The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Friday, August 27, 2021

The Evanescence of Ethics in the Epidemic

Imagine three individuals who each wish to relieve you of the burden of the contents of your wallet that they might bear this load themselves.


The first individual approaches you and says “I hate to ask this, but I’m in a real pickle, I owe Vinnie and Guido $50 and if I don’t pay it by the end of the day they are going to break my legs, would you be a pal and help me out.”


The second individual comes up to you wearing a bandana, pulls a gun, and says “stick em up” and then grabs your wallet and runs.


The third individual says to you “I want you to give me all your money.  It is your choice if you do or not, but if you don’t I’ll see to it that you can never work, travel, or participate in any community events again.”


Which of these individuals was guilty of robbery?


The first individual may be guilty of having made very poor choices but is not guilty of robbery. 


The second individual is clearly a robber and a stereotypical robber at that, going so far as to wear the traditional uniform of the robber, a mask covering the lower face.


The correct answer to our question, however, is that both the second and the third individuals were guilty of robbery.   Robbery is theft – the unlawful taking of another person’s possessions – through the means of coercive force, either actual or threatened.    Both the second and the third individuals used threats to force you to hand over your money.    The nature of what they threatened to do was quite different but the difference does not make what the third individual said any less of a coercive threat.


Is it ever right, or at least morally permissible, to use coercive force?


This ethical question is more complex than it might at first seem, due to a number of complicating factors.   One such factor is the nature of the coercive force.    Consider our illustration above.   The threats used by the second and third individuals differed in two ways.   One of these was in their level of credibility.   The stereotypical robber’s threat was made believable by the presence of the gun.   The credibility of the other robber’s threat depends upon who the robber is.   If he is in a position of sufficient power to actually carry it out then his threat is credible, otherwise he is obviously a nut and his threat can be disregarded as empty and crazy.   The other way, which is the one that is relevant to this discussion, is in the nature of what was threatened.   The stereotypical robber threatened the use of lethal force.   The other robber merely threatened to make your life miserable, not to take it from you.    Historically, this distinction has been very important in discussions of the ethical question at hand.   While there has been no answer to the question which could be said to have the support of a universal consensus, there has been wide agreement that lethal force is the least justifiable or permissible form of coercion.


Another complicating factor is that of the distinction between the state and private individual persons.    It would be extremely difficult if not impossible to conceive of the enforcement of law and the administration of criminal justice that does not in some way or another involve the use of coercive force.    Unsurprisingly, therefore, there has also been wide agreement – although not nearly as wide as with lethal force being the least justifiable or permissible – that it is more justifiable or morally permissible for the state, the institution whose raison d’etre is to enforce the law and administer criminal justice, to use such force than for private persons.    Again, support for this idea while broad, has not been as wide as for the one with which we ended the previous paragraph.   The liberal tradition, that is to say, the tradition that over the course of the Modern Age became dominant in what used to be Christendom but is now Western Civilization, has produced many different views on the matter.   One such view, which is evident today among those liberals or progressives who would argue that you should never fight back and defend yourself, your loved ones, or your property when these are under criminal attack, but  allow yourself to be victimized and let the professionals, the police, take care of it, is that the state ought to have an exclusive monopoly on all use of coercive force.    Conversely, some although not all of the liberals of the kind who began calling themselves libertarian in the last century to indicate their retention and emphasis on the individualism and suspicion of government that were predominant in the liberalism of the nineteenth century, hold that force is only justifiable when used by private persons to defend themselves, their families, and property and that the state is illegitimate.    Although these views, each the polar opposite of the other, are both supported by their proponents from ideas that belong to the mainstream of the liberal philosophical-political tradition, neither could be said to itself represent the mainstream liberal view on the matter of how much coercive force is permitted to the state and the private person.     That the use of force on others, whether on the part of the private person or the state, is ethically permissible only under certain circumstances, which are broader for the state than for the private person, with lethal force being permitted to the latter only in circumstances of self-defense, is much closer to what historically would have been the liberal mainstream.   In this, the mainstream of the liberal tradition was itself much closer to the mainstream of the tradition that preceded it, or, if you prefer, the mainstream of the Western tradition as a whole, including both liberal and pre-liberal strands, than in many other areas.


There is one way in which liberalism did depart from the pre-liberal Western tradition that warrants consideration in the context of this discussion, especially in that it had a direct bearing on the way the factor examined in the last paragraph was framed.   Distinguishing between the private person and the state is fairly universal in the ethical debate over the boundaries limiting when force is permissible.  Restricting the distinction to these two, on the other hand, is rather unique to the liberal tradition.   Conservative sociologist Robert Nisbet stressed throughout his career, beginning with his seminal The Quest for Community (1953), the importance of a plurality of institutions.    He described such other institutions as the family and the local community as “intermediate” between the state and the private person.   That liberalism had come to largely disregard these is evident in the radically opposite views both emerging from the liberal tradition mentioned in the previous paragraph.    What the ideas that the state should have a monopoly on force and that the state is illegitimate and only the individual person is justified in using force in self-defense have in common is that they both see the state and the individual as the only players worthy of consideration.   The other institutions that Nisbet called “intermediate” traditionally possessed a significant amount of authority.   Authority, which is the respected right to lead, is different from power, which is the ability to command obedience.      For society or any institution within it to be functional authority must take strong precedence over power but, human nature being what it is, authority cannot long exist without power backing it up.   This necessarily means that those who exercise the authority in Nisbet’s intermediate institutions must be morally able to use some kind of force, to some kind of degree.   Another way in which liberalism’s reduction of everything to the state and individual is evident has been in the way in which the liberal tradition, which in the interwar period of the last century largely abandoned its anti-statist libertarianism from the century prior and then sharply veered into statism after World War II, has been attacking the authority of all of these institutions, especially the family, by having the state strip them of their power. (1)


