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Dr. Dreimer's Diary, 3rd Q, 2013
January - June, 2013
January - June, 2012
Back to Dr. Dreimer's Diary
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. (Oscar Wilde, 1854 -- 1900)
The idea for Dr. Dreimer’s diary came from the excerpts from the diary of Samuel Pepys published daily in the National Post. We thought it would be interesting to write a modern diary using the more formal language of an earlier era – in this case we have attempted an approximation of 18th Century expression. What is perhaps most evident is the capitalisation of nouns, which gives an emphasis, and suggests a cadence entirely missing from current written expression. The language is more cumbersome and formal, and tends to favour the use of parallel structure for rhetorical emphasis.
Style is inseparable from attitude and tone. Dr. Dreimer observes mankind as if from a great height, or from another, more sensible century.
His judgements are often unflattering, and his scorn and
disdain palpable. They may be expressed directly, but are
often revealed through an ironic approval of some mindless folly. He may
appear to some as a pompous windbag; to others as a curmudgeonly but
As it has turned out, the diary is not a conventional diary at all. Apart from the occasional references to the mythical Aunt Myalgia, languishing in the Shady Hollow Psychiatric Facility in downtown Toronto, or to the Lumpenbangen Studios in the inner reaches of Hamilton, or to the Haven of Wind-in-the-Pines at Silver Lake, we gain little insight into the trivia of Dr. Dreimer’s own life.
The diary is, in fact, a commentary on events in the news.
September 29, 2013
We are pleased to report that we have escaped, though but narrowly, a full-blown Conniption Fit.
As it was, we simply experienced a few minor, convulsive Niptions. We momentarily lost our Capacity for Speech, and were afflicted with a Weakness in the Legs, but have now, thankfully returned to Normal – whatever that Normal is.
You see, this Day, we learned from the National Post, that of the Responses to their Question of the Week – regarding religious Symbols in the Workplace – that the Majority of the Replies expressed Opposition to the Idea.
The reader will readily understand our Brush with a Conniption Fit. For every revered Commentator, every judicious Columnist, every sagacious Solomon of the Airwaves – indeed all the pusillanimous Pooh-bahs of Punditry – have expressed their Horror, their Outrage, their Revulsion at the Attempt to limit Freedom of religious Expression in the Government Workplace.*
Those of us who thought that such Restriction was a most reasonable one – since the secular State should take Pains to make clear that it is not in Thrall to Religion of any Kind --have been made to feel small, petty, crabbed, -- imbued with a Meanness of Spirit, with a fascistic Animus of Oppression worthy of the most totalitarian of black-moustached evil Dictators.
It is pleasant to discover that, even if that be the Case, we are not alone in our Wretchedness.
We feel we have written on this Topick over-much already.
We would note that, even Today, a Commentator in the National Post
said that he had observed a turbaned RCMP Officer engaging with a
Citizen. He asked: "What’s the big deal?"
Our Response, of course was suggested by a second Series of Niptions – more profound and debilitating than the first. However, we recovered in such Sufficiency to pen a Reply.
We have posted the Reply in the little-read Drivel Section. It is a convenient resting Place – a bit like a rural Cemetery – for our often controversial Ideas.
We should also acknowledge that we recently sent a Five-Page Letter to Mr. Jason Kenney on the same Topick. We have no Hope that Anyone, in the Era of Twitter, will actually read a Missive of such obscene Length. Indeed, we are not surprised that we have received no Acknowledgment. We imagine one of Mr. Kenney’s Staff, Weeks later, still in Hospital, glassy-eyed, with a premature Numbing of the Mind, being treated with generous hourly Shots of Adrenaline in order to bring him back to Normal, whatever that Normal is.
We have decided to post the lengthy Letter in the
Drivel Section. Viewer Discretion is
*The only Exception that we know of is Mr. Ezra Levant, who admitted to having a Confliction of Feelings in the Matter.
September 28, 2013
Until last Evening, when we watched The Source, we had not heard of the Case of Irman Firasat
Mr. Firasat is a Pakistani Christian who renounced his Muslim Faith in 2004. He had concluded:
I realized that what I was following for 26 years of my life is not a religion but in reality is a political dictatorship which persecutes and teaches to persecute through the orders and teachings of a self-proclaimed prophet (Muhammad).
(WND Faith, January 12, 2013)
Now -- had he renounced his Zoroastrian Faith to become a Druid, or decided to Switch from a Belief in Voodo in order to embrace our own wonderful Worship of the Great God Murphy, in the Religion of Abracadabra, no one would have heard of Mr. Firasat.
However, giving up the Muslim Faith is not taken lightly in the Enlightenment which is Pakistan.
Not only is there Death for Blasphemy, but for Apostasy as well.
Mr. Firasat sought and was granted Asylum in Spain. However he continued to criticize Islam, pointing out a Number of inconvenient Truths. Eventually, he produced a Film critical of Islam, called The Innocent Prophet. The Spanish Interior Ministry took note, and revoked his Asylum. The Government now wishes to deport Mr. Firasat to Pakistan, where he faces Death. It is our Understanding that the Matter is now under Appeal.
The Government’s Actions arose, apparently, from a Concern that Mr. Firasat’s Activities were creating a Threat to National Security.
Spain has obviously stumbled down a Rabbit Hole, eaten of the hallucinogenic Muffin, and wakened to a World of twisted underground Logic. With that Logic, the Threat comes not from those who would do us Harm, the violent and irrational Bullies, but from those who would provoke the Bullies with a Gesture – a Sticking Out of the Tongue.
The First and only Principle to be considered is Appeasement.
Mr. Firasat's Counsel, Sam Nunberg of the Legal Project, has said that the:
Spanish government is afraid to lose their economic relations with the Islamic countries. That is why they want to leave a message to the Islamic world that they have taken sufficient actions against someone who criticized Muhammad.
It should also be noted that the Spanish Government is also taking a Cue from the wretchedly wishy-washy Mr. Obama. When the Consulate at Benghazi was attacked, Mr. Obama chose to blame -- not Terrorists -- but the Film Innocence of Muslims. Instead of defending Freedom of Speech, Mr. Obama took precisely the same Line: Don’t blame the Terrorists – blame those who antagonize the Terrorists. Indeed, Mr. Obama suggested that he might not be averse to Laws against Blasphemy, proclaiming:
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.
We see here the Beginnings of a great Danger. We understand that there are Laws against Hate Speech in Europe. And Canada is noted for its Desire to protect anyone from having hurt Feelings. As Mr. Nunberg points out, such Laws provide a Precedent for Provisions which would prohibit Criticism of Islam.
Indeed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has been attempting to gain, through the United Nations, global Laws which would prohibit any disparaging Reference to Islam or Muslims.
It is our Contention that Secular States, having achieved Success in Wealth Freedom, have grown both complacent and uncertain. They do not cherish the Principles by which they have gained Ascendancy. In Part, perhaps, they are bemused by a mindless Tolerance – a Tolerance, which, if examined closely, is a more flattering Name for Appeasement. In Part, perhaps, they are too comfortable, and do not have the Heart for any Fuss or Disruption.
That is why we are appalled at the general Opprobrium directed at Quebec’s proposed Charter of Values. Quebec, at least, is trying to send the Message that the State is secular, and Symbols of Religion have no Place in the Interaction between the Government and its Citizens.
If no one is willing to fight these little Battles, engage in these preliminary Skirmishes, then who will stand up against the Demand that Religion should not be criticized?
O, Canada! O, Canakistan!
September 27, 2013
On the Matter of fanatical Causes
If one is to have a Cause, it is probably best that it be of the fanatical Variety. For the fanatical Cause requires a Minimum of Evidence. Indeed, the best fanatical Causes require no Evidence at all.
The best Causes are those which are unassailable, and can be relied upon in any Circumstance, no Matter how adverse. Thus, a Cause which requires little Evidence can provide the greatest Comfort, because, if it is not based upon Evidence, it cannot be refuted by Evidence.
We pluck three Examples from recent News.
The first is seen in the Account of Damian Clairmont, 22, of Calgary, who is currently fighting in Syria. His fanatical Cause Name is Mustafa Al-Gharib.
Mr. Clairmont dropped out of School and attempted Suicide, but was rescued by Islam. When he joined a new Mosque in Calgary, he found Impetus to go to Syria. His Explanation, in Part, reads thus:
The benefit for myself in terms of worldly life is most certainly back in Canada, where I could see my family, indulge in fornication and infidelity legally and limitlessly and stagger around poisoned on intoxicants and then lie to myself and the world about ‘Freedom’ and how fantastic it is. (National Post, September 26)
Mr. Clairmont expresses his Gratitude to Islam, and "Islam’s concept of working for an afterlife that never ends...An eternity in paradise cannot be traded for 70 years (if that) of this place."
We think this to be a most wonderful Example of fanatical Cause. For there is no Evidence whatsoever of a paradisal Afterlife. No one has returned from the Dead with a marvellous first-hand, credible Account.
Further, as we are maliciously fond of pointing out, now that we know
that all sentient Life is built of the same basic Blocks, it is
difficult to imagine that such an Afterlife would be restricted to the
recently arrived Homo Sapiens. Indeed, the House Cat, the
Cockroach, and the Tyrannosaurus Rex should, by Logic, be similarly
blessed. Yet none of the fanatical Cause Faction seems to have given
such Matters the least Consideration.
Our second Example is that of Chiheb Esseghaier, 31, who is accused of plotting to blow up a Train in Ontario. He refuses to accept Judgement under the Criminal Code of Canada, and is having difficulty in finding a Lawyer who will defend him according to his mystical Preconceptions. Mr. Esseghaier believes that human Laws are subordinate to the Divine Laws of the Koran. (National Post, September 26)
It is wonderful, indeed, how the Koran, written by human Beings -- and full of cruel Exhortations -- can be transmogrified into a Work of Divinity. Surely such intellectual Contortioning can only be done in the Service of a fanatical Cause.
Finally, we would note that the International Panel on Climate Change has declared that the human Cause for Climate change has moved from "very likely" in 2007 to "extremely likely" today.
The recent Sixteen Year Failure to warm – in spite of increased Carbon Dioxide Levels -- is dismissed as a short Term Anomaly. Short Term Anomalies are, by Virtue of the Fanatical Causes Act of 1700, not permitted to interfere with Fanatical Causes.
It is interesting that a number of Countries – those already committed to the fanatical Cause – expressed a Desire that the inconvenient Lull not be mentioned.
But, as Andrew Montford has pointed out: "It is the very basis of the scientific method that data trumps hypothesis." (National Post, September 19)
But who said, that in the Matter of Climate Change, we are dealing with Science? On the Contrary – it is simply another fanatical Cause which gives great Comfort to those who have Need of an unassailable Belief.
It is our Cause that human Stupidity be significantly decreased; however, we are not fanatical about it.
September 26, 2013
We have often referred to President Obama’s Attempt to blame the Attack on the Consulate in Benghazi on the film Innocence of Muslims, as a means of diverting Attention from the inconvenient Truth that it was a planned terrorist Operation. That Truth is inconvenient because Mr. Obama would prefer to believe that, with the Death of Osama bin Laden in 2011, the War on Terror had been brought to a successful Conclusion.
In particular, we have quoted his Remark:
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.
We have wondered, idly, whether, in View of Mr. Obama’s almost desperate Desire for a Rapprochement with the Muslim World –as indicated in his Speech in Cairo in 2009 -- he might be amenable to Laws against Blasphemy. While this would be a Renunciation of the American Tradition of Freedom of Speech, it is often suggested that Mr. Obama’s Heart, at its Core, is a deep Pit of Smouldering anti-Americanism.
And just think -- he would be playing a respectable Catch-Up with Mr. Putin, a superior Player who has already enacted such Laws in Russia.
We confess that we think such Laws are – how shall we put it? – fairly low on the Scale of Advisability.
We have just heard, on the CBC, an Interview with Anne-Isabelle Tollet, a Frenchwoman who has published an Account entitled:
Blasphemy: The true, heartbreaking story of the woman sentenced to death over a cup of water.
The Woman in Question is Asia Bibi, who lives in the wonderfully enlightened Country of Pakistan. In 2009, she picked up a cup at a Well, and took a Drink of Water. A Fellow-Worker objected that, as a Christian, Asia Bibi had contaminated the Muslim Well. Someone shouted: "Blasphemy!"
In the Enlightenment which is Pakistan, Blasphemy is punishable by Death. Asia Bibi was first attacked by a Mob, then put in Prison, and finally sentenced to Death. Two public Figures came to her Defence, the Governor of Punjab, and Pakistan’s Christian Minister for Minorities. Both were subsequently murdered.
In View of the continuing Attacks on the secular State, we think the Timing might be appropriate for a Novel of the Future. It would describe the Year 2050 – when all sensible Nations, in order to protect Freedom of Religion, and the Sensibilities of those with a deep personal Commitment to a religious Faith -- have enacted Laws against Blasphemy.
We suspect that the Depiction of that Time of Enlightenment would make Orwell’s Musings about the Year 1984 look compassionate and humane.
September 25, 2013
We have long seen Dr. Suzuki, whose Expertise lies in the Realm of Fruit Fly Genetics, as an opportunistic Salesman who has discovered -- to his great financial Advantage – a Brand of Snake Oil much in Demand. A Populace comforted by the Thought that a Goliath Armageddon could be slain by the Slingshot of Self-denial, has elevated Dr. Suzuki to the Status of Climate Saint. (See David Bullzuki and the Apocalyptic Wizards, Drivel, December 3, 2011)
(It appears that a vast Reservoir of Guilt is packed into the human Psyche at Birth, ready to be tapped by anyone claiming to know God, see the Future, or both. But who would have thought so many would welcome a Burning of their Furniture, and a Return to the Caves from which Mankind emerged so many Centuries ago?)
We were pleased, therefore, to see last Evening on The Source, the Curtain pulled back and the Wizard revealed, fumbling at the Levers of his intellectual Machine – which is usually observed dispensing The Climate Word in a Tone which none dares dispute.
On the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Dr. Suzuki was seen facing an Audience of less than uniform Sychophancy. His Performance, if it could be described as stellar, was that which might be expected from a Black Dwarf.*
Dr. Suzuki seems not to have heard that there has been no global Warming for the past Sixteen Years, and is unaware that some of the Commentary from the IPCC is developed at the University of Alabama.
He stated, incorrectly, that the Great Barrier Reef had been
adversely affected by an increasing Number of Cyclones. In fact, both
the Number and Severity have been decreasing. When challenged, Dr.
Suzuki said he got his information from "an Australian," and admitted
that he might be mistaken. Possibly Dr. Suzuki obtains his Expertise
during Pub-Crawls, or in Chats with Seatmates on Airplanes.
Dr. Suzuki railed at the Fact that Corporations donate to Political Parties in order to influence Government Positions on Climate change. But, in fact, in Canada, neither Corporations nor Unions may make such Donations. It is interesting that Dr. Suzuki saw nothing wrong with making a Television Advertisement supporting the awful Dalton McGuinty in the last provincial Election.
Dr. Suzuki has long been famous for his Eco-Fascism, suggesting that Politicians who disagree with him should be jailed. On this Occasion he ventured further into his World of private Fantasy by suggesting that the Federal Government was increasing the Number of Prisons in Anticipation of the Creation of new Crimes – the Crimes of Eco-Terrorists such as himself.
It appeared that Dr. Suzuki knows less about Climate Change than the average well-informed Citizen who regularly reads Articles on the Subject when they are published in the Newspapers.
In short, Dr. Suzuki is a Fraud.
*From which no visible Light is emitted.
September 24, 2013
In today’s Sun News, Mr. Levant notes the Attacks of Terror in Peshawar, in Nairobi, in Sadr City in Iraq, and in Yemen this past Weekend. In each Attack over Sixty People were killed.
But there are many smaller Attacks – about Four per Day since September 11, 2001.
Mr. Levant notes that these Attacks are seldom reported, because they contradict the pleasant Narrative that, with the Killing of Osma bin Laden in 2011, the "War on Terror" reached a satisfactory Conclusion.
Evidence for this Reluctance to dwell on inconvenient Truths is shown by the Attempts to find the "Root Cause" of the Raid on Benghazi in the Film Innocence of Muslims, and the Classification of the Massacre at Fort Hood by Nidal Malik Hasan as "Workplace Violence."
The Ostrich Mode of regarding the World is widely mocked; we are led to wonder why it remains so popular.
In this Case, it appears that Reality contradicts some central Tenets of Left-Wing Philosophy.
For it is the Conceit of the Left, that the underlying Problem of Humankind is Inequality. People bomb things because they are poor, or they feel marginalized and have hurt Feelings.
A second Belief is that Evil does not exist. The Enemy is just like you and me. Have a Chat on a Sunny Afternoon with an appropriate Glass of the Brewer’s Art, and all Problems can be solved. There will be Handshakes and Expressions of eternal Bonhomie all round; Nirvana is within the Throwing Distance of a moderately weighted Stone.
A third Notion is that Tolerance is a supreme Virtue. All Cultures are equal, and no Culture may be considered superior to another. Thus, to criticize another Culture becomes "Racism" or "Bigotry." These, in Fact, are the closest thing to Evil which may be apprehended in the World of the Left.
In short, when Reality contradicts a favoured View of the World, then Reality must be ignored.
Our View is, by the Standards of the Left, outrageous, bigoted, and racist.
We see the Heart of the Problem as being Religion, especially Islam, which seeks to place Religion over all. Religion, in our View, is usually based on Primitive Stories from Eras of Ignorance. While Religions may offer a comforting Narrative to explain inexplicable Mysteries, they pose great Danger when they are allowed to dictate how Citizens should be governed.
That, of course, is why we approve of the proposed Quebec Charter of Values, for it strikes a Blow against Religion in favour of Secularism.
To pander to those who wish to make Religion supreme, and to Cultures which claim the unquestionable Validity of Insights from the Seventh Century, is to welcome a Trojan Horse* pregnant with much Strife and Misery.
The Battle is best fought sooner, rather than later.
*See Drivel, September 9, 2013: The Trojan Horse of Multiculturalism.
September 21, 2013
We admit that we watch the Career of Justin Trudeau with a kind of horrified Fascination.
We see the helpless Maiden, Canada, secured with stout Ropes to the Railway Track. In the Distance, is the Locomotive, chugging along towards her with a sort of unintentional Implacability. Lightweight though the Locomotive may seem – occasionally doing a Pirouette above the Rails – it is more than enough to mangle the Maiden into Unrecognizability.
Will the Maiden – who appears to be in a kind of malign post-hypnotic Trance –
When you awake, you will remember Nothing, but you will have an irresistible Attraction to fine Hair –
come to her Senses, wriggle one Hand free to operate her Cell Phone, and call 911?
Will some Passers-by – possibly from the Sun News Network -- be able to sound the Alarm, engage the Troops, and spirit the Maiden, still half-entranced, from Harm’s Way?
Or will the Locomotive, doing one Pirouette too many, land off the Track, veer off to the Left, and chug down an Embankment to Oblivion?
It is these sorts of Questions that keep us awake at Night.
