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Dr. Dreimer's Diary, 1st H, 2019
2nd H, 2018
1st H, 2018
4th Q, 2017
3rd Q, 2017
2nd Q, 2017
1st Q, 2017
4th Q, 2016
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. Dreimers 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. Dreimers own life.
The diary is, in fact, a commentary on events in the news.
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September 8 Diary -- More
Harry Potter! Fewer Exorcists!
September 8, 2019
We assume that the competitive Instinct is at the Heart of Human Nature. Without Competition as we are fond of observing the World would currently be populated entirely by single-celled Organisms. The original Organisms having signed a binding Treaty of Equality would have been content to remain as they were and the Multiplicity of Life Forms we see Today would not exist.
Thus, we are not entirely surprised to see that a Catholic School in Nashville has decided to remove the Harry Potter Books from its Library. The School, St. Edward Catholic School, has acted on the Advice of "several Catholic exorcists." (Breitbart News, September 2)
Its easy to see where the competitive Instinct is at Play.
Here we have the Harry Potter Books widely read and made into successful Movies. And there we have the Catholic Church once telling Galileo what to think, burning fantastical Witches now faced with rising Skepticism and declining Attendance.
Harry Potter and the Exorcists are in the same Business Fantasy. Harry Potter is just for Fun and while the Exorcists take the Devil seriously there is no more Proof of his Existence than there is for God.
The Schools Pastor gave his Reasoning in an Email:
These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception. The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.
We think that Reality is sufficiently unaccommodating to justify an occasional Escape into Illusion. How pleasant to think that we can ignore the pedestrian Laws of Cause and Effect wave a Magic Wand and accomplish whatever it is we desire. Most of Literature represents just such an Escape into Worlds that are like our own but more interesting, thrilling, or satisfying than the real one.
But taking an imaginary World seriously seems ludicrous an Anachronism in the modern Age.
Of course, perhaps it suggests a great underlying Paradox of the human Condition we are driven by Ideals to improve the World but the Attempt to hold the real World to the Standards of the Ideal is not constructive. Whether the ideal is Religion, Socialism, or Political Correctness too determined a Pursuit has certain predictable Outcomes: Oppression, Absurdity, or both.
Religion has traditionally resulted in Oppression: human Sacrifice to the Gods -- the Evils of the Inquisition -- Sharia Law. It has also resulted in Absurdities like Exorcists or the Claim that a loving God would put on the Circus Spectacle -- the Crucifixion of his Son -- in order to "save mankind."
Socialism invariably aims for Equality but must denigrate Merit and restrict Freedom. It is invariably absurd because the aim for Equality always involves the Assumption that an Elite will construct an "egalitarian" Plan for the lesser Animals. It moves from Brotherhood to Dictatorship, and ends in Misery.
Political Correctness, which holds that no one should experience hurt Feelings similarly suppresses Truth and the Freedom to proclaim it in order to protect Self-Esteem. It reaches absurd Levels when the Remark "I love your new shoes" becomes an Insult and when "Safe Spaces" are defended as a Protection of diverse Viewpoints.
Ideals are for Inspiration. The Attempt to put them into Practice will devolve to Oppression, evolve to Absurdity.
More Harry Potter! Fewer Exorcists!
June 17, 2019
We wrote recently about the chief Pooh-Bah of Education in New York City, Richard Caranza.* Mr. Caranza appears to have hopped on a popular Bandwagon the one which is emblazoned with the Terms "Group Identity Forever" on one Side, and "If Western Civilization isnt Dead, it Should Be" on the other. The Destination identified on the Front -- is "Mediocrity or Bust."
Mr. Caranza has been arguing that "objectivity," "individuality" and "competition" are evil aspects of "white supremacy." By Inference, Mr. Caranza is in favour of "subjectivity," "group identity," and "lackadaisicality." In other Words, he rejects the Elements associated with Success, and welcomes those which seem guaranteed to lead to Mediocrity and Failure.
We have sometimes wondered whether those who express Loathing for the Values which have led to the Success of Western Civilization especially those who appear to have benefited to a not inconsiderable Degree from its Principles are genuinely stupid or merely cunning Opportunists. We imagine that there are always considerable Numbers of People less concerned with Principle and more concerned with raising a wet Finger to the Wind, in order to observe its Direction. Once that Direction has been determined, they hasten along, with the Wind at their Backs.
We have now learned that Mr. Caranza has been accused of "breaking
the rules" in order to provide lucrative Jobs for his Friends. It has
been claimed that he gave "six figure" Positions to two Women he had
encountered earlier in his Career expediting the Process and ignoring
other Candidates. Breitbart News (June 10), also reports that Mr.
