George Jonas exceeds my capacity properly to eulogize him: my acquaintance with him was exclusively through his newspaper writings and a very occasional video.
I will venture to say that he has been Canada’s most important public intellectual, exceeding even Conrad Black. Jonas has served as a pillar of right thought and action for his entire career. He has opposed Naziism, Communism, and the latter’s home-grown derivative, political correctness. He has stood for freedom when it was unfashionable and inconvenient, as it almost always is.
His was a life of action and reflection. Much of his practical reflections were based on flying and motorcycles, his passions, and I can relate to any man whose life encompassed more than just ideas, but speed, flight, danger, and, in his younger days, picking up attractive girls, and in even younger days, escaping Communist Hungary.
I am told he was the best of friends, and a fine poet. I regret that I have not been acquainted with him personally, while an appreciation of his poetry may lie in the future.
Others have written eloquently, in the National Post and elsewhere, of the sadness of the death and greatness of the character and achievements of George Jonas, poet, writer, and intellectual, who died last weekend. There will be a secular remembrance occasion in due course, at which he asked me to give a eulogy; so I will not pre-empt myself here, but only repeat what I said when his family asked me to say a few words at his burial. Though we met and were brought together because, decades apart, we married the same woman, and that would not normally seem a matrix for close friendship, George became one of the dearest and wisest friends I, and I think anyone, ever had. He was a great man, who can never be forgotten or replaced.
Let me speak for a moment about Hungarians and the country they come from. Jonas was a refugee from the 1956 uprising against Communist rule in his native country. I think the Hungarians are a special people. Among them are numbered some of the most important mathematicians and scientists of the 20th century, including Eugene Wigner, John von Neumann, Edward Teller, Leo Szilard, Albert Szent-Gyorgy and not dozens, but verily hundreds more. I do not know what is in the genes or in the water, but I have not met an ordinary-seeming Hungarian. I have met Jewish Hungarians, Catholic Hungarians, and Protestant Hungarians. I have yet to meet stupid Hungarians. Its culture allows a free rein brilliance and eccentricity.
If there is one thing I could wish for the future of this country, it would be that Canada could nurture such brilliance and mental rigor as a matter of course. George Jonas found his home here, for which we may all be grateful. Where shall we find another of his likeness? Only by encouragement of talent, and by educational discipline, are such people nurtured and found.
So let us do one thing in memory of George Jonas: let us recognize and encourage such independence of spirit and breadth of mind in our fellow man, and if that means we suffer fools less gladly, it might be a start, though by no means the whole, of an approach to developing a national culture of merit. For surely Jonas had great merit, which can be appreciated in the depth of his wisdom that we were privileged to have known.
“The concept of envy – the hatred of the superior – has dropped out of our moral vocabulary… The idea that white Christian civilization is hated more for its virtues than its sins doesn’t occur to us, because it’s not a nice idea… Western man towers over the rest of the world in ways so large as to be almost inexpressible. It’s Western exploration, science, and conquest that have revealed the world to itself. Other races feel like subjects of Western power long after colonialism, imperialism, and slavery have disappeared. The charge of racism puzzles whites who feel not hostility, but only baffled good will, because they don’t grasp what it really means: humiliation. The white man presents an image of superiority even when he isn’t conscious of it. And, superiority excites envy. Destroying white civilization is the inmost desire of the league of designated victims we call minorities.”
Sobran got into trouble for alleged (and probably actual) anti-Semitism, or anti-Israeli sentiment, which is too bad, because there is much in his writings that merits attention.
On the subject of envy, which is an enormous driver of human behaviour and the ruin of many human cultures, it is vital that you delve into Helmut Schoeck’s book, simply called “Envy”. It was the first discussion of the entire subject, its pervasiveness, its poisonous effects, and which cultures have found remedies for it. You need not think more than a second to realize that the society that has overcome envy – of the really poisonous variety – is ours. That is why we are successful, because we have suppressed and delegitimized the power of envy.
-autarkic economic organization, no free trade, and a war economy
-the invention and reviling of classes of subhuman who need to be exterminated
-one party suppressing all public dissent and opposition through the application of legal and illegal violence
-an emphasis on action, violence, and glorification of a leader.
By contrast, what Trump is talking about is getting control of US borders, negotiating better trade deals with China, and actually taking effective measures, or even ineffective ones, against Islamic terrorism, and being less predictable (and therefore less goody-goody two shoes towards the enemies of America).
The broad contempt for Trump, while justified, fails to recognize many Americans’ worries, as the economy sags, ISIL expands, Russian President Vladimir Putin struts, U.S. Congress gridlocks, and illegal immigrants swarm the country. These concerns won’t disappear just because they are not politically correct. The next president will ignore them at his – or her – peril.