We would note three Scraps of Information which may or may not be relevant to our Insomnia.
First, a recent Abacus Poll has reported that Seventy-Nine percent of Respondents view Mr. Trudeau as likeable, as opposed to Forty-Four Percent who see Mr. Harper with that Attribute. On the other Hand, Sixty-One percent see Mr. Harper as qualified to be Prime Minister, as opposed to Forty-Nine percent for Mr. Trudeau.
We do not have the Skills in Mathematics to do the Computation: does a 79% likeability Score trump a 61% Qualification Rating? Perhaps a Crash Course in the New Mathematics would help.
Second, we have learned that the Canada Revenue Agency has revoked the "charitable status" of the Islamic Society of North America. The Society, which worked to promote the Adoption of Sharia Law in Ontario in 2004-5, has been caught sending Money to a Terrorist Organization in – of all places – Pakistan.
Mr. Trudeau had the Wisdom to be a guest Speaker at an ISNA event in Calgary in July. He Was criticized by the Muslim Canadian Congress for doing so. Will a little pro-terrorist Mud engage in the silky Strands? Will a Shampoo of extreme Likeability wash it out? Who can tell?
Finally, we would note that Mr. Trudeau has apologized to Used Car Salesmen for remarking that "politicians are now ranked below used car salesmen." We are overwrought with Ambivalences in this Matter. Any Backtracking by Mr. Trudeau must be seen as a Penny – perhaps even a disruptive Pile of them -- on the Track. On the other Hand, we rather lament the Passing of the Used Car Salesman as a convenient Target, a handy Symbol for Untrustworthiness.
It is our firm Belief that every Society needs a good-natured Group of traditional Recipients of Opprobrium. It is best that the Group silently accept their Role as Scapegoat in the Interests of the mental Health of the Society as a Whole. Now that the Used Car Salesmen have fought back, we are left with a dwindling Pool. We will have to make do with Bankers and Lawyers in their Stead.
Nirvana -- for us -- would be reached on the Day that Left-Wing Politicians -- particularly those with fine Hair -- are seen as the least trustworthy, and the most dangerous.
September 19, 2013
We have long been familiar with contagious Diseases, such as the Influenza, and those Diseases which have a genetic Component, such as Migraine Headache. But we have only just encountered a Disease of political Dynasty.
We do recall with great Clarity the Occasion on which Mr. McGuinty was found to suffer from his grave Affliction. X-Rays had been taken of Mr. McGuinty, and of a common Earthworm found in his Garden. When the two were compared, it was discovered that the Earthworm, although wonderfully flexible, showed Evidence of a Spine with a certain Resilience, a clear Capability for Resistance.
Mr. McGuinty’s Spine, afflicted with the Ravages of Dudley Georgeism, had disintegrated to the Consistency of an Assemblage of Breadcrumbs. A thin Trail of Mush suggested the Location of the absent Spine.
This Disease we had placed in the Category of those of mysterious, undetermined Origin.
However, there is some Evidence to suggest that it is an politically dynastic Infection.
In Caledonia, there is a Restaurant built on provincial Land, which has no running Water, Refrigerator, or consistent Electricity. The Toilets are Johnny-on-the-Spot. The Spot is just outside the Building.
Not surprisingly, it has been ordered to close by the Health Authorities.
Surprisingly, it is still operating.
Ms. Wynne, Mr. McGuinty’s unelected Successor has been questioned on the Matter.
She has replied that she will not comment on that specific Problem. Apparently the Health of prospective Patrons is not Something on which she feels competent or comfortable in speaking about.
However, she is encouraged – and we are greatly relieved – that "the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs is working with a number of First Nations communities to work to try to come up with a way forward on this difficult challenge."
The Matter of the potentially dangerous Burger Shack, must, apparently, wait until much broader Issues are addressed. This includes the Problem of Tobacco Sales – which involves both federal and provincial Regulations -- and, indeed, what local aboriginal Economies are going to " look like."
Ms. Wynne might well have added, in the Spirit of The Retroactive Existence of Mr. Juggins,* that Nothing can be done about the Restaurant until Regulations regarding the fat Content of Hamburgers have been established, World Peace has been assured, and the Effects of Climate Change on the great Coral Reefs have been definitively determined.
Ms. Wynne’s circumlocutory Response suggests that she has inherited the same Dudley Georgeism that afflicted Mr. McGuinty. When it comes to dealing with Aboriginals: do not think, do not delay: run.
*Mr. Juggins is a Stephen Leacock Character. His areas of Study were always abandoned when he discovered that, for true Success in a Field, some prior Knowledge – some firmer Grasp of Root Causes -- was necessary. As a result, he never accomplished Anything.
P.S.: Ms Wynne has been spotted, weaving craftily from side to side, on Limerick Lane.
September 18, 2013
It has been our contention that the Secular State, so long in Formation, and so effective in creating Wealth, Freedom, and the Advancement of human Potential is under Attack.
For a list of recent Events which show this to be true, the Reader might wish to consult our Commentary The Trojan Horse of Multiculturalism in the Drivel Section (September 9, 2013).
We should note that this Attack is not from the Christian Religion, which has gradually ceded the Right to Galileo to claim that the Earth circles the Sun, and to allow the State to separate from the Church. Indeed, if there were a Christian Revival which demanded that the State accede to Requests that current Custom be altered to accommodate some Mode of Dress or dramatic Display of Faith, it would be given short Shrift.
The State would say: "No Thanks, we have been all through this before; let the Past remain in the Past."
But the current Attack comes – by and large – from Islam. And that is a different Matter, because Islam is attached to certain Cultures, and those Cultures have sought to live and prosper in liberal Democracies.
Liberal Democracies are imbued with a wonderful Idealism, which holds that all Cultures are created equal, and thus there is no Bar to multicultural Societies. It seems, therefore, only fair to listen, and accede to the Demands of all Cultures.
This may be Nonsense, but it is self-flattering Nonsense. It allows a wonderful Sense of Superiority in the Matter of Tolerance. Tolerance is seen as an absolute Good: you cannot have too much of it. The more Tolerance you have, the greater your Claim to moral Perfection.
This, in itself, is Nonsense. "Toleration extended to intolerance looks very much like stupidity." (Observation # 234) But Nonsense tends to beget Nonsense. Indeed Nonsense is like a perfidious infecting Virus which overpowers the Cells of Reason, and instructs them to further the Cause of Nonsense.
We say all this in Prelude to noting an Article in The Sun of this Date by Tarek Fatah. Mr. Fatah refers to a recent Court Ruling in Britain:
In a ruling that shocked Britain, Judge Peter Murphy admitted that concealing the face would "drive a coach and horses through the way justice has been administered in England and Wales for centuries." Yet he apparently gave in to the religious blackmail employed by Islamists, who fling allegations of racism and Islamophobia at anyone who dares criticize this medieval misogynist practice being introduced throughout the West in the name of Islam.
The Ruling would allow a Woman, facing charges of Intimidation, to be tried while masked. Only if she were to testify herself, would she be required to reveal her Face.
What is extraordinary is that the Judge apparently relied on a Ruling of our own Supreme Court which refused to rule on the Request of "N.S." to testify while veiled. The Court, in its committed Devotion to the hallowed Principle: "If in Doubt, dither" -- authoritatively decided that such Decisions should be left to Trial Judges.
Mr. Fatah notes that the wearing of the Veil is not, in fact, a religious Requirement:
As the Muslim Canadian Congress said in 2009, "there is no requirement in the Qur'an for Muslim women to cover their faces. Invoking religious freedom to conceal one's identity and promote a political ideology is disingenuous."
Mr. Fatah calls for the Banning of the Niqab and Burka from all public Places.
Our view would be that the Wearing of such Items – even if they were to be religious Requirements – should be allowed in Public. However, they would be disallowed in any Interaction between the Individual and the State. Further, as a matter of Security, Owners of retail Establishments could refuse Entry to their Premises when confronted by potential Customers choosing to wear Masks.
The Nonsense must stop somewhere.
When God gave out brains,
I thought he said trains,
And I missed mine.
When God gave out looks,
When God gave out noses,
When God gave out legs.
When God gave out ears,
I thought he said beers,
And I ordered two large ones.
When God gave out chins,
When God gave out heads
God, am I a mess!*
*We remember this Verse from the Reader’s Digest of the 1940's.
September 16, 2013
This old Verse came to Mind, as we contemplated the unfortunate Predicament of the Climate Change Alarmists. For surely they are going through a sackclothian Episode as their Predictions, based on elaborate Computer Models, are being revealed as inaccurate.
Ah, that is the essential Trouble with Computer Models. They are bound by the obscure and difficult scientific Formula developed at the Centre for Relevant Arcane Philosophy (CRAP) (Deep Thought Division): Garbage in, Garbage out.
It is rare that we feel impelled to extend our Sympathies, since we are in Possession of such a short Supply. When God gave out Sympathies, we thought he said Symphonies, and having a limited Span of Attention, ordered just a brief Smattering of some of the preliminary Notes.
But see the alarming Predicament of the Alarmist Predicting Industry: there has been no global Warming since 1998. Even James Lovelock, the Creator of the Gaia Theory and an early Alarmist has admitted:
The trouble is, we don’t know what the climate is doing. (April 24, 2012)
According to this Day’s National Post:
The IPCC has lowered the range of predicted global warming by half a degree Celsius.
A small Amount, you may say. But we suspect that it may be but a Harbinger of more bad News to come.
Elsewhere in the National Post, Lawrence Solomon notes that some Journalists are swimming away from the listing Ship. The Economist has said:
If climate scientists were credit rating agencies, climate
sensitivity would be put on negative watch.
Geoffrey Lean, writing in the London Telegraph, a former Enthusiast, has said:
Climate change might not be as catastrophic as the gloomiest predictions suggest.
Mr. Solomon suspects that the Ranks of skeptical Journalists may continue to be enhanced, noting:
1. All the scary global warming scenarios are based on computer
He also reminds us of the Source of the comforting Story, told to most Children at Bedtime, that Ninety-Seven percent of Scientists believe that Global Warming is a Result of nefarious human Activity.
In Fact, Ten Thousand, Two Hundred and Fifty-Seven Scientists were surveyed. Three Thousand, One Hundred and Forty-Six responded. Of those, all but Seventy-Seven were disqualified.
Of the remaining Seventy-Seven, Seventy-Five, or Ninety-Seven percent thought that human Beings contributed to Climate Change. The academic Qualifications of the Seventy-Five were never determined.
But enough of these dry Statistics. There are real Human Beings out there who are hurting as their Dreams of boiling Seas appear to slip, ineluctably from their Computer Modelling Grasp.
We extend, such as they are, our Sympathies.
September 14, 2013
We admit to a certain unholy Glee on reading the following Caption:
Frustrated professors convince elementary schools to step back from ‘new math’ and go ‘back to basics.’
For we have long suspected that much Modernity in Education arises from People who are burdened with too much Time, and too few Brains. They take as an Axiom that old and tested Ideas are, by Virtue of their Age, enfeebled, weary, and ready to fall into the Pit which those with few Brains are only too happy to dig.
In their place, are shiny new Bandwagons, with Bells, Whistles, and fancy Names designed to lure the Credulous.*
For Example, we ourselves were taught to read by sounding out the Letters, first individually, and then in Combinations used in Words. Despite the Roadblocks posed by some of the phonetic Peculiarities of the Language, the Method worked surprisingly well. Students were enabled to read Words they had never seen in Print, simply by sounding them out, and then recognizing the Sound of Words already encountered in Speech.
Spelling was made easy. A word such as "hymn" was recalled by a conscious Pronunciation of the final "n"–not used in regular Speech – but kept conveniently in the Memory Bank of Sound.
Recognition of Words came much later – as a Kind of Short Cut. The observed Word was recognized as either "tired" or "tried" by its Appearance. But that Recognition was always subject to Verification by the Sounds represented by the Letters.
This Progression was not, apparently, good enough for the Experts, who decreed that Word Recognition should have Primacy of Place. We remember, with Horror, observing a Presentation by an Elementary School Teacher, illustrating modern Methods, who noted that the word "bed" suggested a headboard and footboard in its Appearance.
We never encountered the "new Math."
We understand that it was an Attempt not simply to provide a Tool for
the Accomplishment of Tasks, but to explain, in some Measure, the
Workings of the Tool.
The Aim seems admirable enough, but suggests a similar Introduction of an elaborate Cart before recognizing the essential Necessity of the Horse. The Result, has been, apparently, that Students cannot add a Column of Numbers, and who think that the "Times Tables" are Lists of Arrivals and Departures. Parents who attempt to assist their Children in the " New Math" find that their Understanding is insufficient for them to do so.
Our Understanding is that Mathematics is a Language or System, which, at certain Points bears a Relation to the Real World, at other Points – such as the square Root of minus One – veers off into a wonderful World of the Theoretical. That theoretical World is of limited Usefulness to the average Person attempting to determine the Efficiency of Fuel Consumption in his new Automobile.
Perhaps, indeed, Mathematics is a bit like the Automobile itself: what is important is Knowledge of the Levers and Pedals needed to travel safely from one Point to the Next. How the Engine actually works, and the real Nature of the Electric Current used to illuminate the Dashboard are of Interest to the Few, rather than the Many.
It would probably be better to spend Time preparing Students for the Mathematics of the real World – the Significance of compound Interest in Investing, or Strategies for gaining financial Independence – rather than exploring the theoretical Niceties of the System of Mathematics itself.
*Observation #30: The trouble with bandwagons is that their engines are fuelled by untested and often deficient novelties.
September 12, 2013
We have been too busy for this Journal recently -- but we are pleased to be able to announce that the staining of the Cottage at Wind-in-the-Pines is now complete. (See The Psychology of Ladders, Diary, September 8)
We had gone into the Lumber Yard at Running Brook in search of a Ladder Whisperer -- for Lumber Yards are known to keep Lists of local Tradesmen.
As we were at the Counter, making our Request, a Ladder Whisperer – standing within Earshot nearby – proclaimed his Ability in that very Craft – the Craft of speaking gently and persuasively to nervous and neurotic Ladders such as our own.
Now, we know not what words of Soothing, or what arcane Conjurings of Passivity and Consent were directed towards our reluctant Device. All we can say is that the Ladder Whisperer was able to ascend the Rungs even to the very Peak of the Roof; the Ladder remained calm, confident, and assured. Gone were the nervous Tremblings and unseemly Shakings of Terror which it has customarily displayed whenever we have ascended past the Eight Foot Level.
Thus, while the Ladder Whisperer took to the Heights, we toiled away at those Levels reachable with the consistently serene and untroubled Step Ladder, whose Stability and consistent Reliability have never been put in Question.
Our time has also been taken up with the fractious Matter of the Quebec Charter of Values. We encountered, in the National Post, an Article which termed the Charter both "stupid" and "divisive." Our own View, of course – admittedly an unpopular one– is that the Charter is eminently sensible and ultimately – after the inevitable bloodshed which occurs when common sense does Battle with Folly – a Force for Unity. Thus we could not resist to poke a Stick of Dissent into the Nest of Self-Congratulatory Hornets.
For it is clear that virtually all Commentators of Repute and Standing in the Country have, as we have said elsewhere, "leaped to the side of the angels. They expressed revulsion, horror and outrage. They quivered in the paroxysms of their holier-than-thou-itude."
The only significant Exception is the admirably honest Mr. Ezra
Levant, who admitted to having Feelings in Conflict over the Matter.
We posted our Stick of Opposition in the Commentary Thread beneath the Article.
We were not disappointed. We were forced to respond to a Number of Replies. It is remarkable how Commentary Forums bring out the Darwinian Impulse – not merely for Survival –but Triumph. In the End, our Opponents fell silent, not, we suspect, because our Arguments had convinced them, but they wearied of the Attack against an unbending and hopelessly foolish Adversary.
It is difficult to explain why so many are unable to see the Correctness of our own Views. We suspect that their Errors may simply be a Matter of Gullibility.
We know not whether Canadians form the most gullible Nation on Earth, but if they do not, it is not from Lack of Effort. We see the typical Canadian as wearing Lumber Jack Pants, posed next to a Sugar Shack. He has sucked so long at the Teat of Happy Thoughts that his Eyes are glazed, his Mouth relaxed into a beatific Smile of unconsidered Tolerance.
He believes that his coercive Health Care System, which prevents Patients from obtaining superior Care, to be the best in the World. He believes that Canada has never fought in a War, but has always kept the Peace. He believes that Multiculturalism is a happy Concatenation of equal Cultures. He believes that Freedom of Religion means the Right to engage in any religious Practice anywhere, and at any Time. If he were shot with a Machine Gun, and it was explained that the Act was simply an Expression of Freedom of Religion, he would die a happy Man. He believes that the secular State, under which Galileo has finally been allowed to assert that the Earth encircles the Sun, is not worth defending, and should be nibbled at and teased apart, Strand by Strand, by those who hold that the Fount of all Wisdom is to be found in the Enlightenment of the Seventh Century.
In Short, he is an Idiot.
P.S.: We do hope that we have not offended anyone.
September 9, 2013
Despite the Allure of staining the Cottage, we have been seduced this Day into a Commentary arising from a Program on Television which we saw last Evening.
In a Segment of Civilization, Niall Ferguson made a Contrast between the Prussia of Frederick the Great, and the Ottoman Empire. It was a tale of two Cultures, one open to Science, the other closed off by Religion.
The Division, of course, is with us Today. The modern liberal
Democracies have used Reason and Science to create Wealth and Freedom.
Those Cultures still in Thrall to Religion have been markedly less
The great Irony is that Religion, while lacking Credentials, is persistent and demanding in its Irrationality. The western Democracies, while successful, seem beset with Doubt, and anxious to portray an Ideal of Tolerance which is self-flattering, but impractical.
Our Commentary is entitled: The Trojan Horse of Multiculturalism. It may be found in the Drivel Section.
September 8, 2013
The Psychology of Ladders
The Cottage at Wind-in-the-Pines has called out for a Staining of its exterior Cladding. Indeed, it has called out for several Years now without Success. It is only this Year that its faded Appearance, and tell-tale Signs of Peeling have prompted us to act.
Indeed, after recent Allegations of the Dropping of our Computer, (See Diary, August 28) with the Implication that we might be responsible for having an unsafe Workplace Environment, we have some Concern that, in the Nirvana of Canada, there may be Government Regulations dealing with Cottage Abuse and Cladding Neglect. It might be unwise to assume that there are not.
We should note that the Structure is three Storeys in Height, and even with the Advantage of much Decking, it is necessary to ascend two Storeys by Ladder in order to reach the highest Elevations. It is this Fact that has led us to consider the unlikely Topick of the Psychology of Ladders.
For we have observed that the Extension Ladder, in its Resting State – lying on the Walkway or even propped up against the Building – appears to be nothing more than an inert agglomeration of shaped Aluminum.
However, once mounted by the amateur painting Enthusiast, an extraordinary Truth is revealed: the Ladder is a living Entity, beset with Emotions, raddled by Doubts, and vulnerable to Neuroses of the most debilitating Severity.
