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|The U.S. Election (October 30)
The choices in life are seldom between the unarguably good and the irredeemably evil; rather, they involve a determination of degrees of the unsatisfactory.
On the one hand, we have President Trump, reckless and untamed, who seems condemned to viewing the world through the prism of his own ego. On the other, we have Mr. Biden, noted for a long record of political service unblemished by accomplishment, cognitively challenged, and possibly facing charges of corruption.
The media favour Mr. Biden. The mainstream media have, for the most part, studiously avoided any reference to the Hunter Biden emails, the claims of Tony Bobulinski, or the Biden glee in obtaining the dismissal of a Ukranian prosecutor who was investigating Burisma the company so enamoured of Hunter Bidens lack of qualifications that they paid him tens of thousands of dollars a month for certain magical qualities never clearly defined.
We understand we think why the media are so desperately biased. They know that Mr. Biden, whatever his baggage, is on the side of the angels: he will not question the ethos of the age.
That ethos has its roots in socialist ideals. A few moments of reflection will show that multiculturalism, affirmative action, identity politics indeed political correctness itself -- are expressions of egalitarian hope. Terms such as "diversity" and "inclusivity" assume that equality should be valued over merit or competence.
The emphasis is on virtue signalling rather than discovering where in the real world virtue actually lies. Thomas Sowell has described it as exchanging what works for what sounds good. Lately it has involved a renewed interest in socialism, and the rejection of anyone of historical significance for insufficient wokeness according to the superior standards of the present day.
Mr. Biden will not challenge any of this. Indeed, he seems mesmerized by the cobra of revolutionary fervour. He has announced that he intends to change "the course" of the country for generations to come. What this means we suppose is that he plans to follow the radical left element of the party towards the long-imagined crystal palace.
The mainstream media are already committed to the prevailing ethos. They prefer the prospect of a hopeful fantasy of its unlimited expansion, and report the news which favours it.
Despite Mr. Trumps flaws, we think he is the lesser of two evils. We think the prevailing ethos and its current aspirations will lead to the abyss. Equality is not in the blueprint of nature, and will not be found in living creatures. While there may be advantages to reducing inequalities a mindless determination in the pursuit of unattainable goals will not end well. Socialism is the perfect example. It has been comfortingly consistent: it promises equality, but delivers slavery.
Mr. Trumps election in 2016 was actually a response to Obamathought Mr Obama was an admirable expositor of the prevailing ethos.
Mr. Obama spent eight years years refuting the essence of American success its genius for entrepreneurship, its self-confidence, its belief in freedom of speech. His speech in Cairo assured the Muslim world that America had no better ideas about the conduct of society than anyone else. He said that American exceptionalism was just like British or French exceptionalism. He said of those who established businesses: "You didnt build that." He said the future should not belong to those who would slander the prophet suggesting that our birthright the concept of free speech should be sold for an oppressive mess of Islamic pottage. (A notion resoundingly echoed in Trudeaus infamous Motion M-103)
Mr. Trump more intuitive than intellectual -- has had the temerity to question the egalitarian ethos.* He has said America can be not equal but great. He has said some cultural values are incompatible with and better than -- others. He is willing to sacrifice harmony for freedom. He has a more realistic understanding of human nature than those who see socialism or globalism as viable solutions to the obdurate unpleasantness of the human condition.
In the end, you see, the world rewards merit and competence rather than mediocrity (a necessary concomitant of equality) and victimhood. Only in a perverse alternative universe would all creatures seek failure and death over survival and success.
Thus, we would favour Mr. Trump. The polls are divided and there is some reason to be skeptical about many of them. Trump supporters often do not wish to reveal themselves as not on the side of the registered angels. On the other hand, its a tough fight when the media overwhelmingly favour Mr. Trump's opponents, and fail to release relevant information.
We have to confess we would not be entirely displeased if Mr.
Biden should win. Our estimate of his chance of survival for more than a
few months is zero. He has already referred to himself as Kamala
Harriss running mate. If he is not found corrupt, he will be deemed
incompetent. Ms. Harris will be president. What will follow will be like
a gigantic train wreck. It will be the sort of horrifying accident too
awful to look at but too morbidly fascinating to allow averting ones
gaze even for a minute.
*It is perhaps ironic that his great flaw a kind of childish narcissism is the very quality that has allowed him to challenge the Established Verities.
|Asininities from the Asylum (September 19)
Those who seek to destroy the past are attempting to alter reality, they pretend that the present is rootless, exempt from causality. But the past is a guide to both the potential -- and the limitations --_ of human nature. A future conceived on the basis of wishful thinking is doomed: if you do not understand the cause of a problem, your solution will compound rather than cure. (Observation #1872)
There is more news in the "academic asylum" department.
We noted the other day that the University of Rhode Island had determined that murals depicting veterans in the second world war as white a not unreasonable portrayal of the general reality were not in keeping with the demands of modern day political correctness. Political correctness would require, of course, an analysis of the racial composition of American troops over the years of combat, and an accurate representation of those proportions in the murals. No doubt there would be one very tiny soldier with features suggesting an Asian/Native American mix, and another depicting an African/Oceanian conglomeration. The size of each would have to be carefully calculated.