The ability to back up an order with force is the essence of power, which to some degree or another is necessary to support authority.    The force needed to support authority differs from institution to institution in both kind and degree.  That lethal force is limited to the state, except in situations where the individual needs it for defensive purposes is something to which virtually everyone in Christendom would have agreed around the time that liberalism began to convert Christendom into Western Civilization.    This consensus did not exist in the classical civilization that preceded Christendom.    In ancient Rome, the pater familias, which meant the patriarch of a household consisting of a large extended family, rather than merely the father in a domestic unit, held authority, the pater potestas, over his family that was not equal to that exercised by the Senate over the Roman city-state, but certainly comparable to it.    Classical literature abounds with stories featuring the abuse of such authority – Oedipus, the king of Thebes who features in several of the extent tragedies, bears a name (“swollen foot”) that testifies to his having been a victim of a botched attempt to end his life while an infant, carried out at the orders of his father when the latter heard the prophecy that the child would kill his father and marry his mother.     While Oedipus’s father Laius was a king, the order to have the child exposed was an expression of what would have been regarded as his patriarchal rather than his civil authority at the time.      


The spread of Christianity and the conversion of classical civilization into Christendom led to the elimination of the practice of infanticide by exposure and stricter limits being placed on the pater potestas leading to the Christian consensus that the legitimate use of lethal force is limited to the state except in instance of self-defense on the part of private persons.    While this meant that the power and authority of the family patriarch was no longer comparable to that of the state and that in temporal terms the civil power was now unquestionably the highest authority, the mainstream point of view in Christendom did not regard all other institutional authority as falling in the intermediate position between the state and the individual of which Nisbet spoke.   The mainstream point of view in Christendom was that there were two realms in Christian civilization, the temporal and the spiritual, the membership of which overlapped, but in which different institutions were vested with the highest authority.   In the temporal realm, the state was the highest authority.   In the spiritual realm, the church was the highest authority.  The bishops, as citizens of the temporal realm, were under the authority of the king as his subjects.   The king, as a member of the church, was subject to the authority of his bishop in the spiritual realm.   The king and the bishop, each possessing the highest earthly authority in his respective realm, required power to back that authority up, and this power was conceived of as two “swords”.   These swords were metaphorical, of course, although much less so in the case of the king, whose sword included the use of lethal force to punish crime. (2)   The bishop’s “sword” was the “keys”, given to the Apostles by Christ after St. Peter’s confession of faith, which included the power to exclude people from the Sacraments and the fellowship of the church.


Disagreements about the “keys” were involved in fracturing the ecclesiastical unity of Christendom in both the eleventh and the sixteenth centuries, which contributed to liberalism’s takeover of Christendom and transformation of it into modern Western Civilization.    While the specifics of these disagreements is not relevant to our discussion here, it is important to note that in the Christian orthodox mainstream of Christendom neither the king nor the bishop was thought to have the right the wield his sword whenever he saw fit to serve his own selfish purposes.   Liberalism maintained otherwise, of course, because it wished to weaken the king or replace him with a republic and to reduce the church from the institution of highest earthly authority in the spiritual realm to one of many intermediate institutions in the temporal realm, but the concept of the divine gifting of the “swords” in Christian orthodoxy clearly implies that both kings and bishops were held strictly accountable to God for the right use of the swords, and a great deal of space in the writings of theologians such as St. Thomas Aquinas was devoted to spelling out the limits on when these swords could be rightly used.   The importance of this lies in the fact that despite the significant differences between the orthodoxy of Christendom and the liberalism of modern Western Civilization both agreed that there were limits on when force could be used, whether by the state or by private persons, and that these limits were written in the language of ethics, of what is right and what is wrong.