As the Climber ascends, Brush and Paint Can in Hand, the Ladder exhibits a tendency to vibrate, which increases in Intensity with the Height attained. The Vibration becomes a Shudder, and the Shudder becomes a Shaking until the Enterprise of applying Stain to Cladding becomes a complete Impossibility.
As a Result of our recent Research, we are pleased to be able to add to the Sum Total of Scientific Terminology; we have dubbed this Phenomenon "PLS," or Panicky Ladder Syndrome.
What is more remarkable, is that the Power of the Ladder’s obvious Distress is transmitted – doubtless through some bizarre mechanism of Waves and Particles not yet understood by Science– to the unfortunate Climber.
The Palms of the Painter become moist and clammy; the Muscles become clenched; the Stomach braces for an incipient Wave of Nausea. More noteworthy still is a strange Symbiosis – a peculiar extra-sensory Perception – a mental Affinity which is developed between Ladder and Climber.
Hallucinations of Dizziness, of Falling into the Void, and of an unseemly Stoppage at Ground Level envelop the Mind of the Climber. Visions of spilled Paint, crumpled Bodies, splayed Appendages, and a mute, terminal Inertness are not uncommon.
We would note that while there is no apparent Remedy for PLS, a certain Amelioration of the Symptoms may be obtained. We have discovered that if the Foot of the Ladder is prevented from sliding away by a block of Wood attached to a Deck, the Distress of PLS is not removed, but is delayed, and occurs at a greater Height. Further, if the Ladder should be bound with sturdy Ropes to a Railing at the Top, a similar Alleviation of Symptoms may be obtained.
The Explanation for these Phenomena, we suspect, may be too delicate and arcane for the amateur Psychologist. Restraint and Bondage, and their Effects on Ladder Behaviour may plumb the libidinous and murky Depths of Ladder Psychology – Depths probably best left to those with an Interest in and some Expertise concerning Matters of Deviancy.
We suspect that we have but scratched the Surface here; we hope that others, more qualified than ourselves may see fit to investigate further this fascinating new Field – the Study of Ladder Psychology.
P.S.: We have decided to call in a Ladder-Whisperer who claims to be able to trick the Ladder into a State of Obliviousness and passive Accommodation.
September 4, 2013
We are pleased that Nirvana, so long distant and seemingly impossible to reach, is now brought within striking Distance through the Efforts of certain noble Legislators.
The Legislators in Question reside in Manitoba, where their Nobility and Kindness of Spirit has led them to introduce Laws against that Blot upon the Joy of Sentience, that Scourge of human Existence, that Marker of fallen Man -- Bullying.
We are pleased to see that the Legislation is forthright and severe. There is no shilly-shallying, no hemming interspersed with hawing, no unseemly Hesitation.
Any Behaviour which causes or might be expected to cause Fear or Harm to "body, feelings, self-esteem, reputation or property," will be subject to Penalty.
(National Post, September 4)
It is especially felicitous, we believe, that repeated Examples of such Transgressions will not be required to meet the Definition of Bullying. A single Occurrence will suffice.
We have no Doubt that Manitoba, within a very short Period of Time,
will become a Near-Paradise on Earth. Further, the lesser Animals,
observing that their competitive, selfish, and often foolish human
Brethren have achieved such an advanced State, will be greatly affected
for the Good. The fox will play Cribbage with the Hen, and the Cat will
join the Debating Society with the Mouse.
Our only Complaint is that the Legislation does not go far enough. Why settle for a Near-Paradise, when plain unvarnished Perfection may easily be achieved?
Surely all that is necessary to create the full Flowering of Nirvana is to legislate the Cessation of Selfishness and Envy, the Fulfilment of Dreams, the Happiness of Success, and the unvarying Good Opinion of one’s Fellows.
Problems rooted in the Nature of human Nature may and often should be addressed. The Waving of Legislative Wands, hoping that human Nature can thereby be magically transformed, is the Remedy of Fools, and will create only the Knavery of a Disease worse than that which cries out for Cure. (Observation #254)
Observation # 242: The nobler the ideal, the greater the evil which can be justified in its pursuit.
September 3, 2013
Gods too soon.
We note in this Day’s Post that Residents of Malibu are rendering Complaints that their Streets are clogged with Cars, and there is excessive Noise from Paparazzi and evening Meetings of Recovery.
Malibu has now been termed the Rehab Riviera. It is where the Wealthy and Celebrities go in order to treat their various Addictions. We assume that the Wealth and Celebrity Status is most often gained in the Entertainment Industry, where Talent is discovered and promoted with Alacrity.
We are scarcely original in noting the Dangers of becoming Gods too soon. Early Gods are like to have Power before they have Wisdom, and Fame before they have Perspective. (Observation # 253)
There is a long List of the Famous who, gaining the Peak of Fame in Youth are led into Recklessness, and a Sense of Invulnerability which leads to their Destruction. The young God, having climbed the Mountain of Success, believes there are no Peaks beyond his Reach, and no Restraints of the mortal Sphere that he must observe.
Alas, being a God is mere Illusion. There is always a Curtain to be pulled aside which will reveal a sobering Reality. But few, lost in the heady Fumes of Success, are inclined to Sobriety.
We wonder, idly, whether the Rise of Civilization owes much to the
Self-denial of Puritanism, and the Decline of Individuals to the
Self-Indulgence of Hedonism.
A Factor in creating Gods too soon is Technology. Before the easy Replication of artistic Endeavour, Talent could only be rewarded in Little. The Size of the Hall in which the Artist could perform would put a Limit to Fame.
Once Technology permitted the Audience to grow in exponential Fashion, the commensurate Sales and Revenues made possible the Creation of Gods too soon.
We are not sure if there is a Remedy. The Disease lies in the Nature of Human Nature. Classes in Humility are seldom found, in Time, at the Tops of Mountains.
We have refrained, thus far, from making Reference to specific Examples of Gods too soon – since Everyone will be able to think of his own. But we must admit that we watch the Career of Justin Bieber with some Interest. (See Drivel, May 24, 2010)
Recently, there have been Signs of ragged Edges, exposed Threads which seem to have potential for Unravelling. No Doubt the Quality of the Cloth will eventually be determined.
August 30, 2013
We admit that our uplifting Moments are characterized by an elusive Rarity.
Thus, when Moments of Grace and blessed Insight do arise, we cherish them with an Intensity of exceptional Gratitude.
The Subject of Today’s Gratitude is for the most wonderful Apprehensions of Sheikh Faisal Hamid Abdur-Razak, of Brampton.
Yes that is the Brampton which is in Ontario, in the country of Canada – not far from the Lumpenbangen Studios in central Hamilton.
It is not the Brampton of the Piddle-Pot Province of Outer Backwardistan.
It is perhaps the Proximity of the Sheik -- the Thought that we would be able to consult him in Person in any Moment of Disconsolance or Despair -- that is of greatest Comfort to us.
At the Moment, of course, we must rely simply on a recent Video of the Sheikh on You Tube.
In an inspiring Sermon portrayed on the Video, Faisal Hamid
Abdur-Razak has explained that any Muslim who has the great Advantage of
being sentenced to Death by Stoning, will benefit from a wonderful
Purification of the Soul, even as the Stones thud against the exposed
Visage and vulnerable Cranium.
(Sun News, August 28, 2013)
This is a wonderful Snippet of Information of which we had previously been unaware. In our Ignorance, we had thought Stoning to be the barbaric Relic of a primitive People, with a primitive Understanding of the World and a Penchant for evil Cruelty.
We are uplifted to realize our Error. The Purification of Souls is certainly a worthy and admirable Goal, and we are pleased to discover that Purification can be obtained at such modest Cost and relatively small Inconvenience.
We eagerly anticipate the further Promulgation of the Sheikh’s View of the World.
We are curious to discover whether Sin and Punishment are necessary Preconditions. Or perhaps Death in a gruesome Accident, or a long lingering Death from a debilitating Disease will do just as well.
We should be grateful that the Sheikh is available in nearby Brampton. We look forward to further Developments which will increase our limited Understanding of these Matters of Faith and Benevolence.
August 28, 2013
This Morning our Computer suddenly slipped into Unconsciousness in Mid-Sentence.
It fell into a Blackness of Visage, and was obdurately unresponsive to all Stratagems.
We turned it off, and then on again. The faint Light where the umbilical Cord enters the Machine, and where the Power Switch is located, confirmed that Sustenance was being delivered; but it was obviously not able to affect the operating Mechanisms of the Device.
Incantatory Mantras, and Expressions of Dismay had no Effect. An ancient Sumerian Curse – our final Resource in such Matters – proved fruitless.
Possibly the Paucity of ancient Sumerians and their related Gods has resulted in a great Diminution in the Efficacy of the Curse. Or possibly the Sumerian Gods have not kept abreast of modern Technology. They may be reliable only at the Abacus Level.
The Machine remained as obdurate as a Doornail long past its Date of Clinching. All its golden Words, if not actually spent, were locked in a black Hole of Unresponsiveness, from which no Light could Escape.
We are pleased to report, however, that we were able to discover a Computer Repair Facility within a short Time. After stethoscopic Examination, intestinal Probing and careful Assessment, a Diagnosis was made.
It appeared that the Malady was not terminal; nor was the Cost of
Resuscitation disproportionate to the Value of the Device.
A routine and uncomplicated Operation – though requiring a general Anaesthetic – was prescribed.
With the Machine restored to its accustomed Vigour, the Question arose as to whether it had ever been dropped. We were aghast at the Implication that we had been neglectful, and failed to provide a safe working Environment. It is important that the Dreimer Name retain its Lustre, and not be besmirched by Allegations of Workplace Malfeasance.
On Reflection, we have heard that those under Anaesthesia have been heard to babble Falsities, to give Voice to the Irrational Wanderings of the unconscious Mind. We can only suppose that our Machine, in the Extremity of the Process of Repair, had made false Accusations of Mistreatment.
Still, One can never be too careful about such Matters.
A Gift of kid Gloves, suitably wrapped and accompanied by a complimentary Card, might well be in Order.
The blank, black, unresponsive Eye of a lifeless Computer is a chilling Sight. An unhappy and revengeful Computer is not Something to be trifled with.
August 27, 2013
It would appear that our Position on the Proposal in Quebec to remove Symbols of Religion from Government Employees who interact with private Citizens is shared by Forty-Two percent of Canadians. In Quebec, 58% approve of the Proposal. (National Post, August 27, 2013.)
We have read an earlier Result which indicated that among Francophones, 77% approve the Measure.
We are somewhat surprised that these Numbers are as high as they are. All proper thinking, respected and sensible Canadians – who write in the Columns of Newspapers -- seem Unanimous in their Expressions of Revulsion, Distaste, and Condemnation.
We can only assume that this is because the Mantra "Freedom of Religion" has been inscribed with such Indelibility on the national Palimpsest, that it is taken for granted that the personal Expression of Belief is a Mooing that must never be silenced on any Occasion. Rather, sacred Quadrupeds must be allowed to wander at Will, drowning out any other still sad Music of Humanity.
It is our Belief that the Government is entirely justified in sending its own symbolic Message – that it is a Secular Institution -- even if that requires a temporary Divestiture of Religious Symbols by Employees during working Hours.
To give religious Symbols primacy over secular Symbols, sends a very bad Message, when there appear to be powerful Forces attempting to destroy our traditional Notion that Church and State are to be separated.
That Notion is not, of course the reigning Belief in Muslim Countries, and we see worrying Attacks on our traditional Customs.
We would list them thus:
1. Many years ago, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police accepted the Wearing of Turbans by its Officers.
2. The Toronto Police Force is seeking Officers who will wear the Hijab.
3. Police influenced a Rabbi in Thornhill to cancel a Speech by
Pamela Geller to be held at his Synagogue. It was reported that they
were responding to Requests by the local (religious) Community.
4. There was a recent Attempt – which, fortunately, failed – to give Force to Sharia Law in Ontario.
5. Muslim Ceremonies are held for Students in Toronto in a public – and supposedly secular –School.
6. Mr. Obama recently tried to blame the Attack on Benghazi on the Film Innocence of Muslims. Rather than defending the traditional Right to Freedom of Speech in the United States, Mr. Obama declared: "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam." In the light of his Speech in Cairo in 2009, we wonder whether Mr. Obama would favour a Law against Blasphemy.
7. The draconian anti-blasphemy Laws in Pakistan appear to be ineradicable.
8. Russia has recently adopted anti-blasphemy Laws.
9. The mind-set in Canada is not comforting. We have Human Rights Commissions, which seem enamoured of the Idea that none should be offended. It would not be surprising to see that Concern translate into Penalties for Blasphemy.
Because of these Attacks on the Notion that Religion should not be officially influential in Governance, we welcome the Attempt by Quebec to make a symbolic Statement in Favour of Secularism.
We suspect that the Horror of those for whom every Expression of Religious Practice is deemed sacrosanct, will have continued Expression.
August 26, 2013
We note that the proposed Charter of Quebec Values continues to provoke Cries of Outrage.
There appears to be a significant Division of Opinion within Quebec, with Seventy-Seven Per Cent of Francophones agreeing that there is "too much" Accommodation of religious Minorities, while only Twenty-Three Per Cent of Anglophones concur. (Sun News, August 26)
The Response from those in other Provinces seems overwhelmingly against the Attempt to separate Government Services from religious Symbolism. The Requirement, as we understand it, is that religious Symbols not be worn by Government Employees during their Interactions with Citizens.
We should first emphasize that the whole Discussion is based on the Notion that Symbols are important. If Symbols are considered not important, and are meaningless, the Wearing of religious Symbols is irrelevant. But it would appear that much Store is placed on Symbols. The Burning of a Flag or a Koran is seen as important. Policemen wear Uniforms. Bank Tellers do not wear Bikinis. This is because Symbols can be a Proclamation of certain Values.
In our View, those opposed to the Quebec Charter seem to be under the Misapprehension that "Freedom of Religion" is a Card which must always trump.
This, of course, is absolute Nonsense. Freedom of Religion is the Freedom to worship the God of one’s Choice. To argue that that Freedom allows the Expression of religious Belief at any Time, in any Place, and in any Manner leads to Absurdity.
On that Basis, those responsible for the Destruction of the World Trade Towers might use Freedom of Religion as their Defense. This Argument may be seen, in little, when Women claim to be exempt from providing a Photographic Depiction on their Driver’s License, or to remain veiled when giving Testimony in Court. Religious Practice must render unto Caesar the Power over those Things for which Caesar has been elected.
If that is not the Case, then surely there is no Argument against
Theocracy. If religious Values must always trump, we have, in the words
of Thomas Jefferson "no guard against absurdities most monstrous," and
are "the sport of every wind."
The Restricting of the Wearing of religious Symbols by Government Employees conducting the Business of Government should not be seen as a critical Oppression of Religious Freedom – since those Employees are free to worship as they please and wear religious Symbols away from the Workplace.
Rather, this Measure upholds a more important Freedom which few seem to recognize -- the Freedom from Religion.
For why should a Citizen embracing one Faith be given the Impression that the Government with which he deals, and from which he expects Impartiality, favours another Faith entirely? Will he expect a greater Sympathy if he sees the Government Employee shares his Faith?
And why should a Citizen who has no Faith, and is convinced that "all religion is bunk," be given the Suggestion that, beneath the Surface, the Government actually leans to Theocracy?
We see Religion, which is based on Nothing but Supposition and Credulity, an entirely inappropriate and divisive Element to be in constant Reference in the Operation of Government.
Similarly, we would prefer not to encounter Symbols of political Affiliation -- or those which suggest Views on Abortion, Blood Transfusions, Gay Marriage, the Death Penalty, and perhaps Dozens of other Issues irrelevant to the Business at Hand.
The Right to Freedom from Religion should be upheld and preserved when Citizens – of Necessity -- encounter the Power of Government.
August 25, 2013
It is a Sunday, in the mellow Quiet of a diminished Summer. And, as so often on Sunday – at Week’s End – our Thoughts do turn to Eternal Verities, to the Wellsprings of our Solace, to our never-ending Source of pious Hope for a better World.
Indeed, we do bend our reverent Thoughts to the Subject of Atheism.
It has not escaped out Notice that Atheism, and the Proclamation thereof, has, in some Quarters, become a source of Irritation and Annoyance.
It is not hard to understand why this should be the Case. When one is right, and no reasonable Arguments may be raised against one’s Position, it is exceedingly difficult to feign Modesty. Thus we can understand that the Assurance of Atheists must sometimes be like the Grating of Fingernails on a Blackboard.
Adding Fuel to such Embers of Resentment, we must note a Scientific Review published in the Journal Personality and Social Psychology, which found that "Religious people are less intelligent than non-believers." One of the Studies covered was that of 1500 gifted Children with Intelligence Quotients above 135, which started in 1921 and continues today.
This, of course, does not surprise us, since religious Belief is usually based on what People thought in more primitive Times, when much less was known about the real World, when Credulity was the Handmaiden of widespread Ignorance.
We note also the Temerity of Richard Dawkins who recently tweeted:
All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge.
He later added:
A statement of simple fact is not bigotry. And science by Muslims was great in the distant past.
It is interesting that these Remarks were met by Expressions of
Outrage and Disgust. As with Religion itself, most People are more
comfortable when happy Masks cover over the unsightly Pocks of Truth.
We understand that Mr. Dawkins has subsequently removed these Remarks. We can only assume that this is a Testament to the Power of political Correctness.
Finally, we would note an Article in Saturday’s National Post entitled:
Why so many ignore common sense and strive for the seemingly impossible — eternal life.
The Article deals with a new Book by Adam Leith Gollner: The Book of Immortality: The Science, Belief and Magic Behind Living Forever.
Mr. Gollner is quoted:
We’re so willing to fall into unthinkingness in our desperation to try to live forever, we have such a strong desire for it that we’ll just put common sense aside.
We are pleased to see the Opposition made between Common Sense and Dreams of Immortality, both in the Heading of the Piece, and in Mr. Gollner’s Comments.
Perhaps there is Hope for Atheism, after all.
We do think, however, that Alain de Botton has a Point in Religion for Atheists, which suggests that Atheism should borrow certain Elements of Ritual and Community from Religion. Let us not believe – but let indulge in our Need for Show, Drama, and Community while assiduously not believing.
August 24, 2013:
What rôle for the patient in the
(A Limerish* from Limerick Lane, February 28, 2011)
We must note an Article in this Day’s Post by Tom Blackwell, which gives the Account of Dr. Michael Stoffman, a Neurosurgeon who decided to move to the United States to engage in Practice there.
Before completing his Residency, he had noted that, in Canada: "Elective operations were often being postponed at the last minute, specialists had limited time in the OR and the job market looked to be dicey." (National Post August 24.)
His Practice is now in Niagara Falls, New York, where he treats, among others, Canadians who are forced to wait with painful and debilitating Conditions in our own wonderful "egalitarian" System. Of course, there is Cost involved, but there are many who would prefer to pay than suffer.
As we have pointed out many Times, the Canadian System represents a Triumph of Ideology over Practicality. It pretends to offer equal Care for Everyone, at a Cost borne by the general Taxpayer.
