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Dr. Dreimer's Diary 4thQ 2014
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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 correct observer.
As it has turned out, the diary is not a conventional diary at all. Apart from the occasional references to the mythical Aunt Myalgia, languishing in the Shady Hollow Psychiatric Facility in downtown Toronto, or to the Lumpenbangen Studios in the inner reaches of Hamilton, or to the Haven of Wind-in-the-Pines at Silver Lake, we gain little insight into the trivia of Dr. Dreimer’s own life.
The diary is, in fact, a commentary on events in the news.
December 31, 2014
The Pope as Climate Alarmist
Birds of a feather flock together. (Old Saying*)
Being on the side of the angels allows for many a pact with the devil. (Observation #243)
In a world roiled by doubt, one should choose one’s certainties with care. But this is seldom the case: certainty is characterized by a comeliness of aspect, an adroitness of style, and an all-embracing, comforting smile; thus it is often given pride of place in the House of Intellect, with no questions asked. (Observation #359)
We are intrigued to learn that the Pope plans to issue a "lengthy message" on the Subject of Climate Change in 2015. Not content with that, he plans to speak the to United Nations and call for a Summit of the World’s main Religions. (The Guardian, December 27)
It appears that he is not a Denier, but rather an enthusiastic Supporter of the current "Certainties" of Climate Change.
Our first response is to note that it is not surprising to see this agreeable huddling of two significant Religions.
On the one Hand, we have the Christian Religion, which purports to believe in a Virgin Birth, an unprecedented Resurrection, and a sudden, inexplicable Saving of Humanity at an arbitrary Date some two thousand Years ago.** On the other Hand, we have the Religion of Anthropogenic Global Warming, which purports to believe in a Hellfire of Warming at some indefinable Date in the Future, the Cause of which is the Creation of Greenhouse Gasses by Mankind. This, despite the Failure of previous Predictions of Calamity, the Lack of Warming over the last Eighteen Years, and the manifest radical Changes in Climate long before the Invention of the Automobile or the Use of Fossil Fuels.
It seems appropriate, that these two Religions -- based on Supposition and Conjecture -- should find common Ground, with One approving and endorsing the Other. Both are obsessed with human Sin and Culpability, and offer Hope of Salvation to true Believers -- an ideal World of Stasis or Perfection -- in Return for present Sacrifice and Self-Denial.
We are not sure, however, that the Catholic Church displays much Wisdom in this Matter. As we have often observed, being on the Side of the Angels is likely to lead to Pacts with the Devil. Certainty about one’s Cause can be a dangerous Thing. As Voltaire said, "Doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is an absurd one." Such Certainty leads to the insane Horror of The Inquisition, to the murderous Folly of the Islamists, and to the Assurance of David Suzuki in calling for the Imprisonment of those who disagree with him.
It is interesting that, quite often, the greatest Certainty appears to arise from the flimsiest Evidence. Those with weak Arguments "yell like Hell," while those whose Opinion is supported by Fact can encounter contrary Opinion with an even Tone.
The Record of the Church on Matters of Fact is not encouraging. Their Explanations are designed to support a particular erroneous View of the World. Thus, they favoured the Notion that the Sun circled the Earth, and claimed that the Date of the Earth could be determined -- from Biblical Accounts – at Six Thousand Years. Further, their View that Man is a special, Godly Creation is at Odds with the Evidence of Evolution and the Fact that all living Creatures are manufactured from the same Lego Set of genetic Elements.
The Positions of The Church on Matters of human Sexuality are bizarre to the Point of Risibility.
It would seem prudent, therefore, for the Pope to concern himself with the Angels of Fantasy – those Angels which are said to dance on the Head of a Pin. To approve of other Angels – the Angels who claim that they can predict the future Temperature of the Earth, and hold out Promise that Repentance and Self-Denial will save us from the Hellfire of their Imaginations – would seem to be fraught with Peril.
* In 1545, William Turner wrote a version of the expression in the Rescuing of Romish Fox: "Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together." (Wiktionary)
**It has always puzzled us that a benevolent God should act with such arbitrary Largesse. He appears to have been unconcerned about the Fates of those earnest, hard-working, honourable Beings who had been slogging away for Thousands of Years, combatting the Elements, building their Communities, raising their Families, and generally muddling through. One day he had a particularly fine Breakfast, and decided to provide Salvation as a special Offer to those favoured by Location and Happenstance. Nice Guy, indeed.
December 21, 2014 -- The Sony Pictures Affair
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)
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. (Benjamin Franklin, 1706 - 1790)
Most will give up an acre of freedom for a closet of security. (Observation # 279)
Western societies are engaged in a slow, determined march from liberty to security. (Observation 195)
In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again. (Edward Gibbon, 1737 - 1794)
We are in a conniption Fit of Gob-Smackery!
We could scarcely imagine that we would ever agree with any Position taken by Mr. Errobama. Nevertheless, that miraculous Day appears to have arrived. For, indeed, Mr. Obama has declared that Sony Pictures Entertainment was in Error to bow to the Demands of The Guardians of Peace – a Group representing the Outrage of North Korea over a Comic Film about a Plot to assassinate their Dear Leader, Kim Jong Un.
Theatre Chains, fearful of vague Threats of Disruption, have declined to show the Film, and Sony Pictures, having suffered Damage from Computer Attacks, has not made even a token Stance of Resistance by releasing the Material on Video.
We can scarcely refrain from noting that Mr. Obama’s Position favouring Free Speech is in direct Contrast to his View of the Film, Innocence of Muslims, which he denounced – as a political Convenience – as the Cause of the Attack on Benghazi in 2012. On that Occasion, Mr. Obama seemed to think that Free Speech should bow to the claimed Sanctity of Religion:
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.
On this Occasion, however, Mr. Obama appears to be correct. There is much to be said for novel, unprecedented Experiences.
Much has been made, in the Press, of the symbolic Failure of Sony Pictures to defend the Values of Western Culture. But we would contend that this is merely one Point on a persistent Continuum.
The values of Liberty and Security seem to be inversely related. Security seems usually obtained at the Cost of Liberty. In a Fashion, Security seems like a much desired but ultimately unattainable Ideal. Everyone wants Security – just as Everyone wants to live forever. Our Power over the natural World is used, increasingly, to create greater Security.
This Emphasis on Security is shown by the increasing Role of Government played in the lives of Citizens. In Canada, we have universal Health Care, which provides Care for all, while requiring Citizens to patronize only the government Monopoly.
In almost any human Endeavour, Governments attempt – with the Full Approval of most Citizens – to ensure Safety. Seatbelts and Helmets must be worn, Smoke Detectors installed, Speed Limits observed.
Beyond such Concerns for physical Safety, are those for psychological Security.
Competition and Merit are questioned, while Equality is promoted. Students should not feel the Sting of Failure; zeroes are banished from the Classroom. High Self-Esteem is viewed as independent of Accomplishment, and the inalienable Right of all..
Political Correctness is nothing more or less than the Sacrifice of Freedom of Expression in order that Citizens may have the Security of not being offended. Human Rights Commissions are the Government Agencies used to enforce Political Correctness.
We do not pretend that we are not as anxious for Security as anyone Else. Liberty includes the Liberty to fail; ultimate Liberty is the Competition of the Jungle.
However, we wonder at what Point the Search for Security becomes counter-productive, and the Ability to make Choices is so restricted that Citizens are no more than Piano Keys, to be depressed and released to create a Melody which -- because it is not of their Choosing -- is oppressive and discordant.
What is the appropriate Middle Point between the Savannah and the Hive? Where does the Desire for Safety and Security become too great a Cost to being human? And when do the Insects of the Hive, so concerned with the regulated Machinery of their Existence, succumb to those willing to take Risk for an Ideal, no matter how faulty that Ideal may be?
See also The Savannah and the Hive, Drivel, August 18, 2012.
December 13, 2014
The Pope recently suggested that our Pets will go to Heaven.
We have been led to much Reflection upon that Topick, the Results of which may be found in the Drivel Section.
December 9, 2014
It is an enduring Mystery that, Hundreds of Years after Francis Bacon proposed the scientific Method in 1620, Matters which might be considered in the Purview of Science, are yet the Subject of passionate emotional Debate.
We refer in particular, of course, to the vexed Topic of anthropogenic global Warming.
The Alarmists have seen no Reason to temper their Rabidity in the Face of a Lack of Warming over the last Eighteen Years.
For Example, we note that, not too long ago, the high Priest Suzuki repeated his View that those in Power who express Climate Skepticism should be charged with "Wilful Blindness" and be made to suffer legal Penalty on that Account.
Mr. Mann, the Creator of the "Hockey Stick Graph" a Graph which has been debunked by some and then un-debunked by others, is suing those who claim his Work is fraudulent.
