Category Archives: culture

Terrorism

A horrific shooting has occurred at two mosques in New Zealand. It looks like 40 people were killed and at least twenty more badly injured.

Much as it would be comforting to think that it was done by someone “mentally ill” it seems to have been a carefully planned, viciously executed attack by a single, or perhaps group of, nasty white extremist(s). Terrorism plain and simple, no excuses, no BS about “root causes”.

And, for God’s sake no candles, flowers and teddy bears. Murder is murder, terror is terror and there is no reason at all to minimize it or pretend that one more chorus of “Imagine” will heal the innocent worshipers who were killed, their families or their community.

It is very early in this story but it is absolutely essential that the terrorist(s) be interrogated and whatever support they may have had brought to account.

Terror is terror. Its perpetrators are evil regardless of their religion, ethnicity or politics.

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French Police vs. Yellow Vests

This is interesting.

The Yellow Vests are, ostensibly, protesting Macron’s imposition of higher fuel taxes in the name of CO2 reductions and the Paris Accord. However, while there is a strand of the protest which is really just people who like throwing rocks and lighting fires – apparently from both sides of the political aisle with more than a few of France’s increasing immigrant population taking advantage of the chaos – the bulk of the protestors seem to be the French version of deplorables. Working and lower middle class people from the provinces and the outer suburbs who have been steadily falling behind economically.

Historically, the French have been very good at organizing strikes and protests and the French police have become very good at breaking up such demonstrations.

But what this video shows is the French police “standing down”. Taking off their helmets. The crowd applauds and breaks into La Marseillaise.

Will the Yellow Vests bring down Macron? While I devoutly hope they do they will not do it on their own. However, if the police down tools that would be a different situation altogether. Of course, there would still be the Army; but how reliable the Army would be is an open question.

The one thing which the Yellow Vests need to keep their effort going is continued large numbers of non-violent protestors. This weekend there were fewer than last weekend. Christmas is coming. The point about street protests is they succeed when they are massive, they fail when people stay at home.

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The Things You Cannot Say…

Twitter kicked Meghan Murphy off the platform and she’s pissed.

“On November 15th, my account was locked again. This time, I was told I must delete a tweet from October, saying, “Women aren’t men,” and another, asking, “How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between a man and a transwoman?”

After dutifully deleting the tweets in question in order to gain access to my account again, I tweeted, angrily, “This is fucking bullshit, @twitter. I’m not allowed to say that men aren’t women or ask questions about the notion of transgenderism at all anymore? That a multi-billion dollar company is censoring basic facts and silencing people who ask questions about this dogma is insane.” This tweet went viral, racking up 20,000 likes before Twitter locked my account again on Monday morning, demanding I delete it. This time they offered no explanation at all — not even a vague accusation of “hateful conduct.” (feminist current)

Ms. Murphy touched the dreaded third rail. She suggested that women are women and if you are a man in a dress, well, you aren’t.

The SJWs at Twitter were having none of that and Ms. Murphy was kicked to the tall grass.

As she flew through the air it occurred to Ms. Murphy that, perhaps, this censorship was a bug, not a feature of left-wing identity politics.

“While the left continues to vilify me, and liberal and mainstream media continue to mostly ignore feminist analysis of gender identity, people like Dave Rubin and Ben Shapiro (and hundreds of right wingers and free speech advocates online), and right wing media outlets like the Daily Wire and The Blaze have either attempted to speak with me and understand my perspective, expressed support, or covered this undeniably ridiculous decision on the part of Twitter.” (feminist current)

When my pal Dr. Dawg, he of impecable lefty credentials, left Twitter voluntarily, he did so because of a similar crisis of identity politics. Either you are with us or you’re a fascist howled the Twitter brigades.

The SJW idea seems to be that self-identification trumps all and if you disagree, well, yer’a Nazi and you have no right to speak.

Saves a lot of thinking time.

Reasonable people can manage to hold somewhat contradictory ideas all at the same time. On the one hand a person self identifies as being of the opposite gender, on the other, that does not make him a woman or vice versa.

