If things are looking a bit weird on this blog, fear not. My blog is being given a major overhaul and, until that is completed, it might not be obvious that you are looking at my blog…but you are. Things should look a lot better by the end of the weekend…hopefully, better than ever.
Until now, one might have thought that I’ve been trying to prevent people from signing up to my blog. I had no RSS feed to speak of (unless something was creating one automatically, somewhere, somehow, unbeknownst to me).
If you enjoy reading the Paul McKeever blog, here’s some news: you can now SUBSCRIBE to it by clicking here, or by clicking on the orange “chicklet” icon that is currently at the top right of my blog page (this thing: )
If you have never subscribed to a blog before, don’t worry:
1. You won’t start getting a bunch of e-mail or anything. A subscription is like bookmarking a website that you like.
2. When you subscribe, you’ll see a page that allows you to choose an “aggregator”: it’s basically a web page that lists stories from all of the blogs to which you have chosen to subscribe. I started with the google aggregator, but there are many to choose from.
Happy reading, and (if I’m not being too presumptuous): thanks for subscribing!
Interested in learning (or about learning more) about money and banking? Read more
In the Nation Post blog, Rudyard Griffiths opines that “In a recession, our bulked up petrodollar will accelerate the gutting of Ontario’s manufacturing sector and further delay the province’s economic recovery.”
The fortunate fact is Read more
Freedominion.com.pa is a popular discussion board, especially (but not exclusively) for small-c conservatives of various stripes, who want to discuss Canadian politics. It is one of a number of sites that has been sued or complained about in respect of matters relating to human rights legislation in Canada (especially as it relates to the issue of curtailing speech).
Accordingly, a major topic of discussion is section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which curtails freedom in respect of speech on web sites. There have been allegations that the real purpose of some section 13 complaints is to shut down conservative discussion boards, thereby preventing the distribution of views contrary to those of the liberal collectivists. The topic is even more interesting for partisan reasons: one sitting member of the opposition Liberal Party of Canada, Dr. Keith Martin, has introduced a motion in parliament to repeal section 13. Dr. Martin was a Conservative, but switched parties a while back.
With that as context, you might not find it entirely surprising that several bloggers and posters on freedominion.com.pa are rather upset that the Conservative Minister of Justice has not expressed any opposition to section 13. Among the several postings on the subject, I noticed a couple by a fellow who goes by the handle EdS, who expressed both a crisis of loyalty to his party (the Conservative Party of Canada) and feelings of defeat at the prospect of fighting section 13:
I’m seriously considering my future with the Party over this issue. Freedom of Speech is the deal-breaker for me…I am overwhelmed…How do you encapsulate this whole CHRT/CHRC mess into something brief and cogent? How do you begin to explain all this to the ignorant and the apathetic?…I’m not taking any shortcuts. I just need some pointers.
I replied as follows:
EdS, you’re dealing with something that I’ve been dealing with since I took on the responsibility of leading Freedom Party of Ontario. You’ll not be surprised if I tell you that I believe Ayn Rand had the right answer:
Ayn Rand wrote:
…In an intellectual battle, you do not need to convert everyone. History is made by minorities-or, more precisely, history is made by intellectual movements, which are created by minorities. Who belongs to these minorities? Anyone who is able and willing actively to concern himself with intellectual issues. Here, it is not quantity, but quality, that counts (the quality-and consistency-of the ideas one is advocating)
…An intellectual movement does not start with organized action. Whom would one organize? A philosophical battle is a battle for men’s minds, not an attempt to enlist blind followers. Ideas can be propagated only by men who understand them.
…when you ask ‘What can one do?’ – the answer is ‘SPEAK’ (provided you know what you are saying)
…A few suggestions: do not wait for a national audience. Speak on any scale open to you, large or small-to your friends, your associates, your professional organizations, or any legitimate public forum. You can never tell when your words will reach the right mind at the right time. You will see no immediate results – but it is of such activities that public opinion is made…It is a mistake to think that an intellectual movement requires some special duty or self-sacrificial effort on your part. It requires something much more difficult: a profound conviction that ideas are important to you and to your own life. If you integrate that conviction to every aspect of your life, you will find many opportunities to enlighten others…
…it is never too late or too early to propagate the right ideas-except under a dictatorship.
…If a dictatorship ever comes to this country, it will be by the default of those who keep silent. We are still free enough to speak. Do we have time? No one can tell. But time is on our side-because we have an indestructible weapon and an invincible ally (if we learn how to use them): reason and reality.
