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Dr. Dreimer's Diary, 3rd Q, 2016
2nd Q, 2016
1st Q, 2016
3rd Q, 2015
2nd Q, 2015
1st Q, 2015
4th Q, 2014
3rd Q, 2014
2nd Q, 2014
1st Q, 2014
4th Q, 2013
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 correct observer.
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.
September 26, 2016
Climate "science:" The wolf of politics wearing grandma's lab coat. (Observation # 522)
We confess that we arrived at the Conclusion that the Theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming was politically inspired – and politically maintained – some Years ago.
It bores us to recount our Reasons. We have, of course, no scientific Expertise in the Matter.
But, very Few do. Most of the Population is forced to rely on that rare Commodity – Common Sense – in order to arrive at a Conclusion concerning alarmist Claims.
Vast Numbers of People – including vast Numbers of Politicians – have listened to the Alarmists and concluded that Human Beings are the Cause of Warming. Further, they appear to believe that great Measures should be taken to reduce Greenhouse Gasses – which – it is claimed – are the Chief Cause and Terrible Culprit with Respect to Global Warming.
Politicians, of Course, like to believe that they can banish Poverty, create universal Happiness, and alter global Temperatures.
Our own Common Sense has noted the political Origins of the Theory – with People like Maurice Strong – an early and committed Alarmist -- calling for the Destruction of industrial Civilization and the Re-Creation of a Golden Age of rural Tranquility, presided over by Advanced Thinkers like himself.
We have also noted the extreme Alarmist Predictions made in the 1980's of Misery and Destruction – which have never come to pass.
Finally, we have noted that, in the last Nineteen Years, Greenhouse Gasses have increased, but no commensurate Warming has occurred.
This is not – as they say – Rocket Science. If a Theory calls for Warming when Greenhouse Gasses Rise – and the Gasses do indeed rise – but the Warming does not take place – there is Something wrong with the Theory.
You do not have to have any Knowledge of Science in general or Climate Science in particular to reach this Conclusion. You simply have to be able to think straight.
We confess we look -- with much anticipatory Glee -- to the eventual Resolution of this Matter.
At some Point, some People are going to look extremely foolish, and other People will be regarded as having a sound, sensible, and undeniably correct Apprehension of Reality.
We cannot imagine that we will not be in that second Category. Failed Predictions mean failed Theories. Failed Theories have nothing to do with Science – although they may have a great Deal to do with Politics.
The latest Round in this Battle between Alarmists and Realists has come with a Letter from Three Hundred and Seventy-Five Members of the National Academy of Sciences who have repeated the Notion "that the problem of human-caused climate change is real, serious and immediate, and that this problem poses significant risks." (Breitbart News, September 25)
A Refutation has been published by Christopher Monckton of Benchley, William D. Briggs, David Legates, Anthony Lupo, Istvan Marko, Dennis Mitchell, and Willie Soon.
We are, of course, unable to state definitively that the Refutation is correct. In the Absence of actual Knowledge, each Citizen must fall back on his own Common Sense. The Arguments of the Deniers – of Course – make Sense to us.
At some Point, Time will make a Judgment. There are Five Possibilities:
1. The Alarmists will convince the Politicians to engineer significant Reductions in Greenhouse Gasses. The World, significantly impoverished, will be run by the United Nations from its new Headquarters in Brussels. The Temperature will have changed but little, and this consoling Fact will be attributed to the wise pre-emptive Destruction of industrial Civilization.
2. The same Circumstance as above – but the Temperature will have risen significantly, showing that World Impoverishment did not help much. The alarmists will simply say that the Destruction of the Agrarian Economy is now necessary, and a Return to Hunting and Gathering is the best Hope to save Mankind.
3. The Battle to reduce Greenhouse Gasses will founder on the Rocks of political Obduracy and financial Reality. The Temperature will rise significantly and the Alarmists will be jubilant.
4. The same Circumstance as above – but the Temperature will show little Change. The Alarmists will have to wear Bags over their Heads, and move to remote unsunken Islands. The Skeptics will be jubilant.
5. The Temperature will cool significantly. The Alarmists will drink Hemlock, and be buried in an Ice-Field just South of the former City of Winnipeg.
We are betting on Number Four. We are keeping a very special Bottle of Champagne to be drunk – if not by Ourselves – by Persons designated in our Last Will and Testament.
The Link to the Refutation by Christopher Monckton et al is as follows:
September 18, 2016
Religion is concerned with how the world should work; science with how the world does work. (Observation # 596)
In the ideal World, all Cultures are equal. They can be mixed and matched, swirled around in the Mixing Bowl, poured into a Baking Pan, and popped into the civilizing Oven at Three hundred and Fifty Degrees.
The Cake that emerges will be of a wonderful Uniformity and admirable Consistency. It will have an immediate Taste of Deliciousness, and -- with the Addition of fine Words and a sprinkling of noble Expressions heaped on Top – will confidently claim the Status of culinary Perfection.
With such optimistic Thinking, are Fools led into the Abyss.
While it is pleasant to believe that the essential Humanity of Tribes is more important than their petty Differences, we would point to a rather persistent History of tribal Conflicts. As Mr. E. O Wilson has suggested, Tribalism seems instinctive in the human Species, and Tribalism is based on a Sense of "Us" which is distinctive from "Them."
We disapprove of Tribalism, just as we disapprove of Floods, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Stupidity, Inequality, Aging, Dyspepsia, receding Hair Lines, and Death. But the Solution to Disapproval is not the determined Ignorance of Pretence.
A Failure to face Reality allows it to stab you in the Back.
While it is admirable to bridge tribal Differences, to make Accommodations, and to find Common Ground, it must be recognized that Hairline Cracks cannot be considered in the same Category as antithetical Gulfs and abysmal Impossibilities.