I might, simply to save on smokes, self identify as a First Nations person. It would be incredibly disrespectful but, on the SJW logic, my choice has to be respected in the face of all evidence to the contrary. My total lack of recognition by any First Nation should not matter.

It is possible, after a long journey and with a little luck, I might be “adopted” into a First Nations family and, with a ton of effort on my part, I might, maybe, be accepted as something of an adopted member of a particular First Nation. But I doubt it. Which is exactly right.

The complications of Canadian author Joseph Boyden’s claim of First Nation’s, what? Heritage? Ancestory? suggest that assertions of First Nations identity are, rightly, treated with a degree of scepticism by the First Nations themselves. (Great, long, article in the Globe and Mail on Boyden.)

Is it wrong to treat a man’s claim to womanhood or a woman’s claim to manhood with the same scepticism?

While it might be polite to respect a person’s choice in pronouns, it might be a slightly bigger deal to respect their choice in bathrooms and a very big deal indeed to accept their claims to the experience of growing up female or male. “I always knew I was a woman.” is not actually the same experience as “I grew up female.”

It is always fun to watch a lefty realize that conformity of opinion is a requirement, not an option, on the more radical fringes of the left. As Lindsay Shepherd discovered, even suggesting that people analyze “the other side” is enough to have you dragged in front of what amount to heresy tribunals. And the only people who supported her were us crazed, right wing, free speech advocates.

Ms. Murphy has, I suspect, made her career. Two weeks ago no one had heard of her or Feminist Current the webzine she edits, today she was invited onto the Dave Rubin Show and quasi-Con Ben Shapiro has a crush.

Most importantly, Ms. Murphy has, as the expression goes, spoken truth to power and been kicked in the teeth for her trouble. She seems very smart, a good writer and more than capable of connecting the proverbial dots.

 

 

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Cannabis Crunch

Cannabis, pot, marijuana, Canadian legalization of marijuanaI have been joking for a year that when Legalization Day arrives in BC we won’t notice any difference. I suspect that will be true tomorrow simply because very little of the infrastructure of legalized pot will be ready to go on Day 1.

The biggest difference will be that the people who will assemble to enjoy being able to smoke pot without the slightest chance of arrest (not that there is much chance of arrest now) will all be smoking illegal pot because there is, according to the Globe and Mail, exactly one fully licenced pot shop ready to go for Day 1. Plus there is and will remain a significant supply shortage as the various licenced growers ramp up the production of their “biological assets”.

The great error of the Canadian marijuana advocates was to accept “legalization” rather than demanding “decriminalization”. This has doomed Canada to repeat the American experience of creating a heavily regulated cannabis industry with so called “seed to sale” product tracking, licenced pot shops, provincial wholesale monopolies and all manner of other state intrusions. The layers of regulation might even suggest that the idea that pot is harmless does not reflect the Liberals’ actual thinking.

At the same time, the personal grow show exemption allowing the cultivation of up to four plants for personal use is going to hole the great barge of regulation under the waterline. It will not take all that many people growing to provide an abundant, unregulated, supply of potlatch pot. The potlatch element comes from the fact you cannot sell your crop, but you can give it away. A mildly competent grower – and there are plenty out there – should be able to grow a pound of pot per plant. An ambitious grower should be able to harvest 3 or 4 times per year. A pound is roughly 450 grams and if you think about that at the notional rate of $10 a gram, that is $18,000 worth of untaxed pot every quarter.

There is no question that home grows in closets will be a thing, the only question is how big a thing.

At the moment there are some very big companies involved in the cannabis business in Canada. Companies whose market caps are several times the estimated size of the Canadian retail recreational marijuana market. There are also plenty of large scale growers who have not jumped through the Health Canada regulatory hoops. There will be pressure on the federal and provincial governments to enforce the seed to sale regulation of legal pot. But there will be market pressure to ignore the regulatory scheme from pot activists, “independent growers” and, I suspect, urban and rural First Nations who have no particular stake in the regulatory scheme. Just as I can drive three miles from my home and buy fireworks on a nearby reserve in defiance of municipal and provincial law, it would hardly be surprising to see excise stamp free marijuana for sale in those same locations.