Caranza is facing a ninety million Dollar Lawsuit for "anti-white
Discrimination" shown by his Office. It is also claimed that an
Advertisement was made for "teachers of color" in Violation of New York
City Human Rights Law.
It would appear that Mr. Caranzas Philosophy can be characterized as "flexible." He is certainly in favour of "Subjectivity" rather than "Objectivity." He follows his own Rules not those currently in Place. And while "white Supremacy" is to be deplored "colour Supremacy" is a worthy Goal. It all sounds less lackadaisical than competitive.
It will be interesting to see how the Wind is about to change and whether Mr. Caranza will be able to make tactical Shifts which will be to his Advantage.
June 10, 2019
Nuttiness at Oberlin College
When it comes to racism, every rake and shovel in the garden shed becomes a broomstick. (Observation # 1690)
We are puzzled to explain how Nuttiness has become an Epidemic at Institutions of higher Learning. Why a toxic Degradation of the Critical Faculties has reached such gargantuan Proportions in academic Settings must be one of the chief Conundrums of the Age.
It surely cannot be that Buildings of a certain Age, constructed of certain noxious Materials -- reaching their toxic Potency after Decades of Decay -- could wreak such Devastation for Buildings of different Eras of Construction are involved. The Cause must be more subtle. It must be that certain Aspects of Curriculum -- a certain Slant of View embodied therein -- is the Tide which leads Men and Women on to Cortical Destruction; but, omitted, all their Lives remain tranquil in the Calm Shoals of Sanity. Certain noxious Views of Reality, pursued with academic Rigour and Devotion, lead to an Inflammation of the Brain and the dread Diagnosis: Terminal Nuttiness.
The latest Example concerns Oberlin College, an ancient Institution of "liberal" Arts and a Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio.
The Story begins in 2016, when three Students were caught trying to steal Bottles of Wine from Gibsons Bakery, an Enterprise established in Oberlin in 1885. The Students were arrested for kicking and punching Allyn Gibson, the Son of the Owner; they subsequently pleaded guilty to "attempted theft and aggravated trespassing." (Breitbart News, June 10)
In a World where Nuttiness had not become epidemic, that would have been the End to the Story of a minor Crime and Misdemeanour.
But, alas, Nuttiness rages in the Bedlam Halls of Oberlin College.
You see, the three Students were black, and, in the modern World of Academe, Racism is a certified Evil which can only be eradicated by focussing on the Victimhood and Oppression of certain Races, lamenting their State, and taking active Measures of Revenge against those belonging to the oppressive white Race. It is a Kind of affirmative Action Policy applied to make up for past Evils. It is assumed that special, compassionate Treatment of some Races, and unjust Treatment of the oppressive Race will lead to a wonderful equality of racial Groups, and, thereby, an unprecedented Era of Goodwill and Fellowship among all the Groups involved.
We can see no Hint of Flaw in the Theory.
Thus, Mr. Obama introduced a Policy of special Treatment for Students who created Discipline Problems in the Schools providing that they belonged to the correct Race. This Approach, by the Way, has been labelled "the soft bigotry of low expectations" by Michael Gerson, a Speechwriter for George W. Bush.
Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that Oberlin College applied the same Reasoning. Had the Students behaving violently in the attempted Theft been white, the Universe could have been allowed to unfold without Interference. Because they were black, the Machinery of Low Expectations was fuelled up with soft Bigotry, and precipitously put into Gear. We quote from Breitbart News:
According to the defamation suit filed by the Gibsons, "hundreds of copies" of a flier falsely accusing the bakery of racism were handed out in the small town by Oberlin Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo and other college staffers.
The flier said, "This is a RACIST establishment with a LONG ACCOUNT of RACIAL PROFILING and DISCRIMINATION."
The flier also listed ten other bakeries to patronize.
Not wishing to be accused of Lackadaisicality, Oberlin College ceased to buy Goods from the Bakery, and suspended Classes in order to allow Students the Time to distribute Fliers and march in Protest.
With such righteous Enthusiasm, the College presumably thought that it was nudging the Universe a significant Step towards the fervently desired and popularly acclaimed Nirvana of Sweetness and Light.
Fortunately, an Ohio Jury did not agree: they awarded the Bakery 11.2 million dollars in compensatory Damages, for "defamation, intentional interference in a business, inflicting emotional distress on the owner, David Gibson, and the deliberate infliction of emotional distress on his son, Allyn." (Breitbart News)
We understand that punitive Damages to be determined soon -- could triple that Amount.
We sincerely hope it will. It seems likely that the only effective Cure for University Nuttiness is a Dose of Reality.
