The Book!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Chanie Wenjack



Apparently many schoolchildren in Canada are being taught about the horror of Indian residential schools through the books Secret Path, by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire; and Wenjack, by Joseph Boyden. Both are about Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old Ojibway boy who ran away from school in Kenora in 1966 and died in the bitter cold supposedly trying to walk home—600 miles away. It has become the emblematic narrative about the residential schools. It is even the subject of one of those “Heritage Minutes.” 



Peter Shawn Taylor has just pointed out in the National Post that most details of the story are fiction. It seems to have been mostly invented to slander the residential schools (and the Catholic Church). And most of this upcoming generation will probably just assume it is all true.

To being with, Chanie Wenjack was not a student at a residential school. He attended a public school. Yet Downie, Boyden, and the Heritage minute all make it a residential school, and even all make it Catholic. That’s a pretty major fabrication.

All three also claim Chanie was running away from school because he was being sexually abused. By the staff. There is no evidence of this. According to witnesses, he just said he was lonely.

It is a sad thing that Chanie Wenjack died. But who is at fault?

To begin with, and obviously, Chanie Wenjack is at fault. He walked off without planning anything, wearing light summer clothes in Northern Ontario in late October. Having lived his entire life in Northern Ontario, he must have known better. He set out for home not knowing how to get there. How is that supposed to work? And he was in bad physical condition, frail, with a history of TB.

Looks, in sum, a lot like suicide. Which should not be surprising to us, in a 12-year-old aboriginal boy. We all know about Attawapiskat. 



But Chanie was just a kid, you say. What about the adults in whose charge he was? Surely they bear responsibility? What about the school principal?

They say the school principal did what he could. In any case, you can’t blame “the whites” here. He was an aboriginal himself. Any such search, once the student has gotten a decent distance away, is going to depend on other adults spotting him and reporting his whereabouts.

Which certainly should have happened. Chanie spent his first four days or so with an aboriginal family. Yet they did not report him to the school or alert the authorities. When Chanie said he was going to walk home, frail as he was, with no warm clothing, and no food, and not knowing the way, they just gave him a half-dozen matches and advised him to beg for food on the way. Which, apparently, he did not do.

Surely if Chanie was too young and stupid to realize this was all a bad idea, these adults had a responsibility to tell him it was, and stop him if necessary. They did not.

Neither the residential schools, whites, or the government, so far as we can tell, had anything to do with Chanie’s death. If he was done in by anyone, he was done in by fellow aboriginals. Apparently because they just did not care.

The most you could argue against the larger society is that, if he had not been sent to a school six hundred miles away from his home, he would not have felt so lonely, and he would have had a better shot at getting home. Maybe. But then, it seems pretty improbable that he really thought he could walk home.

And if he made it home? Would he have been better off?

This still looks a lot like suicide, and we all know about Attawapiskat. Home may have been where his problems began.






Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Patrick Brown Runs for Ontario PC Leader





Kelly McParland is criticising Patrick Brown in the National Post for entering the current Ontario PC leadership race. McParland is arguing that Brown is wrecking the party.

I utterly disagree. I think Brown both has every right to run, and has made the choice that is most honourable and best for the party in doing so.

Really, at bottom, isn’t McParland’s argument against democracy? Shouldn’t matters be decided, when possible, by open popular vote, and not in backrooms?

As McParland agrees, Brown was railroaded. He seems to have been unjustly accused. Yes, in the circumstances, the party was right to dump him: time before the next election was short, and they could not know whether this might only be the first of more accusations.

Now it seems that will not be the case, and re-evaluation seems proper.

McParland says, “politics is unfair, and Brown knew politics was unfair when he decided to become a politician. So he needs to accept and submit to that unfairness now.” This is a fundamental philosophical error: mistaking an “is” for an “ought.” We might as well argue that, since there will always be murders, there ought to be no penalty for murder. Brown, like anyone, has a moral right to defend himself against injustice, and, in doing so, he is defending everyone else against such injustice at the same time.

But is he, in doing so, wrecking the party?

Given these circumstances, the worst thing Brown could have done was to stay out of the leadership race. A lot of people then would suppose that any new Tory leader was not legitimate, because Brown was dumped unjustly. It looked, many said, like an “inside job,” a coup. For what sinister invisible powers was one really voting for, then, if one voted Tory?

By running, Brown prevents this impression from taking firm hold. If he wins, he wins. If he loses, as seems far more likely, the new leader won the leadership fair and square. The party members could have stuck with Brown, and they chose otherwise. He is legitimately no longer the leader. On that basis, the party can come back together. Ghosts exorcised.

I think Brown owed it to the party to run. This clears the air. I find it sinister that anyone would think otherwise

.