The latest Example of abysmal Impossibilities comes from "An internationally renowned Egyptian Islamic cleric" – Abu Alfath Alfargaly, who has written:
Will the [Egyptian] finance minister run the economy and the banks according to Sharia law, that bans interest? Will he allow the export of agricultural goods knowing that they might be used to produce alcohol? Will the foreign minister put the interests of Islam before the interests of his nation-state? (Breitbart News, September 16)
What Mr. Alfargaly suggests, of course, is that the State should defer to Religion in general and Islam in particular.
Not so fast.
Western Democracies have been successful – just as Islamic Countries have been unsuccessful – because of their different Attitudes to Religion. In the Ottoman Empire, where it was assumed that all Knowledge worth having was already possessed, new Books with scientific Insights were not welcomed.
In the West, the Pursuit of Knowledge of how the World actually works
was encouraged – and this has led to better Health and Longevity,
greater Wealth, more Opportunities for Self-Fulfilment, and greater
Freedom of Thought and Action than in those Societies held in Thrall to
religious Conceptions of the World.
Putting the Interests of Islam before the Interests of Nation-States is one Way of Looking at the World. But it is not compatible with the Notion that the Interests of Nation-States should be put ahead of the Interests of Islam, or, indeed, of any Religion.
It is not surprising that Mr. Alfargaly thinks that all Thought should fit into the Procrustean Bed of Islamic Purity:
Will the education minister enact Islamic or secular education? Will the laws of physics that are studied in the secular system, like the law of conservation of energy, be taught from a secular perspective, like today, or changed to include an Islamic perspective, because there’s an accurate Islamic definition of this law. (Breitbart News, September 16)
We have no Idea how the Law of Conservation of Energy might be taught from an Islamic Perspective. We suspect that Energy will keep on conserving pretty much in the same Way it has been accustomed to doing. But the Suggestion that scientific Concepts can be given a religious "Slant" or Interpretation is at Odds with the Notion of Science itself.
Science is based on a Knowledge of Facts, and the Accuracy of this Knowledge is what allows for accurate Predictions. Our World of Buildings, Medicines and Machines depends upon the Consistency of Predictions. The "Facts" are not alterable. A Misunderstanding of the Facts is possible – but such Misunderstanding will be revealed in a Failure of Prediction.*
To suggest that there is a Religious Interpretation of the observed Laws of the Universe is to reject the Notion of Science, because Science – in those areas where Knowledge is imperfect – is open to the Discovery of new Facts. Religion, which assumes that all Truth is already known, is always defensive, and resistant to Change.
All Cultures have silly, irrational Elements. But Cultures which look to Religion as the sole Source of Truth are in a different intellectual Universe from those which attempt to see the World through a Prism of Facts. The religious View, based entirely on theories of how the World should work, tends to be unchanging. The Scientific View, which attempts to discover how the World actually works, is alterable as new Insights are gained.
The modern View that Multiculturalism is a rose-strewn Path to Nirvana overlooks the great Abyss between two entirely different Views of the World. The Mixing of Cultures without addressing the Problem of cultural Antitheses is doomed to Failure.
*That is why "Climate Science" is more akin to Religion; it has not acquired a sufficient Knowledge of the Facts to permit accurate Predictions. Medical Science has considerable Validity – but is imperfect – because Knowledge of the Facts is incomplete and insufficient.
September 13, 2016
We are always interested in the Musings of the Pope.
No doubt any sensible Atheist finds it instructive to see how the other half believes. Thus far, we have confirmed our Notion that Belief, like Skepticism is a Habit of Mind.
Not only does the Pope believe – we imagine that it is a Job Requirement – in a Religion for which the Evidence is clearly insufficient, he is vulnerable to the Siren Calls of Socialism and the secular Religion of anthropogenic Global Warming. He is, on many Levels, a Believer.
Once one enters one imaginary World, and finds it satisfying, the Bar to other imaginary Worlds is, perhaps, significantly lowered.
The latest papal Pronouncement which has caught our Attention concerns Satan:
In his homily at morning Mass, Pope Francis told the faithful Monday that Satan is out to divide the Church by sowing ambition, jealousy and greed among its members. Commenting on the Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, where Paul reprimands the early Christians for their quarrels, factions and infighting, Pope Francis said that "the devil has two powerful weapons to destroy the Church: divisions and money." (Breitbart News, September 12)
The Pope also noted that Jesus "prayed to the Father for unity." Then added, "But the devil tries to destroy it."
Now – we do happen to believe in Good and Evil. But we think they are defined by human Experience and by human Society. Life itself, we necessarily assume, is good. And Life without Trouble or Worry, filled with Interest, Fellowship, and Achievement would seem to be a Circumstance devoutly to be wished.
Similarly, Death – the permanent Interruption of Life – seems evil. Worry, Despair, Conflict and Failure are all of the Realm which the Pope would describe as Satanic.
We suppose that the personalizing of the Realities of Life has a certain primitive Appeal. Let us call Unity, Purity, and Happiness -- God. Let us call Division, Darkness and Misery -- Satan.
Then let us imagine a never-ending Battle between the Two. There is the Church, fighting for God. There is Satan, sowing Doubt and Discord, waving Fifty Dollar Bills of Temptation to lure the Pilgrims from their pure and illuminated Path.
But – to us – it all seems a bit primitive and unsophisticated -- a bit too childlike, in fact.* We recently remarked that Religion is an intellectual colouring Book for Adults. Don’t think too much, it says. Just colour God in White and Gold, and Satan in Black. If you must go beyond the Lines – well – perhaps you can have God blessing a Kitten – or draw a black Moustache on Satan.
In our Ideal World, Religion would be like a wonderful Party at a Campfire on the Beach. Fuelled by the Booze of Imagination, we’d all get together and tell Stories of the great Battles between God and Satan, and sing the familiar Songs of the Triumph of Good over Evil.
In the Morning, the Campfire would, of course, be mere smouldering Ash; the Magic of the great imaginative Battles would fade to the Light of Day. We would return to the Sobriety of Reality, and continue our informed and careful creative Struggle.