May 18, 2019
The Terrible Spread of Racism
We admit we long for the good old Days when Words had a Meaning and seemed relatively content with it. Words were not territorially ambitious or ruthlessly egomaniacal; they were content to cultivate their modest Gardens of Definition and Connotation. They did not seek World Domination.
Such Modesty cannot be expected, alas, from "Racism." It used to refer to a primarily critical Attitude towards People based on their Race. Since being critical of Someone based on his or her Race Something over which no one has any Control has no Chance of changing Anything and cannot refer to Anything actually objectionable -- "Racism" has always been roundly condemned as pointless, stupid, and unfair.
That, we must suppose, is when "Racism" became ambitious. It began to advertise itself as a universal Weapon of Debate Destruction, a comprehensive Silencer, and Guarantor of winning Medals in any Contest for intellectual Supremacy.
The first Conquest was we suspect -- in the Field of Culture. While it is stupid to criticise Anyone on the Basis of their Race, it makes a lot more Sense to criticise cultural Beliefs and Practices.
In the brave new World of Equality, of course, such Criticism is forbidden. Some cultural Practices and Beliefs can be shown to be superior to others since they have been shown to produce healthier, happier, and freer Citizens and Societies. But it is not considered socially acceptable to say so and thus any Remarks critical of Culture are now branded as "Racism." "Racism" is simply the Word which has become most useful in identifying a cultural Taboo: Criticism of any cultural Practice cannot be tolerated in any Society which believes in "Equality."
"Racism" has met such Success as a Marker of unacceptable Criticism of Culture, that it has become emboldened. It seems to be taking over as a Marker of any Reference to Hierarchy in human Society. Once again, of Course, Hierarchy is not compatible with the Idea of Equality. If you say that some People are faster, smarter, or more talented than others Something which used to be considered obvious it is now "Racism."
As Proof of this Point, we will refer to a Democratic Representative in the United States Congress -- from California called Maxine Waters. Ms. Waters has referred to Mr. Trumps Ideas on Immigration Reform as "racist."
It might be appropriate to point out that Mr. Trumps chief Crime the one for which he can never be forgiven is his Rejection of the Notion of Equality the bedrock Belief of all the worthy civilized People in the Western World. While Mr. Obama spent eight Years establishing with considerable Success that the United States, as a Nation, is completely unremarkable and no better in any Sphere than any other Mr. Trump has declared that he wishes to make America "great" again. There can be no Apostasy more outrageous, more damning, or more complete than this. "Greatness" is simply not compatible with "Equality."
In outlining his Policies on Immigration, Mr. Trump has simply repeated his Heresy: he would favour skilled Workers able to speak English.
Ms. Waters has branded the Approach as "racist."
I think it issome of that is very racist. It is not keeping with what this country is supposed to be all about.
When asked what specifically was racist, Waters said, "Well, you know, this business about you must speak English or were going to give you points for speaking English. We dont want poor people, we only want those people who are earning substantial wages already. All of those things are not keeping in step with the way that we treat human beings. (Breitbart News, May 17)
What Ms. Waters means is that the Policies are discriminatory: they aim to ensure that Immigrants are helpful to the Nation. She wants Policies that do not discriminate which treat people "equally." Thus she brings in the Word "Racism" to suggest that admitting that some People are more useful than others is unacceptable, stupid, and unfair. It denies the Assumption of "Equality."
We must admit that we find the current Obsession with "Equality"* Something not actually attainable in the real World a Matter of enduring Fascination.
We see it as underlying many absurd Notions such as Multiculturalism, Socialism, and Political Correctness. It has certainly fuelled the Spread of the Term "Racism" which has become a handy Word-Bludgeon used to vilify any Idea which suggests that not all People are equally talented, skilled, or productive.
Ideals, we have noted elsewhere, are often like the Sirens of Mythology a seductively attractive Lure to Shipwreck.
May 16, 2019
We are most pleased to see the great Advancements made by the Nation of China in identifying untrustworthy Citizens. Certainly it must be agreed that the smooth Functioning of Society is dependent upon Trust; without Trust we must ever be plagued with debilitating Anxiousness and demoralizing Uncertainty. Further, it seems obvious that Government is most qualified and able to distinguish which Citizens are most worthy and those who are regrettably deficient in the necessary responsible Reliability.
We assume, of Course, that Readers are aware that the Communist Party in China has adopted a "Social Credit" Rating System for Citizens, by which Matters such as Eating on the Train, Walking a Dog without a Leash, changing Jobs with malicious Intent, or Criticizing the Government -- cause the Issue of Demerit Points. (Breitbart News, May 14)
As of March of this Year, about thirteen and a half Million Citizens have been classified as untrustworthy, and been denied plane and train Tickets.