The Right to Choose Your Own Sex


Sorry, folks, I guess I need to vent. The following cartoon came down on an international editors’ Facebook feed.




One of the rules of the list is that political posts are forbidden. And this one was apparently posted by one of the moderators. Nothing political here, it seems. Nothing that could be controversial. This is something all editors, around the world, are now apparently expected to impose on any authors seeking publication. One is not to designate anyone by sex until the person itself [sic] tells you which sex they choose.

True, it is not political, really. It would be more accurate to call it psychotic. This is the definition of psychotic: out of touch with the physical world around you.

Sex is a lot more a part of your biology than just the dangly bits. It is programmed into every cell. It affects the various organs. Female arms are different. Male brains are different. Females experience different symptoms before a heart attack. Men do not ovulate. And on and on.

Just try to extend this logic: if biology is irrelevant, and we may not say what a person is, regardless of biology, until they make a decision themselves on the matter, how can we possibly know, in the first place, who is a person? As opposed, say, to a gorilla or a watermelon? In this case, too, in just the same way, the difference is biological.

Some people have apparently already applied the logic to insist they are really cats or ponies. In Delaware, I read, everyone is now free to choose their own race. Which seems only right: race is far less biologically conditioned than sex.

So much for any justification for “affirmative action” programs.

But if you think that is still okay, you still have not thought it through. Look again at that comic strip. If we have no right to assume that someone is a male or female until they tell us so, even if they are evidently not capable of making that decision for themselves, then we have no right to assume that someone is a person and not a cat until they say so; and then we equally have no right to assume that someone is a cat and not a person until they say so. Until and unless each individual apparent cat, watermelon or wildebeest announces their decision, we can make no assumptions.

It follows that anyone who eats a watermelon should be tried for murder. Or anything else, for that matter. And why even recognize the biological significance of organic chemicals? Anyone who burns gasoline in their car, for example, or melts metal in a mold, or perhaps even moves a stone from here to there, is also a murderer.

The collapse of civilization would be the least of our worries. Within a month or two, all human life ends on earth.

Sure, you can get around this. You could remove all punishments for murder, and make it okay to kill and eat human beings as well. I’m not sure that would be much better.

I think this demonstrates, and not for the first time, that our current professional class, our “elites,” our modern Pharisees, are on the cusp of collapse. They have become too obviously flat-out insane. This present trajectory is not sustainable. It is as though they are crying out for an intervention from someone, somewhere.





Sunday, February 18, 2018

A Warning to Peoplekind






At the time, I noted that I thought it was silly for everyone to pile on Justin Trudeau for his “peoplekind” comment. It was obviously a joke. Everyone present laughed. The proof of this is that Trudeau said “peoplekind,” instead of the well-established alternative “humankind.” If he’d said the latter, it would not have sounded foolish enough to be funny.

But it turns out that my friend Xerxes not only though it was no joke, but endorses the idea. We should always say “peoplekind.”

“Mankind” simply means the human race, regardless of sex, and it always has. I know you hate dictionaries, but they are the authority on the language. Both Merriam-Webster and Oxford give this as the first definition. Both also list “men as distinct from women” as a second definition, but Oxford even labels this obsolete. The Etymological Dictionary notes that this sex-neutral meaning of mankind is also older that the usage that limits it to males.

So an objection to “mankind” is simply wrong. You are objecting only to the phoneme “man.” On those grounds, you also have to object to “woMAN” (shortened over time from the original “womb-man”) or huMAN, or perSON, or feMALE. And on and on. We’ll have to go back and change the national anthem again: it still says “In all of us comMANd.” We are getting close to having to recreate the language from the ground up.

At the same time, that this usage could be considered a problem needing fixing is compelling evidence that woman are not discriminated against in our society—and do not need to be patronized in this way. There is accordingly no good reason to do it. If they were oppressed, they would have neither the time, nor the energy, nor the power, to devote to such Princess-and-the-Pea incidentals. And would certainly never presume the power to demand that everyone else conform to satisfy them—especially considering how much change seems necessary by the logic of this one.

Even if women were discriminated against, however, changing words will do nothing to help. Slavery ended in the US long before anyone thought of switching from “negro” or “nigger” to “black” as a descriptive term for “African-Americans.” And please, do not use that word, “black.” It is now offensive. You can still, I think, use “African-American,” but it too is being replaced, it seems, by “people of colour.”

Which demonstrates first, that a change in language is irrelevant to changing social policy: social policy changed without any linguistic change; and second, that changing the language accomplishes nothing in terms of changing attitudes. Unless you change people’s thinking, the new term just comes to have all the same associations as the old one. “Idiot” began as a polite term. Then “retarded” replaced it as a more polite term. Now “retarded” sounds like an insult. And on it goes, forever. “Nigger” began and lived for centuries as a purely descriptive term.

