The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Dilbert Gets Downsized


Scott Adams began writing his comic strip Dilbert in 1989.   The strip quickly became popular but I was not a regular reader until it was in its tenth year.   Then on Thursday, 9 September, 1999 the first panel of the strip had Dilbert in the office of his Pointy-Haired Boss saying “I found some numbers that support your strategic plan”.   In the second panel he adds “I had to take the square root of a negative number to do it.”   In the final panel he says “The timeline is on this Mobius strip” which he hands to the Pointy-Haired Boss who responds by saying “Good work”.   I found this to be so hilarious that from that point on Dilbert,  Dogbert, all the assorted other –berts, Wally, Alice, the Pointy-Haired Boss, and company joined Garfield, Snoopy, and Dagwood on the list of characters to whom I would turn for a laugh every time a newspaper was before me.  


It appears that most newspaper readers are no longer going to be able to do this.   Over the last week hundreds of newspapers dropped Dilbert and over the weekend the syndicate that carried it dropped it as well.   Here in Winnipeg the strip had been carried by the Winnipeg Free Press which announced on Monday that it was dropping it thus removing the last remaining reason for anyone to ever again pick up a copy of that paper.  Of course with newspaper readership as low as it is pretty soon many of these newspapers are likely to be out of business while Dilbert will still be available to its fans online.   Indeed, I hope that not merely many but most or all of the newspapers that dropped Dilbert will soon be filing for bankruptcy.   Any newspaper that would drop Dilbert for the reason for which it has been dropped is, in my opinion, a rag its community would be better off without. 


The media mob that is gunning for Scott Adams has been crying “racist” over remarks he made on his podcast.   Now before looking at what he said and why it is being labelled “racist” a few words are in order about accusations of racism in general.  


When someone is accused of committing a crime we hold a trial in which he is given the opportunity to confront and cross-examine his accusers and to mount a defence.   The burden of proof is placed upon his accusers and the bar is set as high as it can go.   The prosecutor must establish his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.   If the prosecution fails to do so then the accused is entitled to an acquittal.   This is called the principle of the presumption of innocence – that someone accused is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.   This is an ancient principle going back at least as far as the Roman Empire.   While not universal it is the next thing to it, being affirmed in one form or another by all of the Abrahamic religions and being a keystone to the concept of justice embodied in the Common Law of the British Commonwealth and the United States.   It is an essential protection against those who would seek to turn the law into a weapon to destroy their personal enemies through making false accusations.


There has never been an equivalent to the principle of the presumption of innocence for non-criminal accusations. It had not been thought that one was necessary.  It was assumed that the worst things people could be accused of were crimes - murder, rape, robbery, etc. – and that therefore accusations of things that were non-crimes would be lesser accusations that would do less harm to the accused’s reputation than criminal accusations.   It was similarly assumed that the socially and culturally imposed consequences of doing things society frowned upon but which were not prohibited by criminal law would be less severe and damaging than the penalties inflicted by the courts upon law breakers.   These assumptions are far less valid today than they were decades or even just a few years ago.


In the last three quarters of a century progressive liberals have coined the terms “racism” and “racist” and convinced the public that “racism” is worse than the worst crime and that “racists” are worse than the worst criminals.   Through doing so, they have persuaded the public to be largely indifferent or approving of the way they treat people they accuse of being “racists”.    The way they treat accused “racists” is to utterly destroy them economically and socially.   Since the same progressive liberals have done everything in their power to strip the criminal justice system of any real teeth when it comes to punishing actual crimes this in effect makes the consequences of an accusation of “racism” far more damaging than the consequences of a criminal accusation.    Furthermore, they have managed to attach a presumption of guilt to accusations of “racism”.   By doing all of this, they have successfully bypassed the safeguards in our traditional justice system protecting people from those who seek to use the law and courts as weapons to destroy their enemies through false accusations by establishing an alternative way of destroying their enemies through accusations.   Indeed, they have been so successful at this that they have created a battery of similar weapon words with which to crush and destroy their enemies.