The idea that there are limits on the right use of force even for the state is an ancient one, going back to the earliest of civilizations.   Even before the Socratic philosophers wrote the dialogues and treatises that laid the foundation of the long tradition of Western political science, Aeschylus wrote his Oresteia, a trilogy of plays that begins with the murder of Agamemnon by his wife Clytemnestra, continues with his being avenged by his son Orestes, and concludes with Orestes escaping the vengeance of the pursuing Furies by placing his fate in the hands of the patron goddess of Athens who establishes the first jury to adjudicate the case, resulting in an acquittal.   The trilogy illustrates how the civilized justice system with its laws and courts is superior to pre-civilized blood “justice” because it limits the violence rather than letting it continue to spiral and escalate.    The myths behind the plays are much older (Homer had drawn from the same source material in his Illiad and Odyssey three centuries prior to this).   Indeed, even the Lex Talionis that is featured prominently in the ancient Code of Hammurabi (Babylon of the eighteenth century BC) and the Mosaic Law in the Old Testament, can be understood as a limit on the permissible use of force (under it if someone puts out your eye, the maximum that you can demand as just repayment is his own eye).    That the ancients saw the force of law, exercised by the state, as being subject to the limits of morality is also attested to by manner in which they categorized their philosophy.   While modern totalitarians, who reject limits on the power of the state, have sometimes claimed Plato as an ancestor, to do so they must rely entirely upon a dialogue that is fantastical in nature, in which Socrates and his friends engage in an entirely theoretical exercise in city-building that is clearly set in a world other than the one they actually live in.    The purpose of the exercise is not to create a model for the builders of city-states in the real world to use, but to examine further an ethical question about the nature of justice.   The totalitarians’ claim on Plato, therefore, is very tenuous.   By contrast, modern constitutionalists, that is to say those who believe in constitutional restraints on the powers of government which ought to include everybody of every political stripe who is not a totalitarian, can rightly point to Plato’s disciple Aristotle as their ancestor.   Some of these have agreed with the totalitarians in assigning Plato to the latter camp, but where Plato and Aristotle were clearly in harmony was in making politics in the sense of political science, the theory of states and statecraft, a subcategory of ethics, the theory of human habits and behaviour as evaluated by the standards of what is right, good and virtuous versus what is wrong, bad, and vicious.   This is spelled out by Aristotle, who introduced politics as a subdivision in his treatise on Ethics, then wrote a sequel devoted to Politics, but it is also the obvious implication of Plato’s having made his most famous political discussion as part of a larger ethical debate.   The subordination of politics to ethics is consistent with the constitutionalist rather than the totalitarian point of view.

Over the course of the pandemic that was declared early last year and has continued to the present day it has been very disturbing to see this subordination of politics to ethics that has been so important to every phase of our civilization (or to our civilization and its two immediate predecessors depending upon how you look at it) disregarded or, worse, inverted (the use of shame and guilt to coerce people into obeying every public health order – “you are a bad selfish person who cares only about yourself if you object to being forbidden all social interaction for two years straight” – is the use of a twisted form of ethics to serve the interests of politics, not in the Platonic/Aristotelean sense of the word but in a sense of the term that is usually if, perhaps, unfairly, associated with Machiavelli).   At the beginning of the pandemic, the citizens of Western countries basically acquiesced as their governments imposed unprecedented restrictions upon them.   In imposing these restrictions Western governments overstepped the limits their constitutions place on their powers and essentially took away what for centuries Western people have regarded as their most basic civil, if not human, rights.    Telling people they can have only a limited number of people over to their house is a restriction that limits their freedom of association, but telling them they can have no visitors over to their house, as the province of Manitoba did from November of last year until this July, is taking away that freedom altogether.  This is a freedom that is identified as “fundamental” in the second section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that was added to the Canadian constitution in 1982, the rights and freedoms in which the Supreme Court of Canada has previously ruled that governments can limit, but only if the limitation is minimal, as this one obviously was not.   Nevertheless, the province was somehow allowed to get away with this. 


Having gotten away with these experimental severe restrictions on our freedoms, our governments then began to add mandates on top of these.   The first of these was the mandate that we wear lower face masks in indoor spaces.   The mask mandates were controversial for a number of reasons, many of which I have discussed in other essays in the past.   What is most significant for our purposes here is that while many have seen the masks as being a lesser imposition than the lockdowns, and in one sense they are right, they represent the transition from the government forbidding us to do things that we had previously been free to do to the government requiring us to do things.   Throughout history, the laws of the freest countries have been mostly if not all prohibitions rather than requirements, and the more requirements a government has added the less free the country has become.   The laws that have been the most universal – the basic laws against such things as murder and theft – are prohibitions.


We have now arrived at a point where, if polls are to be believed – and this is a big “if” – the vast majority of Canadians support a different – and far worse – mandate, mandatory vaccination.    The rapidly developed vaccines for the bat flu have spawned much more controversy than the masks.   Much of the heated discussion has been over such matters as the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.    I will leave these matters to others because the ethical problem with vaccine mandates would be the same if they were 100% safe and effective.

Some would distinguish between mandatory vaccination and forced vaccination.    The distinction is false, however, and involves no real difference.   By the latter, these people would presumably have in mind a situation where someone ties you to a chair and injects you with a vaccine without your consent, either freely given or coerced.   A mandatory vaccine, however, is as much a forced vaccine as a vaccine in the circumstance just described.   The only difference is in the nature of the force used, which difference is essentially the same as that between the two robbers in our illustration at the beginning of this essay.


Let us use a slightly different illustration.


There are three young men.    Each has a young lady of whom he is in pursuit.


The first young man woes her with flowers, and chocolates, and sappy love poetry.