Astoundingly, the legalization of marijuana is likely to be the only basic accomplishment of the first Trudeau government. The early indications are October 17 will be celebrated with clouds of illegal pot, regulatory chaos and a boost to the grey and black markets as police and Crown will no longer have even the threat of possession charges. A few months from now there will be the inevitable “oversupply” of recreational marijuana with the corresponding drop in wholesale and then retail prices. Which, in its turn, will collapse such tax windfalls which legal pot were promised to bring.

The chaos of the Canadian “legalization” of marijuana will take a year or so to really hit home. Just in time for the October 2019 federal election.

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The Consolations of Ignorance

If you drive down Victoria’s Pandora Avenue this what you will see:

img-0-3462152-jpgYou might think that this image of a couple of the literally hundreds of homeless people would drive Victoria City Council to action. (And it has to some degree – a few years ago City Council was looking at banning boulevard camping.)

However, faced with an intractable problem which is only growing worse, City Council decided to clean up another blight on Pandora, this:

sir-john-a-macdonald-statue

It appears that the statue of Sir John A. MacDonald is offensive to First Nations and that Victoria’s “City Family” (not a task force you understand) want it removed in the interests of “reconciliation”. Sir John’s great sin was a belief that the assimilation of Canada’s First Nations was the appropriate goal for government policy. This goal has now been recast as “cultural genocide” and who would want a statue of a genocidaire near a public building? The Times Colonist has a surprisingly well balanced story on the question.

I have no great fondness for Sir John and it is not a statue of striking artistic merit but I wonder if removing statues of historical figures for contemporary political reasons isn’t simply an empty gesture in the face of an inability to actually face real issues.

The mighty City Council of Victoria may think it can atone for the sins, real and imagined, of the Victorians’ belief in assimilation by consigning Sir John’s statue to a sub-basement. But that does less than nothing for the many First Nation’s people who are up the street “boulevard camping”.

There is hard work to be done on First Nations’ issues. Removing statues and renaming schools and bridges is not that work. Walking three blocks up Pandora and thinking very hard about the issues which send hundreds of people, including First Nations people, “boulevard camping” is the beginning of that work.

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Preston Manning/Jordan Peterson….separated at birth

Driving along today I had an epiphany. Jordan Peterson and Preston Manning sound remarkably the same:

Here’s Preston:

And here’s Jordan:

Now this is not a huge surprise:

Peterson was born on June 12, 1962, and grew up in Fairview, Alberta, a small town northwest of his birthplace Edmonton, in Canada.

Manning was born born June 10, 1942 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Manning drove the Canadian left crazy for years, now Peterson is performing the same service. Is it the ideas or is it the dreaded “Edmonton” accent?

Now, if only someone could get Peterson to say “Reform Party”….

Colten Boushie – The Crown gets it wrong

The not guilty verdict in the Colten Boushie case has managed to elicit wildly inappropriate tweets from our Prime Minster and the Minister of Justice – and thank you for making an appeal all the less likely.

From what I have read this was a huge error on the part of the Crown.

The error began when the Crown charged 2nd degree murder. A charge which requires intent. Proving intent in a melee is next to impossible. A wiser, less political, Crown would have charged manslaughter which does not require intent.

The defense, rather courageously in my view, decided to claim “the gun did it”. This is not a position criminal lawyers tend to take simply because it can be refuted with decent forensic evidence and the sheer implausibility of a gun “hang firing”.

The Crown’s job is to block the exits. One of those exits was the gun firing itself and Stanley having no intent. It appears, and I have not read the transcript, that the Crown was content to prove that the gun in question killed Colten Boushie. Which might have worked in manslaughter but falls short in 2nd degree murder. In 2nd degree murder there has to be an intention on the part of the accused to cause the death of the victim. Absent that intent there is no case to meet.

