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Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Barrel Strength - Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Political correctness and Islam are the same thing

All the instances of suppression of speech are the same story: the Left has gotten into the habit of suppressing speech and cannot stop at any point; since habits are habit-forming. Says Mark Steyn:

 If free speech is only for polite persons of mild temperament within government-policed parameters, it isn’t free at all. So screw that.

After recounting all the recent instances of people suppressed or punished for being out of line with the Cathedral, Steyn adds:

 A generation ago, progressive opinion at least felt obliged to pay lip service to the Voltaire shtick. These days, nobody’s asking you to defend yourself to the death: a mildly supportive retweet would do. But even that’s further than most of those in the academy, the arts, the media are prepared to go. As Erin Ching, a student at 60-grand-a-year Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, put it in her college newspaper the other day: ‘What really bothered me is the whole idea that at a liberal arts college we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion.’ Yeah, who needs that? There speaks the voice of a generation: celebrate diversity by enforcing conformity.

Once again, Steyn ties it all together in a way I can only envy.

As it happens, the biggest ‘safe space’ on the planet is the Muslim world. For a millennium, Islamic scholars have insisted, as firmly as a climate scientist or an American sophomore, that there’s nothing to debate. And what happened? As the United Nations Human Development Programme’s famous 2002 report blandly noted, more books are translated in Spain in a single year than have been translated into Arabic in the last 1,000 years. Free speech and a dynamic, innovative society are intimately connected: a culture that can’t bear a dissenting word on race or religion or gender fluidity or carbon offsets is a society that will cease to innovate, and then stagnate, and then decline, very fast.

It is the concern of every thinking person that the we are rapidly heading to the same dismal state of inquiry as we find in Islam. We arrive at it by the same process as political correctness enforces: the suppression of free “unbalanced” debate.

And just as it was with Islam, it is a lack of confidence that underlies the suppression of free inquiry. In both cases, the lack of confidence is justified.

Compare that insecurity to the robust confidence of Christians trained in the Greek classical tradition, who are ready to take on philosophical attacks from any direction. Why are they so confident? Because they believe that human reason grasps reality and that, while some things are mysteries, we do actually apprehend with our minds what is real.

That is why Christianity gave rise to universities, science, and the modern age, and that is why political correctness and Islam are so weak, while appearing so strong. Their weakness causes them to suppress, and what each suppresses is – for the moment – different. Soon, however, political correctness will be Islam, and Islam will be political correctness. What is essentially alike will recognize its underlying likeness in the other, and will assimilate. Borg will absorb Borg.

If these forces prevail, just put a black flag on top of Parliament, shut it down and refer all political issues to the jurists at human rights commissions whose judges, naturally, will be Islamized political apparatchiks. All inquiry and discussion will become subject to  jurisprudence, since everything important has been decided anyway. No one will question anything, and inquiry will rapidly atrophy. That, at least, is their hope.

Why do Islam and political correctness resemble one another? Because they know they are artificial constructs that cannot withstand the scrutiny of reason, and must rely on the enforcement of conformity in thought, word and deed to hide from themselves their emptiness.

Am I wrong?


The liberal view of tolerance

Shannon Gormley of the Citizen  provides us today with a particularly mendacious view of liberal tolerance: “Liberal tolerance means being intolerant of intolerance”.

The way she slips in the false arguments is quite breathtaking in its audacity. Getting to the heart of it, she writes:

Liberals aren’t being hypocritical by vehemently opposing prejudice in all its forms: on the contrary, opposition to prejudice is entirely consistent with the liberal belief that every individual’s human rights have to be treated with respect, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, age, race or religion.

and after saying liberals have a right to drown out intolerance, she adds:

Moreover, don’t be surprised if other peoples’ charges of prejudice “drown out” your opinions. That’s just what happens when people who voice hateful opinions are outnumbered by people who voice the opinion that hatefulness is hateful.

In short, all opinions having the tendency to cause one to be intolerant of something are “hateful”, and of course, hatefulness is wrong, and should be drowned out.

Now every cell in our bodies does not tolerate invasion by chemicals that do not belong there. Are they being intolerant? Every person does not tolerate unwanted intrusion into their living space. Is that intolerant? Yes of course it is.

We are intolerant of drivers going at high speed along residential streets, particularly where children may be playing. Is that intolerant? Of course it is.