The second young man, clubs her over the head, drags her off to his cave, and forces himself upon her.


The third young man is the young lady’s immediate supervisor.   He tells her that if she wishes to advance in her career, it would be in her best interests to sleep with him, and hints that she will be fired and blackballed in her profession if she does not.


As with the original illustration, the first young man is innocent.   The second young man, also corresponding to his counterpart in the first illustration, is a stereotypical rapist.   


Is the third young man as guilty of rape, assuming his ploy to be successful, as the second?


If your answer is “no” you might be wise to keep your opinion to yourself in the presence of the ladies.  As Rudyard Kipling so aptly said “the female of the species is more deadly than the male”.


The reason for this second illustration is that the crime involved is much closer in nature to forced vaccination than robbery.   In both rape and forced vaccination someone’s body is penetrated, without that person’s voluntary consent, by a foreign tube which injects a substance into the body.    The similarities far outweigh the differences and include all the elements of rape which make the act a heinous crime.


The rhetoric we have been hearing from political leaders, like the Prime Minister, who have imposed vaccine mandates on certain sectors, has been “it is your choice not to be vaccinated, but there will be consequences”.   Imagine a man saying to a woman “it is your choice not to sleep with me, but there will be consequences”.   It would be one thing if by “consequences” the Prime Minister meant something like “you won’t be as protected against the virus as somebody who chooses to take the vaccine.”    This is obviously not what he meant.   It was a threat of the imposition of additional negative consequences apart from whatever ones might be inherent in the choice itself on those who reject the vaccine.   This is an unjustifiable abuse of government power.   Indeed, it is ethically unacceptable for any institution to abuse its authority and power in this way.   Rather than issuing vaccine mandates for their own employees, and those of certain private sectors, governments ought to be forbidding everyone else from imposing private vaccine mandates.    The latter would be a proper and ethical use of government power.  


That so many people have indicated their support for vaccine mandates, government or private, demonstrates just how badly our ethical thinking, which was not exactly in great shape prior to the pandemic, has deteriorated over the course of the last two years.


(1)   This is what the so-called Culture War, or at least the moral aspect of it, has really been all about.

(2)  The imagery comes from the thirteenth chapter of St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans in the New Testament.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Captain Airhead’s Astounding Arrogance


On Sunday the fifteenth of August, it had not yet been a month since Mary Simon had been sworn into the office of Governor General of Canada, when a pestilential nuisance showed up on her doorstep at Rideau Hall to make a request.   One of the more tiresome duties of Her Majesty’s vice-regal representative is that of playing host to visits from the Prime Minister.   This duty must truly become an irksome burden when the Prime Minister is someone as odious as the current one, Captain Airhead.   Of course, since Captain Airhead is the worst excuse for a human being by far to serve as Prime Minister in the history of Canada, only Simon and her immediate predecessors have had to bear this burden.


What her Prime Ministerial supplicant asked for, and obtained, was a dissolution of the Parliament formed in the 2019 Dominion election.   Which means that on the twentieth of September, the next Dominion election will be held.   It is an election that nobody but Captain Airhead himself wants.   All of the other parties have opposed the move.   Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives who were Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in the last Parliament and, as the only other party to have ever formed a government or with much of a chance of forming one if the Grits are defeated this time around, would logically be the ones to want an election have condemned the move as an irresponsible, egotistical, waste of money, which it is.  Jimmy Dhaliwal’s socialists and the Lower Canadian separatists who have been taking turns propping up the Grit minority government against the Conservative Opposition have no desire to see their hold on the balance of power potentially eviscerated.   As for the Greens, they are too busy imploding as a party due to self-destructive infighting to want to run a campaign right now.   The Canadian public, polled on the subject, has indicated strong opposition to an election being held at this time.


That the public would not want an election right now is hardly surprising.   Canadians have historically not been pleased with early elections that follow too closely after the previous one, and since, whatever you and I might think about the bat flu pandemic having been blown out of proportion by the fear pornographers in the mainstream media, the majority of our countrymen seem to take this stercus tauri at face value, and thus would be even less likely to want a very early election this year than on previous occasions.    This makes Captain Airhead’s move a bit of a puzzler.   Ordinarily, Prime Ministers in his position, that is to say, leading a minority government with only a plurality of seats in the House of Commons, try not to risk being punished by an angry electorate by requesting a new election themselves.   Instead, they try to provoke the other parties into voting them down in a no-confidence vote, so that the party that asks for the vote is blamed and punished by the electorate for the dissolution of the previous Parliament.   Captain Airhead clearly thinks that he can take responsibility for the dissolution upon himself and still be awarded a majority by a public that obviously does not want an election.


Perhaps Captain Airhead, or Justin Trudeau as some occasionally call him, thinks that he can count on the sycophantic behaviour of the news media which he has enjoyed to an extent that exceeds that of any previous Prime Minister, including his own father at the height of Trudeaumania, to render him exempt from the normal rules.    It is, nevertheless, an extremely hubristic attitude on his part, especially when we consider all the other assumptions implicit within it.