America in 2016 needs a healthy debate about the policy flashpoints reporters have raised in debates. It also needs a deeper debate that, ironically, Trump has conducted telegraphically, symbolically.
We are not going to have that debate unless people like Trump are shouting from the rooftops what everybody knows, but which the Establishment denies. Liberal America is baffled and confused, the natives are restless, and when they step out of line, words like American fascist are easily at hand.
A short reading of history will make it clear that Trump is well within the range of American republican and democratic forms of government. He is far closer to the centre than Bernie Sanders, who is not, so far, being labelled an American communist.
But we all know how this game works don’t we? Sweet old curmudgeonly Bernie Sanders, the old socialist, gets a free pass, but anyone who actually wants to change the system of received liberal truths, as I think Trump does, must be condescended to.
I remember how Reagan was spoken of, and while Trump is no Reagan, the reaction to both men by the political Left is exactly the same. Shock, horror, revolt, condescension, and a bad case of the vapours.
This man must not prevail! But not before you see his lecture. No pussy-footing with this guy. A genuine white nationalist.
“psychopathic capitalist class and their parasitic minions”.
“complete annihilation of the decadent academic class.”
“to become a monster to protect those you love”.
‘the epicentre of the global capitalist system must in the coming years suffer the violent convulsions of the national revolution”
“the iron will to rebuild, recreate, and rejuvenate the nation”
He apparently means what he says and I am interested, if not baffled, why he has not come to the attention of thought control authorities. Oh well. Genuine national socialism must be so powerless as to leave the authorities amused by its presumption.
Murros preaches an unadulterated Nazism, a term which is seldom applied correctly: a combination of racial romanticism, utopian fantasy, anti-capitalism and anti-Marxism, and appeals to violence. I can hear Ferric Jaggar and the Iron Dream in the distance.
I was at the urinal last night in a bar and confronted an ad from the Ontario government. It showed the remnants of a restaurant meal, the bill on the table, and the apparent male voice saying “I’ll pay for the meal and you can come back to my place to work off the debt”. Below the words was the message from the Ontario Government “If it’s not okay to say, it’s never okay to do” and a reference to www.ontario.ca/itsneverokay
I had plenty of occasions to return to the ad that evening and tried to figure what was the most offensive thing about that ad.
the assumption that there can be no valid bargain between men and women for sex, even if that bargain is not primarily monetary and is mostly a set of signals about one’s suitability as a mate;
the assumption that the man would think like that;
the assumption that the man would act like that.
On top of that, there are many situations where social politesse requires the reverse: it’s not okay to say, but it is almost always okay to do. Think of our learned reticence about bathroom functions. It is always okay to ask where the washroom is; it is never okay to say to your hostess that you plan to have an enormous dump there, and in either case it is always okay to use the bathroom for its intended functions.
Today I visited the Ontario government’s website in order to continue my long overdue political education:
Let’s stop sexual harassment and violence
There are no grey areas when it comes to sexual violence or harassment.
Whether it’s unwanted touching, inappropriate comments or the expectation of sex. We know it happens every day and it’s never okay.
There are always grey areas in sex; it is a largely irrational transaction, played out in general between the woman’s desirability, which in her reproductive years is based in physical beauty, and the man’s desirability, which is usually based in the resources he can command, now or in the future, as well as his physical attractiveness in the woman’s opinion, and the participants’ levels of lust.
There is always touching, there is always sexual innuendo, and in the beginning od a relationship there is always the hope of sex. “Unwanted” cannot be determined until something is tried: close proximity, hand holding, fondling, naughty comments.
What the government of Ontario seems to believe is that we all need to be educated in the arts of seduction, and good manners.
Here is their definition of violence:
What is sexual violence
Sexual violence is any sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual act by violence or force. This includes:
unwanted sexual comments or advances
selling or attempting to sell someone for sex
acts of violence directed against an individual because of their sexuality, regardless of the relationship to the victim
Unwanted sexual comments and advances are now to be considered violence, mind you, not just rude behaviour. Then there was this little jewel of PC:
Clothes are not a risk factor. What someone is wearing is never an indication of anything other than their fashion choice.
I beg to disagree. Within the context of a culture, some forms of dress are intended to be provocative, and others not. What a woman is wearing is a direct indication of whether she is out looking for a man or grocery shopping or picking up the kids at school, and to pretend otherwise is raving nonsense.
For the morally blind chauvinist pigs who read this blog, here is a very truncated guide to women’s sexual signalling.
Above: Hot, but not available (see male on her left shoulder)
Above: Hot, busy, and possibly available.
Above: Not available, already spoken for, and busy.
She is looking for action. Say hello, sailor
Even the most cursory examination of stock photos shows that women send signals as to their availability or not for sexual banter, conversation, or a casual joke. How they are dressed is all signal, all the time.