Most recently, the Unworthy have been issued embarrassing Ringtones, to alert those around them of their inferior Status. The List of existing and potential Penalties is extensive. They include restricting Access not just to Transportation but to educational Institutions, Jobs, Hotels, high internet Speeds and Credit Facilities.
The full System eagerly anticipated by trustworthy Citizens -- is expected to be in Place next Year.
While improved Behaviour is a foregone Conclusion, the most wonderful Benefit will come from Loyalty to the Government. The Government which oversees and penalizes Eating on the Train is not to be trifled with. It is a human Tendency to appease the Dangerous, and Pettifoggery and Precision in Dangerousness can be especially intimidating.
The Dangerous has become increasingly entrenched. The Chinese, with
an inspired Perspicacity, have now realized that Dictatorship is the
best System of Government. What is good for Chimpanzees and ancient
Tribes is surely good enough for modern Societies. It is a
well-established Principle of Housewives and Dairy Farmers everywhere
that the Cream always rises to the Top. It follows as does Night the
Day that once a good Leader has reached the Pinnacle of Power, it is a
wise Idea to cement him in Place with an unshakeable Vote of permanent
It is universally agreed that such excellent Leaders are not swayed by personal Prejudice, nor are they vulnerable to zany Ideas. Over Time, they resist the Siren Call of Infallibility; rather, they retain an endearing Sense of Humility. Their Cuddliness Quotient rises; their Popularity broadens and seeps into the most hidden of Crannies, the most narrow of Nooks. They never reach Decisions impulsively or unilaterally; increasingly, they tend to rely on Others, and are always open to new Ideas and better Ways of doing Things. Success is always satisfying; the Boundaries of unlimited Power can, by Definition, never tempt; thus, Corruption is never an Issue with a strong decisive, benevolent Ruler.
The Chinese Social Credit System will simply ensure the Persistence of their inspired, Benevolent Dictatorship.
It is indeed a Pity that our wretched System of Democracy cannot be similarly transformed. Our Lives are constantly subject to Uncertainty. A Government is elected one Day espousing a particular Philosophy and Viewpoint but can be thrown out a few Years later, and a whole new Approach to Governance can be expected. There is constant Argument and Dissension about how Society is best conducted, and about which Principles are the most benign and useful.
We note that there are a few Visionaries -- our own Prime Minister, Mr. Trudeau, has expressed admiration for the late Mr. Castro, and has admired Chinas "basic dictatorship." Alas we suspect -- he is too far ahead of his Time. It seems likely that we must languish in Discord and Dissension, while the sensible Chinese forge ahead. They are, we fear, close upon the Nirvana of Unity and Trust while we remain in Turmoil, Fog, and Confusion.
May 10, 2019
We consider ourselves fortunate to live in an Era of great Sensitivity, where a refined Delicacy and tender Consideration is universally displayed towards those in States of emotional Vulnerability.
We must confess that we being born in an Time of greater Obliviousness when Feelings were not considered sacrosanct are acutely aware of our Inferiority in such Matters; we must admit to an unseemly Tendency on Occasion -- towards a regrettable and inconsiderate Abruptness of Manner and Sentiment.
We can only strive to do better. Indeed, we have been inspired by a recent Incident at the Saatchi Gallery in the United Kingdom. In that august and compassionate Place, two Pieces of Artwork were obligingly covered after Complaints made by the emotionally Vulnerable.
Apparently, the two Works contained Texts from the Koran one of which was a Declaration of Faith placed on top of "nude images." (Breitbart News, May 6) Apparently the Artist had intended a Contrast between Islamic Extremism and American Sensibility.
Muslims complained that the Works were "blasphemous." According to Breitbart News:
Usama Hasan, head of Islamic Studies at the think tank Quilliam, claimed the pieces of art were "really dangerous," alleging, "Its The Satanic Verses all over again."
Mr. Hasan refers, of Course, to the outrageous and insensitive Behaviour of Mr. Salman Rushdie, who had the Temerity to criticize Islam in a Novel. The Ayatollah of Iran issued a Fatwa a Death Sentence against Mr. Rushdie, which required him, appropriately, to spend Years in fearful Hiding.
It is obvious that the Ayatollah was in a emotionally vulnerable
State, and extremely sensitive to Criticism. Had Mr. Rushdie been more
in Tune with the Times, he would have been more considerate. A Book
devoted to a lengthy Exposition of the Good Works of the Ayatollah would
have been more tactful and appropriate.