There is, indeed, currently, a Meeting of the Faithful in Lima, Peru. The News Accounts -- with the Exception of those from Sun News -- are all delivered in a Tone of undisguised Approval. The Manner of delivery suggests the Position of the Newscaster as being comfortably on the Side of the Angels. They speak as if from an impregnable Bulwark of rational Common Sense which is buttressed by a compassionate Benevolence for all of Humankind, and, quite possibly, a Concern for the smallest of fallen Sparrows.
The recent Agreement between Mr. Obama and the Chinese, in which the Chinese have promised to continue to produce Greenhouse Gasses until it suits them to stop -- perhaps, in fifteen Years -- has been hailed by those very same Media as a noble Blow struck courageously in the Face of an insidious and malevolent Enemy.
Mr. Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary-General of the almost entirely discredited Disunited Nations, has been interviewed, and has seen fit to scold Canada for having Oilsands Developments. He has urged it – despite its minuscule Contribution to Carbon Dioxide Emissions -- to turn, instead, to the Paths of Righteousness, which, while somewhat chilly, will clothe us in the cuddly Folds of moral Superiority.
Finally, we note that the" Friends of Science" has erected Billboards claiming the Heresy that the Sun is responsible for Climate Change on our Planet. The Sierra Club, in Outrage of moral Piety, is seeking to have the Sign banned.
Our own View has been consistent and clear. We have explained it most recently on August 15, 2014 in the Drivel Section.
Because "Science" seems, in this Case, to be the Subject of Dispute, we must rely on that accumulated Wisdom and Knowledge of the World upon which every Individual must depend to determine "when a man is talking rot."*
In this Matter, the Needle on our Bullshit Detector goes to the Maximum "Red and Ridiculous" Reading whenever we hear those who believe in anthropogenic global Warming.
First, there has been no Warming for Eighteen Years, despite the Rise in Greenhouse Gasses during that Period of Time. The Theory which suggests a direct causal Relationship does not work.
Second, many alarmist Predictions – such as those of Hordes of climate Refugees and the Flooding of Manhattan Island have not been fulfilled.
Third, many prominent Alarmists are Hypocrites; they are Sybarites preaching Asceticism.
Finally, the general Attitude and Approach of the Alarmists suggests a religious -- or political -- rather than a scientific Motivation. Those who are confident that Three times Eight yields Twenty-Four do not call for Prison Terms for Skeptics. Nor do they sue Deniers in Court, or seek the Suppression of Billboards expressing a contrary Opinion.
If there is any Truth to the Claims of the Alarmists, it is a
Pity. They seem to have taken every possible Step to suggest that their
Assertions are driven not by Science, but by Politics -- a Politics
infused with the Fervour of an 'old-time Religion' revivalist Tent.
*...nothing that you will earn in the course of your studies will be of the slightest possible use to you in after life -- save only this -- that if you work hard and intelligently, you should be able to detect when a man is talking rot, and that, in my view, is the main, if not the sole purpose of education. (John Alexander Smith, 1863 - 1939)
December 3, 2014
We hesitate to write about Mr. Trudeau once again. He is, of course, one of the favoured Targets for our Blunderbuss of Criticism.
However, he presents such a large and slow-moving Mark,* that we begin to feel some of those minor Qualms which come from Victory in a Circumstance of grievous Mismatch. To criticize Mr. Trudeau seems akin to depriving a Baby of his tiny Clutch of Chocolate, or spearing a somnolent Fish restrained in the Space of a Barrel of miniscule Proportions.
Against such Qualms, we remind ourselves that Mr. Trudeau, in spite of his manifest Deficiencies, may well be elected to a Position of Power by a Citizenry weakened by the hypnotic Force of a melting, Ray-Gun Charisma, and bedazzled by the near- irresistible Lustre of fine Hair.
The latest Incident which has come to our Attention, is Mr. Trudeau’s Criticism of some proposed Changes to the Laws respecting Firearms, which aims at removing some Layers of redundant Restrictions.
Mr. Trudeau has expressed Alarm that the new Legislation (Bill C 42) will allow the Storage of Guns in the Trunks of Automobiles parked casually in the Lots of Supermarkets:
First, it eliminates the need for owners of prohibited and restricted firearms to have a transportation license to carry those guns in their vehicles. This means they could freely transport handguns or automatic weapons anywhere within their province, whether to a grocery store or a soccer field. (Liberal Website)
In fact, all the Legislation does is remove the Need for a Special Authorization to Transport, allowing the Owner’s License to be sufficient. (Sun News, November 29) The Owner is still required to transport the Gun, unloaded and locked in a Trunk by a direct Route to five specified Locations – to a Gunsmith, Shooting Range, Police Station, Border Crossing, or Gun Show.
The Spectre of legal Guns at a Grocery Store or Soccer Field seems to be an Emanation of Mr. Trudeau’s excitable Imagination.
What is even more interesting is Mr. Trudeau’s Apprehension of the Appropriate Authority in the Matter of Gun Ownership:
Secondly, it would take the power to classify firearms out of the hands of the police – the experts in keeping Canadians safe – and put it in the hands of politicians like Stephen Harper.
Indeed, Power in the Hands of Politicians is a frightening Thing to behold!
But the Question arises: Why stop with the Classification of
Firearms? Are we not close to a bold new Vision of how the Country is to
be governed? If the Police Force has the Expertise to decide how best to
keep us safe – why not expand their Powers?
Think of the Savings! The Parliament Buildings could be refitted as affordable Housing, and a magnificent new Community Centre could be provided for restless Youth, the disaffected Middle-Aged, and gloomily impecunious Seniors. The Salaries of Members of Parliament could be directed to the Provision of Concerts in the Parks, and Day-Care for the Masses.
Pointless and time-consuming Elections, and silly Debates among Parties could be relegated to the Dustbin of failed Experiments in Governance.
We have often heard Mr. Trudeau sidestep Questions on political Matters, refusing to give an Opinion, but expressing a wonderful Confidence in some future Determination by Experts.
Surely this is but a Furtherance of this desirable Principle – Government by Experts -- a Principle, we might note, on which the revered United Nations rests its considerable Heft and Reputation.
All we need – truly – is the Appointment of Police Officers with a benign Mixture of Expertise and Good Judgment.
Let us, indeed, have a Police State!
Oh, Mr. Trudeau!
He, platitudinous --
This prominent star is a wonderful gift:
(See also our Prescription for Mr. Trudeau: Gaff-B-Gone! Drivel, November 8)
November 26, 2014
Once again (for the ten thousandth Time) -- the Real versus the Ideal
We have always thought that a Policy of Multiculturalism represented an Idea on the Cusp of Insanity.
However, it is our Observation that Citizens are often drawn to idealistic Notions which pretend that the World is a more reasonable Place than it is – or, indeed – than it can be. Thus the Idea of a Diversity of Cultures mingling and jostling in a happy Kaleidoscope of reflective Harmony has much Attraction.
It stands in stark Contrast to unfortunate historical Animosities which have seen various Societies struggle to exert Dominance over their Neighbours, and to Prejudices which have traditionally existed within Societies against minority cultural Groups.
To be in Favour of Multiculturalism, then, is to be on the Side of Peace, Compassion and Tolerance. There is a wonderful psychological Benefit to being on the Side of the Angels: one can bask in the comfortable Warmth of one’s own Kindliness, one’s Triumph over Prejudice, and one’s moral Superiority to those of lesser Tolerance.
But, we contend, there is a certain Superficiality involved. When one thinks of cultural Differences, one prefers to think of a Diversity of Dress, an Intrigue of Cuisine, a Quaintness of Belief and Ceremony.
What is glossed over is that there may be central Beliefs and Perceptions of the World in some Cultures which are in direct Contradiction to those which are considered to be at the very Core of our own Flourishing.
Our own Society has prospered, and has created a Freedom for its Citizens for many Reasons.
One of the Chief of these is that it has elevated scientific Enquiry, and suppressed the Role of Religion. There is a separation of Church and State, and Priests do not dictate to Politicians.
It has decided – at least until recently – that People may speak freely, and make Criticisms of People and Governments – providing Barriers of Libel and Treason are not breached.
It has made Women equal Citizens in the Ability to Vote, to become Part of the Government, and to engage in any Occupation in which they may have an Interest.
It has emphasized the free Market, and is welcoming to new Products and new Ways of accomplishing old Tasks.
It has, gradually, removed Restrictions --formerly placed by Religion -- on Abortion, Contraception, and benign sexual Variations inherent to mammalian Species.
When other Cultures hold Beliefs which are in direct Contradiction to the very Perceptions of the World which have made us successful, the rosy Prism through which Multiculturalism is viewed seems startlingly inappropriate.
Cultures which enshrine the Beliefs that Religion should be the primary Influence in the Determination of Governance, which hold that the Place of Women is inferior, which have no Interest in Science – in the Discovery of how the World actually works -- which hold that all Interest is Usury, which hold that Blasphemy and Apostasy are deserving of the severest Penalty, which countenance Honour Killings and Female genital Mutilation – such Cultures represent a mortal Threat to our own.