So, Shannon Gormley, in the course of assuming what needs to be proven, that all intolerance is bad, and therefore hateful (another conflation of issues) manages to justify Brandeis University refusing to award Ayaan Hirsi Ali a doctorate because she proposes that Islam is at war with us, and that is intolerant, and therefore hateful, and deserving of being drowned out.

As Gormley writes:

The idea of “liberal intolerance” is being framed as a hatred of dissenting opinions. But for the most part, liberals aren’t taking issue with the fact that a hateful opinion is being voiced. They’re taking issue with the opinion itself. And they’re winning some of the arguments.

That is precisely what is not happening. They are taking issue with the possibility of even hearing reasoned discussion of things they do not like, such as that Islam is a menace to liberal society, and to liberals themselves.And they are not winning the arguments, they are preventing the discussion from happening, and they are not even denying it.

Shannon Gormley is recounting untruths and she ought to know it.





When I hear of oppression, this is what I think of

I was listening to CBC radio, a while back, to young articulate Canadian Indians (aboriginals) talking about how incredibly hurt they had been by aboriginal schools and how angry angry angry they were about their oppressed existence.

Aboriginal schools of a certain era were Edwardian light-security concentration camps for youth, such as the one I went to in the 1950s and 60s at great expense to my parents. You could be beaten by teachers for failing to know rules you had never been taught ( I will kill you, Roger Reynolds, if I ever find you). You were instructed in grammar and maths and expected to know subjects, conjugate irregular french verbs, learn Shakespeare, write clearly, and be imbued with patriotic fervour for the British Empire, the Dominion, and Victorian ideals. The food was bad but we were allowed home.

The Indian residential schools probably taught less French and more Christianity than we were. Nevertheless, I am skeptical that residential schools of the 1920s or 1950s were any tougher than what white people were undergoing in the 1920s and 1950s: regimentation, obedience, education, hierarchy, and a very strong inculcation into the idea that the world did not centre on you. It was not child-centred learning.

For me, words like “racism” connote picking up a machete and massacring your neighbours if they belong to the wrong tribe.  Never hiring a man of proven worth because he is of the wrong tribe, that would count to as real racism. Forget “microaggressions”. I find myself micro-aggressed by people who are badly dressed; by people who whine on public radio, by slovenly thought, by pompous know-betters, by cross-country skiers who complain about trails being used by snow-shoers: name your pet hates; you have them too. A sensitivity to Micro-aggressions are the sign of how nice everything is becoming.

You want to read about real oppression, practised by the experts of a police-state? Read this narrative about growing up in Ceausescu’s Romania as the child of a dissident. (“How the Secret Police Tracked my Childhood”) Then talk to me about residential schools, if you dare.



Kay debates Drache about suppression of speech on campus

The MacDonald-Laurier Institute held its debate last night at the War Museum on the state of repression of speech on Canadian universities. The contestants were Barbara Kay of the National Post and Daniel Drache, a retired professor of York University. Both debaters had gone to high school with each other in Toronto ages ago.

I need not summarize the arguments: the hyperlinks take you to the main positions.

You have to hand it to Drache: given a weak hand he played as well as he could, essentially saying, yes, there have been negative incidents, but on the whole, the curriculum has never been broader, the kinds of people attending university have never been more diverse, and  the discussion takes place on the Internet anyway.

In short, everyone cool your jets, nothing to look at here, the university is not really the centre of intellectual engagement anyway, and accept the fact that the university has moved on from the 1960s when, during the teach-ins against the VietNam war, free speech was at its apogee.

This was not so much a defence as a capitulation. Says Drache:

In the last decade, a handful of universities such as Concordia, York and Ottawa have revoked invitations of high-profile controversial speakers to appear on campus for reasons of their personal security, including Coulter’s famously aborted talk at the University of Ottawa in 2010. Clearly, universities need to look at their principles and practices and come up with better answers. But these few security-related incidents don’t amount to an existential threat to freedom of speech on campus.

A couple of riots by leftists against conservative speakers is not an existential threat to fee speech.

In the age of the Internet, the voices of dissent and contrarians are everywhere. Free-speech is alive and robust, but it has largely decamped from the university to social media.

So, really, the argument of Barbara Kay is true, there is no free speech in universities, but it does not matter anyway, because the university is irrelevant.

Having surrendered to the position of Barbara Kay, there was nothing left for Drache to do but say “it doesn’t matter”.

Accordingly, if the Drache position is right, why not abolish public subsidies to selected parts of the university?

