You do not have to do a thing to embarrass the federal Liberal government. They have silenced you because you are constrained by solicitor-client privilege. You cannot disclose the degree to which you were pressured not to go after SNC-Lavalin by way of criminal prosecution. You have been prevented from testifying before a parliamentary committee by the votes of its Liberal majority. So there you are: silenced.
Your power position will never be better. As soon as you break your silence, you will subject to questions about your judgment in the actual issue: ought SNC-Lavalin be prosecuted criminally? So do not be in any rush to speak to that issue. Be the woman righteously indignant. Be the woman offended by louts.
Let Trudeau and his evil advisor Gerald Butts stew in their own juices. It is comical to watch Justin Trudeau be unable to put a foot right in this affair. He or his minions slag you, then relents. He says you are happy in the cabinet, then you resign from it. And he fears letting you speak, so he maintains solicitor-client privilege. When this grenade finally goes off at your first press conference, it will wreck Trudeau’s posturing as a feminist. It may be the ruin of his government. It certainly puts the lie to his claims to sunny ways and to a special understanding of natives and native issues.
Think about the delicious irony. The opportunity to shuffle you out of the cabinet came as a result of Scott Brison’s resignation. You were moved to Veteran’s Affairs because Scott Brison, the minister who got the government involved in the disgraceful prosecution of Vice Admiral Norman for leaking cabinet secrets, left politics for business. Thus one scandal begot another.
As to the Prime Minister’s evil advisor Gerald Butts, it is time for Trudeau to turn on his closest political friend and can him. Trudeau will not get around this scandal without human sacrifice, and while I would gladly see an Aztec heart sacrifice for the wrecker of Alberta’s economy, I will have to be satisfied with Butts seeking “to spend more time with his family.” If that is a relevant term for one whose species is uncertain to replicate by sexual reproduction.
The longer you stay silent, Jody, the more the pressure builds. The longer you look like the offended party, the more Trudeau must suffer. Lord, he richly deserves this come-uppance. Pride goeth before a fall.
“The real universal basic income is cannabis and video games” – Naval Ravikant
Both are convinced we live in a simulation. Both are convinced that religion and mathematics are predicated on belief – that God and mathematical laws rest on axioms. God is the biggest axiom. You choose, that’s all. And by definition, both of them believe what they do without being able to prove it.
First I observe the death of two of my heroes: former Minister of Finance, Michael Wilson, and of foreign correspondent Joe Schlesinger, the last CBC reporter actually to have experienced the deadly effects of both Communism and National-Socialism. Michael, I am still sorry for accidentally clobbering you with my racquet in a squash game. You were a good sport and a fair player. And Joe, I am happy to have had the chance to congratulate you for your good work in a chance encounter at the grocery store.
To quote Rex Murphy on the subject of the O-C Green plan: “The enormousness of its prescriptions is overshadowed only by the might of ignorance that powered their composition. The Green New Deal is volcanic eruption of progressive stupidity. You’ve heard of Fake News. This is Fake Thought with bullet points.”
The gays are waking up to the biological nature of sex. Andrew Sullivan writes in New York magazine this week about how some lesbians have started to object to the invasion of their spaces by penis-less males, such as Caitlyn Jenner and other males similarly transformed by surgery.
“It might be a sign of the end-times, or simply a function of our currently scrambled politics, but earlier this week, four feminist activists — three from a self-described radical feminist organization Women’s Liberation Front — appeared on a panel at the Heritage Foundation. Together they argued that sex was fundamentally biological, and not socially constructed, and that there is a difference between women and trans women that needs to be respected. For this, they were given a rousing round of applause by the Trump supporters, religious-right members, natural law theorists, and conservative intellectuals who comprised much of the crowd. If you think I’ve just discovered an extremely potent strain of weed and am hallucinating, check out the video of the event. “
The panel discussions involving the aforesaid radical lesbians concerned a federal non-discrimination bill, called the Equality Act. The bill
” would add “gender identity” to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, rendering that class protected by anti-discrimination laws, just as sex is. The [lesbian exclusivist] argument is that viewing “gender identity” as interchangeable with sex, and abolishing clear biological distinctions between men and women, is actually a threat to lesbian identity and even existence — because it calls into question who is actually a woman, and includes in that category human beings who have been or are biologically male, and remain attracted to women.