There are two main Flaws in the System.
First, Equality of Access is a Pretense, and chimerical. Doctors are in limited Supply. Members of Sports Teams, Clients of Workers’ Compensation Boards, those within the System, those of Prominence, and those who know whom to contact, will receive more timely Care. The Prime Minister will not languish and die unattended in an Emergency Room as did Therese De Repentigny in 2010.
The second Flaw is related to the first. Because of the Obsession with the blue-horned Unicorn of Equality, Patients are forbidden to purchase private Insurance which would allow them to gain Access to a parallel Private System. This is Coercion, plain and simple. What would be the public Response if Government were to take over the Supply of Food? The Line-ups for a limited Supply of standardized Tomatoes offered during regular Civil Service Office Hours would be an instructive Sight.
As it is, the only Escape from the Procrustean Bed of the Canadian System is – as suggested by Mr. Blackwell’s Account – a Trip to another Country.
We can only hope that further and more frequent Exposure of the outrageous Deficiencies of Nanny Care will eventually lead to a System less driven by a flawed Ideology, and more by the Needs of Patients.
Unfortunately, many are spellbound, transfixed by the wafting Siren Song of a seductive Ideal. Politicians, who themselves need not fear the worst Inefficiencies of the System, have no personal Sense of Urgency.
We do not plan to hold our Breath.
* A flawed, Limerick wannabe.
August 23, 2013
...there was something wanting in him – some small matter which, when the pressing need arose, could not be found under his magnificent eloquence...he was hollow at the core...
( Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness)
We note that Noam Chomsky – whom we have long considered to be possibly brilliant but certifiably daft -- has seen fit to agree with Sarah Palin, in her Criticism of Mr. Obama’s 2008 Election Campaign:
"I don’t usually admire Sarah Palin, but when she was making fun of this ‘hopey-changey’ stuff, she was right," the noted linguist told Democracy Now. Chomsky says he agrees with the Tea Party favourite that Obama’s "Hope" and "Change" messages were just marketing pabulum.
(National Post, August 23)
Mr. Obama, who could not possibly have lived up to the Expectations suggested by his Pabulum, has been seen to fall short even of more muted Hopes.
The other Day, on The Source, Mr. Levant dissected Mr. Obama’s Speech in Cairo in 2009, and deemed it responsible for the Islamist Mess in the Middle East.
The Speech is uplifting, but perhaps infused with too much of the Hopey-Changey, and falling short on the Self-Respecty. In an apparent Desperation to patch over the Differences between East and West, Mr. Obama seemed to reduce Chasms to the Fine Lines needing only the Blush of Powder from a Cosmetician’s Puff to achieve an unblemished Appearance.
Much was made of the shared "principles of justice and progress; tolerance and dignity of all human beings." Mr. Obama noted that: "throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality"
This would seem to be an optimistic Interpretation, given that there are many Passages of the Koran which seem keen on Death for Apostates and Unbelievers.
Mr. Obama noted that the new World he seeks is based "upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings."
Yet the Tendency under Islam is towards Theocracy and the Supremacy of Sharia Law, as opposed to Democracy and the paramount Influence of the Governed.
Mr. Obama made Mention of the Freedom of Religion in the United
States, and emphasized the Attempts to protect the Right of Women to
wear the Hijab. But he made no Reference to the Lack of such Tolerance
in Islamic Countries.
In particular, Mr. Obama downplayed western Values. Rather than recognizing the Achievements of Democracy, he preferred a demure Modesty:
no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.
Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election
Finally, he referred to the Attacks of September 11, 2001, as a Trauma. This Trauma was not so bad because of its murderous Intent, but because it had the Effect of making the United States act contrary to its Ideals.
In other Words, Mr. Obama, looking deeply into a Sow’s Ear, pronounced it to be, in Fact, a Silk Purse. The Rationale would appear to be that of magical Thinking. If a Sow’s Ear is proclaimed -- with sufficient Fervency, with Words fine enough, and with Language uplifting enough -- to be a Silk Purse, then a Purse it will become. Emperors have been known to be charmed by such Arguments.
It is Mr. Levant’s Contention that this Speech was a signal to the Radical Elements of Islam that the United States had banished all Thoughts of Sow’s Ears, and would welcome Silk Purses of all Shapes and Varieties, and would consider it indelicate to subject them to any form of critical Scrutiny.
To this we would add two additional Facts.
While Mr. Obama did give the Order to kill Osama bin Laden, it was only after much Delay, and a Concern for the Damage to his Reputation, should the Attempt fail.*
The Blaming of the Attack in Benghazi on the Film Innocence of Muslims, and the Statement that: "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam" suggest that Mr. Obama is a firm Believer in the Efficacy of Appeasement.*
We think the Evidence for this Belief is as patchy and insubstantial as Pond Mist.
Indeed, we are inclined to agree with John Robson, who has recently characterized Mr. Obama as a Man for whom fine Words are a Substitute for Action. He thinks that, in describing a desired Result, or ideal Condition, it has already been achieved.
*See Drivel, October 27, 2102
August 22, 2013
We see that the Partis Quebecois has proposed the banning of religious Symbols in the Public Sector, to almost universal Opprobrium.
Universal Opprobrium – or universal Opinion of any Sort -- we often take as a sign of Error; and indeed, we hold that the Opprobrium in this Case is misguided.
We think that Principle being proposed is sound, although we see some practical Difficulties.
These are the Reasons for our Opinion:
1. The Notion of Freedom is often misunderstood. It can never be absolute and is always hedged with Limitations. For example, while we are generally in Favour of Mockery, we think it would be inappropriate to ridicule Religion during a Sermon at a Church.
2. The Notion of Freedom of Religion is similarly misunderstood. That Freedom is the Freedom to worship, but not necessarily to engage in Practice contrary to established Laws and Custom. This is shown by the reductio ad absurdum: As a Result of divine Revelation, the new Religion of Buckshot is established. One of the Tenets of the new Religion, which worships the Gods Smith and Wesson, is that all Adherents must bring a loaded Machine Gun when making an Appearance in Court.
3. This speaks to the Heart of the Difficulty with all Religions: they claim the Sanction of a Higher Power, and are not subject to rational Analysis -- nor may they be refuted with testable Evidence. Note how long it has taken for Women to reach their current Status of almost equal Citizens. Tradition – we would argue often based on Religion – has fought their Advancement every step of the Way. Even now, Women are not equal in the Catholic Religion, or under Islam.
4. While it may be reasonable that Citizens proclaim their Adherence to irrational Belief in ordinary Life, it seems inappropriate that they do so when representing Government. Despite technical References to God in constitutional Documents, western Democracies are not Theocracies; Religion does not dictate Government Policy. This is a good thing, because Religion is based on Fantasy, and there is some hope that, freed from Religion, Governments will respond to real Knowledge and Evidence.
5. Why should Government, then, allow its public Face to be that of any Religion? Does this not ignite the Fear in ordinary Citizens that they will be treated not impartially, but according to some Type of religious Bias?
6. Many Employers require their Employees to wear a Uniform. This is not a Matter of Whim and Fantasy. They see their Employees as representing, at the Workplace, certain Values and Standards of the Company. Would it be appropriate for Airline Stewardesses to perform their Tasks wearing Bikinis? Is there anything wrong with Nurses wearing scuffed Jeans? Should the Police wear Jogging Pants, T-Shirts, or Burkas? The Idea behind a Uniform, oddly enough, is the Suggestion that one can expect, not a personal and individual Bias, but a Uniformity of Treatment. The Individual is, in some Measure, required to suppress his own Predilections, and act according to some pre-established Mode of Conduct and Set of Principles.
7. We see no Reason why Government should not wish to present a uniform Face when interacting with its Citizens.
8. As we have noted, there are some practical Difficulties, of which we will note only Two here.
The first is the Widespread Nature of religious Belief, and the Misconception that such Belief, and any Expressions of Belief, should trump all.
The second is that Government has become pervasive; its Face is everywhere. Since Government has become, quite wrongly, the sole Provider of Health Care, all Doctors may be seen as the Public Face of Government, and subject to the same Restrictions as those imposed on – for example -- Policemen. If there were a competing private System -- just as in a private educational System -- religious Symbolism would not be at Odds with Government Secularism.
August 20, 2013
Truth is always sacrificed for Illusion; the Question is how much Truth should be sacrificed for which Illusions?
Multiculturalism, so dear to our Society, is based on the Notion that all Cultures are equal, which is wonderfully polite and inclusive, but untrue. It is, as Salim Mansur has noted, a "delectable lie."*
It is not only that some Cultures have been manifestly more successful in creating Wealth and Freedom than others; Cultures which are seen as Collectives are inherently different from the Cultures of Liberal Democracies, which emphasize the Rights of the Individual over those of the Group.
To argue that collective Cultures are equal to one another is to overlook real Differences in their Success in creating "the greatest happiness of the greatest number." Beyond that, to argue that any Culture in which individual Freedoms are subservient is comparable to one in which individual Freedoms are valued, is to make an Equation not merely of Degree, but of Kind.
We note this in Background to the Matter of political Pandering.
We have long thought that the Habit of Politicians to don Silly Hats** when speaking to Cultural Groups is demeaning. We suppose this might be seen as a Gesture of Goodwill, but it has always appeared to us to be the Height of Insincerity displayed for political Gain.
Such Politicians are pretending to be in Solidarity with a Culture which is not their own, rather than engaging in a Discussion of those Issues which are of Interest to all Canadians, whatever Hats they may wear as a Tokens of unimportant Origins.
Indeed, to suggest that superficial Customs are worth imitating is to give them an Importance which they simply do not deserve, and can only promote an unhelpful Diversity rather than a productive Unity.
Surely it is enough to suggest Tolerance and Goodwill to attend the
Australovenian Festival of Exotic Dancers, and partake of a traditional
Casserole of fried Dragonflies, without actually dancing Naked, covered
in Olive Oil, by the Light of the pre-pubescent Moon?
Would Abraham Lincoln have disported himself thus, or Winston Churchill?
In Today’s Sun, Mr. Levant notes the Extreme of political Pandering in the Actions of Justin Trudeau, who recently visited a Mosque in British Columbia.
Not content with a Silly Hat, Mr. Trudeau wore an Arab Garment called the Jalabiya. Further, he engaged in a religious Ritual, called the Maghrib salah. Mr. Levant notes that this Ceremony contains a Prayer:
... Part of the prayer is called the shahada, which in Arabic means to testify. As in, to testify to the Truth that Allah is the one true God, and Mohammed is his one true Prophet.
To say the shahada, in the presence of two or more Muslim males, is the sole requirement in Islamic law to convert to Islam.
This would appear to be carrying Pandering to Heights heretofore unscaled.
For it is our Opinion that no Cultures can be more inimical to our own than those which hold that Religion should hold Sway over Governance, and that Allegiance should be paid to the Collectivism of the Seventh Century.
We are unconsoled by the Argument that Mr. Trudeau is yet a Man of Principle.
For he espouses the Principle of the political Chameleon, that Creature of Camouflage who mouths the Sentiments most like to provide an agreeable Applause, a pleasing Opinion in all those Principalities of the Mind -- worthy or not – where Votes may be found.
* Delectable Lie, Published January, 2011
**Observation #136. The silly hat syndrome is an unfortunate affliction specific to the political class; it is manifested by those politicians who adopt, on a temporary and expedient basis, the garb of that cultural group whose votes they wish to attract.
August 19, 2013
We are intrigued to see that an Arrest has been made in the Matter of the Shooting of Sammy Yatim.
The Constable responsible for Mr. Yatim’s Death, James Forcillo, has been charged with second-degree Murder.
We were not, of course, alone in our Sense of Disbelief when we saw the Shooting depicted on Television.
It appeared that Mr. Yatim presented no imminent Threat to those with Guns already drawn. It would seem to have been Common Sense to engage Mr. Yatim in a long, drawn out Conversation which might have an excellent Chance of blunting the Edge of his provoking Demons.
Our View of the Police used to be benign. But, as Incident has been piled on Incident, our Faith has been shaken, cracked, and is in Danger of Collapse.
On the one Hand, the Police have become politicized. They refuse to enforce the Law against Native Protestors, and indeed, appear to carry "Prudence" to an Extreme with Protestors of any Sort, preferring to protect them against ensuring the Rights of ordinary Citizens.
They appear to kowtow to Muslim Sensibilities in the Matters of seeking Officers who will wear religious Symbols, and in interfering with a proposed Speech by Pamela Geller in Thornhill. It was our Apprehension that our Society eschewed the Interference of Religion in Government, and maintained the Principle of Freedom of Speech.*
On the other Hand – we wonder whether the two Hands are linked – they
seem vulnerable to Episodes of needless Violence. The Cases of Robert
Dzienkanski and Sammy Yatim are those which come first to Mind.
In both these Cases, Video Evidence has been available. We are left to wonder what Crimes are committed by the Police, and never brought to Light because the only Accounts available are those concocted by the Guilty.
We think the Depictions of Police Actions by private Recording are a positive Element for Justice. We are also in Favour of Cameras used for public Surveillance, since we consider that Anyone who ventures on to a public Street has the Understanding that he is likely to be viewed by Others.
As the Yatim Case shows, the Clarity of Knowledge – Exposure of Fact – is more like to lead to Justice than the Obscurity of Ignorance.
*We do admit that there have been prior Attacks by Human Rights Commissions, and that Freedom of Speech is in a Battle to the Death with the Satanic Forces of Political Correctness.
August 17, 2013
The vexed Problem of Inequality
We confess that we have written upon this Topick before. However, we suffer so grievously with sleepless Nights and disturbed Days pondering the Causes and Cures of Inequality, that we hope we may be forgiven for discussing it again.
Our chief Focus of course is on that most urgent of Inequalities – the Inequality of Stupidity.
Why are some allowed to amass Stupidity in such great – we would even say obscene – Quantities – while others are significantly deprived? What can be done to remedy this terrible Injustice, to take from those already overburdened with Stupidity – who lurch from one Error to the next, flaunting their wretched Excess for all to see – and give some little Amount to the penuriously sensible?
The latest Example of the Flaunting of Excess is to be seen in the Partis Quebecois Plan to save small Bookstores. It is proposed that Prices of new Books be allowed a mere 10% Discount during the first Nine Months of sales. (National Post, August 17)
By keeping Prices artificially high, the Government hopes to stem the Tide of market Forces, turn back the Waves of Competition, and protect the vulnerable Strand of Bookstore Enterprise.
They give no thought to the Proposition that high Prices reduce Sales, or the Reality that Customers may seek other Options.
We think that this whole Matter of Stupidity is deserving of a Royal Commission or Publick Enquiry. We need to know more about its Genesis, and its uneven Distribution.
We admit that we do have some untested Theories.
We suspect that the most visible Stupidity is generated, in large Measure, by political Power. Those in Government become intoxicated with the Possibilities of restructuring the World, and subsequently with altering Human Nature to fit the Brave New World of their Imaginations.
Thus we have the Nova Scotia Cyberbullying Law, Human Rights Commissions, and a Universal Health care System which forbids Patients from acting in their own best Interests. We have the United Nations, which, while not actually in a Position of Governance shows every Aspiration to attain ultimate Control, and impose its Nightmare of unelected Bureaucracy gone wild to the farthest Reaches of the Planet.
But although Government seems best to illustrate an unhappy Aggregation of Stupidity, we suspect the Seeds are found elsewhere.
Indeed the "Root Cause" of much Stupidity, we believe, is in an Idealism unchecked by practical Realities.
Too often Reality is observed, but found Wanting in Appearance. The World, in Essence, is competitive and unfair. That is, unfortunately, how it works. The Idealist is unsatisfied with minor cosmetic Surgery, a judicious Nip here, a discreet Tuck there to create a presentable Visage. Rather, the Idealist wishes to conjure the blue-horned Unicorn of Equality, to remove all Risk, to banish Striving and Unpleasantness, and to sacrifice the Freedom of the Plain for Security of the Hive.
We have no Theory as to how this Problem might be addressed. The Cry of Stupidity seems weak against the Vision of a Land over the Rainbow, or a Big Rock Candy Mountain.
We expect that the Burden of vast steaming Agglomerations of Stupidity, unevenly distributed, will continue to haunt our Nights and Days.
We can only continue to contribute our inconsequential Mite of acidic Reason, which, it is sometimes believed, has some slight Effect in the Dissolution of the nearly overwhelming Pile.
Observation # 148: It is best that idealism be firmly yoked with impotence, for there are few men more dangerous than the idealist with power. What oppressions have been levied, what destructions have been wrought, what profound evils have been committed by those who would force mankind into the Procrustean bed of an imagined, ideal state!
August 16, 2013
Richard Steele, in the 18th Century, described the purpose of The Tatler thus: to expose the false arts of life, to pull off the disguises of cunning, vanity, and affectation...
Indeed, upon Reflection, without the many Fraudulences of our Time, we would be reduced to exploring, in these Pages, the minutiae of Humdrummery, the Trivia of Tick-Tockery which make up the vast Bulk of our Existence.
Where, indeed, would we be without the Follies of Religion, the Pretenses of Climate Alarmists, the arrogant Assurance of the Ontario Liberals, the False Aspirations of Human Rights Commissions, the bizarre Ideals of the Left, and the Self-Congratulations of the failed Health Care System?
We note all this as a Preface to our Commendation of the Sun News Network in general, and Mr. Levant’s Exposure of a Group of "Environmentalists" on The Source last Evening.
The Term Environmentalist is like to conjure a concerned Citizen, anguishing over Gaia, concerned about the Fall of a Sparrow and the Future of Mankind. The Environmentalist may be over-wrought, and misguided, but is consumed by a Nobility of Purpose.
Mr. Levant had Occasion on Wednesday to interact with some of those "Protesters" who were arrested after their Occupation of an Enbridge Facility near Westover in June. (See Diary, June 27, 2013)
Some of these Interactions were broadcast Yesterday. At least four Elements of Fraud and Pretense were exposed.
It was clear from the Answers given to Mr. Levant’s Questions that the "Environmentalists" had no Knowledge of Oil, Pipelines, Geography, or Economics. It would appear that a Prerequisite for Protesters is an abysmal Ignorance. We suspect that those recruited for Protests are approved only after being shown unable to answer Questions such as:
How big is a dozen?
Secondly, it was clear that the chief Concern of the Protesters was Protest itself. Several Individuals had protested at a Variety of Events, and been arrested before. They are not local Residents expressing Concern, but roving Bands of Professionals, showing up as their Presence is required to give the Impression of genuine Protest.
Thirdly, it was apparent that Protesters – with excellent Reason – are reluctant to answer Questions from Those unlikely to be fawning Believers in their Cause. One Protester moved consistently and persistently away as Mr. Levant attempted to ask her Questions. Another admitted that Sun News was on the List of Media not to be spoken to, and, unaware that she was speaking to Mr. Levant, cited him as the perceived Chief Devil of the Network.
Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, what was revealed, by Contrast, is the Failure of the usual Media to look beyond the Surface, "to expose the false arts of life, to pull off the disguises of cunning, vanity, and affectation" of the World on which they pretend to be reporting.