Away from the jolly Campfire, there is a real Task where References to the old, uncomplicated Gods are unhelpful Distractions. For -- from that awkward Fabric of Existence – the Threads of our human Legacy of Competition and Co-operation** – must be fashioned the best Garment of Civilization possible.
*Our initial Response to this Story was to express the Fear that Satan might recruit the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to his subversive Schemes.
** If Co-operation and Competition remind you of Unity and Division, or of Good and Evil, it is not by Chance.
August 26, 2016
When truth is labelled blasphemy, a new dark age of the mind has been proclaimed. (Observation #589)
Usually free speech is restricted in order to protect a "preferred narrative"-- a view of the world which is known to be fatally vulnerable to facts. (Observation # 666)
The lies of political correctness sound pleasant enough -- but the
truth is like a restless skeleton in the closet – it will rattle its way
out eventually. (Observation # 659)
The Truth is often unwelcome when it contradicts a "Preferred Narrative" of Illusion.
One of the current Preferred Narratives is that all Religions are equal, and any Evidence to the Contrary is deemed worthy of Suppression.
We note that Pamela Geller has recently arranged to place Advertisements in the United Kingdom on Taxis, which feature Quotations of the Prophet Muhammad. Two of the Quotations are: "I have been made victorious through terror," and "I was shown the hell-fire and that the majority of dwellers are women."
In the interests of Accuracy, we should note that the last Quotation actually specifies "women who are ungrateful." We will lead the Reader to determine whether this Omission represents a serious Twisting of the Meaning of Muhammad’s Words.
For us, the Implication is still clear: Muhammad’s "Vision" showed more Women than Men in Hell.
One would think that a direct Quotation – providing it did not contravene Laws against Defamation – would be protected as an Expression of Free Speech.
However, it appears that, in spite of a Contract being signed with a Media Agency, the Advertisements purchased by Ms. Geller were never shown. Ms. Geller is now suing the Agency.
We do not know, at this Point, what occurred to prevent the Presentation of the Advertisements – but it seems clear that the Claim of Islam that it should never be criticized – as absurdly arrogant and contrary to the Principles of a secular Society as it is – has triumphed.
In Effect, what has occurred is the Upholding of a Law against Blasphemy in the United Kingdom.
It is interesting, indeed, that such "Blasphemy" merely consists of repeating the Words of Muhammad. The Truth – when it is unflattering to Islam – acquires the Status of Blasphemy.
We are given to wonder at what Point the Authorities in Western Societies will recognize that the Religion of Islam incorporates Values which are antithetical to our own. Our Values have allowed the Development of Cultures which are superior in Terms of Wealth, Health and Longevity, Opportunities for Self-fulfilment, scientific Advancements, and above all – Freedom for Citizens -- to those which have given Dominance to the religious Principles of the Seventh Century.
No doubt they believe that to speak the Truth will result in Disharmony. In that Case their Choice represents a Belief that Harmony is more important than Truth.
In this, they are misguided: they are exchanging the short-term Appearance of Harmony for a longer-term Destruction of the very Fabric of their cultural Success. Those who purchase Harmony on such Terms will find that they have not only sold their Souls – but that the Harmony they have acquired is false, insubstantial, and fleeting.
They deserve neither their Souls nor Harmony.
Islam and Freedom of Speech cannot coexist; the Battle between them may be postponed, but it cannot be avoided.
August 24, 2016
Freedom of speech is attacked because, over time, it tends to lead to truth -- a destroyer of dreams and a threat to harmony. (Observation # 722)
"Preferred narrative:" A pleasant, left-wing version of reality designed to obscure the truth. (Observation # 603)
The Comments Sections of News Outlets published on the Internet usually provide a Forum for Opinions. Those who comment are often enabled to make their Remarks using a Pseudonym and thus are likely to be uninhibited in their Expression.
It is like voting by secret Ballot, rather than by Show of Hands in a public Forum.
With such Anonymity, of course, comes the Risk of Comment that is carelessly insulting and emotionally volatile and unchecked.
We understand that many Left-Wing Sources of News have begun to close down their Commentary Threads when Articles deal with Matters on which there is a great Division of Opinion: where the General Public has begun to disagree with the "Preferred Narrative" of the Left.
Thus, earlier this Year, The Guardian closed down Commentary on Articles concerning "race, immigration, and Islam." (Breitbart news, February 16, 2016)
The Reason given is that such Topics attract "an unacceptable level of toxic commentary."
Essentially what this means is that there is a Gap between "Commentary" and the preferred Left Wing Narrative, which holds that all People, Cultures, and Religions are equally worthy – which leads inexorably to the Notion that unrestricted Immigration is a fine and noble Thing.
This is a wonderful Example of the Triumph of Theory over Fact. Every ordinary Person knows that Cultures and Religions are not equal, and every ordinary Person knows – at some Level – that human Beings are tribal Creatures, that tribal Differences are often material and profound, and that Tribes do not mix easily.
An Example of this Truth has been shown recently by the British Vote to leave the European Union. Ordinary People had become weary of having their Culture being influenced by unelected Bureaucrats in Brussels, and of having Policies of Immigration removed from local Determination.
Thus, there has developed a great Gulf between elite, left-wing
Thinking and the Perceptions of ordinary People.
It would appear that the Gap has become evident at the National Post.
Recently, we were moved to comment on an Article – we do not recall the Content – but it had to do with Religion – and found that there was no Commentary Thread provided.
Today, there are two Articles similarly seeking a safe Harbour from Public Commentary:
France doubles down on burkini ban as images appear to show cops forcing woman to remove swimwear
RCMP quietly starts permitting women officers to wear the hijab
Both these Articles concern the Topic of religious Conflict.
Possibly the National Post has joined that cosy Club which holds that Facts, when ignored, will pull up their Tent Stakes, steal noiselessly away, and fall into a convenient Abyss of Nothingness.
