|DR. DREIMER'S DRIVEL||OBSERVATIONS ARCHIVES||WEEKLY QUOTATION||BANNER||FEEDBACK/NEWS||MUSIC DESCRIPTION/DOWNLOAD||WORDS/USAGE PET PEEVES|
DR. DREIMER'S DIARY (January - June, 2012)
(Back to current Diary)
|June 30, 2012
We are ensconced at Wind-in-the-Pines, where, in the Flowering of our ambitious Folly, we have undertaken the Repair of retaining Wall made of Tree Trunks. The Trunks, having decided, in the Fullness of Time, to rot, have given way at the Top, and allowed Soil to shift and make unwanted Depressions in the Landscape.
Having a Quantity of Lumber from the defunct Boathouse, we decided that, rather than transport it to the Recycling Facility and pay Money for it to be buried, we would use it to construct a new Wall, where it could be buried without Cost.
The new Wall, supported with Pipes driven into the Ground – each Pipe the Subject to a special Prayer addressed to the Great God Murphy in order to ensure Stability and Resistance to Movement – is now complete. Further, a small Mountain of Topsoil has been delivered. It sits, completely blocking the Driveway, in a Heap of obdurate Reluctance, a brooding Pile of Impassive Resistance.
|Had we no Experience of insurmountable Tasks, we would be
intimidated into a Depression of Complaint and Paralysis of Despair.
However, we know the Solution: never regard a daunting Task as a Whole, but see it as divisible it into small manageable Portions to be tackled over a Period of Time.
We have set our Goal as a Series of Five Wheelbarrow Load Attacks, to be performed as time becomes available, over an indefinite Period.
We plan to start soon -- as soon as a troubling but temporary Fit of Paralysis and Despair dissipates.
|June 28, 2012
We have encountered another severe Shock to our System. We were just recovering from the News that the Rio + 20 Summit was a Failure. We had been able, through the chanting of green Slogans, and the murmuring of fervent Prayers to Gaia, to rise, albeit unsteadily, from our Bed, and gaze morosely through the Window for a few Hours before the Black Depression associated with that Failure overcame us, and we were forced to retreat to the Coal Cellar, where our Bed is located.
It was in this weakened Condition that we chanced to hear Part of a Program called The Invisible Hand on the CBC. This reference to Adam Smith was in itself disturbing. Adam Smith was an early Economist – indeed, the Father of modern Economics. The CBC is devoted to expressing the Views of those on the Left. Those on the Left, almost by Definition, know nothing of Economics. Nor do they wish to.
In our weakened and disoriented State, we could only assume that the CBC was about to prove that Economics should be replaced with the Study of Moonbeams and their Effects on hard-working Canadian Families.
You cannot estimate our Surprise and Devastation when we discovered that, in Fact, the Program showed the Folly of anti-Price Gouging Legislation found in many of the American States. It dealt, in part, with the story of John Shepperson, of Kentucky, who took 17 Electric Generators to Mississippi after the Hurricane called Katrina. He was attempting to sell them for double his Cost, when he was arrested for defying a Law against Gouging.
|The Program showed that such Gouging is actually
helpful. It provides a needed Good which is purchased based in large
Part on the degree of Need. The Price may be a Deterrent to Someone who
can easily travel and stay with Relatives, but not to Someone who does
not have that Option, and needs to operate a Machine for Kidney
Dialysis. Further, the high Profit encourages others to provide more
Goods and an eventual lowering of Price. The "gouging" Profit is the
Reward needed to induce the Seller to undertake a potentially dangerous
Journey to achieve an uncertain Result.
In this particular Instance, the Machines were seized by the Government, and were not made available to anyone. A Triumph, indeed, of morally righteous Legislation.
We tremble to think that the CBC has lost its few remaining Marbles. How can it possibly deal with Economics? How on Earth can it retain the loyal Support of the Advocates of Moonbeams and their unfettered use by hard-working Canadian Families?
Post Script: This Matter is, of course, merely Part of a more general Problem in Society: to what Extent should the underlying Reality – the Darwinian Nature of Existence – be modified by Compassion? In the Example above, the wealthy Man can buy a Generator, while the poor Man cannot. There are those who cannot compete in the Struggle for Survival. Who should receive Assistance, and who should be allowed to fail? Which student should be awarded a zero, and which given a second Chance? How much "Equality" can be achieved? Where is Justice in the Battle between the cruel, competitive Demands of Survival, and the compassionate Folly of providing a free Lunch?
|June 26, 2012
Was interested this Day to read certain Reflections by Andrew Coyne on the Matter of Liberty, wherein he laments the increasing Tendency to defer to the Judgment of the State in determining how our own Welfare might best be advanced. (National Post, June 26, 2012)
He notes the Proposal of mayor Bloomberg to prohibit the Sale of Soft Drinks in Quantities he deems excessive, the Recommendation of the Ontario Coroner to transform Helmetless Bike-Riders into Law-Breakers, and the long existing Government Mandate of Seatbelts in Automobiles.
These Measures may offer Advantages, but, as Mr. Coyne notes, there is a loss of Freedom, which, he argues, should be taken into Account in the Analysis of Benefit.
Further, with each minor successful Assault on Freedom of Choice, the Road of Good Intentions receives another Paving Block which eases the next Incursion and facilitates Progress towards an unfortunate but scarcely anticipated Conclusion.
It is our Observation, however, that in general, Freedom counts but little in the Balance with Security -- Security usually being the Essence of the Benefit envisioned by State Interference. Sometimes that Security is not simply presented as the Thing itself, but comes wrapped in a Tissue of Flattery bound with a Ribbon of Falsehood.
|For example, we are pleased that
Mr. Coyne refers to our favourite Instance of the apparent Willingness
to trade both Freedom and Efficacy for a perceived Security, and a
patently false Notion of Equality: the mandatory government-operated
medical System. In terms of Freedom of Choice and timely Care, it is an
Outrage;* but Most seem willing to overlook these Facts because they
feel that they have the Security of being taken care of – for free – by
the Nanny State, and are upholding the wonderful but chimerical Notion
Mr. Coyne admits he does not know where the Line is to be drawn between Freedom and Security, but suggests we should strike a harder Bargain.
We would note two things. The "law of unintended consequences" may lurk, subversively, in that Transaction. Do losses of Freedom also entail loss of Initiative, the Spirit of Self-Reliance, critical Thinking, or Inventiveness itself?
We would also wonder whether the Need for Security has Depths we might be reluctant to plumb. Is not Religion the most powerful Example of this Bargain with the Devil? Humankind is almost always ready to jump through the Hoops of Dogma to achieve the Security conferred by a propitiated Almighty.
While there may be some justifiable Benefits from State Interference "for our own good," we think it unwise to forget the Remark of Edmund Burke:
The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.
*See, for example, The Outrage of Nanny Care, Drivel, October 31, 2010.
|June 25, 2012
We note that the wretched Conditions of Life in Canada have once again come to the Attention of the Fount of all Wisdom, the United Nations.
Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has suffered a severe Disappointment, because Quebec has passed a Law restricting "freedom of association and of peaceful assembly." We understand that this refers to the Fact that Student Protesters are now required to give notice of their Marches.
Sometimes we wonder why we continue to live in a Society so unsatisfactory, one in which United Nations Food Rapporteurs (See Diary, May 17, 2012) and Rights Commissioners find so much to their Displeasure.
|Indeed we think the time might be
propitious to move to China, where, we understand, the Government has a
better Grip on Things, and seems not to be the Focus of United Nations’
Disappointments. We note that the rascally Artist, Ai Weiwei, who was
about to contest a $2.4 million Tax Bill in Court, was, quite rightly,
barricaded in his Home by dozens of Police Officers, so that he could
not testify, and that a Member of his legal Team -- no doubt an
individual of subversive and undesirable character -- has not been seen
since meeting with the Police last Tuesday. (National Post, June 21,
Indeed, we suspect that there many Places in the World far less deplored than the Quagmire of Mismanagement which Canada has become, where we could live free from the oppressive Shadow of United Nations’ Opprobrium.
|June 23, 2012
We are intrigued by the Matter of Alice Walker, who is refusing to authorise a Hebrew Translation of her Work, The Color Purple, on the Grounds that Israel practises Policies of "apartheid." Ms Walker is quoted as saying: "I believe deeply in non-violent methods of social change though they sometimes seem to take forever." (National Post, June 21, 2012)
It is passing strange; we thought that it was the Palestinians who sent Rockets into Israel. We must suppose that Ms. Walker will also be refusing an Arabic Translation, not only on that Account, but for numerous other social Injustices common in the Arab World.
Indeed, we have often noted the peculiar Vision of those who observe with the left Eye only; they see with Clarity the relatively minor Faults in democratic Countries, while suffering from a black Fog of Imperceptiveness in the Matter of Countries with egregiously awful Regimes.
We expect to see Ms. Walker on Limerick Lane in the near Future.
We must also note an Column by Chris Selley (National Post, June 23, 2012) who comments on the "bullying" of Karen Klein, who is a Bus Monitor in New York State. She was insulted by four Children acting with the typical Cruelty of the uncivilized Young. This Cruelty, by the way, is not acknowledged in our advanced Times, since we have dispensed with the depressing Notion of Original Sin, and replaced it with the more flattering Notion of Original Goodness.
Mr. Selley makes the Point that the Ontario has recently introduced comprehensive Legislation against Bullying, but notes that applied rigorously, the Rules could result in many Expulsions-- but these would be of limited value since the Bullies would have to go somewhere else.
|Mr. Selley suggests that the Bus needed "a
confident kid with a conscience to stick himself in the middle of that
situation and tell those four bastards to lay off."
Alas, we think this is merely wishful Thinking. The real Solution is suggested by his Remark: "Those kids are a force of nature."
We hesitate to suggest the Truth – since it is – not unusually -- so highly unpopular. Bullying can only be eradicated by Bullying. The cruel Bullying of the uncivilized can only be controlled by the judicious Bullying of the civilized. Without the Bullying of the Law, with its Fines and its Jails, Civilization would fall apart.
Many Years ago, in the bad old Days, when People were unenlightened, and believed in Original Sin – much Care was taken to bully the Students. There was Rigidity at every turn, and Consequence at every Corner. It was a bit like the famous "broken window theory:" take care of the small Misdemeanours, and the serious Ones become a receding Dot on an infinite Plain.
There is, of course, no Possibility of the Recognition of this Reality. There will continue to be much Wringing of Hands, Frank Discussions, Round Tables, Conflict Resolution Programs, Anger Management Seminars, and Passing of Laws. Until the Schools realize they need to be a "confident kid on the bus," the Forces of Nature will have their Way.
Finally, we note a Discussion last Evening on Byline (Sun News Network) on the Possibility of Mr. Trudeau running for, and achieving the Leadership of the Liberal Party. Our Comment may be found on Limerick Lane.
|June 22, 2012
We confess to being in a State of great Distress. Our heart Palpitates and our Palms are moist. Indeed, we fear a Conniption Fit may be bearing down upon us, striking at our central Core of Equanimity.
No, we do not refer to the current Wave of Heat afflicting our fair Province; our Concerns are abroad – in Rio de Janeiro – where, it appears the Rio + 20 Discussions have failed. Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth has declared:
Politicians are spinning this outrageous deal as a victory but in fact it is nothing less than a disaster for the planet."
Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director has stated:
Rio+20 has turned into an epic failure. It has failed on equity, failed on ecology and failed on economy.
And in the Opinion of Jim Leape, international director general of World Wildlife Fund:
It’s pathetic. It’s appalling. If this becomes the final text the last year has been a colossal waste of time.
Beyond mere Words, some Youth Leaders walked out of the Summit.
|We are particularly upset that
this Failure suggests that Maurice Strong, Chair of the original Rio
Summit, will not be taking over the World, and destroying Industrial
Civilization as we know it. (Mr. Strong has been quoted: "Isn’t the only
hope for this planet that the industrial civilization collapse? Isn’t it
our responsibility to bring that about?" See Diary, May 22, 2012)
We had been looking forward with much Enthusiasm to the Collapse, and were keen to see Mr. Strong at work with judiciously placed Charges of green Dynamite.
Ah well. It’s not over until the emaciated Female, living on Roots and Berries, warbles her Content.
In the Meantime we will carefully follow this clear and unambiguous Simplicity from the concluding Document, The Future we Want:
We call for holistic and integrated approaches to sustainable development which will guide humanity to live in harmony with nature and lead to efforts to restore the health and integrity of the Earth's ecosystem.
Such integrated and holistic Approaches are, we understand, available at modest cost at The Home Depot. Sustainable Development and living in Harmony with Nature elude precise Definition, to be sure, but, like the right Piece of Art for the Mantel, and a comfortable Pair of Shoes -- we will know them when we encounter them.
Indeed, quite possibly, if we repeat this Mantra in Sufficiency, Mr. Strong’s explosive Capabilities will not be needed, and Nirvana will be achieved more readily than a reasonable Man might suppose.
|June 21, 2012
We are often amazed at the Persistence of bad Ideas in the Face of contrary Evidence. We happened to hear, recently, on a Segment of CBC’s The Current, an Interview with some anthropogenic Climate Change Enthusiasts – Elizabeth May, not surprisingly was one of them – reliving the fond old Days of the Rio Summit of 1992.
It was as if Nothing had changed. No Hockey Stick Correction, no Climategate, no failed Predictions of sunken Islands, no Recantation by James Lovelock, of Gaia Fame, stating:
the problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing.
The Power of Nostalgia, we must assume, is simply too great. How much better to live in a World in which there is a clear Distinction between Good and Evil – between the noble Purity of the Fight to Save the Planet, and the scurrilous Subversiveness of the Deniers, who wish to sink Islands with a profligate Disregard for Carbon Footprints.
Now, with Doubt cast on every Tenet, with Climate "Science" a tattered and insubstantial Shadow of its former robust fight-ready Self, who can blame the Believers for returning to bask in the golden Glow of that former, blessed Time.
|We would note that this Day, the National Post
has published an Article by Ross McKitrick, who, with Stephen McIntyre,
exposed the Flaws in the Hockey Stick Graph beloved of the
In this Article, Professor McKitrick argues that the computer Models of Climate Change on which Conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are based, are flawed.
They contain the Assumption that Warming is caused by Greenhouse Gasses, and ignore the Effect of "warming over land as a result of urbanization and the varying patters of socioeconomic and industrial development." His Examinations suggest that this Approach is unwise.
Mr. McKitrick concludes that since the Predictions made by current Models do not work,* the underlying Theories should be modified.
There is probably no Point in transmitting this Information to the CBC. Let the romantic Memories of Rio rule, and retain their special, reverenced Place.
*Manhattan Island is not partially submerged; Arctic Ice has not disappeared; there are not 50 million climate Refugees; Temperatures have not risen over the last fifteen Years, etc., etc.
|June 19, 2012
We are intrigued to learn that the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council wishes Ezra Levant to express a mea culpa for having used the term chinga tu madre as a parting Shot in his Diatribe against the Vice-President of Chiquita Banana, Manuel Rodriguez. The Meaning of this Term has some Variability; we suggest Readers with an Interest in Spanish Insults google the Term for some Clues as to its O.Q.* Mr. Levant was angry at Chiquita’s attempt to boycott Oil from Canada’s Oil Sands, and responded with a Call for the Boycott of their Bananas.
It seems to be the Position of the Council that Mr. Levant went slightly bananas with his Remark.
Mr. Levant feels that the Council represents simply more of the Nanny State Approach we have come to accept in this Country. While the Council is a self-regulating Body for Broadcasters, we understand that it makes Decisions without Representation from the Defendant, and there is no Appeal Process. Additionally, Mr. Levant claims Bias on the Part of Broadcasters who are generally seen to make Flight using the left Wing only, and have a natural Tendency to ostracise Birds zooming along using the right Wing. It is an ornithological Truism that ostracised Birds are subject to Death by Pecking.
The Matter is not Trivial, because Membership in the Council is required for Licensing of Broadcasters. (Do not even ask: of course this Requirement does not apply to the CBC. Whatever were you thinking?)
Mr. Levant has decided to fight back, and destroy or terminally weaken the Council itself as a Censoring Organization. We would note that the Hate Speech Provisions of the Federal Human Rights Legislation are at this Moment in the Process of Removal, we suspect in large Part because of Mr. Levant’s Efforts. Mr. Levant was pursued by the Human Rights Commission in Alberta because he had the Temerity to publish the "Danish Cartoons," when all other media outlets were terrified to do so.
|It appears that the same Battles must be fought over and over
again. It was Voltaire (1694-1778) who said:
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
Americans tend to take Freedom of Speech quite seriously; Canadians, not so much. One Human Rights Commissioner, Dean Steacy, stated that that ‘freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.’ (Warman vs. Lemire)
There are some Matters which should be subject to Censorship. One classic Limitation is the Freedom falsely to shout "fire" in a crowded Theatre. We question whether Humankind is served by the Exaltation of Suicide Bombing, or the Brainwashing of Children to that end. But enforced Politeness is a slippery Slope.
The Problem appears to be that, in our Land of incomparable and exquisite Sensitivity, Niceness is a Value which trumps All. In Canada, Hurt Feelings are a National Tragedy; Ridicule or Contempt are Sins incapable of Expiation. This is the World of the Big Rock Candy Mountain.
How unfortunate that we live in the real One, where foolish, stupid and contemptible People make up the usual Proportion of the Human Population.
As Juvenal (A.D. c. 60-130) said: Difficile est saturam non scribere. It is hard not to write satire.
|June 17, 2012
We understand that a Mr. Wallenda has traversed the Falls at Niagara on a Cable stretched over certain significant potential Unpleasantness below. It was dark at the Time, and the Cable was, in Sections, covered in Moisture.
Our first Thought is what a great Pity that Mr. Wallenda, who does not hail from these Parts, had not consulted us before his Journey. For a modest Fee we could have informed him that the Falls are best viewed from the Shore in Daylight, and if he really needed to see them while in Motion, there is a Boat which takes Tourists through the Mists at an Expense considerably less than that incurred by stretching a weighty Cable from one secure Point to Another.
Should he have desired an aerial View, we have no Doubt that Helicopters are available for Hire; and even more cheaply, there are Post Cards readily obtainable at a Variety of retail Establishments which portray the Scenery from every conceivable Angle under a Myriad of Conditions.
It has been suggested that Mr. Wallenda, had, in fact, some unusual Motive in his Performance, and wished to undertake his peculiar and defiant Odyssey in order to accomplish that which had not been achieved before.
|While we do admire that Element in the human Psyche which seeks
out new Worlds to conquer, our Preference is for Worlds which have a
ready Tendency to raise white Flags, and whose conquering does not
involve actual Danger. Indeed, we find the mere Act of Crossing a busy
Thoroughfare in Toronto provides us with Thrills of admirable
The Appeal of Mr. Wallenda’s proposed Walk was, in Part, to the Admiration to which we have already referred. But in Part, it was to that same Element which we Experience in Passing the Scene of a Traffic Accident: we are horrified, but look anyway; it is the Fascination with the potentially Gruesome. What if Mr. Wallenda were to fall?
We have a principled Objection to having our Emotions toyed with. We will allow it only if it is done with great Skill, and we are unaware of the Process. This is often the Difference between a good Film and a bad one: in the bad Film, one knows one is being led from Crisis to Crisis, having potential Defeat ever more frequently snatched from the Jaws of potential Victory, and one becomes resentful, sarcastic, or both. One switches to another Channel.
Having someone traverse the Falls in the Dark on a wet Cable, with the potential for instant Death, strikes us as a rather blatant, rather than subtle, Manipulation of Emotions.
Because we always act according to well-thought-out Principles, it should come as no surprise that we did not watch this much ballyhooed Event.
The Fact that Mr. Wallenda was wearing a Harness which precluded a dramatic fall to the Depths below had absolutely nothing to do with our Decision.
|June 14, 2012
We were somewhat surprised to learn that Mr. Rae has decided not to pursue the Leadership of the Liberal Party, that having seemed to be the accepted Wisdom on the Matter.
Last Evening, on the Sun News Network, we heard from two Liberal Pundits, Ray Heard and Warren Kinsella, both of whom expressed the Opinion that Justin Trudeau is the only reasonable Candidate.
Some positive Elements, it is claimed, are Mr. Trudeau’s Popularity with the young, his Ability to raise Funds and his intellectual Growth.
We will be fascinated to see if Mr. Trudeau -- under Pressure, of course -- decides to run and becomes the Liberal Leader.
Our Opinion as to his Success in that rôle remains negative.* Silken Purses are difficult to craft, and their successful Manufacture owes much to the raw Materials available.
|We think the Liberal Pundits are victims of wishful
Thinking. We would be delighted to be proved wrong in this Matter; the
Correctness of our Views being constantly confirmed does bring with it a
certain Element of Tedium.
Indeed, an Error in this Matter might be uplifting. It might suggest that our whole (somewhat gloomy) Estimation of the Way the World functions is mistaken, and we could look forward to a Myriad of pleasant Surprises: Mr. McGuinty concluding that Ontario might best be served by his Resignation; Human Rights Commissioners throwing themselves en masse from convenient Cliffs, and the Recognition that the Health Care System is coercive and dysfunctional, with concomitant Provisions made for private Health Insurance.
Time will tell.
* See Diary, June 5, 2012
|June 13, 2012
Magick in Sheep’s Clothing
We have little Doubt that many Readers, sitting down to their various Repasts, have a tiny little Angel on one Shoulder, and an equally diminutive Devil on the other. The little Devil seductively urges the Ingestion of Fatty Foods, and the Yolks of Eggs.
The little Angel, Eyes turned skyward, urges Restraint, and advocates the Ingestion of raw Carrots, desiccated Bean Sprouts, and anything else meagre, emaciated, and un-jolly.
It is all Nonsense, of course, and it has been known to be Nonsense for a very long time. But Nonsense is persistent and tenacious, especially when there is Money to be made, and Reputations to be retained.
The latest Salvo in the Battle against this particular Nonsense is a book by Harvey Levenstein entitled: Fear of food: A History of Why we Worry about What we Eat, an excerpt from which was published in the National Post. (June 11, 2012)
The Nonsense started in the 1950's when Ancel Keys designed a Study to prove his Theory – that Ingestion of Fat was related to Heart Disease. It suffered from the great Achilles Heel of such Studies: It "proved" something that was not, in fact, true. It was not a Study designed to find the Truth, but to prove a Theory.
The Excerpt from Mr. Levenstein’s Book concludes:
In February, 2010, the press reported on a meta-analysis of 21 lengthy studies comprising 347,747 subjects that concluded that there was no association between saturated fat consumption and the risk of heart disease.
The Question remains, why this Nonsense has persisted for over Fifty Years? In the Words of L. Cassius Longinus Ravilla, "cui bono" – or – roughly translated – "follow the money." It is instructive that Words from the 2nd Century B.C. are so relevant today. Progress is less rapid than we may wish to believe.
Manufacturers of Statin Drugs – which lower Cholesterol -- and Manufacturers of Margarine --which boasts an absence of saturated Fat -- are at least Part of the Answer. We note that the Heart and Stroke Foundation has close Links with the Manufacturers of Becel Margarine, and Statin Drugs are extremely profitable. We doubt that the little Angel and the little Devil will disappear soon. There is too much Money at Stake.
More generally, we see the Belief about Saturated Fat to be merely one Example of Many stoutly held bits of Nonsense. Nonsense is always supported by those who benefit from it, but, beyond that we must admit there is a natural Appetite for Nonsense in the human Psyche.
For Nonsense is often simply Magick by another name. Magick represents the Attempt to influence the Future using Notions of Cause and Effect which are flawed, faulty, and mistaken. Science differs from Magick in that the Notions of Cause and Effect involved are valid as shown by Evidence.
There is a wonderful Attraction to the human Mind in the Notion that things may be done to effect a beneficial Outcome. But, alas, the human Mind is often less concerned whether Magick or Science is involved, and is easy Prey to those with Interests to promote, particularly when the Magick suggested is clothed in the deceptive Mantle of "Science."
Post Script: In our previous Musings, we have noted the Similarity among Religion, Climate Change, and the Cholesterol Theory. (Drivel, June 17, 2010) We have also reflected on the need to improve the original Equipment Bullshit Detector. (Drivel, May 7, 2011). We plan no radical Measures: we will continue to breathe normally, while we wait for a Reduction in human Folly.
|June 12, 2012
We are recovering, but slowly, from an apocalyptic Shock. Our Legs are still unsteady, but we have Hope that their normal Function will – in a week or two – return.
Our Brain, alas, may never bounce back to its former Insouciance, its Confidence that God’s in his Heaven, and all is right with the World.
Recent Events suggest that the Self-Esteem Movement is losing teeny Bits of its Self-Assurance.
A Touch of Gray here, an unexpected Wrinkle there, and soon the Movement will eschew the Mirror for good, and take to wearing a Bag – not plastic, of course -- over its Head.
First Lynden Dorval, a Teacher in Edmonton, defied the Policy of his School by awarding Zeros for work not done. He apparently had little regard for the Devastation that this might Cause to the Esteem of Recipients. Indeed, he had the Temerity to suggest that Students approaching Adulthood should learn to take Responsibility for their Actions. But how can one have Esteem when one’s Actions gain a negative Reward?
And now we learn that David McCullough, a Teacher of English at the Prestigious Wellesly High School in Massachusetts, has given a Commencement Address in which he has said: You are not special. (Joe O’Connor, National Post, June 12, 2012)
We have no Reports on the Number of Apocalyptic Shocks, the pitiful Screams, the Bulging of Eyes, or the apparently lifeless Bodies, their Limbs still twitching, hauled away by Emergency Medical Personnel.
Such Information is generally suppressed for the greater good. But we suspect the Numbers to be not inconsiderable.
We do not know what the World is coming to. Mr. McCullough also said:
The fulfilling life, the distinctive life, the relevant life is not something that will fall in your lap because you’re a nice person, or mommy ordered it from the caterer.
Surely this runs counter to all the Wisdom gleaned from modern educational Practice, which, as nearly as we can determine, holds that high Self-Regard is both necessary and independent of Achievement or evidential Worth. Like the First Cause, it exists without Antecedent, and is created in a Big Bang of never-ending Expansion for which there are neither Limits nor Restrictions.
We mourn greatly that this pleasant Notion is to be cabined, cribbed, or confined by those of small Mind occupied by mean, grubby, worldly Concerns. Indeed, we have some Fear that Achievement-less Self Esteem may fall into that Category brought to our Attention by George Jonas in referring to the Notion of Equality, the Category of convenient Fiction. (See Drivel, June 2, 2012)
Once the Notion takes hold that effortless Self-Esteem is better described as Arrogance, the World will become a much poorer Place, and many worthy Movements and Student Protests will deflate like a Tennis Court Bubble when the Power is turned off.
How much better the World described by a Respondent, currently a Resident of the Big Rock Candy Mountain, to Mr. O’Connor’s Article:
Living a good life should not be an impossible struggle against insensitive louts such as this one. [David McCullough] It should be an everyday natural process built on trust and generous hearts in a caring society. Something open to all.
|June 10, 2012
It is Sunday, the Day that we often deal with Matters Sacrilegious.
And indeed, a Matter of egregious Sacrilege has come recently to our Attention. Larry Miller, a Conservative Member of Parliament from Ontario has called for a Review of Canada’s Rôle in the United Nations. Mr. Miller apparently believes that the United Nations is a seriously flawed Institution.
We know not how it is possible for such Thoughts to find Refuge in any honourable and upright human Being, let alone in the magnificent Brain of an elected Member of Parliament.
Surely all must agree that the United Nations represents our best Hope for Salvation.
Recently, we note, the United Nations has criticized Canada for its deplorable Complicity in the Treatment of Omar Khadr, the innocent Child caught up in Matters beyond his Comprehension, and its Refusal to assist him.
They have wisely appointed Mr. Mugabe, noted for his Benevolence and jolly Demeanour, all the while managing with effortless Insouciance his thriving Country of Zimbabwe, as an Ambassador for Tourism.
Kofi Annan, noted for his firm Handling of the Rawanda Genocide, and his deft Management of the Oil-for-Food Program has recently been sent to Syria to put a final End to the childish Self-Indulgence of the revered but occasionally petulant Bashar Assad.
|But beyond these recent Acts of
Supra-Solomonic Wisdom, most importantly of all, The United Nations has
been at the Forefront of the Climate Change Movement, which has employed
some admirable Sleights of Hand to convince the World that the Climate
Armageddon is near, and the wonderful Agenda 21, which aims at the
long-sought Destruction of our wretched Industrial Civilization, is
within our grasp. (See Diary, May 22, 2012)
Indeed, it is only with the United Nations that our Hope for benevolent World Government may be achieved. It is only with World Government that Industrialization can be reversed, Gaia can be restored, and the proper Organization of Society can be realised.
We have only to contemplate the recent calming Visit of Olivier de Schutter, the "food rapporteur" to glimpse the Nirvanic Possibilities. (See Diary, May 17, 2012) In the great Brave New World of United Nations Control, we can look forward to a most precise and exacting Regulation of virtually every Element of our Lives by expert Bureaucrats.
O my Friends! How can we not look forward to that wonderful Day – that Day when Chaos will be tamed, and the proper Order of Things will be established by the most highly qualified Experts that Humankind can produce!
We call on Mr. Miller to repent! His Apostasy is our Shame. His Sacrilege, considered even for a Moment, stands between us and the Big Rock Candy Mountain, the Paradise of bureaucratic Perfection which the United Nations alone bids fair to achieve.
|June 8, 2012
In some Periods, we scan the daily Newspaper in Vain for Items that intrigue or titillate our eccentric Fancy. On other occasions, we are overwhelmed by Matters demanding Comment.
Today is one of those Days of Overwhelment.
We note that Brian Storseth’s Bill to repeal the odious Provision regarding free Speech in the federal Human Rights Legislation has been passed by Parliament. We are much pleased that an Editorial in the National Post which contains the Comment:
Human-rights codes are now a greater affront to liberty than were the harms they were meant to address.
There is no Opinion we value more highly than that which exactly replicates our own.
Then there is an Article by Chris Selley entitled Let sleeping Burka Bans Lie, which directly contradicts our own View, and calls out for a Rebuttal. We do hate to let others labour under their significant Misapprehensions, when a few Words from our own Pen might have the Capacity to set them on the Path to Enlightenment.
|Yet again, there is a wonderful Article on
Health Care by Bret Skinner, Let Private Cash Improve Health Care,
which points out that the Restrictions on Health Care in our present
System would be absurd in any other Field of Industry. Once again, it is
reassuring that more and more wise, thoughtful, and discerning
Individuals are seen to reinforce our own accurate Perceptions.
Peter Foster has written an Article on the Rio Summit, which we are keeping to savour. And we are tempted to comment on the Remark of a Judge who said to an anti-abortion Activist: "Your God is wrong."
Alas! We have only a limited Time for these Musings!
We have decided to refrain from Comment on all of these Matters in favour of the Topick which occupies a constant Place in our Thoughts, our Dreams, and our Memories: the plastic Bag.
The Toronto City Council, in all its fantastic drastic view of plastic, appears on Limerick Lane.
|June 7, 2012
The Limits to Freedom.
We have learned that in Belgium, where the Niqab is banned, some are offering a $310 Bounty to those who report the Sighting of a veiled Woman to the Police. (Tribune June 6, 2012)
This comes, apparently after Riots which have made the Police reluctant to enforce the Law.
We have long been opposed to public Veiling, but in typically wishy-washy Canadian Fashion, have felt that Condemnation might best be expressed primarily by requiring all Interaction with Government to be conducted with a revealed Face. In Addition, we have felt it entirely legitimate to allow Shopkeepers to bar the Entrance to their Premises for masked Customers.
Belgium has obviously taken a firmer Stance.
The Issue raises the Matter of the Limits to Freedom.
We like to think that People may dress as they wish in a "free" Country – but, in fact, there are Restrictions which are by Law, and others which are by Custom. We note that public Nudity has legal Prohibition, but most Dress is regulated by Custom, and is always freighted with Meaning, whether the Meaning is intended or not.
The Question becomes whether Veiling the Face has sufficient symbolic Import to justify legal Prohibition.
We find Veiling extremely offensive because of two possible symbolic Messages being Sent.
The First is that Veiling can represent, not a Choice, but an Enforcement of an inferior Status of Women. Thus, allowing Veiling is an Endorsement of cultural Practice inimical to our own. The Matter is hardly trivial: One is either against Slavery or for it. One cannot say it is simply like a Preference for Broccoli over Spinach.
The Second is that the Veiling may be freely chosen, yet that still represents an Upholding of Subjugation of Women, even if that Message is not intended. One cannot wear a Swastika, and claim it is a Symbol of one's Roots in Mesopotamia. (Although in India one might claim it as a religious Symbol.) In Addition, the niqab represents a Condemnation of the Custom and Culture of Western Society in a Manner far more serious than wearing a short red Dress at a Funeral.
It is important, in our legal System, that Witnesses may be observed in giving their Testimony, so that Veracity may be read in the Myriad of Ways that the Face may reveal. Similarly, in the Interactions of every day Life, it is important to be able to communicate using facial Expression. When one person is veiled, and the other is not, an Imbalance is created. A Veil inhibits free Communication. Free and equal Communication is surely an elementary building Block of a Free Society.*
And, of course, it is important, in the Event of Dispute or Crime, that a Perpetrator be identifiable. That is why Masking is associated with evil Intent, and is used by Thieves, Bandits and destructive Protestors.
In other words, we think that the Exposure of the Face is an essential Element in a Way of Life which, while not perfect, has been able to advance the Cause of human Comfort, Freedom, and Happiness as no other. The veiled Face is a Rejection, not merely of western Dress Codes, but of an entire Way of Thinking and Being in the World. We assume, by the Way, that Few would advocate that masked Men roam the Streets wearing Shirts expressing Antipathy to Islam.
Thus, while we would hope that Persuasion and limited Prohibition might cause a Disappearance of the Veil, we are sympathetic to the Belgian Prohibition, and the Frustration of the Providers of Bounty.
|June 5, 2012
We are intrigued to learn that -- according to John Ivison in this Day’s National Post -- "A Trudeau leadership team is being quietly assembled, even while their man continues to insist that he will sit out to spend more time with his family."
Ah, if this be true – we can scarce believe that Duplicity would make its Nest in the upright Tree of Politics. Certainly we have never heard of such a Thing.
We think, of course, that Mr. Trudeau is as entirely unsuitable as a Leader, and hence it would provide us with considerable Entertainment should he engage in a Battle for that Position.
We admit that our Opinion is based partly on Prejudice: we are suspicious of Brand Names which seem to command a Premium in the Market Place. We always feel that a lesser known Product may provide equivalent Quality at a lower Price. In this particular Case, the Brand Name was never our favourite: Philosopher Kings who hobnob with Marxist Dictators suggest certain worrying Kurtzian Deficiencies.
As to Evidence – we can recall only three Things about Mr. Trudeau.
Mr. Trudeau, quite surprisingly, won a recent Boxing Match for charitable Purposes.
Mr. Trudeau criticized the use of the term "barbaric" when used to describe honour killings. He is quoted as saying "You could say that it’s absolutely unacceptable as a phrase." He suggested that the use of the Term might have the Effect of making Newcomers "defensive."
|We take this as a regrettable Example of Left Wing
Jerky Knee Syndrome. (LWJKS) Reality, on the Left, is universally to be
avoided in Favour of Euphemism. What is Barbarity, after all but some
minor Deficiency in Civility? And those whose Acts could be termed
"evil" are simply "benevolently challenged." We have often remarked that
those on the Left think that there is no Problem that cannot be solved –
since Barbarity and Evil do not exist – over a couple of Beers on a
The last thing that we remember is that Mr. Trudeau referred to himself in the third Person.
In expressing his Antipathy the Harperization of Canada, and a potential Sympathy with Quebec Separatists, Mr. Trudeau said: "But will Justin Trudeau fight with his very last breath to make sure that this Canada stays the Canada that we collectively know it can be?