In spite of the repeated protestations that skin colour is not something over which we should fuss Martin Luther Kings quaint idea that content of character should take precedence it turns out that skin colour is very important indeed.
Further proof of this is to be found in a decision of the University of Oklahoma. That particular asylum has recently removed a tribute wall dedicated to retired professors in the Political Science Department. It appears that the problem is that those professors were exclusively white. In todays world, of course, that is not something to which any University would wish attention be drawn. The fact that members of the faculty were white while true does not reflect well on the Universitys Diversity Encouragement Program in the past. Indeed, it might lead to the discovery that no such program even existed!
The Horror! The Horror!
There seems to be a significant desire currently -- to pretend that the past never happened. It reminds us of Big Brothers policy in 1984. History was changed constantly according his whims. This had the effect of removing historical guideposts of leaving the populace unrooted and uncertain to make them more easily accept whatever new reality no matter how absurd that Big Brother might wish to proclaim.
The Big Brothers of today would appear to have the same motive.
The past is a reality which does not match our expectations of it. It suggests perhaps some truths about human nature which we would rather not acknowledge. The thinking appears to be that if we can alter the past to match our preferences we will be more successful in achieving the future no matter how absurd that we would like to imagine.
Sorry folks. It aint gonna happen.
That is because the future which many like to imagine is a future of equality. It is a future of "diversity" and "inclusivity" -- the oh-so cute offspring of equality and political correctness. It is a future of multiculturalism and globalism. It is a future free of tribalism and competition. It is a future on the Big Rock Candy Mountain with its cigarette trees, free lunches, and ubiquitous unicorn farms.
Alas! The future is not egalitarian -- equality is not in the blueprint of human nature. The kids will be seen for what they are -- inconsistent with achievement and competence. Tribalism is in our genes -- and world government by unelected experts is a non-starter. The Big Rock Candy Mountain is a song of hobo fantasy popularized by Burl Ives.
We must digress to explain.
|There is a reason that Jewish people have been awarded
disproportionate numbers of Nobel prizes. There is a reason that: "All
the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College,
Cambridge."* There is a reason that the United States has been the most
powerful and successful country in the world.
None of this has anything to do with whiteness, brownness. blackness, purpleness, or any other skin hue. It has to do with culture. The fact that success may be associated with a skin colour does not prove a necessary causation.
We do not wish to minimize the difficulties. Because skin colour and culture are often correlated it is natural to assume causation --and skin colour may become practical shorthand term for culture. And if you have a particular skin colour you will naturally be inclined to adopt the culture of the community you live in. The hope lies in the fact that skin colour need not be an absolute and necessary determinant of culture. Skin colour is fixed; culture can be chosen.
The difficulties being admitted those with different skin colours who complain of their relative lack of success should attempt to determine the true cause. Is it skin colour or cultural disparity that is the greater cause? Is it likely that adopting the values of the predominant culture in which you are immersed will lead to a better outcome? Those who pretend that there is no significant difference of culture in a large segment of the black population in the United States and that of the predominant culture of white people well they are ignoring reality. Those who refuse to face reality allow it o stab them in the back.
The true cause of antipathy among different groups which does exist -- and may be reflexive will be found to have a cultural root.** As cultural disparities recede so will discrimination.
With respect to immigration the attempt to mix cultures with different values often antithetical values will not be a success.
Now -- amid the anguish of inequality -- how is it possible to attain the "respect" that people of all cultural groups want?
While it is true that we like to think respect is accorded to human beings because of their mere existence their humanity the idea of "basic human dignity" seems a worthwhile concept that amount is not excessive. The fact that we may have "basic human dignity" does not make us equal. It does not mean that we will be equally respected.***
It is also true that respect is accorded to power. That may not be the most flattering aspect of the human condition but it explains much about our species. And often the respect for power is bogus it is commanded not freely given.
Most importantly, in the real world, uncoerced respect is accorded to accomplishment. What have you achieved or created? What contribution have you made to your neighbours, your society, or to the human project? Do your complaints seem to imply a path to resolution or merely to disruption and chaos?
We do not wish to minimize the injustices which arise from cultural disparities. Reflexive police racism must be expunged. But those who think that they will find success in proclaiming their victimhood are mistaken. The world doesn't work that way. They are appealing for pity, not respect. The answer to achieving respect lies in accomplishment -- or at least evidence of effort towards some worthy goal. Thats what makes black, white, brown, or purple lives matter.
Universities which assume that "altering" the past in order to create a platform for an idealistic egalitarian future are confusing platforms with sinkholes. They espouse the asininities of asylums.
** It would be foolish not to accept that there is a reflexive tribal suspicion of strangers -- but this can be overcome.