I find this kind of discussion to be healthy. When radical lesbians and Jordan Peterson are on the same page it is a good sign, I reckon. Sex is biological. Everyone knows this except the fanatics.
Sullivan’s article illustrates a much more important point than the argument he presents. If it takes lesbian separatists to argue that sex is primarily and preponderantly biological, then we have reached a dire situation. It shows the relative powerlessness of the 99.999% of normally constituted people in this discussion, gay or straight. I include all those as normal who do not wish to alter their sex by surgery. If Sullivan had covered the discussions at the Heritage Foundation without the lesbians, it would have been a miracle. It took a sexual minority – a minority within a minority – to authorize Sullivan to cover the debate.
“If this [argument of the lesbians] sounds like a massive overreach, consider the fact that the proposed Equality Act — with 201 co-sponsors in the last Congress — isn’t simply a ban on discriminating against trans people in employment, housing, and public accommodations (an idea with a lot of support in the American public). It includes and rests upon a critical redefinition of what is known as “sex.” We usually think of this as simply male or female, on biological grounds (as opposed to a more cultural notion of gender). But the Equality Act would define “sex” as including “gender identity,” and defines “gender identity” thus: “gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or characteristics, regardless of the individual’s designated sex at birth.”
“What the radical feminists are arguing is that the act doesn’t only blur the distinction between men and women (thereby minimizing what they see as the oppression of patriarchy and misogyny), but that its definition of gender identity must rely on stereotypical ideas of what gender expression means. What, after all, is a “gender-related characteristic”? It implies that a tomboy who loves sports is not a girl interested in stereotypically boyish things, but possibly a boy trapped in a female body. And a boy with a penchant for Barbies and Kens is possibly a trans girl — because, according to stereotypes, he’s behaving as a girl would. So instead of enlarging our understanding of gender expression — and allowing maximal freedom and variety within both sexes — the concept of “gender identity” actually narrows it, in more traditional and even regressive ways. What does “gender-related mannerisms” mean, if not stereotypes?”
Indeed, and well argued. Passing into law what amounts to ideological claptrap is common enough in these insane times. The reason that the forces of madness can get away with this dangerous nonsense is that opposition has been crushed in advance, silenced, made impossible, by political pressures on free speech.
Why does it take – why must it take – a bunch of lesbian separatists to be the only people authorized to object to this madness? Said one of them: “We may be lesbians but we are not confused about biology”.
A social contagion is at work. It is the akin to the witchcraft craze of the 16th century. It is assumed that transgender people exist, just as we once thought there were witches. One era penalized them, another lauds them. But the delusion is that there are such people, children even, who must be accommodated on pain of legal penalty.
An interesting article in Manhattan Contrarian today reminds me of the importance of envy as a way to understand the root of leftist politics. Envy is one of the seven deadly sins. Unlike the other six (wrath, sloth, gluttony, pride, lust and greed), envy cannot exist without comparison to others. Envy is always about how one feels about another, be it a person or some abstraction, like a nation or a political system. We shall return to envy shortly. In the meantime, contemplate these facts.
The author of Manhattan Contrarian, Francis Menton, was touring Cambodia and describes the Cambodian genocide.
“When the killings started in 1975, there were fewer than 8 million Khmer in Cambodia (and not too many more outside). Four years later, the population of the country was well under 5 million. Historian Ben Kiernan has estimated the number murdered at 1.7 million. Others place the number at between 2 and 2.5 million. Most died in actual one-on-one executions, although there was also plenty of mass starvation. Literally everyone lost multiple friends and/or family members.
“Recognizing that causation is a very complex subject and that a series of events can have many causes, it is still true that in every version of the Cambodian genocide that I have found the causation story comes back to the same thing: ideology. In this case the ideology was communism, that pernicious European quasi-religious idea that somehow got taken up in the twentieth century by various Asians as the preferred route to utopia. New dictator Pol Pot got it into his head to impose a “pure” form of Maoist communism, which involved getting rid of all vestiges of capitalism and forcing everybody into a collectivized agrarian economy. Before the killings even got going, the entire populations of the cities and most villages were marched out forcibly into the countryside and resettled. From The Culture Trip:
[After Pol Pot assumed power in April 1975] residents were immediately rounded up and sent to the countryside as part of the communist regime’s plans to create an agrarian society. Personal possessions were confiscated, money abolished, family ties severed and the almighty Angkar [political police] set the brutal laws, which saw the population sent to work the land under appalling conditions.
