religion Primacy of Place.
It seems perfectly legitimate that the Government symbolize its Commitment to Secularism.
We cannot refrain from mentioning some recent News from the Enlightenment of Pakistan:
LAHORE: A court in eastern Pakistan has sentenced a Christian couple to death for sending a blasphemous text message insulting the Prophet Muhammad, their lawyer said on Saturday. (The Times of India, April 5)
We do not see such evil Stupidity as likely in Canada. But we would rather err on the Side of Caution in according Religion too high a Position in any Hierarchy of Values.
April 7, 2014
We are intrigued to learn that Danielle Martin, who defended Canada’s exemplary Health Care System at a U.S. Senate Sub-Committee Hearing on March 11, has received Inducements to run for political Office at the municipal, provincial, and federal Levels.
This is not, of course, in Contradiction to our Notion that Voters love a good Fairy Tale, and prefer the Concept of Happily Ever After to the Same Old Same Old of Sobriety.
For we would maintain that our Health Care System is essentially scamiferous: it pretends to be a single Tier System – which it is obviously not – and it pretends that one Class of Goods and Services can be magically removed forever from the Laws of Supply and Demand.
It is the perfect Example of a socialist Ideal which requires Coercion – a Ban on Private Insurance and private Alternatives -- in order to be kept afloat.
We have no Hesitation in predicting that the Waters of Reality will eventually overcome the Capacity of Fairy Tale Pumps to expel them, and the Boat will be tethered to a Dock with an economic Foundation.
How long this may take -- we would be foolish to hazard a Guess. People cling to their Illusions with great Tenacity.
More generally, we suspect that Politicians are under great Pressure to proclaim Fairy Tales as a means of obtaining Office.
Indeed, sometimes they do not simply proclaim, but represent Fairy Tales themselves.
In this Category, we would place Mr. Obama, who has preached the Nirvana of Hope and Change, and also symbolizes the Triumph of Equality against deeply rooted Prejudice.
Our own Mr. Trudeau is also fond of Platitudes consistent with Fairy Tales. He feels that the Motivation of the Boston Bombers can only be explained by Exclusion, not by a malignant Ideology. Dictatorships are good, especially because they can direct a Population towards socially worthy Goals. He holds the Middle Class as sacred, and exempt from Tax Increases -- without having any Idea of what constitutes the Middle Class. He has that typically left wing Notion that there is no Conflict which cannot be settled over a Glass of Beer on a Sunny Afternoon. This, in Turn, rests on a profound Conviction that, deep down, we’re all just Folks who want to get along. Thus he deplores the Cessation of diplomatic Ties with Iran.
Mr. Trudeau also embodies a Fairy Tale, but it is different from that of Mr. Obama. His is not the Tale of the Beanstalk, and the killing of the Giant, but of being born with the Taste of a silver Spoon. It may well be that Voters will think that some of the magical Silver will colour their own drab Lives, and the Bearer of the Spoon, with the Alchemy of Charisma, will make the pedestrian, precious.
Mr. Trudeau’s Stance on Iran, of course, reminds us of the late Mr. Layton,* that tireless Fighter for Left Wing Causes who thought that sitting down with the Taliban in Afghanistan was a good Idea.
It is not actually a Surprise that a "one week intensive course" to honour Jack Layton will be given at a University this Summer. Mr. Layton was in the fortunate Position of remaining in the Fairy Tale Sphere of the Theoretical; he never had to test his Ideas in the Exercise of Power. Thus he avoided the clay-footedness which has plagued Mr. Obama.
The course will be for "social activists." (Sun News, April 7) The University is, of course, Ryerson, where Layton was a Professor. We recall with Fondness the Proclamation by a former Pooh-Bah of that School, that it did not wish to give the Impression that a University was an "elitist" Institution. In the World of Fairy Tales, – modern Fairy Tales, that is – there are neither Kings nor Paupers, neither Wizards nor Fools
We are tempted to come to the Conclusion that there can be no Honesty in Politics. The Realist must tell a Fairy Tale to be elected. The Idealist may tell a Fairy Tale he believes, but must betray his Beliefs when confronted by Reality when in Office.
This is based on the Notion stated above: People will vote for the Champagne of a Fairy Tale, not for the Sobriety of the Morning After.