Now, those who refer to themselves in the third Person suggest that they are Entities beyond the mere personal – they are iconic or symbolic. Those who consider themselves Iconic, would be advised to keep that Opinion to themselves, lest they be confronted with humbling contrary Evidence, or be thought injudiciously megalomaniacal.
Mr. Ivison, in his column, notes that "leadership does not flow
naturally from people who say ‘I’..." He suggests that Leaders, who must
necessarily be Leaders of Teams, are more likely to use the Term "we."
It is our Apprehension that Modesty becomes Mr. Trudeau; like Mr. Atlee,
he "has much to be modest about."*
*Churchill referring to Clement Atlee: A modest man, who has much to be modest about.
P.S.: Mr. Trudeau has been spotted on Limerick Lane: March 20, 2011 & June 6, 2012.
|June 3, 2012
We are intrigued to see that a Teacher of Physics at Ross Sheppard High School, Lynden Dorval, has been suspended indefinitely for having the Temerity to award the Mark of "Zero" for Work not done. (Joe O'Connor, National Post, June 2, 2012)
What can this Man be thinking of?
The Principal of his School has wisely established the Policy of not awarding Zeros. Upon what possible Basis can Mr. Dorval justify such open Defiance? If People begin to act upon their own personal Convictions of what is right and wrong, it is clear that Society will soon come to an ignominious End.
The Days of working to receive a Reward are clearly over. The Government will provide a safe and comfortable Living for all its Citizens, regardless of Merit. To do otherwise would be to breach the Equality Provisions of many current Laws, including, especially, Provisions of Human Rights Legislation.
|The Point is wisely made that lazy Students are often quite
intelligent; they should hardly be penalized by grading their
intellectual Achievements on the Basis of non-conformist Behaviour.
The Dark Ages of Conformity are, thankfully, well in the Past. We need to see a flowering of individual Initiatives, and lives lived to the Beats of a Myriad of different Drums.
Achievement, like Harmony, has been too long over-rated. It is often purchased at the Price of personal Effort, Self-Denial, and Discomfort. Cacophony and Self-Interest must, rightly, come to the fore.
We hope Mr. Dorval will not again be permitted to impose his retrograde and primitive Ideas on the nascent Nirvana represented by the Students at Ross Sheppard High School in Edmonton.
|June 1, 2012
We see that the United Nations is in the News. It appears from a congressional Hearing in the United States, that there is strong Opposition to placing the Internet under the Jurisdiction of the U.N.
We are greatly troubled by this Development; surely the United Nations has proven itself beyond any Measure of Doubt to be the most consistent, reliable, trustworthy, and wise Institution in the entire Milky Way. It would seem ungrateful and niggardly to do Anything which might slow its Path to complete World Domination and beneficial Control. Perhaps the Occupy Movement can be counted on to Voice its strident Opposition to this short-sighted and retrograde Approach.
|Nor is the United States the only Country to
display poor Judgement. It has also been announced that Canada is
walking out in a Huff from the United Nations World Tourism Office over
the Appointment of Robert Mugabe as an International Tourism Ambassador.
Mr. Mugabe is known internationally for his friendly Demeanour,
charitable Works, and judicious Management of the thriving Country of
Zimbabwe. Canada’s Huffiness would seem to be considerably misplaced.
Again, perhaps the Montreal student Radicals can be counted on to make Protest of this needlessly draconian Withdrawal.
As a result of yesterday’s Musings on the Position of the Catholic Church with regard to Sex, a Matter of which Church Officials have detailed, comprehensive, and expert Knowledge, we have made a brief Excursion to consider the rôle of convenient Fictions in our Lives. This may be found in the Drivel Section.
|May 31, 2012
We are intrigued by the Foufourah over the Matter of Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs in Ontario High Schools. The Province is determined to allow Clubs to be so named if the Students desire. The Catholic Schools are reluctant to permit such Naming, since their religious Teaching holds that homosexual Acts are sinful. In a wonderful Example of the Contortionist’s Art, the Church claims to be non-discriminatory because Homosexuals deserve "love and respect." (National Post, May 31.)
Essentially, the Position appears to be that a Homosexual deserves Love and Respect, but is so "intrinsically disordered" that he should be denied a Sex Life -- or at least a Sex Life with any Partner to whom he might be attracted. But this, of course, is not discriminatory; it is simply the Life of Tough Apples as determined by those who know best.
We have made the Point earlier, that Societies can and often do discriminate excessively against Individuals in their Midst. In the wonderful Days of Old, Young People were sacrificed to propitiate the Gods, Witches were burned at the Stake, and African Slaves were sold at Public Auction.
Our current secular Society is somewhat less enamoured of such Proceedings; it has also, by and large, decided that Sexual Orientation is not chosen, but varies on a fairly consistent Basis over Time. Hence making Life difficult for those with an Orientation to the same Sex is neither fair nor, ultimately, productive.
The Catholic Church, quite naturally, values Consistency. The Changing of one’s Mind – for a Religion – is likely to raise Doubts – niggling Suspicions likely to be less than smoothly conducive to the holy Enterprise.
|We might note that the Church’s
Position on sexual Matters seems designed for a World far different from
that which we actually occupy. It regards as sinful: Masturbation,
Fornication, Pornography, artificial Contraception, and Abortion;
doubtless this ensures a Rate of Sinfulness as close to 100% as
possible. We note that Sex is considered inappropriate for Priests: they
are not permitted to marry. As an aside -- although Polygamy was common
among the Clergy in the first Three Hundred Years of the Establishment
of the Church, there is an uneven
History of Celibacy until it became official Doctrine in 1563. One of
the Motivations of the Church in enforcing it during a backsliding era
around 500 was to prevent Priests from leaving their Estates to their
Children -- instead of the Church.
Cardinal Michael Collins has recently been seen on Television lamenting the present Conflict, suggesting that both the Province and the Church have the same Aims, but should deal with the Matter of Discrimination in their own different Ways. According to the National Post, Cardinal Collins was asked how he would "defend Church teachings on homophobia. He said it was too complicated an issue to discuss for a news story."
Alas, we are too dull-witted to comprehend the Complexities. It is better that they remain a Part of the Contortionist’s secret and mysterious Art.
It is our Policy not to use, in these Musings, Language which is too arcane and technical for the average Reader. However, this is one of the few Occasions that we feel forced to ignore this self-imposed Restriction. We have only one Term which adequately describes the Church’s Position: the Church is BONKERS on this Matter. Yes, that is correct: B-O-N-K-E-R-S. (We considered "intrinsically disordered," but decided only "bonkers" was sufficiently erudite and precise.)
|May 30, 2012
We have returned from an extended Stay at Wind-in-the-Pines, where we had some exciting Adventures with our Chain Saw.
We consider ourselves to have some Expertise in the Matter of Felling Trees, having downed a considerable Number many years ago at our Property near Port Carling. We naturally assumed that, during the intervening Years, our Skills had been sharpened and upgraded by our Subconscious Mind, in much the same Way it is reputed to work on Problems which the conscious Mind has deliberately put aside for the Nonce.
The Task in Question was a small Pine Tree near the main Steps, which had had the Temerity to grow to a medium Size while we were not looking. It had begun to provide excessive Shade, but, more importantly, had begun to divest itself of Droplets of Sap which landed on our newly stained Deck.
It had to go.
The previous Year, the Chain Saw had refused to start. This Year, we had a quiet Talk with it. We explained the Temerity and Sap-Pooping Habits of the offending Tree. We engaged in magic Rituals. We removed and cleaned the spark Plug. We removed and cleaned the Air Filter. We circled the Saw three Times. We made a Special Incantation to the Great God Murphy.*
And lo, it started.
The offending Tree did have a rather intimidating Lean towards the Cottage. But we were confident that, properly notched, it would fall to its Reward in the opposite Direction.
Alas! Although it did not fall in the Direction of the Lean, it fell sufficiently wide of our intended Direction that the Top-most Part landed on the Deck Railing. No Damage was done, no doubt owing to the wonderfully sturdy Construction of the Railing, which we ourselves had put in Place just after the Cottage was erected.
However, the damage to our Ego has been considerable. Our subconscious Mind has evidently been less efficient than we had hoped. We have a much diminished Confidence in our Notching Abilities. We may, in the Future, assign the Task of felling Trees leaning towards the Cottage to those claiming professional Qualifications.
In another Matter, we note that The United Nations and Robert Mugabe, the newly minted International Tourism Ambassador, make an Appearance on Limerick Lane.
*We present this Information for the Benefit of those Few who may still doubt the Powers of Murphy.
|May 29, 2012
The Unseen, the Unknown, and the Imaginary, by some perverse Element in the human Psyche, have Power to cause disproportionate Harm and Disruption. There is no greater Certainty of Conviction than about Matters for which there is no reliable Evidence. It would seem reasonable to state that Things proclaimed without Evidence can be dismissed without Evidence.
But this is not the Case. That which is stated without Evidence, oddly, is exempt from reasonable Discourse, and pointing out that the Statement is without Foundation is dismissed not merely as irrelevant, but as Proof of the Evil of the Unbeliever.
We refer, of course, to the Matter of Alex Aan, a Civil Servant in Indonesia, who posted on his Facebook Page: God doesn’t exist. His Blasphemy was exposed by another Employee, and he now faces eleven Years in Jail. He has been beaten by other Inmates, and his Lawyers, who are themselves at Risk for defending him, have as best Hope a Sentence of two or three Years.
Indonesia requires Monotheism, but allows only Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Hinduism. It appears that the Country is becoming increasingly fundamentalist, under the influence of Saudi Clerics. Such is the Nature of the human Animal, that arbitrary Edicts based on Ideas without Foundation become the Means for settling Scores, and triumphing over one’s Neighbour. The Propensity for Inquisitions and Witch Hunts seems to lurk not far beneath the Veneer of Civilization.
|George Orwell illustrated the Operation of the Reign of Terror
based on a Requirement of absolute Devotion and Loyalty to the
Party of Big Brother in his Novel 1984. The Canadian Human Rights
Commissions illustrate the same Tendency to oppress, not on Matters of
Law, but on Matters of Correctness, determined arbitrarily.
The Existence of "God" – in the Way he is usually conceived – as an all-powerful Entity intimately concerned with human Beings and the Conduct of their Society – seems, from the Evidence, to be at the very extreme Edge of Unlikeliness. If such an Entity should exist, he is a cruel, malicious, capricious Character indeed, more worthy of our Distrust than Praise.
But, as Alex Aan has said: "The truth is way too dangerous."
We note that the United Nations World Tourism Office has appointed Robert Mugabe, notable for his Campaigns of Murder and Intimidation, the Man responsible for the Decline of Zimbabwe to a State where 3,500 people die of AIDS each Week, as new International Tourism Ambassador.
God’s in His heaven -- All’s right with the World.*
* Robert Browning (1812-1889)
|May 27, 2012
It is Sunday, and we feel the need to confess.
We have prayed to the Great God Murphy for assistance in our Tribulation, but He is evidently preoccupied with other Matters; our Prayers seem to have foundered in the Vastness of Everything; our troubled Spirit remains unsoothed.
We refer, of course, to a thoroughly reprehensible Stirring of unholy Glee at the News that the Pope’s Butler has been arrested. This Emotion appears to be in that very same Category of Unseemliness as the Impulse to say "We told you so."
It appears that the Butler, Paolo Gabriele has been found in Possession of certain Papers, the Contents of which have been "leaked." The documents pertain to "the Church’s tax problems, the funding of Catholic bodies, sex scandals and negotiations with hardline traditional rebels." (Herald Sun, May 27) Some Documents allege "cronyism and corruption in Vatican contracts with Italian companies." (Reuters, May 27)
|It is suspected that the recently dismissed President of the
Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi might be involved in the Leaks.
There is also Speculation that a Struggle for Power among Friends and
Enemies of the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is
A Church Historian, Alberto Melloni, has written: "This is a strategy of tension, an orgy of vendettas and pre-emptive vendettas that has now spun out of control of those who thought they could orchestrate it."
In other Words, it is shown that the Church is less magnificent than Machiavellian, less great than grubby, and less holy than humbuggerish. Just as we have always suspected.
Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini has said the scandal should prompt the Church "to urgently win back the trust of the faithful." (Reuters)
We do not think that there is much to worry about. Any Institution that has survived the Inquisition, the Refutation of the Claim that the Earth goes around the Sun, and the widely reported Sex Scandals of recent Times, is Proof that the Faithful, whose Credulity exceeds their Intelligence by a wide Margin, are scarcely at Risk. In the Balance against the Need to believe, what, after all, are a few Episodes of Intrigue, Vendetta, and Skullduggery?
|May 24, 2012
Cui bono? ( L. Cassius Longinus Ravilla, 2nd Cent B.C.) (Weekly Quotation December 7, 2011)
The sad Truth about human Nature.
We are well aware that using the Phrase "We told you so" is akin to ordering and devouring with indelicate Eagerness, a rich chocolate Cake with commensurately gooey Icing. It is rather low class, deplorable, and impolite. But the Reward overcomes the Caution of Restraint.
We feel impelled to take this Occasion to say we told you so -- to review some of the Support for our skeptical Stance on Global Warming.
Last Evening we did watch Mr. Levant on The Source, who was broadcasting from Chicago, where the Seventh International Conference on Climate Change is being held. No, this is not sponsored by the Fount of all Wisdom, the United Nations, and hence is not bound by the Dogma of Climate Wisdom, or the Commandments brought down from the Mount of World Domination.
Indeed, we gathered that in the Matter of Science, Global Warming, has all the Legitimacy of the Theory that the Earth is circled by the Sun, or the Notion that Travelling too far in any Direction will lead to a Dropping off at the Edge.
Among others at the Conference, Mr. Levant interviewed two of the 49 former NASA Scientists who accused the U.S. space agency of sullying its reputation by making unsubstantiated claims about climate change. (National Post, April 12, 2012)
The other Day, we noted that the Gaia Theorist, James Lovelock has recanted his alarmist Position, admitting: "the problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing."
Recent Work by Scientists has concluded that the Magnetic Field of the Sun is the Chief Influence on the Climate of the Earth. Indeed, they predict a Period of imminent Cooling. (National Post March 7, 2012.)
Gradually, Scientists are beginning to speak out against the Popular View. The Wall Street Journal published a recent (January 27) Letter from sixteen Climate Scientists which states:
a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.
David Suzuki, the medium-sized apocalyptic Wizard, has resigned as Chairman of his Foundation in an Attempt to deflect the Application of the Law which forbids political Activity on the part of Charitable Foundations.
When one adds the Failure of alarmist Predictions, the Skullduggery used by the Alarmists to stifle Dissent, and the evident Motivation of Alarmists to further an Agenda against industrial Civilization (See Diary, May 22, 2012), it is a Wonder that there are any Believers left.
But false Beliefs have a remarkable Resiliency. We would note the Persistence of the Cholesterol Theory of heart Disease successfully promoted by Pharmaceutical Companies who produce statin Drugs, and, of course, the Grandfather of all such Beliefs, Religion. We have, on Occasion, lamented the Inefficiency of the Manufacturer’s Original Equipment Version of the Bullshit Detector, and have called for superior after-market Versions to be installed.
But we have come to believe that this is not the only Cause of false Beliefs. The human Being comes equipped with remarkably large and stunningly efficient Bullshit Receptors. It is these marvellous Devices which allow those with Agendas – both personal and philosophical – to broadcast Bullshit to gain both Credence and avid Followers. And that is the sad Truth about human Nature.
|May 22, 2012
We seem to have been Victim of a Rip Van Winkle Interlude. We have been vaguely aware of Meetings and Conferences concerning the grave Threat to our Planet from Climate Change. But we were astounded to learn just recently of the Existence of Agenda 21 – a most wonderful Scheme from the United Nations which bids fair to bring us to Nirvana with a Minimum of Delay.
Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human [sic] impacts on the environment. (From the U.N. Agenda 21 Website. Pity they could not have written Something that makes Sense.)
We understand that 179 Nations were original Signatories to the Agenda, and there is a Directive to have all Levels of local Government and community Groups become enthusiastically involved.
This wonderful Plan was conceived 1992, at the "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janiero and appears to have as its stated Aim the Saving of the Planet, entailing –so far as we can gather -- the Destruction of the industrialized World, the Reorganization of Nations, and the altering of human Nature. We have had these very Notions at the Top of our Mind, lo, these many Years, and are pleased to see the United Nations has put the full Force of its estimable Reputation behind them.
We are also pleased to learn that the Club of Rome, which had expressed early Misgivings about the Direction of Humanity in The Limits to Growth in 1972, has energetically leaped onto the Symphonic Vehicle with a modest Trumpeting in The First Global Revolution published in 1993. In this Composition, it was noted that "divided nations require common enemies to unite them–either a real one or one invented for that purpose." In a masterful Stroke of Genius, the Club conceived of just such a common Enemy:
"The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. ...The real enemy then is humanity itself. Democracy is no longer well suited for the tasks ahead." —From the Club of Rome’s "The First Global Revolution" p. 71,75 1993
We would remiss if we did not note that Maurice Strong, who was Secretary-General of the Rio Conference is a considerable Engine in the whole Affair. He has posed the perceptive Questions:
Isn’t the only hope for this planet that the industrial civilization collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?
|Indeed, we have felt just such an earnest Hope
stirring in our own benign and magnanimous Breast. Collapses are, by all
Account, most thrilling, and the Prospect of an entire industrial
Civilization crashing down in a Cloud of Dust, with much clanging of
metal Parts, and the joyful Sound of the Breakage of Glass, brings us to
a Height of anticipatory Titillation.
We are fortunate to have been given some Insight into the Replacement for industrial Civilization which Mr. Strong has in Mind. The following is excerpted from the Website The Green Agenda:
Maurice Strong, Club of Rome member, devout Bahai, founder and first Secretary General of UNEP, has been the driving force behind the birth and imposition of Agenda 21. While he chaired the Earth Summit, outside his wife Hanne and 300 followers called the Wisdom-Keepers, continuously beat drums, chanted prayers to Gaia, and trended sacred flames in order to "establish and hold the energy field" for the duration of the summit. You can view actual footage of these ceremonies on YouTube. During the opening speech Maurice Strong made the following statements:
"The concept of national sovereignty has been an immutable, indeed sacred, principle of international relations. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental cooperation. It is simply not feasible for sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual nation states, however powerful. The global community must be assured of environmental security."
We can scarcely restrain our Enthusiasm for the final Flowering of World Government conducted by the United Nations, hopefully with the powerful Influence of Mr. Strong clearly evident. We have already purchased a Set of Drums, and are making discreet Enquiries into the availability of Sacred Flames.
We have also requested certain scientific Information from leading Universities in order to determine which Energy Fields might be most suitable to be established and held. We suspect that additional important Knowledge – the Gaia Prayer Chants come to Mind -- may be divined from the Entrails of the Manufacturers of Cuckoo Clocks.
Mr. Strong makes an Appearance on Limerick Lane.
|May 20, 2012
Summer has arrived at Wind-in-the-Pines. Yesterday, we did start up the Chain Saw to mark the Event, and cut up some dead and fallen Trunks and Branches, in a furthering of our Attempts to give an Air of careful Tidiness and devoted Tendedness to the Grounds. Nature herself is somewhat untidy: Trees fall, Limbs impinge on other Growth, Trunks are split and hollowed, and Nature, frankly, does not give a Damn. Things fall and rot where they may; Nature picks up after herself only during long periods in which the "smokeless burning of decay"* has Time to take effect.
It is left to human Beings with limited Life-Spans and a hurry up Mentality to bring some Measure of Order to the Chaos.
We were also made aware of a splashing in the Water at a Cottage nearby, and assumed that Rover had made his first Foray into the Lake – for it is usually a Dog who is unaware of swimming Protocol, fails to consult the Calendar, and plunges in. Dogs also pretend to a Hardiness in such Matters, an Insouciance au froid which is doubtless part of their Brand Awareness Strategy.
After some Amount of Cutting and Hauling, we reached typically summer Temperature – Swimming Degree Centigrade – and hit upon an ingenious Scheme to insert a tiny Barb of Skepticism into the Canine Advertising Campaign. We consigned the Calendar to the Bin of burnable Bunk – that very same Repository which holds our Copy of The Suzuki Manual of Climate Armageddon, and, barking, took to the Water.
|We are pleased to announce that, despite recent cold Nights, the
Water was entirely bearable. It was by no means summer-like, and the
Depths were decidedly cool – but the Surface, warmed in the Sun, was
quite satisfactory, and the whole Experience wonderfully Bracing.
We had intended, today, to remark on our Discovery of a wonderful Blueprint for the Brave New World which the United Nations, that Source of all Wisdom, has seen fit to vouchsafe to the eager, waiting World. It is called Agenda 21. This Agenda promises the Nirvana we have sought, lo these many Years.
But we have already written overmuch on the Trivia of yesterday; the Weather is, once again, admirably beneficent; the Chain Saw beckons.
We will have to take up the Topick tomorrow.
*Robert Frost, The Woodpile.
|May 19, 2012
On the Perceptiveness of John Maynard Keynes
We are at Wind-in-the-Pines where we have discovered that our Neighbour, Boris, has sold his Cottage for a goodly Sum. Indeed, it is a Sum more goodly than we would have expected. It has been recently built, but with only two Bedrooms and one Bath. Wind-in-the-Pines, on the other hand, is at the age of Majority, and was on the Cusp of being able to vote the last Federal Elections. But it is considerably larger, with three Bedrooms, three living Areas, and two and a half Baths.
We do confess that it has a great Disadvantage: it has multiple Decks and is sided in Cedar; the Requirements for Maintenance never cease; it is a Labour Pit.
Hence, we are not sure how much of a Premium we could obtain over our Neighbour’s goodly Sum. We note with some Alarm that there are more Cottages on the Lake for Sale than ever before, and some of them have been sitting, overpriced, for long Periods of Time.
None of this would be of great Consideration, except for the Fact that our Stock Holdings have sunk to Lows which are unfathomable. It would appear that it has been decided that Gold will be replaced with Sea Shells in the Jewellery Trade, and that Fiat Currencies, printed in ever-increasing Quantities, are all that is required as a Store of Value. This is the Wisdom of the Market.
|We note that Keegan Resources, which we bought around $7.00, and
sold shortly after its initial Collapse from $9.00 to $5.50 was seen to
touch $2.38 -- less, we understand, than the Cash per Share on Hand.
We will not depress ourselves with a List of other Examples. Logic suggests that the Market is in a particularly irrational Mood, and that Gold Stocks are oversold. But we are mindful of the remark of John Maynard Keynes:
The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.
Our hope still remains with Dynacor. At about 62 cents, it is selling about six times Earnings. The Results of the first Quarter suggest Earnings this year will be Twenty Cents per Share; if the low Multiple is maintained, then the Price should double. Beyond that, the Company plans to double its milling Capacity, and explore the Skarn and known gold Veins on the Tumipampa Property, all funded from cash Flow. In a rational Market, the Price would be higher.
But we suspect Mr. Keynes is right. We plan to engage in certain cosmetic Endeavours at Wind-in-the-Pines. The Goodly Sum from a Sale may be our only Route to Solvency.
|May 17, 2012
We are pleased to see that Olivier De Schutter has been sent by the United Nations Human Rights Council to rescue us from the wretched Starvation and poor Choices in Diet which abound in our otherwise favoured Land.
We are especially pleased that Mr. De Schutter has seen fit to visit us with his wonderful Advice, Suggestions, and veiled Threats, rather than concentrating on other Lands no doubt more advanced than our own, such as Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Eritrea.
Mr. De Schutter is to be commended for having a wonderful bureaucratic Perception of our Deficiencies, and some ready Recommendations for Government Interference and beneficial Manipulation of the present free Market System. The Government is so indisputably adept at organizing all Manner of Commerce and entrepreneurial Activities, that it is a Wonder that it has been allowed thus far to stand by, permitting incompetent Citizens to grow, import, process, and market their own Food. It is high Time that this reprehensible Neglect be brought to an End.
|Mr. De Schutter recommends increasing "social
assistance and minimum wage in line with the cost of living. Taxes would
be imposed on fatty foods and soft drinks; land zone policy would be
amended to bring fresh food outlets to ‘food deserts;’ food
subsidization programs for remote regions should be enriched, as should
support for First Nations trying to access ‘traditional foods.’" (John
Ivison, National Post. May 17)
We think Mr. De Schutter’s visit has come not a moment too soon; we hope Government Response will be swift. With some Bit of Good Fortune, we may see the Matter of Food Distribution brought to the same high Level of Efficiency as that evidenced by our Health Care System.
(Mr. De Schutter has been observed on Limerick Lane.)
|May 16, 2012
We note with Satisfaction that Norway has decided to stop having an official Religion. The State will permanently separate from the Church. Hmpf. Surely it is about Time. The State has no place in the Bedrooms or the Churches of the Nation.
In a related Matter, we see that a Survey by the University of Chicago has shown that Belief in God is higher among those of advanced Age. We could have predicted this Outcome, since Death is a powerful Motivator for a Belief in an Eleventh Hour Rescue. However, we suppose we should be grateful to the University for confirming our Common Sense Suspicions.
We might add that our recent Creation of the Great God Murphy (See Drivel, March 20, 2011) does not appear related to this Phenomenon; Murphy, for all his Power, Wisdom, and Expertise in Public Relations, has refrained from making rash Promises of any kind. Perhaps we should drop a few Hints.
The most significant News of the Day, however, appears to be the troubling Appearance of a most Distressing Medical Condition: Shaken Teacher Syndrome.
|From an Article by Graeme Hamilton
in this Day’s National Post, it appears that Teachers at College Lionel-Groulx
have been traumatized by the Actions of Riot Police who cleared the
Blockade of their Institution by Protesters in order to allow Students
to enter. They had been quite comfortable with the Blockade itself, and
regarded with Equanimity the Refusal of the Protesters to leave when
asked by the Director-General of the School.
Yves Marcotte, the Director of Communications at the School confirmed that this Enforcement of the Law had put in Jeopardy "a calm climate and a good quality of teaching." Indeed, "the teachers were not really available to offer courses because they said they were shaken."
This Vulnerability, this Susceptibility of Teachers to Wooziness and Imbalance is a most serious Circumstance. We think it a Matter of the utmost Urgency that they be stabilized without Delay. Powerful Emetics should be administered to expel the Poison of Idiocy; Enemas to flush out the Sludge of Socialist Dreams gone sour. Or perhaps they just need a good Shake.
|May 15, 2012
Last Evening -- from the first Item on CTV News -- we learned that the Psychiatrist for Vince Li has applied for Permission for Mr. Li to take escorted Trips into the City of Selkirk, Manitoba. Mr. Li was found not criminally responsible for the beheading and dismemberment of Tim Mclean on July 30, 2008. In an Interview, Chris Summerville, of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada expressed the Sentiment that he was not concerned at all about Mr Li, and he would have no Qualms about asking Mr. Li to Supper.
According to his Doctor, Steven Kremer, Mr. Li now "understands that he has Schizophrenia," and "has responded well to his treatment." (National Post, May 15, 2012)
This News follows in a Pattern which we predicted on June 3, 2011. (See below.)
We are suspicious of Quick Fixes for Brain Repair. We have no Doubt Mr. Li is a Wonderful Fellow when supervised and on Medication. But considering the horrific Nature of his Crime, we think that no Chances should ever be taken that he be pronounced "cured" and allowed to mingle unescorted with the general Population. Suppose, for Example, his Understanding should become less robust than it is at present, or he should forget to take the prescribed Medication.
From June 3, 2011:
|We are intrigued, and vaguely troubled to see
a Report in the May 31 Edition of the National Post, that Vince Li is
"making ‘rapid progress’ with his mental illness." Mr. Li was found not
criminally responsible for the Beheading and Dismemberment of Tim McLean
while both were Passengers on a Greyhound Bus.
According to Dr. Steven Kremer, Li "deserves expanded privileges at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre, including a reduced level of supervision while on escorted passes within the facility."
While we may express our conventional Wishes for a speedy Recovery for Mr. Li, we also wonder why we are being informed of his Progress.
We have the uneasy Feeling that Mr. Li is being regarded by the medical Profession as a somewhat challenging Problem of Engine Repair, which sees the Correction of faulty Brain Circuitry akin to the Replacement of an erring Microchip.
We fear that it is only natural that one charged with such a Project look forward to some halcyon Day which will produce the following News Item:
Vince Li now Cured.
Dr. Ima Success, of the Selkirk Mental Health Centre, announced today that Mr. Vince Li is now cured. "As long as he’s on his meds, Mr. Li is fine," said Dr. Success. "We look forward to the successful Completion of his upcoming Cross-Country Tour, courtesy of Greyhound Bus Lines."
Our Fears may well be unfounded, but we are not sure that Hubris has been yet expelled from the human Psyche.
|May 14, 2012
This Week past, the National Post asked Readers the Question: "Does Quebec have a future in Canada?"– and today published the Results.
We have to confess we have grown weary of the constant Whining and Bullying by the Province that is Special. We think of Quebec as a spoiled Teenager living in the comfortable House of his Parents in a superior Neighbourhood, always complaining about the Food and deploring the Tardiness of the Laundry Service.
The Situation persists because, besides being an accomplished Whiner, the Layabout threatens to leave the House, taking with him the Main Staircase and the two largest Bedrooms.
Throughout the Charade, the wretched Boy insists on Special Status and frequent Genuflections by other Members of the Household. He does not realize that true Respect is gained not by Tantrums, but through Accomplishment and Actions which elicit Admiration – an Admiration not coerced, but freely given.
We might note that this is a Syndrome shared by some Elements of Islam, which seeks Respect not through good Works and lofty Ideals, but through Riots and Intimidation.
|One of the Respondents to the
Question posed by the Post notes that Quebec differs from the
rest of Canada not only in language, but in Culture, in that "Big
Brother socialism" is firmly entrenched. We note the Success of the NDP
in the recent Federal Elections.
The Province is notorious for Union Power and Corruption. The Riots by Students in order to maintain their exceptionally low Fees for Tuition are wonderfully symbolic of the Me First Attitude of the Province as a Whole. (See Diary, April 21, 2012)
In short, we would not be unhappy to see Quebec sail off into its own special Brand of Socialist Sunset, provided that an adequate Transportation Corridor be Provided for Canada, and Provision made for the Secession of those Parts of the New Quebec who grow weary of marinating in the Culture of self-satisfied Self-Absorption, or become alarmed at the Austerity of the new Reality of Life without Handouts.
We note that the Preponderance of Respondents to the Question posed by the National Post think that Quebec should go.
|May 13, 2012
We do not know, but we suspect that in the brave New World of Education there is no Place for the Dreariness of Memorization. We imagine the Argument to be this: wonderful, growing, creative Minds should be employed in thinking wonderful creative and original Thoughts, rather than committing to Memory the Thoughts of Others who had the Misfortune to be born before the Age of the Computer, the Kindle, and the Smart Phone.
As a registered and Card-Carrying Curmudgeon, our Argument would be that the Computer has changed many things, but not the Nature of Human Nature. Indeed, people who lived before the Age of Television, or even of Electricity, have reflected on the Conditions of Human Existence in a Manner which cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the present Age.
We confess to having retained very little of what we once committed to Memory – but are quite grateful for the odd short poem and many fragments which remain. There is something satisfying at having at one’s Finger-tips, an apt or impressive Turn of Phrase. As Alexander Pope said:
True wit is nature to advantage dress’d
|We see no Disadvantage to retaining the
Thoughts of others expressed with greater Felicity than we might manage
ourselves on short Notice: these become familiar Touchstones – eternal
Verities – or solid Bedrock if you will – to which one’s own thought is
anchored, and which can be relied on in stormy weather. Robert Frost
said Poetry was "a momentary stay against confusion."
Poetry, of course, has a great Advantage when it uses rhyme or other Repetitions of Sound which make it more easily remembered, and sound can be a great persuader: a "rightness" of Sound suggests a Correctness of Sentiment.
We realize we have undertaken too large a Topick for these brief Entries. Indeed, our Purpose is not to write an Essay, but to justify a Passage from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales which we are including as a weekly Quotation. Chaucer lived from 1343 -1400. What a very long Time ago! But is there not a Similarity of Impulse between a Pilgrimage in the Thirteen Hundreds and opening the Cottage on a Long Weekend in May today?
We include the Middle English Version and a Translation. Drawing upon our Memory of the suggested Pronunciation, we have also included a Reading.
We still live in an "old chaos of the sun,"* and Chaucer’s Description of the Coming of Spring, and the human Response to it, is not out-of-date; it has a Validity, even in the Age of the Computer. We are glad that we still have it – for the most part – in our Memory Bank.
*Wallace Stevens, Sunday Morning
|May 12, 2012
Last Evening, as is our annual Custom, to the Pelham Art Festival in Fonthill. This Exhibit includes Painting, Jewellery, Pottery, and Carving.
On most Visits, we make some small Purchase, arguing that it is a near Necessity in order to validate the hour-long Journey, and the Expense of the inordinate amount of Fuel demanded by the Geezermobile Eight in order to convey us in quaintly old-fashioned Style-- but with undeniable Comfort – to the Festival Arena.
In fact of course, we have suffered, from a very young Age, from the terrible Ravages of Collectivitis, aggravated by an underlying Susceptibility to the debilitating Ka-Ching! Syndrome. This insidious Combination of Maladies leads to Purchasing Abnormalities, Clutter, Poverty, and Depression.
Both the Lumpenbangen Studios and Wind-in-the-Pines have been assessed by competent medical Specialists and pronounced Replete, with Prescriptions for heavy Doses of Dispersal and Disengagement. In Addition, the current State of the Stock Market, which has reduced the Value of our Holdings by Two-thirds, suggests that Purchases of Art could be considered a Symptom of Dementia Incredibilis.
Thus, we embarked on our Journey last Evening with the firm Conviction that it was merely a symbolic Ritual, a final Farewell to Collectivitis.
|It is true, that before leaving,
we did slip a few extra Bills into our Wallet. What if, we imagined, the
Geezermobile should break down, the CAA inform us that our Membership
had expired, and we were forced to engage a Tow Truck? The Tow-Truck
Driver might well be irritable, out-of-sorts, and unfamiliar with Credit
Cards. Or suppose our Cell Phone should malfunction, and we were forced
to bribe a Passer-by or Motorist to call for Assistance? One never
knows, when undertaking an hour-long Journey to Fonthill what monetary
Demands might be made, and what Situations might arise where a Credit
Card would not be accepted. They are probably legion.
Well, it’s really a quite wonderful Bowl, carved from the Wood of the rare and exotic Chatke-Kok Tree which grows only in the virtually impenetrable Rainforests of Borneo. It is transported to Civilization only once every two Years through Piranha-infested Waters by the Ka-Ching! Tribe of pygmy Head-Hunters. It is beautifully inlaid with Yew Wood. It was purchased at a Discount from the Artist’s Regular Price. It has successfully been smuggled into the Lumpenbangen Studios. No one knows of its Existence.
|May 11, 2012
The Problem of Idealism
We feel that it may appear that we show an unhealthy Fascination with the Topick of Religion. Today, for Example we find ourselves tempted to speak of the Reception of Irshad Manji in Indonesia (unfriendly) or the Curriculum at the East End Madrassah in Toronto (bizarre).
But when we decide, instead, to comment on something Else --the Support of President Obama for Gay Marriage, we find that this, too, is a religious Topick.
When the Announcement was made, it was not surprising to see the Program Byline, which often seems to be broadcast directly from the Vatican, clucking furiously over a Retrograde Decision. The Clouds would bellow their Thunder, the Skies would be rent by Lightning. Thank God for the Average American, who, when given the Choice, usually rejects Perversity for the warm Blanket of Tradition.
Mr. Obama, of course, claims to be a Christian, and Christians traditionally oppose Homosexuality, although in later Years there has been an attempt to soften the Position with the Notion that only the "Sin" is opposed, but not the "Sinner."