We think that such a Perception is misguided. Those, like us, who find that our Opportunities for Criticism are stifled, do not change our Opinions. When Attempts are made to silence us, we become more convinced of the Validity of our Views. Facts and valid Beliefs do not seek the Protection of Censorship; faulty idealistic Notions and vulnerable Theories do.
We admit that we are particularly incensed at the Decision of the RCMP to allow the wearing of Officers to wear the Hijab.
We have made this Argument many Times before: Police Uniforms are worn for a symbolic Purpose. The Message is that the Wearer is not acting in a personal Capacity, but as a Representative of the legal System in a particular Jurisdiction.
The fact that there is a "Uniformity" in the "Uniform" is to suggest that Citizens will be treated "uniformly" by a Representative of the legal System. In Practice, of Course, we know that that may not always be true; but it is a Statement of admirable Principle.
When a religious Symbol is added to the "Uniform" – the Message becomes confused; the "Uniformity" of Intent has been lost.
The Citizen is left to ponder: Am I dealing with the Representative of the Legal System, or the Standard-bearer of a religious – and possibly political – Philosophy?
Such a Move does not lead to Integration – but to Division. It is a Matter of great Wonder that the RCMP would deliberately chose to heighten the Divisions in our Society.
They must be profoundly stupid.
August 16, 2016
We have been exceedingly troubled by Reports that the Internet is being used by irresponsible Criminals who engage in "Hate Speech."
Surely, if Nirvana is to be achieved within our Lifetime, Hate Speech must be banished from public Discourse, so that the true underlying Reality of the Sweetness and Light of the human Enterprise may be allowed to shine through.
It is well known – and proven in thousands of peer-reviewed scientific Studies – that the best Way of changing the Opinion of any Member of the human Species, is to prevent him from expressing it. Once any Individual becomes aware that the Government disapproves of his Thoughts, he immediately changes them.
This is known as the "OPC" – or the Opinion Changeability Principle.
We are much relieved to learn that at least one Branch of Government in the United Kingdom is not asleep at the Switch – that the Levers of Power are – even as we write this – being adjusted to prevent the Expression of unapproved Opinions.
The new Mayor of London
has secured millions of pounds to fund a police "online hate crime hub" to work in "partnership with social media providers" to criminalise "trolls" who "target… individuals and communities." (Breitbart News, August 16, 2016)
Apparently the new Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has managed to gain the Co-operation of "social media providers" who will filter and identify Hate Crimes.
There will be further Assistance from the London Metropolitan Police
Force, who have expressed an Interest in and Approval of the increased
Workload which will arise – and have taken the further Step along the
Path of Virtue by encouraging offended Citizens to report these terrible
Already, there are Grounds for Optimism. In Two Thousand and Four, only One Hundred and Forty-three were convicted of such Crimes. But, as a Result of increased Awareness and superior Dedication, Twelve Hundred and Nine Criminals were sentenced a Decade later.
The Law, the Communications Act of 2003, makes it a criminal Offence to use a "public electronic communications network in order to cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety." The Penalty may be "a six-month prison term or fine of up to £5,000." (Breitbart News, August 16)
Now, it is true that – to this Point – we have no such Protection in Canada against "annoyance, inconvenience, or needless anxiety."
But we have every Hope that that terrible Danger will not be allowed to persist. The World is changing. Great Projects are afoot that require a Unity of Purpose and Action if they are to be achieved. Increasingly it is seen that personal Opinions – especially those which represent a Refutation of Government Policy – must not be allowed to interfere with the Progress of Multiculturalism and the Big Rock Candy Mountain of perpetual Bliss which it promises.
We think a Petition to our Prime Minister, who is noted for his acute Perspicacity and sound Judgment, would be favourably received.
Indeed, the Time for a new Canadian Ministry of Freedom and Enlightenment seems long overdue.
See also Drivel, The Valley of Hythlos, March 9, 2011.
August 2, 2016
Political correctness: a gloss of lipstick on the snout of truth. (Observation # 701)
He who is silent, gives consent. (Spanish proverb)
We note that the Pope – whose Religion seems derived primarily from the Dogmas of the Left – has claimed that there is a War in Progress – but that it is not a War of Religions; rather, it is a war based on Economics. He maintains that all Religions want Peace.
The Pope told journalists traveling with him that the world is not only insecure, it is at war. "But it’s a real war, not a religious war," Francis said.
"It’s a war of interests, a war for money. A war for natural resources and for the dominion of the peoples. Some might say it’s a religious war. Every religion wants peace. (Breitbart News, July 27)
We think that the Pope is seeing the World, not as it is, but as he wishes it to be. He conveniently forgets the fact that all tribal Cultures have their Religions, and those Religions are a Source of Motivation in tribal Activities. One of the most common tribal Activities is an Engagement in War. More specifically and relevantly, the Pope ignores the Crusades, and the many Passages of the Koran which urge Conquest and the Destruction of Unbelievers.
Seeing the World through a selective, optimistic Prism is a typically socialist Enterprise. Socialists appear to believe in Equality, the Brotherhood of Man, and the Big Rock Candy Mountain, where the Sun always shines, and Lunches are invariably free.
As we have observed above, such a View of the World is a determinedly perverse Assessment of the Truth – it is the Application of a decorative Lipstick of Illusion to the Pig’s Snout of Truth.
A Sighting of that Snout has been made this very Day -- we have heard that ISIS – which seeks to establish a Caliphate – has responded to the Pope:
In the most recent issue of Dabiq, the propaganda magazine of the Islamic State, ISIS criticizes Pope Francis for his naïveté in clinging to the conviction that Muslims want peace and that acts of Islamic terror are economically motivated.
"This is a divinely-warranted war between the Muslim nation and the nations of disbelief," the authors state in an article titled "By the Sword."
..."The blood of the disbelievers is obligatory to spill by default. The command is clear. Kill the disbelievers, as Allah said, ‘Then kill the polytheists wherever you find them.’"
(Breitbart News, August 2)
Thus, we have two Views of the "War."