How then, do we account for the political Appeal of Climate Alarmism? This is no Fairy Tale, but a grim Warning of Climageddon.
We must admit, then, to the Appeal of Puritanism, and the remorseful Delights of Guilt. But is there not a Fairy Tale hidden, even here? Is there not a Suggestion that with a Modicum of Self-Denial, and an appropriate Self-Flagellation, Nirvana will gradually emerge from the Darkness, and we will all live happily ever after?
"Hope" said Dr. Johnson, "is necessary in every Condition." And,
that, whether immediate or delayed, is, in the End, what Everyone will
*Our irreverent Verse on Mr. Layton be found in Drivel, 2011, April 28.
April 5, 2014
WHAT is truth? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.*
We note that the Commons Science and Technology Committee in the United Kingdom has become concerned that the Revealed Truth of Climate Change is under Attack.
It has decreed that:
Ministers who question the majority view among scientists about climate change should "shut up" instead repeat the Government line on the issue...
It has also said that the British Broadcasting Corporation should reduce Expressions of Skepticism, suggesting that Appearances by Doubters such as Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, should be accompanied by "health warnings." (The Times, April 2)
The Committee laments the fact that the Government is "failing to clearly and effectively communicate climate science to the public."**
Of Course, Truth becomes very important when it is attached to Politics. Let Mr. Einstein speculate about General Relativity, and no Warnings will be issued about the Muzzling of Skeptics. The Three Times Table is not considered worthy of Protection by Laws concerning Blasphemous Refutations.
But when the Truth is puzzled, tenuous, uncertain, and attached to a firm Belief that People must alter their Lives – that is a different Matter entirely.
We do concede, that, for practical Purposes, it is sometimes necessary to come to a Conclusion on a puzzling Issue. Three times Four equals Twelve has always worked well for us in the Past. If the Forecast is for Rain, we will take our Umbrella. If it is claimed that God listens to our Thoughts and will condemn us to Unpleasantness in a supposed Afterlife for our Irreverence, we are Skeptical.
Our Degree of Certainty depends upon Evidence, Likelihood, and Determination of Ulterior Motive.
Unfortunately for those wedded to the Notion of Climageddon, the Evidence is rather less than Conclusive. Predictions have been made of the Disappearance of England, the Melting of Ice Caps, the impossibility of Skiing in Scotland, the Submerging of Manhattan, a Tsunami of Refugees, and a Devastation of Heartland Drought.
The Likelihood of the Validity of current Warnings seems to be low. After "Wolf" has been called three or Four Times, but only a Grandmother has been discovered on the Loose, prowling the Underbrush for Kindling, the Anxiety Response tends to diminish with subsequent Alarms.
Sometimes we have felt that the Climate Alarmists exhibit that peculiar Malady, Husseinitis. Mr. Hussein, you may remember, said that he did not possess Weapons of Mass Destructions, while all the Time acting as if he did. If the Protestations of Alarmists are true, they seem to be doing everything in their Power to suggest they are lying.
Real Scientists welcome contrary Evidence, because it will assist them in determining the Truth. But the Climate Alarmists -- who claim to be Scientists -- have consistently tried to muzzle their Opponents. The Fact that there has been no Warming for Sixteen Years seems to have had no Effect on the Alarmists. They have acted -- unlike Scientists -- as though Evidence is irrelevant.
Further, some of the most prominent Spokesmen for a Curtailing of Industrial Civilization seem not believe that their own lavish Lifestyles should be subject to any Crimp. Mr. Gore and David Suzuki have Carbon Footprints renowned for their Sasquatchian Dimensions.
However, while Mr. Hussein had a logical Reason for pretending to be lying -- he wished to appear more dangerous than he was -- we cannot imagine why Climate Alarmists would try to be so unconvincing. Thus we diagnose Hypocrisy rather than Husseinitis.
Finally, there is an Motive behind Alarmism which is seldom expressed: Democracy is outmoded, and the World should be run by Experts from the United Nations. No Matter how noble the Intent, we are quite confident – because of certain Imperfections in human Nature – that all Dictatorships -- regardless of their professed Benevolence -- will succumb to the Malignant Infection of Power.