Once one can clear the Mind of religious Cant, some things become clear:
1. Nothing about human Society is proclaimed by a Giant in the Sky.
3. Since Homosexuality is found in other animal Species, and since Studies of the Brain show Differences according to Sexual Orientation, it must be considered a "natural" variant, not a "chosen" Path.
|2. Any human Society may decide, if it wishes, to
make annual human Sacrifice to the Great God Mumbo-Jumbo,
imprison Homosexuals, banish the Left-handed or enslave all those with
Blue Eyes. The Wisdom of such Policies will eventually be judged by
practical Outcomes, by Notions of Equity, and Concepts of the Ideal
Society which attempt to provide "the greatest happiness of the greatest
3.When one considers the Contributions to Society of Homosexuals (see list of some famous ones below), it would appear that equitable Treatment is both practical and reasonable.
The overarching Problem, the Problem of which Religion is a primary Exemplar is that of Idealism. It is a Knife which cuts in Two Directions.
Religions are often based on ideal Notions – Life is perfectible -- if only the perfect God’s perfect Laws are obeyed. In the Afterlife will be found an endless Time of Peace, Milk, and Honey. Homosexuality is seen, not as a natural Variant, but as an obvious Refutation of God’s Perfection; hence it must be rooted out and destroyed. This flawed Idealism is by no means confined to Religion. Those who think that People are inherently equal, and that Equality of Result must be engineered, no Matter what the Cost, are similarly Victims of an Untempered Idealism. Communism has its Roots in Idealism; the Fruit it bears is bitter. A noble Ideal like "free" universal medical Care is paid for in the Coin of Coercion, Inefficiency, and the Deadening of Initiative.
On the other Hand, of Course, Idealism is what leads us to better our Condition. It is the very Force which says that Society can be improved, and made more suitable for human Beings.
How then, to tell the Difference between a beneficial Ideal, and a destructive one? That, of course, is the considerable Question.
The List below (primarily of Males -- we added two famous lesbians) was obtained by googling: Famous Homosexuals
Leonardo da Vinci
John Maynard Keynes
W. Somerset Maugham
J. Edgar Hoover
Alexander the Great
|May 9, 2012
We are intrigued to learn of the strange Case of Cheryl Bormann. Ms. Borman is the Lawyer charged with defending Walid bin Attash, one of those accused in the Destruction of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in 2001. She appears in Court wearing the Hijab "out of respect" for the Religious Beliefs of her Client. (Daily Mail Online, May 6, 2012).
Ms Bormann has also insisted that other Women in Court dress "appropriately" with Respect to the Religion of her Client.
Engaging in a considerable Feat of mental Gymnastic, we can almost see the Threads of a twisted Logic in Ms. Bormann’s Stance. She is, after all, defending her Client, acceding to his Wishes, and adopting One of two Theories – either that he is innocent (he delivered Pizzas to Osama is all), and deserving of Respect – or that he is guilty but merely acted in Accordance with the Dictates of his Religion.
Her Wearing of the Hijab under the first Theory would suggest a needless and perhaps foolish Kowtowing to the religious Beliefs of her Client. Indeed, it would seem preferable to present her Client as a Secularist, or perhaps a Zoroastrian, who is untroubled by the western Dress of his legal Representative. (Of course, the Fact that all of the Defendants have decided to mock the Process suggests the true Nature of their Circumstance.)
Her wearing of the Hijab under the second Theory would suggest that she harbours treasonous Thoughts towards her Country. Certainly, her Insistence that others show Respect to the Religion of her Client suggests a less than unwavering Commitment to the Values of her Society.
Essentially, then, we must conclude that her Grasp of Reality is tenuous; she is playing a Part in a peculiar Drama of her own Construction.
|Speaking of the Power of Religious Belief in the Creation of
unreal Worlds, we must turn now to the equally strange Case of the Grove
Park Community School, an Elementary School in Toronto, not on the
Planet Suzuki, which is populated by Humanoid Leprechauns inhabiting
Caves, desperately cooling their Habitat by waving large Palm Fronds,
and praying to Al Gore.
This School is apparently devoted to Causes of the Left Wing:
The school’s philosophy and pedagogical approach includes sustainable development/ecology; equity, diversity and social justice; peace education and conflict resolution; outdoor education; democratic decision-making; arts-infused curriculum. (Grove Park website.)
At this School, Social Activism trumps Literacy and Numeracy; Indoctrination is better than Debate. We have little Doubt that this is the Key to the Nirvana just around the Corner. Some of the unfortunate Students at the School were recently observed conducting a March outside a Toronto Public Library concerning that Matter so dear to the Heart of every nine-year-old – the Northern Gateway Pipeline.
One Day, of course, these Students may encounter the real World. (We doubt that the unreal World they currently inhabit is capable of continuing Expansion.) At that Point, let us hope they become Activists for Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.
Grove Community School has made an appearance on Limerick Lane.
|May 8, 2012
We are intrigued to learn of further Developments in the Story of William Swinimer, who was suspended from his School for wearing a T-Shirt expressing the Sentiment that "Life is wasted without Jesus."
Redoubtable defenders of Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech – such as the usually sensible Ezra Levant – went into a Tizzy of apoplectic Outrage at the perceived Intolerance of the School.
Our Position was that there are Times and Places for the Expression of religious Belief or Lack thereof – Messages of any Kind on Shirts in High School are inappropriate because they are potentially divisive, and they reflect an Approach to the Expression of Opinion not generally countenanced in the Workplace, or in any serious Endeavour in Society.
We would liken it to the chewing of Gum. Chewing gum in private is one thing; chewing it while speaking to someone Else, or in most social Settings reflects an Attitude of Disdain and Absorption in the Self. It is bad Manners.
We should add that we see a Difference between a Discussion of Religion as an educational Matter in High Schools, and Proselytizing which assumes the Validity of one Point of View.
|We were dismayed when the School Board backed down, and agreed to
allow Mr. Swinimer to wear the inappropriate Garment.
We now learn (from an article by Brian DuBreuil on a CBC website) that there is a Proselytizing Background to this Affair. Other Students had complained that Mr. Swinimer was wont to insist to them that non-believers would go to Hell. Would this not be considered Bullying?
The School asked Mr. Swinimer to refrain from his strident Advocacy, but he refused. The School suspended Mr. Swinimer, and then recanted.
Subsequently, Mr. Swinimer’s father has withdrawn him from the School, complaining that Experts have been called in to speak to Students about expressing Beliefs in a Manner which respects the Beliefs of Others. The Swinimers apparently feel that their Vision is unassailable, and should be expressed at the Time, the Place, and the Manner of their Choosing.
And of course, this is the great Difficulty with Religion. It is based on no Evidence, but on Supposition, Speculation, and Tradition. This is not seen, as with other Matters, a Detriment, but rather an Argument for Primacy of Place. It is the perfect Vehicle for the Expression of an unassailable and arrogant Superiority, which no doubt accounts, in part, for its Attractiveness to many.
|May 7, 2012
Life is a comedy to those who think, and a tragedy to those who feel. (Horace Walpole 1717-1797)
We awoke this Morning with an Observation – no doubt through a magical Dispensation of the Great God Murphy:
Religion is just Superstition, but wearing a better Suit of Clothes.
This was almost immediately followed by a second:
"God" is Man’s Attempt to construct an Endpoint to Infinity.
As is our Wont, we immediately proceeded to record our Insights to the wonderful Website,
where are listed Thousands of atheistic Quotations, and where Readers are invited to add to the List.
We always find it refreshing to read some few of these Quotations. Some are made by the prominent and famous, such as Albert Einstein, Christopher Hitchens, or Thomas Jefferson. Others are of unknown Origin, or made by those unfamiliar to us.
We must confess that, after watching the Sun News Network, many of whose Commentators have Clarity of Vision in other Matters, but seem extraordinarily committed in the Matter of Religion, it is a Relief to return to the Sanity of Skepticism.
As Horace Walpole suggests, Religion may be a matter of Temperament. The Humourist views Life from afar, and perceives the Incongruities which lead to Laughter. We suspect that those of a humorous Turn of Mind are not likely to be religious – for Religion has too many Absurdities and Incongruities to escape those able to view it from a Height of Reason, rather than from a Proximity of emotional Need.
We have taken time to transcribe a Few of the most recently posted Quotations. Among others, we note the Appearance of Woody Allen, Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, and Voltaire, all of whom may be considered to have an essentially humourous Perspective.
|BERTRAND RUSSELL: So far as I can remember, there is not one word
in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.
UNKNOWN: God made me an atheist. Who are you to question his wisdom?
WOODY ALLEN: Existence for eternity could get a little boring...especially towards the end.
If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse.
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW: The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.
DOUG McLEOD: I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence.
DELOS B. McKOWN: The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.
BUMPER STICKER: You keep believing, I’ll keep evolving.
UNKNOWN: People who don’t like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn’t have such funny beliefs.
ONE OF MURPHY’S LAWS: A man without religion is like a fish without a bicycle.
VOLTAIRE: God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.
ROBERT M. PRICE: Who needs Satan when you have a God like this?
UNKNOWN: The Bible has fingerprints all over it. And none of them are [sic] God-sized.
RUSSIAN PROVERB: Pray to God, but keep rowing to shore.
MARK TWAIN: Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.
H.L. MENCKEN: Religion is so absurd that it comes close to imbecility.
BUMPER STICKER: Darwin loves you.
THOMAS EDISON: I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious ideas of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or a personal God. So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is all a damned fake...Religion is all bunk.
|May 6, 2012
thyself, presume not God to scan,
We have spent our last two Entries upon the heavy topick of Religion, which would be an entirely risible Matter, did not so many take it so seriously.
We suspect it will be ever thus; Mr. Pope’s Admonition will never be paid heed. Man can never be content with what is, with the Notion that all that lives must die, /Passing through nature to eternity.* Instead, he must find eternal Life through the Auspices of some kindly Creator, and build great Religions and Sects upon differing Suppositions and Speculations about Things Unknown.
Thus, we have turned instead, today, to the composing of three Limericks deriving from an Article by Robert Fulford on Edvard Munch, whose cheerful Painting The Scream sold recently for nearly One Hundred and Twenty Million Dollars.
Please consult Limerick Lane.
*Hamlet Act I, Scene ii
|May 5, 2012
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..
(Ecclesiastes, 3: 1.)
We are indeed shocked, after expressing our Opinion yesterday that Mr. Swinimer should not wear a Shirt with a religious Message at his High School, to learn that the School, which had banned the Shirt, has backed down. (National Post, May 5, 2012)
This is not, in our View, a Matter of "Freedom of Expression" or "Freedom of Religion" as Mr. Levant proclaimed on his program The Source last Evening. Freedoms can hardly be understood except in the Light of their complementary Limitations. While Mr. Swinimer is free to practice his Religion, and speak in Favour of it, there are Times and Places where his Expression and Practice might be reasonably curtailed.
While Nudity is acceptable in private, it is discouraged and limited by Law in public. Were Mr. Swinimer to break into a rousing Version of "Onward Christian Soldiers" during a Funeral Oration, or even during a public Lecture at the University of Toronto on Quantum Mechanics, it would hardly be considered appropriate, and it would not seem unreasonable should he be removed.
The wearing of proselytizing Shirts, while acceptable in Kensington Market on a Saturday Morning might find little Approval in the Workplace. Indeed, we can scarcely think of an area of Employment where such Attire would be countenanced.
|Apologists for Mr. Swinimer have
pointed out that other Shirts – such as one bearing the Message, Hail
Satan are allowed at the School. This is arguing that one Stupidity
justifies another. There can be no Advantage to wearing Clothing bearing
any kind of Statement in an Educational Facility. As the present Case
reveals, once allowed, such Statements can become divisive and
offensive. They are also distracting. Do the Teachers at Mr. Swinimer’s
School really want to face a Sea of Proclamations with every Class? How
relevant are such Statements to the Tasks at hand?
In a Manner, this is a Question of Decorum. A Classroom is not a Free-for-all, a Devil-take-the-Hindmost. Nothing can be accomplished if Everyone speaks at once. Freedom without Decorum is Chaos. When it becomes the Custom in our Society to proclaim our Religious Belief, the Lack thereof, or a hundred other Slogans on our Shirts – at the Workplace, or in any other Arena of serious Endeavour, an Argument in Favour of Mr. Swinimer’s Shirt might be made.
The public Education System has, as its Responsibility, the preparing of Youth for the Society in which they must function and survive. We think the School Board does a grave Disservice to its Students when it suggests that Behaviour which would not be accepted in almost any Area of Employment, or in any sober Endeavour should be countenanced in the Schools, in the misguided Belief that it is supporting Freedom of Expression.
|May 4, 2012
We see the Pages of this Day’s National Post are replete with Religion. This does gladden our Heart, raise our Spirit, and fill us with irrational Gratitude to the Great God Murphy, to whom we pray each Day for Topicks for Consideration.
Since it is in the Nature of Man to complain no Matter what the Circumstance, we would add only that we would have preferred to have the various Articles spread out over a reasonable time, rather than being thrust upon us all at once. Eventually, it is our Aim to have the great God Murphy align his infinite Powers in greater Accord with our Circumstance.
The Front Page of our Paper depicts a Shirt bearing the Inscription:
The Shirt is one worn by William Swinimer, in Nova Scotia. The Vice-Principal at his School has suspended him for continuing to wear it despite the Edict that it is offensive. Mr. Swinimer claims Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion.
As a committed Follower of the Mystery, or the Great God Murphy, as we prefer to call him, our first Response is that such a Shirt is entirely acceptable as long as other Shirts are allowed:
AVOID A DISASTER:
WE’RE TOOTIN’ OUR FLUTE:
YOU’LL ESCAPE FROM YOUR FUNK
In fact, of course, we are doubtful that Shirts with a written Message of any Kind have a place in a High School Classroom. This would include:
GO, LEAFS, GO
I LOVE MY MOM
LIFE IS HARD
DEATH IS INEVITABLE
We admit to a Bias in this Matter: we taught High School for sixteen Years, and believe that there is much to be said for benevolent Dictatorships and the Suppression of divisive Distractions. We might – as that rare Combination of Dictator/Solomon – permit Labels by the Manufacturer. A small "Pierre Cardin" Designation – providing the Size of the Letters did not exceed our rigid Guidelines – might be acceptable.
Our general Proposition is that People should be free to practise the Religion of their Choice, no matter how foolish it may be. Religious proselytizing or religious Symbols have no place in Public Schools, Police Forces, or Government Offices. (We consider Christmas Decoration to be primarily cultural, not religious.)
William Swinimer should expand his wardrobe.
|May 3, 2012
’T is a common
Julius Caesar. Act ii. Sc. 1.
We are pleased to see the arrogant Environmentalists in Retreat. Some Concerns are legitimate: no one wishes to breathe Air with Pollutants; however, Predictions of Armageddon based on questionable Facts, faulty Models, and the Ambitions of those whose Habit of Mind is essentially bureaucratic and controlling, rather than creative and entrepreneurial, must be regarded with the deepest Suspicion. Indeed, we think Antipathy is an entirely reasonable Response.
Last Evening a Presentation was played on Byline, entitled If I wanted America to Fail.* This Video dramatically suggests that the Way to ensure the Failure of America is to make people feel guilty about using the Energy that fuels their Way of Life. Abundant forms of Energy should be virtually outlawed in favour of Wind Power and Wishes. School Children should be taught that the Factories and Vehicles of their Society will cause Ages of Ice, or Eras of Heat, depending on the Fashion of the Moment.
Free Markets and Prosperity should be demonized, and viable Industries should be crippled with Regulations.
The Message of the Presentation is that extreme Environmentalism is a perilous Path whose flickering Candles light the way, not to Salvation, but to dusty Death.
We think that Environmentalism is but one Facet of a more profound and widespread Phenomenon. We would like to classify it as the Trap of Mea Culpa, which leads to a regrettable Inability to distinguish Bathwater from Babies.
We are led to wonder whether Success contains within it, the Seeds of Failure. It is as if, once some reasonable Degree of Prosperity and Stability has been achieved, the human Animal, instead of feeling Gratitude and Pride in what has been achieved, instead of focussing on further incremental Improvements, is suddenly overcome with Guilt, and, measuring his State against some impossible Ideal, questions the very Basis of his Prosperity and sees Hope only in destroying the Means and Philosophy of his Ascent.
We first noticed this Phenomenon in the Sixties, when it became fashionable for Adults to throw up their Hands, admit that the World was a Mess, and express the fatuous Belief that perhaps the Youth, with no Experience of the World, could be looked to as Saviours.
|Now, of course, we have the Occupy Movement,
and Students in Montreal, calling for some new Paradigm for Nirvana. And
some Professors seem to believe they have the Answer. Hope springs
eternal in the human Breast.
Yet another Example of self-destructive Behaviour may be seen in the Notion of Multiculturalism, which perversely assumes that all Cultures are equal, despite the clear Evidence that some Cultures have created greater Happiness, more Prosperity, and more Freedom than others. Yet, as in the Sixties, otherwise rational People throw up their Hands and welcome the "Diversity" of primitive Thinking and tribal Practice.
Human Rights Commissions throw out Centuries of Safeguards in order to celebrate Victimhood and banish hurt Feelings.
The other Day, on The Source, Ezra Levant presented the instructive Thoughts of Yuri Bezmenov (1939 -1993), a former KGB Agent who defected to Canada. Mr. Bezmenov noted the Stages in attacking an Enemy, in a Warfare of the Mind.
1. Demoralization. Confuse the Enemy. Change his Perceptions of Reality, so that people are unable to tell truth from falsehood. (This takes from 15-20 years.) In an Interview with Ed Griffin in 1984, Mr. Bezmenov refers to the Sixties when Marxist ideology was inserted without counterbalance into the Educational System. A generation later, the students become Professors whose Biases are irreversible, who are impervious to contradictory Facts, and who represent the accepted Way of Thinking.
2.Destabilization. This takes 2 - 5 years. It is a period of protests and demonstrations.
3. Crisis. Creation of economic, financial, and national security crisis. Also includes social crisis and breakdown of previous self-evident restrictions on moral behaviour.
4. Normalization. An indefinite period during which people are so overwhelmed by change that they accept the new "normal."
5. Centralized control. The original "Dissenters" and Supporters of the new System are disposed of. There is no room for Dissent of any kind.
The Idea of Russia, actively committed to our Decline, may not be foremost in our Minds. But the Perceptions of Mr. Bezmenov about the Path to Collapse may not be irrelevant. We leave it to the Reader to assess the Extent to which the Ideas and Practices which gave us Freedom and Prosperity are now under Attack – not from without, but insidiously, from within. Extreme Environmentalism, Human Rights Commissions, the Protest for new Paradigms, and a Confusion about Values suggest, to us, a considerable Demoralization.
*Googling the Title will give Access.
|May 2, 2012
Mum’s the Word
We do enjoy being right, especially when the great Tide of public Opinion seems to be against us, and we are then able to observe the great Tide, little by little, retreating in small Eddies of Dismay and Disarray, leaving us comfortably holding a Position on Firm Ground. It is often the Case that little Wavelets of Folly in the great Tide have dashed themselves on a Breakwater or Bedrock of contradictory Facts, and have found Themselves driven back in a Flurry of well-deserved Confusion.
Well, perhaps it is just a little too early to engage in the Luxury of withering Belittlement, but we are sorely tempted.
It appears that James Lovelock, the Scientist who developed the "Gaia" Theory of the Earth as a single Organism, and Someone who was one of the early Scaremongers in the Matter of Catastrophic Climate Change, has now seen fit to recant. He now admits that his Predictions were "alarmist," and claims that Al Gore, a high Priest in the Church of Climate Armageddon, has "exaggerated" his Arguments. (Mail Online, April 23, 2012)
Mr. Lovelock said the "problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing."
We feel rather foolish mentioning this Development here.
After all, this News has been on the Front Page of every Newspaper in the Land. Mr. Lovelock has been interviewed on all the major Networks, including the CBC, and every Broadcast of Radio and Television News has trumpeted the Matter to the Skies.
David Suzuki has retreated to his underground Bunker at the CBC with a month’s Supply of Freixenet, and his Foundation is exploring the Possibilities of becoming a true Charitable Organization ministering to Recovering Climate Change Alarmists. The IPCC has announced that it will shift its Focus to an Exhaustive Study of the Life Cycle of the Fruit Fly. Al Gore, disguised as a Neanderthal (only a loin cloth was needed), has gone to live in a Cave in the South of France.
We apologize most deeply for this redundant Commentary.
P.S.: For the curious, we reproduce – from the Daily Mail Online – some of Mr. Lovelock’s earlier Statements.
JAMES LOVELOCK 'THE ALARMIST': SCIENTIST'S PREVIOUS CLAIMS
Civilization in its present form hasn't got long.
Before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.
By 2040 every summer in Europe will be... between 110F and 120F. It is not the death of people that is the main problem, it is the fact that the plants can't grow. There will be almost no food grown in Europe.
By 2040, parts of the Sahara desert will have moved into middle Europe. We are talking about Paris. As far north as Berlin. In Britain we will escape because of our oceanic position. By 2040, China will be uninhabitable.
Florida will be gone altogether, the whole damned place, in not too long.
We have no option but to take our punishment and be glad that there will be enough of us to survive.
Note: While we must applaud Mr. Lovelock for his Recanting in the Face of the Facts, we think it also appropriate to emphasize the need for Skepticism, even when Science is claimed as a rationale. Scientists have not yet discovered the Inoculation against hubris, or the effective Incantation against self-interest; nor are they immune from the Contamination of an ill-considered Enthusiasm for a Cause. (See Observations 175 & 176)
|April 30, 2010
We happened, last Evening, upon a Re-broadcast of an Episode of the Program How the Earth Changed History. This was the Episode concerning Fire.
It is instructive, when we are immersed in the Events of the Day, and in the Minutiae of Existence, to see Matters as if from a great Height, through the long Telescope of Geologic Time. How helpful to be reminded that, before the Existence of Vegetation, there could be neither Fire, nor Creatures, since there was insufficient atmospheric Oxygen to support either. Indeed, without the Burning of Wood, Charcoal, and Coal – which is simply Trees buried and compressed -- the Working of Metals and the Industrial Revolution would not have been possible.
It almost inspires us to hug a Tree in Gratitude.
And how odd to think that untold Numbers of Sea Creatures, having lived out their sentient Span, were crushed in such a Manner as to allow us to drive in powerful Machines to the Supermarket. Did they dream, as Rupert Brooke suggests, with reverent eye, of that Good and Purpose which might be found in Liquidity?*
Did the Dinosaurs imagine, their Species extinguished, that their great Bones would be reassembled for the Delight of Children in Museum Displays of Superseded Might?
|Viewed from afar, the whole System by which
Changes occur upon the Earth seems chancy and unpredictable. While Life
is stubborn and persistent – it seems blind, greedily opportunistic,
filling in whatever Niches seem to become available.
How attractive Hamlet’s reflection:
What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel..
And yet there are Parasites, Bacteria, and Viruses, whose Survival seems just as favoured. We seldom stop to reflect that there are ten times as many Microbes as human Cells in our Bodies, or that our Mitochondria were once free-living Bacteria.
Yet we gaze at the Stars, and aspire to an ultimate Meaning, an eternal Life consistent with our special Place in the Universe. Such Aspirations may be comforting, and indeed helpful in the Manufacture of Equanimity.
We feel somewhat traitorous to conclude that the System seems remarkably indifferent. It has an Agenda only tangential to our own. Perhaps our own crushed Bones will fuel some other Species as it drives powerful Machines to the Supermarket, or reassembled, provide Delight for the Children of some other Race which believes it has some special Destiny in the Stars.
*See Weekly Quotation, December 21, 2011
|April 29, 2012
Last Sunday, we engaged the Serviceable Six to transport some Lumber to the local Waste Facility near Wind-in-the-Pines. The Lumber represented, essentially, the unusable Portions of Decking associated with a Boathouse, the Cribbing for which had deteriorated over Time, leading to a persistent sinking of the Structure into the Lake. Eventually, complete Demolition was required.
These periodic Trips are of great Benefit, since they give us the Illusion of Progress; Accumulations of the Unwanted, which threaten to overwhelm our Vision of Perfection, are removed, and we can convince ourselves that Nirvana, if not actually within our Grasp, has moved closer to attainable Status.
The Radio of the Serviceable Six remains tuned to the CBC. Despite our Lamentations about the exclusively Leftward Perspective of the Broadcaster, we must admit that the Programs are often informative and entertaining.
On this particular Journey, we were most surprised to hear Something quite unfamiliar; at first it seemed like a comic Presentation, but eventually we realized that no Irony was intended: it was a perfectly straight- forward Reading from the Gospel of Mark, by Kenneth Welsh, before a Church Audience.
|What a Conception was there presented! It was
a world full of Devils, active Agents of Evil inhabiting People or
anything achievable, like Pigs. Of course, our modern Explicators would
rush to protest the Account should not be understood in a literal Sense.
All those old, primitive Notions are meant as subtle and symbolic.
We suspect this is mere Rationalization. In olden Days, when so little was known of the Truth of how the Universe works, we think that the Comic Book Version presented in such Gospels was widely and literally believed.
We did not, of course, hear the entire Reading. We were too busy with ridding ourselves of the unwanted and oppressive Accumulations, the Lumber of old and outmoded Structures, Constructions built on vulnerable Foundations, Edifices which sank, inexorably into the Waters of final Judgment.
Our Conclusion was that those of a religious Turn of Mind might well profit from Reading such Old Books from an Era of extraordinary and primitive Understanding. The Perspective could be illuminating.
P.S.: We have added an old "Merry-go-round" Melody with some new Lyrics to our Songs Page.
|April 28, 2012
Solving our Problems: Time to replace human Beings with amenable Kryptonians?
It is a Truth universally acknowledged, that when human Beings are gathered together, Somebody has to run Things. This Circumstance may be considered unfortunate, but the Alternative, in which Nobody runs Things, is not in accord with the Hierarchical Reality of the Animal World. Indeed, this is why the Occupy Movement, in a Manifestation which puts much Store in arriving at Consensus without Leaders, is either delusional, doomed, or both.
If it is a Given that Somebody must run Things, the Question becomes one of how to restrict the oppressive Tendencies of the Powers that Be, so that they don’t get all the Gold, and so that those relatively powerless are not crushed into Slavery and Despair.
We note in this Day’s National Post an Article on China which notes the widespread Corruption among Officials, a Circumstance called hei shehui, or "black society." Officials in that Country have developed an uncanny Knack for amassing Fortunes, and then fleeing with or exporting their Gains.
We think that the general Proposition put forth by Caixin, a Business Journal in China is correct:
As a rule, corruption thrives in an authoritarian regime.
This, we contend, is a matter of human Nature:where Officials are cosily and permanently established, and Money is seen to flow in large Quantities, there is a not uncommon Tendency to try to scoop it up.
|Indeed. in any
Regime, Money left apparently unattended, can be a Temptation. If one
can stay at the Savoy, instead of the Grange St Paul’s without Fuss or
Interference, it seems a perfectly valid Enterprise.
Of course, there is a considerable Advantage to the "democratic" System. It does not change Human Nature, but it does provide the Opportunity of throwing the Rascals out, in the Hope that the new Lot will take some Time to develop their own Rascality to its Level of Unacceptability.
The Students Protesting in Montreal over an Increase in their very modest Fees for Tuition have been heard to complain that the Measure illustrates a Failure of Democracy. The Matter is being imposed, not arrived at by Consent. In the Minds of the Students, grand Battles are being fought. What is involved is a "revolution" – not merely a Battle over Fees -- but a Protest over the "greedy elites," or the "capitalist context." (National Post, April 28, 2012)
After much Thought and Puzzlement over the Matter of dealing with oppressive Governments, two opposed Notions have come to Mind:
Some Things are worth fighting for.
You can’t always get what you want.
We think in this Case, the second Notion applies. Short of a wholesale Replacement of human Beings with Creatures from the planet Krypton, the "greedy elites" and "capitalists" are a permanent Condition. In certain Circumstances, Fees might be changed.
The Students should work towards throwing the Rascals out, rather than smashing Windows.
|April 27, 2012
We are intrigued to see further Developments in the Saga of Bev Oda, whose Addiction to fancy Hotels and Limousine Rides is becoming the Talk of the Town.
Recently, she announced that she had repaid the extra Costs of her Stay at the Savoy Hotel, it being more suitable to her Taste than the more modest Establishment where her Conference was being held. The cost of the Room was $665 per Night.
It has now been announced that she has paid the three Thousand Dollar Expense of the Limousine which she felt compelled to hire in order to take her to the Conference – at her original Hotel – in sufficient Comfort. We must applaud the Comment of Bob Rae, Leader of the Liberal Party, who gave as his opinion: "This is like conscience on an installment plan."
We feel compelled to indicate our complete Lack of Qualification to comment impartially on this Matter: our last Stay at a Motel was in Tillsonburg about eight years ago. (We thought the $70 Charge to be quite aggressive.)
Ms. Oda appears once again on Limerick Lane.
|April 26, 2012
We are intrigued to see, in the Hamilton Spectator, a Picture of the Concept Style Coupe shown by Mercedes Benz at Auto China in Beijing. The Picture is remarkable because it refutes – at last – the Sloping Line which is the current Fashion in Automobile Design.
Most modern Automobiles, to a greater or lesser extent, appear to be bent on a suicidal Mission to embed their Noses in the Pavement. Viewed from the Side, they seem to have an unhappy Relationship with the Horizontal, and convey the Impression, not of calm Stability, but of hunched Furtiveness.
We note that the smaller and cheaper the Vehicle, the more pronounced is the suicidal Line, and the more ugly, awkward, and unstable is the general Appearance. We cannot conceive of the Reason for this odd Lapse in Design. It is as if, of a sudden, Builders had decided to build Houses in Emulation of the Leaning Tower, with an angled Suggestion of imminent Collapse.
|The Argument is sometimes made that the Design
follows some Principle of Aerodynamics. But, while we can understand a
sloping Nose, we cannot understand why the Slope must be extended the
entire Length of the Vehicle, so that the Rear End appears to be raised
in a Mooning Salute.
Indeed, in the Mercedes Concept Car, the slightly tapered Nose levels off in the Middle, and then seems to curve down slightly at the Rear. We admit that there is sloping Line in the Metalwork just above the Rocker Panel. It is as if, even in Heresy, some Obeisance must be paid to the Religion being refuted. Fortunately, the line at the Windows is significantly dominant.
We hope that this is a Signal that Designers of the Automobile are returning, level-headed, to their Senses. If this indeed be the Case, we wonder what Analysis, what Exploration of the Unconscious, what Speculations may be put forth to account for the Decades during which Automobile Design became unbalanced and deranged, lost Touch with the Reality of the Ground, and, with manic Enthusiasm, produced such ugly Vehicles.
|April 25, 2012
It has oft been noted that the Cynic is nothing but an Idealist disappointed in his Illusions.
We suppose, therefore, that those Matters which we find most hopeless are those in which our Illusions have been most shattered. At the Moment – although we suspect the List is capable of considerable Expansion – we find three Elements of Canadian Society to be most disappointing.
The first is the Existence of Human Rights Commissions, created in a Fit of Folly, in a frenetic Flight of frenzied Egalitarianism, which do yet abridge more Rights than they uphold. But once Cows are deemed sacred, clothed in the Blanket of Rights, and milked for fine Pretensions, they will continue to impede the Path of Justice.
The Second is the outrageous Failure of Police in Ontario to treat Natives and non-Natives with some measure of Equality - all because of the Pusillanimity of our pussy-footed Premier, whose pallid Pug pales at the Thought of Discord -- who will purchase Peace at any Price – whether it be of Principle or Probity.
And finally, we continue to rail against the callous Coercion of our System of Health Care, which contrives our Consent to be treated as cowering, compliant Creatures of the Nanny State.
|On this last Matter, we note an
Account in this Day’s National Post which begins:
A prominent hospital chief says it is time Canadians stop treating medicare as a religion and gained the right to buy private insurance.
The Hospital Chief is Michel Bilodeau, who has recently retired from his Position as President of Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. He points to Countries such as France, Germany, and Sweden, which have Systems which blend public and private Elements and give Consumers more Choice.
We have advocated the Option for the Purchase of Private Insurance for some Time. We suspect that the Idea is far too sensible to be adopted by the High Priests of our Medicare System. The holy Water of Equality, despite it being obviously contaminated in a dozen Ways by Preferences of Prominence and Place, is yet to be worshipped as a Purity undefiled. The Truth is glossed over; the Deception is proclaimed in public Protestation and pious Prayer. Religion, as always, is impervious to common Sense.
|April 23, 2012
We note that Omar Khadr is "coming home."
There are, in the Main, two opposing Views of Mr. Khadr.
One is that he is an unfortunate "child soldier" captured by the Americans and then held under deplorable Conditions at Guantanamo Bay Prison. His forty-year Sentence for killing an American Soldier has mercifully been reduced to eight Years. Under Canada’s notoriously harsh Parole System, he will probably be forced to remain in Prison for several Months after arriving on Canada’s neglectful Shores. Upon his Release, he will study to obtain his License as a Plumber, seek gainful Employment in the booming Construction Industry, and buy a House in a Subdivision in a Suburb of Ajax, Ontario. There, he will become a pillar of his Community, sending his children for Lessons in Piano and Ballet and coaching Girls in the Intricacies of Field Hockey.
The other View, that put forward by Ezra Levant, is less optimistic. Most people see a "child soldier" as one recruited against his Will by unscrupulous Adults to commit Atrocities. His Heart is not in the Fight. It is true that Mr. Khadr was influenced by his unscrupulous and traitorous Family, and he is a Victim in that Sense. But his Heart has always been in the Fight, and there is no Indication of any Remorse. In other Words, it is more prudent to focus on Mr. Khadr as Threat, than bemoan his Status as Victim.
|Writing in the National Post (February 19, 2011) Dr. Michael
Welner, who has made a psychiatric Assessment of Mr. Khadr, notes that
at Guantanamo Bay, no Attempt was made to interfere with Expressions of
Radical Islam, on the Grounds of Respect for religious Freedom.
It appears to us, that in the Absence of successful "De-Radicalization," it is unlikely that Mr. Khadr will be coaching Field Hockey in the foreseeable Future. In the Words of Dr. Welner:
If the government does not actively deradicalize with the message that Islam must seek equality rather than theocracy, tomorrow’s prisoners – be they in Gitmo or in any other prison in America — will continue to amiably soak in hate and find comrades-in-arms who buy into that now-dominant message of Islamist supremacy and entitlement to violence.
In more general Terms, we see the differing Opinions about Mr. Khadr as merely further Example of the Battle between Illusion and Reality. It is interesting to see what Sacrifices People will make in order to retain the vacant Stare of those with Eyes fixed firmly on the Stars. We suspect that it will not be long before our Question is given Answer.
|April 21, 2012
As the Term implies, a Condition of "Spoiled Brattishness" does not arise spontaneously, like a Combustion of oily Rags. Rather, it is carefully nurtured in a Hothouse where the Light, the Warmth, and the Wind are all controlled.
This, we contend, must be the Explanation for the "Strike" of Quebec Students which resulted in a Clash with Police in Montreal Yesterday.
True, we admit that beyond the valid Protest of political Oppression, Rioting has become fashionable of late. But the Student "Strike" of ten Weeks over a raising of Fees for Tuition by $325 each Year for five Years seems a somewhat exaggerated Response. At present, Quebec’s fees are the lowest among the Provinces at $2, 519. Fees in Ontario are $6,640.
We must note the Quebec Federation of Professors has denounced the Government for requiring them to conduct Classes in spite of the "Strike," and some Professors have supported the Students.
|We are not surprised that the "Strike" has Union Support. It is
our Understanding that, in a Province where Road Construction has a Cost
Premium of 30% because of Union Corruption, and where Corruption and
Government are claimed to have an unholy Alliance, Strikes and Picket
Lines are held in high Esteem.
Perhaps this is why the "Strike" has prevented those who wish to do so from attending the Classes the Professors are required to teach.
In the End, we are inclined to see this as merely a Symbol, a not unpredictable Growth in the Hothouse of Spoiled Brattishness. Has not always the Province of Quebec stamped its foot, rolled on the Floor in a Tantrum of Excess in order to gain its Ends? And has not the Tactic always worked?
As the Tree is inclined, it is no Surprise to see Twigs bent in sympathetic Emulation. (See Quotes April 11, 2012.)