Now, someone who wants you to stay loyal to some big organization – someone who condemns the idea of dissent or of people thinking for themselves – might argue (as they always do): “Yeah McKeever, I can see how well all of that Ivory Tower writing and talking is working for you! What did you get in the last election? Half a percent?”. In that connection, consider the following, from earlier in Rand’s career (1941, to be precise):
You say, what can one man do? When the Communists came to power in Russia, they were a handful of eighteen men. Just eighteen. In a country of [170,000,000] population. They were laughed at and no one took them seriously. According to their own prophet, Karl Marx, Russia was the last country in which Communism could be historically possible, because of Russia’s backwardness in industrial development. Yet they succeeded. Because they knew what they wanted and went after it — historical destiny or no historical destiny. Adolf Hitler started the Nazi Party in Germany with seven men. He was laughed at and considered a harmless crank. People said that after the Versailles Treaty Germany could not possibly become a world power again, not for centuries. Yet Hitler succeeded. Because he knew what he wanted and went after it — history or no history. Shall we believe in mystical fates or do something about the future? (from “To All Innocent Fifth Columnists“)
As an aside: Some moron might respond to that quotation with a smear, like: “Oh, so Rand advocated communism and Naziism, and she would have us all to do what the Nazi’s did?”. To which I will reply, in advance: Ayn Rand was born a Jewish woman. Her family was expropriated, in Russia, by the Communists. To falsely allege that she was in favour of the very things she detested and actively opposed – such as anti-Semitism, Naziism, Communism etc. – is to demonstrate just how fearful you are that someone might take her advice, and speak-up.
I’ve been taking every opportunity I get to advocate for freedom. Years of thinking, studying, writing and speaking have allowed me to identify the root of the problems that face society, including censorship. The root of all of these anti-freedom efforts is: to oppose the facts of reality and all thought and action that is consistent with those facts. Your enemies are those who want to believe that if we all just agree, or pass a law, or point a gun, we can change the facts of reality concerning man’s method of surviving and pursuing happiness. They are only deluding themselves, though at the expense of your freedom to recognize and deal with the facts of reality.
Luckily, one fact of nature is that your arguments, if founded on the facts of reality and if rational, cannot be defeated by others.
The only person who can defeat your argument is you: by not expressing it.
Don’t despair. On this issue (the Canadian Human Rights Act), reality and reason are on your side. Tell everyone so, because your enemy has no verbal weapon to defeat your argument. He only has guns and guns cannot control a person’s mind (to understand what I mean: you can be forced to have sex with someone, but no amount of force can cause you to love someone).
For days now, major daily newspapers have featured one or more reports or columns about the Canadian federal government’s “equalization program”. In a nutshell, the equalization program works like this:
- The federal government overtaxes Canadians, so that it has more money than it needs to pay for services that it is authorized, by the constitution, to provide.
- The federal government takes the extra revenue, and contributes it to provincial coffers in an effort to ensure that each province has the same amount of money for its various socialist programs (notably, health care, welfare, and education).
Under this program, people who get skinned are called residents of the “Have” provinces. People who get stuff they didn’t pay for are called residents of the “Have Not” provinces. Read more
In response to my blog entry about David Archuleta, Mark Steyn, and Reason, a facebook friend commented, in part:
I’m worried what those law students will be trying to do once they pass the bar. Sounds like they want to criminalize people’s feelings and anything that may stir the pot in a direction they don’t like. Thought police anyone?
Law is a description of the circumstances under which the government may deprive you of liberty or property. It can be consistent with the facts of reality (including the nature of man), or it can be contrary to the facts of reality.
To tell your child that a given religious belief is contrary to the facts of reality, or that it foretells a physical threat to ones liberty or property, may very well offend those who hold the belief, but it may very well save the life of ones child. All of the good feelings in the world won’t allow someone to survive. All of the ignorance in the world will certainly decrease the likelihood of ones survival/happiness.
Freedom requires that a government’s ethical standard be the life of a man qua man. That requires government always to be consistent with the facts of reality.
To call upon the government to seize control of a person’s liberty or property on the ground of emotion is to call upon the government to abandon human life as its ethical standard. It is to lobby for death.
Your author is writing just after midnight, having watched two programs on the tellie: “American Idol” (one of Mrs. McKeever’s favourites) and TV Ontario’s “The Agenda” with Steve Paikin (one of mine: a current affairs show for the ivory-tower sort). It’s been moving, and wonderful.