Lefty friends, as they lament the end of the “reconciliation” effort, are happy to point out that the jury which acquitted was “all white”. They are waving the bloody shirt and convinced that a jury of Saskatchewan peers could not render a fair verdict. Besides being deeply racist, it is a dog which will not hunt.

The Crown was aware of the jury and the likelihood that they would seize any reed, no matter how thin, to acquit a man who was doing nothing more nor less than they would have done if a group of drunk Indians arrived in their yard. Which meant the Crown needed to refute every exonerating theory, no matter how unlikely, for the win. The Crown failed to do that and so Stanley walked.

The “#justiceforcolten” hashtag will loom large for a few days. But the fact is that Colten got the justice the Crown was able to argue for. Is it enough? I don’t think so. Not because the jury got it wrong, rather because the jury understood Colten all too well and managed to find a hole in the Crown’s case. A better Crown would have bolted the “hangfire” door. A better Crown would have understood the jury he was given and the fact that Colten was operating within a context of First Nations crime against farmers. A better Crown would have resisted the political pressure and charged manslaughter.

Every death is a tragedy. But Colten Boushie was a tragedy waiting to happen. The jury understood this without having to be told. They found a way to justice. The Crown let them. It’s done.

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Arcadia

Via the National Review I came across John E. Seery’s lament for the small liberal arts college, strangled at the hands of administrators gone wild.

I commented:

The odd thing is that a good undergraduate Liberal Arts college needs a few classrooms, a few seminar rooms, a small library with a serious affiliation to a big library, some professors and an administration to take the fees and pay the people. (Yes, if it is residential, there is all that stuff but there are many people who have run Holiday Inns.)

I am astonished that American parents are willing to fork over 60K/a for a quasi-university education.

The temptation to create a “graduate college” on the lines above somewhere fairly remote and populate it with profs emeritus and brilliant buggers who have had it with being sessionals is huge. Two years, 10K a year, seminars of twenty in Y1, 7 in Y2 to give you the education you didn’t get while you were doing diversity training and taking “Studies”. Small, residential, maybe 500 20-25 year olds. Act up and you get kicked, be there to learn or leave. No social rules – you’re adults, deal with it.

Oh, and mandatory Church on Sunday (and I don’t care if you are Jewish or Muslim or what have you) – it is entirely cultural. Believe whatever you want but learn the liturgy, the Hymnal and the Book of Common Prayer because that is the cadence of Western Civilization – English division.

Teach the students to think, to write and to argue. Read chunks of the Western Canon, also read smart people like Orwell and Oakeshott. First year – rather like law school – everything is required. Second year an elective and a directed study towards a required forty page thesis.

Three grades – fail (you have to do it again until) pass and then, because excellence needs be recognized, distinguished. Distinguished would be very tough to get and papers which hit that standard would be published, on paper, every year.

The President of this Arcadia would be chosen for his or her grumpiness when confronting academic lassitude and capacity at the BBQ for the occasional “feast”. (Pace Frank Iacobucci.)

Admission would be strictly by merit but merit would be a very elastic concept. Write one really interesting undergraduate paper, you’re in, build a community organization from scratch, you’re in, play bassoon in a world-class orchestra, you’re in, build an app that’s on my phone, you’re in. But it is a liberal arts college so STEM people, valuable as they are, business undergrads and “studies” people are going to be faced with a fairly high bar.

Finally, the “interview” would be mandatory and last for a residential week. Arrive before Church on Sunday, leave after Church the Sunday after. Seminars, cocktail parties, a President’s BBQ, perhaps a paper presentation: gruelling does not begin to describe it because my graduate college requires a habit of mind, an ability to disagree without being disagreeable, the social is just as important as the academic.

If you get in, two years later, you will be better educated and, more importantly, a better thinker, more deeply informed. A much better writer and, I suspect, a more deeply understanding person.