The Students make an Appearance on Limerick Lane.
|April 20, 2012
Kangaroo Hullabaloo –or -- What is in a Name?
We have learned from The Source (April 18) that a Human Rights Commission is pursuing Arnon Levy in a most extraordinary Circumstance.
It appears that in October, 2009, Mr. Levy’s Firm hired an Employee for a temporary limited contract Position. The next day, the Employee claimed that she could not fulfill the Contract and claimed Maternity Leave.
Mr Levy refused, and the Employee applied to the Human Rights Commission in Alberta, claiming $45,000. Taking Mr. Levy’s Case pro bono, Mr. Levant wrote a Letter to the Commission in the Spring of 2010 pointing out the obvious "Shakedown" that was being perpetrated. He has noted that such a Claim would be dismissed immediately by the Courts.
Nothing happened until, this Month, 800 days later, the Commission has declared its Intention to pursue the Matter, claiming that it needs a further 160 Days -- for Investigation.
We have long puzzled that Human Rights Commissions are allowed to function in a Society which yet boasts the Outcome of long Centuries spent in the Attempt to provide Procedures and Safeguards in the Workings of a judicial System. In a burst of misguided Enthusiasm for "Rights," many such Protections have been dismissed with an airy Wave of the Hand of self-perceived Righteousness.
|We must conclude that Part of the Answer lies with the Fact that
few ordinary Citizens must deal with these farcical Entities. And, we
suppose, the Fact that the Pretense is that "Human Rights" are being
promoted rather than destroyed, has something to do with the Apathy.
What is in a Name? We have long suggested the Term Victimhood Advocacy Commissions as a Title more accurate. Would the Commissions proceed with such rights-rolling Capacity if they were compelled to operate under a Requirement for Honesty in Nomenclature?
Would The Suzuki Foundation be as revered under the name Suzuki Lobbyist Corporation?
Would Greenpeace evoke Feelings of Warmth and Fuzziness under the Title World Eco-terrorism Phalanx?
Would we accept with Equanimity the Luxury Fee, Budget Service Health Care Coercion?
Would Religion prosper under the title: Fairy Tales of my Grandfather?
We think a great Service to Humanity might be achieved by the Publication of the true Names of Those who bleat as Sheep, but devour as Wolves.
|April 19, 2012
We are intrigued by the curious Case of Ted Thorne, the Principal at Millarville Community School in Alberta. Mr. Thorne has had Occasion to send a Newsletter to Parents which expresses Views of a political Nature.
Mr. Thorne raised questions about the Wildrose Party:
The Wildrose group is an unknown lot for the most part with no idea on the part of the public what lies in store.
(We will not comment on the Akwardness of the Language – which initially suggests that it is the "unknown lot" which has "no idea," before linking the "no idea" to "the public." To make such a Comment would be petty and nit-picking, and we never engage in such Activities.)
|He then proceeds, saying:
The Conservatives are a well seasoned group which has been in power for forty years.
Mr. Thorne then refers to the Opinion of former Premier Peter Lougheed, who sees this lengthy Reign as a key Element which has made Alberta "as great as it is."
It is encouraging to see those engaged in the Education of Children taking such an Interest in Politics. From Comments such as these, Students may derive much Insight into the Relationship between Boards of Education and those responsible for their Funding.
We are pleased to note that Mr. Thorne makes an Appearance on Limerick Lane.
|April 17, 2012
We are saddened to report that the End of the World as we know it is indeed nigh. We expect to see, in very short order, Comets ablaze in the Heavens, and Tsunamis, Earthquakes, and unprecedented Activity of Volcanoes in our own earthly Sphere.
Not only has David Suzuki resigned from the Board of his Foundation – plaintively blaming Sun News for pointing out the inconvenient Truth of the Foundation’s scamatological Status as a Charity (See Diary, April 14, 2012), but the CBC, that Treasury of all Left Wing Thinking, that Organization which would travel from Toronto to Montreal only by turning Left through Russia, and continuing leftward over England and the Maritime Provinces - all to avoid the Ignominy of being perceived to lean to the Right – has published a Broadcast featuring an Interview with Judith Curry, Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
We were on our Journey, just yesterday, to Wind-in-the-Pines where we are now comfortably ensconced, when we heard Part of a Broadcast on "Demon Coal" by Max Allen.
In the Interview, Ms. Curry noted that there are problems with the Reliance of Computer Models for predicting Climate Change, and added that some Areas might Benefit from Warming, if that indeed should be in the Future. We consulted some Internet Sources to discover that Ms. Curry considers the war against Climate Skeptics to be "misguided," and feels that "core research values have been compromised" by Climate Scientists. She states that "No one really believes the ‘science is settled,’ or that the ‘debate is over.’" She favours the Involvement of knowledgeable "Watchdogs," in the matter of Climate Study and sees the Need to rebuild the Trust of the Public in Scientific Enquiry.
|Elsewhere on the Program it was noted that Water Vapour, not
Carbon Dioxide is the chief Gas responsible for Warming, and that over
very long Periods, Activity of the Sun is highly correlated with the
Temperature of the Earth. Indeed, the current Prediction is for a
Cooling of the Earth over the next few Years.
None of this is News to us. What is Shocking is that the CBC would admit such dangerous Material to be Broadcast over its resolutely Leftish Waves. What has happened to the Influence of David. Suzuki, long a Fixture at the CBC? Has he been informed of this Apostasy? Has he suffered a terminal Conniption Attack? Is he indeed, lying at this moment in a Catatonic State, mute, unresponsive even to the frantic Wafting of the latest IPCC Climate Report over his shocked and frozen Brow?
It would not surprise us. We are keeping a Lookout for Comets, and are huddling in the Lower Level of our Residence, in hopes of avoiding the worst Effects of an imminent Volcanic Eruption at Silver Lake.
|April 15, 2012
We remember, many Years ago, our local Bank was attacked by those seeking to make Withdrawals of Cash without filling out the required Forms, and, even more shockingly, without having sufficient Funds on Deposit. As a result of this breach of normal Procedure, the Branch was closed for some Period of Time while the Police investigated.
In a later Discussion with one of the Tellers, we were surprised to learn that under the Circumstance of a Robbery, Bank Employees are instructed to comply without defensive Action. Perhaps our Surprise was based on the false Information provided by Television Dramas, in which Alarm Buttons are regularly pushed, and the Robbers are occasionally greeted by the Police on their hurried Exit from the Bank.
In the real World, a certain cool Rationality prevails: Confrontation with armed Robbers might lead to Injury, or Loss of Life, which, weighed on the Scale with mere Cash, decidedly tips the Balance in Favour of giving Robbers what they want. The cool Rationality does not, apparently extend to the Notion that Robbers, given Assurance of Non-Intervention, may cross one potential negative Consequence from their List, add the Positive of a guaranteed Head-start, and decide to expand their Operations.
The Principle of not Rocking the Boat, the Principle of Acquiescence, seems, since then, to have taken considerable Hold. On the Assumption that Tidiness trumps all, and Tidiness is best maintained by sincere, caring, dedicated and competent Professionals, it would appear that the Police would prefer Citizens not resist Attack. An injured Citizen is small Price to pay for the greater Harmony; a dead One is even less Trouble than One left alive to complain. Indeed, Resistance on the Part of Citizens now carries with it the gravest of Consequences.
|One has only to think of the Cases of David
Chen, charged with Assault, forcible Confinement and Possession of a
concealed Weapon, for detaining a Shoplifter. (Diary,
November 3, 2009) Or consider the case of Ian Thompson, defending
himself against Men who had set his House ablaze, charged with unsafe
Storage of a Firearm, unsafe use of a Firearm, and pointing a Firearm.
(Diary February 3, 2012) Or again, the Case of Edward Raflant, charged
after bringing an 11-year-old fleeing a vandalized House to the R.C.M.P.
Station. (Diary, March 12, 2012).
The latest Case to come to our Attention is that of Naveen Polapody, the "Spiceman" who attacked a Robber at his Restaurant last August with a Broom and some Spices thrown into the Face; he is accused of Assault and Administering a noxious Substance. The Police warn darkly that there is more to the Case than meets the Eye.
We suspect that their Vision is clouded with a Seasoning of accustomed and traditional Use: under Threat and Attack, Citizens are expected to acquiesce.
|April 14, 2012
Amid the encircling Gloom – the Decline in the Stock Market, the Sinking of Standards among Writers of the English Language, the continuing Deference to Religion, we try to find little Spots of Brightness wherever we can.
Yesterday, it was the News that Baboons can recognize the difference between Words and Non-words – surely a hopeful Sign that human Beings may one day realize that "like" is not a Conjunction.
Today, there are two bright Spots: the North Korean Rocket, "Bright Shining Star" exploded ignominiously soon after its Launch, and secondly, David Suzuki, the bright shining Star of the Canadian Climate Change Boondoggle has stepped down from the Board of his Foundation.
|As we noted in our Diary Entry of March 23,
Dr. Suzuki’s Foundation, which is essentially an Organization for
political Lobbying, is oddly classified as a Charity. This means that it
can issue charitable Tax Receipts, which ultimately means that
Taxpayers, by means of tax Collections foregone, are subsidizing a
Much Credit in this Matter, we believe, is due to Ezra Levant, who has delineated the Scamatological Landscape of Organizations which pose as Charities in order to promote political Postures. The Government has taken note, and is requiring Charities to make full Disclosure of their political Activities.
It appears that Dr. Suzuki hopes his Resignation will avoid the Revocation of the charitable Status of the Suzuki Foundation. We suspect that the Firing of its Fifteen paid Lobbyists, and perhaps much else besides, will be found to be necessary.
Dr. Suzuki made his first Appearance on Limerick Lane on March 8, 2010; he makes a Return – with a triple Performance -- today.
|April 13, 2012
We confess to being in a Quandary. We know not whether to comment on the News that Baboons have been shown to be able to distinguish between real words such as "done" and "vast" as opposed to non-words such as "dran" and "lons" (National Post, April 13, 2012) -- or to record our Dismay that the Language is changing too rapidly for us to cope.
When we were in School, we were taught many universal and unalterable Truths, Truths which have sustained and comforted us through Struggle and Hardship over the Years. One of these Truths was that the Word "like" must never be used as a Conjunction, such as in the Sentence:
He was spending money like it was going out of style.
Beyond that, we long ago concluded that the most egregious Use of "like" as a Conjunction is in the vile, the unutterably vile Phrase:
|Like I said....
Alas, we must report this Day that an esteemed Columnist with the National Post, who shall be nameless, has used "like" as a Conjunction twice in the same Article. One of those Usages is the Phrase, like I said.
Laugh as you may, this Circumstance is no Trifle. What is the Point of universal and unalterable Truths when they can retain neither their Universality nor their Steadfastness? All we can say is that the World, before our very Eyes, is going to the Dogs. We had never thought to see such a lons, lons Decline into such a dreadful and hopeless Drans.
P.S. The nameless Columnist has been spotted on Limerick Lane.
|April 12, 2012
Give us that old Time Religion
We speculate on the religious Impulse. Primitive Man, seeing the Power of the Winds, the Sky in Paroxysm of Lightning and Thunder, assumes the Intent and Desire of the unknowable, capricious Gods. Man, less powerful, ignorant of their Motivations, assumes he must appease them with Sacrifice of Things he holds dear – perhaps a sheep, or possibly a few young Men and Maidens will do. Let us make it bloody; surely the Gods are not immune to the Drama of Death.
Religion becomes the Code, the Rule for dealing with the Gods, the Means of ensuring the Sunrise, the Harvest, the Victory, the Safety from all Harm. Some Priests may themselves believe; others, more crafty, their Eyes shining with the Lust for Power, know the Footholds of Security, the Handholds of political Ascendancy.
A few Setbacks along the Way. The Earth goes around the Sun. Who could have guessed? Creation, not instant and complete, six Thousand Years past, but a tangled, twisted Tale of Advance and Extinction, a Process of Millions of Years.
|How easy to see the Errors of the Past; yet,
the Religious Impulse is bred in the Bone.
The new Priests warn of Unworthiness; our Sin will destroy the Goddess Earth. Armageddon is nigh: only Sacrifice will avert the Vengeance of the capricious Powers. Some Priests may themselves believe; others, more crafty, their Eyes shining with the Lust for Power, know the Footholds of Security, the Handholds of political Ascendancy.
A few Setbacks along the Way. The Boiling of the Oceans not yet proven. In the News today:
A coalition of 49 former NASA employees, including seven Apollo astronauts, has accused the U.S. space agency of sullying its reputation by making unsubstantiated claims about climate change. (National Post)
Do not fear. The religious Impulse is bred in the Bone.
|April 11, 2012
We have been intrigued by an Article by Bill Keller, published originally in the New York Times, and appearing yesterday in the National Post.
Citing the Cases of Tyler Clementi, who committed Suicide after his Roommate, Dharun Ravi, exposed a gay Relationship, and Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black Teenager who was shot by George Zimmerman, Mr. Keller expresses a certain Unease with the Principle of deeming some Acts as "Hate Crimes."
The Argument is that, while the Law may take into Account some States of Mind in the Commission of a Crime – a premeditated Murder is more heinous than one committed in a Moment of Emotion – Penalties are determined based on the Decisions made by the Perpetrator. In the Case of "A," he made a deliberate Choice to murder his aunt Esmeralda with Arsenic taken from her Potting Shed in order to inherit her considerable Fortune. "B," on the other Hand, made a less calculated Choice when he picked up a Bronze Statuette and killed Bully Moran in a Drinking Establishment Brawl. Both made Choices.
However, a State of Mind representing Prejudice or Hatred is not actually a Choice, but more like a "pre-existing Condition." The extra Penalty may be assessed, essentially, for the View of the World held by the Malefactor.
We recognize two opposing Opinions on this Matter. On one Hand, we might see the Designation of "Hate Crime" as an attempt to express Revulsion at certain Views of the World, and, in the long Term, to reduce the Holding of certain Views.
|On the other Hand, determining the actual View
of the World of a Malefactor may be based more on Assumption than
Evidence. Was Dharun Ravi homophobic, or simply, as Mr. Keller
speculates, a Jerk. If he is simply a Jerk, the Penalty awarded to
Crimes of Hate seems somewhat severe.
A further Consideration is this: because of the Difficulty of knowing the Prejudices of the Perpetrator, Hate Crime Laws tend to create different Classes of Victims. The Penalty for the same Crime is altered on the Basis of the perceived Status of the Victim.
Indeed, this is Part of a Larger Difficulty in Society, which is much taken up with the wonderful Notion of Equality of Result. In order to achieve Equality of Result, all Kinds of Inequality of Treatment is justified and encouraged. Accordingly, the Aim of every Citizen tends to be directed to the Acquisition of the Status of Victim, and hence the Benefit of special Treatment. The aboriginal gay or transgendered female (possibly with a learning Disability) easily trumps all other Applicants for a Government Position. Discrimination becomes entrenched and systemic.
On the Whole, we think it best to reverse the Attitude and Practise of Discrimination, no matter how noble the Perceived End. Let us stop declaring some Victims to be more important than Others.
|April 9, 2012
The Weather being fair, we determined to indulge in a short Journey of Nostalgia and visit our childhood Cottage on Georgian Bay.
The last Time we visited –perhaps Twenty Years ago –the Building had remained comfortably unchanged. We experienced that peculiar Sense of continued Ownership based on prior Occupancy, despite the Passage of many Years and actual current Possession by complete Strangers.
On this Occasion, the Weather presaged a Change; as we travelled, the Sky clouded, the Wind grew, and an intermittent Rain began. Along the familiar Road towards the Beach, a new Direction branched disconcertingly off.
Along the Beach Road, we thought we discerned the familiar Drive which angled through our former Neighbour’s Property to our own Parking Lot. But how diminished were the Distances, how niggardly the Space! Indeed, the new Owners were blocked by a Fence, and were forced to use the alternative short, steep Access which we had never been forced to employ.
|And the Cottage itself was nowhere to be seen. A new
Edifice had been erected, no doubt with a Kitchen boasting granite
Counter-tops and stainless steel Appliances. Nor was the Neighbour’s
Cottage still there – or the big Frame Yellow Cottage next to that.
Indeed, along the Beach it appeared that, of the old original Cottages –
the Cottages that were simple Celebrations of the Brief Time of
tolerable Canadian Weather – only some few remained.
Determined to find a familiar Landmark, we proceeded to the Beach. Our Neighbour’s Cottage had had, as an extraordinary Accoutrement, a Tennis Court. No, not a fancy en-tout-cas Creation with Lights and adjacent Patio, but an unsatisfactoriness of Concrete jammed into a Space far too small to allow proper Retrieval of the Ball. Surely that would remain as a comforting Landmark.
On the Beach, it was rainy, windy, cold, and unpleasant. The vast Expanse of Whitecaps was indifferent, bleak, and forbidding. The Beach itself had grown; Cottages once easily visible from the Water’s Edge, were now distant, hidden behind unaccustomed Trees.
There was no Tennis Court to be seen, nor even a likely, flattened Spot.
We conclude that Time is far too busy for Nostalgia, and is markedly deficient in Reverence for the Past
|April 8, 2012
We happened to view Part of an Interview with Alain de Botton on The Agenda. Mr. de Botton is the Author of Religion for Atheists.
It may well be that Mr. de Botton represents a new Wave of Atheists, who recognize that, in spite of the Fact that (if we may quote ourselves) "all religion is bunk," it is the kind of Bunk that is impossible of Eradication, since it answers a deep Need in the human Psyche.
Mr. de Botton believes that Atheists, while rejecting a Belief in God, might well gain from some of those Things which Religion has to offer; namely, a Sense of Community, a useful Concept of Original Sin (as a helpful Counter to the modern Belief in Perfectibility), Assistance, through repeated Reminders, in the struggle to be good, Egalitarianism, Ritual, and the Expression of a Sense of Awe.
Indeed, we think there is much to be said for giving up God, in favour of Community and Ritual. We think God should be something like Santa Claus – a nice Idea, a Symbol which gives occasion for much Ritual and Celebration, but a Being of our own Creation, and hence not to be taken too seriously.
|Indeed, perhaps because of our own Awareness of a
certain Bleakness of the Landscape of the Human Condition when viewed
without Illusion, we have created our own Religion of Abracadabra,
devoted to the worship of the Great God Murphy, the most reliable
Predictor of human Outcomes. As yet, Abracadabra provides only
the Great God Murphy as a Confidant and Benefactor; if only we were able
to gain Followers, then some of the other Benefits – the Sense of
Community and shared Ritual would add greatly to the Strength and
Viability of our Practice.
The only Great Difficulty we see with Mr. de Botton’s Approach is this: what Proportion of the Population will be satisfied with a Sense of Community coupled with either None or a pleasantly vague Half-Belief in God? For how many People is it necessary to have the Assurance that their God is the only one, and that they have a complete Certitude as to his Thinking, his Desires, and his Commands? For how many People is it necessary to believe that Others, who are not Members in their particular Club, are Dissidents to be despised, Deviants doomed, and Devils to be deprived of some post-earthly Paradise?
|April 7, 2012
We are ensconced at Wind-in-the-Pines, where yesterday we did take an unexpected Tour of some Muskoka Roads. It is the Custom, of course, to make such a Journey in order to View the colourful Leaves in Fall. On this Occasion, the Snow has gone, but the Season is so little advanced that there are no Leaves at all.
Yet the Region is still Testimony a certain unique Element of Canadian Experience.
Surely only Canadians are devoted in such Numbers to the Possession of secondary Residences in rugged rocky Areas fit only for Recreation. Only in Canada does the Landscape provide so much Rock, and so many Lakes fit for little else but Leisure.
|We do wonder at what Point the Scarcity of Land close to Areas of
Population will make such Residences so expensive as to become
relatively less common, and less a defining Feature of the Culture of
the Middle Class.
We had occasion to drive by a Property of Six Acres of Land on Silver Lake near Port Carling, which we once owned in Partnership several Decades past. It was sold for about $6,400 at a very small Profit. The Site now boasts a Residence with an iron Gate. Even allowing for the Decline in the Value of the Dollar, we suspect that the Land alone, were it to be sold today, would fetch a Penny beyond imaginable Prettiness.
In this Time of relative Idleness, we have penned a couple of Limericks in Praise of the United Nations, an Organization for which we reserve a special Place in our List of those Things deserving of our unconditional Worship and Adulation. They may be found on Limerick Lane.
|April 5, 2012
We are intrigued to learn that a Sign has been placed at the Kennedy Subway Station which is an Advertisement for Islam. In part, it reads:
There is no god but Allah
Muhammad is His messenger
Discover Islam in 85 languages
There has been some Controversy, since some see this as an offensive Rejection of other Religions, but the Poster has been allowed to remain, since it does not contravene the Human Rights Act.
|While we think the Advertisement to be Nonsense and untruthful,
it does not to appear to be different from other Protestations of
Puffery: Suzie’s Shoes are best, or There is no finer
Automobile than the Flintmobile.
We understand that Christian ad is being prepared indicating that "Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life."
The true Test will be an Atheist Advertisement reading: All Religions are Crap.
We also speculate on the Response to a Portrayal of the Danish Cartoons. We suspect that such is the Temper of our Times -- Puffery is permissible, but Ridicule is Riot-worthy, and easily rejected.
|April 4, 2012
The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. (Edmund Burke, 1729_1797)
We have long maintained that the Universal Health Care System is an egregious Deception, since it promises an Equality it cannot, and does not deliver.
Because of the Ideal of Equal Treatment, Canadians have given up their Freedom to all Alternatives, and submit to the Strait Jacket of Government-mandated Central Planning, which is intrinsically and necessarily inefficient.
The Ideal, Equality, is found, as with everything else, in the same Frequency that Unicorns are encountered on the morning Train into the City.
|In this Day’s National Post, George Jonas recounts
the Story of the eminent retired Cardiologist who had a mild heart
Attack at the very Hospital with which he retained an Affiliation. He
thought it prudent to attend the Emergency Room, where he did not reveal
his Status. However, his Wife revealed the Information by placing an
Identifying Card in plain View. The first Response of the Nurse was to
protest Equality of Treatment, but soon, a Clutch of Cardiologists
descended in a Manner unlikely to be found in the Case of John Smith –
or – for that Matter – an Idel Dreimer.
Mr. Jonas most accurately notes:
Health care in human societies, like other scarce commodities, ends up being invariably and inevitably rationed. Under private medicine it’s rationed by price; under public medicine, on paper, it’s rationed by medical need, or by one’s place in the queue: First come, first served. In practice, it’s rationed by pull.
We have written on this Matter interminably. One Example is the Drivel for December 16, 2010.
|April 3, 2012
It is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong. (Jeremy Bentham, 1748-1832.)
The daily News is seldom uplifting, since in some measure it usually confirms our low Opinion of Humankind, that Species being often engaged in dangerous Conflict, or operating under some Type of Illusion which is guaranteed an unhappy Result; both Circumstances lead us to despair of any Progress.
We can scarcely contain our Delight and Surprise, therefore, to learn that the Earth Institute has issued a World Happiness Report. The Report comes with the wonderful News, which we had scarcely heretofore apprehended – that a new Era has begun – the Anthropocene Era in which Mankind "has become the major driver of the changes of the earth’s physical System." (Marni Soupcoff, National Post, April 2)
We are pleased that the Volcano, the Earthquake, the Tornado, the Tsunami, and the Shift in Tectonic Plates have at last been brought into proper Submission, and the Disruptions which they have visited upon us in earlier Times are definitively prevented.
But further Good News doth abound.
It has been suggested at a High Level Meeting at the United Nations, that old Measures of Progress – such as the Production of Goods and Services -- have been found wanting, since they are not directly related to Happiness. Indeed, the United Nations, that Fount of all Wisdom, has been early in this Advance, having passed in July of 2011 a Declaration of Happiness entitled: Happiness: Towards a Holistic Approach to Development. (Terence Corcoran, National Post, April 2)
We do feel a warm Pulse of Anticipation and a perceptible Tingling in our Toes whenever we encounter the word "holistic." We know that Magic is about to happen, and an intellectual Rabbit is about to pop up from an unfathomable silk Hat.
|The overthrow of the "current economic paradigm" is
to be engineered, so that greater Happiness may be achieved. This
Happiness will come from a "more inclusive, equitable and balanced
approach that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication,
happiness and well-being of all peoples."
We are in Awe of the Wisdom encapsulated in these few Words, and excited that there is to be a Discussion of this entire Matter in Rio in July. Having been notably unhappy for some considerable Period, we feel there is little Time to lose.
We hope that, immediately following the Discussion in Rio, Declarations will be made and Initiatives launched to disassemble the current economic Paradigm. It has been a-building for only a few Centuries, and, with a few sharp Jabs from a pointed stick, should deflate like a giant Tennis Court Bubble when the Power Switch is turned off. We can then trust the Expertise of United Nations Bureaucrats to decree and institute a more sustainable, eco-friendly, anti-Poverty Paradigm in its Place. Again, this should hardly be more difficult than erecting a new Tennis Court Bubble with a new eco-friendly sustainable Source of Power. (Our favourite is the Gerbil-operated Circular Treadmill.)
We do have one small Suggestion. We were much taken with the Description of Society in Aldous Huxley’s Novel, Brave New World. In that pleasant Land, personal Happiness was ensured by a wonderful Preparation called Soma, which was ingested at the least Sign of a mental Descent into the Dumps. Surely, if Happiness is the Aim, and we have the Expertise to put a Man on the Moon, the creation of a Drug to keep us glassy-eyed and smiling should be a Matter of minimal Difficulty, and possibly even easier than the development of a Gerbil-operated Tennis Bubble.
|April 2, 2012
We note University of Kentucky Fans thought it appropriate to stage a Riot on Saturday, to celebrate a Victory of their Basketball Team over the University of Louisville. Couches and two Vehicles were set afire, and ten People were injured. One fan was quoted: We are the best team in America, I think houses should burn."
Rioting seems to be a popular Pastime. We note the St. Patrick’s Day Event at Fanshawe College, the Vancouver riots in June of 2011, and the G20 Protests of June, 2010.
We have always felt there is an intrinsic Appeal to smashing Things; on Occasion it may be viewed as legitimate – the smashing of an oppressive political Order is a powerful Motive.
But we suspect that no more Justification is needed than that Emotions are in the Extreme; the Veneer of Civilization is vulnerable to Alcohol and the Madness of Herds.
|On another Matter, we heard a Part of a Documentary
on the Occupy Movement on CBC Radio this past Weekend, which seemed
needlessly sympathetic. While recognizing the Difficulties of the
Movement in actually accomplishing anything, the Piece seemed to admire
the Desire to find an Alternative to the Ways in which Society is
organized, and placed Emphasis on the anti-hierarchical Aspirations of
We think Ideas for Improvement to Society should be confined to limited, practical Matters. Those which depend upon a Change in Human Nature should be derided into Oblivion.
It might be worth while to make "Occupying" a part of the Educational Curriculum. Idealistic Malcontents could be placed on a deserted Island with limited Resources – copies of Lord of the Flies would be included. After the campfire Songs and the Camaraderie succumb to the Awkwardness of actually getting things done, we suspect the Participants would gain a superior Understanding of the Human Condition. "Occupy" Movements in the real World would be as frequent as the Sightings of Unicorns.
The Thought gives us Pause. Could Rioters benefit from the same Experience?
|March 31, 2012
Doctor: You see, her eyes are open.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. (Dylan Thomas 1914-1953. Do not go gentle into that good night.)
We have been made aware that today is the Occasion for those needing Expiation for their Crimes against the Planet, to achieve it by turning off their Lights. In this Way, they may experience an Hour of Darkness.
The idea was conceived in 2007, and is meant to represent a symbolic Gesture of Desire to protect the Earth from the pitiless Ravages of Climate Change, which the Earth had never experienced until the Advent of Mankind.
Indeed, there is much Symbolism in turning off the Lights, for it is then that Darkness comes into its own, and in our Literature, and in our Imaginations, there is little Good to be found therein.
In the Beginning, we are told, " the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." The Bible also speaks of being cast into "outer darkness," where there is "weeping and gnashing of teeth." In the Book of Prayer, the Lord is asked to "Lighten our darkness," and defend us from all perils and dangers of this night."
|Shakespeare speaks of the Night as having
"black agents" who "to their preys do rouse," and refers to the "dark,
backward and abysm of time." Francis Bacon noted that "children fear to
go in the dark," and Paul Simon’s old Friend –Darkness – is a symbol for
The Lights that we have created to ward off the Dark, to mimic the Day so that good Things need not "droop and drowse" have been the Result of Man’s Ingenuity, a significant Part of his Struggle to insulate himself from the chaotic Indifference of the vast Forces which shape a tiny Shard of Matter spinning in a grainy Beach of Stars.
This recent Custom of turning off the Lights is merely Part of a great Campaign of Deception, based on Theories not now proven, and not likely to be. It represents a mea culpa for human Existence, a perverse Desire to return to the Darkness of a primitive Age, or a primitive Void. It is a Shutting of the Sight of Sense, a kind of wilful Blindness.
Do not go gentle into that false good Night.
Turn on the Lights!
(Earth Hour makes a quadruple Appearance on Limerick Lane.)
|March 30, 2012
We lament the Passing of our precocious and presumptuous Spring; while our Common Sense told us it was false, yet our fanciful Self thought so fair a Prognosticator incapable of Deception: if March be Spring, then surely April will bring us near the Summer’s Height.
In that Brief time of Fantasy, the Geezermobile requested -- and received – a Laving off of accumulated Winter Grime. And then, in Twistian Mode, requested an unaccustomed Polish. With the Weather so fair, with Life so irrefutably benign, we could scarce resist, and so now the Geezermobile sits in strutting Stance, gleaming in the Drive, pretending that its Years of twenty-four are little more than Three.
The Garden too, irked with Leaves not raked in Fall, called out to be unburdened, and delivered forth great Mounds now piled, awaiting the Unlimited Garden Waste Pick-Up promised by the City’s Men.
|Yesterday, of course, Reality came to call:
Winter Jacket, Scarf and Gloves. The Serviceable Six, awaiting its
Promised Wash, sulks in the Drive, glowering at the Geezermobile, its
Men believe not what is reasonable, but what is agreeable, and what is desired. By this great Flaw are they led into many a pretty Pickle: Religion, Human Rights Commissions, Multiculturalism, and Universal Health Care.
In this small Instance, however, we see no great Downfall but the Disappointment which we half-expected, but Thoughts of which we kept resolutely at Bay.
P.S.: We note the appearance of Earth Hour on Limerick Lane.
|March 29, 2012
Barbarians at the Gate
In the National Post of last Saturday, Peter Goodspeed reminds us of the Dangers of a Bomb made from a "single, 12 inch-long piece of radioactive cobalt taken from a food irradiation plant," if it were to be exploded in the lower tip of Manhattan Island.
According to Henry Kelly, former President of the Federation of American Scientists, speaking in 2002:
An area of approximately one thousand square kilometres, extending over three states, would be contaminated.
When one considers the Existence of such States as Pakistan, a State armed with Nuclear Weapons, where there is a 57% rate of Illiteracy (Robert Fulford, National Post, March 24) and a more than passing Acquaintance with radical Islamist Elements, and Iran, a State obviously intent on attaining Nuclear Weapons, and committed, in public Statements, to the Destruction of Israel, a certain Degree of Caution with respect to the Future does not seem unjustified.
Indeed, viewing Matters as if at a great Height, we wonder whether the Pace of Civilization has been too uneven to be sustainable.
On one Hand, we have western Nations with great technological Sophistication, and material Wealth, essentially dedicated to the Provision and Maintenance of the Good Life. There is relatively little Concern for Barbarians at the Gate; rather – as suggested by Obamacare and our own Universal Health Care System – there is an increasing Emphasis on cosy internal Security at the Expense of Freedom and Initiative.
On the other Hand, there are Nations relatively poor, illiterate, and ignorant, driven by the Pulse of Passions irrational, religious, tribal, and primitive, for some of whom – forget about Universal Health Care --Death is less a Deterrent than a Reward. Western Nations have a profound Ignorance of such alternative Psychology, preferring to believe that a brief Exposure to the Ways of Democracy and "Enlightenment" can alter the Patterns of Living and Thinking bred, through the Centuries, in the Bone, the Marrow, and the Heart.
We will not be surprised to see the Arab Spring turn out to be a Winter of Fundamentalism. We once argued that to take a primitive, Warlord Society like that in Afghanistan from the fourteenth Century into the modern Era would take Fifty Years of Occupation. But every Chapter and every Verse of the Bible of Correctness would be transgressed.
There is a Desire to bring Enlightenment and a better Way of Life to the oppressed Millions. But it is not as easy as we would like to think. And there is always the Question of how many of them will detonate a 12 inch Pipe Bomb first.
|March 28, 2012
True wit is nature to advantage dress'd,
It seems that it was but Yesterday that Dr. Philip Baker, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Alberta tripped over a velluvial Matrix and tumbled head first into a plagiaristic Vortex from which he was never able to extricate himself. Unlike the Frog in the Puzzle, he was never able to reach the Top of the Well sooner than expected, and resigned his Position as Dean. (See Limerick Lane, June 15& 19 2011)
And now, this very Day, we learn that Steve Jeffrey, of the Anchor Weekly in Chestermere, Alberta, has resigned over Allegations that he used Material from other Writers for his Column of Humour, Sittin’ in the Lighthouse. (National Post March 28)
Mr. Archer said that he used Articles written by others as "inspiration," but thought he had made Changes which were sufficient to avoid the Charge of Plagiarism.
|We bring this to the Attention all three of
our Readers only to use the Opportunity to assure them that we never
plagiarize, and if we do, we make sure that the Theft is limited to a
few Words at a Time, Words which are so unremarkable and pedestrian that they
are unlikely to attract the Attention of anyone but the original Author.
All the clever and memorable Phrases, all the ingenious Comparisons, all the striking Flashes of Illumination -- all these are exclusively generated using Proprietary Formulas and original In-Brain Dreimer Equipment and Technology.
We might say that we do have some Sympathy with Mr. Archer in that he was attempting to write Humour, which is exceedingly difficult. We can well understand that the private Well for that sort of Material can easily run dry, and a modestly gifted Writer might be tempted by the Siren Presence of a Google Tap.
We consider ourselves fortunate and wise to have, as Matter of Policy, the Practice of dealing only with Matters of serious Import, and of doing so with all the Gravitas we can muster.
|March 27, 2012
Context is all.
In a recent Article in the National Post (March 24), Afsun Qureshi argues that Gunman Mohammed Merah, who claimed to be on a Mission from al-Qaeda, is not a "jihadist" but merely a "mass-murdering nut."
"Devout Muslims, " she says, "don’t kill children or off-duty soldiers."
In an Attempt to put Distance between "devout Muslims," and "mass-murdering nuts," Ms. Qureshi suggests there is no Sanction to be found in Islam for murderous Missions such as that which Merah Claimed to have.
Ms. Qureshi says she is often asked about a Part of the Koran which instructs Muslims to "kill the idolaters," and explains that this must be read in Context of the Text, which is describing a state of "ongoing conflict."
Alas! It is precisely because of the Context of Mr. Merah’s Actions that we are inclined to see them as an Expression – if not of Islam generally – then of a powerful Element of the Religion.
If Mr. Merah had claimed to be on a Mission to restore Zoroastrianism to its rightful Pride of Place among the World’s Religions, we might tend to agree with the Argument that he did not actually represent the true Zoroastrian Spirit. Frankly, Zoroastrianism is not often on the Front Pages of most Newspapers.
But Islam is.
Let us look briefly at the Context, which Ms. Qureshi claims is so important.
Islam is a Religion which proclaims Death for Apostates:
They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them. (Koran 4:89)
It is a Religion which inspired the Destruction of the Towers in the City of New York.
It is a Religion under which Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared a fatwa against Salman Rushdie for writing a Book.
It is a Religion which inspires Mobs, Rioting and Death when irreverent Cartoons are published.
It is the Religion of Sharia Law which is associated with flogging, amputation, and the custom of Honour Killings.