The Pope believes that it is economic – ISIS believes that it is religious. Which View seems more reasonable?
The "War" may be considered on two Levels – the physical and the ideological.
The physical War of ISIS – to which we might add the physical Threats of Iran – and the Sponsorship of Terrorism by Saudi Arabia -- find their ideological Basis In Islam. But not all Countries which are "Islamic" – which follow, to some Extent, the Precepts of Sharia Law – are overtly war-like.
On the ideological Level alone, it seems reasonable to say that those Countries which follow Sharia Law – which take the Religion of Islam as the Source of Government Policy – have Ideas about the governance of Society which are directly antithetical to those of western secular Societies. A Belief that Religion should be the sole Source of Wisdom in Society is not compatible with the Idea that it should not. Laws against Blasphemy – such as those in Pakistan – are not compatible with the Idea of Freedom of Speech.
The great Problem is – what is the Link between physical Attacks and profound Ideological Differences?
ISIS claims that there is a necessary Connection. Iran suggests the same. It is well known that Saudi Arabia is a Sponsor of Terrorism.
Other Muslim Countries, while having an Ideology incompatible with the West, do not threaten War. The Argument is that Islam is subject to an Interpretation which is not threatening.
The worrying Suspicion is that Everything depends upon the Direction of the Wind, and the Circumstance of the Moment. Muslims who have settled in European Countries have – largely -- not assimilated. Some Muslims seem vulnerable to the Adoption of a terrorist Ideology.
We would feel happier if the "moderate Muslim World" were more articulate in criticizing the Terror committed in the Name of Islam, and in defining their Interpretation of Islam -- and in explaining why it poses no Threat.
It is clear that some Islamic Texts are threatening and warlike. Some Muslims have no Hesitation in using them as a Justification for Terror. It may be pleasant to believe that they are in a tiny Minority – indeed, the Pope pretends that he knows that Islam is benign. We would be more comfortable with some continuing and convincing Evidence.
Until that Evidence appears, we think it is prudent to feel a Sense of Alarm. The very Expression of that Alarm may prompt Muslims with a peaceful View to articulate it.
When Muslims fail to condemn Terror, and to explain their different Interpretation of Islam, they do Nothing to promote Peace.
Too often Silence may be read as Approbation and Consent.
July 26, 2016
Wise and fortunate is the man versed in illusions -- who can distinguish between the blandly benign and the delusionally dangerous. (Observation # 734)
A refusal to face reality allows it to stab you in the back.
We always look forward to Pronouncements from Mr. Obama; he invariably proves that High Office and Weakness of Intellect are not mutually exclusive, and confirms our Conviction that Ideals are the blind Nursemaid to Folly.
Recently, he has declared, on CBS News, that the Attack on the Nightclub in Orlando in June was simply an unfortunate Case of Derangement:
We’ve had a terrorist attack in Orlando, although it does not appear externally motivated, but a deranged man killing scores of people. (Breitbart News, July 25)
This ignores the fact that the "deranged" Man, Omar Mateen, made an Emergency Call to declare:
Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of Allah [in Arabic]. I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings...My name is I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State. (Breitbart News)
Not only does he provide a coherent Reason for his Actions – a Loyalty to the Islamic State – he settled family Affairs and Finances before the Attack – suggesting calculated Premeditation rather than witless Derangement.
It has often been noted that the Term "Islamic Terrorism" is one which, although utterly appropriate, is never is heard to issue from Mr. Obama’s Lips. The Difficulty does not appear to arise from an Impediment of Speech, but an Impediment of Mind.
The Difficulty for Mr. Obama in admitting the Link between Terrorism and Islam derives from his Need to see Islam as a benign Religion. This, in Turn, may arise from his personal Experience of Islam:
My father was a Muslim and although I did not know him well the religion of my father and his family was always something I had an interest in. This interest became more intense when my mother married an Indonesian Muslim man and as a small child I lived in Indonesia and attended school alongside Muslim pupils. I saw their parents dutifully observing the daily prayers, the mothers covered in the Muslim hijab, the atmosphere of the school change during Ramadan, and the festiveness of the Eid celebrations...
Therefore, when the tragic terrorist attacks of 9-11 occurred I was deeply saddened with the rest of America , and I wanted justice for the victims of this horrific attack, but I did not blame all Muslims or the religion of Islam. From my experience I knew the good character of most Muslims and the value that they bring to America. Many, who did not personally know Muslims, indicted the entire religion for the bad actions of a few; my experience taught me that this was something foolish and unwise. (From Letter from Barack Obama on His Muslim Heritage)
The key Phrase in this Account is the One which fails to distinguish between blaming "all Muslims," and the "religion of Islam." No one would claim that "all Muslims" are dangerous or take their Religion so seriously as to be a Threat. On the other Hand, the "religion of Islam" contains Ideas which are directly antithetical to those held in western Civilization, and are embraced by large Numbers of Muslims in backward, primitive, and unpleasant Countries.
To pretend that Islamic Terrorists have no Connection with Islam is the Equivalent of claiming that the Inquisition of the Thirteenth Century had nothing to do with Christianity.
In Painting Islam as a Religion with no Flaws, and posing no Dangers,
Mr. Obama shows himself a typical Idealist who refuses to face Reality.
Thus, his first Instinct, in 2009, was to make a Speech of Appeasement to the Muslim World in Cairo. He suggested that American Values had no special Validity, and that no Approach to Society is better than any other.
In the Matter of Immigration, he opposes the sensible Notion of attempting to distinguish between reasonable Muslims and dangerous "Islamic Terrorists" because to do so is to admit that there is a Connection between Islam and Terrorism. Indeed, he claims that such common Sense is divisive, and contrary to "American Values:"
[if] we start suggesting that we would apply religious tests to who could come in here, that we are screening Muslim-Americans differently than we would others, then we are betraying that very thing that makes America exceptional... (Breitbart News)
It would appear that an important "American Value" is an Ostrich-like Stupidity.