“How did they decide whom to kill? The basic concept was, anybody who did not subscribe perfectly and in every respect to the ideological script, or who was suspected even a little of less than perfect loyalty to the regime. As the genocide got going, the criteria came to include anyone who had achieved any success in life, however minimal: every owner of significant property, every professional, every entrepreneur, every academic, every teacher. From Wikipedia:
The Khmer Rouge regime arrested and eventually executed almost everyone suspected of connections with the former government or with foreign governments, as well as professionals and intellectuals.
“According to information I got from one of our local guides, at the end of the “killing fields” period, there remained in Cambodia only about 40 medical doctors, 52 university-level teachers, 200 high school-level teachers, and 2000 elementary school-level teachers. These people had survived by lying low and not admitting who they were. The country had been substantially set back to the stone age.”
There is a theory that explains this behaviour, and another that justifies it. The justification for class extermination comes from Karl Marx. The explanation for the motives that drive the extermination of the intelligent and the accomplished comes from a man called Helmut Schoeck.
The power of envy is not sufficiently appreciated, either for its pervasive negative effects, or that it takes political forms. The great book on the subject was written by a Austrian-German professor who taught in the United States, Helmut Shoeck, (3 July 1922 – 2 February 1993) and it is called simply, Envy.
Schoeck sees envy as a pervasive force throughout human affairs, stifling and even deadly in its effects if unconstrained, and in constant need of containment. He argues that envy is one of the chief forces causing underdevelopment in many parts of the world. Further, that until the social power of envy was abated, economic development as we have come to experience was blocked at every turn. Avoiding the “evil eye”, he says, is one of the expressions that the power of envy takes in many parts of the world. Entire societies, from Andean peasants to Arabs, are held back by the need to avoid the envy of one’s neighbours by visibly succeeding, which means, in essence, by accumulating, more property than one’s neighbours.
His interpretation of Protestantism connects to the struggle against envy and the takeoff of modern economic development in some parts of the world since the Reformation. Schoeck writes that the idea of God in Calvinism was crucial to the liberation of those personal and social forces and self-authorizations that underlie capitalist development. This idea was of a God who envies us nothing. If God does not envy, why should we?
Marxism, in this view, is but the resurrection of the power of envy into a supposedly scientific theory. “It is only in Marxism, the abstract and glorified concept of the proletariat, the disinherited and exploited, that a position of implacable envy is fully legitimized.”
Schoeck was the first man, to my knowledge, to understand explicitly the force of envy as a destructive and pervasive social pressure, which needs all the power of religion to repress and to contain. I have managed to describe Shoeck’s thinking in bare outline here; I recommend the book. It is one of the most important I have ever read.
I end with a quote from Schoeck on the real nature of envy:
“But Chaucer also sees envy as the worst of sins because nearly all the rest oppose only one virtue, whereas envy turns against all the virtues and against everything that is good. It denies, as we would now say, every value in the scale or table of values. Because the envious man takes exception to his neighbour’s every virtue and advantage, the sin of envy is distinct from all others. Every other kind of sin is in itself pleasurable, to some degree productive of satisfaction, but envy only produces envy and sorrow. Chaucer holds envy to be a sin against nature because it consists in the first place of distress over other people’s goodness and prosperity, and prosperity is naturally a matter of joy. In the second place envy consists of joy in the ills and suffering that befall others. This envy is like the devil, who always rejoices in human suffering.”
Doctrines that unleash the power of envy end in massacre, as Cambodia’s attempted social purification attests, along with the massacre of Ukrainian farmers and Europe’s Jews under the Nazis, to name only the modern examples. I wonder how much of the abhorrence on the Covington kids by the outraged political left is essentially envy of their bright normalness, their happiness, their whiteness, which they disguise from themselves by calling it white privilege.
The recent media kerfuffle about some boys from Covington high school and their supposedly awful attacks on some poor old Indian have turned around into a media catastrophe. The leftist press got everything wrong – no surprise – but was apprehended in the act, and had to back off. The entire incident will be forgotten in a week. I present this as an important reason why I try not to participate in the blogging of outrage.
In the time the entire event arose, spread, was refuted, and collapsed, I had to go to hospital for a cardiac procedure. (I am well thank you). The slight risk of actual death has a wonderfully concentrating effect on the mind. I turned to youtube videos about saw mills and cabin building. They are my way of engaging in escapist literature.