Although the Koran does not mention Stoning for Adultery:
Adultery is one of three justifications for killing a person,
according to Muhammad. (Bukhari 83:37)
The Book suggests that the Husband "should treat the wife with kindness and love, even if she tends to be stupid or slow sometimes," and recommends that he "beat [her] by hand or stick," but not "excessively."
Obviously, not all Muslims are driven by the more egregious Elements of their Faith. But those Elements are there, and it is a Pity that Muslims like Afsun Qureshi try to pretend they are not.
When we actually look at the Context – the kinds of Ideas, Attitudes, and Actions clearly associated with Islam, it is not difficult to see Mohammed Merah – as he claimed – drawing his Inspiration from it. He may have been a "murderous nut" – but the Nut came from a Tree, which has Roots in a Soil -- and that Soil is quite foreign to the Concepts of a free and civil Society as we understand it.
|March 26, 2012
We see that Mr. Mulcair has won the Leadership of the New Democratic Party, and has Intentions to move the Party from its Socialist Left to the Electable Middle.
In the National Post today, John Ivison suggests that Mr. Mulcair, Author of an Article entitled: Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of the Country, may have some Difficulty in wooing the West. It appears that Mr. Mulcair would favour restraining Development of the Oil Sands, and exporting Oil only after Refinement. This Stance should prove popular with the West -- which currently sends bailout Payments to the East -- and endearing to Realists who observe there is already an Excess of refining Capacity in North America.
We have always found the New Democratic Party amusing because of its Socialism, which, narrowed down to its Essentials, involves Belief in the Perfectibility of Humankind, and the central Rôle of Government in creating the Nirvana into which perfected human Beings might comfortably fit. The Cost, of course, is Freedom.
Mr. Mulcair wishes to move the Party to a more Liberal Centre, but this is a change in Degree, not in Kind. The Centre in Canada is more than willing to make the necessary Trade: More Security for less Freedom.
|It is well-known that Canadians are less
entrepreneurial, more comfortable with socialized Medicine, Human Rights
Commissions, and subsidized Broadcasters than those living just to the
South. Our Fondness for Insurance is legendary. When Americans had the
wild West, Canadians had the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
We speculate that, perhaps, Climate has something to do with our Preference for Security over Freedom. Here we are, huddled along a narrow, unpleasantly cold Strip of arable Land between the Border and Vast Amounts of forbiddingly desolate Rock and Ice. We’re cold. We need all the Help we can get.
Is it simply Chance that Socialism started in Russia, and is most successful in the Scandinavian Countries?
In the End, Mr. Mulcair’s Move to the Centre may make his Party somewhat less risible, but it will still be a Party of Big Brother.
For ourselves, we welcome the Influence of the Sun News Network, which attacks the compulsory Correctness and coercive Collectivism of our present Condition. We have some small Hope that the malign Effects of our Climate may still be overcome.
|March 25, 2012
We are intrigued to see that the Supreme Court has upheld the Principle of "differential sentencing" where Aboriginal People are concerned. (Joseph Brean, National Post March 24)
As George Jonas pointed out recently (See Diary March 21, 2012), Racism is considered abhorrent and beyond the Pale in our Civilized Society, except when it is practised or compelled by Government.
Even so, we were surprised to learn that the Criminal Code of Canada requires Judges to consider Alternatives to Imprisonment "with particular attention to the circumstances of aboriginal offenders." The 6-1 Supreme Court Ruling last Friday makes it clear that even in the Matter of Violation of long-term supervision Orders, Consideration must be given to such Matters as Colonialism, and Residential Schools – and their Effects on Education, Unemployment, Substance Abuse, Suicide, and levels of Incarceration.
We confess there is a superficial Attractiveness to the Notion that all should be Judged in the light of their particular Circumstances; we are not so sure that all should be judged on the Basis of the Group to which they belong, which is clearly, in this Case, based on Race, and makes Assumptions about the Influence of Historical Events on Present Times.
The great Danger is that Low Expectations of Behaviour tend to encourage and calcify Behaviour that meets those very Expectations. The Attitude is patronizing, and does nothing to encourage Improvement.
|We see the Problem as one of determining the
appropriate Sphere for Compassion in the Context of certain Darwinian
Requirements for Survival. The Emphasis here is the modern one of
Compassion for the individual Criminal with not much Thought given to
the Survival – the Viability – of the Group to which he belongs.
The Ideal -- unachievable, of course -- is to combine Mercy with Justice. But it would seem a significant Error to put Mercy on a Pedestal in the Living Room, and consign Justice to the Scullery off the Kitchen. The dissenting Judge, Marshall Rothstein, noted that long-term Supervision Orders are intended for the Protection of the Public, and "Aboriginal communities are not a separate category entitled to less protection because the offender is aboriginal."
Our View is that those shown to be a Menace to Society should not be able to plead the extenuating Circumstance of their Background, or their Membership in a Particular group. Their particular Misfortune should not be given greater Weight than the Safety of the Public.
Post Script: We suspect we have a Bias very much at Odds with the Temper of the Times. We find, for Example that we are exceptionally leery of the Notion of Rehabilitation in which Mental Illness, or Loss of Control are Factors. Dr. Guy Turcotte, who murdered his Children, or Vince Weiguang Li, who beheaded a fellow Passenger on a Greyhound Bus may indeed be Victims of their mental Circumstance. But we could never be convinced that they might safely be set free.
|March 24, 2012
After our Commentary Yesterday on the first Stirrings of an Exposé of David Suzuki, the Saint with the Feet of a Lobbyist -- a Lobbyist who habitually walks in Mud -- we can scarcely conceal our Delight at a Letter which appears in this Day’s National Post from W. Mark Erwin, of the University of Toronto.
Dr. Erwin, who categorizes Dr. Suzuki as a "misguided former drosophila investigator," notes that he has consistently demonstrated that he is "incapable of dispassionately addressing such important issues as climate science" a Matter on which he is "uniquely unqualified " to speak. Indeed, Dr. Erwin concludes:
there are many of us who see this man for who he really is: a shill for the left-wing ideology of social engineering and redistribution of wealth.
The phrase "there are many of us" recalls a more general Theme which, for us, is a Source of much continuing Fascination: why do some People see Nonsense, in precisely those Matters where others see only Reason? Put another Way: how can we account for the extraordinary Failure of the average human Bullshit Detector?
|When one considers the high Esteem
in which Nonsense is held – in Matters as diverse as Religion,
Multiculturalism, Human Rights Commissions, Climate Madness, and the
Universal Health Care System – one must lament the inefficient,
defective, flimsy, shoddy and laughably ineffective Device installed by
the Original Equipment Manufacturer. Until we can devise superior
After-Market Installations or discover some reliable Means of upgrading
the hopelessly inaccurate original genetic Component, we see Nonsense
continuing to hold Sway in the Imaginations of the Bulk of Mankind, much
to its ultimate detriment.
We suspect the Matter is essentially irremediable, and Extraordinary Popular Delusions* will continue to be a noteworthy Feature of the human Landscape.
*Charles Mackay: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, 1841.
P.S. A brief Account of Dr. Suzuki's career may be found in the Drivel for December 3, 2011: David Bullzuki and the Apocalyptic Wizards.
|March 23, 2012
We always look forward to the News of the Day with the comfortable Assurance that it will be gloomy.
This Day, for Example, we see that China is slowing down and Europe is "wilting." There is Speculation that Interest Rates in Canada could rise, which might presage a Bursting of the Housing Bubble. In Ontario the ineffable McGuinty has decided to "charge" ahead with his green Energy Shenanigans, at the same time maintaining his Affinity with the concerned Ostriches of Legend and Fable.
The United Nations has decided to investigate Israel for Violations of Human Rights, there being a Paucity of Violations in other Middle East Countries, and, indeed, throughout the World. In the Meantime, Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah Al Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has declared that it is "necessary to destroy all the churches in the Arabian Peninsula."
Indeed, the only good News we can see is that the eco-fascist David Suzuki (See David Bullzuki and the Apocalyptic Wizards, Drivel, December 3, 2011) is finally coming under some Scrutiny.
It turns out that Mr. Suzuki’s Foundation, with Fifteen Lobbyists, has been shown to have taken Money from a foreign Government, the United Kingdom, in order to pursue the Climate Change Agenda of that Country. Mr. Suzuki has also been heard to support Mr. McGuinty as a Proponent of Green Energy Initiatives.
|All this would be quite fine, except for one
nagging little Detail: Mr. Suzuki’s Foundation is a Charitable
Organization, which can issue Tax Receipts. Surprisingly, charitable
Organizations are supposed to conduct charitable Activities; they are
forbidden from engaging in Political Activities.
Recently the Senate has had the Temerity to launch an Inquiry into the Matter of Foreign Funding of Canadian Political Activism. Mr. Suzuki, taking Umbrage at this Threat to his Status of Saint, has caused Members of his Flock to complain in Writing to the Senate of this Attempt to "silence and demonize those who don’t share their positions." (Peter Foster, National Post, March 23)
Mr. Suzuki, who once called for the Imprisonment of Politicians who disagreed with him, reflects the unfortunate Circumstance of those whose intensive Training as a Fruit-fly Geneticists is all-consuming: Irony has no Place in the Curriculum.
We look forward to a re-classification of Mr. Suzuki’s Lobbying Organization; we can only hope that a public De-frocking, and the Initiation the unique Process of De-canonization will follow.
|March 22, 2012
We are always pleased when we encounter positive News.
The first of two comforting Bits of Information is to be found in a Report by Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter, who describes the Province’s Arrangement with Ornge, a Provider of Air Ambulance Services as:
so powerfully unsound that $700 million in public funds flowed through the service with essentially no oversight...The ministry didn’t do its job in making sure that taxpayer interests were protected. (National Post, March 22)
The second soothing bit of News comes from a Fraser Institute report on our esteemed System of Health Care. An Article in this Day’s Post notes:
Despite hikes in federal transfers to provinces for health care that were 97.6 billion beyond what was needed to account for inflation and population growth in the past 13 years, there has been little improvement in access to care for Canadians....the time it takes to get treatment from a specialist after a referral ...was 19 weeks last year, up almost 60% from 1997."
We note that Progress lurches forward like an ungainly Stool of three Legs. One Leg is the Discovery of new Facts; another is the Development of Theories based on the new Facts. The third Leg, which is so often the laggard, is the Conclusion that the old Theories – the ones we thought were true -- are, in fact, false.
|One of our pet Notions is that old, false
Theories, eventually succumb to the Onslaught of contrary Evidence.
That is why we find these two Items of News perversely comforting. Surely, as the Evidence mounts that Government is hopelessly inefficient at providing Goods and Services, we will return to a System which, in some Measure, reintroduces Market Forces – those Forces which provide the vast Majority of Consumers with adequate supplies of Hotcakes, Houses, and Hondas.
Governments are needed to provide Structure and Regulation; they are useful in setting the "Rules of the Game." As Players, they are dithering, uncoordinated Klutzes, more likely to score against the Team they purport to represent than to gain the Adulation of the Crowd with the Achievement of meaningful Goals.
(We do not plan to hold our Breath; old Illusions, like old Superstitions and old Religions are Roadrunners passing the Edge of a Cliff: unsupported, ungrounded in Reality, they continue in untroubled Ignorance for an Period of Time which inspires both Wonder and Consternation in the Mind of the Beholder.)
| March 21, 2012
Observation 38: The "Messiness Principle" suggests that all grand schemes for the improvement of human affairs, carried far enough, and consistently enough, will eventually reveal the internal contradictions which make them ineffective, unworkable, and absurd. See also Drivel, April 11, 2010)
In today’s National Post, George Jonas quotes the European Union Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, speaking to the Press in Brussels:
Personally, I am not a great fan of quotas. However, I like the results they bring.
Ms. Reding is referring to the need for Women to have more than the current 13% Representation on the Boards of Corporations. If there is not "voluntary" Co-operation, Ms Reding will consider "legislative measures."
Mr. Jonas notes the Fascism of the "liberal" State, which decrees an End to Discrimination on the grounds of Sex, Race, Religion, and Ethnicity, and then, in an Orgy of Orwellian Doublethink, proceeds to compel Discrimination on exactly those Grounds.
We must note as relevant here a Report on Human Rights Commissions in Canada released yesterday by John Carpay: Procedural Fairness in Human Rights Legislation: "From Bad to Worse." The Report notes that Ontario is the worst in the Matter of procedural Fairness among all the Canadian Jurisdictions:
|Hearsay evidence is admissible;
the decision-maker does not need a law degree or training as a lawyer;
the Ontario Human Rights Commission actively assists complainants without providing any assistance or legal representation to respondents;
the Commission can initiate complaints;
third parties can file complaints without having suffered discrimination themselves;
there are no consequences for those who file frivolous or malicious complaints; and
there is no cap or ceiling on the amount of damages that can be awarded for hurt feelings.
To this list we would add that there is no Recourse for Reimbursement on the part of the wrongfully accused. Once again, the Doublethink is in Evidence: Commissions set up to protect Human Rights end by eroding them.
The Difficulty, of course, is the Wonderful Concept of Equality. Everywhere, we must suppose there are idealistic Groups of Idiots sitting around, planning the perfect World, a World where Merit and the natural Variabilities in the Human Circumstance are banished, and a perfect Uniformity of Representation for every Group is achieved. For good Measure, they also decree that no one should suffer hurt Feelings -- no – wait – let’s add Unhappiness to that.
But the Messiness Principle will not be contradicted: such grand Schemes, after wreaking their necessary Havoc, are doomed to Failure. No one should be surprised that, Day by Day, we are going from "bad to worse."
|March 20, 2012
We observe much Gnashing of Teeth over the Riot in London on St. Patrick’s Day, during which Fires were set and Vehicles overturned.
But, as the Editorial in this Day’s National Post notes, this is merely the Fourth in a Series of Disruptions in the Fleming Drive Student Enclave.
Beyond the Instruction of Precedent, we would note some of our favourite Gloomy Conclusions about the Human Condition:
1. Youth believes itself to be invincible and immortal, largely because it has not had Time to accumulate contrary Evidence. Thus Caution, which increases with Age, is uncharacteristic of Youth.
2. Alcohol tends to remove Inhibitions.
3. As Charles Mackay has pointed out in Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds:
Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds...
4.The veneer of Civilization is not as robust as we would like to think. One has only to observe the appeal of Team sporting Events, especially those in which Speed and Violence are a part to suspect an Appeal to our warlike tribal Nature. The fact that there are Riots associated with sporting Events is not, we think, coincidental.
|5. Deep down, People enjoy letting
loose, and smashing Things. This may well be a primitive Response to the
restrictive Demands of Civilization – or the innate Desire on the Part
of Man to show that he is not a "Piano Key."
We think less Gnashing of Teeth is in Order, and more Thought about what Action might be taken to reduce the Causes.
The Age of the Participants is hardly subject to Remediation, but Intolerance for public Intoxication on such Days as St. Patrick’s might introduce a note of Caution. The Broken Window Theory represents a profound Observation about human Nature.
While we are generally in Favour of Freedom, some Degree of Regulation with Respect to the Location of Student Housing might interfere with The Herd Mentality.
Youth is idealistic, and people are often remarkably susceptible to Propaganda. Observe our Devotion to and Worship of the Recycling Box. Surely Fanshawe College could make frequent and persistent Appeal to Students based on the Reputation of the Institution of which they are a Part.
Finally, as the Editorial in the National Post points out, previous Response to other Riots has not been Draconian. Regardless of the Thickness of the Veneer of Civilization, we still think it true that Those who get their Fingers burnt on a Hot Stove, are likely to acquire a Degree of Caution, and those who observe the unhappy Consequences might take mental Notes which could be of future Benefit.
|March 19, 2012
We are intrigued to see the daring Plan and bold Initiative of former Aboriginal Chief Terry Nelson, who plans to visit Iran. (CTV News March 18) It is said that he seeks Iranian Support in his Crusade for Aboriginal Human Rights and a greater Share of Oil and Mining Revenues.
In Return, Iran could be supplied with Food grown on aboriginal Land.
In View of the world-wide Reputation of Iran for its Leadership in the Field of Human Rights, and its possible need for Food because of Sanctions designed to discourage it from obtaining Nuclear Weapons, this would seem to be a brilliant Plan with every Chance of Success.
|We think, however that the plan is
needlessly restrictive. Would it not be appropriate for Mr. Nelson to
visit North Korea as well, since it is comparable to Iran in the Matter
of Human Rights, and is well known to have difficulty in feeding its
Any Interaction between Mr. Nelson and his Band of Followers and some of the more misunderstood Regimes of the World would seem to be of great Benefit. We think our Government should intervene in this Matter in order to allow Mr. Nelson’s Delegation to spend a Period of Years in both Countries in order that their Causes may be effectively presented and promoted.
We are pleased to see Mr. Nelson make an Appearance on Limerick Lane.
|March 18, 2012
We observe a Truth expressed on Byline by John Robson this Friday last – namely that Policing has been overtaken by Politics: the Political Calculus of Cautious Politics informed by Political Correctness.
The World, we understand, has become so complex, so riddled with unexpected Cautions and Considerations, that Policing is no longer a simple Matter of enforcing the Law and apprehending Malefactors.
The type and quality of the Malefactor must be first entered into the Computational matrix; The Direction of the Political Breeze must be noted; the correct Buttons must be pushed -- before the Authorization is received, and the Course of Action may be reliably known.
Consider, for Instance, the Matter of Law-Breaking by Aboriginals in Caledonia. Their Blocking of Roads and Oppression of Citizens must be computed with the Fate of Dudley George, passed through a Filter of McGuinty Timidity, so that it can be determined that they should be allowed free Rein – or free Reign, as some would have it – and the full Force of the Law be directed at those who would impede them.
Similarly, when Tamils take over the public Roadway, or "99%" Protesters occupy Public Spaces, normal Policing Efforts are put on hold. And how are we to explain the original collective Yawn by Police Forces when the Black Bloc Bruisers attacked Police Vehicles at the G20 Protest in Toronto in 2010?
|Yet Individuals such Cory Morgan,
who parked his Truck, bearing satiric signage "End Marmot Tickling,"
More Sunny Days in July," at the Occupy Encampment in Calgary, was
immediately confronted by police, ticketed, and towed. And Ian
Thomson, who fired to disperse those who set fire to his Home, or David
Chen, who detained a Shoplifter, or Edward Raflant, who apprehended an
eleven-year-old Vandal – all these are charged with all the nit-picking
Fury that the Police can conceive, and that the Law will allow.
Ah, those Cases are different! Not only do they not involve special Groups of special People –they are easy, individual Prey – they threaten the Jurisdiction, they tread on the jealously guarded Turf of the Experts.
And what can we say of the Case of Tarek Fatah, a Muslim who complained of a Death Threat made by another Muslim? Why such a Case is fed into the System, which, passing the Facts through the special Muslim Filter, determines that a Muslim Officer will be sent to replace a regular Officer, who is insufficiently Muslim for the Circumstances. The Muslim Officer will be able to determine that the Issuer of the Threat "didn’t mean to say it," and the Ship of our State can sail smoothly on.
The Status of the individual Citizen, unconnected* to an officially disadvantaged Group is of a Consequence best described as nanological. The Law is on the side of the officially oppressed, the Claimants of Victimhood, or the menacingly numerous.
In this, our Modern Age, Common Sense must defer to Political Calculus.
*In the Case of Mr. Fatah, it should be noted that he is often critical of the Muslim Majority, and hence may be viewed as "unconnected."
|March 17, 2012
How to Lose an Argument: Keep your Mouth Shut
Last Evening on Byline, an Interview with Pam Geller an American Author and Columnist revealed that the New York Times, which had published an anti-Catholic Advertisement on March 9, refused a similar Advertisement in which the Word "Catholic" had been replaced by "Islam." The Text was an Appeal to moderate Muslims to quit their Religion because of its record of Jihad, Denial of Freedom of Speech, Oppression of Women, and Policy of Death for Apostates.
The New York Times refused to publish the Advertisement because :
the fallout from running this ad now could put U.S. troops and/or civilians in the [Afghan] region in danger.
In other Words the Islamic Policy of Outrage, Riot and Murder as a Response to Criticism is working well. It is a wonderful Method of Censorship by Intimidation.
We think, of course, that we live in an Age of Freedom; but the Freedom is less than it appears.
In an Article in this Day’s National Post, Joseph Brean discusses a Book by Nick Cohen: You Can’t Read this Book: Censorship In An Age Of Freedom.
|Mr. Cohen makes the Point that no one writing
Today could write a Book like Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses.
Nor would anyone dare to publish it. He most accurately notes that the
Aim of Censorship is Self-Censorship.
It is especially interesting that Religion, which is no more than a "set of ideas" has aspired to the Status of Unalterable Characteristic, which puts it in the same Category as Racism. Thus the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2009 "demanded that member states forbid the defamation of religion, just as they forbid racist hate speech."
We can confirm that this Attitude is alive and well in Canada; a recent Exchange with a well known Radio Personality showed that he appeared to equate being Christian with being black, or gay; hence any Criticism of Religion could be labelled as Bigotry or Stupidity.
We think Society would be well-served by a greater Devotion to Honesty, and free Expression of Opinion. Intimidation by Murderers will not be deterred by Silence; nor will the Oppression of Political Correctness – that idealistically inspired Notion which holds that, because None should ever be offended, some Cultures and the Ideas which inform them should be above Criticism.
|March 16, 2012
We are intrigued to learn that Direct Energy, a major Lessor of Hot Water Tanks, has cancelled a nefarious Ploy to ensnare its Customers in an oppressive Contract. The new Contract would have made it very difficult for Lessees to remove their Tanks without Payment for the residual Value of the Tank – possibly as much as $3,000.
In the wonderful Tradition of "negative option billing" Customers were required to inform the Company if they did not wish to engage in the new Contract, and remain with the old One, which made Removal of the Tank a relatively inexpensive Matter.
The Outcry was, according to CTV News, so considerable, that the Company has retreated, no doubt to consider other evil Options.
We have had personal Experience with rented Hot Water Tanks. When the Lumpenbangen Facility was purchased a Decade past, we decided to remove two existing rented Tanks, and purchase one with our own meagre Resources. We had the Tanks disconnected, and employed the Predecessor of Serviceable Six, the Guzzler Eight, to return the Tanks to the Company’s Facility.
The Company wished to charge us Forty Dollars; we declined to pay on the Grounds that the Company’s Contract was with the previous Owners, and we had signed no Agreement with the Company.
|We have been given to understand
that –quite unfairly it seems to us – the Purchase of the Building seems
to imply a Continuation of the existing Contract. At that Time, however,
we were adamant, and despite Threats of Prosecution, refused to pay. To
this Day, we are unrepentant.
We reflect on two Matters. First, it is an extraordinary Tribute to the Force of Custom that Residents of Ontario rent Hot Water Tanks. People who would not dream of renting a Refrigerator, Stove, Furnace, or Air-conditioning Unit, continue to rent Hot Water Tanks. It is simply bizarre. We can only compare it to the unthinking Practice of some traditional religious Ritual, the Origins of which are lost in the Mists of Antiquity. Perhaps a Statue should be raised to the Sales Genius who has raised so obedient a Flock of Sheep as the Residents of Ontario.
The second Matter is the Value of Competition. Direct Energy did not retreat because of a religious Conversion; they did so because they were aware that incensed Customers might easily cancel their old Contracts and purchase their own Tanks at Home Depot. Not so lucky are those Customers of Government Monopolies –like Hydro One – who have no Escape from high Rates and presumptuous, arrogant Treatment.
There may be some few justifiable Government Monopolies;* but Society is always best served by the availability of Choice. In a Word, the benign Face of Freedom is more comely than the contorted Visage of Coercion
*Health Care is NOT one of them.
|March 15, 2012
We are sometimes in Awe of the great Progress being made in our Society.
We did note on October 14 2011, the wonderful Plan to introduce the Wearing of the Hijab by certain Female Police Officers who express a desire to do so. At that Time we expressed our fervent Hope that Religious Symbols of many Faiths might find their Way into the official Uniform, so that Citizens might be aware of just how their Behaviour should be modified to accommodate the religious Biases of the Police.
Thus far, alas, we have heard of no such Proliferation of religious Symbols. But we live in Hope.
The Muslimization of the Force, however, seems to be proceeding apace, and we look forward to the many Benefits which are certain to accrue.
Last Evening, on Byline, David Menzies did interview Tarek Fatah regarding the wonderful Co-operation between the Toronto Police Force and the Muslim religious Community. We learned that Meetings between the Force and religious Leaders take place Monthly, as a Means of ensuring a comfortable Understanding. It will undoubtedly facilitate the Incorporation of many desirable Features into Policing Policy.
|Indeed, Mr. Fatah, when in Hospital recently,
received a Threat of Death and contacted Police. The two uniformed
Officers who arrived were immediately replaced by two intelligence
Officers, one of whom was a Muslim. Later that Evening, the Muslim
Officer informed Mr Fatah that the Person making the Threat "didn’t mean
to say it," and no Charges would be laid.
One can immediately see the Benefits of Muslim Police Officers investigating Matters concerning Muslims. Such Officers are possessed of a special je ne sais pas quoi which allows them to make Determinations with a wonderful Speed, with the added Benefit of bypassing costly and Time-consuming Police Procedures.
The apparent Policy of employing Muslim Officers to deal with Complaints by Muslims will surely result in Policing more expeditious and comforting. One can well imagine one in the Position of a Shafia Daughter, making Complaint of Family Oppression: how welcome and comforting to see a Female Officer wearing a Hijab; what Sense of Relief to be assured of an unbiased Hearing!
We do hope that these present Measures are but tiny Steps in the Introduction of Religion into Policing. We would urge the Toronto Police Force to make earnest Efforts in the Recruitment of easily identifiable Scientologists, Zoroastrians, and Druids – these Practitioners being significantly under-represented in our present primitive Times.
| March 14, 2012
We are intrigued to see an All-Terrain Vehicle proceed at considerable Speed over the frozen Lake.
While the Lake is frozen, it has ominous thin Sheets of Water on the Surface, and the Temperature has been above freezing – at least in the Daytime – for several Days.
|We note also, where the Lake narrows to a Stream
there is much open Water, and we observed yesterday some Geese swimming,
and honking their exultant Return.
We know nothing of the Thickness of the Ice, and in the absence of Knowledge, we prefer to be superstitiously fearful. If Bets were required, we would put Money on the Geese -- they being adapted to very cold Water – as the more sensible Prognosticators.
|March 13, 2012
The warm Weather continues, which allows us to husband our dwindling Supply of Firewood.
It is our Custom to purchase, before each Winter, a Cord of Firewood, which usually does allow us to heat the Cottage at Wind-in-the-Pines with Wood during our Winter Sojourns, instead of the increasingly expensive Electricity supplied by the nearby Hydro One Gerbil Farm.
We assume that the Hydro is supplied by Gerbils running on Circular Treadmills, since it is reliably unreliable. We attribute this to poor Motivation on the part of the Gerbils, which, in turn, may be traced to the Inefficiency and generalized Obtuseness for which the Management of Hydro One is widely known.
|It would appear that, this Season, our Sojourns have been longer,
and more Wood has been consumed. We look with Terror on the Prospect of
having to rely on the Electric Furnace, the Bills for which have led us
to Contemplation of smashing Things, the Installation of our own Gerbil
Farm, or, at the very least, a Propane Alternative.
We suspect that Bills for Electricity, a result of Mr. McGuinty’s Green-Schemery, will continue to escalate, even with a carefully planned Series of Motivational Conferences for the desultory Gerbils.
This Morning we have encapsulated some of our Dissatisfactions in Verse. The Verse, in an Approximation of the Sonnet Form, is entitled:
How Green is my McGuinty? Let me count the Ways. It may be found in the Drivel Section.
|March 12, 2012
We are intrigued to learn of the Charges laid against Edward Raflant of Stonewall, Manitoba.
Mr. Raflant became tired of having Vandals damage the abandoned House of his late Mother, and had occasion to apprehend an 11-year-old seen fleeing the Property; he then took the boy to the RCMP Station.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Raflant was charged, and the 11-year-old was given a ride Home.
Indeed, we hope that the 11-year-old will receive a Citation of Thanks from the Community for exposing the erroneous Mentality and aggressive Instincts of the 74-year-old Mr. Raflant.
All too often, we see Citizens like Mr. Raflant act under the mistaken Belief that they should take over the Functions of Police who are too busy with important administrative Matters and Coffee Shop Surveillance to respond to annoying Requests for Protection and Law Enforcement.
|It is in the general interest of the Community to
leave Enforcement of Laws – or Lack thereof -- to dedicated and caring
A Professor at the University of Manitoba – which is at the forefront of the esteemed Lackadaisical Degree-Granting Movement (See Diary, November 3, 2010) -- David Deutscher, was quoted as saying:
My real view of it ... it’s really not a good idea. Allowing people to become involved in enforcing the law is just a recipe for violence.
We heartily agree. It is far better to let Criminals pursue their entrepreneurial Activities in Peace, rather than cause them undue Alarm or Distress with any Threat of Violence. Even when under personal Threat of Attack, it would appear best for Citizens to surrender quietly to their Oppressors. Even if they are injured or killed, at least only one Individual is harmed, which is better than risking the potential Harm to Two Entities when they engage in violent Conflict.
In short, we are pleased to see great Advances taking Place in Civilization, in small Ways, to be sure, but with ultimate Benefit to the Common Good.
We eagerly await News of the Sentencing of Mr. Raflant.
| March 11, 2012
Attracted by the Promise of unseasonably warm Weather, we are at Wind-in-the-Pines. Yesterday was still winter-like, and did not provide us with the Spring Break we had sought; however, Today registers over ten Degrees, and is suitably bright.
We have not been sunbathing. The Story of the brave and noble Fight of Pamela Howson to establish" Family Status" as an Attack against the Forces of Bureaucracy (see below) has moved us greatly. We have felt compelled to make record of her Ground-breaking Efforts in the Hope it may serve as a small but not unworthy Contribution to the Historical Account of Discrimination in advancing Civilizations. Our Efforts may be found on Limerick Lane.
|We have also written a small Piece as a result of Google’s Request for our Cell Phone Number. We see this is but one small step in the technological Advance towards the complete Control of all Citizens for their own good. Our comments may be found in the Drivel Section.|
|March 10, 2012
Having concluded that Monopolist Hydro Utilities, being accountable to no one, represent a significant Threat to Civilization as we would wish to see it, we were intrigued to learn of the Case of Neil Lemon, who has been in the Dark in New Brunswick for thirteen Years. (National Post, March 10)
It appears that Mr. Lemon had been unable to pay his Bill of $746 and was permanently disconnected, after he had reconnected the Power himself several Times in 1999. New Brunswick Power wants $3000 for Re-Connection, which includes the Cost of a Hydro Pole.
We think this Circumstance to be not only an Example of the wonderful Power of Power Monopolies, but of the Need for all Citizens to stay firmly abreast of the Times.
Consider the instructive Case of Pamela Howson, a former Investigator with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, who claims that the Driveway Access to the Garage of her Ottawa House is too narrow for convenient Navigation. She requires a Mazda 5 to make the perilous Trip because she and her Husband have three small Children, and the width of the Vehicle does not allow for an untroubled Navigation of the Space.
|Front Yard Parking is not allowed on her
Street, except under Special Circumstances. Ms Howson applied to the
City claiming her "Family Status" as a Special Circumstance. When she
was refused, she claimed Discrimination based on "Family Status."
City Officials told Ms. Howson to apply to the Committee of Adjustment, since they had no legal Power to grant Exceptions, but, instead, Ms. Howson has sought Remedy with the Human Rights Commission.
Surely Mr. Lemon would be advised to make similar Complaint, on the Grounds that Access to Electricity is a Human Right, or, indeed, any other Reason that he can think of.
| March 9. 2012
Human kind/ cannot bear very much reality. T. S. Eliot (1888 - 1965)
Yesterday to the Art Gallery of Hamilton to view The Messenger, an Exhibit of the Works of William Kurelek (1927-1977).
We observed two general Types of Paintings. The First are superficially naive– Works which might be described as "Folk Art," but which yet suggest contrived Meaning through Symbolism. Often the Landscape of Kurelek’s Prairie Youth provides an extending Frame of Vastness to the Figures and human Activities portrayed, and much is seen as if from a great Height. For example, a Series of Six Pictures under the Title The Ukrainian Pioneer illustrate the Move from a crowded dark blue Ukrainian Village through a Voyage by Open Sea to the great Vistas of Snow and Grain in the new Land. In the Last three Images in particular, the human Figures are dwarfed by the Landscape.
Some other Paintings are like those of Hieronymus Bosch, didactic through strange Complexities and dark Symbolism – the Nightmares of the obsessed.
One Painting, Harvest of our Mere Humanism Years (1972), shows an unending Line of Figures bearing Sacks towards Toronto City Hall. They may be rendering the Taxes due to Caesar, but, at the end of their Journey, just past the Hall, they fall from a Cliff. To the Left of the Hall, there are deep Fissures in the Earth containing the outstretched Arms of those buried, perhaps "fallen through the cracks" of the "Humanism Years."
|The Repositories of Knowledge, the
Universities, are represented by a stack of bespectacled Books,
surrounded by worshippers. Under the pressure of a Vise, Knowledge is
extracted, dribbled into a Cup where a parasitic Locust sips. The
Distillation is not nourishing; the Locust is missing one foot, and the
body is an empty Shell, swarming with Ants.
Above the City Hall, a Bomb is suspended by thin Wires: at any Moment the meaningless, unsatisfying Creation may be destroyed.
It should be noted that William Kurelek was diagnosed as Schizophrenic in 1952, and was treated in England. He considered himself a "romantic, a communist and an atheist,"* but converted to Catholicism in 1957. Although he never completed the Project, he had Plans to build a Bomb Shelter in his Home on Balsam Avenue in Toronto.
Our Suspicion is that he saw – whether from mental Peculiarity or heightened Sensitivity --rather too deeply into the Realities of Existence, which if examined according to human Ideals, are somewhat less than encouraging. We cope with a certain Opacity of Vision, an Obliqueness of Perspective which prevents us from "peeping over the edge" and crying "The Horror! The Horror!"
Kurelek’s Conversion to Catholicism may have provided him with the necessary Counterweight to a Kurtzian Vision.
But it may also simply have provided him with an Alternative but more bearable – because it suggests an ultimate Escape – Lens by which to make the same Measurement of the Follies and Pitfalls of human Existence.
In the Kurelek Barn, there are small Children, happily playing; but the Roof is on Fire, a flaming Rope is about to fall on a Cart of Hay and they, as we, are threatened with a Collapse of Fire.
* Robert Enright, The return of William Kurelek's apocalyptic vision, Globe and Mail, October 27, 2011.
|March 8, 2012
Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains. (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1712-1778)
Of all the offspring of Time, Error is the most ancient, and is so old and familiar an acquaintance, that Truth, when discovered, comes upon most of us like an intruder, and meets the intruder's welcome. (Charles Mackay 1814 -1889; Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.)
Yesterday we did remark on a Study which, assuming the Primacy of the Sun in affecting the Temperature of the Earth, predicts a Cooling during the present Solar Cycle.
Yet we note Interviews with Gordon Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario on CBC Radio and CTV News that same Day suggest that the Government and the Usual Media are still anticipating a Warmer Climate, based, we assume, on the Activities of Man.
This popular Thinking, is apparently supported by selective Evidence – the Warm Winter experienced in Canada. Those in Europe who have experienced much Snow and unprecedented Ice might be less inclined to agree with popular Thinking.
We are virtually certain that popular Thinking will turn out to be an "extraordinary popular delusion." While we have no Expertise in such Matters, Common Sense makes us suspicious for the Following Reasons.
1. It is well known that radical changes in Climate have occurred – Ages of Ice and Retreat – long before the Appearance of the Cadillac Escalade.
2. There is a human Fascination with Disaster, and a human Tendency for Anthropocentrism.
Thus the Conclusion of Charles Mackay: We go out of our course to make ourselves uncomfortable; the cup of life is not bitter enough to our palate, and we distill superfluous poison to put into it, or conjure up hideous things to frighten ourselves at, which would never exist if we did not make them.
|3. Predictions of Climate Change are dependent
on Computer Programs. Gold in, Gold out; Garbage in, Garbage out. Can we
tell the Difference between Gold and Garbage?