Suppose,  as a thought experiment, all power were handed to me, the Grand Inquisitor, to decide whether to fund universities at all. Now, suppose further, as a Grand Inquisitor I am the inheritor of a confident tradition of intellectual inquiry founded in faith that the universe is comprehensible, and that knowledge is possible. Just for the sake of convenience let us call this the Aristotelian-Thomistic intellectual inheritance of Europe, which until the mid-20th century animated most of the universities of North America.

What then would I do with the modern university, which proclaims from every lectern in the arts faculty that knowledge is specific to narratives, and that narratives are confined to specific races, classes or sexes, so that universal knowledge or standards are impossible, and, to the extent they are proclaimed to exist, that this is hegemonic male-white-sexist-racist thinking?

I would abolish the arts faculties, of course, and hand over philosophy, history, and the arts to private  academies. Not one drop of public subsidy to the organs of marxist-feminist-nihilist indoctrination. They will never be missed.

A massive reduction of  indoctrinated illiterates would ensue. The university would be decoupled from its principal power: to assign credentials that someone has learned something, when all they have learned is an attitude.

If the university is irrelevant to free speech and free inquiry, why are we subsidizing these metastasizing cancers of political indoctrination? Why, it would take a university president to justify this. I have just the man for the job.

What the other side in this debate really needed was an Allan Rock, former Justice Minister under the Liberals, creator of the gun registry, head of the University of Ottawa, a man who manifestly does not believe in free speech; who, during the Ann Coulter affair a couple of years ago, nailed his colours to the mast of political correctness. (Rock had pre-approved the letter from the vice-President to Ann Coulter, the American controversialist, warning her that she could be subject to Canada’s hate speech laws. I read that letter: it was one of the smarmiest, most-condescending, fatuous pieces of ill-bred rudeness I have ever had the occasion to read.)

From a CBC report on the event:

She was unhappy with a note she had received from the university’s provost, François Houle, prior to her appearance. The letter mentioned the Charter of Rights and Canada’s free speech laws and invited Coulter to “educate yourself, if need be, as to what is acceptable in Canada.” Coulter earlier said she took that as a threat to “criminally prosecute” her.

Yes, what we need to defend the modern university is an Allan Rock, one who will be shameless in his defence of the suppression of all forms of conservative thought, and strong in his assertions that society ought to subsidize this ongoing effort with billions of dollars.

He is one among many such university administrators.




Wood stoves menaced by EPA rules

New rules from the American federal Environmental Protection Agency threaten to render most stoves made before 1990 unusable. This from Obama’s regime, friend to the poor, right?

How do the rural poor heat their homes? With wood. Some twelve percent of American households heat primarily with wood.

The Census Bureau reports that 2.4 million American families (12 percent of homes) use wood as their primary heating source — seven percent depend on fuel oil to heat their homes.

From another source:

According to the EPA, there are about 12 million wood stoves in the US, and about nine million of those are less than half as efficient as the newest models. The EPA says that current wood stove owners would not be affected (a claim disputed by Forbes and other media) and it would only affect the sale of new wood stoves. Manufactures would have five to eight years to comply.

Most will see it for what it is: an attack by the Volvo-driver class upon the rights of the self-employed, the rural poor, and the independent.

In case you need to be reminded who these people are, you should watch a terrific movie, set in Missouri, called Winter’s Bone, about  rural, largely Scotch-Irish meth-producing rednecks, who live with twenty cars and trucks in their pasture, of which three or four function. Don’t mess with these people. Okay, go ahead and enforce your ban, you poncey bureaucrats. Just wait for the rural reaction.

A good review of Winter’s Bone is found here.

I do not think the US Government wants to mess with its rural poor. They are close to the point of explosion against the regime which drowns them in Mexican immigrants, despise their values, and keeps them unemployed. Somewhere in Taleb’s Anti-Fragile I read that, while bankers have, since 2007, lost some $3 trillion (3 thousand billion) of US pensioners’ savings, cororate executives of companies on the stock market have awarded themselves $400 billion in bonuses. Thus for every $30 they have lost they have been rewarded with $4 of private profit. Socializing losses and privatizing gains; and this is going on in a Democratic administration.

So I figure coming for the wood stoves of the rural poor is going to get some official shot by an enraged old redneck. I hope so.

Pat Condell, Ezra Levant, and Christie Blatchford

Boldly offending Islam  since God knows when. The situation Condell describes in England since the Rushdie fatwa is the end state of what we in Canada will face, and Ezra Levant’s struggle is our struggle. It is that simple. Send him money.