In the Dominion election of 2015 the Grits won a solid majority.     This was due to a combination of people being tired with the previous government and the media’s love affair with the Liberal leader whose surface qualities, hiding a total lack of substance, they found appealing.    When a new government receives a majority in its first election, of course, this is not a reward that is has earned and it is expected to earn it after the fact.   When that government is reduced to a plurality in its next election, as Captain Airhead’s Grits were in 2019, this is the judgement of the public that they have failed to subsequently earn their majority.   In this particular example, it was also a rebuke of the Prime Minister’s scandalous behaviour.


Towards the end of Captain Airhead’s first term his government’s popularity tanked due to the SNC-Lavalin Affair, a scandal that concerned inappropriate pressure having been placed on the Justice Minister to interfere in the ongoing prosecution of a major corporate backer of the Liberal Party for political reasons.    This was a corruption scandal that pertained to the government’s behaviour in office.   Then, in the actual election campaign, Captain Airhead was hit with a personal scandal as a couple of photographs and a video surfaced, all showing him in blackface.   This is the sort of scandal that would have ended the career of pretty much any other politician in this day and age.   While personally, I think that those who consider skin colour-altering makeup to be inherently “racist” are twits and dingbats who ought to be ignored by sensible people rather than given the influence to police the thoughts and actions of others, Captain Airhead has, since the beginning of his political career, marketed himself as “woke”, that is to say, the sort of numbskull who takes every dictate from the far left’s self-appointed guardians of public mental hygiene vis-à-vis racism very seriously indeed and caters to their every irrational whim.   In other words, exactly the sort of person who ought not to be caught dead in blackface and whose career ought to be especially vulnerable to this sort of scandal.   He had spent an inordinate amount of time in his first term lecturing other Canadians about how we all need to be more “enlightened” and less “racist” like the image he was trying to present of himself.


Having survived these scandals has Captain Airhead learned from them and altered his behaviour according?

The evidence would suggest that he has not.


Less than a year into his second term, in the early months of the bat flu pandemic, Captain Airhead announced the formation of the Canadian Student Service Grant program that would give students $1000 for every 100 hours of volunteer work they did that summer up to a $5000 maximum.   The WE Charity was picked to administer this program.   This immediately erupted into a corruption scandal that rivalled SNC-Lavalin for the biggest of Captain Airhead’s career.   The WE Charity had been selected without giving other charities the opportunity to bid on the contract.  This charity had a long association with Captain Airhead’s family – his wife had volunteered for the organization which had paid for her travel and other expenses and his mother and brother had both been paid large sums to speak at its events.   Similarly, his then-Finance Minister Bill Morneau had one daughter who worked for the charity, another who spoke at their events, and had himself allowed the charity to pay $41 000 worth of travel expenses for him and his family.   The scandal led to Morneau’s resignation both as Finance Minister and from his seat in the House of Commons.      Captain Airhead, however, remained in office, taking advantage of every opportunity the pandemic afforded him to thwart a proper investigation by Parliament.   A few months ago, the Ethics Commissioner that he had himself had appointed, declared that “Although the connection between Mr. Trudeau’s relatives and WE created the appearance of a conflict of interest, the appearance of conflict is insufficient to cause a contravention to the Act’s substantive views” and pinned all the blame on Morneau.


It would seem that the only lesson Captain Airhead took away from the SNC-Lavalin experience is to avoid being held accountable by Parliament.


As for the blackface scandal, the very least we have the right to expect from someone who had gone through this sort of humiliation without, astonishingly, it killing his political career would be that he would give lecturing the rest of us about racism a rest.    Anyone foolish enough to actually expect this of Captain Airhead, however, would be very disappointed.   If anything, he has actually gotten much worse in this regards.    Just before the Parliament that has just been dissolved recessed for the summer his Justice Minister introduced Bill C-36, which would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code so that left-wing control freaks would no longer have to meet the criminal justice system’s standard of evidence in order to file complaints against people for posting things they, that is the leftists, consider to be racist on the internet and obtain rulings silencing these people and/or imposing crippling fines upon them.   Indeed, unlike the defunct Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act which his father had introduced in 1977 and which was bad enough, Bill C-36, like something out of Philip K. Dick’s “Minority Report”, would allow these leftist censors to peremptorily punish people with peace bonds that effectively strip them of all human dignity for the racist things the leftists are afraid these people might say in the future.     This takes his anti-racist lecturing to the nth degree.   It follows immediately after two summers straight in which far left radical movements that attempt to conceal their true agenda of hatred of the institutions, laws, traditions, and way of life of Western Civilization and racial hatred of people of European descent and light skin colour beneath the innocuous if banal truisms by which they call their movements have made use of deceptively selective media reporting  to stir up race riots and Year Zero Cultural Maoist assaults on historical figures, all of which Captain Airhead has capitalized on by jumping aboard the bandwagon and maximizing his anti-racist posturing.  


This is rather much to take coming from the man featured in the blackface scandal of 2019.   It is enough to induce vomiting in even the strongest stomached of sane people, although the same can be said about virtually everything about Captain Airhead from the beginning of his political career. 