*** "Human Dignity" is the basis of the "open borders" argument of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. We think she is deluded. (Breitbart News, September 18)
Post Script: We have assumed that racial genetic differences in intelligence do not exist. If they do, the problem of "racism" is more difficult than we would like to contemplate.
|Academic Insanity (September 17)
The distinction between the university and the asylum is rapidly being eroded. Increasingly, the Universities seem to be remarkable for the nuttiness of their professors and the absurdity of their policies rather than for any contributions to human knowledge.
We have learned, for instance, that a professor, at Iowa State University, Chloe Clark, has attempted to forbid students from criticizing abortion, Black Lives Matter, or gay marriage. Doing so ensures removal from her class.
In other words, Ms Clark assumes her viewpoints are the only correct ones. As is typical with those on the left, she believes herself to be on the side of the angels, and is entirely justified in making pacts with the devil: suppressing free speech.
Now, it is generally believed that slavery, cannibalism, and human sacrifice to the Gods are bad ideas. But no professor would declare them to be matters beyond discussion. The very fact that abortion, gay marriage, and Black Lives Matter are banned by a professor shows that they are controversial no general societal conclusion about them has yet been reached.
We happen to agree with abortion, and believe that gay marriage should only be rescinded on the basis of evidence. Black Lives Matter, however, we believe to be somewhat disingenuous. It does not appear to seek resolution of difficulties, but a revolution based on Marxist principles. By focussing on skin colour, it reinforces the idea that skin colour matters, and refutes the position of Martin Luther King Jr. that people should be judged according to the content of their character.
But controversial opinions become validated or refuted by discussion and evidence.
Attempting to shut people up on matters of controversy is likely to be counter-productive. As Samuel Butler noted in the 17th Century:
He that complies against his will,
We are pleased to report that Ms Clarks attempt at coercion was foiled by the university, although Ryan Hurley, president of Iowa State College Republicans has observed that such enforcement of leftish opinions is not uncommon, and Ms. Clark might have remained unperturbed in her fascism, had not the matter received media attention.
Our second example of academic insanity concerns the University of Rhode Island. The halls of that institution the degree of hallowedness seems uncertain have contained murals depicting scenes meant to memorialize veterans of World War II.
What has been harmless for seven decades is now seen as a threat. No, its not a threat to peace, order, or good government nor anything tangible, as a matter of fact. As is so often the case in the modern era the most vulnerable of elements high up on the endangered species list are the feelings of those seeking to be offended.
This is so bizarre that it cannot be parodied!
Kathy Collins, the University of Rhode Islands Vice President of Student Affairs, said that she has received numerous complaints from students about the murals lack of diversity.
"I have received complaints about the murals that portray a very homogeneous population predominately the persons painted and depicted on the wall are predominantly white and that does not represent who our institution is today," Collins said. "Some of our students have even shared with us they didnt feel comfortable sitting in that space."
The principle appears to be Orwellian. History should change to suit the temper of the times the sensibilities of the Big Brother currently ascendant. If the University of Rhode Island is currently a happy kaleidoscope of diversity we need not be reminded that predominantly white people fought against genocidal insanity in World War II.
Perhaps the murals will be repainted with the politically correct alterations.
Perhaps Kathy Collins will retire to a welcoming ash heap of incompetence and stupidity.
Perhaps the University of Rhode Island will be seen for what it is a pit of political correctness an institution steeped in the murky bathwater of its own smug self-regard. Perhaps students will stay away in droves.
But we suspect not.
|Global multiculturalism: Clasping the Cornucopia of cozy
Bonhomie (August 16)
It is the current fashion to suppress the truth in favour of harmony. Such bargains usually end with the Devil unscathed and everything else in flames. Observation #1818.
In the trying times of the current pandemic we can at least take solace in the fact that the world is gradually moving to a wonderful world of global multiculturalism or multicultural globalism whichever gets higher marks for euphony.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that cultural harmony is not only the solution to the problems of mankind but that it is easily achievable by instituting the benign principles of political correctness. It is well understood that by refraining from the hurting of feelings, humankind will gradually become chummy and cheerful -- universal goodwill will meld with cozy bonhomie and sweetness and light will reign unopposed for the foreseeable future. Guns will be melted down to build tractors, and bullets will be fashioned into bracelets.
We understand that the Democrats in the United States are in favour of open borders and see no point in the ancient invidious distinction between "legal and "illegal" immigrants. They also approve the helpful idea of "defunding" police forces taking money away from those enforcing unnecessary laws, and giving it to those who are engaged in community outreach programs.
Here in Canada, Mr. Trudeau has been observed quite correctly to oppose the labelling of honour killings as "barbaric." He has had the enormous perspicacity to realize that there is a contingent of immigrants for whom honour killings are redolent of the good old days; there is no point in suggesting that warm and fuzzy memories of the occasional judicious domestic slaughter should bear the shadow of a persnickety and squeamish disapproval by those claiming "modern" sensibilities.
His government also took the wise step of suggesting through Motion M-103 that "Islamophobia" is akin to a hate crime. Even local politicians have agreed -- like Toronto mayor John Tory -- who has said that "Islamophobia" has no place in Toronto the Good. The legislating of emotions of citizens seems eminently doable and we eagerly anticipate the mandating of both universal goodwill and cozy bonhomie. Indeed, we cannot understand why this obvious next step is taking so long.