Thus, with every Act of Islamic Terrorism, Mr. Obama refuses to admit the Link to Islam, and desperately attempts to find the Explanation elsewhere – in "Workplace Violence," "Derangement" – or any Cause but the real One.
It is not surprising to discover that, in Addition to Mr. Obama’s personal Experience with Muslims, his idealistic View is bolstered by a faulty Egalitarianism. Here is a Comment on the recent Truck Attack in Nice:
I think have to step back [from the Nice jihad truck attack] and reflect on what we are doing to eliminate this kind of chronic violence. It’s been a difficult several weeks in the United States. But the divide … is between people who recognize the common humanity of all people and are willing to build [international] institutions that promote that common humanity, and those who do not — those who would suggest that somebody is less than them because of their tribe, or their ethnicity, or their faith, or their color. And those impulses exist in all our countries. And those impulses, when we do not speak out against them and build strong institutions to protect people from those impulses, they can take over, they can be unleashed — so that all of us [international leaders] have responsibilities. (Breitbart News)
It is wonderful to recognize "the common humanity of all people." But People are remarkably varied – some saintly, some Sinners – with all Variations in between. This Variation – not surprisingly – extends to Faiths and Tribes. They are not equally worthy. That may be true on the particular Slope of the Big Rock Candy Mountain which Mr. Obama inhabits, but in real Life, Equality of Worthiness is not common.
As we are fond of saying, some cultural Values are directly antithetical to others. If you believe that Religion should not be the Basis of Government, that Stoning for Adultery is an Idea past its Prime, and that throwing Homosexuals from tall Buildings is a Custom without Conscience, then it will be difficult to approve of the Values of those who passionately believe in all of these Things.
Mr. Obama foolishly links Things such as "Colour" and "Ethnicity" – which are unalterable, unchangeable Characteristics – with such variables as "Faith" and – we assume he means not just "Tribe" – but "Tribal Values."
Mr. Obama is a perfect Example of One who recoils from one Danger – the excessive Competition shown in an aggressive and expansionary Nationalism – to another – the Illusion that all People, Tribes, and Religions are equal.
He is a Fool – a Fool not entirely untypical of the Age.
It is perhaps worth noting that there is a Sense in which Mr. Obama, with his Refusal to accept the dangerous Potential of the Religion of Islam, has fuelled the Rise in Popularity of Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump has suggested a Ban on all Muslim Immigration until some Means of dealing with Islamic Terrorism has been found.
We suspect that there is a Middle Ground.
Of one Thing we are certain: Illusions are not harmless; they have potential for great Danger. Mr. Obama’s Illusions put his Country at Risk, and its Citizens in Danger.
July 24, 2016
We note that the Quebec Human Rights Commission seems anxious to retain its Reputation for Foolishness. It appears to be committed to the Creation of Equality where none exists, and where, according to the infinite Wisdom of the Commissioners, it should.
It is most infamous, perhaps, for ceding a Parking Space to Marise Myrand when she claimed that her Condominium Board should provide her with a Space near the Entrance of her Building, because of her Ill Health. In Effect, the Commission awarded her the Space as an egalitarian Measure – to compensate her for her Disability.
Recently, the Commission has ordered Mike Ward, a Comedian, to pay Thirty-Five Thousand Dollars in Damages for making Jokes about a young disabled Singer.
We have no Sympathy for Jokes which seem unjustifiably cruel. In general, we think it is cruel to mock a Person for some Quality which cannot be changed. The traditional Purpose of Satire is to expose a Folly and effect a Change. Mockery of Someone’s Race, Colour, or Disability per se seems pointless. Mockery of Ideas, Culture, Religion or Behaviour seems perfectly legitimate.
Thus, we think Mr. Ward’s Jokes seem insensitive and ill-advised.
On the other Hand, we are not convinced that Insensitivity and Insult should be banned, and that those responsible should be fined for their Indiscretions.
There are already Laws against Defamation; it seems dangerous for a Government Body to make Judgments which put a Price on Insult and Ridicule. By what objective Standards may such Judgment be made? Are Insults to be listed, codified, and priced?
Surely the very Notion invites Ridicule.
It is our Understanding that in this Case, the Commission heard Evidence concerning the Hurt Feelings of the disabled Singer. But in such Consideration, great Danger lies. For Hurt Feelings are subjective, and potentially limitless in Scope. What may be devastating to one Person might be dismissed as outrageous Nonsense by Another.
Once again – all Objectivity in such Matters is lost. How is the Government Body to assess the Veracity of the Complainant. If there is Money at Stake, is it not likely that the Complainant will see the Advantage of Exaggeration?
The Ruling of the Commission seems to represent all the Impossibilities of Political Correctness – which holds, falsely, that Equality is the underlying Reality of the human Condition, and that the greatest Good is high Self-Esteem – and the greatest Evil is Hurt Feelings.
This has Nothing to do with Reality.
It seems far better to allow Freedom of Speech, accepting the Fact that some Feelings may – legitimately or not – be hurt. The Rose Garden was never promised; nor should it be invoked or simulated by Government Commissions.
In the Matter of Comedy, Cultural Norms – shown by the Laughter of the Audience – are the immediate Arbiters. If the Audience laughs – it suggests that some Absurdity has been exposed. If it does not, then the Comedian and Audience are in Disagreement. The Comedian will alter his Routine.
We prefer the imperfect Assessment of Public Opinion – which may change over Time – to the whimsical Judgment of a Government Commission obsessed with a Crystal Palace of unattainable Perfection.
People whose Feelings are easily hurt should devote themselves to a better Understanding of Reality; they should focus not on their Feelings, but on how they can best function, compete, and achieve their Goals.
July 21, 2016
Yesterday we wrote about Multiculturalism – using as an Example of cultural Incompatibility the Murder of Qandeel Baloch by her Brother, Waseem, in Pakistan.
Waseem’s Motive for the Murder was rooted in cultural Perceptions about the Rôle of Women in Society which are directly antithetical to those held in the western World.