Captain Airhead apparently thinks that after two years of demonstrating with his behaviour that he has learned absolutely nothing from the scandals that reduced his first majority government to a minority, that he can request an early election and win another majority.   The arrogance of this is truly astounding.


It is possible that he thinks that his pandemic record will accomplish his victory.   If so, this merely makes his hubris all the greater.   His handling of the bat flu has been nothing short of abominable.    


In the early months of 2020, before the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic and while there was still a possibility, however slight, of keeping the bat flu virus contained in Wuhan, Captain Airhead and his subordinates branded anybody who suggested that it might be prudent to impose a temporary ban on travel to and from Red China as a racist.   Then in March, the moment the pandemic had been declared he switched gears and began encouraging the provincial governments to impose harsh lockdowns on Canadians based upon the experimental model that Communist China had been using to contain the virus.


From the perspective of political strategy there was an almost admirable ingenuity in this.   He could have evoked the Emergencies Act to impose a Dominion-wide lockdown himself.   Instead, he let the provincial governments, mostly led by those whose politics is purportedly the opposite of his, impose the lockdowns and thus incur the resentment of those whose lives were made a living hell by these restrictions which far exceeded anything any free country had ever known before, even in times of war.   Oh, he had a lot of say in it.   The provincial premiers basically gave their provincial chief public health officers free rein, and these in turn acted upon information provided from the Dominion chief public health officer who was appointed to the position by Captain Airhead who threatened to withhold support from the provinces if they veered too much from the lockdown program.   However, apart from the amusing incident when he attempted to play “Mr. Tough Guy” to all the young people who were still having parties and other large social gatherings but merely came across as doing a bad impression of Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer, he allowed the premiers to play the bully – our premier in Manitoba, Brian Pallister excelled in this  - while he put on his Santa Claus suit and started handing out goodies, essentially bribing people to follow the public health orders and stay home.    If he thinks that by doing so he has bought his way back to a majority government then he is assuming that Canadians are too stupid to realize the connection between his spending all of this money at a time when the production of goods and services has been severely limited and the recent spike in the price of food in the grocery stores.  (1)  Sadly, he might be right about that, although there is no reason to believe that he understands the connection himself.


At the very beginning of the first lockdown of the pandemic he asked for Parliament to vote him the power to tax and spend without limits or Parliamentary oversight for two years.   Mercifully, this was met with strong opposition from the Conservatives then led by Andrew Scheer and he was denied getting all that he had asked for, although he has since behaved as if he had been given it all.    This request was an outrageous assault on Parliament and the very principles that have been foundational to that venerable institution since the Magna Carta.   There is an interesting if ominous symbolism in the way he introduced the bill within days of the anniversary of the Enabling Act that had been passed by the Reichstag, the legislative assembly of Weimar Germany, which gave emergency powers to the new German chancellor and his cabinet in 1933 and brought about the most hated tyrannical dictatorship in history.


This was not the first time nor would it be the last when Captain Airhead demonstrated his utter contempt for Parliament.   Indeed, his entire second term as Prime Minister could be described as one big digitus impudicus in the face of Parliament.   Throughout the pandemic he treated his doorstep with the television cameras on it as if it rather than Parliament were the seat of government in Canada.   He has treated Parliament as if it had no right or authority to hold him and his cabinet accountable.    When the far left radicals began their assault on Canada and her history he made a point of sympathizing with them and reminding them of the colonial origins of Parliament as if to say that government would be so much better if he could just do whatever he wanted without having to answer to that “colonial” institution of Parliament.   When he got frustrated earlier this year with Erin O’Toole for the latter’s doing his job as Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and preventing the House from just rubber-stamping his bills as he would have preferred he threw a tantrum, complained of “obstructionism and toxicity” and called Parliament “dysfunctional”.    If there was any dysfunction in Parliament it was due to his own efforts to prevent that body from giving proper deliberation to his legislation proposals and to ram the latter through and not the Opposition’s doing its job.   Around the same time, when the House of Commons ordered the government and the Public Health Agency of Canada to hand over all documents pertaining to the dismissal of two scientists from the high security microbiology lab here in Winnipeg a couple of years previously, he had the amazing gall to launch a Federal Court case against House Speaker Anthony Rota.   On Tuesday of this week the government dropped this lawsuit, but this was because the dissolution of Parliament nullified the order with regards to the documents, and not because the Prime Minister has discovered a newfound respect for Parliament and its rights.