The anemic opposition to progressive liberalism that is mainstream “conservatism” has chosen a strategy of responding to this by trying to turn said accusations against their creators and saying that it is the progressive liberals who are the “real racists”.    The most that mainstream conservatives have been able to accomplish through this has been to score a few points against their opponents in academic debates.    What is desperately needed is for the opponents of progressive liberalism to abandon this form of the fallacy of tu quoque that affirms the very false presupposition that, having been instilled in the public mind, enable progressivism to weaponized words in this manner.   Instead they should be attacking those presuppositions, exposing this system of destroying people through weaponized words as being fundamentally unjust, and stripping words like “racist” of their power to destroy.


Let us now take a look at the accusations against Scott Adams.   In his Real Coffee with Scott Adams podcast he was commenting on the results of a poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports.    The poll asked Americans whether “it’s okay to be white” and reported its findings by race.   The number of blacks that did not agree that “it’s okay be white” was just under 50%, and while these were divided almost equally among those who outright disagreed and those who were not sure, those who outright disagreed were the larger percentage, 26% as opposed to the 21% who were not certain.   Adams, in response to this said that while he had been identifying as black for years – this seems to be an ongoing joke about the translunacy that has engulfed Western culture since the apogynosis of Bruce Jenner – this poll had led him to reconsider this decision because it amounted to joining a hate group and advised whites that the best advice he could give them was to “get the hell away from black people”.


Those who have been denouncing Adams in print over the last week all seem to share the same defect in their ability to reason.  Everything Adams said was reasonable if the Rasmussen Reports poll and its results are taken at face value.   If you don’t agree with “it’s okay to be white” than you either think “it is not okay to be white” or “it might not be okay to be white”, the first of which translates into “whites should not exist” and the second into an openness to the idea that whites should not exist.   It is entirely fair to interpret someone’s saying that someone else should not exist as an expression of hate and it is also fair to interpret the expression of uncertainty as to whether someone should exist or not as expressing a weaker form of the same hate.   When a poll, therefore, tells us that such hate exists among 47% of a population it indicates that said population has a serious problem with hate.  Adam’s advice to the objects of this hate is actually quite moderate.   He advised them to get away from those who hate them, not to hate them back or launch some sort of preemptive hate strike against them. 


Adams’ denouncers, unsurprisingly, have taken the position that what one thinks of the expression "it's okay to be white” should be based upon who purportedly coined the phrase rather than what the phrase means.   According to self-appointed and self-important anti-“hate” watchdog groups, the slogan “It’s okay to be white” was coined by “neo-Nazis” and “white supremacists” on 4chan.   Therefore, according to these supposed experts, the right thing to do is to denounce the slogan because of the people who came up with it.   This way of thinking, applied by Adams’ denouncers to the Rasmussen poll, means that the 47% of blacks polled who did not agree with the statement were in the right because they were disagreeing with “white supremacists”.   This is ridiculous, however, for many reasons.   Whether or not we agree or disagree with a statement ought to be based on the truth or not of what the statement says not on who said it.   Statements that in terms of their content are true and good do not become otherwise through contamination by those who say them.   If it were otherwise, and “it’s okay to be white” were somehow contaminated by the white supremacy that those who coined it are accused of holding, then “black lives matter” is similarly contaminated by the looting and rioting and vandalism of the movement that coined it as its slogan and “every child matters” is contaminated with the Christophobia that spawned the arson and vandalism of almost seventy churches in the biggest hate crime spree in Canadian history.   Indeed, if the 47% of black respondents to the Rasmussen poll who did not agree with the statement “it’s okay to be white” are to be applauded because of the alleged origin of the statement then what does that say about the 53% of black respondents who agreed with it?


The Rasmussen poll did not ask people what they thought of the people who originally coined the phrase “it’s okay to be white”.   It did not even mention them.   Rather, it asked people whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement.   Scott Adams took the poll at face value and rightly drew from it the conclusion that an alarmingly large number of black people openly express some degree of hate towards white people and that this is cause for concern on the part of those targeted by that hate.   His response to the poll was reasonable.   His accusers’ response to his podcast was not.   Unfortunately his accusers were many and powerful and so Dilbert will no longer be available in the comics section of most newspapers.   Once again the humourless, self-righteous, watchdogs of anti-racism will have robbed countless people of something that brought a smile to their face and mirth to their hearts.


As Phil the Prince of Insufficient Light would say:  Darn them all to Heck!

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