Bias, of course, is impossible to avoid. Some News, some Details are chosen; Others are not.
When it comes to Protests, the Appearance of Objectivity often seems to mask a Bias: the Protest may be described, but relevant Facts about the Circumstances, Motivations, and Personalities are omitted.
The clearest Example which comes to Mind is that of Teresa Spence. Was she a brave Soul undergoing Hardship on a Matter of Principle, or a duplicitous Grandstander, seeking to draw Attention away from the grievous Mismanagement of the Reserve for which she was responsible?
Your View almost certainly depends upon the Source of your News.
Observation #248. Much of what people proclaim is fraudulent; much of what they do, stupid. The price of sanity is a sceptical vigilance.
August 15, 2013
We wrote the other Day about the Adoption of Legislation in Russia which provides Penalties for Blasphemy and for approving of "non-traditional" sexual Relationships.
We see such vague and "elastic" Laws as wonderful Tools for Entrapment by the Government, and for enhancing the Sense of Fear and Trepidation among the Populace. Every Dictator wishes his Subjects to be wary, and nervous, for this enables greater Control. Mr. Orwell illustrated the Epitome of Government Control in 1984, where constant revisions of History and Language were used – along with more conventional Terror – to keep Citizens in a state of abject Uncertainty.
We see that the Government of Nova Scotia, unwittingly, and with only the most noble of Motives, has embarked upon the same Path.
The Government does not intend to oppress its Citizens – as we suspect is the Case with Mr. Putin; rather, it intends to create a Nirvana where none shall feel offended. It is a Pity that Nobility of Purpose is so often seen to excuse Measures of Oppression.* No one ever seems to ask, when legislating for Nirvana, how the Law may be abused, or how the proposed Cure may be worse than the Disease.
Consider that the Attempt to stop Cyberbullying in the Wake of the Suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons is aimed at:
any electronic communication . . . that is intended or ought reasonably be expected to cause fear, intimidation, humiliation, distress or other damage or harm to another person’s health, emotional well_being, self_esteem or reputation. (Toronto Star, August 11)
As the Star Editorial points out, each Day The Star receives
Letters to the Editor intended to cause Humiliation and Distress, and to
undermine the Self-esteem or Reputation of those with whom the Authors
Indeed, we would be greatly disappointed if our own Limerick Lane -- entered in a Cyberbullying Contest -- were not to receive a gold, silver, or bronze Prize.
Canada has only recently managed to remove the Hate Speech Provisions of the Federal Human Rights Legislation, precisely because it opened the Door to Bullying – the unjustified Suppression of Free Speech.
Now, with the Legislation in Nova Scotia, a provincial Government seems determined to embark on the same Path, paved with more agreeable Stones, but leading to the same unconscionable Searing.
As Anthony Furey points out in The Sun:
Serious bullying is already illegal -- it's called assault, harassment, etc. Light forms of bullying -- teasing, name-calling -- are facts of life. Toughen up. Life is cruel. (August 14)
Unfortunately, it is the Hubris of well-intentioned Governments to believe that the Serpent can be banished, the Apple disgorged, and the Innocence of Eden be retrieved with the Wave of a pious, legislative Wand.
* Observation # 243. Being on the side of the angels allows many a pact with the devil.
August 13, 2013
We note that Vladimir Putin’s Russia – we attribute Ownership with Deliberation – having some Apprehension of the Future, and finding it distasteful, seems intent on moving definitively backwards.
It would seem reasonable that Dictators are more comfortable in Societies which bear Resemblance to that described in Mr. Orwell’s 1984, where the Tools of Oppression and Repression are manifold and pervasive.
The first Tool which Mr. Putin has called to Hand is a Law against Blasphemy, which:
"allows for fines up to 300,000 rubles ($9,000) and imprisonment for up to 2 years for public acts that "manifest patent disrespect for society and are committed with the aim of offense to the religious feelings of believers." The penalties for offenses are increased if the acts take place in houses of worship.
(Catholicculture.org, July 1, 2013)
In this, Mr. Putin is following the Lead of that Beacon of Enlightenment, Pakistan. Pakistan is in the Lead in this Matter, for there the Penalty for Blasphemy is Death.
The wonderful Advantage of such Laws is that they are vague, and subject to Interpretation, for Blasphemy may be defined to the Breadth of a Hair, and then the Hair be split in order to allow for a successful Prosecution.
It becomes a wonderful Catch-All for the Government, and allows much Scope for a private settling of Scores.
The latest Ploy is the Passage of a Law against " propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors."
Propaganda is the act of distributing information among minors
that 1) is aimed at the creating nontraditional sexual attitudes, 2)
makes nontraditional sexual relations attractive, 3) equates the social
value of traditional and nontraditional sexual relations, or 4) creates
an interest in nontraditional sexual relations.
(Policymic, August 8, 2013)
The Penalties include Fines and Jail Terms for Citizens and Foreigners, as well as Deportation for Foreigners. It is not without Significance that such a Law declares, in Effect, an Open Season for Thugs looking for a Quarry with no Defence.
As with the Blasphemy Law, the Wording is sufficiently vague to allow the slightest Hint of a Mis-Step to become Grounds for Oppression. It is a wonderful Tool for Big Brotherism.
We look forward to Mr. Putin’s next move backwards.
Mr. Putin has been observed retreating on Limerick Lane.
We understand that Mr. Baird, Minister for Foreign Affairs, has attempted to dissuade the Russians from enacting this Law, but without Success. There is much Concern about how it will affect Athletes and Visitors to the Winter Olympics in Sochi next Year.
It has not, of course, been the Custom of the Olympics Committee to object to oppressive Regimes in deciding on Locations. But the Possibility that Visitors may be subject to Arrest for expressing their Views introduces a new Element.
Matters of Principle are often ignored when few are affected. We suspect that the Committee’s Apprehension would be considerably heightened if left-handed Males with blue Eyes were the Target of Mr. Putin’s Disdain.
August 11, 2013
The Sacred and the Profane: Swimming with the Piranhas of Cultural Sensitivity.
We note that a Swedish Retail Establishment, H & M (Hennes & Mauritz) has removed an Indian Headdress Product from its Stores. (Globe & Mail, August 9)
The Firm had received three Complaints.
Kim Wheeler, an Ojibwa-Mohawk complained:
It’s not honouring us. It’s not flattering us. It’s making a mockery of our culture. We just don’t think it’s cool.
We wonder whether Ms. Wheeler considers the wearing of Moccasins by Non-Aboriginals to be similarly distasteful.
We confess, with some Element of Guilt, that we frequently had the Temerity to enter a Canoe as a Child at Summer Camp, and further defile the Indian Culture by using a Paddle for Locomotion, albeit for short Distances. Further, until recently, a Canoe was a revered Accoutrement at Wind-in-the-Pines, our non-aboriginal Cottage.
It appears to us that Cultural Sensitivity is most often exhibited by Cultures afflicted by a Sense of Insecurity. Indeed, while it is the current Fashion to claim that all Cultures are equal, it is not difficult to argue that they are not.
Cultures may be equally dear to those who claim them as their own. We have no Doubt that an ancient Aztec, transported to Scandinavia, would feel bereft in the Absence of the wonderful Ritual of Human Sacrifice to Tezcatlipoca, and complain about the relative Lack of Excitement and Drama in the Sauna.
But that does not show an Equality of Cultures.
Taking a rough-and ready Measure of Cultures, we might say that some have contributed – or do contribute -- more greatly to The greatest Happiness of the greatest Number than others.
In the Absence of such Contribution – such Accomplishment which gives rise to Self-Esteem – we yet find the quite understandable Claim for Respect. In the Mode of Cynic, we might say that the lesser the Contribution, the greater the Claim.
Giving in to such Claims is a Kind of Condescension which pretends to Equality.
We note that, in the modern World, much Self-Esteem for Individuals is an Edifice constructed of imaginary Bricks. The Theory is that all may attain Worthiness by being told that they are Worthy. "Worthiness" is egalitarian, but without Foundation.
It is the same, we would contend, with Cultures. We pretend that all Cultures are equal, knowing, in our Hearts, that they are not.
The Claim for Respect – cultural Sensitivity – may appear as a Taboo. The wonderful thing about a Taboo is that it need not explain itself. Certain things are magical, and sacred or profane -- because they are. All that is required is a Degree of common Consent.
We do not have to search far for Examples. It is Taboo to depict Mohammed in a Turban bearing a Bomb. It is taboo to make any Criticism of Islam. More generally, Religions are given Respect – since they are defenceless in the face of Reason – we agree not to apply rational Standards to them.
In Quebec, Languages other than French are hedged by Taboos: A Switch on a Machine in a Restaurant must not be designated "Off" and "On."
In some Circles, for someone to write a Book in the Guise of one from an officially oppressed culture is considered a terrible Insult. This Sin of "Appropriation of Voice" only applies, of course, in one Direction.
Race and Culture are often intermixed. Is it cultural Sensitivity that makes the word "nigger" a cause for losing Employment and the raining down of universal Opprobrium?
H & M, as we have noted, has seen fit to remove the Indian Headdresses.
We are not arguing that no Items can claim Inappropriateness. Some Products may be eschewed on the Grounds of universal Revulsion. A Toy Concentration Camp, or a Miniature Inquisition Torture Chamber might be considered to trivialize great Dark Stains on the Fabric of human History, and represent a Kind of legitimate Profanity.
The Indian Headdress, we see as a rather minor Taboo, pretending to what it ought not. Ms. Wheeler might be better advised to write a great Novel, or contribute to the Advancement of Science than complain about perceived Slights to her Culture.
August 9, 2013
We must note an Article in the National Post Yesterday entitled:
I HAVE NO SOUL
(And I’m okay with that)
What is more intriguing is the subtitle:
A neurophilosopher argues that the human self is contained entirely within our physical brains – and it vanishes when we die.
We thought that this was a Truth universally acknowledged – by all except the vast Majority of Mankind who have pleased themselves by denying Reality and pretending that Death is merely a Portal to some Continuation of their Existence.
The Article, by Patricia Smith Churchland is adapted from her book Touching a Nerve.
Here are Two of her Arguments.
She notes that it is difficult to argue for a "Soul" apart from the Brain which influences "moral" Decisions. This is because it has been shown that Decisions are based on much unconscious Activity in the Brain.*
Many may be familiar with the Metaphor popularized by James Mapes, of the conscious Rider sitting atop the Elephant of the Unconscious. The Rider may think that he is controlling the Elephant – but, in fact the Elephant is proceeding of its own Accord.
What is influencing "moral" Decisions is not the Soul, but the
accumulated Impulses of the Subconscious.
Another powerful Argument is one which has always impressed us:
In dementing diseases and in normal aging, neurons die, brain structures break down.
Indeed, in a Disease such as Alzheimer’s, the Personality – the essential Self -- disappears. This is not Magic. The Personality is not some independent Entity apart from the physical Structures from which it arises. You cannot argue that the "Soul" is part of the Personality, and is yet unaffected by it. If the Personality has gone, has not the "Soul" also? If the "Soul" is not part of the Personality, what is the Point of having it survive after Death? It might as well be a Tibia.
To these Arguments we would add a Third.
In the olden Days, it was thought that Man was a Creature between Beast and Angel, and could claim a special Place in the Hierarchy of Beings. A Soul was at least a Possibility.
But now we know that we share the basic Building Blocks of Life with all other Animals. We are 99% Chimpanzee and 75% Mouse.
If we have a surviving Soul – how could we deny the same to the Chimpanzee, the House Cat, and the Cockroach? But perhaps you believe the great God Thingamabob has blessed the human Species – and only that Species --in a very special way.
Faith conquers all. And that is the Problem.
We understand the Attraction and Comfort of magical Thinking. The
Truth does not seem to be in Accord with our Desires. A little magical
Thinking is an Escape, like Reading a Novel or Watching Television. It
is unfortunate that so many cannot see it for what it is.
*Indeed, it is our Observation # 209: Rational analysis is the camouflage for visceral response.
August 8, 2013
This Morning we suddenly lapsed into Drivel Mode.
We considered the Matter of Self-Esteem, and concluded that it has become a Matter of religious Faith, to be cherished and protected at all Cost. It has shown itself in the United States as an unseemly Preoccupation with Fame and Celebrities, and in Canada as a chief Element in that wonderful ideal World of the Human Rights Commissions, where it is believed that human Emotions are subject to Suspension, and where we can achieve that happy Outcome in which Everyone shall be protected from Offense. In this Manner, Self-Esteem may be preserved as the chief Good in Society.
Our Arguments may seem somewhat stretched, yet we think there be some
Grains of Truth amid the Chaff.
Please consult the Drivel Section for our Meanderings.
We note that Mr. Hudak has been seen strolling down Limerick Lane on a second Occasion.
August 7, 2013
We are accustomed to having Opinions that are apart from the Mainstream, but we are not dismayed when others seem to reinforce a View we have already expressed.
Thus, we are pleased to see that some Others have come to our own Conclusion – that Mr. Hudak, despite being an honourable Man, seems to lack some of those Qualities that are necessary for Success as the Leader of a Political Party. (See Diary, August 2)
It appears that ten Conservatives in the London Area wish to amend the Party Constitution to allow a Leadership Vote to take Place. (Sun News, August 4) It is said that in the recent By-Elections, Voters had expressed their lack Of Confidence in Mr. Hudak.
We ourselves have felt that, considering the long List of Liberal Outrages, Mr. Hudak has done a poor Job of articulating the Liberal Sins, and rousing the Public to a Fury of deserved Detestation.
We suspect that Mr. Hudak is rather too nice, and lacks the Instinct to go for the Jugular Vein when it is revealed, pulsing in its exposed Vulnerability.
We have also been disappointed that he has raised no Objection to the
Holding of Muslim Ceremonies in supposedly secular Schools, and has
failed to speak out in Favour of the inevitable Changes which must come
to our System of Health Care.
He had a marvellous Opportunity to signal his Openness to Change when Dr. Karen Dockrill was set upon by the Hounds of the Ontario College of Physicians for charging a Fee for Services not covered by Government Insurance at her Mom and Baby Depot.
Perhaps we are being too hard on Mr. Hudak in this, as all other Politicians betray a tremulous, cowering Pusillanimity whenever Health Care is mentioned. The Knocking of their Knees is audible, and Buckets are needed to contain the nervous Perspiration which beads in Profusion upon their furrowed Foreheads.
But we have a deep Suspicion that Mr. Hudak is a Member of that Species which lurks in the Underbrush of political Thought – the Cino* Weasili.
We note the Appearance of Mr. Hudak on Limerick Lane.
*Conservative in Name only.
August 6, 2013
How big is the Fear Factor?
We are not actually obsessed with Religion, although it may appear thus.
We are obsessed with the Fact that so many appear to believe what we consider to be Nonsense of the most clear and obvious Sort.
On the Weekend, we encountered a humorously irreverent Piece in the National Post by Tristan Hopper, imagining a Diary written by the Pope. The Pope expresses Dismay that the Press has chosen to focus on his Remarks on Gays.
You may remember that in his recent Trip to Brazil, the Pope failed to foam at the Mouth in his Reference to Gays, and appeared to contradict Benedict XVI who said that Homosexuals should not be Priests:
If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?
Mr. Hopper’s Irreverence in imaging the Pope’s Thoughts drew some negative Response from Readers, with some threatening to cancel their Subscriptions.
We, of course, added our own Comment in Justification of Mockery:
While it may not be appropriate in every venue, and on every occasion, mockery is the guardian of reason, the enemy of pretension, and the mirror to folly. No belief, no passion, no commitment should be considered immune from the acerbic test of ridicule. (Observation #47)
In reflecting on this Matter, we suddenly realized that in our frequent Expressions of Wonder at the Power of Religion, we tend to forget the Fear Factor.
It is true that Hellfire does not often make the Front Pages of the Newspapers, but we suspect that it lurks somewhere in the Back Pages – possibly hiding just underneath the Chess Puzzle. We recall hearing an Interview with an Atheist on the CBC not too long ago. One of the Questions struck as a Conjuring of the Fear Factor:
But what if you are wrong?
The Implication was that a Dismissing of Religion may make considerable Sense on a certain rarefied intellectual Level – but what if you are wrong? Isn’t this a Situation where a considered Mugwumpery* might beneficial? Possibly the worst Terrors of Hellfire might be avoided.
Indeed, we recall hearing this same Hesitation from Someone who, having become ensnared in a scamiferous Religion, was required to remit a Portion of his Income on a regular Basis. When we pointed out that this was unlikely to have any Effect on his Soul or its After Death Experience, he replied:
But what if they’re right?
Such is the Effect of Niggling Doubt when confronted with the Assurance of those who claim to know the unknowable.
With Islam, of course, the Threat is not veiled, nor confined to the Afterlife. Death is seen as appropriate for Apostates – and, indeed, for any Unbeliever.
In short, we suspect that in our Consideration of Religion, in our continuing Wonder at the Persistence of Believers, we have focussed too much on the Yearning for a comforting Story with a Happy Ending, and too little on the niggling Doubt or the powerful Apprehension of significant Danger.
And that is, perhaps, why Irreverence and Mockery of Religion seem injudicious. Religion is not plain, but mysterious; the wrong Belief is possibly dangerous.
We note that Few have expressed Concern lest Einstein's Theory of
Relativity be subjected to irreverent Comment. Like all scientific
Theory, it is subject to Alteration in the Light of new Evidence; it
threatens no Retaliation for Ridicule.
*A Mugwump sits on the Fence, with his Mug on one Side, and his Wump on the other.
August 5, 2013
We admit that our most comfortable Mode, the most familiar Prism through which we see the World – like the Easy Chair which, over long use, has moulded to our Shape – is that of dark Pessimism leavened and tempered with a little crepuscular Gloom.
Thus, we never had much joyful Expectation for the "Spring" in Egypt. A Poll of Egyptians in 2011 suggested the Dominance of a Belief System at Odds with the free Markets, free Expression, Gender Equality, and the Secularism of those Countries which have provided the most comfortable Environments for their Citizens. (See Drivel, February 6, 2011):
Mr. Morsi was democratically elected, but appeared to be using his Mandate to ignore economic Concerns and establish a State based on Theology. The difficulty is that Theology, in its Essence, is incompatible with democratic Freedoms.
This Point has been made more recently by the Al-Qaeda Leader, Ayman al-Zawahri:
Al_Qaeda’s leader said Egypt’s military coup that ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi provides proof that Islamic rule cannot be established through democracy, and urged the Islamist leader’s followers to abandon the ballot box in favour of armed resistance. (National Post, August 3)
Democracy, in Theory at least, suggests that Government will be directed and will Change according to the Will of the People. Where there is a Division of that Will, as in Egypt, the competing Forces must be allowed to play out in public Debate.
Nothing can be solved by assuming that Religion – especially, we
might add, one as oppressive and inimical to Reason as Islam – gives the
final Answer to all Questions of Government and cultural Practice.