Therefore, this tinkering with words demonstrably does not benefit the group supposedly being harmed by them.

So whom does it benefit?

The only benefit to anyone of proposing or using such new “politically correct” terms, and the only reason they are used, is to mark class distinctions and allow class discrimination: those who know the latest terms are those who have gone to a proper college to learn them, and/or who associate with the “right” people. Those who do not are revealed by this as social inferiors, and are to be treated accordingly—with disdain. They are the “other.”

As a secondary benefit, politically correct speech is a satisfying opportunity to bully the less powerful, showing your authority.

It is fortunate that these attempts to police language actually accomplish nothing. Because what they actually intend to accomplish is mind control. This is just what George Orwell warned of as “newspeak” in 1984; the attempt to limit what people could actually think by limiting the words they could use. “Politically correct” language is an overt attempt to control what people are permitted to think and say. We are just terribly lucky that it does not work.

It is still not harmless, however. Aside from promoting class discrimination, such arbitrary redefinitions of words and neologisms falsify the past. They make it more difficult to understand the best thoughts of the best minds who have lived: Shakespeare, say, or Locke, or Donne, or Newton. This is like loosing a wrecking ball on civilization.

For example, if Trudeau’s new definition of “mankind” were to be generally accepted, people could easily misunderstand that, when Neil Armstrong said “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” he was excluding women. Or that when Alexander Pope wrote “The proper study of mankind is man,” he was excluding women. Which perfectly suppresses the point they were actually making.

One of Yeats’ finest poems is “Lapus Lazuli.” The last line is the kicker, summing up the whole point of existence, and it is “Their ancient glittering eyes are gay.” I read it to a colleague not long ago, and, inevitably, the line now evokes a titter. The poem has not been effectively destroyed. And the vital point it was making effectively lost.

Why would anyone want to do this? Sadly, erasing our knowledge of the past is valuable for people in power. Past authority limits present freedom of action. This was why Winston Smith’s job in the Ministry of Truth was to send inconvenient facts down “the memory hole.” Under the slogan, “He who controls the past controls the future. And he who controls the present controls the past.”

And, it might be added, he who controls the past controls the present. Break the tablets of the law, and might makes right. If you have the might, you get to do as you like.

Accordingly, groups reaching for absolute power have often, in the past, promoted some form of iconoclasm, of wiping out knowledge of the past. This was Mao’s Cultural Revolution, or what Pol Pot was trying to do in Cambodia. The original Chin Emperor, to ensure and complete his rule, tried to burn every book that had ever been written.

Confucius made plain the depth of the danger. When asked what he would do if ever given political power, his answer was, “The first task is the rectification of names.” The most important thing for good, honest, moral government is to ensure that nobody is playing around with words, that all words retain their proper meanings.

If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect.

That is how serious the battle is, in which we are now engaged.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Guns and Mental Illness on the Rampage in Florida. Why Won't the Politicians Do Something?



The usual suspect.


Seventeen people have been killed in a random mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. And, with annoying predictability, politicians are exploiting the catastrophe, as they always do, to blame Republicans for not bringing in some new law further restricting gun ownership. As if the solution to the problem were obvious, and the Republicans were just being evil. They’ve all been bought by the NRA.

The real problem is, there is no good reason to suppose that any possible law involving gun ownership would make such events less likely. As this painstaking statistical analysis shows, mass shootings are actually no more common in the US than in other developed countries. Folks in the US suppose they are, first, because the population of the US is much larger, so that there are inevitably more such events there, and second, because in America, mass shootings in other countries are given less media coverage.

These different countries have different gun control laws, and indeed different policies in many areas. This is strong evidence that no law is going to make any difference; and no law on gun ownership is going to make any difference.

Those in support of greater gun control point to Australia. Oz significantly restricted gun ownership after a mass shooting in 1996—about 20% fewer guns in private hands now—and, the gun control advocates point out, there have been no mass shootings in Australia since.

Still, this is not strong evidence. Mass shootings are rare; there having been none in Australia since 1996 might only be a small statistical anomaly. There have also still been mass killings in Australia, but not using guns. Does it really matter what weapon is used? There have even been attempted mass shootings, but they did not succeed well enough to meet the standard threshold of four people dead.

Overall, violence involving guns in Australia has indeed declined since the tougher gun laws were passed. However, gun violence has declined in the US over the same period, and even at a faster rate. And the US, during that time, has somewhat loosened its gun laws. In the first three years after the laws were passed, in which one should have seen the most dramatic effect, gun violence in Australia actually grew.

Nothing there that counts as scientific evidence. Nobody knows why the rate of violent crime has been declining, in the US or in Australia. My bet is improved technology leading to more efficient policing.