As we have said elsewhere: Tolerance extended to the Intolerant looks very much like Stupidity.*
Plainly put, Multiculturalism is an Idea that will not work. Those who come to this Country should be made aware of the Essentials of our Culture, and be informed that they must be willing to accept those Essentials. If they give Evidence that such Adaptation is unlikely, it is Folly to welcome them to a Place where they will be unable to contribute to our Progress.
We are pleased that our Opinion is increasingly being accepted. Britain, France, and Germany have already expressed Reservations about Multiculturalism.
A couple of Days ago, an Article in the National Post was entitled: The Failure of Multiculturalism. We will excerpt one Paragraph from the Piece, written by Farid Rohani, of the Laurier Institution:
The lack of debate around what multiculturalism is, or was, intended for has seen activists promote group traditions as having more importance than individual freedoms. The absence of discussion about our diversity has also by extension created a concern about religion and its relationship with the state.
And today, writing in the The Sun, Tarek Fatah made Reference to a Presentation he made to the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. He also referred to the Conflict of cultural Values, and suggested to the Senators that:
The real challenge was to prevent radicalization and this required confronting the rhetoric of political Islam rather than appeasing those who fanned religiosity and made Muslims believe their first loyalty was to Islam, not their community of fellow Canadians and Canada.
Indeed Mr. Fatah even suggested a temporary Cessation of Immigration:
And finally I recommended that immigration from Pakistan, Somalia, Iran, Iraq and Syria must be suspended until Canada can be assured that security documents, identity papers and university degrees cannot be bought on the black market or from state agencies.
It appears that the recent Attack on Parliament -- by one inspired by alien cultural Values -- is finally drawing Attention to some inherent Dangers – the Dangers of incautious Optimism implicit in the Idea of Multiculturalism.
November 19, 2014
We are intrigued by the Account of Father Joseph LeClair, a Priest at Blessed Sacrament Church in Ottawa, published in this Day’s Post.
Apparently Father LeClair was discovered with $400,000 of unknown Origin in his personal Bank Account, pleaded guilty to the Appropriation of $130,000 of Church Funds, and was sentenced to a Year in Jail.
The Gap between Pretension and Actuality is not Something which has just been discovered; it has a considerable Sheen, a familiar Patina of Antiquity. Thus our Surprise should not be filed under the Heading: Catastrophic Conniption Fit in the Wake of Revelations of Pastoral/Financial Hank-Panky.
What is slightly higher on the Richter Scale of raised Eyebrows is the Fact that the Parishioners have pined for their absent Shepherd, and have expressed a Desire to flock, once again, into his Pen.
Perhaps the Adage should be re-written: Once bitten, one longs for the sharp Caress of Teeth.
In fact, of course, this Matter falls neatly into the Category of one of our significant Obsessions: the Conflict between Truth and Illusion.
We can have little doubt that Father Joseph is a compelling Personality, and that he speaks convincingly of what People wish to hear. In other Words, he is an adept and accomplished Illusionist.
Now, we will not pretend that Illusion has no Place at all in the Lexicon of Perception. As Dr. Johnson remarked: Life is a pill which none of us can bear to swallow without gilding. On the other Hand, it should be observed that Illusion, followed too closely, worshipped without Reserve, is likely to lead to significant Disappointment and Dismay.
Besides Religion, this Matter is clearly evidenced in Politics. Consider the Illusionist, Mr. Obama, who promised a Cornucopia of Hope and Change, borne along in a new Tide which relegated old Prejudices to hidden Backwaters. The Illusion is welcoming, and flattering, and even as the Curtain has been pulled aside to expose the Machinery by which the Illusion is being maintained, Many pretend to see the Grand Wizard than the small Man manipulating the Levers.
We refer, of course, to those Levers which proclaim Obamacare as allowing the Retention of existing Plans and Doctors, which give the benign Explanation of the Attack on Benghazi, and which put the Happy Face of Victory on the Withdrawal from Iraq.
Or consider the Illusionist Mr. McGuinty, who managed to acquire the Epithet "Premier Dad," and promised the Virtue and Prestige of an Economy based on "Green" Energy. Yet his Schemes ended in Disaster, and he in Disgrace.
Indeed, it would appear that Ms. Wynne, his unaccountably elected Successor, is also an Illusionist. As an Article in this Day’s Post indicates, before the Election, her Liberal party: "... put on a happy face and spun a tale of better times ahead..." Now it is faced with declining Revenue, slower Growth, and an Exodus of Job-Seekers. The Party appears to be rummaging in a Box of unlikely Band-Aids for Cuts in Education and a Crack-Down on illegal Cigarettes.
We have every Expectation that Mr. Trudeau, who promises large Dollops of Charisma plopped down on a watery Gruel of intellectual Inadequacy, will, if elected, be similarly exposed as an Illusionist.
We have said that there is a Place for Illusion. But we think it is best that the Area be cabined, cribbed, and confined – to be kept to the Minimum necessary to keep Hope alive. We agree with H.L. Mencken, who said:
It is not materialism that is the chief curse of the world, as pastors teach, but idealism. Men get into trouble by taking their visions and hallucinations too seriously.
Idealism – almost always another Word for Illusion -- is a Steed which should never be given free Rein, for it has an unaccountable Fascination for the Abyss. The great Art of Life, it seems to us, is to determine how much Truth should be legitimately fed into the gaping, insatiable Maw of Illusion.
The Answer is -- as little as possible.
November 18, 2014
We confess to a certain Fascination with the Trajectory of Justin Trudeau, whose Star has reached an unexpected Place in the Firmament.
We could never have predicted that Mr. Trudeau would be considered a fit Leader for any political Party in Canada. We are suitably humbled by our lack of Prescience.
You see, our Prescience appears to be an uncertain Matter. We are tempted to a certain Smugness arising from our Record in detecting unsuitable political Candidates. From the beginning, we thought Mr. McGuinty to be insincere and inadequate, and Mr. Obama too hopey-changey to be able to deal with Difficulties such as those posed by Iran.
As events unfolded, Mr. McGuinty finally resigned, foundering in the roiled Seas of his own Ineptitude, and Mr. Obama’s Rating of Approval has been in significant – and we suspect unstoppable -- Decline.
On the other Hand, we are woefully deficient in other Judgements: we consistently underestimate the Stupidity of the average Citizen, who reliably seems to vote for those Candidates we see as unsuitable.
Thus, having every Confidence in our View of Mr. Trudeau’s Unsuitability, and thus far being reminded that the Capacity for Stupidity of those who have propelled Mr. Trudeau to his present Height can scarcely be overestimated, we can hardly wait to see how the Drama will unfold.
Will Mr. Trudeau become Prime Minister? Will he prove to be disastrous? Will the average Citizen be shown, once again, to have been vulnerable to a vast Abyss of Stupidity which lurks in his guileless Brain, the Depths of which we have never been able to estimate or predict?
We will try to possess ourselves in Patience.
In the Meantime, we must content ourselves with the Buttressing of our Opinion, which already has the Solidity of Concrete reinforced with the Steel of Apprehension. Indeed, we see Mr. Trudeau as a great mindless Locomotive bearing down on the helpless Maiden, Canada. The naive and trusting Girl has been fastened to the Track, hypnotized into Immobility at the Sight of lustrous Hair, shaped and glorious, in an Abundance of seductive Locks.
On The Source last Evening, Mr. Levant contrasted Mr. Harper’s recent forthright Greeting of Mr. Putin with Mr. Trudeau's demonstrated Expertise in Waffling. Mr. Harper has caused a considerable Stir by agreeing to shake Mr. Putin’s Hand, but saying that his only Message was that Mr. Putin should retreat from Ukraine.
In Contrast, Mr. Trudeau was recently asked – by Evan Solomon – what Comment he would make to Mr. Putin on the Subject of Ukraine. We find Mr. Trudeau’s Responses absolutely fascinating.
At first he said:
I'm confident that my judgment and the values that have shaped me and the values that Canadians stand for are what I'm going to be bringing on to the world stage.
We should note that the Response has nothing to do with the Question
– perhaps not untypical of those engaged in the Game of Politics. But
there is more than just Evasion here.
Mr. Trudeau sees the Question in entirely personal Terms. What he would say is dependent on his Judgment and Values. This, perhaps, is a reasonable, but rather unnecessary Statement. To draw Attention to the Unremarkable suggests that it contains hidden Wonders. Indeed, the Values in Question are those which have "shaped" him -- and they are a sort of Distillation of Canadian Values. Mr. Trudeau sees himself as a kind of Exemplar of Canadian Values which he will – in the Event of a scheduled Performance – be bringing to the World Stage.
The Spotlight, in other Words, has been shifted from the real Problem posed by Mr. Putin’s Thuggery to a Realm of the Imagination, a Stage where Mr. Trudeau will hold aloft – no Doubt – a Torch of shining Values which will draw Gasps of pleased Recognition from the Crowd – the assembled Multitudes.