Indeed, we can hardly overemphasize the delicate emotional State of many of the Followers of Islam. We have seen them on Television, filled with Fury, raging and gesticulating, their Faces distorted with Paroxysms of righteous Anger over an Insult to their Prophet.
We have heard of their being driven to holy Jihad in the Murder of Cartoonists who have dared to mock their Religion. We have seen the fragile Anguish of their Beheadings -- committed in the desperately noble Aim of creating a Caliphate.
Most recently, we have seen their sacred Condemnation of Asia Bibi, accused of Blasphemy during an Argument with Co-workers. Her Crime was to drink from a Cup lying near a Well. A Neighbour claimed it was forbidden for a Christian to drink from a Cup used by Muslims. An Argument ensued during which Asia Bibi criticised Islam, and refused Exhortations for Conversion. Her sentence to Death by Hanging was a Testament to the Sense of extreme Victimhood experienced by the Islamic Majority in Pakistan.
It should be obvious and apparent to any dispassionate Observer, that, quite often, the Followers of Islam are in an emotionally vulnerable State; their Feelings are in a frazzled Condition of extreme and pitiable Inflammability.
The advanced and civilized Beings of the modern Era will act accordingly. They will do Nothing which will give Offense to the weak, fragile, and patently unstable.
We must unreservedly commend the Saatchi Gallery for its compassionate Kindness in this significant and symbolic Affair.
May 8, 2019
We are most pleased to learn that Something new is finally being done about demonic Possession.
We ourselves have experienced this terrible Malady usually around Tax Time -- when the Devil is invariably discovered lurking in the Details. From the Moment we embark on the Task of Recording our annual financial History, we are in the fearsome Clutches of Beelzebub. Not until our Tax Return is safely filed do our Agonies cease; only then are we able to return to the Ways of Simplicity and Godliness.
We are not, apparently, alone.
According to Breitbart News:
A report earlier this year revealed that Catholic clergy are facing a "mushrooming demand for exorcisms" in the last few decades all across the globe.
"An astonishing number of people undergo deliverance from demonic forces every week, not only in the developing world but also in Britain and the United States," two university professors declared in a lengthy essay on the subject.
Dr. Kate Kingsbury of the University of Alberta and Dr. Andrew Chesnut of Virginia Commonwealth University said that in the U.S. and Britain, for instance, "parishioners increasingly believe that demons are the cause of their various tribulations."
In countries like Italy, interest in exorcisms has risen sharply to keep pace with what has been seen as a recent spike in "demonic activity." (Breitbart News, May 7)
It would appear that, unfortunately, increasing Numbers of Citizens around the World are suffering from demonic Possessions unrelieved by the ordinary Course of Events; they require Professional Interventions.
It is encouraging to hear then, that Exorcists are currently "flocking" to Rome for an "interdisciplinary program aimed at battling Satanic forces." This is, apparently, the first Time that different Christian Denominations have participated. We suspect that, as with Heads directed at the Solution of a Problem, two or more Denominations are better than One.
It is Time that the Devil was sent packing. We can only hope that the Coming Together of a Variety of Denominations will result in more modern and efficient Approaches to Exorcism.
Probably the most pressing Need is to standardize the Rituals
required. Careful Records must be kept of all Proceedings and based
on observed Results a standard Exorcism Ritual must be established.
There is no Point in wasting valuable clerical Resources with
Incantations, Prayers and Gestures which are ineffective. They may be
satisfying to the Exorcists but a proper Casting Out can be the only
Measure of Success.
Next, it should be determined whether the Ritual actually requires a certified Member of the Clergy. If it turns out that the Prayers and Incantations are all that is required, perhaps they could be incorporated into the Alexa Google Home System. Instead of actually having to call in a registered Exorcist, a Homeowner could simply direct the Device:
"Alexa conduct Exorcism Rites for Matilda in the Master Bedroom."
It would only be necessary to ensure that Matilda restrained if necessary was in the Master Bedroom and Alexa would do the Rest.
Of Course, it is possible that a registered Exorcist will be found to be necessary. The Program in Rome should establish Courses in every Jurisdiction so that any Member of the Clergy can become proficient in the shortest Time possible. With the Demand increasing at the Rate suggested, this is no Time for Dilly-Dallying. We need Relief from demonic Possessions, and we need it now.
Further to this End, it would seem appropriate for all the Christian Faiths to publicize the Service. From our own limited Experience of Possession, we can state that while we have Numbers on our Fridge for Real Estate Agents, Pest Control Services, and Pizza and Chinese Food Delivery we have no similar Guide as to how to proceed in the Event of an Extremis Satanicus.