Of course, the path to the Big Rock Candy Mountain cannot be all smooth.
|We note that just recently, a teenager in Peshawar, Pakistan,
Faisal Khan, 15, shot and killed Tahir Naseem, 57 as Naseem was in court
standing trial on a charge of "denigrating the Koran and the Prophet
Muhammad." Mr. Khan miraculously made his way past three security
checkpoints, doubtless manned by those chosen for their visual acuity.
Although he has been arrested for murder, public sentiment is strongly
in his favour. It has been noted that while nobody has been executed
for blasphemy in Pakistan blasphemers are often killed by crowds and
It is said that lawyers have been "lining up" to defend him and a photo was taken of Mr. Khan and his arresting guards in a state of smiling and cozy bonhomie.
And again quite recently a musician in Kano, Nigeria -- 22-year-old Yahaya Sharif was sentenced to be hanged for blasphemy against Muhammad. Mr. Sharif had written a song which praised an imam from the Tijaniya Muslim brotherhood the singers Islamic sect. The ditty had the unfortunate effect of exalting the imam above Muhammad. It was a hierarchical error with deadly implications.
When Mr. Sharifs song became noticed, an angry mob gathered outside his family home and burned it down. He was subsequently arrested.
Such incidents reflect some lingering cultural bumps in the road to multicultural globalism and cozy bonhomie. We are not, however, unduly dismayed. With increasing flexibility of cultural attitudes in countries like the United States and Canada, it seems likely that such minor differences can be easily smoothed over.
It would appear there is considerably more intransigency in cultural matters in countries such as Pakistan and Nigeria; therefore, it would seem prudent for western countries to institute laws forbidding blasphemy against Islam. Since Canada seems in the forefront of such initiatives as suggested by Motion M-103 it would seem reasonable for this country to take the next bold move. There can surely be no objection to the adoption of laws permitting honour killings where family honour has been clearly compromised.
We should not despair. Global multiculturalism the Big Rock Candy Mountain of universal brotherhood is not a distant dream but an attainable reality. It simply requires the compassionate commitment of the flexibly tolerant.
|Some Notes on being Transgendered
(A comment on political correctness.) (July 16, 2020)
Well in fact we are not transgendered at all. We have been quite satisfied with the gender we were born with. We have never, even momentarily, thought the grass might be greener on the other side of the gender fence. We have been quite happy to munch away in our own designated male meadow. Indeed, we are happy that we have not had to deal with the perception that we are someone quite different from what our appearance suggests. Life presents a sufficiency of other difficulties. Being transgendered is one that we are glad we have avoided.
Some, of course, would argue that the fact we are not transgendered means that we have no right to express any opinion about the phenomenon.
In fact that is exactly why we are writing about it. We have just engaged in a discussion with someone who has expressed the politically correct argument that a white man has no right to criticise Black Lives Matter. The thinking goes like this: The experience of the white man in a predominantly white society is radically different from that of a black man. Because he lacks the lived experience of the black man, all the white man can do is keep his mouth shut and support Black Lives Matter.
We think, of course, this is absolute rubbish. While it is true that our experiences shape our viewpoints, that does not mean we can have no insight into the experiences of others. It does not mean that we have to accept the conclusions of others simply because we have not had their experiences. The way people "feel" while important is not the final arbiter of truth, or the final justification for behaviour.
Of course that is what the tenets of the new religion political correctness require. Because everyone must have an equality of self-esteem nobodys feelings should be hurt. Facts that might be hurtful must be ignored. Feelings are paramount and must be soothed at all costs.
In our discussion, we used the example of Job who having experienced unimaginable suffering is now at home, resting comfortably. He has also decided to travel to Ottawa where Parliament is in session. With some strategically placed explosive devices, he plans to blow up the appropriate building and all its occupants. He asks a politically correct friend to assist him in the placing and detonation of the devices. The friend, knowing he can have no proper perception of Jobs suffering, wishing to show his non-judgmental compassion -- reluctant to tell Job he has lost his marbles readily agrees.
|The idea that particular groups whose members have particular
feelings must be accommodated without question is clearly absurd. Such
an approach ensures that groups will like Leacocks Lord Ronald --
fling themselves upon their disparate horses and ride madly off in all
It is not a recipe for unity and common understanding. It is a recipe for disaster.
If, as it appears, Black Lives Matter has no interest in resolving problems of cultural differences, but has a radical agenda of destroying capitalism and instituting a socialist Paradise, then keeping one's mouth shut and sending in donations is not helpful to the common good.
Now the matter of being transgendered.
We are quite willing to accept that some people are utterly convinced that their psychological make-up is male rather than female. We will even accept that their psychological make-up is male rather than female.
What we object to is the statement: "Not all boys have penises."
We understand why the politically correct wish us to accept this statement. They wish to affirm that "boys" born as females are exactly the same as "boys" born as males. They are anxious to affirm an equality of the situations.