I am disappointed in Christie Blatchford, who is normally a rock on issues like this. The issue, Miss Blatchford, is not whether Ezra Levant was mean to an old crone Jennifer Lynch, the late head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. He was. The issue is whether Islamic supremacism will be supported in Canadian law, with the effect of suppressing honest public discussion of what this totalitarian political ideology consists of.

A visit to Ezra’s site will show you how to send him money. Every time I see Levant I have to shell out two or three hundred bucks. Now I urge us all, me included, to send some money without the pleasure of hearing him rant.

The Alternate Universe of Doug Saunders

A debate was held last night in Ottawa between Doug Saunders, of the Globe and Mail, and author of Myth of the Muslim Tide, and Salim Mansur, Associate Professor of Political Science at Western University, on the topic “Resolved: Muslim Immigration is No Threat To Canada Or The West.” The MacDonald-Laurier Institute was the sponsor, and the War Museum provided the space.

Doug Saunders spoke first. His argument, as I recall it, went like this:

  • Controls on Muslim immigration would not have prevented most of the major Islamic terrorist attacks in Christendom – a word he never would have allowed to pass his lips (9/11; London subways)
  • Muslim birth rates are crashing abroad and are falling rapidly in their host countries;
  • accordingly there is no way for the demographic pressure of Islam to have significant political impact;
  • It is not Muslim immigrants who commit atrocities, it is Muslim converts and second generation Muslim immigrants.
  • If we have so little faith in the power of our civilization to repel political Islam, we are in trouble indeed.
  • fears of Islamic terrorist tendencies are similar to those that attended mass Catholic immigration from Southern Europe in the 19th century
  • the overwhelming proportion of Muslim immigrants who come here want to integrate to this civilization.

Doug’s observation on the catastrophic decline of Muslim birth rates all around the world is a true and under-appreciated fact. Overall his presentation was smooth, WASPy, plausible (until one thought about it), fact-based, kept within his time limits and yet inspired many to ask: “what planet is he from?”. There was an overwhelming sense conveyed by his arguments that there was “nothing to look at here, move on.” Islamic fanaticism was part and parcel of all fundamentalist religious beliefs, no different in kind from Christian or Jewish fundamentalisms. He clearly saw the source of terrorism in the unvarnished statements of the  Abrahamic religions per se, and not in anything specifically Muslim.

By way of opposition, Mansur insisted that Islam has been taken over by a pernicious doctrine of Salafism, that Salfism is wrecking the former pluralism of Islamic world, and that we ought to be on guard against significant Muslim immigration. He said he had fled one such Islamic civil-religious war and was shocked to see that it had caught up with him in Canada decades later. Mansur insisted that Islam had once been pluralist, but that Saudi money had infected Islam with what he called “Bedouin barbarism”.

Mansur insisted that numbers were a driver even if they were small; that elections are matters of going for the marginal voter, not the middle of the road majority, and that if 3%, 5% or 7% of the Canadian population were Muslim, as it is expected to become, that fact would have dramatic effects on freedom of speech and resistance to Sharia.

Mansur observed that former immigrant waves had come from the same Christian civilization, whether Catholic or Russian Orthodox, and that there was a qualitatively different aspect to modern Islamic immigration, as it came from a different civilization. He cited Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations with approval.

As the threats from fundamentalisms, Mansur observed that the Reformation   had happened 500 years ago in Christianity, and [I add] had occurred for Jews later in the Enlightenment period. Islam was unreformed.

At the question period, a Muslim woman in a hijab, in a perfect Canadian accent, suggested to Saunders that there was a felt pressure on young Muslim women to adopt the hijab involuntarily, and another Muslim woman , sans hijab, said the same in a foreign-born accent. This was all contrary to what Saunder’s Muslim researchers were telling him, said Saunders.

Saunders argued strictly to the proposition being debated, which was about Muslim immigration rather than Islam itself. But a moment’s reflection reveals the falsity of his narrowly construed argument. If the second generation of Muslim immigrants born here, and Muslim converts, are the source of domestic terrorism, then why is this not related directly to the presence of Muslim proselytizers and Muslim families already here?

The MacDonald-Laurier debates usually end with an audience vote. Brian Lee Crowley, the Institute’s head, thanked the debaters without calling for a vote. Presumably the sensitivity of such a vote at a debate sponsored by his Institute would have made fund-raising more difficult. I could think of no better argument for Mansur’s proposition that the MacDonald-Laurier Instutute thought better of having the proposition put to the audience. Like most instances of discussion about things Islamic, the vague but real menace that you will be boycotted, bombed, sued, threatened, or even killed for disputing Islam, or allowing a forum in which it could be disputed,  suggests that, in fact, Muslim immigration should be very carefully controlled for explicit political and cultural reasons.