It would seem wise for each Jurisdiction to ensure the Manufacture of handy Fridge Magnets. The Denomination of the Exorcist would be indicated, as well as the Price for Standard Service and any Surcharge for extra Prayer-Toppings. As with regular Pest Control Services, Clergy would arrive in plain, unmarked Vehicles, and wear unremarkable grey Overalls.
We think that the Modernizing of the Exorcism Ritual is long overdue. Its time to forget about those old scary Movies; the dusty old Brooms should be swiftly swiffered; the Gloom of Bats and Belfries must give Way to cheerful clinical Precision and calm, competent Professionalism in Modern Day Home Settings.
The Casting Out of Devils must be brought up to date into the twenty-first Century.
February 25, 2019
We shall not pass this Way again. Each Individual has a unique Experience of the World, and an Opportunity to respond to it in Deed and Thought.
Of all Species, we are the One with the Opportunity to record our Thoughts to leave behind some Detail and Measure of our unique Response to the World. Written Expression is the closest we can come to the Depiction of Mind; when we are no longer physically present -- there can be left some Evidence of the mental Complexity distilled from Experience.
It is a Wonder to us how few bother to take the Opportunity. We must suppose that many feel that they, while unique, have Nothing of Value to say; they prejudge the Matter to their own Disfavour.
What is a continuing Fascination to us is the Plight of those who reach Positions of Prominence, have Occasion to voice their Opinion, and deliberately defer to others in the Manner of their Expression without bothering to indicate that the Expression is not, in Fact, their own.
The latest Example of this Phenomenon is Fr. Thomas Rosica a Spokesman for the Vatican who has admitted to serial Plagiarism over the last fifteen Years. He has used blocks of Texts from other Sources without Attribution.
This is particularly strange for one who one would think would be concerned about Honesty as a religious Requirement.
But leaving that aside we wonder what Thought Process is at work. We can think of only three Explanations.
The first is simply the Pressure of Time. The Plagiarist feels compelled to produce more than he can conveniently manage using his own intellectual Resources. The Calculation must be thus: it is more important to come up with Something that sounds reasonable and take a Chance on being discovered than miss an Opportunity in the Spotlight. Short-term Vanity overcomes longer-term Prudence.
A possible second Explanation is that the Plagiarist does not see the
Connection between Thought and the Manner of its Expression. It was
Alexander Pope who said: "True Wit is Nature to Advantage dressd, What
oft was Thought, but ne'er so well expressd." Suppose Mr. Pope had
said: "Good Writing depends, in large Part, in being able to express
ordinary Thoughts in an original Manner." Do you think that Sentence
would still be quoted hundreds of Years after it was penned? We think
The Plagiarist, then, must be tone-deaf. He thinks that an Idea expressed is an Idea expressed. An Idea is just a Brick whether the Brick is smooth or rough, decorated or plain its just a brick to be inserted into the Structure for utilitarian Purposes. The Manner of its Expression is irrelevant. Since Originality doesnt count taking the Expression of Others is not Theft.
Frankly, we do not find this Explanation convincing. The Plagiarist is choosing what sounds good that very Choice indicates that he is aware that Ideas are not simply Bricks.
Finally, we must wonder whether there is a Sense of Insecurity at Play. The Plagiarist, perhaps, senses the Peter Principle at work. He has been promoted beyond his Level of Competence. The Skills that have led him to his Position are not commensurate to the Skill in Expression now apparently required. Indeed we sometimes suspect that the prominent Plagiarist gained his Position, in Part, through undetected Plagiarism. He is simply being pragmatic doing what has always worked in the Past. "Full Speed ahead, and damn the Torpedoes."*
We view all this, of course, through the Lens of our own Experience. We have never had the slightest interest in stealing the Work of Others. Even as a Child, we refused to write conventional "Thank you" Notes. We had to be original. Mother was somewhat annoyed at our Insistence. Her approach was utilitarian; ours was creative. We recognize that Others have Talents which exceed our own by far.** But we would not wish to appear so desperately inferior that we would pretend that something we admired was, in fact our own. If on that account we have to admit to Vanity we would prefer that to Dishonesty.
Perhaps a psychological Study has already been done to determine the Motivations of Plagiarists; if so we might profitably have taken Passages from it. If not it would seem to be a worthwhile Endeavour to help explain what appears to be the Taking of dangerous and unnecessary Risks .
*David Farragut. Normally, we would consider this so much a Part of the common Knowledge, that we would not give Attribution. Since this Piece is about Plagiarism we thought Prudence should prevail.
**Not too far, of course.
February 1, 2019
We confess that we are much enchanted by the Idea of open Borders.