Next, in the Conversation, Mr. Trudeau attempts to dismiss the Question as too hypothetical, somewhat aggressively suggesting that the Situation might be different in six Month’s Time. We cannot help but wonder whether, at the Root of this Evasion, there is that residual Soil of all Left-wingery: Evil does not exist; all Conflict can be resolved over Glasses of Beer on a sunny Afternoon. Perhaps, if we wait long enough, Mr. Putin will return to the Sense of his innate Goodness, remove his Troops from Ukraine, and establish deeply discounted Prices for natural Gas in that Country for the foreseeable Future. The Implication is that Silence -- possibly with the merest Tinge of Disapproval -- is the prudent Course.
Later, when pressed, Mr. Trudeau finally says the right Thing:
Putin's actions have been unacceptable. His expansionist policies are not helpful to Europe or to global stability. And he needs to step off from his aggressive moves. (Sun News, November 18)
After this brief Foray into Territory close to that relevant to the Question, Mr. Trudeau retreats to psychologically safer Ground:
But a year from now, you know, we'll have to see where we are. And I think the most important thing is that Canadians understand the values and the principles that drive me, and that's what we're going to continue. (Sun News, November 18)
First, he retreats to the World of positive Eventualities, the World of having Waited-And-Seen, which lies, after the Storm, on the other Side of the Rainbow.
But, most significantly, he returns to the World of Justin Trudeau. What is "most important" in this Discussion is not what one says to an opportunistic Aggressor, but that Canadians understand Mr. Trudeau’s Values and Principles.
The Spotlight, once again, is on Mr. Trudeau, standing on the Stage, Torch in Hand, about to speak. The Audience hushes; Attention is turned to the Figure at the Centre; all lean forward to hear the mellifluous Flow, the ineffable Notes of the Leading Man, the Actor whose top Billing is proclaimed, outside, in the Flashing Lights of the Theatre Marquee.
November 9, 2014
We see that Mr. Trudeau, with a Flash of unaccustomed Insight, has suggested that Canada, a Country in which cold Winters have been known to occur, is well qualified to give Advice on human Survival in Conditions of low Temperatures. (Sun News, November 8)
At the Time of this jagged Streak of Enlightenment, Mr. Trudeau was in Hinton, Alberta, to support a local Liberal Candidate in a Bye-election.
He gave his considered Opinion that Canada, rather than engaging in a Measure of Violence – the Bombing of the murderously cruel Advocates of a Caliphate in the Middle East – might, instead, play the Role of compassionate Mentor to those displaced from their Homes and forced to live in the Frigidity of Mountains.
No doubt he envisions the Setting up of Information Booths in convenient Mountain Locations, staffed with qualified Canadians able to give Opinions on appropriate Socks, Boots, Parkas and Thermal Underwear. Indeed, these very Items might be dispensed gratis at those same Locations.
We will overlook the Fact that the average Winter Temperature in the relevant Mountains is about Two degrees above the freezing Mark.
Instead, we will focus on the Thought Process which appears to be taking Place under Mr. Trudeau’s glorious Locks.
Indeed, it seems to us that Mr. Trudeau – while not qualifying as a Robot – for that Concept is rather too modern – is perhaps best compared to a Wind-Up Toy. A Key, clasped in the Left Hand only, is inserted – somewhere where the precious Locks will not be unduly displaced -- and cranked. Only under this impetus does Mr. Trudeau proceed according to the Configuration of the Machinery of which he is constructed.
First, the logical Implication of Mr. Trudeau’s Insight is that the best Course of Action, when one encounters a Mugging on the Street, is to wait until the Perpetrator has achieved his Goal, and the Victim lies, bleeding, on the Pavement. Only then does the wise and judicious Bystander come forward with Advice on how to hail a Taxi, or perhaps provide Funds for a Ticket for the Bus.
In Fact, it is a bit more complicated -- or more simple -- than that. No Process of Thought is actually involved! Mr. Trudeau’s Reactions are reflexive, instinctive, and dictated by a fixed internal Arrangement of Cogs and Wheels.
You see, for Mr. Trudeau, Canada is a Peace-Keeper. This Left-Wing Notion, which ignores History, and pretends that all Dispute may be settled over a convivial Glass of Beer on a sunny Afternoon -- has yet an attractive Appearance. Who would not rather be called "Peacemaker" rather than "Warmonger?"
Thus, it is unseemly and unsettling for Mr. Trudeau to imagine that
Canada might play any other Role but that cherished Part of
Mr. Trudeau seems comfortable with the Idea that other Nations – we believe he mentioned those with more Airplanes – should engage in Battle. Thus his Judgment seems not based on Morality, but on the Preservation of an Illusion.
We would note that this is merely one Example of Mr. Trudeau acting as a Wind-up Toy.
Another of his fixed Responses is based on the Notion that Multiculturalism is an undiluted Good – that all Cultures are equal. This is a wonderful, idealistic Idea from the Era of Mr. Trudeau’s Father, Pierre Trudeau. But it ignores the Realities of Honour Killings, Female genital Mutilation, Laws against Blasphemy, and Belief in the Supremacy of a theocratic State in which Sharia Law is supreme.
Mr. Trudeau has no Notion that some Cultures might, in Fact, be inimical – either in Potential or in Actuality – to our own. Thus, he has no Qualms about visiting questionable Mosques in a Spirit of absolute Acceptance – without troubling to enquire as to the World View which they espouse.
This sunny-eyed Optimism doubtless accounts for some of Mr. Trudeau’s more peculiar Responses. He was quick to recoil, in 2011, when Honour Killings were termed "barbaric." The Term, he declared, was "unacceptable." Such Characterization might make Immigrants feel "defensive."
We should remember, also, that when those motivated by Islam set off Bombs in Boston in 2013, Mr. Trudeau thought that their Motivation might have the "Root Cause" of Feelings of Exclusion.
Indeed, we are led to wonder whether Mr. Trudeau’s Reluctance to bomb those seeking to establish a Caliphate does not rest solely on his cherished Illusion of Canada as Peacemaker. For going to War against Islamic Ideas offends his Belief that one Culture – or one Idea -- is just as good as any other. (It also might not play well in Mosqueville.)
We think Wind-up Toys are potentially very dangerous. They are mechanical, not able to respond to changes in the Landscape which they must traverse. Ignorant, unseeing, they plow ahead, heedless of Warnings, towards the Abyss.
See also Drivel, November 8, in which we laud the Advantages of a marvellous new scientific Discovery: Gaffe-B-Gone! This may well be an Answer to Liberal Prayers.
November 6, 2014
Hope is necessary in every condition. (Samuel Johnson)
We confess that we see our Mission in Life to be the spreading of Gloom, rather than the encouraging of Hope.
However, the Fact that Ontario’s Commissioner of Fairness is now in the News does give us some Grounds for Optimism.
We confess that we did not know that Ontario was blessed with a Fairness Commissioner, but it appears that our political Liberal Sensitivities require such an Individual in order to "work with:"
regulated professions and compulsory trades in Ontario to ensure that they have registration practices that are transparent, objective, impartial and fair.
Apparently this has to do with facilitating the Registration of Immigrants possessing various Diplomas and Degrees. The Commissioner is a Fairness Nanny who will make sure that Professions and Trades, who are incompetent in managing their Specialities, will conform to the Expectations of Government, whose Wisdom is more or less infinite.
It has recently been revealed that the Fairness Commissioner is not salaried, but paid a pittance per diem Rate of $566 – amounting to about $1700 per week for a part-time Position.
The Miseries of the Commissioner’s Situation are not, however,
without alleviating Elements. The current Commissioner, Jean Augustine
has taken a Trip to Finland at a cost of $6,300, and has claimed
Limousine Expenses of $3,400.
It is readily apparent that Finland has a major Influence on regulatory Practices in Ontario, and that Limousines are the only suitable Means of Transport for those concerned with Fairness.
Knowing the Propensities of the Liberal Government, is it not likely that we will see a Variety of New Commissioners? The Equality Commissioner – to ensure a Similarity of Food Prices throughout the Province – the Happiness Commissioner – to maintain the Spirits of the Citizenry under a Liberal Government – the Knowledge Commissioner to monitor the Teaching of Sex Education in Ontario Schools – the Truth Commissioner, charged with maintaining the Illusion that Governments are rational – surely this is but the Beginning of a very long List.
Each Commissioner will, no doubt, find Cause to visit other Lands, and to employ luxurious Modes of Transportation.
This, of course, is very much a Situation of Hope. The Government does create Jobs! No one should despair! There are good Jobs to be had, with excellent working Conditions, and attractive Perquisites. We have little to do but simply encourage the Liberal Government to continue on its wise and beneficent Path.
November 4, 2014
The great tragedy of science -- the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact. (Thomas Huxley)
The United Nations has repeated its Warnings of "irreversible" Effects of Climate Change on People and the Environment. (National Post, November 3)
It is suggested that the burning of Fossil Fuels may have to be reduced to Zero by the end of the Century to avoid what "many" consider to be a "dangerous" level of Temperature.
We had expected this News of Apocalypse might have been emblazoned in Letters, dripping in Red, on the Front Page. Unaccountably, we found the Item on Page Nine of the National Post.