We are a little tired of quoting this Passage from the Club of Rome, and the related One from Maurice Strong – but the Relevance seems not to diminish:
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
Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about? (Maurice Strong)
** We still deplore the Splitting of Infinitives except in
extraordinary Circumstances. How much more felicitous: "failing to
communicate climate science to the public in a clear and effective
A Climate Alarmist has been observed on Limerick Lane.
April 3, 2014
We are disappointed to learn that the Challenge to the Alberta Ban on private Health Insurance has failed. (National Post, April 2)
The Claim arose from the Experience of two Alberta Men who were forced to pay $77,000 and $34,000 for Surgery in the United States in order to obtain timely Care. If private Insurance had been available, the Cost would have been much reduced. Indeed, once the Principle of Private Insurance is established, alternative private Care may well become available in Canada.
The Judge in the Case, Paul Jeffrey, declined to be influenced by the 2005 Chaoulli Decision of the Supreme Court, which held that the Government Monopoly on Health Care was a Violation of the right to Life, Liberty, and Security of the Person. That Decision was based on Quebec Law.
Judge Jeffrey said more Evidence was needed in the Alberta Case in order to prove personal Harm.
Thus, the Coercive Nature of the Canadian Health Care System has been
upheld, and Canada will continue in the august Company of Cuba and North
Korea in forbidding its Citizens from obtaining anything but Government
Care within the Country.
We would like to think that this is a temporary Setback. We hold that it is entirely inconsistent that Canada should claim to provide Freedom for its Citizens to purchase Food, Clothing, and Automobiles, as well as the Services of Veterinarians, Dentists, and Hair Stylists – but deny them the Right to Purchase Medical Insurance.
We do not discount the Effects of Idealism -- and the Stupidity which so often attends it. However, we feel that as the unsustainability of the present System becomes clearer, Dreams will cede to Practicality.
We have no Idea how long the Process will take. Dreams die hard,
and, though bedevilled, resist the Designation
April 2, 2014
In the Novel, 1984, one of the Methods used to control the Populace is through Revisions of History. History is not fixed, but infinitely variable. What one thought happened just last Year – or Yesterday – may turn out to be Something quite changed in Aspect, or, indeed, Something that did not really happen at all.
The Effect of a changing Reality is to keep People off-balance, unsure, and easily manipulated.
When O’Brien, the Government Torturer, holds up Four Fingers, they may, in fact, be considered Three, Four, or Five – or all of them at once. One’s own Perceptions are always subject to the superior Narrative of Government.*
A little earlier this Morning, we read an Article by Tarek Fatah in the online Version of The Sun, and determined that we would use it as the Topic of Today’s Ramblings.
But when we returned to the Sun News Site, we could not find the Article; nor was it available by searching for Mr. Fatah’s Name. Further, the Article is not obtainable through Google. It seems to have disappeared entirely.
We thought – but have no Evidence – that the Article represented perhaps the only One published outside Quebec which supports our View of the proposed Charter of Values. Mr. Fatah was suggesting that voting for the Partie Quebecois was a positive Step in stemming the Tide of Accommodation to religious Belief which seems to be in Accord with the smug self-congratulatory, but unthinking Tolerance of our Time.
We have always maintained that Religion, being inherently irrational, should have no Place in the Deliberations of Government, and Governments are well advised to maintain a strong secular Stance. Despite other Failings of the Partie Quebecois, they – alone in Canada – are concerned about maintaining secular Values.
Another Article we read earlier this Morning – at the National Post –
did not disappear. For this we are truly grateful.
It concerned the Trial of Mohamed Hersi, a Somali - Canadian raised in Toronto who had planned to travel to Somalia to join Al-Shabab. Mr. Hersi expressed exactly the sort of Thinking which we find so deplorably evil and irretrievably inhuman. It is that Notion that his Religion is infallible, and his God – a Construct of the human Imagination – may not be criticized. It is that particular Type of Insanity -- born of Religion – which holds that the Penalty for Insult is Death. Mr. Hersi’s Views are described as follows:
"You can’t insult Him, ever," Mr. Hersi said, adding that insulting Mohammed was worse than insulting his mother because it was like insulting Islam itself. "Woman, man, child — doesn’t matter. Take them down, right?" (National Post April 2)
We have often remarked that Tolerance extended to the Intolerant looks very much like Stupidity. We are regularly surprised that Tolerance has been elevated to the Rank of Supreme Good, and appears to blind otherwise sensible Citizens to the Threat posed by radical Religion.