He believed that his Sister should have stayed at Home and followed the Traditions of his Culture. He looked forward to a heavenly Reward for his admirable Defence of his religious Superstitions.
Today we have learned that the Mother of Quandeel and Waseem has claimed that the Murder was not an "Honour" Killing.
Rather, it was a Murder of Revenge. The Inspiration for the Revenge came from Mufti Abdul Qavi, who had been removed from a Position of Influence on a Pakistani Islamic Board, after his unchaperoned Meeting with Qandeel. He had also been accused of Hypocrisy by Qandeel, for breaking the Fast of Ramadan, and for making Sexual Advances. (Breitbart News, July 20)
This News does Nothing, of course, to alter our main Point: that Pakistan is rife with cultural Practices and Perceptions that are bizarre, dangerous, and have their Roots in Religion.
If it were not for Religion, Mufti Abdul Qavi would not have been
removed from Pakistan’s Ruet-i-Hilal Committee -- "which sights the moon
to determine the beginning and end of Islamic months" – and would have
felt no Need of Revenge for being accused of Hypocrisy. Waseem would not
have used Religious Tradition as an Justification for his Act. (Breitbart
News July 20)
We cannot resist going a little further.
The Government of Pakistan has invoked a Law in this Case which is intended to resist Honour Killings. Thus it has become a Party to the Prosecution.
This, you may think is reasonable and a standard Practice.
You would be wrong.
The Reason the Government is Party to the Prosecution is that the usual Cultural Practice is that the Family of the Victim may forgive the Murderer in an Honour Killing. Thus, Death for " marrying outside of one’s class, converting to Christianity, or behaving immodestly" may be considered a satisfactory Result, and Everyone can comfortably return to his or her Knitting. (Breitbart News, July 20)
In the Case of such Forgiveness, the State cannot prosecute the Murderer.
Regardless of the Status of the Murder – Honour Killing or Revenge – it is clear that cultural Perceptions in Pakistan are often toxic and inimical to any humane Continuation of the great human Experiment. Pretending that Cultures are equally worthy is a dangerous Folly born of wishful Thinking – or an anxious Denial of Truth.
July 20, 2016
We have long been opposed to Multiculturalism – not because it is not theoretically desirable – but because it is practically difficult.
We take as our starting Point a Belief in the Argument of Mr. E.O Wilson that Tribalism is instinctive in the human Species. This Idea is supported by an Observation of the World.
Not only do we see Tribes of Monkeys, Meerkats, and Ants, we see Tribes of human Beings, showing Allegiance to their Neighbourhoods, their Towns, their Sports Teams, their Provinces, and their Nations. There seems to be a natural Attachment to Territory and the People and Customs which are familiar rather than foreign.
It does not seem unreasonable to see this Tribalism as having an ancient Lineage, which, in the Past has conferred Advantages to those banding together in Tribes.
Aggressive Tribalism is not, of course, a good Thing. Now that Weapons are so destructive, Nations with territorial Ambitions, or caught in the Grip of religious Insanity, pose a significant Threat to Civilization.
It is understandable why Tribalism is regarded with Suspicion.
In Theory, the World would be a pleasant Place, if Tribalism could be extinguished, and all Tribes could gather around a common Campfire of Civility, and rejoice in their Differences.
The greater the Similarity of Culture, the more likely it is that this Aim can be realized. While there are many Differences between them, it is not impossible to imagine Canada joining the United States to form a single Country – or an amicable significant Migration of Citizens between the Two.
If our Neighbour to the South were, in fact, Saudia Arabia, or North
Korea, any political or cultural Union is too bizarre to contemplate.
Similarly, we think that our Citizens, should they emigrate, would
experience great Difficulty in adapting to the cultural Life in those
There is so much idealistic and hopeful Propaganda in Favour of Multiculturalism, we cannot help but draw Attention – now and then – to awkward Facts.
The latest Fact which we find impressive is the Murder of a Celebrity in Pakistan, Quandeel Baloch, by her Brother, Waseem. (Breitbart News, Ju1y 8, 2016)
Ms. Baloch – besides being uncharacteristically western – had met with a prominent mufti – Mufti Abdul Qavi – at a Room in a Hotel in June. Photographs were taken and posted on social Media.
Mufti Abdul Qavi was reprimanded for the Meeting -- which was unchaperoned -- and the Photographs.
Subsequently, Ms. Baloch accused Qavi of Hypocrisy – of drinking Coca-Cola during Ramadan and of making sexual Advances. She received Threats of Death, and requested Protection from the Police. The Request was ignored.
Waseem Baloch then killed his Sister:
"I am proud of what I did. I drugged her first, then I killed her," Waseem Baloch said in his stated confession to the police. "Girls are born to stay home and follow traditions. My sister never did that." He asserted that the murder had earned him a place "in heaven." (Breitbart News, July 18)
We need not insult the Reader by elaborating on the vast Differences between Pakistani and Canadian Culture shown in this Account.
We are grateful that there is clinical and scientific Terminology which may be used to describe those who believe in Multiculturalism. They are "bonkers."
July 7, 2016
We understand that YouTube has removed a Video which is critical of the Muslim Brotherhood.
This is an Excerpt from the Text of the Video:
There are two kinds of Jihad. Violent Jihad is horribly simple, slaughtering innocents and forcing submission. Violent jihadists want to conquer land for their Caliphate–essentially an Islamic State where Sharia law is supreme.
But there is another kind of Jihad. In their Explanatory Memorandum, the Muslim Brotherhood calls this "Civilization Jihad," saying, "The [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers." (Breitbart News, July 6)
The reason given for banning the Video is that it contravenes its "Hate Speech" Policy which is stated thus:
Hate speech refers to content that promotes violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes, such as, race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, sexual orientation/gender identity.
In general, we can understand the Rationale against "Hate Speech" – when the Cause of the Criticism is Something not subject to Change.