The World is a discouragingly unequal Place, with some Nations having much Wealth and Freedom, while Others are sorely lacking in those same Benefits.
It seems only fair that those who have should open their Doors to those who have not so that there can be a happy Distribution of the Largesse of the Favoured to those in Need.
We think, however, that open Borders are a great Step of major possibly overwhelming -- Consequence. Our natural Prudence leads us to think that some testing of the Principle beforehand would be wise. It is our Observation that Evolution is superior to Revolution. Great Changes wrought by Revolution seem always to come unstuck they are frequently beset by that great Destroyer of Enthusiasm the Law of Unintended Consequences. Evolution is more successful: small Changes are made over Time -- with each Step building on the tested and proven Last until, after an appropriate Period, a great Change has been successfully accomplished.
Evolution is, after all, the Process by which single-celled Organisms have developed into Arachnids, Birds, and human Beings. We doubt that, had the original single-celled Organisms undertaken a Revolution to create a Scorpion, a Booby, or a Democrat, that they would have had much Success.
It seems best to start small with a modest Alteration of our
We propose, therefore, that the "Open Border Project" should start with a small City perhaps one the Size of Washington. At the beginning of a Month chosen by selecting Names from a Hat the Locks on the Doors of every other Residence would be removed. This would have the effect of creating a test Group and a control Group of Residences.
As those with lockless Doors realized the Benefits of sharing with those in Need, those with locked Doors would soon remove their own hateful Barriers to Sharing.
And again, once the Principle was well established in Washington, it would be a simple Matter to extend the Open Border Concept, little by little, to Cities, Towns and Villages throughout the entire Country.
We have no Doubt that when the manifest Benefits of unlocked Doors and generous Sharing have become obvious to all, the Way will be clear for the Removal of all Barriers to Entry into the Nation as a Whole.
We have every Expectation that our Journey on the Path to Nirvana will thereby be much advanced.
January 12, 2019
Alps upon Alps of Stupidity Arise
We have long observed that Equality of Result is an Ideal which is impossible to achieve. Yet so attractive is the Notion that it seems to have endless Fascination for those for whom Thinking is a significant Challenge.
The Idea is implicit in many popular Theories. Socialism an Idea about Government which has a persistent History of Failure assumes that a Society can be created in which Citizens are "equal" except, of course for those who decide how the "Equality" is to be achieved. Multiculturalism a Concept extremely popular in our own fair Land assumes that all Cultures are equally worthy despite the Fact that some cultural Values lead to more successful Societies --and some cultural Ideas are antithetical, and hence incompatible.
Political Correctness the new Religion is also founded on the Notion that People regardless of their actual Qualities are deserving of an equally high Sense of Self-Esteem. Speech should be controlled so that No One should ever feel the Anguish of hurt Feelings.
It is worth noting, perhaps, that every Attempt to establish an unnatural Equality necessarily involves Coercion and Oppression. Thus, it will be seen that every Experiment with constructing a socialist State ends in Dictatorship. "Multiculturalism" requires that any Criticism of cultural Values must be discouraged or banned: consider the recent passage of Bill M-103 which suggests that "Islamophobia" is the equivalent of "Hate Speech." And Political Correctness attempts to forbid any Speech which would criticize Ideas which those in one Group or another might find "hurtful."
Indeed one of our Observations about "Equality" might well be changed. Thinking primarily of Education, we have said that: "When equality is the aim, mediocrity is the result; when excellence is the aim, equality finds its true place." It would not be unreasonable to re-state the Idea: "When equality is the aim, mediocrity and coercion are the results..."
In this Context, it is fascinating to see our Society rather than moving soberly towards Wisdom seems to be lurching drunkenly towards a Greater Stupidity.
And where is it most likely that this inebriated Lurching should be found? If the cynical Reader were to suggest at a Centre of Learning he would be absolutely correct.
It has come to our Attention that the University of Washington-Tacoma plans to hold a Seminar at which Faculty Members will be urged to disregard the "Quality" of a Students Writing in the Grading of Assignments. The Problem is, apparently that standard grading Practices perpetuate "white language supremacy." (Breitbart News, January 11)
In the Minds of the cognitively challenged, it appears that Language has acquired a Colour and a racial Characteristic. The Implication is that Race determines the Kind of Language used. Proper "grammatical" Language is used by white People. Less correct Language is used by those of other Races.
(It is well understood, of course, that, in the Battle against Racism, racist Assumptions are crucial and necessary.)
What underlies this Insanity, is the Idea of "Equality." In order to foster a greater Equality of Outcome among Students of different Races, it is necessary to lower the Standards.