More than this, they concentrate me into practical efforts that bring exercise, accomplishment, and deep satisfaction in their wake.
The net tendency of Internet participation is to be constantly aggravated. If you are like me, it will be offended by the leftist assault on reason, history, religion, males, the white race, Christianity and morality. If you are anti-Trump, then everything happening these days will be offensive to you sensibilities. The best way to regain your poise and equanimity is to stop paying attention to the shadow play of politics.
I realize this is not what a political blog ought to say. Yet I am more concerned with my own health and sanity than I am with Trump, Trudeau or any of the dozens of points of concern, such as Brexit, Venezuala, or building pipelines in Canada. We have to remember that the reasons why we are conservatives is that most of life lies beyond and outside of politics, and it is to those wells that we go to draw our spiritual water.
If you have not seen the fascinating youtubes of Shawn James, you should. Shawn has been building a cabin and related outbuildings in the woods near Georgian Bay for the past three years. His filming technique has been improving steadily, and he now has a drone to get aerial shots of his territory. He has 670,000 youtube followers, and is in constant receipt of fan mail from all quarters of the world. Many people are having vicarious pleasure in following our pioneer as he labours to build his projects.
The fascination of Shawn James is his utter absorption in the task. In many films he works in complete silence for hours and then concludes his weekly upload with reflections on whatever he wants to talk about.
He is an introvert. He prefers the company of himself and his cute golden retriever. In three seasons I do not think he has cracked a smile twice, and then only fleetingly. You will wait in vain for any levity, any wit. He is as serious as Jordan Peterson.
What I like about James is his ordinary canadian-ness. He speaks in what for foreigners will seem as a thick Canadian accent. He lives in the woods, and James makes you realize that what for Canadians is quite ordinary Ontario bush looks to an Australian or to an Arab as exotic landscape. No vast prairies, no deserts, but a land bounded by trees and swamps and rivers. It is our home, but to the universe on youtube it looks as strange as anything on earth.
I used to live the cabin fantasy too. I inherited a square-log cabin built in the 1850s. It was very well built, had been vandalized, and we restored it to health. Gradually, as my family expanded, and our twenties turned into our thirties, the notion of using an outhouse, or washing in the kitchen sink, lost their charms. First came insulation and a wooden stove, then a well and cold running water. Then a propane stove for cooking. Then, in order, hot water, a shower, and finally an indoor toilet with septic tank. Eventually it was a well-insulated rustic cabin, with wood shed and tool shed attached.
My ideas changed too, from the 1970s. Back then I was an eco-catastrophist. I followed the Club of Rome sky-is-falling , resources-are-running out mantras. On his occasional forays into matters beyond construction, Shawn James will venture thoughts on man and nature, but mostly he sticks to the issues that make him so much himself: careful steady work, measuring twice, walks with his dog, explaining to the camera what he plans to do, and showing how he gets things done.
There are three seasons of his films available, and he provides many an urbanite, desert dweller, and inept non-builders a vary Canadian fantasy.
One of the mysteries to me since Trump’s election has been the steadfast refusal of many intelligent people to contemplate the reasons why he won, why the gilets jaunes are rebelling in France, why the Brexit vote, why anything in the post world War 2 consensus might no longer be applicable, or might have to change. I see a failure of imagination comparable to that of the 1930s, when all well-educated Establishment opinion held that alarms about this Hitler fellow were just Winston Churchill’s bad judgment and war mongering.
The people pointing to the oncoming disaster are mistaken for the disaster itself. The perceptual failure is like the dog who thinks the finger you are using to point with is the thing referred to. You would think people with two university degrees would be smarter, but they are not. In fact the more educated they are, the more resistant to the idea that they might need to adapt their ideas.
I noticed on Facebook pages the first break in the ice-wall. This morning I saw the first reference in my circle of Facebook friends and correspondents to the work of Christophe Guilluy (pronounced Geewee with a hard ‘g’). The article occurred in Spiked, and is called “the gilets jaunes are unstoppable”.
Guilluy produced a study in 2014 called “La France Péripherique” (Peripheral France) that argued that the native French working class no longer lived in the large metropolitan centres of Paris, Toulouse and Lyon, as they had been driven out by real estate prices. They had been replaced by immigrant populations who would build and serve the metropolitan elites, who remain unaware of what is going on in the parts of France (or England) where they no one of their circles lives.