There is no Point in criticizing Someone for his Race. That cannot be changed. However, Culture and Ideas are subject to Change and hence are legitimate Topics for Criticism.
To hold that Ideas or Cultures may not be criticized is to overlook the simple Fact that some Ideas are better than others. A Failure to criticize bad Ideas – to "hate" them – is to allow them to spread and flourish, unchecked.
And this is one of the chief Defects of "Political Correctness" –
based on the Notion of a wonderful Equality – it assumes that all Ideas,
Cultures, and Religions are equally worthy. In the interests of Harmony,
it forbids Criticism – even though that Criticism may be merely an
accurate Statement – or an Opinion which may reasonably drawn from the
At first, we thought that the "Hate Speech" Policy of YouTube seemed reasonable – it seemed to consist of a List of unalterable Attributes. We concluded that their Ban was an illegitimate Extension of that Policy. For what they have banned is a Criticism of Ideas.
However, our Attention has been drawn to the one unjustifiable Item on the List: Religion.
We can only assume that YouTube is banning a Video because they view a Criticism of the Muslim Brotherhood as a Criticism of Religion.
But Religion is not an unchangeable Attribute – but a Set of Ideas. While Everybody knows that Islam maintains that it is a Religion that must not be criticized – and there are Laws against Blasphemy in some Countries – there is no Need for YouTube – or Anyone Else to be in Agreement with that Contention.
Indeed, to do so is, in Effect, to approve of a Ban on Blasphemy.
No Position could be more inimical to the Cause of Freedom of Speech, and the Project of scientific Enquiry. When Ideas based on ancient Traditions and old Superstitions cannot be exposed as false and destructive, the Enterprise of a humane Civilization based on the Truths of the human Condition has been abandoned.
YouTube should amend its Policy in order to reject Political Correctness, support Freedom of Speech, and uphold the Notion that all Ideas should be subject to Criticism.
July 2, 2016
Seldom do we feel moved at comment upon the Good Sense, Delicacy and Adroitness displayed by those in the Sphere of Politics.
Too often we see the Crassness of Partisanship, self-serving Dishonesty, and Hints of outright Corruption.
Thus, when we encounter the admirable Adroitness and political Aplomb of Loretta Lynch, the Attorney-General of our great Neighbour, the United States of America, we feel it worthy of Mention.
Perhaps we should give some essential Information of Background in this Matter. Most Canadians are unaware that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Candidate who seeks to fill the presidential Shoes of the esteemed Mr. Obama, is currently being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for Mishandling of classified Information -- and possible Corruption -- during the Period that she served as Secretary of State.
We cannot fault the Canadian Media for not conveying this Information to Canadians. It is well-known that Canadians and the Canadian Media overwhelming favour the Democratic Narrative in the United States. There is no Point in giving the Canadian Public speculative Information about hypothetical Potentials which will cause them any Uneasiness or Dismay. It is always best when the Populace is maintained in a firm Belief that the Universe is unfolding as it should.
The other important Information necessary to have a complete Understanding of Ms. Lynch’s Competence in this Matter, is that, years ago, she was appointed as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York by Bill Clinton – Mrs. Clinton’s Husband. (Breitbart News, July 1)
Ms. Lynch, now as Attorney General for the whole Country, has the Task of receiving the Recommendations of the Federal Bureau of Investigation as to whether or not Hillary Clinton should be indicted.
It is quite understandable, therefore, that Ms. Lynch, having been advanced – in the distant past – by Bill Clinton – might be wary any overt Signs of Bias in the Matter.
Thus, when Ms. Lynch decided to get together with Mr. Clinton, in Phoenix -- apparently to discuss the urgent Matter of Golf* -- she exercised admirable Caution.
The two Planes – Mr. Clinton’s and Ms. Lynch’s – made Rendezvous at the Phoenix Airport. A Number of Individuals stepped out of her Plane. Mr. Clinton stepped into it. They had a Discussion about Golf – and perhaps other recreational Matters -- for about Thirty Minutes.
Naturally, Ms. Lynch is no Fool. Representatives of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation were there, on the Tarmac. They had been given
strict Instructions that No One would be permitted to take Pictures or
use Cell Phones. The Discussion of recreational Matters, such as Golf –
as any Duffer can attest --is best conducted in great Secrecy.
Somehow, News of the Discussion of Golf was leaked to the Media. In a Country with such avid Interest in recreational Matters, it is perhaps not surprising that some Golf-mad Individual felt it necessary to draw Attention to a purely private Discussion of Backswing, and Keeping One’s Eye on the Ball between two old Friends.
Now, the World is not as pure and innocent as you, dear Reader -- and as we ourselves -- believe. Some Characters with Scurrility writ in their unworthy and discreditable Bones have suggested that the Rendezvous of Two Planes in Phoenix, a Discussion of Thirty Minutes, and a perfectly reasonable Request for Secrecy – that all these suggest some other, darker Motive.
It is the Lot of honest Politicians that they must be sensitive – even to Accusations so bizarre and peculiar as these. Thus, Ms. Lynch has, with unmatched Probity and political Skill, announced – not that she will recuse herself – that would be carrying Discretion to a Hair’s Breadth of Nicety too far – but that she will "defer" to the Recommendation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of Mrs. Clinton. (Breitbart News, July 1)
But Ms. Lynch is – as we have suggested earlier – no Fool. While swinging back and keeping One’s Eye on the Ball, Deference can be qualified, obscured, and diluted.
A subsequent Statement from the Department of Justice has indicated Ms. Lynch will be the "ultimate decider." (Breitbart News, July 1)
The Recommendation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be considered by two non-political Career Employees in the Department. Then -- two political Appointees --Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates -- will "review" that Decision.
Thus, the Recommendation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be sifted in with the Flour of professional Deliberation, and the political Spices of Consultation and Review.
Ms. Lynch will receive the Ingredients, and, full of Deference, bake the Cake. Her culinary Skills will, of course, have Nothing whatever to do with Golf.
* Ms. Lynch's Explanation