Similarly, we expected to see concerned Citizens running through the Streets, breaking down Doors in order to destroy Fossil-Fuel-Burning Heating Devices.
But when we looked out, we saw only two People, taking their Dogs for a Walk.
We simply cannot account for the Disparity between the urgent Warnings of Mr. Ban Ki-moon, and the relative Calm with which they have been greeted.
We have cudgelled our Brains, already much shrunken, no doubt, from the Heat of last Winter, and the Sulphurous Temperatures in the Summer now just ended.
In last Winter’s Heat, we recorded Temperatures of Minus 36 at Wind-in-the-Pines. And last Summer was the only one in which we did not need to install the Air Conditioner in the third Floor of the Lumpenbangen Studios.
After much Cudgelling, with a few Curses thrown in for good Measure,
we could only come up with this poor, weak, feeble Excuse for a Reason:
None of the Predictions made by the Alarmists in the Past has been borne out by Events.
We realize that it is grossly prejudicial and unfair to view current Predictions in the Prism of past, failed Predictions made by the same Group. But human Beings are fallible, skittish, and unreliable. It is doubtless this Weakness of Intellect which accounts for the silly Sangfroid displayed by an ignorant Populace in the Face of the looming Apocalypse.
Indeed, we were considerably discomfited last Evening to hear an Interview on Byline with Patrick J. Michaels,* Director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, who seemed to harp on the inconvenient Fact that there has been no global Warming for eighteen Years. He also noted that the Disappearance of Ice at the Poles has not kept up with confident Predictions.
It does appear to be Madness to rely on mere Facts, when they are opposed by Predictions made by revered Scientists working at the United Nations. The United Nations, after all, is a Body which comes second only, perhaps, to the Catholic Church in Terms of Universal Esteem for the Soundness of its Judgment, and its absolute and infallible Hammerlock on Truth.
We suppose these Matters will eventually sort themselves out. In the Meantime, we will do our little bit by destroying our Gas Furnace, and turning the Serviceable Six, our Cargo Van, into a Front Yard Planter.
Petunias would look nice.
*Patrick J. Michaels is the director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute. Michaels is a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and was program chair for the Committee on Applied Climatology of the American Meteorological Society. He was a research professor of Environmental Sciences at University of Virginia for 30 years. Michaels was a contributing author and is a reviewer of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
October 30, 2014.
For the modern Socialist, there is, for Example. no Evil. What appears to be Evil is simply a Case of Misunderstanding, possibly caused by an unfortunate Failure in Communication. Deep down, Everyone has the same Desire for the same Nirvana on the Big Rock Candy Mountain, just on the other Side of the beckoning Rainbow.
People only get angry and upset when they suffer from Poverty, Inequality, and low Self-Esteem. The Key to universal Happiness is to remove these Scourges, and the underlying Harmony will appear. Thus, it is most likely that all Difficulties may be settled over a Glass of Beer on a Sunny Afternoon.
The latest Evidence in Support of our Theory, comes from one of our leading socialist Thinkers, Thomas Mulcair. Mr. Mulcair has declared that Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau’s recent Attack on Parliament was a criminal Act, but not an Example of Terrorism.
He prefers to see Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau as a Victim of mental Illness, driven to – we suppose – a random Act of Criminality. An Act of Terror apparently must be carried out by an "‘organized’ individual or group." (National Post, October 30)
The Oxford Dictionary gives this Definition of Terrorism:
The unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
According to the RCMP, Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau made a Video expressing his political Intentions:
"The RCMP has identified persuasive evidence that Michael Zehaf_Bibeau’s attack was driven by ideological and political motives," RCMP Comm. Bob Paulson said in his second update on the Ottawa terrorist attack. (National Post, October 26)
The Question then remains: Is it necessary for a Terrorist to be "organized," or part of an "organized" Group?
It would appear that, in his own Mind – disturbed though it might be – Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau had a political Motivation. Indeed his Choice of Targets confirms a Process of rational, "organized" Thought. Second, it should be noted that those like Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau, perhaps lacking direct Orders from a recognized Terrorist Group, are still part of an "organized" Plan to recruit Terrorists, through the Use of Internet Propaganda.
How, then, can we account for Mr. Mulcair’s strange Reluctance to call a Spade a Spade? It may well be part of that socialist Tendency to deny Unpleasantness -- to recognize that some People are not driven to Anger by Poverty, Inequality, or low Self-Esteem -- to recognize that some People are driven by an absurd and irrational Ideology that cannot be soothed away over a cold Libation on a sunny Afternoon.
We would note one further Detail which seems to be a Trapdoor under Mr. Mulcair’s Pulpit. If Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau were simply an irrational Victim of Mental Illness, his Target might have been the Passengers on a Bus, Patrons of the Opera, or Shoppers in a Mall. Thus Mr. Mulcair might logically be calling for increased Surveillance of Busses, Theatres, Schools, and Malls -- as well as Parliament.
Oddly, he has called for greater Protection and Security "at his official Residence and elsewhere." (National Post, October 27) We assume that he is doing so, not because he is a middle-aged Man with a Moustache, who takes the Bus and shops at a Mall, but because he is a prominent Member of Parliament, the Leader of the Official Opposition. But doesn’t that suggest that he believes that there is a Risk from those with political and ideological Motivations? Is this Concern unrelated to the recent Attack?
Thus, Mr. Mulcair wishes to be protected from a Threat which he
pretends to be random, unpredictable, and "not organized."
October 26, 2014
We are interested to see an Article in this Day’s National Post -- an Interview with Karen Armstrong, Author of a new Book entitled: Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence.
It is Ms. Armstrong’s Contention that Violence in the name of Religion represents the human Lust for Power, rather than Something intrinsic to the Religion.
We can see the Validity of this Argument. It accords, in Fact, with one of our favourite Observations:
Being on the side of the angels allows for many a pact with the Devil.
For we see it as a human Impulse to wrap oneself in the Banners of Purity and Virtue; one may then bask in the wonderful and cosseting Warmth of Self-Approbation.
Once one can satisfyingly place oneself within the heavenly Choir, and have absolute Assurance that one is on the side of Goodness, Enlightenment, and Justice, then all kinds of unsavoury Means can be justified in the Pursuit of unimpeachably noble Ends.
Thus, those on the Left of the political Spectrum are happy to limit Freedom of Speech, because of their Purity of Motive in Shielding anyone from being offended. And those seeking to establish a Caliphate in the Middle East justify their Barbarism on the Grounds of a religious Ideal. In both Cases, one might argue that the true Motivation is the Lust for Power.
We would note, however, that the Religion of Islam seems particularly vulnerable to functioning as a Justification for Evil. There are many Passages in the Koran which, taken literally, justify all Manner of Barbarism and Murder.
Ms. Armstrong notes that Wahhabism, a Phenomenon of the past Thirty Years, a Saudi-supported Form of Islam intended to counter the Shia Influence of Iran, is a "huge problem," which must be fought. What Wahhabism has done is to remove the Filter of Islamic Scholarship which, in the Past, blunted the literal Interpretations of the Koran.
In a Sense, it involves a kind of "Reformation" of Islam which leads, not forwards, to a more compassionate Humanity, but backwards, to the original Text developed in a less enlightened Age, to the primitive Barbarism of the Seventh Century. It is likely that Islam benefited from the Illiteracy of its Adherents in previous Centuries. Now that every Man can read the Text, he can see the barbaric Elements, and take them as the Gospel.
Wahhabism represents a "back to the Basics" of an unyielding
In Addition, we would note another Article in the Post of October 22nd, which deals with the Motivations of those attracted to violent Jihad. This Article also, we think, confirms our Thesis that a kind of Idealism is at the Root of Jihadism.
Professor Jocelyn Belanger , a Psychologist at the University of Quebec at Montreal describes those joining the Movement as feeling like "specks of dust in an uncaring universe."
In Fact, of course, we are Specks of Dust in an uncaring Universe, but that Reality is neither flattering nor satisfying. What Religion offers is the Notion that there is Meaning – there is the Context of an Afterlife within which our present Existence can be perceived.
The Concept of being a Speck is countered by joining a Movement. One Speck joined with many others creates, at least, a Blob. There are many Benefits to a Sense of shared Purpose.
There is also a great Attraction to the Notion of Certainty in a World which usually provides more Questions than Answers. No doubt the more violent the Movement, the greater the Certainty that is implied.
We would also note that, with Religion, there is a certain Appeal to Puritanism. Anyone who looks at the World must see it as flawed, unfair, and corrupt. Naive Jihadists have sometimes expressed their Desire to get to the Afterlife quickly – by Martyrdom if necessary – in order to escape the obvious Imperfections of the real World. The Attraction of the presumably Ideal Circumstance of a Multiplicity of Virginal (presumably subject to continuous serial Re-Virginization) Companions should not be discounted.