But this, of course is exactly the Assumption Mr. al-Zawahri makes:
We have to admit first that legitimacy does not mean elections and democracy, but legitimacy is the Shariah (Islamic law)… which is above all the constitutions and law.
This View is so primitive, so blind, so completely opposed to the Discovery of what will provide "the greatest happiness of the greatest number," that there is little Hope for those held tightly and remorselessly in its Grip. Religion, alas, is not based on Evidence, but on Traditions of Supposition, Speculation, and hopeful Imagining.
It may have a Place as a comforting Illusion in the Darkness of Reality. But to give it Primacy in matters of Governance is perverse, and ultimately self-destructive.
We see Religion as Superstition wearing only a better Suit of clothes,* and Reason as an irreconcilable Opposite. There is little Hope for Egypt until Superstition is removed from the Throne in the Great Hall, and sequestered in an appropriately small, dark Closet in the dank Cellar of the Mind.
August 2, 2013
On being articulate
The Ontario By-Elections are over, and, as we suspected, the Liberals managed to retain Two of the Five Seats in Contention. In other Words, the pronounced and evident Awfulness of the Liberal Government was insufficient to prompt Voters to act with appropriate Outrage.
The New Democrats were able to win Two Seats, and the Conservatives only One.
That One seat was gained by Doug Holyday, and it is likely that his Victory was more due to his own Prominence than the irresistible Appeal of the Conservative Party.
We have concluded that Mr. Hudak is an ineffective Leader of the Conservatives.
If we were forced to an Explanation, and Pin the Tail on the Donkey, we would say that the Tail is an insufficient Ability to articulate.
In the last Election, when the McGuinty Failings were so obvious – his Betrayal of the Rule of Law in Caledonia, his insane self-aggrandising Schemes of Verdant Energy, his Propensity for Breaking Promises –Mr Hudak was simply unable to make a forceful, compelling Condemnation. He was unable to show the Emperor as the naked, spineless, undeserving Mcguintis Trepidus he has always been.
We happened to see, last Evening, a Snippet of Comment by Mr. Hudak
on the Results of the Election. All he could muster were Generalities of
the most insipid Sort.
We know not what makes for effective Articulation. Words are a starting Point. And some basic Rules are helpful: use Specifics rather than Generalities; aim for the Cadence of Three Elements in a parallel Structure, arranged in Order of ascending Importance.
But in the End, we think that Passion, Emotion, and Conviction are Elements that break through the Words in any effective Articulation.
We are not speaking of Charisma, which is not easily defined – a marvellous Jello resistant to a Nailing to the Examination Wall. But we suspect that Effective Articulation has similar undefinable Qualities.
Whatever they are, Mr. Hudak does not have them.
When we cast about for Comparisons, we think of Mr. Ignatieff, an obviously intelligent Man unable to define Himself or his Beliefs. He was – for us, at any Rate – a grey Man in a grey Mist.
When we look for Contrast, we cannot but help think of a Non-Politician – Janice Stein – who used to appear regularly on The Agenda. We remember being always riveted by anything she had to say. We suspect that she could read a Laundry List, or a Page of the Toronto Telephone Book, and infuse it with Insight and Meaning.
Possibly this could be a useful Test for the next Leader of the Conservatives.
August 1, 2013
We were intrigued this Morning to see, in the National Post, a Depiction of an elderly Hallucigenia Sparsa, an odd-looking "walking worm." The Latin Name arises from the "bizarre and dream-like quality" of its Appearance.
The Fossil is Five Hundred and Five Million Years old.
The Point of the Article was that it has been discovered that the Walking Worm had a global Family Tree. It has been discovered that the Worm is related to the Velvet Worm, which lives in Jungles throughout the World.
Now, it is seldom that we are in a Position to add to the Sum Total of Scientific Knowledge.
Indeed we hold the much prized Certificate of Complete Scientific Illiteracy, which allows us absolute Freedom from Responsibility when the Conversation turns to Matters of Science. Mr. Gore is a Fellow-holder, and Dr. Suzuki has a lesser Certificate which applies only to the Topick of Climate Change.
However, in this Instance we are able to state with Confidence that the Hallucigenia Sparsa has extensive modern day Descendants.
Surely the most obvious Example is the McGuintis Trepidus, whose Fear of Confrontation results in much bizarre Behaviour. Faced with the Lawless Aborigini, the McGuintis will give them free Reign, and placate those thereby oppressed by spreading a rich Compost of Cash over their Ouchi Varii. The McGuintis, devious and cunning, obtains the Cash from the distracted and slightly goofy Electorus Dum-Dum, which he has entranced with false Promises.
When Exposure of his Machinations – including a possible Revelation of his radical Spinectomy -- seems likely, the McGuintis will execute a sudden Prorogus, leaping into the Air and then falling to the Ground, mimicking a premature Demise.
Prodded by the Skeptics, the McGuintis will scuttle away in a Muddle of Protestation, his bizarre worm-like Gait a fitting Adjunct to the Scene of Nightmarish Desolation he leaves behind.
Yet another Descendant of the Hallucigenia is the Pusillanimus Policis. The Pusillanimus, when directed to a Scene of Blockus – whether of Road or Rail – will lower its Head, display a peculiarly jaundiced Belly, and ascertain whether the dominant Protestis Blocki is adequately equipped with those Supplies necessary for a comfortable Stay. Upon ensuring the Comfort of the Protestis, the Pusillanimus may ask to be permitted to join in any preferred Ritual of the Protestis, such as a Tom-Tom Circularis.
Upon Acceptance into such Ritual, the Pusillanimus is in its Element.
Any Attempts to clear the Blockus or arrest the Protestis – such as with
an Orderus Magistri are as Smoke in the Wind. The bizarre, dream-like
Quality of the Scene, once observed, is not soon forgotten.
The Reader will begin to apprehend that the modern Descendants of the Hallucigenia Sparsa are myriad.
We simply do not have the Space in this small Scientific Paper to do Justice to the Topick.
However, we would indeed be remiss were we not to mention the Obamis Timoris.
The Obamis has a Demeanour somewhat akin to the Pusillanimus Policis. In the Presence of potential Predators, its initial Instinct is to wave its white, flag-like Cairo Antennae; it has been observed to bow deeply to any Dictatoris Tin Potis it encounters. In dealing with the deadly Iranis Nuclearis, its preferred Approach is to hum, and then, after a suitable Period of Time, to haw.
A Bombis Benghazis will always be blamed on Members of its own Colony, never on the Predations of the widespread Muslimis Extremis. Indeed the Obamis appears to be willing to sacrifice the Freedom of its Colony to avoid a Prophetis Insultis.
The Obamis Timoris shows a remarkable Consistency. Even when the Economicus of his Colony is threatened, and needed Supplies must be brought from afar, the Obamis will dither and obfuscate, fearful of giving Offense to the Plutocratis Hollywoodis Verdis Idiotis. It sometimes appears that he is fearful of losing Status Stellatinus on Televisionis nocti.
The Obamis has, on Occasion, been observed to attack the deadly Plotis Bin Landinis. But this is done only after much Delay and Deferral, and a careful Estimation of the possible Damage to his delicate Popularus, in the Event of Failure.
No one is surprised when the Obamis Timoris exits Stage right, and the Quality of a bizarre Dream seems to hover in the vacant Air.
July 31, 2013
Reality is always the dowdy sister
to fancy. (Observation
There are Five By-Elections to be held in Ontario tomorrow.
As before any great prophetic Moment, we are a-flutter with importunate Shivers of Anticipation.
If this were a sensible World, the Liberal Candidates would get only the Token Votes from their Parents, their Spouses, and those to whom they are indebted for significant Amounts of Money.
Sensible Citizens would prefer to vote for their Neighbour’s Dog, or their Cousin’s Cat rather than a Liberal Candidate.
For it is well-known that the Liberals have gained a Black Belt in Wrong-Headedness, practised Duplicity at the Grandmaster level, and achieved a Grand Prix in the Concours d’Incompetence. Their Triumphs in Ethical Failure are the Stuff of Legend.
One need only mention their Sacrifice of Principles of Justice to the Appeasement of Natives, the Scandals of cancelled Gas Plants, E-Health, Ornge, and the Abandonment of Common Sense in the Pursuit of uneconomic but fashionable Energy Schemes. To that we may add the deletion of E-Mails, the apparent Attempt to influence the Speaker of the House, and a Minister of Education who flaunts her complete Disinterest in Educational Curricula.
Of course, it is not a sensible World. It is the Degree of Folly which will be shown that titillates our anticipatory Antennae.
Indeed, we half-suspect that Liberalism is more akin to Religion than
to political Philosophy.
The Truth is that most People wish to be petted, to have sweet Nothings whispered in their Ear, and to be promised a wonderful Reward. The Reward overcomes a Perception of Bumps along the Path, Strange Inconsistencies, and rather awkward Chasms of Reality which cannot altogether be disguised.
Religion promises the Afterlife; Liberalism promises a Nirvana of Progress, a happy Land of Sweetness and Light just beyond the Rainbow. We will be green and prosperous, equal and harmonious.
Indeed, Liberals are simply Socialists with sufficient Wit to pretend that they are not.
In our View, Conservatives are always at a Disadvantage, because their Vision is less fanciful, and more realistic. Is the natural Gold of human Nature never to be transmuted into Lead? Is Self-Esteem to be gained without Accomplishment? Can Windmills replace Automobiles? Can Mankind, like Canute seated on the Shore, order the Glaciers to retreat, and the Sun’s magnetic Fires be still? Can Equality make peace with Merit? Does the blue-horned Unicorn really gambol on the Field of Gold, where Happiness is an inexhaustible Brook from which all may slake their Thirst?
We think not.
But Reality is always the dowdy Sister to Fancy.
We expect Fancy to make a good Showing in the By-Elections.
July 30, 2013
We are intrigued to see little Fissures of Discontent surface in the great Rock of Quebec Cultural Nationalism.
Xavier Menard, a Seventeen-year-old domiciled in the superior Province, wished to start a Graphic Design Business, but the Name he chose -- Wellarc -- was rejected as sounding insufficiently French. (National Post, July 30)
Apparently, according to the Laws of Quebec, the Names of Companies must be in French. Even such Enterprises as Wal-Mart and Costco are being required to add Bits of French to their Names, lest the Minds of Quebeckers be defiled by the Apprehension of Toxic Appellations.
Mr. Menard, obviously out of Touch with the Mainstream, has complained that the Enforcement of Language Purity is anti-entrepreneurial:
What’s the advantage to Quebecers of being able to speak French in the workplace if they don’t have a workplace to go to?
Mr. Menard has obviously been insufficiently schooled in the Idealism of his Nation:
Better that there be no Workplace, than one which has been corrupted by Languages other than French.
Indeed, we have already seen the Rejection of Machines in Restaurants
operated by Switches bearing the the infecting "on" and "off"
Designations, and the legitimate Recoiling in Horror from the
Infestation of Words such as "Pasta" on Menus.
But the Case of Mr. Menard is a troubling one.
It is obvious that Quebec needs a Revitalisation of its much acclaimed Mouvement vers L’insularite. Possibly a Banning of non-French Media would be in Order. Non-French Publications could be extirpated from the otherwise mellifluously French Landscape of Print, and sophisticated Circuitry be developed to transmogrify foreign Languages on Television Sets – from English to Urdu -- to a modulated Hum.
Mandatory Software could be developed for all Quebec Computers which would filter out inferior Means of Expression.
Strict Border controls for non-compliant Devices would be necessary, but such minor Inconvenience would pale in the welcome Light and the manifold Advantages of linguistic Purity.
We hesitate to suggest the Need for re-education Camps for those such as Mr. Menard, and we would recommend a Delay in considering the Matter until the Efficacy of the other Measures recommended above has been determined.
But it is a Possibility that should not be rejected out-of-hand.
|July 29, 2013
We have been intrigued to see an anti-atheist Diatribe from Rex Murphy, writing in Saturday’s National Post.
We have long had much Respect for Mr. Murphy, whose Command of Language we have considered only modestly inferior to our own.
However, we feel that in this Piece, Mr. Murphy’s Talents are overcome by his Emotion. He strikes us as peevish, irritable, and out-of-sorts, betraying an annoyed Frustration with Atheism and its Proponents. He mentions in particular such prominent Atheists as Mr. Hitchens, Mr. Dawkins, and Mr. Harris, whom he describes as "professional."
It is almost as if Mr. Murphy is upset that Atheists, after long hiding the Light of their subversive Insights under a Bushel, have, at last, been able to un-bushel, step forth as they truly are, and hold high the Flame of Rationality. It appears to be galling to Mr. Murphy that they have, thus exposed, been able to gain the Attention of a surprisingly receptive Populace.
It would appear that, for Mr. Murphy, a balanced and judicious Expression of Atheism is as rare as the blue-horned Unicorn:
When they are not being superior or angry, their more frequent pose, they are whining that their non-beliefs do not receive the respect or standing of their opposites.*
Quite possibly, Mr. Murphy is unfamiliar with our own Expression of the atheistic View – an Expression which evinces a Superiority carefully tempered with Benevolence towards those of limited intellectual Scope, and a Whininess inter-leavened with an Awareness that Christian Charity is more widely advertised than found on the Shelves.
Mr. Murphy seems particularly upset that Atheists are now requesting the Services of Chaplains in the Military. In Mr. Murphy’s View, a Chaplain deals with Meditations on the Supernatural, the Afterlife, and the Relation of the Individual to the Creator. An Atheist, of course, is like to regard such Matters as chimerical.
As a benevolent Atheist, we would like to argue that we are all bound up in a Universe of Mystery – the Keys to which are neither self-evident nor of ready Application. The facile, ready-made Solution of Religion may satisfy Some, but not All. The Challenge for Everyone is always to find some way of Being in the World in order to surmount the Exigencies of the Moment, and of the Moments.
An atheistic Chaplain with some Knowledge of Humanity and the human Condition might yet provide some needed Solace to those who are distressed, but cannot believe.
Dr. Idel Dreimer
* We would suggest that the use of Dashes after angry and pose -- rather than commas -- would be a felicitous Change which would aid in the Comprehension of the Sentence.
|July 28, 2013
The new Racism
When the new Racism is put in the Balance with Justice, it is Justice which falls short.
It started, we imagine, with the Events in Caledonia in 2006, when Mr. McGuinty decided that the best way to deal with Native Protests was to let the Natives have their Way. Thus, rather than arrest Natives for Assault, Blockades, and Intimidation, Mr. McGuinty used Taxpayer Cash to buy disputed Land legitimately held by a Developer, and make undisclosed Settlement with Citizens who had valid and incontestable Complaint against the Government. (Ezra Levant, Sun News, July 28)
Thus, we should not be surprised that Premier Kathleen Wynne is careful to pay her exaggerated Respects to Those-Who-May-Not-Be-Offended.
Are we having a Speech from the Throne? Let us make it clear that there is a ghostly Presence, Sceptre at the ready, sitting in Judgement over the Proceedings:
I would like to acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit. (See Diary, February 20, 2013)
Meegwetch for that, Ms. Wynne.*
Taking his Cue from the Obvious, Chris Lewis, the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police earlier this year defended Police Lackadaisicality in enforcing a Court Order to disperse a Rail Blockade in Sarnia. He raised Lackadaisicality to the Level of shrewd Strategy:
These concepts and strategies developed from experience, hard work, and common sense are difficult to explain to the general public.
If that should be deemed insufficient Excuse, he also adopted the Mask of Wise Saviour, stepping in where elected Governments are clearly out of their Sandbox and Tinker-Toy Depths:
|First Nations have the ability to paralyze this country by
shutting down travel and trade routes.
If one were to think that Matters had reached the Nadir of Appeasement, one would be underestimating the Power of significantly bad Ideas.
It now appears that the Crown Prosecutor in Napanee, Edward Bradley, has decided not to prosecute Blockaders of a Railroad near Deseronto in January. He refuses Comment, as does Attorney General John Gerrestsen.
According to Mr. Levant, an E-mail sent to The Sun by a Ministry Flunctionary states:
the Crown exercised its discretion and determined that a prosecution would not meet the ends of justice in this case.
We are grateful for this full and complete Explanation of the Legal Niceties of an obviously difficult Challenge. We must imagine there are many Times when the new Racism must tip the Scales of Justice, and illegal Acts must go unpunished.
It is interesting that even the lackadaisically inclined Commissioner Lewis has expressed his Dismay.
A thorough investigation was conducted by our criminal investigators. They felt strongly that grounds to charge a number of the key protesters criminally existed, particularly given that this blockade was more than a brief inconvenience to a few people. (Sun News)
Mr. Levant notes more Violence may be expected.
Indeed, Violence appeased is Violence encouraged.
Our Observation # 244: Appeasement makes its own path. Like a snowball placed on a steep bank, the mass gathers speed and weight, becomes an avalanche to principle, and exposes the jagged bedrock of lawless strife beneath.
*See Diary, March 11, 2013
|July 27, 2013
We are pleased to see that some Few are standing up for the Perfection of God’s Laws.
Chiheb Essaghaier, currently accused of plotting to blow up a Train travelling from New York to Toronto, has accurately seen the chief Flaw in our Canadian Legal System: it is a Construct of mere Human Beings, and has not the Force and Wisdom of a Holy Book.
For this Reason, Mr. Esseghaier is inclined to disregard the Laws under which he is charged.
Beyond that, we learn from the National Post (July 26) that Mr. Esseghaier is possessed of the superior Knowledge that, in Moments of Peevishness and Irritation, God is likely to send Tsunamis and other natural Disasters because of the Evils of Secularism.
He has cited the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami as a "punishment from God."
We do marvel at how otherwise intelligent human Beings can fasten upon a mere Hypothesis and give it such Authority that all Elements of Life may be weighed in the Balance against it, and fail. On one side of the Scale is the Hypothesis, lighter than a Feather, no more substantial than a wisp of Cloud rising from the morning Pond; on the other is all the Weight of the Real World.
|Yet the Hypothesis is always deemed to have more Gravitas, to
represent the Force of irrefutable Truth.
We have once said that God is an Endpoint for Infinity.* Infinity is as incomprehensible as the Arrival of Something out of Nothing, and so, in Bafflement, we posit God as the Beginning.
This is a mental Trick only; the Question still remains: Where did God come from? But the Convention is that the Question is not to be asked. We have placed the Dot on the Continuum; that is the Dot to be worshipped without Demur or Hesitation.
In the Seas of Uncertainty, with hidden Tides, the mirage of Waves, and cunning Tricks of Light on the Surface, the anguished Swimmer conceives of a Rock, deems it unmovable, and clings to it with the Tenacity of a super-charged magnetic Limpet.
It is, in our View, a Kind of Madness. But this Madness is deemed to be within the Range of Normal human Perceptions of the World.