Lowering the Bar to Achievement will allow larger Numbers to meet the apparent Goal. It is only the apparent Goal, of course because the Goalposts have been moved. The greater the Distance between the Posts, the more Goals will be scored. But the value of the scored Goal diminishes with each Degree of Separation. Carrying the Trend to its logical Absurdity the Goalposts are not necessary neither is the Attempt to score Goals. Everyone should just go Home and bask in the comforting Glow of not having tried or accomplished Anything.
As we have said when Equality is the Aim, Mediocrity is the Result.
There is, as yet, no Sign of Oppression. But it is not difficult to imagine that the "Suggestions" in the Seminar will become Requirements. In practical Terms, which Professor will maintain Standards not upheld by his Peers or by the University Administration?
Our Guess would be not One.
We live in interesting Times. Despite better Diet, improved Technology, and superior Access to factual Knowledge, the Level of Stupidity in our Society is reaching Heights we could never have predicted -- even twenty Years ago.
We wonder, idly, at what point impossible Ideals like that of "Equality" will be seen for what they are Follies both hopeless and destructive and some Semblance of Sanity will return.
Perhaps the Observation of Charles Mackay, writing in 1841, is relevant: "Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
There is, however, no Sign of Recovery yet.
January 1, 2019
On New Years Eve, we had Occasion to watch "Air Farce, New Years Eve" a Version of the perennial CBC Comedy "Air Farce" Offering.
We found it to be uninspiring and apparently typically so: almost all those commenting on recent Shows at the CBC Website lament the Days of Glory, and note the present State of Decline.
Beyond that, we have to admit to a Moment of drop-jawed Flabbergast. As we remember, the Show used to end with the Firing of a "Chicken Cannon" of disagreeable Ingredients at the Picture of a disagreeable Individual.
This has been replaced with the Dropping of an "F-Bomb" at some "irritating" Targets.
We could hardly believe that the final Target of the Evening was Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the United States Supreme Court. Why would he be considered irritating? What serious and subversive Rot has eaten away at the Minds of those responsible for the Show?
We can only conclude that the Rot is, in Fact, Political Correctness and the "Comedians" have fallen down the Rabbit-Hole of Absurdity: they believe that all Women who complain of sexual Assault are telling the Truth. It seemed clear to us that Ms. Blasey Fords Accusations were politically motivated: they surfaced at a politically opportune Time, after many Years of Silence; her Memory of Details was unclear, and despite repeated Attempts --she could find no one to corroborate her Story.* She lied about her Fear of Flying.
We should note at this Point that satiric Humour depends on a "satiric Norm" a Point of View shared by the Writer and the Reader or the Performer and the Audience. If there is no such shared Point of View the Reader -- or the Audience -- will not share in the Triumph of Laughter. If "Air Farce" sees Mr. Kavanaugh as an "irritating" Rogue, and some considerable Portion of the Audience sees him as an unfortunate Victim, there is no shared satiric Norm.
If the CBC Audience laughed it shows that they have a View of the World which we, frankly, find incomprehensible.
It has been observed by Many that in an Era of Political Correctness, Comedy has become increasingly difficult. That is easy to explain.
Laughter is the triumphant Recognition of Incongruity. It may be a Difference between Pretension and Reality, between what is apparent and what is real, or between two different Meanings of the same Word. It is agnostic with Respect to Feelings. Indeed, the tragic View of the World is concerned with Feelings; the comic View is concerned with Intellect.**
Political Correctness is, above all, concerned with Feelings. Feelings are far more important than Facts. While Everyone knows that certain Jokes are likely to be offensive, and will avoid them Political Correctness holds that Feelings of those in certain specified Groups must never be troubled, hurt, miffed, scuffed, or ruffled.
In the Instance under Consideration, Ms. Blasey Ford being a Woman claiming Victimhood could never be the Target of a Chicken Cannon. Mr. Kavanaugh, a successful white Male, is fair Game. The Facts of the Situation have no Relevance. Ms. Blasey Ford could be a certified Witch, and Mr. Kavanaugh one of the Heavenly Host. It would make no Difference.
If Readers are interested to know exactly which Groups are considered untouchable we are quite confident that any modern University can provide them with a List and, additionally, provide Courses of Study in a Variety of related Matters.
As Political Correctness extends its sensitive Tentacles more and more Feelings will be declared inviolable and more and more Topics will become unsuitable for Comedy.
Indeed. We wonder whether this explains the Decline of the Air Farce Comedy Show. Perhaps it can simply no longer find Folly and Stupidity anywhere except among those whose Feelings must not be hurt.
**This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel. (Horace Walpole, fourth Earl of Oxford, 1717 - 1797)