The only Answer we can suggest for the Follies of the World is greater Knowledge. We have already argued for the Advantages of mandatory Courses in Comparative Religion. We feel that a Study of a Number of Religions will suggest that they are all based on Supposition and Speculation, and that no single Religion is worthy of Belief. Perhaps a companion Course: Dealing with the Reality of Speckhood in the uncaring Universe, would not be without its Benefits.
P.S. We have written extensively about Islam in our Consideration of the recent Shootings in Ottawa in the Drivel Section.
October 18, 2014
Practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect: Tip-Toeing around the Land Mines of Reality.
We were intrigued to read an Article by three American Professors:* Practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect, published in the October 6th Edition of the National Post.
The learned Professors begin with the Case of Magnus Carlsen, who, ten Years ago -- at the Age of Thirteen -- became Prominent in the World of Chess. Mr. Carlsen defeated former World Champion Anatoly Karpov and achieved a Draw with Gary Kasparov in a Tournament in Iceland.
Mr. Carlsen’s Success at a young Age invites Speculation about the old Debate regarding the Influences of Nature and Nurture. Are experts "born" – or can they be "made." Are we born as blank Slates, or are we marked with some pre-authorial Scribbling? Does Practice make perfect, or do Sows’ Ears resist a Transformation into Silk Purses --regardless of the Hours spent at the Sewing Machine?
We should, perhaps, indicate at this Point, our Bias in this Matter. Because of our inherent, naturally sourced, superior silken Ears, we have always known that "Nature" is more important than "Nurture."
For some Time, however, it has been fashionable to maintain the Opposite -- that every Sow's Ear -- with the right Influence and appropriate Stitching -- may achieve a coveted Place in Milady's Louis Vuitton Collection. Indeed, the Authors refer to a Number of those, who, by Dint, no Doubt, of diligent Practice in promoting perverse Opinions, have held Sway with their egregious Nonsense.
We are pleased to see that the Tide is in the Process of turning. The Authors conclude that there is "an overwhelming scientific consensus, that genes contribute to individual differences in abilities." We will not go into the Details of the Research upon which the Authors rely: it seems unnecessary to prove the obvious.
What amuses us is the Angst that the Authors exhibit. It is as if they have just discovered that Santa Claus is too fat for most Chimneys:
..we are not
created equal where our abilities are concerned. This conclusion might
make you uncomfortable, and understandably so.
This Angst, we believe, is simply a Measure of how so many have
been entranced by the Notion of Equality. The Notion of inherent
Equality is attractive; the Notion of inherent Inequality is an Affront
to our cherished Dreams, our fondest Ideals.
Thus the Authors go to great Lengths to soften the Blow which an
Acceptance of Inequality delivers.
This Angst, we believe, is simply a Measure of how so many have been entranced by the Notion of Equality. The Notion of inherent Equality is attractive; the Notion of inherent Inequality is an Affront to our cherished Dreams, our fondest Ideals.
Thus the Authors go to great Lengths to soften the Blow which an Acceptance of Inequality delivers.
With Justification, the Authors point out that much Harm has been
done in the past by assuming that genetic Inequalities apply generally
to Groups – such as Women or Races. Their Concern, they hasten to point
out, is simply genetic Variations among Individuals.
Their next Step is to aver that the Pretense of Equality is simply impractical. While it might be comforting to agree that the Emperor is fashionably, if somewhat skimpily attired, and that all Dreams are eminently chasable by all People, much valuable Time might be wasted in the Process. It would be foolish to encourage those with average Intelligence Quotients to become theoretical Physicists.
Further they note that an Acceptance of essential Inequality removes the terrible Burden of insufficient Achievement. The Fact that you are not a Heart Surgeon is not a result of your gormless Dereliction of Duty; it is simply because of your inherent intellectual Deficiencies. (They don’t quite put it that Way; we admit we are mischievously inclined.)
Finally, they are careful to laud some Elements of Equality which still remain after the depressing News:
If we acknowledge that people differ in what they have to contribute, then we have an argument for a society in which all human beings are entitled to a life that includes access to decent housing, health care and education, simply because they are human.
We find the Language peculiar. The Statement suggests that acknowledging inherent Differences leads to ["then"] the Argument that human Beings are entitled to certain Equalities of Treatment. Would it not be more accurate to say that despite such inherent Inequalities, there is still an Argument for certain Equalities of Treatment? The Authors seem anxious to claim that their Revelations of individual Inequality actually enhance social Equality.
So much Angst! And all over what sensible People have always
known! The Burdens of Academia in the modern Age are indeed great. But
perhaps all the Authors need is a little more Practice in stating the
Obvious, and Perfection will fall, like a ripe Plum -- in a Purging of
their anticipatory Paranoia.
*David Z. Hambrick, Fernanda Ferreira, and John M. Henderson
P.S. Perhaps we should be slightly more forgiving. The Authors
themselves refer to the Declaration of Independence, which begins: We
hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...
This of course is mere pious Piffle, the kind of hopeful Hogwash not
unexpected on ceremonial Occasions – Occasions replete with the Pretense
of Pomp, and the Facade of Circumstance. But, as Part of the American
Dream, the Piffle – in the United States -- is accorded an unthinking
Reverence, a reflexive mental Genuflection. It is probably more
difficult for Americans to reject the Idea of inherent Equality than it
is for Others.
October 16, 2014
Neil Young --The Guru of the Western World
In a World of Turmoil and Uncertainty, we take great Comfort that there are a few Giants of Intellect upon whom we can rely for the Delineation of a clear Path to Salvation, for the Drawing of a reliable Road Map to a better Place, where Peace and Harmony will prevail.
Mr. Neil Young, renowned Climatologist and universal Guru regarding all Matters of Importance has – we are thankful to report – delivered his Opinion on the Troubling Matter of ISIS, which seeks to establish a Caliphate in Iraq and Syria by Means of the senseless and horrific Barbarism sanctioned by Verses in the Koran.
In an Interview with Howard Stern this past Weekend, Mr. Young made full Use of his Pontificate Certificate to opine that the World would be on the Path to Improvement if it were to ignore ISIS, and deal with the more troubling Threat of Climate Change:
We can do little things to fight climate change but our armed forces are the biggest carbon dioxide providers in the world, and yet we are fighting, what, ISIS?
(Sun News, October 14)
Mr. Young noted that Groups devoted to Terror, like Al-Qaeda are blessed with Footprints of Carbon exhibiting an extreme Modesty of Size and Daintiness of Form – as opposed to the Gallumping Galosh-sized Spoor of western Military Forces dependent on "big machines."
We confess that, before hearing of Mr. Young’s Remarks, we had
strayed into the Path of Significant Error, believing that daily Rapes,
Murders and Beheadings represented a more immediate Danger to
Civilization than Greenhouse Gasses.
We are grateful that Mr. Young’s superior Perceptions have been a salutary Check to our uninformed and gormless Folly. We will stop worrying about ISIS and send the Pittance of our Pension Money to the Suzuki Foundation.
We are also pleased to see that Mr. Young has called for the Impeachment of Mr. Obama. In this Matter, Mr. Young reflects our own Position.
However, while we would impeach Mr. Obama for egregious Incompetence and a Failure to understand that the World is a dangerous Place where a Predilection for fine Sentiments and a Preoccupation with Golf tend to lead to sub-optimal Outcomes, Mr. Young, with his superior Insights, would impeach the President for Fracking.
Mr. Young argued, on the Colbert Report, that Fracking was not in the Interest of the American People. (Breitbart.com, October 14)
Once again, we must defer to Mr. Young. Increasing Energy Production in the United States might lead to less Dependence on Oil from the Middle East, where, we understand, the Nirvana of harmonious Civilization is a Camel Hair’s Breadth away. If Fracking were to be suspended immediately, we would ineluctably be drawn into closer Ties with those at the very Forefront of modern Understanding and beneficent Practice.
We can only Hope that Mr. Young will continue to provide us with his ineffable Insights. Perhaps he can provide satisfactory Answers to the vexing Problems of the unified Field Theory, illuminate the Process by which Matter becomes animate, and explain how Socks disappear in the Laundry.
October 14, 2014
An Exhalation on the House of Cards
The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.
-- Pope Francis from an Interview with La Civilita Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit Magazine. (September 2013)
What will Catholic parents now have to tell their children about contraception, cohabiting with partners, or living homosexual lifestyles?... Will those parents now have to tell their children that the Vatican teaches that there are positive and constructive aspects to these mortal sins?
-- Maria Madise, Co-ordinater of Voice of the Family (October, 2014)
We have heard a Rumbling from the Vatican, where the Catholic Edifice seems perched on a precarious and unstable Fault in the Landscape of human Progress.
A Meeting of Bishops is throwing out Shock Waves easily measurable on the Richter Scale of religious Sensitivity.