Periodically the public seems to put its wrists together and asks government to handcuff it to higher taxes and more regulation. Such was the news this morning as Prime Minister Trudeau and his provincial counterparts gather to devise fresh ways to make us poorer through taxation and regulation.
I would say that, as a legitimator of collective action, global warming hysteria has been the most successful left-wing plot of all time. It makes Marxism look like the kludgy effort it really was.
Why bother with dreary economic ideas of “exploitation” – the Marxist equivalent of sin – when the very air you breathe out is filled with minute quantities of CO2? Sin! Now it is not merely the capitalist class which is to be supplanted; today everyone is guilty. So everyone can pay up! Genius!
So tax us more, please, to end anthropogenic global warming.
A warming that, so far as we can tell, is wholly within the range of normal climatic variation.
A warming that is producing longer crop seasons, shorter winters, and receding ice in the Arctic- though not the Antarctic.
The young think we deniers and skeptics will disappear and then we will live in a carbon-neutral utopia, with no more voices of dissent – dissent about anything really.
Sometimes it is necessary to live long enough to know that some cycles are just that, some processes work themselves out over time. If you have not lived sixty years, you will not have seen the rise and fall of cholesterol.
If you have not read history you will be unaware that almost every conscious being in the 1940s assumed that capitalism was on its way out and that a planned economy was the only way to go.
In 1940, Friedrich Hayek published “The Road to Serfdom”. No writing at the time more thoroughly disagreed with the consensus that planning was the way of the future.
Hayek’s argument was that the substitution of commands (regulations) for prices led inevitably to social and political tensions and distortions, which led to conflicts that would eventuate in the rise of the Strong Man who would come to power on the promise of putting an end to the chaos. In part it was an explanation of what happened in Germany, but in the main it was an attack on central planning, the consensus belief of its time, and hence on the Soviet Union.
I cite Hayek because we need to remind ourselves of the importance of cycles in thought. Today it seems that the central planners have fashioned a fool-proof legitimation for themselves, their rule, and the taxes to support them, for ever. To disagree is to be a heretic; to be against “carbon” regulation is to be against every belief of the bien-pensant establishment.
To be against carbon taxation and the massive global warming-inspired (oops! climate change) energy policy errors which we are about to make is to isolate oneself socially, not just intellectually. One does not want to turn oneself into a bore for the sake of truth – any more than is absolutely necessary. Some errors are just too large to fight in a social context.
I have been here before, in the pro-Communist 1970s, when Soviet agents of influence like Gwynne Dyer droned on about how we were all going to have to get used to a future where the Soviet Union was a permanent feature of life, and the Great Powers, the USA and the USSR, were morally equivalent.
There are days when I have to remind myself that the Soviet Union was actually taken seriously by Western intellectuals, to encourage me to face the coming dark age of carbon regulation and government sponsored poverty-creation with something approaching equanimity.
The upsurge of political correctness is not just greasy-kid stuff, and it’s not just a bunch of weird, unfortunate events that somehow keep happening over and over. It’s the expression of a political culture with consistent norms, and philosophical premises that happen to be incompatible with liberalism. The reason every Marxist government in the history of the world turned massively repressive is not because they all had the misfortune of being hijacked by murderous thugs. It’s that the ideology itself prioritizes class justice over individual rights and makes no allowance for legitimate disagreement. (For those inclined to defend p.c. on the grounds that racism and sexism are important, bear in mind that the forms of repression Marxist government set out to eradicate were hardly imaginary.)
American political correctness has obviously never perpetrated the brutality of a communist government, but it has also never acquired the powers that come with full control of the machinery of the state. The continuous stream of small-scale outrages it generates is a testament to an illiberalism that runs deep down to its core….
The scene in Columbia and the recent scene in New Haven share a similar structure: jeering student mobs expressing incredulity at the idea of political democracy. As far as the students are concerned, they represent the cause of anti-racism, a fact that renders the need for debate irrelevant. Defenses of p.c. tactics simply sweep aside objections to the tactics as self-interested whining. “It’s not about creating an intellectual space,” shouts one Yalie. Notably, the events at Yale have redounded in New Haven to the benefit of the protesters, who have renewed their demands, and Nicholas Christakis, the Yale administrator seen pleading futilely for reason, issuing apologies for his behavior. Likewise, at Wesleyan, the student newspaper that sparked outrage by publishing the op-ed of a student (cautiously) questioning elements of the Black Lives Matter movement has been harshly sanctioned.