As we have already argued elsewhere political correctness is a sentimentalization of reality. In this instance the desire is to assure "boys" born as females that they are exactly the same as i.e. equal to -- "boys" born as males.
Our objection is a plea for objectivity a recognition of fact rather than a spineless deference to feelings. One significant factual difference between a "boy" born as a female, and a "boy" born as a male is that one has a penis the other does not. One "boy" can proceed to being considered male without engendering a process of cutting and constructing the other cannot.
The refusal to accept facts the requirement that lipstick be applied to every snout of truth -- is a sort of Orwellian threat to our collective sanity. In 1984 words were lost and history changed. The aim was to make citizens unsure of their reality. Thus they could be more easily convinced of virtually anything. Sometimes Big Brother held up five fingers but sometimes it was only three. The number was not an objective reality it was variable dependent entirely on the whim of Big Brother.
That is the world suggested by the statement: "Not all boys have penises."
|Signs of the Times (July 10,
"Power is never relinquished except under delusion or necessity"
Yes we made that up a few years ago. It seemed to have the ring of truth to it.
If here is anything to it it follows that those who have power those who govern have a natural interest in retaining it. In fact, it is our theory that the "default" form of government is dictatorship. We infer this from the behaviour of social animals, from the long history of monarchy in human societies, and from the persistence of dictatorships into modern times.
The disadvantage of dictatorship in human societies is that absolute power as Lord Acton noted corrupts absolutely. Ordinary people become cogs in the machine designed to achieve the ends of the dictator.
The great triumph of democracy is that it provides a mechanism for interrupting the exercise of power. The will of the governors is required to give way in some measure to the will of the people on a consistent basis.
When China took over Hong Kong in 1997, we did not believe for a minute that the Chinese had any intention of allowing democratic traditions to persist. Once Xi Jinping became "president for life" in 2018 it did not require any special skill in the reading of political entrails to realize that Hong Kong was an unacceptable anomaly. You cant have democracy and dictatorship pretending to be contented elements in a mutual admiration society
The new National Security Law recently imposed is having immediate effects:
Chinas state-run Global Times reported approvingly on Thursday that Hong Kong has been forced to suppress countless movies, television shows, books, and online posts that could violate the new security law imposed by Beijing because the material could be judged to "threaten" Communist China, and those who display or sell the "threatening" material could be held legally liable.
|Censorship is accelerating rapidly in Hong Kong, both by
direct command of the authorities and by frightened educators,
booksellers, and other media providers fearful that they will be
prosecuted under Beijings national security law for spreading
"subversive" material. (Breitbart News, July 10)
It would appear that the Chinese government will be able to control tech giants such as Google through fines, the ability to imprison their Hong Kong employees, and the seizure of hardware.
It is worth noting that advances in technology have made the nightmare of George Orwells dystopian vision more easily achievable.
Facial recognition technology has ensured that Big Brother is usually watching and the social credit system can be invoked to control behaviour. If jaywalking results in problems getting a mortgage or purchasing an airline ticket people will obey the traffic lights.
It is an interesting experiment in transforming a human society into an ant colony. It will no doubt be exhilarating for the queen bees and their special entourages. Not so much for the workers.
Hong Kong will be as we suspected transformed.
In a completely unrelated matter, we note that the North American Scrabble Players Association announced it is removing more than 236 words from the official list of words eligible for scoring in the game.
The list has not been provided but it appears to relate to the urgent need to take action on issues of "diversity and inclusivity." The toy company Hasboro, which has the rights to Scrabble, has agreed to change the rules of the game "to make clear that slurs are not permissible."
|The Tolerance Trap
(May 3, 2020)
The desire to appear broad-minded is vulnerable to the "Tolerance Trap." The more generously broad-minded you wish to appear, the more outlandish, absurd -- and even immoral -- are the people and ideologies of which you must approve. (Observation #1845)
We must suppose the desire to signal piety is a part of the social contract we wish to assure other members of the tribe that we worship the correct Gods and are worthy of the trust and admiration of our peers. In earlier times, perhaps piety was signalled with attendance at church or an especially enthusiastic cheering at a witch-burning.
Today, the worship of Gods is less important. Science has made significant inroads on religious claims to knowledge. But the desire to signal virtue remains. The new religion, of course, is none other than political correctness and perhaps it is not surprising that the signalling of virtue is frequently found among politicians.
At the heart of political correctness is the idea of equality everyone is equally worthy of respect and self-esteem. The only crime is to say that some things are better than others. If you can avoid that error, you are just as good if not better than anybody else. For politicians its a no-brainer. You can proclaim equality, assure everyone that your moral compass is in fine working order and shore up your chances of re-election.
Our favourite example of the Tolerance Trap which we have mentioned perhaps more often than is consistent with strict impartiality is Mr. Trudeaus outrage that honour killings would be termed "barbaric." Overlooking the awkwardness of the accuracy of the term, and considering the use of the word "barbaric" to reflect greater sin than the practice of honour killings itself, he said that the term was "unacceptable" because it might make immigrants feel "defensive." In doing so he revealed that he had let slip his moral compass into that abyss -- that dark realm called stupidity.
