The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Justin's Virtue-Signalling is Actually Vice-Signalling

So it appears there are things happening in the world other than Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un calling each other names and threatening to blow each other up. The American news has been dominated this week by a bizarre religious controversy that is dividing their country over whether it is ritually correct for people to kneel or stand while their national anthem is sung during a sacred Yankee ceremony that is called a "football game." Meanwhile, here in Canada, Justin Trudeau has been trying to divert our attention away from his vile speech to the United Nations last week expressing his hatred of the country whose government he leads and his scheme to bleed small business owners dry, by preening and grandstanding and virtue-signalling his supposed moral superiority to his political and ideological opponents on the matter of "women's rights."

There is a standing committee in the House of Commons that addresses the "Status of Women." This should not be confused with the Cabinet Ministry or the National Action Committee (a private lobby/activist group, albeit one that once was heavily funded by the government) of the same name although historically these all have their beginnings in the Pearson/Trudeau Liberal cultural revolution of the '60's and '70s and have been ideologically in sync with each other. The House committee is one whose chair, by established custom, is selected not by the governing party, but by Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, which at this time happens to be the Conservative Party of Canada. Accordingly, the new Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer nominated Rachael Harder, the MP representing Lethbridge to chair the committee. When this was announced on Tuesday, all the Liberal MPs on the committee walked out, along with the New Democrat members, and Trudeau immediately called a press conference in which he declared his support of those who walked out.

What was the reason for the walk out? Does Harder support the importing into Canada of cultures in which the genitals of young females are ritually mutilated or in which male relatives are encouraged to kill daughters and sisters that in their opinion have brought dishonour upon their family through promiscuity or dress that they see as being too provocative? No, it is the Liberals and NDP themselves who do that, who want to criminalize all criticism of such cultures, and who accuse anyone who disagrees with them of racism, xenophobia, and bigotry (and probably anti-Semitism and homophobia as well since in left-liberal usage these kind of words have a purely expletive function that has little to do with their literal meaning). The reason the progressives are having conniptions over Harder is because she is pro-life. She does not believe that women should have the right to murder their unborn babies.

The neoconservative press has subjected the MPs who walked out and the Prime Minister who supported them to much deserved criticism and ridicule. The Sun newspaper chain, for example, published an editorial entitled “Liberals Fail to Embrace Diversity of Opinion” which pointed out the hypocrisy of the Liberals who loudly proclaim their devotion and dedication to “diversity” but seem to have little regard for diversity of viewpoint in that they are notoriously intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them. The Grits deserve every word of this criticism which brings to mind the old quip of William F. Buckley Jr. about how liberals “claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” On this particular issue you might recall that a year and a half before the 2015 Dominion election Trudeau had announced that new candidates seeking the nomination of the Liberal Party would be required to give their full support to women’s “right” to murder their unborn babies. Not to be outdone in his support for the right of baby murder, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair declared that all NDP candidates, new and old, were required to vote the party line on this issue.

Yes, the Grits and their socialist doppelgangers, with their idolatrous cult of diversity on the one hand and their neo-Stalinist, ideological, party line on the other, are every bit the hypocrites the Sun editorial makes them out to be. There is other, far more important, criticism that deserves to be heard, but which sadly, you will never read in the pages of a mainstream Canadian publication. Neoconservatives, which is to say people who call themselves conservative but by this term mean “American classical liberal”, such as those who set the editorial policy for the Sun chain, are the only dissenters from the left-liberal ideological monolith that are tolerated in the mainstream Canadian media.

What really needs to be said is that the pro-life position is the only sane position and that anyone who believes that women have some sort of natural right to terminate their pregnancies that ought to be protected as a legal right is bat-shit crazy and ought not to be allowed into any position of authority, power, and influence or entrusted with any responsibility higher than that of sweeping the floors in an institution in which they are humanely kept for their own safety and that of society. No, in case you are wondering, my saying this does not make me guilty of the mirror image of the hypocrisy displayed by the Liberals and NDP. I don’t worship at the altar of diversity.