4. Garbage has been found among the Gold: the "Hockey Stick" Graph of Warming has been exposed as erroneous.
5. Predictions of melting Ice Caps, Abandonment of low Islands have been false. Global Warming has been absent in the last fifteen Years. There has been a mild increase of .6 to .8 degrees in the last 100 years, which is not exceptional.
6. Much Skullduggery has been exposed among Climate Alarmists, suggesting that Science has been supplanted by Fervour, Self-Interest, and Self-Aggrandisement.
7. Gradually, Scientists are beginning to speak out against the Popular View. The Wall Street Journal published a recent (January 27) Letter from sixteen Climate Scientists which states:
a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.
Thus, it appears to us that Rousseau was correct: Man is everywhere bound by the Chains -- the Chains of Popular Delusion. And Charles Mackay observers well: 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. Gradually, People are beginning to come to their Senses.
Time will provide the Answers. If there is little Warming, or if Cooling should be in the ascendant, the Popular Delusion of anthropogenic Climate Change will be viewed in the same Light as the "Dot-com Bubble" of the 20th Century or the Tulip Mania of the 16th.
But this Knowledge, alas, will have no Power to prevent some other, more compelling Madness of Crowds.
| March 7, 2012
Last August (Diary, August 30, 2011) we did note the Mechanism by which the Sun does affect the Temperature of the Earth, based on findings by the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
It appears that the stronger the Magnetic Field of the Sun, the more Cosmic Rays are prevented from reaching the Atmosphere of the Earth.
The more Cosmic Rays prevented, the fewer Molecules are formed which create Clouds, which cool the Earth.
The fewer the Clouds, the warmer does the Earth become.
Thus, the stronger the magnetic Field of the Sun, the warmer the Earth.
In today’s National Post, Lorne Gunter notes the Publication of a paper by Jan-Erik Solheim, Kjell Stordahl and Ole Humlum: The long sunspot cycle 23 predicts a significant temperature decrease in cycle 24,* which predicts an imminent Cooling of the Earth.
|It has been found that the
Temperature of a coming Solar Cycle can be predicted based on the Length
of the previous One. The current Cycle (24), now three years old,
is estimated to be 17 years long, and 4.5 years longer than the
previous One (23). (David Archibald on Website Watts up with That).
Mr. Archibald suggests that a predicted Drop of 5.2 Degrees in the Corn Belt in the current Cycle will take us back to Temperatures of the Period of 1690 -1700, which was marked by significant Deaths in Europe based on Failure of Crops. He says that Canadian Agriculturalists will become Trappers of Beavers.
We wish, now, that a Time Travel Machine could be developed with a Capacity to send a significant Number a Decade or so into the Future. Tickets could be sold to Anthropogenic Climate Change Alarmists, on the Pretext that they are about to attend the Definitive Conference on the Perils of Global Warming. Tropical Wear advised; Beaver Coats confiscated prior to Flight.
| March 5, 2012
We rarely receive Letters – so we hope to be forgiven for publishing this one, received this very Morning:
Dear Dr. Dreimer:
You are obviously one possessed of vast reservoirs of the milk of human benevolence, and have cornucopian capacities for caring kindness. Is it not difficult, sometimes, to know where, on the landscape of human misery, to direct the largesse of your compassion?
Dear Mr. Cappenbells:
We appreciate your Perceptiveness, and thank you for writing. Indeed, it is sometimes extremely difficult to know where to extend the cornucopian Capacities to which you refer. This Morning, however we are grateful for an Article by Joseph Brean in the National Post, which delineates the Perils of academic Publishing, and engages all our tender Sympathies for those involved in such Matters.
It appears that the Canadian Centre of Science and Education (CCSE), an Organization which operates 61 Journals from an Office in Toronto, has encountered Outbreaks of Plagiarism in its Pages. One Paper has been retracted, and others are under Investigation. (We hope these isolated Afflictions portend no Epidemic.)
The Task of detecting Plagiarism, of determining which Articles have the Ring of Truth, and which do not, must be Herculean. Mr. Brean quotes an Excerpt from an Article by Sharam Gilaninia, a Professor of Industrial Management at Islamic Azad University in Rasht, Iran, which was published by CCSE:
Tourism for all citizens of the world and the vital is to provide sustainable employment. In this regard, most attention of governments and their management resources to the tourism and pristine natural environment or green has been focused on other aspects of the industry, although also Country managers see gone away, but to protect and maintain environmental capacity most important challenges the countries in this field covers.
|Imagine, dear Readers, the Editorial Staff at
CCSE confronted with this opening Paragraph! What Conflicts must arise!
What Imponderables must be pondered!
On the one hand, there is the Prose, betokening a World of Good Intentions fallen Prey to a Mangle, and Presenting the bedraggled Aspect of Incoherence.
On the other Hand, there are attractive individual Words such as "green," "sustainable," and "pristine." And – lest we forget to mention it – the Cheque for $300 – the Fee charged to Authors for Publication.
We would not wish to be placed in a Situation so delicate, so demanding, so difficult. Thus, one half of this Morning's cornucopian Sympathies must be extended to the Editors of the CCSE.
The other Half of our Sympathies must be extended to Professor Gilaninia and Co- author Seyyed Javad Mousavian in the Matter of a completely different Article from that referred to above – an Article about Logos published in a CCSE Journal which contained long Passages that had previously been published elsewhere, but without Acknowledgement of that troubling Circumstance.
The Explanation was that the Project involved "writing by teamwork," and the offending Work was submitted by a Student whose Name cannot be remembered.
O the Perils of Academic Research! O the intractable Difficulties of Team Writing Enterprises!
O the Failures of Memory when one is Burdened with the nearly impossible Task of churning out Papers, Month after Month, Year after Year! All those faceless, unmemorable Students upon whom one must rely for original, significant Contributions to the Field!
Yes, Mr. Cappenbells, on some Days the Object of our delicate Sympathies and heartfelt Concerns is difficult to determine. But today, we have no Hesitation: The World of Academic Publication deserves the full Cup of our considered and caring Compassion.
| March 4, 2012
Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. (Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826; letter to James Smith, 1822.)
We must suppose that one of the usual Qualities of Religion is that it is a Machine with two Valves: it as if the Human Being, enclosed in the Machine, finds the closed Valve of Repression balanced by an open Valve of do-what-you-will-no-matter-how-stupid.
We may see this in the Christian Religion of old. Once one is an Adherent, and observing the Requirements, the Truth of one’s Belief may justify the Slaughter of Enemies, the Torture of Heretics, and the Forbidding of upsetting Ideas.
The militant Islamists see Rioting and Death as appropriate Responses when some Slight is perceived to their Way of Thinking.
And now, in Britain, it has been discovered that many believing in Witchcraft are responsible for Abuse and Deaths of Children. In the latest Case, Magalie Bamu and her Partner, Eric Bikubi, were found guilty of murdering Magalie’s fifteen-year-old Brother Kristy, in the Belief that he had cast Spells upon another Child. (National Post March 2 )
Police have investigated 83 "faith-based" Cases of Witchcraft Abuse in the last ten Years, but believe many Cases are not reported.
Lest these Examples be dismissed as found only in primitive African Belief, a googling of Exorcism Death, or What's the harm in exorcisms? will show surprising Results.
We understand that the rational, real World is often unpleasant, and that irrational Belief offers a comforting Respite. But too often, the Certainty of unfounded Belief leads to great Evil. That Evil, founded on Supposition alone, is amenable to neither Caution, Prudence, nor Argument.
Certainty is the Problem. We recall, in Hamlet, the words of Marcellus describing the reputed Wonders of the Season of "Our Saviour’s Birth:"
The bird of dawning singeth all night long...no spirit stirs abroad...then no planets strike / No fairy takes nor witch hath power to charm.
Horatio's Response seems so eminently sensible:
So have I heard, and do in part believe...
Would Mankind not be in a better State, if this were his Response to Religion?
| March 3, 2012
Until recently we were the Possessor of the World’s oldest Operating Cellular Telephone. It was a small blue Model by Siemens, carried as a magic Talisman against Geezermobile Breakdown, Attacks by Bears,* or Collapse on the Mountain Steps.
Its chief Purpose was magical; the Theoretical underpinning Concept was that Murphy’s Law is most likely to be evidenced when it can be most destructive – when one is in a State of Unreadiness. In a State of Readiness, the Law of probable unfortunate Consequence is of less universal Application.
Alas, the other Day, in the midst of a Bear Attack Preparedness Check, the blue Siemens failed to respond. The Lights had gone out. Connection to the Electrical Defibrillator was of no Assistance. Its Deadness was of Doornailian Proportions.
The Siemens had been resilient and hardy in Life, and its unexpected Survival of numerous Drops and partial Immersions, made it immune to Criticism. In Death, we began to reflect on its major Disadvantage: the raised Buttons on its Face would lead to accidental Activation when pocketed, and a subsequent Draining of its Battery Reserve.
Thus we resolved to seek a Replacement.
This was not as easy as we had hoped.
We can authoritatively Report, after an exhaustive Search of the Internet, that there are no good Cell Phones available. Since it the human Propensity to complain rather than praise, User Reviews are seldom positive: Cell Phones may be classed as poor, really bad, and absolutely awful.
|We were also faced with the
Decision of whether to renew our Relationship with FIDO. We have had
little Quarrel with FIDO except for the Fact that it has become
affiliated with Rogers Communications, which we see as a significant
Force for Evil in the World. The Rogers’ Cadre of satanic Henchmen
refuse to speak with Customers unless those Customers first state their
Age. We find this Security Question to be rude, intrusive, and
On the other Hand, we require only the most basic of Services: since we only use the Telephone when the Geezermobile breaks down, or when the Wind-in-the-Pines Bears make their infrequent attacks, our Usage is remarkably modest. FIDO has a Plan for a nominal Fifteen Dollars a Month -- which is undoubtedly much more when the Bill is actually presented -- but still likely less than the Thirty actual Dollars charged with our present Arrangement.
In the end, too confused for rational Thought, we settled on a Nokia C1 Telephone; we suspect that it falls into the Category of "really bad" but we reasoned that our Geezermobile Breakdown and Bear Attack Requirements would be so modest, that we would not likely be disappointed.
We were also able to set up a Password and Identification Number to be used in Conversation with the Satanic Henchmen. Thus, while the Security Questions at FIDO may be as offensive as those at Rogers, we will never encounter them. A studied Ignorance can sometimes avoid a disturbing ethical Challenge.
We are not proud of our Concession in this Matter; we console ourselves with the Fact that we have let lapse our Subscription to Maclean’s Magazine, which is also a Part of the Evil Rogers Empire.
*It is our understanding that a Cell Phone, brandished aloft and waved with sufficient Menace -- especially a small blue Siemens -- will send an attacking Bear in the opposite Direction.
| March 2, 2012
We admit to having many sleepless Nights and anguished Days over the Topic of Equality, of which there seems to be very great Need and far too small a Supply.
Matters have not been helped by the News in this Day’s Paper that a Legal Challenge, claiming that a Federal Court Judge was "biased against criminals" (Adrian Humphreys, National Post, March 2) has been rejected.
The Claim was made by Barbara Jackman, whose Client, Al-Muzir Es-Sayyid, is described as having "amassed more than a dozen criminal convictions, including armed robbery, carrying a concealed weapon, and possession of heroin." He arrived in Canada at the age of seven in 1996, but has eschewed Canadian Citizenship. He was declared "a danger to the public of Canada" and ordered deported after Robberies of Workers in the Sex Trade.
Ms. Jackman, relying on an Analysis of Decisions of Immigration Judge Michael Shore made by Osgoode Law Professor Jack Scott, the NDP Candidate for the Riding of Toronto-Danforth, claimed that Mr. Shore showed Bias in Cases "only when criminality is involved."
Although Ms. Jackman’s Claim has been rejected, we remain troubled by the Matter. Where there is Smoke, it has too often been determined that there is Fire. And who better to find the Fire of Inequality than a Professor of Law with a decided Tilt to the Left? It is a Matter of much Worry and Concern that there might be the slightest Hint that Criminality – or Lack thereof – should be a Factor in Judicial Findings.
Have we come so far, and yet managed to overlook this sort of blatant Prejudice? What sort of Egalitarian Society can we Claim to have, when there is the slightest Possibility that Criminals are not regarded with the same Respect as other Citizens?
|There is obviously much Work to be
done. Possibly the NDP, inspired by Professor Scott, can be called on to
spear head a pointed Movement to puncture our prejudicial Propensities,
and remove any possible Taint from the Status of Criminal.
Criminals, after all, are simply those who have decided to take the Road "less travelled by." Often at Risk of their personal Safety – and that of their loved Ones – they embark on an entrepreneurial Life of Adventure. Eschewing Dependence on the Nanny State, foregoing the stale Notions of RRSPs, and Company or Government Pensions, like powerful turbulent Streams, they cut their own distinctive Courses through the social Landscape.
Surely, as independent, entrepreneurial Self-starters, they deserve to be treated without Prejudice before the Law.
To take Criminal Activity out of the Shadows, and into the Light of Day, Criminality must be celebrated, not condemned. Criminal Organizations should be listed on the Stock Exchanges, and have prominent Suites in downtown Office Towers; annual civic Celebrations of the Contributions of individual Criminals must be instituted. In the End, we cannot see how Equality is to be attained without the Outright Legalization of all Criminal Activity. But we admit to having no Expertise at all in these Matters of grave Social Import.
Professor Scott is no doubt far more qualified than are we to propose the best Means to the most desirable End of Equality.
|March 1, 2012
We take much Comfort from the bold, swift, and apposite Action of Authorities in the Case of Jessie Sansone.
Mr. Sansone’s Daughter, aged Four, had been observed to draw a Representation of the Thing Which Instantly Can Kill* (TWICK) in her Kindergarten Class. When Mr. Sansone arrived to Pick up his Daughter, he was arrested, strip searched and jailed. His Wife was brought to the Police Station, and his Children taken by Child Welfare Authorities. (National Post, March 1.) We understand his House was, quite properly, in View of the TWICK Danger involved, searched without the Delay of a Warrant.
We do admit to being at a Loss to discover the Search was conducted after Mr. Sansone’s Release. Surely Prudence would have dictated that the Search – preferably using Robots – be made at the Instant of Mr. Sansone’s Arrest.
Thankfully, no TWICKS were discovered. We are disappointed to learn, however, that Mr. Sansone is considering a Lawsuit. Surely it would behoove him to write Letters of Commendation to the Teacher, the Police, and the Children’s Authorities, and a more General Expression of Approbation of the Bureaucratic Mind-Set, to be published in the national Newspapers.
|We think the whole Matter to be wonderfully
instructive, and of great Benefit to our Society in coming Days.
Imagine! Had any of the Shafia Daughters, instead of complaining to Police, Child Protection Authorities, and Social Workers, instead of foolishly retreating to a Shelter for Women or absurdly asking to be placed in Foster Care – had they only hit upon the Stratagem of drawing Representations of TWICKS – on the Blackboard, or in their School Notebooks – they might well have avoided their Fate.
Surely it is of great Benefit to all to understand how Matters are perceived and dealt with in Society. We look forward to seeing the Principles in the Sansone Case becoming a significant Factor in the Amelioration of our Way of Life.
*We merely anticipate the Cultural Taboos soon to be placed upon certain Words, in the admirable and continuing Effort to sanitize our Language, and make it safe for the Use of all Citizens.
|February 29, 2012
We are intrigued to see George Jonas, with whom we usually agree, has written this Day in the National Post an Objection to the Decision of the Supreme Court denying the Application of some Parents in Quebec to have their Children exempted from Courses which – as we understand them – attempt to give Information about a Variety of Religions.
The Danger for the Religious is, of course, that such Instruction may weaken Faith, which would be contrary to the Wishes of the Parents. Indeed, we think that Students who learn that there are Varieties of Expression of the religious Impulse might be less likely to believe that any one Religion is likely to be correct.
As the Court points out, Parents still have the Freedom to impart their own religious values in the Home; hence, Freedom of Religion is not impaired. But it is true that the Topick of Religion treated impartially, may still impinge upon the parental Right of exclusive Indoctrination. If that Right be a part of religious Freedom, then Mr. Jonas is correct; the State does somewhat impinge upon religious Freedom.
We understand the general Suspicion under which any System of State Education may fall. Values will be imparted whether explicitly or implicitly. History, for example is likely to be seen through a national Lens. Currently, it would appear that the Notion of anthropogenic Climate Change, and Suzukiism generally are woven in bright Colours through the Fabric of State Learning. We would not be surprised to learn that Political Correctness, and an adulation of Human Rights Commissions form a certain Bedrock of Certainty in State- Run Schools.
A greater Autonomy of Schools might be of Assistance in this regard; but it is also true that Schools are likely to reflect, to some Degree, the Temper of the Times.
|Our Reasons for agreeing with the
Supreme Court Decision rest largely on the Notion that Faith– which Mark
Twain defined as "believing what you know ain’t so," while providing
much Comfort can also give rise to much personal Distress and public
Destruction. We can never erase from our Mind the Terrors of the
Inquisition, and see it as a Symbol of the Depths to which Religious
Certainty –wedded to man’s natural Capacity for Evil -- can lead.
Nor is our own Era free from such Example. Consider the impassioned Plea of Richer Dawkins with Respect to the Destructions of the Islamists:
Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where's the harm? September 11th changed all that. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense, it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakeable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others. Dangerous because it teaches enmity to others labelled only by a difference of inherited tradition. And dangerous because we have all bought into a weird respect, which uniquely protects religion from normal criticism. Let's now stop being so damned respectful! (From www.chrisbeach.co.uk)
We see the Issue here as between the Right of exclusive Religious Indoctrination by Parents and the Truth of the Fact that there are many different Beliefs, and many different Faiths. If that Truth is inclined to weaken a powerful Faith in Things which are unsupported by Evidence, then we think, on Balance, that Humanity is best served by its Pronouncement, Proclamation and Promulgation.
In this Case, despite our misgivings about State Education, we think the Supreme Court has made the correct Decision.
|February 28, 2012
Blessed with Surprise
One of the many Advantages of living in these Times is that we are never left long without Surprise. The Staleness of Custom, and Anaesthetic of predictable Outcomes are thereby banished, and we are left in a Pleasantness of Constant Uncertainty.
Our latest Surprise arises from a Case in Pennsylvania, wherein a Participant in a Halloween Parade, dressed in a Zombie Muhammad costume was attacked and choked by Talaag Elbayomy, who assumed it was illegal to mock Muhammad. (From Atlas Shrugs, the Website of Pamela Geller)
When the Victim, Ernest Perce, went to court, the Judge, Mark Martin, ruled in favour of the Muslim attacker, saying:
|Having had the benefit of having spent over
two and a half years in predominantly Muslim countries I think I know a
little bit about the faith of Islam. ... In many Arabic-speaking
countries something like this is definitely against the law there. In
their society in fact it can be punishable by death and it frequently is
in their society.
Judge Martin also said that he was a Muslim –denying the fact later – and produced a Copy of the Koran at the Hearing.
We find this apparent Primacy of Religion in an American Courtroom to be extraordinary, and a wonderful Testament to the Efficacy of a harsh, bullying, irrational Belief in Contradiction to Established Secular Principles.
Pamela Geller, an American Blogger and Author, in Interview with Ezra Levant last Evening, has vowed to seek Removal the Judge from his Position.
We hope to be pleasantly surprised.
|February 27, 2011
We admit to having a certain Weakness for a Sleekness of Curve, and a Sassiness of Chassis.
Our very first Automobile – for the Automobile is our Subject today – was a 1953 Buick Skylark. No, we do not refer to the pedestrian little Skylark of the early Sixties, the Skylark of clipped wings and ungainly flight – but, rather, the magnificent original Convertible, with real Wheels of Wire, Power Steering, Brakes, Seats, and Antenna, which could soar, free, unfettered, and triumphant in the Imagination of any young Man. At the time of our Purchase of this Vessel of Dreams, the Cost was $1,300. Today, a restored Version would probably command a Price in Excess of $120, 000.
We found, alas, that the Skylark was too demanding of our Attention. It would seductively request Plastic Covers for the Seats, special Holders for the License Plates, constant Balancing of its Wheels (for they were the Achilles Heel), and frequent Hand Massages with Beauty Soap and Soft, Sensuous Cloths.
We found ourselves wilting, losing our upright Purpose, our Purity of Intent. Our Standards began to slip. We began to doubt that we would ever be able to break free of the cloying Neediness, the constant Demands, the Sweet Somethings of the Skylark’s Siren Call.
In a desperate Effort of Will, we sold the Machine and purchased a Sedan, a 52 Buick of such determined Ugliness that we knew, instinctively, that we could deny it everything but the Basic Necessities: Gas in the Tank, and the occasional Change of Oil.
|We would like to Report that this Deliberate
Action was a Permanent Cure. Alas, we have subsequently and serially
fallen for the charismatic Caress of a 1947 Chrysler Town and Country Convertible,
the heavy Breathing of a Topless 1967
Cutlass, and the Flamboyant Glamour of a similarly revealing 1966 Cadillac.
The current Mistress
of our Affection is the Geezermobile Eight, a 1988 Lincoln Town Car.
We would like to report a contented Satisfaction, a Bliss of familiar Domesticity. But the Truth is, that even at an advanced Age, when bespectacled Eyes might be considered too old for roving, we yearn for a harmless, inexpensive Fling, a little Bit of Exotica on the Side Drive.
The Geezermobile, we reason, need never know. Its own Headlights, dimmed with Age, is unlikely to recognize a Rival in the Driveway, especially if that Rival is always parked behind, and well away from the Geezermobile field of Vision.
And so it is that, late at Night, we have had occasion, of late, surreptitiously to fire up our Computing Device, and gain Access to certain forbidden, prurient and Carnograpic Sites which abound on the Web.
We hesitate to proclaim the Fact, but carnographic Pictures – Pictures of Automobiles – their Profiles, even the intimate Details of their Trunks, Engine Compartments, and Seats – all these are readily available for unrestricted viewing on the Internet. There are even Instances -- Viewer Discretion is advised -- of shameless, full frontal Nudity.
At the moment, our Fancy is turning to either a 1970's Lincoln Coupe, with the little rear Opera Windows -- or possibly a more elaborate Version of the Geezermobile, with a rare Convertible-like Cloth Top.
We earnestly hope that we are able to resist the Desire for an adventurous but foolish Liaison; if we should fall, the Focus of Blame is clear: the unconscionable Profusion of unregulated, explicit, freely available Carnography.
|February 26, 2012
On this Sunday, it does not seem inappropriate for our Thoughts to turn to Religion. When they turn in that wonderful Direction, we become painfully aware of the Inadequacies of our own recently created Religion of Abracadabra, devoted to the Worship of the Great God Murphy, the most reliable Predictor of human Outcomes.
We see, for example, that the inadvertent Burnings of the Koran have led to Riots in the Streets, and several Deaths. President Obama, known for his deferential Bows to foreign Potentates, has seen fit to send – we hope sufficiently fulsome – Letters of Apology.
The Catholic Church has an Inquisitorial Past, and -- although they are not, apparently, at the Forefront of its Theology at the Moment -- the Fires of Hell, are doubtless waiting, glowing Coals susceptible of renewed Conflagration.
Even Jim Jones was able to invoke the Kool Aid Solution for his Followers.
In other Words, this Religion Business is a serious Matter; any respectable Religion must make serious Demands and proclaim serious Consequences for Apostates, Heretics, and casual Jesters.
We have, so far been utterly remiss in this Matter of Seriousness; it is possibly for this very Reason that we have gained no Adherents.
We are, frankly, somewhat hesitant at this Time to make our required Observances too onerous and strict–since we do no wish to deter potential Followers. Perhaps we should simply express our Preference that the Faithful repeat the Prayer to Murphy (See Drivel March 20, 2011) at least once each Month.
However, with respect to the second Matter – the Creation of Conditions under which Insult, Outrage and Riot may seem perfectly acceptable –we think the Time to act is now.
At this Point in our History, the Path seems perfectly clear: the Power of Offensive Words has never been greater. We need simply to create a Term of Opprobrium for Abracadabra that is so defamatory, so insulting, so irredeemably distasteful, that, should it ever be uttered, it would inevitably lead to a Smashing of Windows, a Stamping of Feet, a Shaking of Fists, and a Grimacing in Anger.
We have – we believe -- devised just such a Word.
Surely such a Word must include the Accusation of godlessness – of either the agnostic or atheistic Variety: Devil’s spawn would seem to be reasonably suggestive.
Next, the most powerful Term of Opprobrium in the Land today, is niggardly because of its homonymic Relationship to another Word, which, if we were to attempt to spell it, would result in the Self-Destruction of our computing Device.
Then, of course, in the Egalitarian Era, the Term elite, which directly contradicts the Spirit of the Age, must be a powerful Instigator of the Gnashing of Teeth. We recall, with Fondness, the President of a Canadian School of Higher Learning, who expressed his devout Opposition to making it an elite Institution. (We never did hear of his Desire to be paid at the same Rate as the janitorial Staff, but it would not seem to be a material Inconsistency.)
Next, it would seem appropriate to include cretinous nutbar to suggest both stupidity and mental instability.
Finally, the word could easily be preceded by the universal Terms of Disparagement, dirty, and old – although other such universals as filthy, damned, rotten and scumbag might provide some variety.
So there we have it --taking appropriate letters from the above: "filthy old despniggelcnut;" "You unspeakable despniggelcnut;" "Scumbag despniggelcnut!"
Surely this Term, applied to the adherents of Abracadabra will release a Firestorm of Anger and Outrage which will do the Religion proud.
We are painfully aware that much Work lies ahead in our Quest for religious Respectability, but we are assured that, with the benevolent Assistance from the Great God Murphy, all Things will become possible.
| February 25, 2012
We are almost at a Loss for Words in the Matter of Anthony Federico who was fired by ESPN (Entertainment and Sports Programming Network) for having penned the Headline "Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin’s 9 Turnovers cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets."
The Difficulty arises from the Fact that Mr. Lin is of Chinese descent, and the word Chink is a slang word for "Chinese." Along with other Terms such as "niggardly," "Indian-giver," and "Chairman" the Word has become a Cause for the Public Proclamation of high Dudgeon and the Revelation of advanced Sensitivity.
Mr. Federico claims that he was unaware of the double entendre, and had used the phrase chink in the armor "at least 100 times." (National Post, February 24.)
We have long held that offended Groups would be advised to defuse Terms of Opprobrium by adopting them with an aggressive in-thy-face Cheerfulness, but this seems to run counter to the Spirit of the Times, which seeks ever more obscure Ways in which to become offended.
In the Light of this obviously unstoppable Trend, we have two Suggestions in this Matter.
|(a) We think a List of Offensive
Words should be established -- preferably by the United Nations. These
Words would be those likely to give Offense to someone, somewhere, on
some Occasion, would be published on a Website of Correctness, and would
be updated daily. Up-datable Software could be developed along the lines
of a Spell Checker so that all written Material could be scanned
for offensive Words at the Touch of a Button.
(b) Secondly, assuming that Mr Federico’s Explanation is indeed valid -- his Usage represents a mental State of complete racial Neutrality and involves no offensive Intent -- a new Word should be coined to describe the Phenomenon: Linsinuation. The Term would have, of course, a limited Currency. As the List recommended in (a) above becomes fully established and universally observed, no Offensive Word could be used without deliberate Intent, and Linsinuation would become a tiny Footnote in the History of Language.
We are confident that the Offensive Words List, carefully observed, and with consistent and widespread Use, will result in an Era of unprecedented Harmony and Goodwill among all the Peoples of the Earth.
|February 24, 2012
Last Evening Ezra Levant on The Source did rant about the Modern Luddites. The original Luddities, of course, the followers of a mythical General Ned Ludd, were those who destroyed the new Cloth-Making Machines of the 19th Century because they were a Challenge to those whose manual Employment was threatened by Technology.
Mr. Levant sees as modern Luddities those who oppose the Development of the Oil Sands, who fear Climate Change as caused by Mankind, and those who want the Human Endeavour to retrench, rather than Advance. They long for a simpler, more Golden Age.
Such Attitudes may be termed Fearfulness or Pessimism: the World is always going to the Dogs, or, ensconced in a Hand-Basket, descending to a Culmination of Fire. Mr. Levant used, as an Example of Pessimism, Robert Thomas Malthus(1766-1834) who predicted much War and Famine based on the Notion that Population increases in geometrical Fashion, while Food Supply increases in Arithmetical Progression.
The Counter to this Pessimism is the Notion that Moving forward is superior to Retreat: Man’s Ingenuity may be relied on to solve the Problems of Progress. In the Case of Malthus, he did not foresee the Opening of the Lands of America, nor the vast Improvements in the Practice of Agriculture.
We confess to some Degree of Ambivalence. We have ourselves, scathingly accused the Suzukiists of wishing us to return to the very Caves from which we emerged Thousands of Years ago. At the same Time, we suspect that Malthus may, in the End, be proved Correct, and that there is a Limitation to the number of People which the Planet may Support, and that our System of Economics, which is dependent on continual Increase of Population and Production may ultimately falter.
|All in All, we are inclined to place our Bets
on Ingenuity, and the natural Tendency for Populations to grow more
slowly as Wealth and Knowledge increase.
On Reflection, we are inclined to see the Modern Luddite as driven less by Fear, and the Desire to return to a Golden Age, than by the Impulse to control Others. There is, in the Nature of Humankind, an odd Longing for the Hive, the Creation of a Vast System into which all the Bees, in their certain Varieties, may conveniently and submissively fit.
This is the Desire of Religion, of Politics, and of Suzukiists. In the Case of Suzukists, the Threat of Rising Waters and Melting Ice Caps is used to create a Mentality of Halt and a Mind-Set of Huddle. The Development of Oilsands must be stopped regardless of Advantage; Homeowners must reduce their Garbage, spend Time and Water washing their empty Cat Food Tins, and burn Gasoline in returning Bottles to the Beer Store.
We recently read a Letter to the Hamilton Spectator from a righteous Mrs. Grundy calling for more Garbage Bag Inspections and Penalties for the wanton Creators of Excess Rubbish. This Impulse we see in many Areas of our Society: a Coercion justified by the Argument that the Common Good is at Stake.
Separating the reasonable from the unreasonable Coercions is not easy; we plan to deal with this Matter more generally in the Drivel Section. (See: A Reflection on the Hive and the Propensities of Bees. Drivel February 24, 2012)
| February 22, 2012
In which Freedom, not surprisingly, is shown to be preferable to Coercion.
We rely on a Woodstove to keep Wind-in-the-Pines at a comfortable Temperature in Winter, and thus have need of certain Tools to adjust Logs in the Firebox, sweep up Debris, and remove Ashes when needed. These Tools, alas, are not indestructible. The small shovel, held together with Rivets, soon after Purchase, became Rivetless. We repaired it with small but less elegant Bolts. More recently, the Poker, consisting of a metal Rod with a sharp spiked Hook screwed on at one End and a Handle screwed on at the other, had lost both of these Appendages. Repeated Re-Attachment had rendered the Threads untenable.
Thus it was that, the other Day, after much Calculation of the potential Cost, and concomitant Sacrifice, we set out to Home Depot for a Replacement Set. Surprisingly, there were no Sets to be found. The Clerk lamented the Bankruptcy of the Supplier, and suggested that no new Shipments could be expected before many Moons had come, lingered, pondered, reflected, and gone.
We were disappointed. We did not, however, put our Name on the Waiting List. We considered the other Possibilities: Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, Home Hardware, and, if we wished to wait for our return to the City -- Rona and Lowes.
As it turned out, we found a satisfactory Set at The Canadian Tire Corporation.
But let us imagine, esteemed Reader, if there were only one Supplier, a single, Government-operated Dear Leader Fireplace Tool Depot. An Examination of our Poker Set would be made to determine our Degree of Need. Possibly a Referral to a Specialist in Pokerology would be deemed appropriate. There would doubtless be Discussion as to whether the Shovel – one bolt having disappeared – could be re-bolted or re-riveted. After such Consultation, we might be refused as an unpatriotic Whiner or, indeed, put on the Waiting List.
A recent Report by Frederik Roeder, of the Montreal Economic Institute has drawn Attention to the Circumstance of Health Care in Germany, where there is also a Single Payer System, but one in which Private Hospitals compete with Public Institutions, and the Patient has the Ability to direct the Payment to one or the other.
According to the Report, while Costs in both Germany and Canada are about 12% of Gross Domestic Product, the Efficiencies are such that "Long waits in emergency rooms are a non-existent phenomenon in Germany." Doctors have fewer Patients and are able to spend 25% longer with each Individual.
The Key, of course, is Competition, and the Ability of the Patient to direct Payment among competing Elements – just as the Customer may purchase Fireplace Tools at many Places. We have long made the Point that "Patient-centred Care" is only possible when the Patient has the Freedom of Choice to direct Payment. The Health Care system must compete for the Dollar controlled by the Patient. When there is only one Supplier, and the Patient is without Choice, it is the Patient who must compete for Services. Such a System can never have the Patient as the most important Element.
It is as if our Country is afflicted with Belief in a pernicious Religion: All must worship at the altar of the false God of Equality, or be shunned, as Heretics possessed. That God, is, in Fact, no more than a Wizard of Oz, a puny Concept of Coercion speaking in a loud Voice with much manufactured Thunder, and contrived Lightning. We have only to look behind the Curtain to see the Truth. There is no Magic in getting back to Kansas; it is a Matter of Waking up.
| February 21, 2012
We have learned that a Candidate for the Leadership of our favourite* Party, the NDP, has proposed greater Taxes on the Wealthy, and on the Oil and Gas Industry.
Nathan Cullen, who has claimed a Stance more in Favour of Business than his Party – which would prefer the Government run Everything with the same Flair, Panache, and Efficiency which they bring to the Health Care System, the Postal Service, and Road Repair–has expressed his new Vision in these Matters.
We understand the egalitarian Motive behind such Proposals: Societies often wish to tax the Wealthy in order to improve the Lives of the Poor.
But we are especially enamoured with Mr. Cullen’s Proposal to tax the Oil and Gas Industry in order to support the Manufacturing Sector, which is clearly in Decline.
First, it has long been noted that Governments, with their extensive Collections of Data and approved bureaucratic Balls of Crystal, are most eminently suited to determine which Industries tosupport, and which to allow to wither on the Vine of economic Unsustainabilit y. At the same Time, it seems prudent to discourage Businesses which are successful, lest they become emboldened and arrogant, and make more Profit than is good for them.
Our only Regret is that Mr. Cullen did not have Influence in the early History of our great Land. Had his Views been accepted, we might still have a number of Industries – now regrettably defunct – thriving still. How often we have lamented the Passage of the Washboard, the Typewriter, and the Horse-Drawn Carriage. Had only Government sufficiently taxed the Manufacture of electric Washing Machines, Computers, and Horseless Carriages, the World would be in a far better State than it is today.
We can only hope that Mr. Cullen is successful in his Bid for Leadership, and that the NDP reaches the Ascendancy necessary to establish his welcome Vision on economic Matters – Matters too often left in the Hands of Businessmen.
*This is our current Default Position; our Preference is for the nascent, but as yet not fully established New Equality Party. For Details, pleas see Drivel for May 13, 2011. (Scroll down from June 24.)
| February 20, 2012
We are ensconced at Wind-in-the-Pines, where the white Lake reflects a brilliance of the Sun. While the City is bereft of Snow, there is enough in the Countryside to present the wonted Face of Winter, without the Excess which doth often make our Driveway unnavigable.
From our vantage Point inside the Cottage, we can see the Ice Fisherman trudge by towards their Huts; while we can understand the Attraction of quiet Moments of Fishing from a Boat in the Height of a lazy Summer we do not understand the Devotion to spending Hours in the Cold in Search of an elusive Supper. It is our Apprehension that Fish are readily available in Quantity and reasonable Cost at the local Supermarket.