The Partie Quebecois-- virtually alone -- has seen that Religion should not appear to be endorsed by Government. The Irrationality at the Heart of Religion is like that wild Element in the Tiger which one can never be sure is completely tamed.
We suspect that Ms. Marois, by withdrawing the Stopper from the Bottle marked Separatism, has released a Sufficiency of Toxic Vapours to doom her Chances in the coming Election.
P.S. We will continue to rummage down the Rabbit Hole of Incorrectness to see if Mr. Fatah's Article actually existed, or whether it was simply a Construction of our own intolerant Imaginings.
*Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past. (1984)
April 1, 2014
We note that the International Panel on Climate Change has produced a new Report of Two Thousand, six Hundred and Ten Pages.
The Message can be boiled down to Three Words: Repent or die.
But Perhaps it was felt that Thirty-Two Volumes would add more Gravitas to a simple Idea.
In the News Reports, we note that there is a strong Suggestion that the apocalyptic Predictions have the Authority of Science. Rajenda Pachuri is not described as the Environmentalist who once wished that Skeptics "would apply Asbestos to their Faces every Day, " but as "Head of a U.N. Scientific Panel."
The Authors are described as a "Nobel Prize winning group of scientists." (National Post, March 31) And the Accounts make mention of the professorial Statuses at prestigious Institutions of Learning for many of the Authors.
Now, as we understand it, Science concerns itself with Knowledge and Fact. It may involve Theory, but the Aim is always to test Hypothesis and Prediction against Fact. For Example, the Higgs Boson was predicted by Theory, but Certainty awaited the Discovery of an actual Higgs Boson, skittish, shy, and elusive, lurking away from the public Eye in a Hadron Collider.
Indeed, whenever a Prediction is made, we can scarcely be comfortable until there is factual Verification. When there is factual Verification, we may gain some Confidence in the Methods used to make the Forecast.
We would also note that Predictions of the Future – even those based on observed past Experience, must always contend with unexpected variables. One may confidently predict that one’s Train, travelling at One Hundred Miles an Hour will arrive at a Destination Two Hundred Miles away in Two Hours. But if a Bridge has been washed away, or a Mudslide has covered the Track, the Dignitaries and Marching Band that one has arranged to mark the Importance of one’s Arrival may experience the Disappointment of Delay.
Thus, while these latest Predictions of Climaggedon appear to be wrapped in a Tissue called "Science" and decorated with a Ribbon of "Authority," we would point out that the Evidence does not support the Predictive Claims made in the Past.
We do not have the Space to detail the impressive List of failed
Predictions here. A Googling of the Topic will provide considerable
Amusement. But there have been Predictions of vanished Ice Caps, the
Desolation of Heartlands through Drought, the Disappearance of Snow, the
Submerging of Manhattan, a Tsunami of Climate Refugees, the Drying of
Rivers, and a fifty percent Chance that England would not exist in the
Thus, while the current Warnings made by the International Panel on Climate Change may prove to be justified, the Record of those making long-term Predictions of Climate Disasters has been less than convincing. Indeed, it is well known that there has been no global Warming for the last Sixteen Years.
Those with some Regard for Science may well decide that Evidence of accurate Prediction should precede untempered Trust.
There are other Factors, of course, which fuel our Skepticism.
It would appear that Conclusions about Climate Change precede Investigation. This alarmist Report was predicted as early as 2010, when Robert Orr, U.N. under Secretary General for planning said that the next IPCC Report would be "dramatically worse.’ (Climate Depot)
Indeed, Rajenda Pauchuri has admitted that Politics precedes Science:
We are an intergovernmental body and we do what the governments of the world want us to do. If the governments decide we should do things differently and come up with a vastly different set of products we would be at their beck and call. (Climate Depot)
Finally, we would note that there are Hesitations amid the Alarms.
One Scientist, Richard Tol, of the University of Sussex, had his Name removed from the Document because he found it "too alarmist."
And somewhere in the Document – we assume the Print is very fine indeed – it is conceded that "there are uncertainties in understanding and predicting future climate risks." (National Post)
P.S. We have discovered the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change at www.climatechangereconsidered.org.