Mr. Esseghaier’s Disturbance is less common in advanced Western Countries. But his Expression of it gives some Measure of the Irrationality of those clinging to Rocks of malign Aspect and implacable destructive Capacity.
|July 25, 2013
We are intrigued to learn that Wisdom of exceptional Purity and unparalleled Quality continues to flow from the Cornucopian Fount of the United Nations.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization has enshrined the Writings of Che Guevara in the Memory of the World Register. A Ceremony was duly held -- which included Members of Mr. Guevara’s Family. (Humberto Fontova, Frontpage Mag, July 25)
We need, perhaps, only one Quotation from Mr. Guevara’s Writings to illuminate the United Nations’ Decision:
Violence is inevitable! To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow! If the nuclear missiles had remained [in Cuba] we would have fired them against the heart of the U.S. including New York City. The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!
We do not argue, of course, that Mr. Guevara’s Writings should not be preserved. However we feel that the Memory of World Mistakes Register might be a more suitable Repository.
We are struck, once again, by the Validity of a pervasive Theme in our Writings: few Things are more dangerous than the unthinking Pursuit of an Ideal.
We must admit that this Idea is not Tip of Tongue for the average Citizen. Indeed, our Capacity for original Thought is such that we know it must have been expressed a Thousand Times before. But we cannot recall seeing any Example of it. We must conclude, then, that it is an Idea considered too foolish to warrant serious Consideration.
Yet Examples of its Truth are everywhere.
The Ideal of Socialism in Russia and China has led to the Murders of Millions. The Ideal of Religion has led to the Inquisition, and the Destruction of the World Trade Centre.
But there are other, less dramatic Examples in our own beloved Land.
Human Rights Commissions are devoted, in Part, to the Concept that None should be offended. Yet this has resulted in Draconian restrictions on Freedom of Speech, and absurd Fines for Rudeness.
|The Ideal of Equality results in discriminatory Hiring Practices.
All Animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.
Similarly, Multiculturalism is based on a Concept that all Cultures are Equal, and that Inclusiveness is the Chief of competing Goods. Thus Muslims may hold Gender- segregated Prayers in Public Schools, receive special Treatment when assaulting Infidels, and restrict the Speech of others. Natives are allowed to block Roads and Rail Lines, while the Police join in supportive Drum Circles.
The Health Care System is based on the wonderful Concept that all should receive Medical care equally, without personal Cost. But the Equality is a Chimera, and all Citizens are forced into the Procrustean Bed of an inefficient and cumbersome centrally-planned System. If you die on the Waiting List, your Complaint will be buried with you.
Even now, a Manitoba Legislator, Kelvin Goertzen is introducing a Bill to attack Cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is that which
is intended or ought reasonably be expected to cause fear, intimidation, humiliation or other damage or harm to another person’s health, emotional well-being, self-esteem or reputation.
(Ezra Levant, Lilley’s Pad, July 25)
The Remedies include forbidding the Use of a Cell Phone, Seizure of Cell Phone or Computer, a $5,000 Fine, and Six Months in Prison.
When pursuing an Ideal, there are two Questions to be asked:
1. Can the Ideal actually be achieved?
2. Is the proposed Cure worse than the Disease?
Improvements are always possible. Ideals should remain in the Realm of the Imagination. The Nature of Human Nature suggests:
The nobler the ideal, the greater the evil which can be justified in its pursuit. (Observation # 242)
|July 24, 2013
We are intrigued to learn that Anthony Weiner, the Congressman who resigned in 2011 as a Result of a Scandal of Sexting, has admitted to further Adventures.
Mr. Weiner is currently in Competition for the Job of Mayor of New York City. Once again he has been exposed as being addicted to Self-Exposure. He has a Predilection for sending Images of himself au naturel to young women in return for similar Photographs.
On this latest Occasion, the aptly named Mr. Weiner, has made another Apology, and presented his forgiving Wife, Huma Abedin as Part of the Show of Contrition, Reconciliation, and Absolution.
At the present State of Cultural Norms, Mr. Weiner would appear to be a hopeless Addict whose irresistible Proclivities might well interfere with his Ability to make the kind of calm, careful, reasoned Decisions we have come to expect from Politicians of all Types and Varieties.
|In particular, New York City seems to require the Ministrations
of a Nit-Picking Nanny. It would be unfortunate if Mr. Weiner should be
unable to scold the Citizenry on a Myriad of Matters because of a
Busyness with taking self-flattering Photographs and distributing them
to Aggregations of nubile Females.
The City might well lapse into a Morass of Binge-Eating and Consumption of illegal Carbonated Libations. The Effects of an Excess of Sodium, Trans Fats, and Elevators are no trifling Matters.
But perhaps, in due Course, Mr. Weiner’s Addiction may be seen in a less pejorative Light; the Preoccupation with nude Photographs and extra-marital Titillation no more reprehensible than an Obsession with Healthy Eating and the Use of Stairs.
As Matters stand at the Moment, we suspect Mr. Weiner’s Second Loss to his addictive Demons will suggest a Weakness of Character unattractive to Voters.
Mr. Weiner has been observed on Limerick Lane.
|July 23, 2013
We were intrigued last Evening to see Ontario’s Minister of Education, Liz Sandals, proudly proclaiming that she had not read the Curriculum for Schools which she had approved. (Sun News, Byline)
This would seem to mark a bold new Direction in Politics.
There would seem to be some Advantage if Ministers were chosen for their Similarity to Rubber Stamps, and possess the Malleability of Rubberized Surfaces. A proclaimed Ignorance of the Details of their Portfolios might well be a Godsend in case something should go wrong.
One could hardly call for the Resignation of a Rubber Stamp. The Blame could be passed on to the Minions beneath, and Public Humiliations and Firings directed at the most obvious Targets, while the Minister remained, unculpable, unbesmirched, and slightly elastic, above the Fray.
|It is oft said that Ignorance is Bliss; perhaps this is but a
tentative Step in the Creation of political Bliss for the oft harassed
We wonder whether the Idea will catch on. Surgeons might well be accredited for their Ignorance of Anatomy, and Lawyers for their Lack of Acquaintance with the Law. Plumbers would disavow any Knowledge of Piping, and Electricians proudly assert that they are in the Dark in Matters of Polarity and Circuitry.
This would allow for much Innovation and a Freshness of Approach, and remove the Anxiety and Distress which so oft do accompany an Assertion of Expertise.
We are pleased to live in a Time of such Advancement, and innovative Thinking.
Ms. Sandals has been observed, clueless, on Limerick Lane.
|July 22, 2013
Behold the Landscape of the Left – the undulating Green of pleasant Meadows and Bubbling Brooks. There are heard no discouraging Words, and the Skies retain their heavenly Blue from Dawn until Dusk. Even at Night, the Moon is full, and the Stars twinkle their undiluted Benevolence upon the blessed Inhabitants.
It is this benign Landscape that the Prince Pretender, Justin Trudeau, is pleased to call Home.
For his is a World without Division, where one Thing is as good as Another, where Happy Families share Values, and the Days pass like endless Pearls on a woven Platinum String.
Consider Mr. Trudeau’s Response to the Statement that Honour Killings are "barbaric.""
...Mr. Trudeau, the Liberal immigration critic, said he was ‘uncomfortable’ with the government labelling honour killings as ‘barbaric’.... ‘You could say that it’s absolutely unacceptable as a phrase,’ said Mr. Trudeau, adding that the word could have the effect of making newcomers ‘defensive.’" (National Post March 16, 2011)
To label a cultural Practice as "barbaric" suggests a significant Diversity of Viewpoint – nay an unseemly Division in the seamless Homogeneity of that ideal World where the Blue-horned Unicorns gambol in the Meadows, and the Tiger and the Lamb play Tennis together on the Public Courts.
Have you noticed How often Mr. Trudeau criticizes the Government for being Divisive – as if, in the Real World, a Uniformity of Thought and Opinion was the Chief Good?
In the wonderful World of complete and unqualified Acceptance , of course, Murderous Bombings may be traced to the terrible Root Cause Scourge of Feeling left Out. The Cure is a large Dose of continuously injected Inclusiveness.
The latest Example of Mr. Trudeau’s uncritical and all-encompassing Benevolence is shown by the Fact of his Addressing of the Islamic Society of North America in Calgary on July 12.
As Tarek Fatah points out, the parent Organization of the Society in the United States, " has been listed by the U.S. Justice Department as an "Unindicted Co-Conspirator" in a terror funding trial." (Sun News, July 17)
It appears that the Organization has been funded by Saudi Arabia, and was a Promoter of Sharia Law in Ontario, when that Notion was being considered in 2004.
Mr. Fatah states that:
the secular Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) slammed Trudeau, saying they "are deeply disappointed that Justin Trudeau continues to appease known Islamist organizations."
But of course, for Mr. Trudeau, One Thing is as good as Another. The Tiger, wearing a wool Cap, is indistinguishable from the Lamb. They should both be welcomed on the Public Courts. Tennis first -- High Tea to follow. Polite Applause is in Order, regardless of the Winner.
The Latin Word for Left is Sinister.
|July 18, 2013
We are pleased to see Modernity seeping its Way into Catholic Thinking.
We learn from the National Post (July 17) that the Pope will soon Visit Rio, where a "plenary indulgence" will be available -- whereby Punishment for Sins will be reduced and Time in Purgatory will be shortened.
The Indulgence is "On Sale" according to the Vatican, since Sinners will not actually have to travel to Rio, but may follow the Proceedings on Television, or by Computer or Telephone. They will be expected to follow the "rites and pious exercises" led by the Pope through social Media. The Pope’s Twitter Account is mentioned.
Of course, the Price has not been reduced to unseemly Bargain Basement or Dollar Store Levels.
Catholics will be expected to "confess their sins, offer prayers, and attend mass" They must also have the "requisite devotion" in their Hearts.
We can only assume this is a First Step towards the Simplicity and Ease of Transaction which exists in the Secular World.
Why should there not be a Credit Card for Sin? The Balance could be built up with Good Deeds and Expressions of Piety, and then the Card offered in Expiation for Error, with a commensurate Credit to the Purgatorial Shortening Account?
The Cards would be obtainable for a modest Fee at local Churches. The Transactions would be recorded at the Confessional, and a small per Item Payment would be exacted.
The Interplay between Commerce and Religion is not new, of course. The Selling of Indulgences has an unsavoury Past. The Church itself is big Business.
More generally, we find it interesting to reflect on how the actual Practice of Religion seems so often grubbily inconsistent with the Nobility of its Precepts.
It is the old Problem of the Dichotomy between the Ideal and the Real.
We understand – we think – the religious Impulse. The obvious Conclusions about Life are at once too bizarre, and too superficial:
It is a tale
But, we say, there must be Meaning – a Something beyond the Nothing. We have such Thoughts, such Dreams, such Feelings. The cloud-capp’d Towers of our Imaginations cannot melt into Air, into thin Air, and leave not a Rack behind.
But the golden Imaginings cannot exist alone in the Mind of the Magician; they must have some Resonance, some Counterpart here; the Music of the Spheres must be played on earthly Instruments – the Gold must be transmuted into the leaden Stuff of Breath and Mortality. The vague Yearnings must, in a reverse Alchemy, find expression in the Rites, Rituals, and Transactions of a human Religion.
But the Lead never has quite the Lustre of the original Gold.
|July 16, 2013
Euphemisms: The Alchemy of Naming
We have now left the Dark Ages of Taxes, those inescapable Sanctions of needy Governments, and entered a new, light-filled and progressive Era – the Era of Revenue Tools.
We do not recall hearing the Term "Revenue Tools" before the Reign of Kathleen Wynne, but now these Tools are in constant Reference.
This very Day, we have read an Account in The Sun, in which Ms. Wynne is quoted:
I'm pleased that the mayor has changed his tune in terms of finding tools to create a revenue stream to do that ... I love it when we move closer to find agreement on policy issues. (Sun News July 16)
It is true that the Writer, Sue-Ann Levy, refers to Ms. Wynne’s "silly revenue tools" – but there they are, nonetheless – Instruments of Extraction a-gleam with their modern, metallic Surfaces, cool in their impersonal Efficiency, with no Hint of a Tax anywhere in Sight.
We imagine that, with the Success of "Revenue Tools" as a benign extractive Technology, there will be other soothing Alchemies. The Past, for Example, could be viewed through alternative ameliorative Prisms.
The Gas Plant Scandals can be re-named as a Strategic Employment of Short-Term Political Advantage Techniques. Mr. McGuinty’s feckless Foray into uneconomic Green Energy Programs may be known as Forward-looking Chance-based Energy Initiatives. His Ignoring of the Law in Caledonia may be referred to as a creatively prudent Innovation in the Aboriginal-Legal Nexus. His entire Stewardship of the Province might be termed as A Positive and Enthusiastic Agenda resulting in a Minimization of Optimal Outcomes.
|We also have much hope for the Future. We may confidently expect
Ms. Wynne to define terminal Illness as a Health-based
Direction-altering Event, and Death as a Signal Circumstance
characterized by the comforting Predictability of a Revenue Tool.
In order to dispel some of the seductive Allure of Revenue Tools, perhaps we should describe them in plainer Terms.
(a) The shiny Siphon. The Taxpayer is secured on the Table of Ownership. The Syphon is inserted into the Asset Base, and Funds are withdrawn on a percentage Basis. Care should be taken in the percentage Calculation; too great a Withdrawal may lead to financial Anaemia, and future Revenue Sources may be jeopardized.
(b) The golden Gouger. The Gouger, with its sharp, curved Tines, is inserted into the vulnerable Taxpayer revenue Stream, and drawn upwards so that Funds are deposited into the Revenue Tool Bucket. Anaesthesia is recommended. Positive Reinforcement Mantras about the Nature of Giving, and the importunate Need to maintain a healthy Government Revenue Bucket are worth trying.
(c) The iron Python. The Python, a flexible metallic Tube is wrapped around the Sensitive Taxpayer Expenditure Limb, and compressed. This enables the Device to penetrate the Expenditure Limb, and divert needed Funds into the Revenue Bucket. This is sometimes considered more humane than (a) or (b), since the Taxpayer only gradually becomes aware that his purchasing Power has been reduced. It is wise to exempt Food items with this Type of Diversionary Tool.
Now that we have described the true Nature of Revenue Tools, we have, perhaps, prepared the General Publick for the new Taxless Lexicon.
|July 15, 2013
We note that David Suzuki has pronounced Canada full. He has counted the Number of Inhabitants and concluded that no further Immigration is necessary.
Mr. Kenney, who is in Charge of Immigration has expressed his Outrage. Mr. Trudeau, as Liberal Leader, whose Party has always angled for immigrant Votes, has mumbled vaguely.
The left Wing Media, who might be expected to express Surprise, have been silent.
There have been no Calls for Dr. Suzuki’s Deportation; nor have we heard of any Complaints launched before a Human Rights Commission.
We are thus emboldened to state our own Preferences in the Matter of Immigration Policy. Our Views, while not quite as draconian as those of Dr. Suzuki, are cruel and Darwinian, not to say slightly Machiavellian.
Put more simply, we think that Immigration Policy should be entirely directed at enhancing the Status and economic Well-Being of Canada.
We are pleased to present the Dreimer Immigration Policy under the following Headings:
If Canada has need of Bakers, Engineers or Astrologists, then Immigrants qualified in those Areas would be favoured.
So much is said in praise of the Poor, and so much Virtue has been found in the Ninety-Nine Percent that it has made us suspicious of the Protestations. We would rather go with our Instinct -- that those with Money – preferably Lots and Lots of it – will be of greater Benefit to Canada than the Pious but Impecunious. The entrepreneurial Wealthy should be especially welcomed.3. Race
We care not whether Immigrants be red, white, black, brown, fuchsia or Martian Green.
On the other hand, we think Culture to be extremely important. We would be hesitant to admit those living in Cultures reminiscent of the Seventh Century, where Women are oppressed, Blasphemers are executed, and Honour Killings seem like a good Idea. Anyone from such Cultures would have to demonstrate that they have a Level of Education or Common Sense which shows that they have risen above the Prejudices of their native Culture. We would devise fiendishly difficult Tests to detect cultural Inadmissibility. This brings us, of course to:
Our personal Preference would be to limit Immigration to Atheists. Atheists have shown that they have been able to resist the Superstitions of their Culture. They have shown themselves to be courageous and capable of independent Thinking; they are obviously possessed of that rarest and most prized of intellectual Devices: the Advanced Bullshit Detector. Surely the more of these Detectors available in any Society, the greater is the Advantage to the Public Good
However, we recognize that there may some small practical Limitations to such Policy. We would favour Religions not noted for recent Violence. Druids and Zoroastrians would seem to be near the top of our Welcome List. Casual or social Believers would score higher than dedicated Fussbudgets. We take a very dim View of any Sign of unseemly Dedication to the Hypothetical and Unprovable.
Our View is Machiavellian. We do not favour the Immigration of elderly Grandmothers who will sit at the Window, complain, and benefit from social Programs. If their financial Independence is guaranteed, and the Health Care System is amended so that private Health Insurance is available to their Sponsors, some small Amount of this sort of Immigration might be countenanced.
For Purposes of Propaganda, we have no Objection to allowing Entry to Those with high Profile, who have fought against Injustice and Freedom elsewhere, or are Victims of significant Oppression in other Countries. Compassion seen as a Good in itself has no Boundaries, and a Welcoming of the World’s suffering Millions will extend Suffering, not Prosperity.
The Dreimer Immigration Policy is, of course, too practical to be given even a Smidgen of Consideration. But it’s probably better than the Suzuki Halt.
|July 12, 2013
We always pleased to note Cases of exceptionally wise Judgement. Such Occasions are a Balm to the Soul, and suggest that there is some Hope for Humankind.
The latest Example is that of Wal-Mart, which, in its infinite Wisdom, has decided to terminate the Employment of Carla Cheney, who confronted a Man who was determined to keep his Dog in his Truck:
About half an hour before her shift began, Carla Cheney, a pharmacy technician at the store, watched a Newfoundlander dog jump out of a truck window twice before a man put the dog back in the vehicle and rolled up the windows. (National Post, July 12)
When confronted, the Man declared that the Matter was not Carla’s Concern.
Later, Ms. Cheney was fired for being rude to a Customer.
We are pleased to see that being nice to Customers has been elevated to a Position in the Hierarchy of Values to that of complete and unchallenged Supremacy.
Well, perhaps not.
|We doubt that the Management of Wal-Mart would put Public
Relations at the Fore if a Customer were to be observed removing a
Television Set from the Premises without the Formality of Payment.
It appears that Ms. Cheney’s Manager had opined, on an earlier occasion -- when a Customer was observed leaving her Dog in a Car -- that nothing could be done. Would this have been his Response if a Child were to be so abandoned?
Of course, we are not simply speaking of Abandonment; in the Summer, in Canada, such Neglect can be a Sentence of Death.
A Response from Wal-Mart indicates that there are Guidelines for dealing with such Matters:
We require our associates to follow these guidelines, which include reporting any safety concerns to a member of management, and engaging customers in a manner that is respectful.
In this Instance of Course, Ms. Cheney knew that the Response of her Manager would be insufficient.
It is interesting that this Matter has been reported in a national Newspaper. We suspect that Wal-Mart will reap Little in the Way of Benefit from this Account of poor Judgement.
Being nice to one such irresponsible Customer is likely to lose the Respect of Hundreds of Thousands.
|July 11, 2013
Try not to think: It’s the Bogeygoat
We are pleased that Life has become much more simple since the Advent of Global Warming.