The latest example we have encountered -- while not as egregious -- similarly reflects a failure to consider the implications of signalling virtue.
We have learned that Sir Edward Davey, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom, has announced that he is fasting "in solidarity with Muslims" during the holy month of Ramadan.
We are certain that Sir Daveys motives are pure. He wishes to signal his compassion and tolerance his broad-minded acceptance of a religious minority.
But it is interesting that he has not chosen the Jewish, Hindu, Zoroastrian, or Druid minorities. It is important to signal his virtue with respect to Muslims. That is because, of course, Islam is a particularly difficult religion -- associated with terrorism Sharia Law, and a dogmatism that is at odds with the values of free societies.
Thus, it would appear that Sir Davey has fallen into the same "Tolerance Trap" which engulfed Mr. Trudeau.
The difficulty faced by virtue-signallers is that they will not receive the acclaim and admiration they seek by approving of motherhood, healthy salads, or hand washing in times of pandemic.
In order to signal broad-mindedness, you need to accept things over which there is some controversy.
Now we are not saying that Muslims are reprehensible people. But we do think it is fair to say that their religion in its theory and very often in its practice is incompatible with western values. Whole countries which proclaim their theocratic Islamic nature are places where most westerners would not willingly choose to live. The best kind of Islam, it would appear, is the Islam which is "more honoured in the breach than in the observance."
Iran hangs gays. Saudi Arabia oppresses women. Pakistan has the death penalty for blasphemy. How enlightened!
In the news recently, Ali Muhammad Khan, Pakistans Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs has called for the beheading of blasphemers, saying:" Beheading is the only punishment for those who mock the Prophet Muhammad." (Breitbart News, May 1)
Islam, in general, does not recognize the crucial element in western democracies -- the separation of church and state. In 2003 the European Court of Human Rights declared that Sharia Law was incompatible with human rights.*
To put it mildly, although millions of Muslims live perfectly respectable lives their religion is problematic. The religion is based on certain texts but there is no central interpretive authority which can define a kind of Islam which is compatible with western values.
In the absence of that clear definition, we think expressing "solidarity with Muslims" is imprudent. Does Sir Davey have solidarity with the notion that women should be repressed, gays should be hanged, and blasphemers be beheaded?
Of course not. But just like Mr. Trudeau he should consider the implications of his virtue-signalling. He, too, has fallen into the Tolerance Trap. By trying to express his broad-mindedness, he has symbolically approved of a set of ideas which are not consistent with the values he holds.
The underlying problem is with the new religion -- political correctness. In the real world, things are not equal. Some things are better than others. A failure to recognize this signals not virtue, but stupidity.
*More recently it appears to be wavering. They were right in 2003.
|The Indigenous Blockades
(February 25, 2020)
We note that one of the rail blockades the one near Belleville has been dismantled.
The removal was effected with no loss of life, injuries, or excessive fuss. Thus we are led to wonder why it took nearly three weeks to accomplish. Surely, if the protestors had been arrested on the first day, there would have been fewer of them, and others contemplating similar actions might have been deterred. There would have been less time for professional protesters the ones in favour of destroying industrial civilization to gather and lend credence to the absurdity. The damage to the Canadian economy would have been minimal.
Perhaps there is an unwritten rule of Canadian politics: "When indigenous people protest, do not treat them like ordinary citizens. Treat them with special care and respect since reconciliation-- and assuagement of guilt over the failed residential school system -- are of utmost importance to the Canadian way of life."
The relationship between indigenous people and the rest of Canada is a complete mess but we are not convinced that pleasant fantasies are the answer.
We struggle with the concept of lots of little "nations" existing within the larger nation. That is especially true when some portion of those nations expect to have all the conveniences of a modern economy while opposing the economic realities which make the conveniences possible. If you want cars and computers, perhaps you have to have pipelines.
The idea of small "independent" nations being utterly dependent on the larger one to pay the bills while expressing an antithetical cultural vision seems manifestly absurd and utterly unworkable.
Finally while we must credit indigenous people with selling the myth that they have always been a virtuous, peace-loving people, living in harmony with nature we must criticize others for buying it. Brother Rabbit did not, obligingly, hop into the boiling pot; Brother Beaver did not willingly impale himself on a sharpened stump; and Brother Bear did not lead them to the honey hives. There has been no human society untouched by war and cruelty. If the indigenous people are really in tune with the natural world, then surely they cannot ignore one of its chief imperatives: adapt or die. You cannot live in the past in uneconomic locations -- and claim the advantages of the present which accrue to those in different locations living a different lifestyle.
|The Canadian impulse appears to be to favour fantasy. The reserve
system based on a socialist/ communist model has not worked thus far
-- but, it is imagined -- perhaps it will in the future. It was Einstein
who gave the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over,
expecting a different result.
What is needed of course is the development of a roadmap to self-sufficiency. Indigenous "nations" may be self-sufficient but they will have to accept a hierarchy of power which does not give them a veto over the well-being of the Canadian economy.
In the mention of fantasy, we are led, inevitably to the rτle of Mr. Trudeau in our present troubles.