That these activists have been able to prevail, even in the face of frequently harsh national publicity highlighting the blunt illiberalism of their methods, confirms that these incidents reflect something deeper than a series of one-off episodes. They are carrying out the ideals of a movement that regards the delegitimization of dissent as a first-order goal. People on the left need to stop evading the question of political correctness — by laughing it off as college goofs, or interrogating the motives of p.c. critics, or ignoring it — and make a decision on whether they agree with it.
No bad idea of the Marxist period of the 1960s and 70s has died; on the contrary, every loonie and repressive, freedom-hating idea of the Left has only gone from strength to strength. I will believe a genuinely conservative government has arrived when Mark Steyn or an intellectual combatant of that calibre is made the Minister responsible for funding higher education. Or perhaps we can begin by systematically defunding faculties and even entire universities on an explicitly political basis. I do not mean in this case conservative versus liberal. No, I mean totalitarian versus everyone else.
Weeks of simmering racial tension at Yale University boiled over in recent days into a heated debate over whether the administration was sensitive enough to concerns about Halloween costumes seen as culturally offensive, students and adminstrators said.
Peter Salovey, the president of Yale, said he had been left “deeply troubled” by a meeting he held with students of color last week who were “in great distress.” Many said they did not believe the university was attuned to the needs of minority students.
“The experiences they shared went beyond the incidents of the last few days,” he said in a statement. “Their concerns and cries for help made clear that some students find life on our campus profoundly difficult.”
The debate over Halloween costumes began late last month when the university’s Intercultural Affairs Committee sent an email to the student body asking students to avoid wearing “culturally unaware and insensitive” costumes that could offend minority students. It specifically advised them to steer clear of outfits that included elements like feathered headdresses, turbans or blackface.
In response, Erika Christakis, a faculty member and an administrator at a student residence, wrote an email to students living in her residence hall on behalf of those she described as “frustrated” by the official advice on Halloween costumes. Students should be able to wear whatever they want, she wrote, even if they end up offending people.
An early childhood educator, she asked whether blond toddlers should be barred from being dressed as African-American or Asian characters from Disney films.
“Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious … a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?” she wrote. “American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition.”
Ms. Christakis’s email touched on a long-running debate over the balance between upholding free speech and protecting students from hurt feelings or personal offense. It also provoked a firestorm of condemnation from Yale students, hundreds of whom signed an open letter criticizing her argument that “free speech and the ability to tolerate offence” should take precedence over other considerations.
“To ask marginalized students to throw away their enjoyment of a holiday, in order to expend emotional, mental, and physical energy to explain why something is offensive, is — offensive,” the letter said. “To be a student of color on Yale’s campus is to exist in a space that was not created for you.”
Ms. Christakis’s email also led to at least one heated encounter on campus between her husband, Nicholas Christakis, a faculty member who works in the same residential college, and a large group of students who demanded that he apologize for the beliefs expressed by him and his wife, which they said failed to create a “safe space” for them.
When he was unwilling to do so, the students angrily cursed and yelled at him, according to a video posted to YouTube by a free speech group critical of the debate. On Sunday it had been viewed over 450,000 times.
“You should step down!” one student shouted at Mr. Christakis, while demanding between expletives to know why Yale had hired him in the first place. “It is not about creating an intellectual space! It is not! Do you understand that? It is about creating a home here!”
“You’re supposed to be our advocate!” another student yelled.
“You are a poor steward of this community!” the first student said before turning and walking away. “You should not sleep at night! You are disgusting.”
The debate over Halloween costumes comes at a time of escalating racial tension at college campuses across the United States. Last month, the president of the University of Louisville apologized to students after he and over a dozen friends were pictured wearing ponchos, sombreros and bushy mustaches with maracas in their hands as part of Mexican-themed Halloween costumes. And on Sunday, dozens of black football players at the University of Missouri vowed to boycott school athletic activities over the university’s handling of racial incidents unless its president resigned.
The debate has erupted against an increasingly tense racial background at Yale. The campus has seen a long-running debate over a residential college named in honor of John C. Calhoun, a 19th-century South Carolina politician, outspoken white supremacist and member of the Yale class of 1804. His name continues to adorn its graceful Gothic halls.
And one week ago a black undergraduate accused a fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, of denying her entrance to a “white girls only” party on the basis of her race, an allegation that the fraternity denies. Jonathan Holloway, the dean of Yale College, said that his office took the accusation seriously and was investigating.
In an email sent to the student body on Thursday, Mr. Holloway said that he was “fully in support” of the request that Yale students avoid culturally insensitive Halloween costumes and that he regretted the sense among some minority students that Yale had “a poisonous atmosphere.”
“We need always to be dedicated to fashioning a community that is mindful of the many traditions that make us who we are,” he wrote. “Remember that Yale belongs to all of you, and you all deserve the right to enjoy the good of this place, without worry, without threats, and without intimidation.”