The Bishops are suggesting that homosexuals may have "gifts" to offer the Church. There are "positive" aspects of civil Unions and even – gasp – Catholic Cohabitations. They are proposing a "re-reading" of the 1968 Encyclical Humanae Vitae, which outlines the Opposition to artificial Methods of Contraception. This Re-reading emphasizes the recognition of the Need to respect the "dignity of the person" in evaluating the Morality of Methods of Birth Control. (National Post, October 14)
In the Process, the Fragility of Houses built of Cards becomes evident. It is not surprising that those who have found emotional Shelter in the Belief that Cards are as good as reinforced Concrete, are expressing Dismay.
People are fond of simple Theories; they eschew Complexities, regardless of their Accuracy.
This, surely, is one of the great Appeals of Religion: God is in his Heaven, and all is Right with the World. Simply follow these basic Rules, and the Kingdom of Heaven will be yours.
We see this Today with ISIS, which seeks to construct a Caliphate based on the Notions -- conceived in the Seventh Century -- about the Nature of Reality.
We see it in the Catholic Church -- far more benign, of course, it
its recent Incarnations -- based on some imperfect Understandings of
Reality which have been developed over the last Two Thousand Years.
The Bishops are currently contemplating some of those Misunderstandings.
For example, it is always convenient to have a Group which may be considered "intrinsically disordered." It allows for feelings of intrinsic Superiority, as well as providing a Target for righteous Contempt. Mr. Huxley once observed that one of the great Tragedies of Science was the Slaying of a beautiful Hypothesis by an ugly Fact. Similarly, the religious Hypothesis about Homosexuality has been slain by the Discovery that it is not a chosen Perversity, but rather, a natural Variation.
The Notion that Marriages are essentially supernatural Arrangements, which cannot be broken without incurring the Displeasure of a hypothetical Deity, may well be helpful in aiding social Stability. However, that is merely One of a Number of Elements which work in Favour of that End. And sometimes, it is the Reality that, in the Interest of a greater Happiness, Marriages are better dissolved than destructively maintained.
Finally, while it may be pleasing to imagine that People engage in Sex for the sole Purpose of Procreation – and for the greater Glory of the imagined Creator – this is a Hypothesis which maintains a significant Estrangement from the Facts.
It is interesting to see that the Church is taking Note of the essential Instability of some of the Cards of which the Edifice has been constructed.
The question will be – can the Integrity of the House be maintained if some of the Walls are admitted to be Cardboard rather than Concrete?
Some of the Attraction of an Ideal is its very Separateness from Reality. The Denial of Truth is rewarded as a Virtue of Faith and Loyalty. Some have noted that those Religions which have made Compromises with Reality have not grown in Popularity.
We, of course, think Humankind would be much better off if Religions were regarded as an Expressions of hopeful Belief to be enjoyed in Communities of the Like-Minded. They should not interfere with Government, or with the Practices of Society which aim for helpful Compromises with Reality.
We suspect that the Achievement of our particular Ideal is at a considerable Distance.
October 10, 2014
We have spent this Morning in a Consideration of the dire Warnings of CTV News – that, under the Light of the Full Moon, the Three Witches Division of the Beelzebub Conservative Policy Committee has cast a Spell which will alter the Copyright Law so that Advertisements of Attack may be launched using excerpts of previously broadcast Material.
Our Reflections have been published in the Drivel section.
In that same Location may be discovered the Report from Forward
News regarding a Virus Attack which has infected the entire Federal
These are parlous Times, indeed. We are grateful for our original Equipment Bullshit Detector, which allows us to steer a Path through the steaming Mounds which dot the current political Landscape.
October 7, 2014
Idealists: the Ruthless vs. the Toothlesss
We are intrigued to see that Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense in the United States (2011 -2013) has published a Memoir: Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace. (Wall Street Journal, (October 7)
In the Book, Mr. Panetta joins Others – Others who are not Republicans, that is – who have criticized Mr. Obama. (These include Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates.) Mr. Panetta claims that Mr. Obama sometimes "lacks fire," and "avoids the battle, complains, and misses opportunities."
He criticizes Mr. Obama for setting a "red line" in Syria in 2012, regarding Syria’s Use of chemical Weapons and failing to act when the Line was crossed. Such Failures lead to a Loss of Credibility.
He also notes Mr. Obama’s Failures to aid moderate Opposition Forces in Syria, and to ensure that U.S. Forces remained in Iraq after 2011.
It has always been our Claim that Mr. Obama’s chief Deficit is his idealistic Approach to the World. Professors of Law and Social Activists are not, perhaps, best equipped to deal with the the Darwinian Realities which often bubble to the Surface in the roiling Seas outside the Calm of the Classroom.
This Approach, we have always held, is typical of those on the Left, who see no Evil, but dream of Equality and universal Happiness on the Big Rock Candy Mountain -- on the Other side of the Rainbow. Our Complaint has always been against an Idealism which fails to take Account of disagreeable Facts.
We should note, however, that in contemplating the Comments which we are currently writing, we suddenly became aware of an Inconsistency in our Thought. For we have also claimed that oppressive Dictators of the Past have been Idealists. For did not Hitler seek a Purity of Race, and Mao Tse-tung aim for a Paradise of Communism? Yet each Man killed Millions in the Pursuit of his Ideal.
Indeed, our Observation #148 reads:
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!
Such oppressive Dictators as Hitler and Mao were Idealists with a Capacity for ruthless Realism in the Pursuit of their Conceptions. We might say the same for ISIS, which seeks the Ideal of a Caliphate, but sees Terror as the effective, realistic Means of achieving it.
Mr. Obama – and we would add Mr. Trudeau – are Idealists of a different Sort. If the most dangerous Idealists are ruthless, other Idealists, still dangerous but in lesser Degree, are toothless.
The toothless Idealist does not believe in the Exercise in Force. Mr. Obama, in particular, seems to believe that Words are an adequate substitute for Deeds. A good Speech, convincingly delivered, is all that is necessary to put the World on the gentle Path to the Big Rock Candy Mountain.
Thus Mr. Obama made his conciliatory Speech to the Muslim World in Cairo in 2009. His Red Lines are theoretical, not meant to be taken seriously. He is anxious to declare Victory and withdraw, because Victory is more pleasant than Conflict. In Mr. Obama’s Universe, Mr Putin may be dismissed as a Relic of Barbarism which is quaintly old-fashioned in the modern World of mutual Respect and enlightened Self-Interest.
Mr. Trudeau, similarly, seems anxious to live in a World in which humanitarian Aid and clean Drinking Water constitute a Sufficiency of Response to the Implacability of Tanks and the Horror of Beheadings.
There is a Place for Idealism and Idealists. The Notions of Freedom, Democracy, unimpeded Scientific Enquiry, Equality of Opportunity, and Separation of Church and State have succeeded in Making Life -- in the western World -- more comfortable and rewarding than in previous Eras.
Those Ideals, unfortunately, are not accepted Everywhere, and are seen by Some as legitimate Targets of Attack. They must be defended with an Element of Pragmatism which is not always pleasant. We think Aldous Huxley summed up the Matter best when he said: Dream in a pragmatic way.
The best Idealist must find a Path between the Ruthless and the Toothless.
October 6, 2014
We are most pleased that Nirvana has been brought one significant Step closer. Indeed, we believe we can see the Twinkling of cloud-capped Towers and the Gleaming of gorgeous Palaces in the new Light of Progress recently switched on by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario.
For that august Body has decided to offer a Workshop which will illuminate the Darkness of "White Privilege" for its Members. (Sun News, October 2)
It is, of course, a Truth universally acknowledged, that those who are blessed with white Skin have an immediate Advantage over those who are – how shall we put it? – epidermically challenged.
The Fact that those with white Skin are immediately given Precedence in Bus Line Queues, at the Check-Out Counter at Wal-Mart, and at the Passport Office is a Symbol of the systemic Racism which afflicts our Society. That those epidermically challenged are required to remove their Caps as a Mark of Respect in the Presence of the white-skinned, and make token Genuflections when entering commercial Establishments known to be owned and operated by Caucasians, is a terrible Indictment of our manifest Failure to achieve the Kingdom of Equality.
Racism, of course, refers to a Kind of faulty Prism which sees People not according to their Merits and Talents, their Abilities and Deficits, but solely according to the Colour of their Skin.
The wisest Minds of our Time have determined that the best Way of combatting the Use of this faulty Prism is to view People, not according to their Merits and Talents, their Abilities and Flaws, but solely according to the Colour of their Skin.
Thus, those Men of Brilliance and ineffable Understanding have decreed that in the Matter of Employment in Government Offices and Government-funded Entities, those with white Skin be moved to the Back of the applicant Bus, and the front Seats be reserved for those of differing Hues.
Further, we are pleased that – a great Sign of Progress – the
Kaleidoscope Principle of Employment is gradually being moved to the
Fore in other Areas. Thus, there is a clear Sound of the Gnashing of
Teeth – a Rustling of Sackcloth in the Ashes -- if it is discovered
that, in any Field, there appears to be a lack of racial
Proportionality. Until Bus Drivers, Radio Hosts, and Astro-Physicists
reflect a proper racial Mix, our Society must be condemned as cruel and
It is wonderful to see that the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario has decided to add its considerable Weight of Wisdom in the Fight against Racism, particularly as it is evidenced by the Notion of "White Privilege."