It would appear that, whenever Mr. Trudeau is faced with the choice between reality and a virtue-signalling fantasy he chooses the fantasy every time.
Thus, rather than admitting that some cultural practices such as honour killings are dangerous and destructive Mr. Trudeau will refuse to condemn them preserving the fantasy of unalloyed immigrant virtue.
Rather than recognizing the importance of freedom of speech in western democracies, Mr. Trudeau with Motion M-103 supports the fantasy that the Islamic notion of laws against blasphemy is a valid replacement and that the exchange will lead to cultural harmony.
Mr. Trudeau has not questioned the unproven theory of anthropogenic global warming nor has he recognized the reality that even if the theory were true, Canada could turn out the lights and starve in the dark but the effect on global temperatures would be infinitesimal. He would rather preserve the fantasies that mankind can turn the knob which controls global temperatures and that the need for fossil fuels can be wished away with the tilt of a solar panel, and the swish of a windmill blade.
Similarly, he believes that harmony with indigenous people will not come from realistic moves to self-sufficiency but through pandering and appeasement. He refused to enforce the provisions of the First Nations Transparency Act which was an attempt to require native bands to observe ordinary principles of expense disclosure. He could have called for an end to the blockades had the police failed to act on the first day on the second day. He chose not to.
The recent Teck cancellation of an oil sands project sends an unambiguous message: Canada is too unstable for those wishing to invest safely. It is a country in disarray -- disrupted by fantasies.
The ideal is the enemy of the possible. The determined attempt to achieve the imaginary rewards of an ideal world will preclude the attainment of real benefits in the imperfect one. Sometimes mere stupidity is as dangerous as deliberate evil. Mr. Trudeaus consistent failure to recognize the demands of reality, clearly places Canada on the path to disintegration and failure.
|The Awkwardness of "Tolerance"
(January 18, 2020)
The term "tolerance" is one of those weasel words which seems designed to mislead. It provokes an immediate positive response we think of tolerance as a virtue which helps us all get along together. People like to describe themselves as "tolerant" kindly beings with a God-like ability to love an often flawed humankind.
To be intolerant is not at all God-like. It is to be judgmental, self-centred and unkind.
But reflex responses are not always to be trusted. Tolerance, in fact, is not a virtue it is an attitude. It can be a virtue but that depends on its direction. It can be viewed as an empathetic sensitivity, a foolish appeasement, or an enablement of evil.
If tolerance allows you to see through the superficial differences among people, and respond to the common humanity beneath that is a virtue. But tolerating the school yard bully by giving him your lunch money will not likely end well; and few would argue that tolerating honour killings or drive-by shootings is likely to improve the lot of mankind.
Indeed, the great flaw at the heart of tolerance the very readiness of acceptance it implies means that it is vulnerable to the error of gullibility. Like every virtue carried too far it becomes, almost seamlessly a vice.
G.K. Chestertons famous remark was that: "Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions."
If you are constantly striving to be "tolerant" you are inclined to be asleep at the switch when you encounter something which contradicts an important principle which represents -- lets use that delightful, old-fashioned term -- evil. In that regard, tolerance is very similar to political correctness. Tolerance supports the famous politically correct principle of putting protection of feelings ahead of recognition of evil. Infinite tolerance ignores facts and favours feelings.
The interplay can be seen in current worship of equality. In the wonderful Big Rock Candy World of Left-Wingery pretty much everything is equal to everything else. People, cultures and religions are equally worthy and none of them should be criticized. "Hurt Feelings" is the greatest sin and tolerance is the greatest virtue.
But as we have pointed out tolerance is not the greatest virtue. Sometimes it is and sometimes it is not. It confuses with benign appearance and potential danger.
How can this awkwardness be resolved? The answer is clear we need to be able to distinguish between virtuous tolerance and the gullible mindless tolerance that simply refuses to see evil.
We need a new term to describe the "tolerance" that is stupid, wrong-headed, and a precursor to disaster.
Let there be no doubt about the relationship between tolerance and disaster. The determination to be infinitely tolerant has a paradoxical effect. Infinite tolerance requires that evil be ignored but that creates new enemies. Those who insist that evil exists or that value judgments must limit the scope of tolerance they do not fit the "preferred narrative" and are simply not tolerated. The virtue of tolerance leads to the vice of intolerance.
This explains why those on the left cannot abide conservatives they refuse to let them speak, label them as "racists," and call them "intolerant." Their desire for infinite "tolerance" has led to absolute intolerance of any more realistic view of the human condition.
We believe, however, that a solution is at hand. Out of our great concern for the humane continuance of the human project from our overwhelming desire to avoid confusion and assist in improving the clarity of thought necessary to deal with reality we have coined the necessary terms. Foolish tolerance should be labelled "tolernuts."
And those invariably on the left who are guilty of embracing, exhibiting, or exemplifying tolernuts should be given the designation, "tolernazis."
We cannot refrain, at this point, from giving our favourite example of tolernazi. It is, of course, the intolerable Justin Trudeau who infamously said that honour killings should not be termed "barbaric." To do so he argued might offend immigrants logically the immigrants who think that honour killings are a handy resource in times of family honour crises.