“Technically, our globalised economic model performs well. It produces a lot of wealth. But it doesn’t need the majority of the population to function. It has no real need for the manual workers, labourers and even small-business owners outside of the big cities. Paris creates enough wealth for the whole of France, and London does the same in Britain. But you cannot build a society around this. The gilets jaunes is a revolt of the working classes who live in these places.
They tend to be people in work, but who don’t earn very much, between 1000€ and 2000€ per month. Some of them are very poor if they are unemployed. Others were once middle-class. What they all have in common is that they live in areas where there is hardly any work left. They know that even if they have a job today, they could lose it tomorrow and they won’t find anything else.
spiked: What is the role of culture in the yellow-vest movement?
Guilluy: Not only does peripheral France fare badly in the modern economy, it is also culturally misunderstood by the elite. The yellow-vest movement is a truly 21st-century movement in that it is cultural as well as political. Cultural validation is extremely important in our era.
One illustration of this cultural divide is that most modern, progressive social movements and protests are quickly endorsed by celebrities, actors, the media and the intellectuals. But none of them approve of the gilets jaunes. Their emergence has caused a kind of psychological shock to the cultural establishment. It is exactly the same shock that the British elites experienced with the Brexit vote and that they are still experiencing now, three years later.
The Brexit vote had a lot to do with culture, too, I think. It was more than just the question of leaving the EU. Many voters wanted to remind the political class that they exist. That’s what French people are using the gilets jaunes for – to say we exist. We are seeing the same phenomenon in populist revolts across the world.
spiked: How have the working-classes come to be excluded?
Guilluy: All the growth and dynamism is in the major cities, but people cannot just move there. The cities are inaccessible, particularly thanks to mounting housing costs. The big cities today are like medieval citadels. It is like we are going back to the city-states of the Middle Ages. Funnily enough, Paris is going to start charging people for entry, just like the excise duties you used to have to pay to enter a town in the Middle Ages.
The cities themselves have become very unequal, too. The Parisian economy needs executives and qualified professionals. It also needs workers, predominantly immigrants, for the construction industry and catering et cetera. Business relies on this very specific demographic mix. The problem is that ‘the people’ outside of this still exist. In fact, ‘Peripheral France’ actually encompasses the majority of French people.
spiked: What role has the liberal metropolitan elite played in this?
Guilluy: We have a new bourgeoisie, but because they are very cool and progressive, it creates the impression that there is no class conflict anymore. It is really difficult to oppose the hipsters when they say they care about the poor and about minorities.
But actually, they are very much complicit in relegating the working classes to the sidelines. Not only do they benefit enormously from the globalised economy, but they have also produced a dominant cultural discourse which ostracises working-class people. Think of the ‘deplorables’ evoked by Hillary Clinton. There is a similar view of the working class in France and Britain. They are looked upon as if they are some kind of Amazonian tribe. The problem for the elites is that it is a very big tribe.
The middle-class reaction to the yellow vests has been telling. Immediately, the protesters were denounced as xenophobes, anti-Semites and homophobes. The elites present themselves as anti-fascist and anti-racist but this is merely a way of defending their class interests. It is the only argument they can muster to defend their status, but it is not working anymore.
Now the elites are afraid. For the first time, there is a movement which cannot be controlled through the normal political mechanisms. The gilets jaunes didn’t emerge from the trade unions or the political parties. It cannot be stopped. There is no ‘off’ button. Either the intelligentsia will be forced to properly acknowledge the existence of these people, or they will have to opt for a kind of soft totalitarianism.
A lot has been made of the fact that the yellow vests’ demands vary a great deal. But above all, it’s a demand for democracy. Fundamentally, they are democrats – they want to be taken seriously and they want to be integrated into the economic order.
spiked: How can we begin to address these demands?
Guilluy: First of all, the bourgeoisie needs a cultural revolution, particularly in universities and in the media. They need to stop insulting the working class, to stop thinking of all the gilets jaunes as imbeciles.
Cultural respect is fundamental: there will be no economic or political integration until there is cultural integration. Then, of course, we need to think differently about the economy. That means dispensing with neoliberal dogma. We need to think beyond Paris, London and New York.
Christophe Guilluy was talking to Fraser Myers.
I shall watch with interest to see whether the kind of analysis offered by Guilluy will make greater headway among my acquaintances and friends because it comes detached from the kinds of associations that people like Steve Bannon bring with them.