When a human sperm fertilizes a human egg a zygote is formed that is a) living and b) human, ergo, a human life. To deliberately take a human life is murder except in the following circumstances: when you are acting out of necessity in self-defence, when you are the state official entrusted with executing a sentence of death determined by a lawfully constituted court on someone found guilty of a capital crime, or when you are a soldier fighting for your country. None of these exceptions can possibly apply here and so the termination of the life of the unborn is murder. It should not be thought of as a medical procedure since it is in complete violation of everything the medical practice has traditionally stood for. It is a particularly odious form of murder in that it is done at the request of those who have a particular responsibility to love and cherish that life.

Those who defend it, rely entirely upon spurious, easily-refutable, arguments such as the hard cases argument about pregnancies that ensue from rape or incest, or those which endanger the life of the mother. Even if it were not the case – and it is – that such cases represent only a tiny percentage of the total number of terminated pregnancies each year, it is a well-established legal maxim that hard cases make bad law.

Even the real motivation behind the demand for legal abortion is ultimately a lie. Giving one sex the unilateral power of life and death over the next generation does not create “sexual equality.” Feminists accuse the traditional, patriarchal, family, of dehumanizing women but if anything does that it is this insane insistence on their supposed right to murder their children.

There is one other thing that really needs to be said about all of this and that is that a standing House committee – or a Ministry for that matter – devoted to the “Status of Women” sounds like something out of George Orwell’s 1984. The status of women – and of men for that matter – in any society, arises out of the way the sexes interact and relate to each other, primarily within the family, and it is best to allow it to evolve within the living tradition of a culture rather than to try and artificially engineer it. If you reflect for a moment on the slogan of the 1960s revival of feminism, “the personal is the political”, you will see that this is a recipe for totalitarianism. Which is why this is the sort of thing that belongs in a regime like the former Soviet Union, Red China, or North Korea and not in a free, parliamentary country of the British Commonwealth that is heir to the Common Law under the Crown.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Lessons to be Learned

On September 30th, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned to London in the belief that he had secured “peace for our time” by negotiating a deal in which the German speaking areas in Czechoslovakia were ceded to Hitler in return for a promise that he would make no more territorial demands. The ink on the Munch Agreement had hardly had time to dry before Hitler broke his word and occupied the whole of Czechoslovakia – the government of which had not been party to the agreement that assigned it to its doom – before turning his eyes on the Klaipėda Region of Lithuania and the city of Danzig in Poland. By the time September 30th, 1939 rolled around, the Second World War had been underway for almost a month.

Chamberlain has been severely judged ever since – not primarily for giving away part of somebody else’s country but for failing to observe one of the basic lessons of the schoolyard, i.e., that giving a bully what he demands is more likely to increase his demands than to satisfy him. After World War II the Western world, now led by the United States of America, determined never to make this mistake again. Unfortunately, it seems to be a failing of human nature that when we have learned one lesson thoroughly it tends to drive other lessons that are just as important out of our heads.

Let us consider two other lessons that pertain to dealings with other nations.

One such lesson is that you should not threaten the use of force unless you have both the ability and the willpower to follow through with your threat. The reasoning behind this should be self-evident. Bluffing, if you know what you are doing, can work as a strategy in poker but in international relations the moment someone calls your bluff you are exposed as an impotent buffoon.

The other lesson is that if you have the strength and the willpower to back up a threat of force you should still hold that threat in reserve to be used only when all reasonable efforts to find a diplomatic solution have failed. War is destructive, awful, and costly and should only ever be entered into as a means of last resort. This is a lesson that those who are on a constant lookout for the next Hitler that they might not appease him are especially prone to neglect. Diplomacy involves talking, negotiation, and compromise and these things smack of appeasement to those for whom the lesson of Munich overrides all other considerations. Diplomacy and appeasement are not the same thing, however, and if, in your determination to stand up to bullies, you bypass the diplomatic process altogether and lead with threats, you will yourself have become the bully.

Need I go further and point out the compounded folly of leading with empty threats that are no more than bluffs?