First, let me say this. I am a great lover of music. It was my first calling, and arguably remains my greatest love. On tonight’s “American Idol”, Simon Cowell had it right (as usual). From the first note of David Cook’s “Baba O’Reilly”, I knew he had found his niche. Being a person entirely swayed by Sam Cooke’s never-to-be-repeated (except by Steve Perry) vocal stylings, I was utterly gripped by Syesha Mercado’s rendition of Sam Cook’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” (thumbs down to Randy Jackson who, clearly, was just plain wrong in his assessment). But David Archuleta left me with a smile on my face so unconscious it compelled me to think something (once I realized that I was smiling): it is human to feel good; to feel happy; to be filled with an admiration for another that is rewarding to oneself; when one witnesses greatness. David’s performances of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” and Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” had me standing by him, and loving him tenderly. My comment to Mrs. McKeever, regarding the second performance, was that David’s performance was “so sincere”. I believe it is wonderfully human when, in his choice of songs and manner of performance, an artist delivers a vocal performance of the highest technical quality without any spiritual pretense, and with an expression of an honestly-felt joy. But Mrs. McKeever qualified my rosy assessment: she rightly pointed out that, although I was smiling, there are those who will condemn Archuleta’s performance out of sheer hatred for the good; out of envy; out of a belief that survival requires one to tear down good work and happiness and to equate it with the mediocre and the false. A wise woman that Mrs. McKeever.
Second: TVO is a television station in Ontario, Canada, that is funded by the Ontario taxpayer. Despite the latter fact, its finest program, “The Agenda“, is actually…fine (NOTE: I’ve been interviewed by The Agenda’s host, Steve Paikin, twice: see here and here). Tonight, The Agenda’s topic was free speech and Canada’s Human Rights regimes. The guests were internationally-renowned columnist Mark Steyn, and three Muslim graduates of Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) who complained to Ontario’s Human Rights Commission about Maclean’s Magazine‘s publication of excerpts from Mark Steyn’s popular recent book, America Alone. I agree with the students that the views of many Muslims are not the same as those of many Islamic theocrats and terrorists who live in Canada and abroad. I agree that Mr. Steyn’s articles give people information pursuant to which they worry about – even hate – Islam, and those who, favourable to Islam, want to eliminate Western philosophy, individual freedom, the separation of irrationality and state etc. from the West. I agree that some people will over-generalize, and become hostile even to Islamics who truly respect and want the separation of god/religion/the supernatural/mysticism and state. And, to the extent that the students and those they defend are being painted with the wrong brush, I regard them as having been misrepresented. However, that misrepresentation – so long as it does not amount to defamation of a particular individual – is not something about which the government ought to be involved. Accordingly, the students’ assertion that Mark Steyn was misrepresenting things when he referred to the government’s actions as being a matter of criminal law rather than human rights law is entirely irrelevant and misleading. The issue is not criminal law vs. human rights law but: law vs. no law in respect of speech such as that which is at issue with Steyn and Maclean’s Magazine.
Part 6 of TVO’s program last night.
In the West, according to Western philosophy, the government ought not to prohibit speech on the basis that it is merely false, that it is hurtful to ones feelings, or that it might give some moron a reason to violate another person’s freedom. In the West, according to Western philosophy, we punish the violation of a person’s freedom, not the speech pursuant to which a moron might violate a person’s freedom. For students who distinguish themselves from Islamic Jihadists to argue that the government ought to punish or prohibit such speech is for them to condemn Western philosophy, and – even if unwittingly – to wage a war against the West. Given the ferocity with which they asserted their views, dare I say, a “Holy War”?
And so it was with great admiration that I watched Mark Steyn expose the three students for what they were: young people engaged in an effort that, whether intentionally or unintentionally, serves not the interests of Western philosophy, individual freedom, and the West, but of the Jihadists. Had these three students spent as much time denouncing theocracy, and defending the West’s commitment to free speech, as they spent trying to force private publications to print their articles, they would have done for Muslims in the West a much greater service than they have done. At the end of the day, their efforts instead merely prove Mark Steyn to be right.
David, a youthful and shining example of greatness succeeding and rousing the happiness of those of moral soul, refueling them for another day of pursuing their own happiness; Mark ensuring that such happiness remains possible by giving no quarter to those who, feared because of the statements of theocrats and Islamic terrorists around the world, call upon Western governments to condemn Western philosophy. To each I say “Thank-you”.
David Cook sings “Baba O’Reilly”
Syesha Mercado sings “A Change is Gonna Come”
David Archuleta sings “Stand By Me”
David Archuleta sings “Love Me Tender”
A friend asked me: Read more