Possibly, in a Spirit of Kindliness, we should put appropriate Foodland Flyers on the Windshields of the Vehicles in the Government Parking Lot --those Vehicles from which the Fishermen are known to emanate. It would save the deluded Fishermen much Time, Travel, and Hardship. We might also leave a Means of Contact, suggesting that we would welcome any small Tokens of Gratitude for our Assistance.
|We should note that, last Week, we did attend the modern Opera
Love from Afar in the Megalopolis.
We hasten to add that we have almost no Knowledge of Opera; we understand that Operas are largely unbelievable Narratives expressed in Song; at their best, Operas are redeemed by a variable quantity of "hummable Bits."
As is usually the Case, the less we know about a Subject, the greater our Confidence and Authority in speaking of it. Our Comments on Love from Afar are published in the Drivel Section They will be of Interest only to those who have had the Misfortune to see a Performance. The entire Commentary may be summed up thus: there are no hummable Bits.
|February 18, 2012
The News has come that the Supreme Court of Canada has rejected the Appeal of some Quebec Parents to have their Children be exempted from School Courses in Religion which were begun in 2008.
We understand that these Courses are intended to convey Facts about a Variety of Religions, but not promote Belief in any of them.
As an Atheist, we must, of course, be in Favour of such Courses, since an Awareness of differing Beliefs seems likely to lead to a Conclusion identical to our own: that, in View of the Multiplicity of differing Beliefs, it is unlikely that any one of them is actually correct. It is not difficult to conclude, further, that none of them, in the Absence of Evidence, can achieve a Designation beyond that of Speculation. If indeed, one Religion is correct, it would seem to be a cruel Joke that Millions whose Belief depends upon their Birth in a particular Social Context, should be in Grievous Error; "God" becomes a cruel and arbitrary Jester.
Even with the Knowledge that there is a Multiplicity of Belief, in the Event that an Individual chooses one Belief among the many, that Belief is less likely to amount to an untroubled Certainty. This must be of great Benefit for Humankind, since untroubled Certainties about Religion have led to Ritual Sacrifices, The Inquisition, and, in our own time, the Destruction of Towers.
We can imagine the Feelings of those Parents who think they have such untroubled Certainty: they do not wish their Children to be exposed to the Error of other Faiths, lest their own World View not be shared by their Children.
|Much depends upon how the Material is presented. We would feel
uncomfortable to think that Evolution and Witchcraft were presented as
having equal validity; yet we would not object to them being shown as
differing Perceptions of the World. In each case, however, we would be
prepared to give as much Credence as the Evidence might suggest.
At some Point, in an Opposition of Ideas, one must take a Stand. We feel that there are many Ideas taken up with Enthusiasm, which have considerable Attraction, but on which it seems advisable to await convincing Evidence. Thus we are skeptical of anthropogenic Climate Change, the Cholesterol Theory of Heart Disease, Equality as a social Goal, Socialism, Santa Claus, Multiculturalism, Universal Systems of Health Care, and Religion.
Thus, in this Matter, we feel that discovering the Fact that there are different Forms of religious Belief must trump the Feelings of Parents who wish to pretend that there are not.
The Decision of the Supreme Court made it clear its Ruling depends upon the Assumption that the Courses are not biased, but admitted that Evidence about the courses was "sketchy."
We suspect that the very Existence of such Courses may well influence Faith, regardless of Lack of Bias. We think this is a good Thing; but we would not be surprised to see further Challenge from those of a differing Opinion.
|February 16, 2012
The Drummonding of Ontario
The Premier, the much elected but incompetent Dalton McGuinty, having asked Mr. Drummond, an Economist of some Reputation, to inquire into Methods of Avoiding Provincial Bankruptcy, and the Report having now been delivered, there is much talk everywhere of the prospective Drummonding of Ontario.
Unsurprisingly, Mr. Drummond has recommended Restraint. Increases in Spending of just .8% each year– considerably reduced from the Liberal Habit of 7%– are needed to eliminate the Deficit which would otherwise balloon from about 16 Billion to 30 Billion in 2018.
Ballooning is a not unusual Pastime in the Sphere of Government Expenditure. It is the Desire of every Government to perpetuate itself, if possible, indefinitely; thus it is no Surprise that Governments have hit upon the Stratagem of bribing Citizens, not only with their own Money, but Money that is not there; the more Money spent, the greater the Popularity achieved, and the greater the Chance of perpetual Reign.
|Stratagems which are pleasant, simple, and of
guaranteed Efficacy over long Periods of Time are seen with the same
Frequency as Unicorns gambolling at the Bottom of the Garden.
We anticipate, with a certain Amount of the evil Glee of which we have long been accused, the Response of the Government.
Last Evening, on The Agenda, it was the Opinion of Chris Stockwell, a former Conservative MPP, that the Drummonding of Ontario was politically impossible, a stance echoed in some Degree by other panellists. And yet it would appear that the Life-Raft of Growth is unlikely to appear in the tempestuous Seas and shifting Tides of economic Viability.
The Battle between Reality and political Illusions should prove interesting. But we admit that would enjoy it rather more if we lived somewhere else.
| February 15, 2012
We have long railed against Human Rights Commissions, afflicted with a deep Suspicion that they infringe upon more Rights than they uphold.
We are pleased, therefore, to read in this Day’s National Post that the Ontario Divisional Court has overturned a Human Rights Tribunal Ruling which awarded three Plaintiffs $2000 each for "violation of their inherent right to be free from discrimination and for injury to their dignity, feelings, and self-respect." (Joseph Brean Article, National Post, February 15)
The Matter arose when a Librarian asked two black Lawyers, Selwyn Pieters and Brian Noble, and a Student of Law, Paul Waldron, for Identification in a Courthouse Library–on the Basis that only Lawyers and Students of Law, but not Paralegals, are allowed.
The Plaintiffs accused the Librarian of "racial profiling."
To allow the Tribunal of Rights Ruling to stand would suggest that there are special Classes and Categories of People to whom the Rules should not apply, and make even more desirable the Status of Victim, which has become so highly rewarded, and so highly sought in our Society.
|It is especially interesting that the Matter
of Feelings is deemed so important. It is as if the World could be
reconfigured to guarantee a Protection of Self-Esteem, and an
inalienable Right, not to the Pursuit, but to the Possession of
Mr. Pieters has been quoted as saying the overturned Ruling "doesn’t change how I felt about what happened"–as if his Feelings should be given Consideration in the Matter. He has also made the extraordinary Statement: "If the judges had a critical race-based lens, they would have seen it from the perspective of an African Canadian."
But is this not the very Approach that should be avoided? Why should a Determination of Fairness and Equity be seen through any particular Lens at all? In this Remark, the Desire for an elusive "Equality" has shown itself to be spurious–and no more than a Scramble for unequal and special Status.
Too often, it would appear, The Human Rights Commissions, are little more than Levers through which personal and particular Agendas may be advanced, to the Detriment of the Common Good.
|February 14, 2012
Words, words, words.
Words of Disagreement do seem often dangerous to those who are most insecure. Thus Zhu Yufu was jailed in China last Friday for "inciting subversion of state power," in a Poem. (National Post, February 11)
One can readily see what made the State tremble in the Poem called IT’S TIME:
IT’S TIME, PEOPLE OF CHINA! IT’S TIME.
IT’S TIME, PEOPLE OF CHINA! IT’S TIME.
IT’S TIME, PEOPLE OF CHINA! IT’S TIME.
|If the State allows this Sort of
Suggestion to be made, People might think differently, become
dissatisfied, and possibly even want to have some Say in the Governance
of their Country. That Governance might not include the present Leaders.
This is a perilous Notion, neither thought of nor ventured before; we
think, in this Matter China has had a miraculous Escape.
We see also in this Day’s Post, Hamza Kashgari, a Saudi who indiscreetly said he "loved some aspects" of the Prophet Muhammad, but "hated others," is now jailed in Saudi Arabia, his Attempt to flee to New Zealand having been blocked by Authorities in Malaysia.. There are outraged calls for his Punishment and Death.
We do understand the Thinking. If Religion be allowed Scrutiny, or Disagreement, it might wither away entirely, or retain such an insubstantial Shadow of Itself, that the Power of its Clerics would be as Wisps of Smoke in the Air.
We take this to be an Axiom: The Response to Criticism of those in Power is in direct Proportion to their Feelings of Illegitimacy*
We note the Appearance of China on Limerick Lane.
February 13, 2012
We did watch last Evening Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, based on the Book of that very Name by Stephen Leacock.
Now, we should confess that we have long felt a considerable Admiration for Mr. Leacock’s Humour, having received as a gift Literary Lapses at the Age of Twelve, when we were in Hospital recovering from an Appendectomy, and having concluded, with the astute Judgement of a Twelve-Year-Old, that it was a quite wonderful Work.
We found, when we wrote for the College Times, and later The Varsity that our natural Bent was Leacockian in Nature, and we shamelessly copied some of his Tricks. We admit to having used some of his Lines on this very Site. We do not see this as Plagiarism–but merely References which we assume Everyone will recognize.
Thus, we came to last Evening’s Production with a considerable Amount of Leacockian Baggage.
It must be admitted that one of the chief Difficulties in the Adaptation of Leacock’s Work to the Screen is that much of its Charm depends on the narrative Tone–the Voice of the Narrator with its Mixture of "meiosis and hyperbole" which conveys a satiric yet affectionate View of the Town of Mariposa. The Words of the Author are of chief Importance; but Television is a Medium for the Eyes.
True, there is Humour of Circumstance – the Rescuers of the "tragically" stricken Mariposa Belle must themselves be rescued by those they sought to save; the ominous Sinking is a routine and benign Affair: the Lake has a Depth of only six Feet. But when the Lifeboats are lowered, and Cry goes out "Women and Children first!"–we need the Author to add: "For what was the sense, if it should turn out that the boat wouldn't even hold women and children, of trying to jam a lot of heavy men into it?"
Similarly, there is Humour of Character as Leacock describes that same awful Moment: "In the bow of it was the Presbyterian student who was relieving the minister, and he called out that they were in the hands of Providence." But this Calling Out is put in Perspective by the Author thus: "But he was crouched and ready to spring out of them at the first moment."
Thus much of the Essence of the Sketches must be lost in a Visual Medium.
A second Difficulty is that Sketches in the Book do not form a consistent Narrative, and so there is an attempt in this Production to link two Sketches, The Sinking of the Mariposa Belle, and The Hostelry of Mr. Smith – largely through the character of Josh Smith – and – daringly – by incorporating Stephen Leacock as a young Boy, together with his Family -- as persistent Figures in the Tale, as if they were Residents of Mariposa at the Time.
This is imaginative, but requires much Contortion, and a some few Buckets of Whitewash.
Leacock actually grew up near the town of Egypt–quite far from the Mariposa/Orillia of his later years -- in a Farmhouse, which, in the 1870's, had not the Facilities of Electricity, Central Heating, Toilets or running Water. We doubt it was much like the House portrayed in this Production, as outwardly shabby, but inwardly comfortable. Leacock’s Association with Orillia did not occur until he was long past Childhood -- when he was a Professor at McGill and had purchased a Property on Old Brewery Bay.
Again, Leacock’s father, Peter, a Drunkard of little Achievement, did not trundle off to the West in a Glow of genial Stupefaction. Stephen Leacock drove him to the Train Station vowing to kill him if he ever returned.
In the Program, there is a Suggestion that Leacock’s Mother Agnes, who has demonstrated her Ability to speak French might, after the Disappearance of Peter, find companionship with the shrewd but illiterate Hotel Keeper, Josh Smith.
This seems of considerable Likelihood.
We note that there is an Smorgasbord Attempt to make Reference to My Financial Career and Boarding House Geometry – both pieces from Leacock’s earlier Literary Lapses – pleasing to the Cognoscenti, perhaps, but necessarily undeveloped, and hardly organic to the Narrative. There is also a Reference to the autobiographical Work, The Boy I left Behind Me.
For those who know nothing of Leacock, this Presentation may be pleasant enough. Some of the best Jests – the Schoolteacher who rolls the Dice to grade Papers, and the Chef who delights in insulting the Patrons of the Bistro in a Language they do not understand–are not from Leacock’s work at all; indeed they depend on the visual, not the verbal Element of the Production.
All in all, while we appreciate the Difficulties of transforming Mr. Leacock’s humorous Sketches into a Form for Television, we are not sure – in the matter of placing the young Leacock and his Family in the Narrative – that the Literary Licence has not been abused; Revocation of that Licence by The Mariposa Literary Commission would not come as a complete Surprise.
|February 11, 2012.
As a result of a Remark on the Program The Agenda, we have recently been in a Discussion with the Producer about the use of the Word fulsome. It is really quite disgusting, not to say offensive. We have occupied some Time this Day in researching the Topick.
|The Conclusions – which are of great
Importance in the general Scheme of Things – we have seen fit to publish
in the Drivel Section. The Course of
History will, we suspect, undergo a considerable Alteration of its
as a Result.
|February 10, 2012
Sometimes we imagine that we must be of an alien Species, cleverly designed to have Appearance of Humanity – so small is our Island of Thought, shared with some few Others – in the wide throbbing Sea of Belief and Delusion which seems to roil in every Direction around us.
We see, according to this Day’s National Post, that 23-year-old Hamza Kashigari, a Resident of Saudi Arabia, has published the following, on the Occasion of the Birth-Date of Muhammad:
I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don’t understand about you. I will not pray for you.
Clerics have denounced Mr. Kashigari as an Apostate, the Penalty for which, according to Sharia Law, is Death. A Facebook Page, demanding his Execution, has nearly 10,000 Members.
In Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan has stated that his Government wants to "raise a religious youth," asking , "Do you expect the conservative democrat AK Party to raise an atheist generation?"
|The secular Influence of the Military has
declined in Turkey during Mr. Erdogan’s Time in Power, and:
Dozens of retired and active army officers, academics, journalists and lawyers have been jailed in probes into alleged plots against Mr. Erdogan’s government. (National Post, February 10)
We must imagine that the Cause of much Folly lies in the Desire for Certainty, not the Certainty of the Operation of the Sun and Moon, or the Certainty of Interactions of Matter, but in the Way in which Lives should be lived.
That Way is uncertain, but there is Comfort in the Pretense that a Creator has decreed absolute Truths, which require absolute Belief, and absolute Obedience.
That Pretense, wedded to the real and capable Destructive Power of Scientific Knowledge is a significant Danger. Will that Portion of Humanity which requires Belief in the Unbelievable be changed, gradually, through the Effects of Reason – or will a nuclear Armageddon render its own powerful Refutation of the Absolutes of Piety?
|February 9, 2012
Today the bright Sun doth contradict the Air, and leads one, falsely, to suspect Spring.
It seemed a propitious Day to attempt to activate our shiny new Mastercard. We had attempted to do so by Telephone some Days ago (Diary, January 28), but, after waiting to speak to a Representative for fifteen Minutes, had found our normally sunny Disposition somewhat clouded by the Delay, and quite soon grew weary of the intensive Interrogation which followed.
We were especially angered by the Request for our Date of Birth, which we consider to be inappropriate, and rude – that Information being kept in a File marked "Top Secret" in a small Box secreted in the Sugar Canister.
|Why a Representative of the Mastercard
Behemoth should feel it her Right to obtain such delicate Information,
we know not. We had thought that, if we divulged the Truth of the
Matter, with much Snarling and Objection, she would be done. But it was
not the Case: she then asked for our E-mail Address, at which Point we
stamped our Foot, and threw the Telephone Device into the Wastebasket.
In a calmer Mood, we did attend the HSBC Bank this Morning, where the Teller was able to telephone the Mastercard Entity on our Behalf. We know not what Magic Numbers she possessed, or what secret Sesames she conjured into the Telephone, but she announced that our Card had been activated.
We note that the Teller gave neither her Age, nor her E-Mail Address.
| February 8, 2012
An Egalitarian Proposal
Yesterday, in our Discussion of Health Care, we noted, in passing, the Dearth of earnest Debate over the troubling and vexatious Issue of the Distribution of Food.
We are pleased to announce that last Evening, we were – as is our wont – engaging in our constitutional Peregrination upon Damascus Avenue, when the Lights of an approaching Vehicle momentarily blinded us. In Discombobulation, we fell to the Ground, but soon recovered, and miraculously found ourselves in Possession of an Idea most wonderful and beneficial for our Citizenry.
Consider some of the Difficulties which beset our Society. There is a troubling Rise – some would say an Epidemic – in the Incidence of Obesity; our Health Care System is burdened by the Diseases caused by neglectful or wilful Ingestion of inappropriate Foods. Above all, there is a terrible Inequality in the Matter of Food. The Wealthy are able to buy Blueberries at $2.97 for a tiny plastic Tray, and dine on Lobster and Caviar if it so pleases them. Yet others, with little Income, must make do with Kraft Dinner and remaindered Bread. It is widely reported that some Seniors subsist on Cat Food, having already dined on Puss herself.
Surely a caring and compassionate Society can bear these terrible Circumstance no longer.
The answer is clear: the Government must be put in Charge of Food.
We have no Need of the inefficient Plethora of Supermarkets and Convenience Stores on every other Corner. Relatively few strategically placed Government Depots of standard Construction and Colour–we would suggest concrete Block and Grey as admirable Choices – would be significantly more efficient. The times of Opening would be restricted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Accordance with existing Government Employee Contracts.
The Savings in these Matters alone would justify the Change.
|But beyond, that, the Possibilities for even
further Efficiencies are considerable. The Government could determine an
appropriate Diet, and stop the Purchase and Importation of those Foods
considered unnecessary and unaffordable. Those Foods determined to be
best for Health – by a Panel of qualified Government-appointed
Physicians and Nutritionists – would be provided in quantity-appropriate
Servings – free of charge, upon the Presentation of a Food Card, which
would maintain a Record of Food received.
In order to preserve the Integrity of the System–and in the interests of Equality – Food would be available only from the Government Depots. The Wealthy would not be able to purchase special "Rich Man" Foods for Money. Importation of Food would be strictly controlled, and Penalties for contravening the Food Laws would be appropriately harsh.
It is true that, in exceptional Circumstances, for particular Conditions of Ill-Health, some Modification of Diet might be obtained. Such Modifications would be determined by a Special Food Appeals Commission, staffed by Government-licensed Physicians, and seasoned (we recommend paprika) Bureaucrats. Such special Foods would be obtainable at Restricted Food Outlets, upon Presentation of the appropriate Documentation, counter-signed by the Food Czar, whose Signature would be available on the second Tuesday of every Month.
The Benefits of these Proposals – both in financial terms and in the Promotion of Equality – seem so manifest and obvious, that we think there should be no Time lost in their Implementation.
As a Side-Benefit, the Subject of Food Distribution – so long neglected – so long left in the Backwater of Public Perception–might soon have its rightful Place among the Topicks of informed Debate in our Society. We suspect it will not be long before impassioned Articles are written, and Programs of earnest Debate are aired – in the Service of the Refinement and Improvement of the System.
We sense a new Day is on the Cusp of Dawning.
|February 7, 2012
We note that this Day's National Post contains Two Articles about our unsustainable Health Care System. Recently, there was an Article (National Post, January 16) by John Haggie, President of the Canadian Medical Association and Judith Shamian, President of the Canadian Nurses Association, entitled The Patient Comes First. And last Week there was a Series of four Programs on Headline on the Business News Network (BNN) dealing with the Direction of Healthcare.
We note an exceptional Dearth of Discussion and Debate about the troubling and vexatious Issue of the Distribution of Food.
It is an extraordinary Puzzlement.
We confess to having discovered – over many years – few Eternal Verities; but here are two of them: Central Planning does not work; He who pays the Piper calls the Tune.
If the Aim is indeed to "put the Patient first," then it is clear that Central Planning – the Attempt to manage, by Government Fiat -- Matters which are almost infinitely variable – can never succeed.
We felt that an Interview on BNN with Sharon Manson Singer of Carleton University was particularly Revealing in this Regard. She admitted that wait Times were important from the Perspective of the individual Patient, but preferred to see the Problem from the View of "30,000 Feet."
At that Level, of course, the Patient, like Piggy in the Lord of the Flies, is no more than an unimportant Blob; if a Rock should land on the Blob, Shoulders are shrugged, and the great System moves on. And this is the great Difficulty with Central Planning, as opposed to Consumer Choice.
|The other eternal Verity is
similarly opposed to the Primacy of the Patient. When the Patient has no
power to choose–no power to direct Payment–he is transformed from
Customer to Supplicant.
From the View of "30,000 Feet" Supplicants are indistinguishable from Blobs.
We have no Objection to the Existence of a Public System–provided that Patients have the Opportunity to buy Private Insurance. Indeed, two competing Systems–Public and Private–would be of Advantage to All.
We have little Hope that Canadians will soon see such beneficial Circumstance. It was Edmund Burke, (1729-1797) who said:
The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.
It is Myth and Delusion that so often stand between the Swamp of Folly and the level Plain of Sense. The Brains of Canadians have so long been washed in the anodyne Notion of Equality, their Perceptions so weakened and skewed, that they overlook the preferential Treatment of such Groups as the Saskatchewan Rough Riders, prison Inmates, Clients of Workers’ Compensation Boards, "third party payers," Politicians, those within the medical System, and those of Prominence in Society. These people will never die, like Thérèse de Repentigny, neglected in an Emergency Ward. (See Drivel, November 18, 2010.)
As with all socialistic, egalitarian Schemes, the Desire for Equality ends, as in George Orwell's Animal Farm, with the Circumstance that:
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
The myth of Equality is the Root Cause of the Inefficiency and Inequality of the present System; it is also the great Barrier to Amelioration.
|February 6, 2012
We must record here the Passing of the Geezermobile Burgundy, the 1987 Predecessor of the 1988 Geezermobile Eight.
The Geezermobile Burgundy had long been a Resident of the Driveway of the Lumpenbangen Studios where it had been kept as a potential Organ Donor in the Case of Failure of certain constituent Parts of the Geezermobile Eight. During the Residency, no Organs were ever found to be suitable.
When the Geezermobile Eight required a new Transmission, it was discovered that the Burgundy Part was Type ‘O’, while the Geezermobile was Type ‘B’. Possibly as a result of this Rejection and a growing Sense of Uselessness, the Geezermobile Burgundy grew morose, losing the accustomed buoyancy of its Tyres, and sinking into self-created Depressions of the asphalt.
|With such terminal Depression and concomitant
loss of Movement, the Burgundy seemed to call out for a sympathetic
Response. In such Circumstances, mindful of the possible Transgression
of certain universal Laws of Vehicular Motion, Euthanasia did present
itself as a reasonable Possibility.
The Weather being mild, and the Lumpenbangen Driveway miraculously free of Snow, the Scrapman was called, and the Burgundy removed. A small Honorarium was obtained, which will be used to subsidize a modest Bouquet of Flowers, to be placed at the Site, and a Memorial Service of Prayer and Thanks to the Great God Murphy–who predicted this Outcome many Years before.
We have also this Day made Commentary on an Article in the National Post concerning Alain de Botton’s Book, Religion for Atheists. It may be found in the Drivel Section.
|February 5, 2012
We have been struck of late with the Prevalence of Silly Ideas. There seems to be no Shortage; we suspect the Supply is inexhaustible. We have noted the Social Justice Movement in Schools, the Desire to prevent Citizens from protecting Themselves, and made brief Foray Yesterday into a Consideration of the National Post’s McGuinty Syndrome – which may be considered a Conglomeration of silly Ideas instigated by a silly Idea.
All these Notions seem to be in the ascendant, but we are pleased to report that the Silly Idea of Climate Change Alarmism is under increasing Attack.
The Wall Street Journal published a recent (January 27) Letter from sixteen Climate Scientists which states:
a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.
They note the Inconvenience of the Fact that there has been no Warming for over a Decade, as shown by the 2009 Climategate E-mail from Kevin Trenberth:
The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it’s a travesty that we can’t.
The Letter also refers to the Fact that CO2 is not a pollutant, and that present Concentration of the Gas is one-tenth of that which existed when Plant and Animal Life evolved.
The Writers suggest that the Root and Process of Alarmism is non-scientific. The Motivation is economic: it provides Funding for Research, Justification for Growth in Government Bureaucracy, and is a Boon to charitable Organizations pledging to save the Planet. Young Scientists, fearful of the loss of Promotion and Prestige, are intimidated into suppressing their Doubts.
|It is indeed, a wonderful
Illustration of the Folly of Humankind–in which Emotion overcomes
Reason, and the Scientific Method is subverted by the Politics of Greed
The Scientific Method was Proposed by Francis Bacon some Four
Hundred Years ago:
There are and can be only two ways of searching into and discovering truth. The one flies from the senses and particulars to the most general axioms, and from these principles, the truth of which it takes for settled and immovable, proceeds to judgment and middle axioms. And this way is now in fashion. The other derives axioms from the senses and particulars, rising by a gradual and unbroken ascent, so that it arrives at the most general axioms last of all. This is the true way, but as yet untried.
(The New Organon, aphorism 19)
Human Weakness triumphs still. The Fashion of starting with Assumptions–that most natural of human Proclivities–has not been relegated to the Steamer Trunk in the Attic of human Thought, but parades, naked, in confident Stride, still gaining the wrapt Approval of the ignorant and conforming Crowds.
The Letter in the Wall Street Journal is a welcome Counterweight–a small Child’s Voice against "incontrovertible" Opinion.
| February 4, 2012
We confess to little Shivers of guilty Pleasure--travelling from the Omphalos to the easterly Limit of the Aortic Arch--upon reading the Editorial in this Day’s National Post.
Noting that the Conference Board of Canada has suggested that Ontario’s Plans to eliminate the Deficit by 2016-17 are as likely to be as successful as the seamless Reconstruction of Humpty-Dumpty, the Editorial is entitled: The McGuinty Syndrome. What follows is a Reflection on the varying Follies of McGuintyism:
Since [the Mcguinty Government] came to power eight years ago, its modus operandi has been to ignore its promises, backtrack on pledges, cancel ill-advised initiatives and hide the evidence of programs gone wrong. When it’s warned that there’s trouble ahead, it forges on anyway until disaster forces a halt. When proof of its bumbling emerges despite its best efforts, Mr. McGuinty shrugs, offers a few sunny platitudes, and vows that he’s determined to put it right, because it’s never too late to make the right decision.
We confess that we have never understood the evident Appeal of Mr. McGuinty for the Voters. In 2007, it is true that with an insane Plan to fund even more Varieties of Religious Schools–in our View, even one is too many–John Tory made himself the greater of two Evils. In the most recent Election, Mr. Hudak did little to attack Mr. McGuinty on his Policy of Appeasement in Caledonia or his Infatuation with Green-Schemery.
|Nor did Mr. Hudak display anything but
Timidity when confronted with the Issue of Muslim Prayers in Public
Schools, and the coercive Nature of the Health Care System in its
Persecution of Dr. Karen Dockrill, who made Contracts with her Patients
for Services not covered by the inadequate Public System. Even with
these Failings, we are somewhat surprised that Mr. McGuinty gained just
less than a Majority.
We suspect it has something to do with the great Need for Illusion. Despite all Evidence to the Contrary, Mr. McGuinty suggests that the Reconstitution of Humpty-Dumpty–given the enormous Supply of Horses and Men available from the other Side of the Rainbow--will be achieved in a timely Fashion. After that, there will be a Windmill at the Bottom of every Garden, and a thriving Industry will arise from the technological Breakthroughs in the Creation of Electricity from the Dung of Unicorns.
Illusion is so often preferable to Reality.
| February 3, 2012.
We are indeed puzzled by another Example of Silliness–the charging of Ian Thomson who fired three Shots to dissuade three masked Men who expressed an active and determined Interest in firebombing his House. (National Post, February 1)
The Charges of dangerous Use and Pointing of a Firearm were dismissed before the Trial. But the Government seems obsessed with the Possibility that Mr. Thomson might be guilty of unsafe Storage of a Firearm. Their Argument is that the Rapidity with which Mr. Thomson defended himself suggests that his Ammunition was "too easily accessible."
As the Editorial in this Day’s Post points out, this is reminiscent of the Mediaeval Concern for an accurate Determination of the Number of Angels that might comfortably dance on the Head of a Pin.
|More interesting is the general Sentiment
which seems to be expressed by this Obsession: People should not be
allowed to defend themselves against Attack–or–as in the David Chen
O Brave New World! It would seem to be much preferable that Citizens be passive in encountering those who would do them Harm. In the Interests of Harmony, the greater Good, and the Supremacy of qualified Experts, it is best that Citizens surrender their Possessions or die quietly when threatened.
There is no Fuss, little Muss, and no affront to Jurisdiction. It is a Triumph of Orderliness over the primitive Instinct for self-Preservation. It is the Piano Key Syndrome: the wonderful Achievement of turning a Man into a Piano Key, a wooden Block to be depressed and released according to the Whim of the Nannies who know best.
We note the Coverage of the latest Lumpenbangen Press Conference in the Drivel Section.
| February 2, 2012
We have returned from Wind-in-the-Pines to a Collection of Newspapers delivered to the Lumpenbangen Studio, piled up in the Hall.
It is indeed wonderful to live in such Times when the World is a busy Factory, humming with Activity, and turning out a Tsunami of silly Ideas and Nonsensical Notions.
An Article in the National Post deals with the growing Tendency for Schools to embrace "Social Justice Movements." One Example is a School chosen by Rachael Adelman for her Israeli son, a School "based on the principles of participatory democracy and social equity." (National Post, January 28, 2012) It was discovered that the School encouraged Posters proclaiming Israel to be an Apartheid State.
The Toronto District School Board, we are surprised to hear, has a "Social Justice Action Plan." Social Justice is defined as a "specific habit of justice that is based on the concepts of human rights, equity, fairness and economic egalitarianism."
What a Minefield of Concepts drawn from the great Vision of Leftiness! How selective the Notion of Rights without Responsibilities! How wonderful is Equity in Concept, how fraught with Difficulty in real Life. In the case of economic Egalitarianism–how loonily ludicrous, and unambiguously unattainable.
|But, perhaps this should not surprise us. We
must confess that, recalling our Experience as a Teacher in the High
School System, using the accredited GF* Analysis Technique, it would
seem not unreasonable to conclude that 99.9% of Teachers vote for the
New Democratic Party. We think it may have something to do with an
essential Idealism, coupled with a soothingly secure Employment by the
In the ancient Days, before our current Enlightenment, Schools were content with more modest non-academic Aims: Persistence, Honesty, Punctuality, Respect for Rules. How Quaint!
We suspect that Great Expectations inevitably bring, in their Train, Disappointments of equal Magnitude. (Observation # 171)
| January 31, 2012
We are intrigued at the Discussion aroused by the Verdict in the Shafia Trial.
It would appear that the Motivation of the Shafias lay in certain abhorrent cultural Beliefs, rather than in Religion, although it may be true that Countries with Muslim Populations, may exhibit a greater Frequency of such Beliefs.
A contributing Factor to the Murders would appear to be the Disease of Political Correctness which has been spread by those possessing good Intentions but deficient Intellects, much given to the prescribing of toxic Brews in the mistaken Belief that they are restorative Potions.
The murdered Daughters in the Case had previously sought Relief from Teachers, Police, and Service Agencies but without Success. So great is the Terror in our Land of being seen to question the Sacred Cow of Multiculturalism--which suggests that any Culture is beyond Criticism-- that no one–or so it would appear–wished to interfere.
|To be fair, we have no doubt that the Shafia Wealth
was an inhibiting Factor: it is difficult to believe that primitive and
murderous Beliefs find safe Harbour beneath the implied Sophistication
of financial Success.
Evidence of this Political Correctness is not difficult to find. Last Evening, Ezra Levant played images of a CBC announcer questioning, on multiple Occasions, the Rapidity of the Verdict–as if the Lack of extensive Deliberation represented some Type of Cultural Discrimination.
We ourselves were amused to hear an Interview with Tarek Fatah on CBC Radio. Mr. Fatah said what is obvious to anyone not afflicted with Correctitis Politicus Toxicus–that all Cultures are not equal.
Even with the limited Visibility provided by our Radio, we were able to see the Jaw of the Interviewer drop. We have no doubt that an Examination of the Seismographic Record will reveal a significant disruptive Tremor of the CBC Offices at that very moment. The lost Jaw may well be discovered by the evening Cleaners. It would be too much to hope for any Discombobulation of the CBC Mind-Set.
|January 30, 2012
We are ensconced at Wind-in-the-Pines, which might now be renamed Snow-in-the-Pines, since Snow has fallen in each of the last three Days. First, there were huge, wet Flakes in a Blizzard of Lace, then tiny Gnats of White borne aimlessly in Currents of Air. And today, there is occasional Snow, augmented with Puffs of Dust from the Pines as the Breeze touches them, or a fine Mist as a Squirrel scuttles along a leafless laden Branch.
Winter has cast its white Hush upon the World. A Finger has been laid upon the Earth’s Lips; it is a time not for Movement, or Response, but for Waiting, and Enduring.
|Inside the Cocoon of the Cottage, while the Woodstove glows,
Water flows at the Turn of a Tap, and the Kalanchoe, which has bloomed
sparsely in a miraculous Persistence all Winter, raises an flurry of
orange Buds in Response to the lengthened Nights, yet a strange Lethargy
pervades, as if seeping inexorably through the Glass.
The Sight of the great Pines and silent Sweeps of White call for Contemplation and Repose. Busyness cedes to Awe, as the great Wheel, though turning still, appears to rest.
| January 28, 2012
We have encountered our first Bump in the Pavement, the exposed root in the Path of our new Relationship with the HSBC Bank.
We had applied for, and received a shiny new Mastercard in the Mail complete with a Number of Identification, a Number which must be kept from all Others, like a secret Spell of Incantation which allows Entry to the Crypt of buried Treasure. By Dint of much Repetition, we were able to commit the magic Number to Memory, and destroy the original Code we received from the Bank.
Not entirely trusting our Memory, we also committed the Number to small Pieces of Paper which we secreted in the Pages of our Edition of Gulliver’s Travels, in the Canister for Sugar in the Kitchen, and in the File Folder marked "PIN Numbers and Passwords" in our filing Cabinet.
We were instructed to telephone a special Number to activate the Card, but when we supplied our Card Number to the Machine which responded, it did not say: "Your card has now been activated; please do not forget the Number you have secreted in the Sugar Canister; have a good day."
No. It said: "Our offices are now closed." Or so it implied, by specifying the Hours of Operation.
Just in case, we tested the Card at the Health Food Store; our request was "Declined."
That evening, we telephoned the HSBC Mastercard Number. After a Wait of more than fifteen Minutes, we were greeted by a Representative.
Before she would speak to us, she wished to know our Card Number, our Address, Postal Code, and Date of Birth.
Now, we have encountered this request for Date of Birth before–with Rogers Communications–and we find it intrusive and offensive. Our Objections are two-fold:
|1. It is a Custom in our Society that it is rude to ask People
how old they are. Doubtless there are Cultures in which this Information
is cheerfully exchanged on an initial Meeting:
Hi, My name is Chad, I’m 34.
Hey, you look younger than that! I’m Melanie, 32. Last year I was 31.
But our Culture is not one of them.
2. There is a perfectly justifiable Prejudice against those of advanced Age. The Elderly cannot run as fast as the Young; they tend to forget where they left their Car Keys–or their Cars, for that Matter; they tend to fall ill and die with a startling frequency–and hence are demonstrably less reliable than those of more recent Vintage.
It does not seem unreasonable–to us at any rate–that those of advanced Age should wish to keep that Fact–where possible–a private Matter.
We see the Desire to prevent this Information from appearing at the Beginning of a Conversation–especially one in which it is not relevant except for Security Purposes–on exactly the same Basis that one might wish to withhold other personal Information. Why should a Representative of the Bank begin a Conversation with the Facts that we are 5'3" tall, weigh 250 lbs, are bald, black, believe in Reincarnation, and have only one leg?
We understand the Desire for Security, but there are many other Ways of determining the Identity of a Caller. The make of one’s first Automobile, one’s favourite Novel, or the Maiden Name of one’s Mother are frequently used for such a Purpose.
Why cannot these Organizations be more sensible?