It becomes much easier to forget these lessons the closer the “Hitler of the month” comes to resembling his archetype. For the last month the world has been treated to yet another round of the dark comedy stylings of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un who dresses, talks and acts like a supervillain who has somehow escaped the confines of a Hollywood film version of an Ian Fleming novel to wreak havoc on the world stage. From shooting missiles over Japan and threatening to sink the island nation to apparently detonating a 120 kiloton hydrogen bomb and threatening to reduce North America to ashes and darkness he has been hamming up his bad guy act with real panache.

Governments around the world have responded to these shenanigans by condemning North Korea’s actions and hoping that somebody else would do something about it. The designated somebody else for most of the world, the government of the United States of America, has itself been trying all year to pawn the North Korean problem off on yet another somebody else, the People’s Republic of China. The reasoning behind this was that since China is North Korea’s neighbour as well as the regional power it is their responsibility to make Kim toe the line. The problem with that reasoning, of course, is that Red China is the power behind North Korea. North Korea demands that the United States withdraw its military presence from the region where it is protecting South Korea and Japan. Some see Kim’s motivation as aggressive – that he wishes to complete what his grandfather Kim Il Sung started in 1950 and to subjugate the entire Korean peninsula to his despotic regime. Others see his motivation as defensive – that he fears, and not without reason, that the Americans have targeted him for regime change. Whatever may or may not be going on in Kim’s head, it is certainly the case that Beijing regards America’s ongoing military presence as standing in the way of its regional hegemony and it has been playing Kim as a pawn against the United States. To expect China to pressure Kim into behaving is like expecting an opponent in chess to sacrifice a piece that is threatening your queen but which you cannot remove without placing your king into check. It is not going to happen.

As the American government has come to realize what they ought to have known from the get go, they have turned to other strategies for dealing with Kim. President Trump has been attempting to match Kim rhetoric for rhetoric, but what he hopes to accomplish by this is unclear. As Kim has responded to each of Trump’s Mr. Tough Guy tweets with yet more defiance it would seem to be a counterproductive strategy. Then, last week, the Americans convinced the UN Security Council to impose economic sanctions on North Korea. This too is a dubious strategy. It worked well enough for FDR when he imposed an oil embargo on the Japanese Empire but this is because his intention was not to pressure Tokyo into abandoning its militarism and expansionism so much as to provoke an attack that would give him a casus belli for entering World War II. It failed JFK, however, when he embargoed Cuba to try and bring down the Castro regime. Most often it is nothing more than a particularly perverse form of virtue signalling – a gesture that demonstrates our disapproval of a government by punishing that government’s people.

American UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Defense Secretary James Mattis both maintain that there is a military option for dealing with North Korea. Sunday’s training exercise, in which American bombers from Guam, accompanied by South Korean and Japanese fighters, dropped live bombs on a range a short distance from the 38th Parallel, was obviously designed to give credence to this threat. China and Russia have also stepped up their military presence in the region, however, and unless the Americans have completely lost their minds and are actually willing to sacrifice millions of people on the altar of Mars in order to take out one petty tyrant, this is all bluff.

There is no realistic military solution here. The only solution – if one exists – is to be found through diplomacy which ought to have been turned to long before this escalating war of threatening rhetoric began. This means that the distinction is going to have to be drawn between what is non-negotiable and what is merely desirable. The security of the United States and her allies against the threat posed by North Korea – and more importantly, the Red China behind North Korea – is non-negotiable. A non-nuclear North Korea or a North Korea with a better regime than the neo-Stalinist Kim junta may both be desirable, but they are not realistically attainable as the security of the Kim regime and the nuclear program that protects it are North Korea’s non-negotiables. Therefore, enter into talks – real talks, mind you, not petulant, “my way or the highway”, unyielding bombastic demands – with Pyongyang, with the firm resolution to never compromise the former, but prepared to give way on the latter. Drop the hubris and the Manicheanism and enter into negotiations. Back up your bargaining position with strength, as Reagan and Thatcher did when negotiating with Gorbachev, but follow their example by going to the table and talking.