If there is a Flood in Alberta, or unusual Rain in Toronto, or Tornados in Oklahoma, or the freezing of the Danube in Europe, our Puzzlement is momentary. If the Temperature shifts from one Day to the next, or the Wind should suddenly change Direction, if it seems unseasonably mild, or wet, or dry, or if the Weather seems suspiciously lacking in Drama, there can be but one Answer: Global Warming is responsible. We need not waste Time in an Anguish of Conjecture, or look high and low for a Goat of Convenience, for he bleats, Horns at the ready, Hooves at the Prance, before us.
In an earlier Era, Prayers and Sacrifice might be made to the Gods, so that they would recall the Warming, and bring back the Days of predictable and benign Weather – the Weather of the cherished Golden Age.
|Today, we will have Truck with no such Nonsense. Today, we have
Science. Today we have Scientists who have warned of sinking Islands,
vanishing Polar Bears, and melting Ice Caps. And when none of these
Events has occurred, and the Warming has paused, they still call for
They have no Time to consider the Role of the Sun, or the Possibility of Adaptation to unstoppable Change.
Our comfortable Lives must be forsworn; we must stop burning Oil, and cease our sinful Use of Plastic Bags and Incandescent Bulbs.
The ultimate Solution, is, in fact, a Dismantling of our industrial Civilization, and a Return to the Golden Age of the Cave.
We are glad all these Matters have been definitively sorted out, and a clear, simple Path lies comfortingly ahead.
|July 10, 2013
Fiddling with Statistics
A few Days ago (July 7) we expressed our Puzzlement about the continuing Appeal of the Arguments of Climate Alarmists, especially when there has been no global Warming for the last Sixteen Years.
Many seem not to have been deterred in their Devotions; there is a remarkable Willingness to Worship at the Altar of the High Priests, Suzuki and Gore, and to proclaim the fashionable Mea Culpas with sufficient Volume for the Brethren to hear. Reputations for Piety, after all, must be maintained.
As with many Religions, inconvenient Elements are dismissed as heretical: the Scandals of Climategate, the Failure of Alarmist Predictions to be borne out, the Recantation by James Lovelock, and increasing Numbers of Scientists willing to question the received Dogma* – all these are refuted by Faith alone.
Since that Time, we have listened to a Radio Program on the CBC, during which many Callers professed or revealed their Adherence to Climate Religion.
Not only that -- we have heard Mr. Gian Ghomeshi – also on the CBC -- trumpet the recent Findings of the World Meteorological Organization: the Decade up to 2010 was one of "unprecedented high climate extremes."
Indeed, Mr. Ghomeshi’s chief Concern was that so little Attention was being paid to this alarming News. He called for Action. We got the Impression that Mr. Ghomeshi was already packing his Bags in order that he might retreat to a suitable Cave unencumbered by Electricity, where he might reduce his Sasquatchian Carbon Footprint to religiously acceptable Levels.
We hesitate to point out that, in the Interests of Climate Purity, Mr. Gomeshi might consider holding his carbon-laden Breath for an indefinite Period.
In Today’s National Post, Peter Foster deals at Length with the alarmed Mr. Gomeshi. In particular, he explains the apparent Discrepancy between the Fact that there has been no global Warming for Sixteen Years, and the Claim that the Decade 2000 - 2010 was the Warmest on Record. There has been a gradual Warming over the last Century – about .74 Degrees Centigrade. Thus it is not surprising that the last Decade is the Warmest.
But that still does not contradict the Fact that there has been no increase in the last Sixteen Years. In other words, it appears that while the Decade is the Warmest, it is not continuing to warm.
Mr. Foster points out that if the Decade were taken to 2012, any slight Acceleration which might be claimed for 2000 - 2010 disappears.
Of Course, the Central Issue about Warming is: Is Mankind responsible for it?
According to the World Meteorological Organization:
Detecting the respective roles being played by climate variability and human induced climate change is one of the key challengers facing researchers today.
We have absolutely no Expertise in these Matters. However, we know that the Earth’s Climate has changed dramatically over the Millennia – long before the Advent of Lincoln Navigators and Cadillac Escalades. It seems somewhat egotistically anthropocentric to believe that we are Effective Competitors with other natural Forces, especially the Sun.
We know that some have argued that the magnetic Field of the Sun is the paramount Factor in the Climate of the Earth. (See Diary, March 7, 2012).
Here is the Finding of another Study:
A peer-reviewed paper published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics finds global warming over the 20th century "not significantly different" from warming episodes that occurred in earlier centuries. The paper finds that the increase in solar activity over the past 400 years explains the warming, without any need to search for a unique cause of late 20th century warming, such as greenhouse gas concentrations.
de Jager, C. and Duhau, S. 2009. Episodes of relative global warming. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 71: 194_198. (Hockeyschtick.blogspot.com. June 5, 2011)
Perhaps Mr. Ghomeshi might consider delaying his Return to the Caves until there is more Clarity on these Matters.
*For Example – the One Hundred and Twenty-Five Scientists who chided Ban Ki-Moon last November for suggesting that Hurricane Sandy was a result of Warming.
|July 7, 2013
We confess ourselves to be in a State of Puzzlement.
We do not understand why some People are passionately enamoured of the Idea that Mankind is responsible for Global Warming, and believe that we should return to the Caves in order to save the Planet, while others are skeptical, and hold that the Theory of anthropogenic Climate Change is largely mistaken, and in some Instances can be seen as a monstrous Scam perpetrated by Those who benefit from the Belief.
We note that Mr. Obama falls into the first Category. The Nature of our Respect for Mr. Obama’s Judgement is such that his Belief alone adds to our Skepticism.
In a recent Speech, (Georgetown, June 25) Mr. Obama made dramatic Gesture of removing his Coat and wiping the Sweat from his Brow in announcing his Plan to attack Climate Change. In doing so, Mr. Obama revealed his Belief that Carbon is a toxic pollutant like "mercury and sulfur and arsenic." (Terence Corcoran, National Post, June 25, 2013)
Our own personal Guilt is irremediable in this Matter, for we ourselves do continually emit Carbon Dioxide with every Breath. Possibly the Extirpation of all animal Life is the only complete Remedy.
We are tired of listing the Reasons for our Skepticism. But continued Repetition of Nonsense seems to require repeated Protest – as suggested by the Spanish Proverb:
Quien calla, otorga. (He who is silent gives consent.)
Global Warming has apparently ceased for the past Sixteen Years.* Thus it seems unlikely to be responsible for Storms, Floods, and Droughts which are hailed as irrefutable Evidence of the approaching Warming Apocalypse.
Indeed, the Terrors confidently foreseen by the Alarmists have not materialized. One of the early Alarmists, James Lovelock – who developed the Gaia Theory of the Earth as a single Organism -- has recanted. He has said:The problem is that we don’t know what the climate is doing.
(Mail Online, April 23, 2012)
Indeed, it is believed by many that the Sun’s Magnetic Field is the chief Influence on The Climate of the Earth, and dwarfs the Contribution made by Greenhouse Gasses. An imminent Cooling of the Earth is predicted. (See Diary, March 7, 2012)
In answer to our initial Question – why are some Believers and
others Skeptics --we must suppose that there is great Appeal to the
Imagination in the Contemplation of an Apocalyptic Threat. The Notion of
a courageous David confronting an impossible Goliath is interwoven with
Threads of Guilt: The Mea Culpa supports the determined Slingshot
Attack on the looming End of Days.
Such Emotions rule, and are not easily forsworn. We have noted:
The amount of evidence needed to reverse a committed opinion exceeds by tenfold that on which the opinion was originally based. (Observation # 68)
To all this we must add the Bandwagon Effect. Once it is perceived that a Bandwagon is rolling, it requires great Strength of Mind not to hop on. As we have also observed:
Most people prefer the comfort of espousing a popular error to the challenge of maintaining an unpopular truth. (Observation # 65)
The Skeptic comes late to the Party, and is not well received.
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. (Charles Mackay, 1814 - 1889)
It would be interesting to see popular Opinion of Climate Change some Fifty Years hence.
We suspect that Mr. Obama will be seen as neither wise, courageous, or prescient.
*The world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago, according to new data released last week. The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning 0f 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernable rise in aggregate global temperatures. This means that the 'plateau' or 'pause' in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperature rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years.
(Mail Online, October 16, 2012)
|July 6, 2013
We were reminded last Evening of our great good Fortune in living under a Government devoted to our best Interests. (Sun News, Byline)
No, we do not refer to the Health Care System, which wisely directs us to Government regulated Medical Services, which have been shown to be without Parallel in Efficiency, Efficacy, and Convenience.
We refer instead, to a minor and oft overlooked Government Benefit: the Requirement that we give up our Incandescent Bulbs, which create Heat and use considerable Electricity, in Favour of the more modern, attractive Compact Fluorescent Bulbs which are more efficient. This Requirement comes into Effect in 2014; we are a-flutter in happy Anticipation.
We need not remind the Thinking Public that Using less Energy means a Reduction in the Production of Carbon Dioxide which is thought, generally, to increase Global Warming -- although Warming has, inexplicably, not increased in the last sixteen Years. It is also argued that the Effects of Man’s Activities dwarf those of the Sun, which, being at a Distance of some Ninety-three Million Miles, has an inconsiderable Influence on our own independent Life here on Earth.
We think it appropriate to list some of the wonderful Advantages of the new Bulbs, which our infinitely wise and beneficent political Masters have deemed to be in our best Interests.
1. The new Bulbs are very expensive. This means that Citizens will have reduced Funds to spend on Frivolities, like Food, Transportation, and Accommodation.
2. The new Bulbs give an unattractive Light. This will further reduce their Use, and reduce the Consumption of Energy.
3. The new Bulbs contain Mercury, and must be handled with great Care. A broken Bulb is Cause for extensive protective Measures. This is an Advantage, since Life has become, in general, too easy, and the Populace tends towards Sloth and Lackadaisicality. It is well that a gormless Public be reminded that Life is dangerous and complicated, and a wary Vigilance is to be prized over All.
4. The new Bulbs emit Ultra Violet Rays, as well as an Electro-magnetic Field. Further Study may reveal these to be of significant Advantage to some Elements of the Population.
In short, the Benefits of these new Requirements are so self-evident and compelling, we can only wonder why there has been so much Delay in Implementation. But we will not quibble. We do hope that, even now, Government Functionaries are seeking new Ways to force us down the Paths of Wisdom, Enlightenment, and Efficiency.
We have not been noted, in the Past, for our strong Commitment to Public Service, but our Enthusiasm for this Government Measure is powerful. We have included below some References to Important Information noted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and Health Canada.
|From the EPA, on handling the Breakage of a fluorescent Bulb:
1. Have people and pets leave the room.
stiff paper or cardboard;
DO NOT VACUUM. Vacuuming is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken. Vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor.
Be thorough in collecting broken glass and visible powder. Scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. Place the used tape in the glass jar or plastic bag. See the detailed cleanup instructions for more information, and for differences in cleaning up hard surfaces versus carpeting or rugs.
Place cleanup materials in a sealable container.
Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials, including vacuum cleaner bags, outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of. Avoid leaving any bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors.
Next, check with your local government about disposal requirements in your area, because some localities require fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center. If there is no such requirement in your area, you can dispose of the materials with your household trash.
If practical, continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the heating/air conditioning system shut off for several hours.
From Health Canada:
Minimizing Your Risk
Although CFLs are considered safe to use, here are some steps you can take to further protect you and your family:
Always handle CFLs carefully when installing and removing them.
Check with your municipality to see if CFLs can be recycled in your area. Recycling them means that the small amount of mercury they contain will not end up in the environment.
If you have skin sensitivities to UV, or have Lupus or another auto-immune disease that makes you sensitive to UV, you can take these steps:
Buy CFLs that are marked low UV.
Buy CFLs that have a glass cover already added, which will help further filter out UV radiation.
Use additional glass, plastic or fabric materials in your lighting fixtures to act as UV filters.
Increase the distance you are from the CFL, as this will reduce the level of UV exposure.
|July 5, 2013
We do give our Thanks daily that we live in a World of Enlightenment, where our Leaders labour mightily to bring the long-sought Nirvana into View.
The latest Flash of Enlightenment comes from the Toronto Fire Services, where Chief Jim Sales has determined that the Firefighting Workforce is lamentably lacking in Diversity.
It appears that there are far too many White Males wielding Hoses, climbing Ladders, and hauling Residents from Second Storey Windows.
At present, only about Five Percent of the Force are Women. More shamefully, Four percent are "Visible Minorities," and only Two percent are disabled. (Sun News, July 4)
To any reasonable and fair-minded Person, these Statistics are a shocking Refutation of all our Dreams and Aspirations of Equality.
Mr. Sales has expressed an earnest Hope that, in due Course, Forty Percent of the Force may be counted as Women or Minorities.
|While we appreciate Mr. Sales’ tentative Steps in the
Direction of Equality, we would suggest his Vision is overly timid.
Surely, in order to redress the Situation, it is necessary to consider
the virtual Monopoly of Firefighting Positions held by White Males over
the Centuries. Is it not Time that, in Fairness, they be excluded from
such Jobs in the Future?
We think Nirvana will be brought to within touching Distance, were Women, Visible Minorities, and the Disabled to represent the Entirety of the Force.
True, we can hear some Grumbles from the Ranks of the Dinosaurs, the Dodo Birds, and other Relics of our inegalitarian Past. With their Limited Vision, they would claim that because of the Absence of strong White Males, and the Necessity of restricting the Presence of other Males in order to include large Numbers of Women and the Disabled, there may be some slight Diminution of Efficiency in the Dousing of Fires and rescuing People from Second Storey Windows.
But let us keep a firm Grip on our Priorities: Is it the Function of the Firefighters to fight Fires, or bring us closer to Nirvana?
We rest our Case.
|July 4, 2013
We see that Mohammed Morsi has been removed as President of Egypt by Military Forces. This follows much Demonstration by those protesting the Attempts to construct an Islamic State, as well as the Conditions of economic Stagnation and increased Crime.
We heard a most perceptive Comment on the Radio Yesterday from Alessandro Bruno of the North Africa Journal:
Sharia doesn’t pay the rent.
This fits comfortably into our much repeated View that the greatest Follies of Mankind arise from the Pursuit of an Ideal without regard to the Limitations of Reality.
Mr. Morsi can claim to be the democratically elected Leader – albeit with a modest fifty-two percent of the Vote – but it seems that Few in the West disagree with his Removal. Those in the Military, whatever their Faults, seem less likely to engineer a Return to the Values and Circumstance of Seventh Century – the apparent Path of Mr. Morsi.
We suspect that the Summer of the Arab Spring may be much delayed. While there is obviously a Desire on the Part of many Egyptians to belong to the Twenty-First Century, and to focus on Economic Advancement rather than religious Purity, we recall a poll from Two Thousand and Eleven, which suggests the Cultural Hurdles which must yet be overcome. (See below.)
It is an Aspect of human Nature, we believe, to resist Change in long-established Ways of Thinking, especially when they are entwined with a deeply held religious – that is to say, irrational – View of the World.
The Advantages of Democracy and a western Way of Thinking may not be immediately evident.
Ironically the best Way of bringing democratic Enlightenment quickly may be through a disruptive and unaccommodating Dictatorship – like a strict School for Unruly Children which attempts to prepare them for the Freedom of Adulthood.
It is the old Argument for the Advantages of a benevolent Dictator. The Difficulty lies, once again, in human Nature, for Dictators are soon apt to lose their Benevolence in the accustomed Exercise of Power.
Perhaps the Tale of Mr. Morsi will be cautionary. The next President – assuming the Military takes another Swing at Democracy – will be more focussed on economic Matters, and will strive to manage the cultural Divide.
|The 2011 Poll:
1. 59% of Egyptians view democracy as "very good."
2. Nearly three quarters want to see "strict imposition of Sharia law."
3. More than half want men and women segregated in the workplace.
4. 82% want adulterers to be stoned.
5. 77% view whippings and cutting off of hands as proper punishment for theft.
6. 84% favour the death penalty for Muslims who leave their faith.
7. 91% want to keep "Western values out of Islamic countries."
8. 67% want "to unify all Islamic countries into a single Islamic state or Caliphate."
|July 3, 2013
We note that an Oshawa Woman called the Emergency Number in order to bring the Full Force of the Law against an illegal Lemonade Stand. (Sun News, July 3)
The Stand was operated by some Children on July 1st with the Intent of raising Funds for the Sick Children’s Hospital. It has been reported that a Police Officer asked that the Stand be removed because of the Lack of a Vendor’s Permit.
This apparently minor Incident holds some Promise in the Solution to one of our most Vexing and difficult Problems: how can we encourage the Police to Act when illegal Protests take Place?
It is well known that, in the Face of illegal Occupations and Protests, the Standard Operating Police Procedure is to mill around, and ensure that the Protestors remain undisturbed, are given moral Support, and are well-supplied with the Necessities and some Comforts of Life during their Protest.
|Surely this suggests the Happy Idea of a Citizens’ Lemonade Stand
Such Brigades, composed of local Residents anxious to engineer an End to the illegal Protests, would simply have to infiltrate the Ranks of Protestors, claiming that they bear a deep-seated Grudge against the Wealthy, Adam Smith, oil from Alberta, Central Banks, Local Banks, or non-aboriginals – whatever the Flavour of the Protest happens to be.
Then, it would simply be a Matter of setting up a Lemonade Stand, and calling in the Forces of Law and Order. We have little doubt that the Stand and Protesters would be removed with significant Dispatch; a new Era of efficient Policing will have dawned.
|July 2, 2013
We see that Pakistan continues to burnish its Reputation.
It appears that Fanaticism, both religious and cultural, is deeply rooted, resistant to Extirpation, and invulnerable to Common Sense.
The latest Example is that of two teen-aged Girls, killed because of a Video showing them dancing in the Rain. It appears that their Stepbrother considered the Matter an Assault on the Family Honour, and led a Charge of five Men into the Family Home. (National Post July 1)
We have also learned that Rimsha Masih, the Christian Girl who was accused of burning Pages of the Koran, and acquitted, has fled to Canada. An Acquittal in the Courts does Nothing to appease the Blood Lust of the Mob.
In Pakistan, the Penalty for Blasphemy is Death.
|Vigilantes have killed those accused of Blasphemy,
and Politicians who have suggested Changes to the Blasphemy Law have
themselves been killed..
It is not surprising that the Law is used as a Tool for Malice and Revenge. It makes those professing Religions other than Islam an easy Target.
There can be few Beliefs more dangerous than those promulgated by Religion, for Religion is wont to claim Authority from God, and hence is above all human Dissent. Of course, no one knows what God thinks – or if there is a God like those Gods so often imagined. Thus religious Dogma can become a capricious and irrational Terror, wielded by those who claim to know the Unknowable, for their own Advantage.
We know not how a Country can be brought from the Thinking of the Middle Ages in a short Time, when that Thinking protects itself with the Threat of Death for Dancing in the Rain.