See the logic. Mr. Trudeau, believing in the equality of cultures, wishes to be infinitely tolerant show tolernuts. That means he must accept immigrants who believe in honour killings. That means he must not hurt their feelings by allowing anyone to refer to honour killings as "barbaric." Thus he is intolerant of those who would recognize evil and would call honour killings "barbaric."
The unintended consequence is that the evil of honour killings gets a free pass. Tolerance in this case properly called tolernuts -- is an enabler of evil.
The adoption of the terms "tolernuts" and "tolernazi" should help stop the confusion about the true nature of "tolerance," and remove the leftist claim that they have the moral advantage implied by the term.
|The Soleimani Affair (January 10)
Just as a flash of lightning briefly illuminates a darkened plain, so the strike against Qasem Soleimani has thrown into relief the political landscape in the United States.
Iran is an Islamic theocracy with the avowed purpose of destroying Israel, and a marked fondness for repeating the mantra "Death to America." It is widely recognized as an instigator and supporter of terrorism, and is infamous for hanging gays and imprisoning people who die, prematurely, in custody.
We recall seeing a television documentary a year or so ago and being struck by the responses of Iranian citizens who were interviewed. The majority of those interviewed prefaced their remarks by referring first to the opinion of their leader. It was as if they had no power of independent thought at all all their thoughts were pre-packaged and approved. It is a country hypnotized. Or terrified.*
Mr. Soleimani, their top general, was killed, apparently, because of the discovery of plans to attack U.S. targets. There is a good possibility that the strike was also a retaliation for the death of an American contractor at an Iraqi military base, or protests at the US Embassy in Baghdad -- and hence a warning.
It should be noted that President Obama negotiated an agreement with Iran which ensured that they would move only slowly towards the development of nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of economic sanctions and a planeload of cash.
It appeared to us at the time as a foolish appeasement and a reflection of Mr. Obamas failure to face reality. Those on the left are congenitally optimistic and seem to have great difficulty in recognizing the existence of evil. They seem to assume that unpleasant facts once ignored will quietly disappear.
Thus, perhaps it is not surprising that the Democratic establishment is less than pleased at the death of Mr. Soleimani. In their fantasy world, Iran is nothing more than your average hard-working country, just minding is own unexceptional business, and trying to get along. They seem to inhabit occupy some peculiar moral dystopia.
Ms Pelosi, for example, who said, in 2011, that Mr. Obama did not need congressional authorization to use force in Libya, has claimed that the use of force is "disproportionate." In saying that it is "disproportionate" a technical term which suggests the violation of international humanitarian law she presents the spectacle of the Speaker of the House implying that the President is guilty of war crimes.
She has also likened the killing of Soleimani to an assassination of a U.S. Vice-President suggesting a kind of moral equivalence between Iran and the United States.
In her view, then, Iran is quite justified in pursuing terrorist activities attempting to stop them is not good but evil because it might invite retaliation:
This action endangered our service members, diplomats and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran. (Breitbart News, January 9)
She has also managed to pass a symbolic War Powers measure which has the aim of restraining Mr. Trumps powers in responding to Iranian aggression. As a "concurrent resolution" it will not get to the point of being vetoed by the president -- but it reveals the Democratic mind set.
Another Democrat, Pramila Jayapal, accused Trump of recklessness: "President Trump recklessly assassinated Qasem Soleimani." (Breitbart, January 9)
It is also worth noting that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren participated in a "strategy call" with members of the National Iranian American Council a pro-Iran advocacy group. Their loyalties appear to be "divided."
Perhaps it is worth mentioning a couple of lesser useful idiots. Rose McGowan an actress tweeted:
"Dear #Iran, The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people. 52% of us humbly apologize. We want peace with your nation. We are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us."
And a professor at Babson College, Asheen Phansey, made a Facebook post encouraging Iran to list 52 American cultural sites they would consider bombing.
Then, finally, there is a television anchor -- Chris Mathews -- who mused on the similarity among Soleimani, and those well-known terrorists, Princess Diana, and Elvis Presley:
When some people die, you dont know what the impact is going to be. When Princess Diana died, for example, there was a huge emotional outpouring -- Elvis Presley in our culture. It turns out that this general we killed was a beloved hero of the Iranian people to the point where look at the people, we got pictures up now, these enormous crowds coming out. Theres no American emotion in this case, but theres a hell of a lot of emotion on the other side. (Breitbart News, January 9)
Mr. Matthews is a wonderful exemplar of the politically correct mind-set: judgment is not to be based on facts but on feelings. If the Iranian people had an emotional outpouring that puts Soleimani in the same moral universe as Princess Diana.
What the lightning strike has revealed is the extent of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Many Democrats put hating Mr. Trump over the defence of their country.
When the Derangement is so powerful and ingrained, it seems
reasonable to question whether a complete discharge from the asylum will
ever be possible.
*Recent demonstrations against the regime have revealed a capacity for criticism.