That is the only sane approach to this mess.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Trudeau and the Middle Class

In Rob Reiner’s 1987 film adaptation of William Goldman’s novel The Princess Bride, Wallace Shawn’s character of Vizzini, the leader of a trio hired to kidnap the title character, utters the word “inconceivable” every time something happens that interferes with his plans. After the umpteenth such exclamation, his associate Inigo Montoya, a Spanish swordsman portrayed by Mandy Patinkin, turns to him and says “you keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

This is something that should have been said to Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau during the 2015 Dominion election every time he promised that the Grits would make the “middle class” stronger. He accused the previous Conservative government led by Stephen Harper of pandering to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class and claimed that his party would do the opposite. The Liberal Party’s “New Plan for a Strong Middle Class”, their platform during that campaign, stated:

A strong economy starts with a strong middle class.

This is a true statement, but it is probably the only true statement in the entire document. It immediately went on to say “Our plan offers real help to Canada’s middle class and all those working hard to join it”. Among the promises made were “We will give middle class Canadians a tax break, by making taxes more fair.”

Over the summer, however, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the government’s intention, when Parliament resumes in the fall, to introduce changes to the tax code as it pertains to the incorporation of small businesses. Trudeau’s evil henchman, of course, described these proposed changes in terms of closing loopholes that the wealthy exploit to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. This, however, is what in the language of Apuleius would have been called an onus stercoris. It is not the superrich, the “1%” about which there has been so much talk in recent years, that “trust fund” Trudeau and his gang are going after. It is the couple who own the local grocery store that barely manages to survive against the competition of the giant corporate chains, the family struggling to scratch out a living on their farm, and the guy who had a great idea for a business that would provide a valued service to his community and employment for his neighbours and who has sunk everything he had into the uphill battle to make this dream come true. In other words, the middle class.

Justin Trudeau does not have a clue what a middle class is. When the question was put to him directly in the 2015 election he answered “I’m going to let economists, and I have a few around me, argue over which quintile or decile the middle class begins or ends in.” In other words, he thinks the middle class is a group of people whose income falls between an upper and lower limit, even though he cannot define what those limits are. In the old days, however, when the words middle class actually meant something, they referred to those who were neither the “rich”, who could live comfortably off of their already accumulated wealth nor the “poor” whose only respectable means of subsistence was by earning wages by manual labour but rather those whose income came through the management of their own small properties and businesses. Two and a half millennia ago Aristotle argued that it was this class that made for a secure and stable state because it was a responsible class and where it is strong neither poor nor rich are likely to be oppressed as one or the other would be in an oligarchy of the rich few or a democracy of the poor many. This is lost on our Prime Minister, however, who could not understand the Politika even if someone translated it into English or French for him, and who is most likely unaware that there ever was any other Aristotle than Jackie’s second husband.

The Trudeau government’s proposed tax code changes have nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with their desperate need for revenue due to their fiscal mismanagement. They have been running deficits far in excess of those they had projected during the election campaign, saddling our country with a load of debt that will take centuries to pay off. Pierre Trudeau had ran massive deficits in the ‘60s and ‘70s and Justin’s attitude to the Canadian taxpayer is summed up in the words of Rehoboam – “my father chastised you with whips, but I shall chastise you with scorpions.” Nor is the spending that the Grits are unwilling to curb going into development projects that will benefit Canada and Canadians for generations to come so much as into sustaining Trudeau’s international image of a generous humanitarian at the expense of Canadians.

During the election campaign Trudeau said that his government would commit to growing the economy and that as a consequence of that growth “the budget would balance itself.” Those who sought to defend Trudeau from the charge of reckless fiscal irresponsibility that these poorly chosen words suggested maintained that this was basically a restatement of the premise of Reaganomics. While there is a resemblance, to be sure, there is also a fundamental difference. The idea of supply-side economics is not that economic growth eliminates the need for fiscal responsibility but that a larger total tax revenue can be generated at a lower rate if the tax cuts provide enough entrepreneurial incentives to spur economic growth. It is an argument for lowering taxes – not an argument for reckless spending.

At any rate, if your strategy for balancing the budget is to rely upon economic growth to raise tax revenues, then your policies ought to encourage economic growth rather than discourage it. The policies of the Trudeau Liberals, however, have all the appearance of being designed to bring Canada’s economy to a grinding halt. Their carbon tax needlessly and pointlessly – for even if the anthropogenic theory of climate change were true it would do nothing to alleviate the problem – increases the expense of doing business and in a way that further belies their talk about “fairness” as it is a thoroughly regressive tax, affecting people the hardest the further down the economic ladder they are.