In this disrespect for Parliament Captain Airhead demonstrates yet another kind of arrogance, one which has been common to Liberal leaders since at least William Lyon Mackenzie King, but which he has elevated to a whole new level.   In Canada our system of government is that of Queen-in-Parliament.    In this system, which has been tried and proven over long eons of time, political sovereignty is vested in the office of the reigning monarch.    This office is filled, not by popular election nor by appointment by the rich and powerful, but by hereditary succession.   Therefore, since the monarch owes her office neither to a political faction nor to special interest groups, she can reign as a non-political figure in the way no elected head of state ever could.   The powers of government, principally those to legislate, tax, and spend, are exercised in the name of the Queen and those who exercise them are accountable to the representatives elected by the people who pay the taxes and are expected to obey the laws, which representatives meet in the lower House of Parliament.   Therefore in this system, when it is functioning properly, the Prime Minister and Cabinet are dually accountable both to the reigning monarch above, and to Parliament below.    The world has never known a better system of government than this one when it is allowed to function without subversion.   Liberal leaders from Mackenzie King down and especially Captain Airhead have shown a decided preference for subverting this system.   They seldom object to retaining its outward form, unlike the idiot who currently leads the socialist party, but they do not want to govern under its restraints and so seek to subvert them whenever they can.   Their preference is that in practice the Prime Minister and Cabinet rule through the bureaucracy that they control and are only ever held accountable at election time, at least when their party is in government.


If most Canadians had a proper appreciation for our traditional system of government most of the Liberal Prime Ministers of the last hundred years would have been unelectable.   This would be all the more true of Captain Airhead, who exceeds all of the rest of them combined in his autocratic arrogance, making even his own father look humble in comparison.


(1)   Wealth is generated by people producing goods and services that they and others want and consists of those goods and services.  Money is the medium that allows these goods and services to be exchanged more conveniently than by direct barter and which allows accumulated wealth to be stored for later use.   The value of money goes up when the amount of money remains the same but the production of goods and services increases, and goes down when more money is put into circulation while the production of goods and services remains the same.    When the amount of money increases relative to that of goods and services this is called inflation which is most noticeable when it manifests itself in the rise of the price of consumer goods.   Whenever the government starts handing out large amounts of money, whether it just runs more currency off on the printing press or borrows from some financial institution – in the age of electronic currency the distinction between these ways of doing it has been blurred to the point where it may no longer be meaningful – the amount of money relative to goods and services increases.   When, at the same time, the government puts a stop to the production of “non-essential” goods and services, that is to say, the goods and services that in terms of real wealth actually pay for the production of “essential” goods and services, this is a recipe for massive and devastating inflation.


Friday, August 6, 2021

Brian Pallister Removes All Doubt

There is an old saw that goes “it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”.   It has been attributed to pretty much everyone with a reputation for folksy wisdom of this sort from the last millennium or so, and is sometimes ascribed to sources of ancient wisdom such as Confucius.   Indeed, it could be taken as a rough paraphrase of Proverbs 17:28.    Homer, when confronted with it in an early episode of The Simpsons, promptly set about illustrating it.  Internally, he asked himself “What does that mean?  Better say something or they’ll think you’re stupid”, and then blurted out “Takes one to know one”, after which his inner voice applauds this supposedly witty comeback.  Brian Pallister, premier of my province of Manitoba in the Dominion of Canada, is either unfamiliar with the adage or he has decided to follow in the footsteps of Homer Simpson.


On Tuesday, the day his public health mandarin Roussin informed us that he would finally be lifting the vile and absurd requirement that we gag and muzzle ourselves with face diapers in indoor public places which tyrannical order ought never to have been imposed on us in the first place, Pallister ensured that this news would be overshadowed by issuing a poorly worded apology for his remarks of the seventh of July. 


In those remarks for which he apologized, he had not said anything bad about anyone – except the Marxist terrorist mob that had vandalized the statues of Canada’s founding and reigning monarchs on Dominion Day and who deserved his rebuke.   Nor had he said anything that could be reasonably interpreted as justifying historical wrongs that had been done to anyone.   Note the adverb “reasonably”.   The interpretations of the nitwits and nincompoops whose thinking has been perverted and corrupted by being infected with the academic Marxist virus of Critical Race Theory, a pathogen far more deadly and dangerous than the bat flu, don’t count.   His comments were entirely positive and affirming, but because they were positive and affirming about the people who settled and built Canada, that is to say the very people whom the “Year Zero” Cultural Maoists wish to erase from history, they were met with outrage and outcry on the part of the same.


In other words he had said nothing for which he owed anyone an apology.   Indeed, he owed it to Canada and to all patriotic Canadians regardless of their racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, not to apologize for his remarks.   This is because to give in to the demand that he apologize for his remarks of the seventh of July is apologize for the very existence of Canada.    Canada owes nobody an apology for her existence.   Academic Marxists who think otherwise, and the far too many who speak for them in government and in the media, need to be slapped down hard, not coddled with apologies intended to appease.


Astonishingly, for someone who gives the impression of being a man who is quite proud of the fact that his only ethics are those acquired in the schoolyard, Pallister would appear to have forgotten one of the most basic lessons of the same – bullies cannot be appeased.   Bullies feed off of the weakness of their prey.  By appeasing them, people merely announce their own weakness and let the bullies know where their next meal can be found.  


Surely Pallister must realize that those who have been demanding that he grovel and eat his innocuous words spoken in defence of the people who built this country are bullies.   What other word could better describe those who make such irrational demands knowing that they can count on the Crown broadcaster, the “paper of record”, and most of the other public opinion-generating media to back them up, with nary a word of dissent?