As for Doug Saunders, all his reasoning did not amount to a persuasive case: he dwells in some alternate universe. The tone, the implicit condescension, the avoidance of obvious large and unpleasant facts, makes him a perfect fit for the  Globe and Mail.

A target-rich environment (2): microaggressions

I wrote recently about how feminist discourse on the Internet was being poisoned by the impossibility of saying anything that did not offend someone well-versed (usually black and lesbian) in finding aggression, homophobia, gender-fixation, able-ism and other thought crimes in the writings of some other person  -preferably white and middle class. (Tone Policing, January 31st, 2014)

Now tone policing  has come to broader public attention through the antics of the McGill University students’ association. There is even a non-ironic site called McGill micro-aggressions (I am not making this up!) where everyone’s little senses of hurt can be set out for the cosmos to see and be concerned about.

Excellent coverage of the event is given at Legal Insurrection here.

The image in question was an extension of the cultural, historical and living legacy surrounding people of color—particularly young men—being portrayed as violent in contemporary culture and media. By using this particular image of President Obama, I unknowingly perpetuated this living legacy and subsequently allowed a medium of SSMU’s communication to become the site of a microaggression; for this, I am deeply sorry.”

Of course, the last thing ever to be discussed is whether the portrayal of young black males, or African American males, as more aggressive than other races is true. That remains undiscussable. Or as Thomas Sowell said in Race and Culture (at p.227):

“History itself has become the target of a desperate attack by those for whom truth threatens devastating consequences to their visions, their egos, or their projects. A whole new class of intellectuals has arisen to supply history geared to what people currently wish to believe, rather than to record the past”.

But no one is fooled. To make an issue of the fake gif of President Obama kicking a door only shows the power of the stereotype. Yet the stereotype of the aggressive black male is founded on reality, not on someone’s unfounded racial prejudice.

The equity policy says that if someone is offended, that is the fact which has to be addressed. Reality has nothing to do with it, indeed, reality may have to be denied, because the fact of comparative differences constitutes the offence.

-I believe you are a witch. Therefore, according to the rules of the campus equity policy, you must defend yourself against the accusation of witchcraft. The burden of proof is on you.

-But there are no witches because witchcraft is scientifically impossible!

-Your assertion that witchcraft is impossible is part of the hetero-normatve, phallocentric, able-ist  white logical mindspace which is the offence!

Fortunately, the occasional eruption of this sort of shit provokes the necessary and beneficial social reaction against it.

Anyone for an explicit political purge of universities? Volunteers, anyone?

And what kind of oppression is this Christian pastor concerned about?

You guessed it. While hundreds of Christians are murdered by Islamic fanatics in Nigeria, the religion editor of Huffington Post is exercized by the persecution of gay Nigerians by other -presumably Christian – Nigerians.

To continue with the piece by Raymond Ibrahim cited previously on the New York Times’ coverage of Boko Haram

Thus, from a purely demographic point of view, we may deduce that for every one man who gets exposed as a homosexual in the privacy of his own home, and killed for it, thousands of Christians expose themselves as infidels whenever they openly congregate and worship inside churches, as they do every Sunday, and get killed for it.

Based on numbers alone, then—assuming the NYT can agree that all human lives are equal, that the life of the Christian is equal in value to the life of the homosexual—the dramatically much bigger story has long been the relentless and genocidal jihad on Nigeria’s millions of Christians.

After a few days’ absence from the blog, this morning was a target-rich environment. As Raymond Ibrahim says:”The script must always prevail: reality be damned”. Islam=religion of peace; homophobia=evil.

When does it become acceptable to notice that Muslims are murdering people?

When they are gay! Raymond Ibrahim tells us that the New York Times has finally awoken to the fact that Muslims are killing….wait for it….gays.


In 2011 hundreds of Christians were killed and 430 churches destroyed or damaged. In 2012, 900 Christians were slaughtered.  Indeed, of all Christians killed around the world in 2012, 70% were killed in the west African nation.   In 2013, 612 Christians were killed and some 300 churches destroyed.  The year 2014 promises to be the same.  Just the other day, over 50 Christians were slaughtered by “Allahu Akbar” screaming jihadis.

Read Thomas Sowell on the concept of liberal mascot groups. All will be explained.