Then there is their approach to the NAFTA renegotiations. Regardless of what one thinks about free trade in the abstract – I think that however good the arguments behind the theory sound on paper they have been completely debunked by history – a country’s closest neighbours will usually be its biggest trading partners and when you have a trade agreement with those neighbours and one of them decides that it needs renegotiation, your job, when you go to the negotiation table, is to look out for the interests of your country and to secure for it the best deal possible. Two of the three governments involved in the NAFTA talks understand this – one does not. The Liberals have made it their priority to inject climate change, gender equality, and a lot of other irrelevant and inane progressive nonsense into the discussions. This will not help them to secure the best deal possible for Canada and if anything will have the exact opposite effect.

Trudeau’s apologists will argue that the economy is healthy and growing because the GDP has been increasing faster than anticipated since the final quarter of last year. All this means, however, is that money has been changing hands at a faster rate in Canada over the last twelve months. GDP is calculated by adding up the sum of private consumption (C) with that of investment (I), government expenditure (G) and total exports minus total imports (NX or X – M). It is a pointless exercise because the figure you get doesn’t measure anything real. C and G go up the same regardless of whether it is wealth accumulated from past production or money borrowed that is spent. Neither is a distinction made between spending on projects that will have enduring benefits, spending on immediate needs, and spending that is wasteful or even destructive. Demolishing and constructing a building both raise the GDP and every time a bomb is dropped the GDP goes up. GDP is no indicator of productivity and real economic growth. Its chief purpose – perhaps sole purpose – is to enable finance ministers and economists to boast about their “growing economies” even as real incomes and savings drop while unemployment and debt grows. It has been used to obfuscate the truth about the devastating consequences of free trade for years.

Every time Justin Trudeau throws away money that the Canadian taxpayers’ will have to spend the next century or so paying back on some project of self-aggrandizement it increases our GDP. What it doesn’t do is benefit our middle class – or those working hard to join it.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Wars and Rumours of Wars

One of the most aggravating consequences of last month’s false flag fiasco in Charlottesville was the removal of the only member of the Trump administration who possessed any degree of sanity with regards to international geopolitics. I said many times during America’s last presidential election that although I considered Trump to be the better choice by far of the final two candidates, as a patriotic Canadian rather than an American and a royalist who disliked republics and presidents on principle, I did not really have a stake in the campaign. There was an obvious exception to this in the realm of international geopolitics and it was here that Trump stood out above not only Clinton but all those he beat out to win the Republican nomination. The Clinton Democrats and neoconservative Republicans are not so much rivals as the left and right wings of the American war party, both firmly committed to the Pax Americana, the “new world order” that George H. W. Bush proclaimed at the end of the Cold War on the eve of Operation Desert Storm, and the ultimate outcome of the trajectory upon which Woodrow Wilson set American foreign policy in the first World War. The combination of overseas bombings, regime changes, and other military actions with open immigration even from the parts of the world where the former is likely to have created mortal enemies gave birth to the wave of terrorism that has hit not only the United States but her allies in the West and indeed throughout the world in the last two decades. Trump campaigned on the policy of doing the opposite of this and the member of his administration most committed to that policy was Steve Bannon, formerly and now again, of Breitbart News.

The liberal-left have been attacking Bannon as a “white supremacist” since he was first appointed. There is not the slightest truth to this accusation – there seldom is except in the rare occasions that they are talking about someone who self-identifies as such – but the demands for his head greatly increased in the aftermath of Charlottesville, and Donald Trump’s sensible condemnation not just of white racism but of the anti-white racism of the Marxist thugs who initiated the violence. Bannon would likely still be Trump’s chief strategist, however, were it not for a published conversation he had with Robert Kuttner, co-editor of the ultra-left American Prospect magazine, in which he said regarding North Korea:

There’s no military solution, forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.