Therefore, Pallister should have known that there was no apology that he could make that would have satisfied these wolves.   The fact that he has spent the last year and a half throwing his weight around, telling Manitobans they cannot meet with their friends in either public places or their own homes, blaming Manitobans for when his own draconian policies failed to produce the desired effect of a drop in bat flu cases, berating and insulting the few of us who dared stand up for our constitutional rights and freedoms, and trying to blackmail us all into agreeing to take a hastily prepared, experimental new medical treatment, might help explain why he failed to grasp this.   Having enjoyed playing the bully himself for so long he forgot what to do when on the receiving end of bullying.  


In this situation, offering an apology of any sort, was the worst thing Pallister could have done.     The people demanding that he apologize are not interested in receiving an apology from him, sincere or otherwise.   They want to remove him from office and replace him with the one man in Manitoba who would have handled the situation of the last year and a half worse than he.    Whereas the role of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition is supposed to be to hold the government accountable to the elected assembly for its actions and to speak out when the government abuses its power, Wab Kinew, the leader of the provincial socialists, has spent the pandemic, not calling Pallister out for how his actions have trampled the most basic constitutional rights and freedoms of Manitobans, destroyed businesses and livelihoods, and done tremendous harm to our mental, social, and overall wellbeing, but saying that he should have locked us down harder, faster, and kept us in lockdown longer.   When groups who have been speaking out about how our rights and especially our religious freedoms were endangered by the lockdown measures met with one of Pallister’s minister’s to express their concerns, Kinew condemned the government for agreeing to meet with them and hear their point of view.    Those who want this man to become our next premier, either can see nothing wrong with a government strategy of closing all businesses and paying people to stay home for the duration of a pandemic, or don’t care about his policies and want him in power for no reason other than his race, while accusing those of us who do very much see something wrong with his political philosophy and strategy of being racists for opposing him.


If we limit the options to those of which Pallister is capable, the best thing he could have done would have been to follow the advice of the old saying with which we opened this essay.   That was more or less what he had been doing for the previous few weeks and it had been working fairly well.   The media was running out of things to say about his remarks and would eventually have moved on to something new, whereas Manitobans were given a respite from having to see his face on the news every day.    It was a win for everybody!


If, however, we expand our options to include what Pallister might have done had he been a different person with a better character, the best thing he could have done would have been the following.   


He would have held another press conference in which he flat out refused to apologize for his comments.   He would have said that his words had been directed towards the mob of Maoist radicals who attacked Canada, her constitution and institutions, and her founders and history in their criminal and terrorist acts on her national holiday.   He would have then pointed out, correctly, that throughout history, any time a mob like this has been allowed to get its way it has turned out very, very, bad for everybody, and that therefore this sort of thing must not be tolerated but rather nipped in the bud.    He would then have reiterated his comments and insisted, quite rightly, that Canada owes nobody an apology for her founding, history, and very existence as a country.


He would then have directly addressed the media and the phoniness of their manufactured moral outrage.   He would have pointed out that they themselves carried the lion’s share of the blame for stirring up the Marxist mob whose actions he had rightly condemned.   They had completely abandoned even the pretense of journalistic ethics, integrity, and responsibility when they spun the discovery of graves on the sites of the Indian Residential Schools into a web of exaggerations and outright lies about murdered children (1) which has incited not only the aforementioned mob actions but the largest wave of hate crimes this country has ever seen.


Finally, he would have addressed the Indian chiefs who took offense at his remarks – note the distinction the late Sir Roger Scruton liked to make between “taking” and “giving” offense – and issued rude and arrogant demands for his resignation in which they insulted and demonized other Canadians in a most racist manner.   He would have told them that if they persist in their crummy attitude then they can take it and their “reconciliation” and stick these where the sun don’t shine, to which location he would be happy to provide directions.


Of course, the Brian Pallister who would have done this would have had to have been a very different and very better Brian Pallister than the one we actually have.   The same would have to be true of the Brian Pallister who would sincerely apologize to those whom he actually owes an apology – all Manitobans, of all races, cultures, and creeds – for the way he has bullied us all with his lockdowns, masks and other such draconian nonsense.


(1)   That thousands of graves could be found on these sites has never been a secret.   The Truth and Reconciliation Commission discussed these at length in the fourth volume of its final report.  They are not “mass graves” – the media falsely labelled them such and the bands that had announced the finding of the graves corrected them and while the media  eventually switched to talking about “unmarked graves” they issued no retractions.   “Unmarked” refers to their present condition, it does not mean they were always unmarked.   The TRC Report says that graves in the Residential School cemeteries were usually marked with wooden crosses.   Students were not the only ones buried in these cemeteries – school staff were buried there as well, and often the school shared the cemetery of the church to which it was related and the nearest community.   There is no reason to think that the graves contain murdered children.   No bodies have been exhumed, no autopsies conducted, and the TRC Report itself indicates that disease was the cause of most of the deaths of children buried in the school cemeteries, tuberculosis alone accounting for almost half.   The huge gulf between what the actual known facts are and the narrative imposed over the facts by the media, arises entirely out of the anti-Canada, anti-Christian, hatred and malice of the latter.