We assume it will teach its Members that all Caucasians are, because of the Colour of their Skin, inherently and irretrievably prejudiced. If those afflicted are foolish enough to claim to be unaware of this Prejudice -- it is simply a Proof of the very Prejudice of which they claim to be unaware. Thus, Guilt -- because of the Colour of One’s Skin -- is inescapable.
The Recognition of this "Original Sin" is merely the first Step to Salvation. Once Teachers have seen the Light – that white Skin Colour is a Symbol of a Darkness of the Heart within – they will be able to take appropriate Measures. They will be able to teach their Pupils – only the white Ones, of course – that they harbour a malignant Cloud of Oppression which requires a constant Recognition, a determined Monitoring, and, most importantly, ceaseless, anguished, Atonement.
Indeed, not until those Pupils give Way to other Hues in Bus Line Queues, at the Check-out Counter at Wal-Mart, or at the Passport Office, will they see the Glimmerings of true Enlightenment. When they remove their Caps as a Mark of Respect to other racial Groups, and give token Genuflections when entering the commercial Establishments known to be owned and operated by those of other Races, will some Semblance of Justice be obtained.
The Road to Nirvana may be uphill, and pitted with the Pot-Holes of anguished Revelation and Self-Knowledge, but the cloud-capped Towers of Enlightenment, the solemn Temples of political Correctness, are surely worth it!
October 3, 2014
We must imagine that Civilizations decline when they become too comfortable, too used to living on the other Side of the Rainbow, where they ignore the underlying – and quite terrible – Reality – the Reality that Life is, at its Essence, Darwinian.*
This ignoring of Reality accounts, we suppose, for Mr. Obama's Speech in 2009 in Cairo, which sought to gain Triumph in Profferings of Magnanimity and Self-Effacement. He held out an Olive Branch to the Muslim World, expecting that the Olives would be harvested, pressed into Oil, and spread judiciously to calm troubled Waters.
Instead, the Oil has been used as a fuel for Conflagration, and the Pits employed in great Catapults of Rage -- as Missiles of Primitive Thinking and Oppression.
Mr. Obama has always been in Haste to disengage from Conflict and declare Victories -- whether or not the Conflict has ended -- whether or not the Enemy has, in fact, proffered a White Flag. Indeed, he seems to believe that the World is a place where Words have the Equivalence of Deeds.
He has now, because the Terrors of those who would create a Caliphate have been made so public, been forced to return to Iraq. But one can tell that his Heart is at a greater Remove – he is pleased to tell the Enemy of the Limitations of his Assault. There will be no American Boots on the Battlefield.
It is not at all surprising that Mr. Trudeau – who, we feel, is an Obama in Miniature – imbued with the same Feelings but lacking the Obama Gift for verbal Manipulation – has expressed great Concern that Canada might join in the Attack.
As Matthew Fisher points out in Yesterday’s National Post, those on the Left are uneasy about any Conflict which has not received the Seal of Approval of the Epitome of Incompetence – The United Nations.
In fact, the United Nations Human Rights Office has now issued a
Report condemning ISIS. But Mr. Trudeau lives in a World of Class
Distinctions: some Nations are Tradespeople – the Plumbers and
Electricians who mess about with the vital Parts – while others are Real
Estate Agents and Lawyers who negotiate, do Paperwork, but keep their
Hands clean and expensively manicured.
Thus Canada is, perhaps, a Peacekeeper, or Distributor of Soaps and Salves; Combat is so – well – you know – primitive and lower Class.
Mr. Trudeau has questioned:
Why aren’t we talking more about the kind of humanitarian aid that Canada can and must be engaged in, rather than trying to whip out our CF-18s and show them how big they are? (Toronto Star, October 2)
We would note that Mr. Trudeau’s Jest, apart from being inappropriate to the Seriousness of the Topic, attempts to suggest that the proposed Role of Combat is no more than masculine Braggadocio, a pointless Strutting of the Tools of Domination and Conquest.
This is, of course, completely in Accord with the Philosophy of those who live on the other Side of the Rainbow – for there, there is no Evil – the Bluebirds fly, Dreams come true, and, like Lemon Drops on a Child’s Tongue, Troubles melt ineluctably away.
But Civilizations on the other Side of the Rainbow seem peculiarly vulnerable to primitive, mindless Barbarians, caught up in a Frenzy of Conquest and Blood.
*Doubtless this is an outrageous Simplification, but our Brain is of inferior Quality, unsuited to Distinction among Niceties and the Comprehension of Subtleties.
October 1, 2014
It is a common Complaint that, amid the multiple Infelicities of Behaviour of those claiming an Adherence to the Religion of Islam, very Little is heard from an assumed vast Majority of "Moderate Muslims." This Majority of wise, calm and judicious Practitioners, it is assumed, look Askance -- or in Horror -- at such Things as the Fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the Uproar over the Publishing of satiric Cartoons, the Bombings in Boston, the Laws against Blasphemy in Pakistan, the Destruction of the Twin Towers, or the Beheadings favoured by those seeking to establish a Caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
However, these multitudinous Muslims are assumed to be too quietly modest to venture an Opinion, or, perhaps, too occupied with a devout Compliance with the onerous Demands of their Faith to have Time to claim any Degree of Distance, or express any Measure of Dissent.
We confess to having a certain Cynicism in these Matters. We are fond – perhaps over fond --of the only Spanish Proverb with which we are acquainted: Quien calla, otorga – He who is silent, gives Consent.
Indeed, what little we know of the Religion suggests that it is, at its Heart, quite antithetical to many of the Ideas which we think admirable: that Religion should be considered irrelevant in Matters of Government, that Women should have equal Opportunity with Men, and that Values of the Seventh Century – such as those embodied in the Notions that Unbelievers and Apostates should be put to Death – are singularly inappropriate to achieving the greatest Happiness of the greatest Number in the Twenty-First.
As far as we know, the Followers of Islam are the only Adherents who appear to believe that their Faith is an Absolute -- simply beyond any Breath of Criticism.
That is not to say there are no Dissenters. The Names Tarek Fatah, Raheel Raza and Irshad Manji come to Mind. But these Dissenters, it seems, do not attract Crowds of admiring Muslim Followers. All Three have received Threats of Death. Indeed, Death seems to be a favoured Option when some Aspect of the Religion is criticized. The Seventh Century Mind-Set favours the Certainty and Finality of Death over the continuing Uncertainty and Danger posed by mere Discourse and rational Argument.
In this Context, we note the Appearance of a new Booklet, United Against Terrorism, published by the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Islamic Social Services Association. The Booklet is an Attempt to prevent the Radicalization of Canadian Youth.
While this Aim is commendable, we cannot fail to notice Elements of Whitewash* within the Text. For instance, it advises against the Use of such Terms as "Islamic Terrorism," "Jihad," or "Jihadis." (Toronto Star, October 1) Thus, it appears to wish that a Spade – particularly one encrusted with Dirt -- not be designated as such.
But, surely, a Spade described as the Bow of a Violin is not easily discerned, discovered, cleaned, or repaired.
This seems akin to Mr. Obama’s earnest Assertion that the Caliphate-Makers in Iraq have nothing to do with the Religion of Islam – despite their proud and determined Claim that they wish to establish an Islamic State.
The Pretense that the Religion of Islam has nothing to do with the Evils committed in its Name would appear to be a kind of wilful Blindness which cannot lead to those Reforms which -- from the Viewpoint of any dispassionate Observer -- seem to be required.
We would also note that the Booklet suggests that, while Muslims should conform to local Laws, those Laws should not restrict the "fundamental requirements" of the Faith. Muslims are urged to work towards the Repeal of such Laws. As is true in Islam itself, Faith should inform and hold Sway over the Laws which govern the Operation of the State.
In Addition, the Booklet claims that Islamophobia is a Form of "Racism,"** and is a Contributing Factor in Radicalization. Thus the Aim of the Authors appears to be to prevent Radicalization to Islamic Extremism – without admitting that the Religion of Islam has any Role to play in that Process. Instead, it is the Criticism of Islam which is at Fault.
This Handbook was published with an RCMP Logo on the Cover, since one Chapter was provided by that Organization. Subsequently, the RCMP has revoked its Support for the Booklet, referring to its "adversarial Nature."
We find it interesting that, even in a Document purporting to oppose Terrorism, the Seeds – the Attitudes of Certainty and Superiority which give rise to it – are plainly evident.
*See Diary, September 24
**This Word is often misused because it is a convenient Term of unanswerable Opprobrium. What is meant here is simply that some People are highly critical of Islam. In our View, the Religion is criticised on many Grounds with complete and unimpeachable Justification. The Authors suggest that not criticizing will let sleeping Dogs lie, and all will be well with the World. But if the Dogs are not sleeping, but devouring, keeping quiet will not appease, but simply encourage the ravenous Appetite.