While saying this was perhaps unwise – in effect calling his own President’s bluff – it was nevertheless true even at the time which was a couple of weeks before North Korea successfully conducted a hydrogen bomb test.

The time for a military solution to the North Korean regime has long passed. In the 1986 film, Back to School, the following dialogue took place between Professor Terguson, portrayed by comedian Sam Kiniston and Rodney Dangerfield’s character of Thornton Melon, a successful businessman who has gone back to university to gain some respect. Terguson has just snapped and furiously berated a younger student for a naïve textbook response to a question about the Vietnam War:

Melon: Hey Professor, take it easy will you. I mean these kids they were in grade school at the time. And me, I’m not a fighter, I’m a lover.

Terguson: Well, well, I didn’t know you wanted to get involved in the discussion Mr. Helper. But since you want to help, maybe you can help me, okay? Do you remember that thing we had about thirty years ago called the Korean conflict? Yeah, where we failed to achieve victory. How come we did not cross the 38th Parallel and push those rice eaters back to the Great Wall of China and take it apart brick by brick and nuke them back into the f***ing stone age forever? Tell me why, how come, say it, say it!

Melon: Alright, I’ll say it. ‘Cuz Truman was too much of a pussy wimp to let MacArthur go in there and blow out those Commie bastards!

Terguson: Good answer, good answer. I like the way you think. I’m going to be watching you.

Although the movie is fictional, there is truth in this comedic dialogue in that had Harry Truman followed General Douglas MacArthur’s advice in 1951, and allowed him to drive the China and Soviet backed Communists out of North Korea, the spread of Communism throughout Asia would have been nipped in the bud and the later, longer, and far worse Vietnam War would never have taken place. More relevantly to the situation at hand, the regime of Kim Jong Un would not exist today.

Of course we cannot go back to 1951 and undo Truman’s big mistake, any more than we can go back to 1945, prevent Eisenhower from delaying the march of the Western allies so that the Soviets could reach Berlin first and authorize Patton, once Hitler’s regime was dead and buried, to keep going and take out Stalin’s. 1945, when Patton wished it, was the last time an attempt to take down the Soviet Union militarily would have been feasible. By 1949 the Soviets had the atomic bomb and six years later they had the hydrogen bomb as well – a war between them and the United States at this point would have been insane and the more each country developed and expanded their nuclear arsenals the more insane it became.

North Korea has been developing its own nuclear weapons program for decades. A quarter of a century ago it withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty and eleven years ago it detonated its first nuclear weapon. The full extent of its capabilities is unknown but it has developed ICBM’s capable of reaching North America and has just conducted a successful test of a 120-140 kiloton hydrogen bomb. It is nowhere near having anything like a first strike capacity against the United States, of course, but what it has is sufficient for a deterrent especially when we consider that even without its nukes it could lay waste to Seoul, the capital of its southern neighbour, if attacked, and that it would almost certainly be backed by China which has been in the nuclear game much longer.

Bannon is quite right – there is no military solution here.

If the unthinkable happens and an all-out nuclear war breaks out between the United States and North Korea it will either be initiated by North Korea or by the United States. While Kim Jong Un has often been accused of madness, it is madness of the megalomaniacal variety and not of the suicidal, and he would have to be suicidal to attack the United States. The liberal-left thinks – or at least professes to think – that if the United States initiates nuclear war with North Korea – or anybody else, for that matter – it will be due to the temperament of Donald Trump. This has been a meme on the left ever since the election campaign when it was propagated by Hillary Clinton, herself not exactly known for her pacific temperament. It is a nonsensical meme.

No, if the American government does do something as stupid as initiate a nuclear war it will not be because of the temperament of their president but because the man with the most sense on the subject has been driven from his administration, to the cheers of the liberal-left, leaving Trump surrounded by hawkish advisers. Hey, but at least those hawkish advisers do not disagree with the left-liberal dogma that the more ethnic, cultural, religious, and racial diversity a country has the better off it will be, to which all right-thinking people give their whole-hearted and unquestioning assent. After all, what’s a little thing like the threat of nuclear Armageddon, compared to the evil of thinking thoughts that liberals maintain to be racist.