Much to our Surprise, with gritted Teeth, we gave the Representative our Birth Date.
It was when she asked for our E-Mail Address that we hung up.
| January 27, 2011
We have concluded our Dissertation, which we have entitled The Devil is in the Principle–and are mightily glad of it.
We find Thinking and Writing to be onerous, and unlikely to contribute with positive Effect either to our Digestion or our Happiness.
Nonetheless, it troubles us to leave our Disagreement with much popular Thought in a vague and unrealized State, and there is some Satisfaction in the Attempt to express our Views in a definitive Fashion.
|Writing is far more dangerous than Talk, for
it is less easily denied, or excused as inadvertent Error. We note that
those Corporations with which we have some Quarrel, are reluctant to put
their Positions on Paper–preferring (or so we assume), the less perilous
Medium of the Telephone.
Our Ramblings–which we can hardly recommend, as they suffer from a tedious Length–may be found in the Drivel Section.
January 25, 2012.
For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread. (Alexander Pope, 1688-1744)
We are considering a Resolution to stop thinking, for the more we think, the more gloomy we become. It is entirely possible that a false and illusory Happiness is of greater Value than a true Perception of our Circumstance.
This Morning we have continued our Comments on Abortion, concluding that the Notion that human Life is "sacred" is superficially attractive, occasionally useful, but not justified by the Facts of the human Circumstance.Like the Truth symbolized by Kurtz’s Summarizing Perception, "The horror! the horror!"--our Conclusion is not pleasant. However, unlike Marlow, we have decided to speak out, rather than tell Lies, which have "a flavour of mortality" about them.
Our conclusions are in the Drivel Section.
|In another Matter, we must note that our
Perceptions of the Universe have been considerably shaken. We are
currently resting quietly, with a soothing, warm Cloth applied to our
distressed Visage. We are fearful that a Conniption Fit --possibly
fatal--may strike at
For probably the first Time in recorded History, bureaucratic Stupidity has been seen to make a modest Retreat. Lucy the Goose (see Diary, January 19) has been returned to her Owner, Diane Vander Wiel.
After a Petition to the Ministry of the Environment:
Peter Kent, the Federal Environment Minister has apologized the bird was ever taken in the first place. (Sarah Boesveld, National Post, January 25)
Ms. Vander Wiel reports that:
Lucy has been honking and running around the property, delighted to be back.
We suspect that this is an isolated and non-recurring Incident, and our Faith in the eternal Verities of Existence will soon be restored.
| January 24, 2012
On a number of Occasions we have made Resolution to stick to our Knitting.
That Knitting we see as an ironic Mode in dealing with the Follies and Absurdities in the human Condition.
Alas! One of the Follies and Absurdities of the human Condition is an Inability to stick to one’s Knitting.
|We encountered this day an Article
by Margaret Somerville entitled Focus on the Fetus in which her
Distaste for "abortion on demand" is made abundantly clear and her a
Desire for Consideration of Abortion as a societal, not a private Matter
shines through. We suspect–although she makes no Admission--that her
Position is based on the Notion of the "Sanctity" of Life–and we have
been led to reflect on the more general Proposition that many attractive
and useful Principles do eventually founder on the Rocks of
It is the old, old Conflict between Illusion and Reality.
We have dealt with the Matter of Abortion in the Drivel Section. It is our Intention to consider the more general Matter of the Limitations to Principle tomorrow.
| January 23, 2012
We are pleased to see four Letters to the Editor in this Day’s Post, all reinforcing our Opinion of Jonathan Kay’s implied Defence of the Distribution of Bibles in the Schools of Prince Edward Island. Mr. Kay termed certain dinner Party Atheists as "irritating," and upheld a Reading of the Bible–especially for Atheists--for the Insights it gives into our Culture.
While we heartily agree that the Bible is important in the Understanding of our Literature and Culture, we are reluctant to see it given apparent Endorsement as a religious Text by the secular Public School System-- which Circumstance occurs when it is distributed, gratis to all Students. This is rather different from a Study of the Bible in a Course which compares one Religion with Others.
Here are the key comments from the four letters:
The state should never be seen to endorse any religion.
The distribution of the Bible is meant to promote religious beliefs, not to provide insight into our world.
|Public institutions should not
promote one or any religion.
[Mr. Kay] ..makes a very poor conflation between literary education and religious indoctrination.
We are surprised that there seems no Contingent of Opinion from those who write Letters of heartfelt Appreciation of the truly awful religious Editorials which the Post is wont to print on the Occasions of Easter and Christmas. Possibly they were all busy with a Perusing of the Bible for religious Purpose. We think, on the Whole, that this is a good Thing; it is edifying for them, and a Relief to Disbelievers.
It would be imprudent to assume that the Writers of these Letters are all Atheists; but we are pleased to see a Rejection of the Notion that Public Schools should be seen to endorse any Religion. And while we have no Objection to private Schools, we are uneasy to think that their avowed Purpose might be to promote Religion. John Tory lost an Ontario Election with a Proposal for public Support of religious Schools; regrettably, the silly Province of Saskatchewan, undeterred, is offering to fund them.
We would draw Attention to our recent Discovery of an Address by Dr. M.T. Wasteland, of the Nullity Research Institute, concerning the oppressed Situation of Atheists in our Society. It may be found in the Drivel Section.
|January 22, 2012
For what a man would like to be true, that he more readily believes. (Francis Bacon 1561-1626)
Perhaps it is but the Extension of Light in the Daytime Hours, but we sense a Seeping of uncharacteristic Optimism into our normally gloomy State, and glimpse little Glowings of Light hovering at the End of the Tunnel of our Discontent.
We have been perusing the Opinion of those who are convinced that the Price of Gold has bounced off the Bedrock of Skepticism–or–as many would have it–has broken free of the Grasp of the Manipulators, and will move higher this Year.
|In Addition, there are many who say that
Silver is even more undervalued than Gold, and that both will rise as
Currencies in Paper are printed in a Mania of counter-deflationary
We have also had Occasion to speak with a Representative of Dynacor Mines–the Company in which we are most imprudently over-invested, who–perhaps unsurprisingly--has confirmed our optimistic Hopes for the coming Year.
As a matter of Policy, we eschew Enthusiasm, but Policy was ever a weak Force in the Battle with Hope. Francis Bacon was undoubtedly correct–but we will enjoy our little Moment of Optimism while it doth last.
| January 21, 2012
We did record the Fact yesterday that we sent a Letter to Jonathan Kay of the National Post, with respect to his Column advocating the reading of the Bible by Atheists. He also termed Dinner Party Atheists as "irritating."
|In that Missive, we jestingly referred to the
fact that Atheists are a marginalized and disadvantaged Group, deserving
of the special Status already obtained by a Variety of other Groups in
our caring, compassionate, and egalitarian Society. We claimed that
Atheists are even now diligently working towards that End.
We have been fortunate enough to encounter a Speech given recently upon the very Topick–it is entitled: Atheists as a Marginalised and Disadvantaged Group, and appears in the Drivel Section.
| January 20, 2012
Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. (Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826; letter to James Smith, 1822.)
Up betimes to read this Day’s Edition of the National Post.
We admit to many Weaknesses–but perhaps the Chief of them–after our Addiction to Chocolate–is our Inability to refrain from Comment on Religion, which seems, at the same Time, to be so foolish and yet so necessary, that the final Word can never be said, and the Topick can never be put aside, at last, to Rest.
In this it is but a Reflection of our constant Battle–between seeing things as they really are–and as we wish them to be.
In this Day’s Post, Jonathan Kay deals with the Matter of Michael Arsenault, who is raising a Stink and a Half over the Fact that Gideon Bibles are, in a Legacy of long Tradition, distributed to Students in Grade Five in Prince Edward Island.
Jonathan Kay, while admitting that he finds those in the religious Extreme to be frightening or offending, has of late been much irritated by militant Atheists at Dinner Parties, and makes a Plea for a Study of the Bible because of its Influence on Culture.
|While we agree it is foolish to
deny such Influence, we yet see Religion as a Potato threatening
considerable digital Discomfort. We would like the Oven Mitt of Context
within easy Reach at all Times.
We would prefer that the System of Public Education be religiously neutral, so that Religion might be restrained to its unwonted and undesired Position of being a Comfort, but not a Crusade. We see no bar to a Study of the Bible as a cultural Influence or as a Representative of one Religion among many. But the Assumptions the Bible makes are appropriate to a more Primitive Society; we prefer that Truth–or what Little of it we can apprehend–be approached on the Basis of what can actually be known–rather than through the Prism of what People thought–in the Absence of Facts–so many years ago.
We have written to Mr. Kay, suggesting that Atheists, as irritating as they may be, perform a useful Function in refuting Superstition. Superstition may result in Inquisitions and the Destruction of towered Innocents.
In a Spirit of Kindliness, we have also suggested he might emend his Circle of Acquaintance with the Aim of improving the Conviviality of the Dinner Parties he attends.
| January 19, 2012
We are constantly grateful to live in this modern Age wherein Common Sense and Judicious Action are seen in constant Parade.
The latest Example, as reported in this Day’s National Post, is to be found in the Case of Lucy, the Goose--discovered and rescued three years ago by Diane Vander Wiel, and kept as a Pet.
It is quite understandable that hearing the News of this extraordinary Circumstance, some Conservation Authorities, dropped all their urgent Business of Conservation to pay the Vander Wiels a Visit in order to confiscate the Creature, and take her to a Sanctuary.
There, in Accordance with the Principles of Conservation, it was proposed to kill her.
|We must express our heartfelt Thanks that we
have such wise and Judicious Bodies to manage our Affairs. The Vander
Viels, despite protesting that Lucy was entirely free to embark on any
migratory Activity she pleased, but seemed to prefer the Comforts of her
established Home, were clearly guilty a Crime which scarcely dare
whisper its Name: the Domestication of a Wild Animal.
Were this dreadful Crime to go unpunished, it is clear that the Foundations of our Civil Society would be at Risk: Governments would topple, Religions would crumble, and Common Sense would be washed away in a Sea of Civil Disobedience.
We eagerly await the News of the Conviction and Imprisonment-- possibly for an indeterminate Sentence of hard Labour--of the Vander Wiels.
Lucy the Goose, and John Wong, a Federal Wildlife Official may both be found on Limerick Lane.
|January 18, 2012
We are sometimes made aware of certain gratifying and great Advancements in the Conduct of Society taking Place--often in silence, unheralded, and unremarked; indeed, we have always harboured the Hope that one Day, by such quiet and covert Progress, a new Era will be deemed to have dawned, and Nirvana will be declared to be achieved.
The latest such Advancement to come to our Attention is that revealed in this Day’s National Post–not in the remote back Pages–as might be expected–but on the Centre Stage of the Front Page. Possibly this is a Signal that the Announcement of Nirvana is close at Hand.
It appears that Parole Board Hearings in Winnipeg may be
transformed as "aboriginal elder-assisted parole board
Such Hearings are conducted in a Circle, and enhanced by the Aroma "of burning sweetgrass, cedar or tobacco"–a Ceremony of "Smudging"--and an aboriginal Elder opens and closes the Investigation with a Prayer.
|Nor should we suppose that this special
Treatment is reserved for special Groups of the genetically deserving.
We are pleased that the Egalitarian Spirit is in a Triumph of
Celebration: those laying no Claim to Aboriginal Status are eligible;
they have only to demonstrate "a commitment to aboriginal spirituality
or way of life"–according to a Parole Board Official. The Legitimacy of
the Commitment of the Inmate is determined by an "assessment"-- no doubt
by plugging him into a convenient Commitment Assessment Meter at the
Parole Board Office.
George Bromby, a non-aboriginal Haitian, convicted of the stabbing death (51 Wounds) of his former Girlfriend, has recently requested this Type of Hearing. Craig Munro, a non-aboriginal "career criminal" who shot a police Officer during a Robbery in 1980 registered a sufficient Commitment Score to gain an elder-assisted Hearing in 2009.
It is indeed humbling to contemplate the great Sweep of human Progress, in which Clarity gives way to Smudging, and our Perspective of the Promised Land of Equity and Justice for all is most beneficially enhanced.
| January 17, 2012
Our little Life is made significantly more interesting by the Plethora of Things to worry about.
We confess that, until now, our daily Routine has been considerably impoverished in the Absence of a Concern about the H5N1 Virus, known to cause Death in over one-half of those infected.
Because human Cases have usually been Result of direct Contact with Birds, or other infected human Beings, there have only been 577 Cases recorded, and the Matter was too minor for Inclusion on our Dire Threat and Worry List.
It now appears that Ron Fouchier, an Expert in Virology in Holland has--by Dint of much Ingenuity and Effort we are sure–managed to create a Strain of the Virus easily transmissible through the Air.
|It is indeed Heartwarming to know that Virologists as
far away as Holland are working tirelessly to make our Life more
The Forces of Boredom, represented by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity in the United States, have made request that Publication of the Details of Dr. Fouchier’s be limited, so that others might not replicate his Research and create a viral Weapon. (Matt Gurney in the National Post, January 17)
The fun-loving Dr. Fouchier sees this as Interference and Censorship of his Work. It is a Relief to learn that the Thrills and Excitement of a 50/50 Brush with Death are high on his List of Causes worth fighting for. Doubtless his Enthusiasm comes from Working at the Barrel-of-Laughs Erasmus Medical Center, where the Joy and good Humour arising from the Prospect of virulent Epidemic are spread with viral Intensity. We can scarcely suppress a Chuckle as we add the H5N1 Virus to our Worry List.
|January 16, 2012
Of earnest Wishes and heartfelt Desires
For, all that moveth doth in Change delight: (Edmund Spenser 1522?-1599)
In this Day’s National Post, Michael Den Tandt discusses the Convention of the Liberal Party, noting that they have espoused the Gospel of "transformative change."
At the same Time, Mr. Den Tandt expresses his Sense that the Party is
"a prisoner of its history–and more precisely the sentiments of its diehard supporters who genuinely believe that the long-gun registry was a great and necessary idea; the Kyoto Protocol was an important step in the salvation of the planet; and the state, not the individual, is the primary architect of a good society."
If this indeed be the Case, it suggests a certain Truth about the Conduct of human Affairs: it is often believed that positive Change can be achieved by a resolute Maintaining of Things as they are.
In the same Issue of the Post, is an Article by John Haggie, President of the Canadian Medical Association, and Judith Shamian, President of the Canadian Nurses Association, entitled: "The patient comes first."
In this uplifting Piece, the Authors call for the Implementation of a new set of Principles, in shortened form below-- developed by their respective national Associations:
|1. Patient-centred care
2. Quality care
3. Equitable access to such care
4. Health promotion and illness prevention
5. Sustainable health care
6. A system in which the public, patients, families, providers and funders all have a responsibility for ensuring the system is effective and accountable.
All that is missing from this List is the long-promised Rose Garden on the Big Rock Candy Mountain–reputed to be in Shangri-la--somewhere over the Rainbow.
We see nothing in the Piece beyond a Suggestion that we look at "the evidence and best practices both within and beyond our borders" that the Authors have the least Idea of how the System must actually be changed. Indeed, the Authors seem to be swayed by the Results of a recent CMA Poll which suggests Canadians want National Standards, continuing Federal Government Responsibility for the Canada Health Act, and continuing governmental Effort to be accountable to Patients for their Needs.
In other Words, we should have more of what has been proved not to work. To paraphrase Mr. Den Tandt: The State, not the Individual is the Architect of a good Health Care System.
Our own Suggestion is, of course, that the Coercion of the single-Payer System be removed, and Patients be allowed to buy private Insurance.
It is our Observation #167: Beneficial change is considered highly desirable; it is especially attractive if thought to be obtainable without the alteration of established habit or custom.
| January 15, 2012
We have had Occasion to pen a Limerick about Asma al-Assad, the progressive Wife of the Syrian Dictator, Bashar al-Assad. She was seen at a Rally in support of her Husband in Damascus recently, which appears to be a Refutation of Principles with which she has long been identified.
We do not, of course, understand the Circumstance behind her Appearance–whether it be Misapprehension, Folly, or Coercion. But it is interesting.
In the Process, we encountered the Dictatorship of our Word Perfect Program, which refuses to let us spell Asma--insisting that we MUST spell it "asthma" by automatically adding the two missing Letters as soon as we attempt to move on to the next Word.
|We think it is Time that such dictatorial Arrogance be forbidden
by our Legislators and made subject to Enforcement by the Computer
Police. We would note that the Software Program has already established
its profound Ignorance of many English Words such as Euphonia,
Brobdingnagian, or Physogastric. Indeed, our Sense of
Superiority to this verbally-challenged Program often leads us to ignore
many of its legitimate Fits of red Underlining--and hence to Publication
of grievous Errors.
We would urge an Enhancement of Vocabulary, and an absolute Prohibition in the matter of adding Letters which the Writer has expressed no Desire to introduce.
The Limerick referred to above may be found on Limerick Lane.
| January 14, 2012
In this Day’s National Post, Rex Murphy notes that the Environmental Movement has had but muted Criticism until now, when Demands are being made for Clarity: what are the Sources of Funds, what Affiliations are to be discovered, and what Motives may lurk beneath the Surface.
Mr. Murphy states: "Generally speaking, it’s thought to be bad manners to question self-appointed environmentalists."
We attribute this to the fact that People prefer Sheep to Wolves, and are disinclined to look beneath an attractive Fleece to discern an Intent of Fleecing or a lurking, sharp-toothed Maw.
It would seem, to us, to be prudent to examine those bearing Gifts, especially those with Strings attached to great Schemes to save us.
|Governments are notable in this regard. Our System of Health Care
offers Equality at low Cost, but delivers Equality in Name only, along
with Coercion and Delay. Commissions of Human Rights destroy more Rights
than they protect.
It is interesting to read the Account of Andrew Coyne describing Proposals at the Convention of the Liberal Party: there are NATIONAL strategies for Food, Housing, Infrastructure, Home care, mental Health, supplemental Pensions, Education Funding, high-speed Rail Lines, and Child Care
This is an attractive Bleating indeed. George Jonas quotes the libertarian, Ron Paul:
The bigger the government, the smaller the individual. (National Post, Jan. 14)
Saving Schemes are sung in Siren Melodies that sap the Will; they are wedded to Principles of Coercion and Control. They should be questioned to verify their Claim of Necessity, and examined for hidden Sharpness of Tooth.
| January 13, 2012
We confess to an unreasonable Fascination with Christie Blatchford’s Account of the Testimony of Tooba Yahya at the Shafia Murder Trial in Kingston.
Ms. Yahya is described as being a Mistress of Evasion and Distraction under questioning about the Deaths by Drowning of three of her Daughters along with Mr. Shafia’s other Wife, Rona Mohammad.
Here is Ms Blatchford’s Summation of Ms. Yahya’s Style, imagining her to be confronted with a simple Question: "Is this Wednesday?"
"Sir," she might say, "at this time my condition is not good. My condition is very bad from the pressure. My brain is no working at the moment. I don’t know. I can’t tell you. Do you want me to tell a lie and say it is Wednesday, is that what you want? Sir, in our culture, lying is not good. It is forbidden by the Koran."
|In this Day’s National Post, Ms. Blatchford notes the "thread of
pathology" in the testimony at the Trial–"how this family hides behind
the purported practices both of their native Afghanistan and of their
We are reminded of two quotations:
"Those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities." (Voltaire 1694-1778)
"Nothing is more sacred than an ancient abuse."
(Also from a French writer–but we cannot find attribution.)
The sacredness of Religion, and the Sanctity of Tradition–these things–being beyond rational Criticism–are what enable Atrocity with an untroubled Heart.*
*Observation # 165
|January 12, 2012
We note with interest Report of a Proposal–by the Eastside Illicit Drinkers Group for Education in Vancouver-- that free Alcohol be served in a "peer-run drinker’s lounge." (National Post, January 12)
This bold Suggestion is made in the Interests of Reduction of Harm: it would reduce the Ingestion of cheap illicit Alcohol. This is, of course, but a logical Extension of the valued and esteemed Heroin Injection Sites for which Vancouver is known.
We are most grateful for these Examples of advanced Understanding of human Nature, and do earnestly hope that, with some little Persistence, a blessed Nirvana will be achieved.
Addictions represent a Matter of significant Challenge in our Society, and we suspect that Feeding them in pleasant, safe, secure, peer-run Facilities with helpful counselling and supportive Personnel ever at hand will have most beneficial Results.
We note that we ourselves are sorely addicted to Champagne, and have some fear that the cheap Plonk that our Budget allows may be causing significant Deterioration of our Health. We fear that the Leap to Listerine is but a few Litres of Plonk away.
|Nor is this the worst of our Woes. We have a fearsome
Predilection for Chocolate which leads us to contemplate Theft, leading
to Incarceration, or, with larcenous Success, may end in a morbid, and
possibly fatal Obesity.
Finally, we have, since early childhood, been addicted to Money. We simply cannot get enough of it. We have been known to resort to all Manner of humiliating, degrading and stressful Circumstance in order to obtain it. Our Condition has so worsened, our Frustration in not being able to obtain Money in sufficient Amount has so heightened, that we fear an imminent Collapse, possibly accompanied by a terminal Conniption Fit.
We hope the Illicit Drinker’s Group, or some similar charitable Organization will respond to our desperate Need. The provision of Champagne, Chocolate, and Money in a safe, secure, non-threatening Environment may be the very Remedy to forestall the dire Outcomes we fear. We hope Arrangements might be made near our Residence in Hamilton, but would consider moving to Vancouver if a Facility there could bring a speedy Arrest to our downward Spiral into Despair.
|January 11, 2012
What a Litany of Outrage is the Tale of Caledonia!
Aboriginals occupy the Land. They require Citizens to obtain Passports, and show them at Checkpoints. There are Threats and Intimidation.
The Police protect the Occupiers, and warn the Citizens.
The Province buys disputed Land from those who possess it in good Faith, according to the Laws of the Province, for Fifteen Million Dollars.
The Province pays Citizens who embark on a Lawsuit-- because of Damages the Province did nothing to prevent-- in the Amount of Twenty Million Dollars.
A Couple trapped in their Home sue for Seven Million Dollars, and the Province pays them an undisclosed Amount to go away and refrain from further Comment.
|One of the Occupiers assaults and nearly murders a
Builder in a Home he is building for his Daughter, then, pleading
favoured aboriginal Status, receives a Sentence of Two Years in Prison.
Those who march in Protest at the Miscarriage of Justice on County Roads are arrested for Trespass.
An X-Ray Investigation of Premier McGuinty and the common Earthworm, conducted at Hamilton General Hospital, reveals the Backbone of the Earthworm to be significantly more sturdy and robust than that of the Premier. Doctors express Dismay, but have no Solution for advanced moral Osteoporosis. Injections of Common Sense deemed too little, too late.
For those with a Fondness for Root Cause Investigations, please consult the Drivel Section. (January 11, 2012)
| January 10, 2012
We find ourselves stuck on the Topick of Religion, having been accused of Totalitarianism, Arrogance, and Disrespect in that Regard.
|Alas, we cannot alter our Opinion that Religion is based on false
Premise, and we are forced to oppose all Argument based on religious
Notions. Thus, there can never be Reconciliation between those who think
their Religion to be founded on Fact, and those who do not.
We have, however examined the limits to Atheism, and our Musings appear in the Drivel Section. (January 10, 2012)
| January 9, 2012
We were much surprised to see, last evening on The Source, Jerry Agar defend religious schools. The Globe and Mail recently criticized Saskatchewan, which is moving to provide more taxpayer funded Faith-based Schools, as acting in a Manner which is divisive in Society.
We must agree with the Globe's Position. And since we see Religion as being without Foundation of Evidence, it allows for a great fervency of Belief without Restriction by reasonable Argument–such as is as seen in violent Muslim Response to Criticism or Ridicule of their Convictions.
We accept that Religion may be of great Comfort, but taken with great Seriousness, can be of great Danger, as shown in the Christian Inquisition.
|We would prefer, if at all possible, that Religion be a private
Matter, and be kept from intruding in the Publick Sphere. We find it
especially objectionable when Representatives of Government suggest–by
wearing a Turban or Hijab–that the State approves of a particular
Religion. Thus those of other Faiths, or Atheists, suspect that they
will be treated prejudicially, according to a System of Values which
they do not share.
Mr. Agar reflected –very recently–our own objections to our unworkable Healthcare system. Thus it is disappointing to see someone so clear-headed about Healthcare seem so muddled about Religion.
Our Comment is in the Drivel Section (January 9, 2012)
| January 8, 2011
The weather at Wind-in-the-Pines has turned markedly cooler. The Napoleon Woodstove requires more frequent feedings, and we no longer have Concern that ice Fishermen walking across the Lake to engage in their Hobby will be suddenly unsupported.
|We happened to encounter two Programs last Evening: a Broadcast
of the Concert given last April by Paul Simon in New York, and Songs
of America, a 1969 Program aired only once, featuring Simon and
Our reflections on the first Program may be found in the Drivel section.
|January 6, 2012
We are now ensconced, once again, at Wind-in-the-Pines.
Even in Winter, we do not like to stay away too long. We like to make certain that the Furnace is still working, and Nothing else unfortunate has occurred. We have, indeed, a large Investment–perhaps $20 in House Plants--and on an extended Absence we begin to fear that they may be experiencing Separation Anxiety.
The Weather cannot be faulted; the roads were clear and the Temperature is comfortably above Zero.
There is, however-- as expected--Snow on the Ground, and we were curious to assess the Performance of Hardy Blue, our recently manufactured Sled. (See Diary, November 5 & 6, 2011) We do not plough the Driveway at Wind-in-the-Pines, both from a Habit of Parsimony and from a Desire to replicate, in some small Measure the hardy and independent Spirit of the Pioneers: we trundle in all our Supplies and Belongings over a snowy Trail.
We are pleased to provide the promised Report on Hardy Blue in Winter Conditions.
|First, the Capacity is more than adequate: all Supplies were
easily fitted into the generously-sized Cargo Box.
However, we did notice somewhat sluggish Acceleration up the Slope of our Neighbour’s Driveway--which must be traversed to get to our own. It would appear that the two-cylinder Dreimer Power Plant represents a considerable Miscalculation on the Part of the Manufacturer; a Doubling of the Pulling Capacity would not be out of place. Fortunately, there is little other Traffic on the Route of Access, and so the Slow Pace of the Blue did not exasperate other Operators.
Once the Slope had been traversed, and more level Ground had been reached, the Dreimer Unit provided adequate, but not exceptional Speed. Handling Characteristics in the wet Snow were adequate, and the double Sled Runners provided exceptional Stability.
Braking was virtually instantaneous; as soon as the Dreimer Power was withdrawn from the Pulling Rope, Hardy Blue lurched to a convincing Stop.
All in all, considering the low Cost, the Hardy Blue appears to be an adequate Solution to the Pioneering Task; we only wish the Power Plant had a bit more Oomph for hilly Terrain.
| January 5, 2012
We have been intrigued to learn of the enlightened and far-sighted Policy of the Government’s Advanced Leadership Program. (National Post, January 4, 2012).
In this Program, Federal Bureaucrats are sent to Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States in order to "challenge and expand their world view" and allow them to "gain insight into the world and thinking of top leaders," thus preparing them to "achieve results for Canadians."
Some have decried the Ten to more than Twenty thousand Dollar Cost of these Trips, but we have every Confidence in the Wisdom of the Government in this Matter. We must also pay Tribute to the high-minded and selfless Bureaucrats for their Sacrifice in tearing Themselves away from the Wintry Charms of Ottawa to travel to Places of oppressive Heat and Humidity in order to discover the Thinking of Top Leaders. Places like Mexico come to mind. The Nobility of it brings tears to our Eyes.
|We are also sure that a careful Eye is kept on
the Results. There is, no Doubt, a continuing Multi-Page Record of these
Trips showing the improved Results in the Performance of the travelling
Bureaucrats, with a careful Correlation to the Places they have Visited.
Within a few Years, it will be possible to state whether the French
Riviera or the Dominican Republic has had the more beneficial Effect,
and whether Bureaucrat "A" has managed to effect Savings, improve
Efficacy, and tidy his Patch, while Bureaucrat "B" seems to have been
unscathed by his Brush with the Thinking of Top Leaders, his Turf
remaining weedy and unkempt.
We do have a modest suggestion. In order to wring the best Results from this Program, it might be found advantageous to have a World Olympics of Administrative Excellence. Participants would be thrust–in some suitably benign Climate, of course--into an "Attawapiskat Challenge Event" to see which Candidate could return a dysfunctional Community to a state of Health in the least Amount of Time. The irrefutable Results of such a Test–showing a clear Advantage to travelling Canadian Administrators-- would surely put "paid" to the Objections of the niggling-minded Nay-sayers.
|January 4, 2012
We were much heartened last Evening to see Jerry Agar on The Source exposing the Folly and Debility of our Healthcare System. We have long railed against the "Outrage of Nanny Care" (Drivel, October 31, 2010) but have seen only Reports of careful, judiciously worded Studies warning of Unsustainability, or the occasional muted Lament that Sacred Cows are exempt from Discussion; the Slaughter that we would propose is a Blasphemy beyond the Pale.
In his concerted, passionate Attack, Mr. Agar noted the two Myths which are integral to the Sanctity of the Cow: that Governments, noted for their inability to manage anything, are seen as competent to run so vast a Complex of Interactions, and, secondly, that Rich and Poor are treated alike.
Perhaps more important than the Inefficiency of Government is the coercive Nature of our System. The Canadian Government has seen fit to cast its ideological Lot with those Bastions of Freedom and Good Sense–and no doubt superior Health Outcomes--Cuba and North Korea–the only other Countries which allow no Purchase of private Insurance.
As Karen Selick, Litigation Director for the Canadian Constitution Foundation, noted recently in the National Post: (see Diary, September 13, 2011)
Coercion is the very essence of socialized medicine...Forcing people to pay for services and then not providing them is tantamount to theft or fraud. It is the state system of coercive public health care that is unethical.
On the Second Point–that Rich and Poor are treated alike–we have long noted that Canada has fallen Victim to Equality Fascism*. So attractive is the theoretical Notion of Equality–George Jonas has termed it a "convenient fiction"–that we have sacrificed both Freedom and Common Sense at its deceptive Altar.
Everyone over the Age of Ten must realize that the Ideal of Equality of Treatment is Nonsense. On the Program, Dr. Roy Eappen made a passing Reference to the Importance of "who you know" in navigating the System. But that is merely one of many Elements of Inequality:
|1. "Saskatchewan Roughriders injured on the
field enjoy a privilege few others in the province share: They can
receive a publicly funded MRI within 48 hours, so long as their team
pays $4,500 to cover their scan and two others." Tom Blackwell, The
National Post, October 21, 2010
2.Other "Third Parties" are allowed to pay for private care. The RCMP, prison inmates, Workers Compensation Board clients, private auto and health insurers, law firms, sports clubs and individual employers and corporations." (Diary, November 10, 2010)
3.In an article in the National Post, Kevin Libin revealed that in Alberta, Members of the Legislature were provided with preferential Access to care. (Diary, June 10, 2010)
4. "Who you know" as Dr. Eappen suggests, is important. While we have no Evidence– it seems not unreasonable to suppose that Individuals of some Prominence in Society–particularly Politicians–are unlikely to die neglected in an Emergency Room. This may explain why Politicians, secure in their Prominence, see no sense of Urgency in the Matter of Reform.
5. It is only common Sense to suppose that those within the Medical System have preferential Access.
6. The wealthy–like Danny Williams, former Premier of Newfoundland–have the Means to avoid the System, and seek care outside the Country.
The terrible Irony of our Coercive System is that our Freedom to Choose, and our Access to timely Care is being sacrificed for the Sake of a False God–the False God of Equality. This is not, of course, the only Example of Equality Fascism* in Canada–but it is certainly one of the most Egregious, and deserving of immediate Reform.
We can only Hope that Mr. Agar’s Program marks a significant Step on that beneficial Path.
*Drivel, Feb. 8 & 12, 2011
|January 2, 2012
No Smoke rising in controlled Puffs. No coded Flashes of Light. No Radio Signals in encouraging Patterns.
In an Article entitled Politics must be our Salvation (National Post, December 31) Charles Krauthammer notes the "maddening" Silence from our "living, thinking counterparts in the universe."
It is assumed, of course, that our Counterparts must exist. The History of the Earth suggests that, in the right Conditions, Life, though destroyed, will rise in a Phoenix of organic Affirmation. Thus surely, with the Multiplicity of Planets, there must be some with those favourable Conditions, and Life must inevitably arise.
We have always allowed our Skepticism some Play in this Matter: there is a recent Estimate that there are 8.7 million Species on Earth–yet only one has created radio Signals. Even so, with 600 million Planets in our Galaxy, and 170 billion Galaxies, each with between 10 million and 100 trillion stars–well–let us say the number of eligible Planets should be considerable, the Chances of life high, and the Possibility of Radio Signals not absurd.
According to Mr. Krauthammer, one Explanation of the Silence is that advanced Civilizations have an unfortunate Habit of Destroying Themselves.
We find this an attractive Theory, since the Forms of intelligent Life with which we are familiar seem extraordinarily susceptible to Beliefs of startling Irrationality. The Combination of Intelligence of sufficient Strength to create Nuclear Weaponry, combined with a Belief that an Imaginary Being "A" wishes you to destroy those with Belief in a different Imaginary Being, "B," seems a likely Recipe for a Pie of Disaster.
|Discovering a reasonable Way of Living in the
World seems, to Us, a more than sufficiently difficult Task without the
Introduction of Beliefs based on Supposition and Desire. But we are
aware that imaginary Beings, in their cruellest, harshest and most
warlike Manifestations do but reflect real Elements in the Minds of
those who imagine them.
We are not optimistic in stating this Position; by Definition, irrational Belief is resistant to Reason. Even the Attempt to use Reasonable Argument with those committed to Unreason has a Whiff of the Surreal, an Intimation of the Absurd.
We have, of course, created our own Religion, Abracadabra, devoted to the Great God Murphy, the most reliable Predictor of the Outcomes of all human Enterprise.
But we are not foolish enough to believe that he is anything more than a Construction in our own Image, and not to be taken more seriously than any other Fictional Character. He has, however, told us not to expect Radio Signals anytime soon.
|January 1, 2012
We are pleased to have survived to a new Year; the old one was less than kind. Our Portfolio of Stocks lies in Ruin, since the Fear of the Markets, as is customary, has been directed with greatest Force upon Companies of Junior Status. Since we hold only the despised Junior Gold and Silver Shares, we have suffered far more than the 11% Decline in the General Index.
Our main Holding, Dynacor, despite increasing Production throughout 2011, and having plans to more than double their Output in this coming Year, has fallen from just under $2.00 to Seventy- five Cents, having touched Sixty Cents twice in the Period of Decline. We suspect their Profit for 2011 will be in the Range of Seventeen Cents, and will be surprised if, even without the planned Production Increase for this Year, the Profit were to be less than twenty Cents.
Of course, the Market is merely one of many Spheres in which Facts and reasonable Expectations must bow to pervasive Gloom or foolish Optimism.
Despite our firm Commitment to Skepticism, from our present Position-- piloting the battered Vessel of Hope through the roiling waters and dire Straits of negative Sentiment-- we find ourselves strangely drawn to the Horoscope published in yesterday’s National Post. We can give Predictions of the Future no more Credence than we can Religion, but we can understand the Impulse to clutch at Straws.
|Our Horoscope accurately noted "changing
weather patterns from 2003-05 made you move homes and switch jobs."
Indeed, we sold our House in Toronto in 2004, giving our Move to
Hamilton the air of Permanence.
It was Macbeth who remarked that the Instruments of Darkness, to "win us to our harm"--
Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s
Mindful of Macbeth’s Experience, we have no Plans to make large irrevocable Wagers on the Basis of our Horoscope, but we find it hard to resist the Prediction–in line with our own Hopes-- that "Your earnings will improve from the summer onwards." Indeed, we would not be averse to finding that "By the end of this year you’ll get special recognition or acknowledgment for the work you have done in the past few years."
It’s all bunk, of course, but comforting bunk. (See Observation # 17)