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Bob Turner

1959814_10152284087003223_1216141924_nI met Bob Turner when I edited Common Ground Magazine a couple of decades ago. He was our “distributor” which meant he drove around in a series of doubtful vans and dispatched his swampers to drop off the magazines at dozens of locations in Vancouver. When I met him I was out for a smoke which, Bob being Bob, was a good thing. He joined me, in a beaten up leather jacket looking like he’d rolled out of bed an hour before, and we enjoyed the first of, perhaps, 1000 cigarettes together.

Somehow he became my friend. And the friend and useful uncle to my elder son Simon.

He died two days ago.

There are dozens of stories I can tell about Bob. My youngest son Max is hearing the more respectable ones now. But there are two which stand out.

Years ago, Susan and I took Simon and went to stay on Galiano Island. I invited Bob. He arrived with a fold out trailer and his van and several bottles of rum. Alex Jones played late into the night. Susan was pregnant with my second son Sam but it was early. So, one morning, I suggested a short hike – I thought – to Coons Bay at the top of the island. Bob was game. So was Susan and so was a delightful German girl who, in a moment of absent mindedness, I had invited as well. Blonde and healthy she was ready to climb alps. Susan, not so much, Bob, not at all. We’d reached the quarter way point where there was a steep bit where you had to pull yourself up on a rope. It had begun raining. Quite hard. Bob looked at Susan and announced, “The Currie forced march ends here.”

As he finished his sentence, gunshots began ringing out. (Long story, not actually at us.) We scampered. As we retreated Bob looked at our German companion, “Of course you know, as the youngest member of our party, we eat you first.” Deadpan.

Susan has loved him from that day to this.

We’d circle round and connect year after year. Bob was very much involved with my elder son Simon who was not living with me and leading what Anthony Powell would describe as a very rackety life. He gave Simon a job as his swamper, which lasted on and off for four years, and sat in his van smoking at the kid and giving him no bullshit advice whether Simon wanted it or not.

Once in a while, Bob would email or, more often call. We’d talk business and then we’d roll around to Simon. Much discussion. But, ultimately, given what Simon the teenager was up to, Bob said something very wise – as he usually did: “There are just two things to worry about, he gets killed or he kills someone. If he makes it to twenty he’s good. The rest is bullshit and can get fixed.”

Simon made it to 20. He had many fathers but I suspect that the father who got him from 16 to 20 without being killed or killing someone else was Bob. Kind, patient, no bullshit Bob saved my son when I couldn’t.

I am so grateful to the man. And I will miss him. So will a lot of people in a variety of worlds where Bob felt at home. We’ll all miss him.

 

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Losing Faith

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To be honest I have found Faith Goldy a bit much on The Rebel. Cute as a button but a little over the top.

And she made a rookie mistake speaking to The Daily Stormer in Charlottesville. Pretty dumb but, perhaps, understandable given that an idiot had just killed someone behind her.

But Ez, champion of free speech, takes this as an excuse to fire the woman. He’s scrambling on all fronts, he’s lost his cruise, his access to the new leader of the PC’s, he’s being “extorted” by a couple of Brits and his staff list is dwindling by the hour. So, of course, the smart move is to fire one of his most engaging reporters.

Ez needs to be in front of the camera and let smart people run the business. But, I fear, it is too late for that. Holed below the waterline The Rebel is going down.

Pro-tip Ezra. Saying “fuck” a lot does not make you tough. As I say to my boys, it makes you stupid. The audio is out there and, I fear, you sound like a suburban kid trying to use foul language to sound tough and hip. You are neither. I realized that when we had our wee moment vis a vis Richard Warman’s bluster and your capitulation. The f-bombs were flying and I was bemused. I knew you could do better but, sadly, you didn’t.

Faith was very nice. Forgiving. Down right Christian about you firing her for simply speaking.

You are about to be pushed into a very dark place. Unfairly for the most part. But arrogance and hubris are their own rewards. You never understood Breitbart’s essential truism that culture is upstream of politics. You wanted to be political without the plinth of culture.

And now you’re done.

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