In sum, there is no reason to think that new and tighter gun control laws would do anything but win some politicians some votes. And, if there is any valid reason for the US Second Amendment, that too goes out the window.

Alongside the demand for stricter gun control laws, there has been a demand to attack the “real problem,” which is supposedly putting more money into mental health. President Trump just made that call, and it is almost as familiar a response.

It is no more sensible. Just as the various other developed countries have various other gun laws, yet do no better at preventing mass shootings, they have various mental health systems, yet do no better. If there is a problem here, then, it is not with the particular laws or resources surrounding mental health, but with our general understanding: with the mental health field. For the “science” of mental health will be more or less the same in all those countries.

Actually, many studies show that the “mentally ill” are in fact no more likely to commit violent crime than the general population. There seem to be no studies showing that they are more likely. Accordingly, putting more money into mental health, while it might be a fine idea for other reasons, would do nothing to reduce mass shootings.

Those advocating this “more mental health” approach will point to the fact that, although statistically the mentally ill are not killers, statistically, the killers are mentally ill. Again and again, when someone has gone somewhere with a gun to shoot everyone in sight, it turns out he was either taking antidepressants, or had just gone off antidepressants. This column makes that case. Other studies show that, while there is no statistical connection between mental illness and mass shootings, there is indeed a more specific statistical connection between [diagnosed mental illness with substance abuse] and [mass shootings].

So is putting more money into the treatment of mental illness indeed the answer? No—all the killers examined by Leo Knight in his column are actually united not by being mentally ill, but by being treated for mental illness. They were already in the system and receiving the standard treatment. More of the same will not make matters better. The problem is not that people are being overlooked, missed by the mental health system, not receiving needed treatment.

In fact, you could as easily argue from this data that the problem is with the treatment. Was the violence caused by the depression, or was it a side effect of the drugs? If the latter, the best way to prevent mass shootings might be to put less money into mental health, not more.

So, okay, is the problem with antidepressants, then? Not in itself; that cannot be so. When statistics show that the mentally ill are no more likely than the general population to commit acts of violence, how do they determine who is mentally ill? This almost has to mean anyone who has this medical diagnosis, and anyone who has this medical diagnosis will, as a matter of course, have been given these same antidepressants.

Another important question is going begging here. How can it be that, one the one hand, the mentally ill are no more statistically likely than the general population to be violent, yet violent people are statistically more likely than the general population to be mentally ill? The solution to that puzzle should give us the answer to the mass shootings.

I think the only possible explanation is misdiagnosis. There are two quite different phenomena, two quite different classes of people, being diagnosed and treated as depressive or mentally ill. One group is significantly less likely to be violent than the general population, and the other is significantly more likely to be violent than the general population. Since we use the same diagnosis for both, the stats for both get thrown together, it ends up a wash, and we miss important data.

My hypothesis: the symptoms we call depression, and more broadly the symptoms we call mental illness, can come from two sources. In the first—the non-violent group—they are essentially caused by PTSD. They are caused by trauma; by being abused; or by experiencing some intolerable life situation. In the second, the violent group, the same symptoms, of sadness and anxiety, are largely the voice of the individual’s conscience. They are caused by his or her own tendency to choose to do evil. They are anxious because of instinctive fears of cosmic justice; they have negative thoughts about themselves because they have, in fact, done negative things. A narcissist or psychopath will also feel they deserve whatever they want. Life and other people will not give them whatever they want. As a result, they will feel a general ennui, dissatisfaction, depression, if you like.

While the first group might want to kill themselves, this second group, with the same superficial symptoms of sorrow and anxiety, will instead want to kill everybody else.

These are opposite tendencies. In fact, the people with tendency two are probably the people who originally abused those suffering from tendency one.

It is a crowning injustice, if I am right, that the very victims of injustice are now being accused of and blamed for the acts they suffered. This is what happens when you conflate the two groups.

The problem with antidepressants, and psychiatric drugs generally, is that they only treat symptoms. They are like taking an aspirin for pain. The leg is still broken. For the first tendency, this may be worthwhile. But for the second group, the narcissists and psychopaths, the antidepressant will largely serve to numb conscience. Allowing them to dig their grave that much deeper. It is telling that this violent group is the same group that tends to abuse alcohol and drugs—these work the same way, numbing conscience, “inhibitions.”

To reduce mass shootings, and violence in general, we need to become aware of this vital distinction. We need more accurate diagnosis, and different “treatments” for some. But legislation has nothing to do with it, and can do nothing.





Thursday, February 15, 2018

Jordan Peterson: Sounding the Tocsin



Nietzsche in his final madness.

Suddenly Jordan Peterson is everywhere. On YouTube, he offers hours of lectures. He is being interviewed by everyone. His book is top of the NYTimes bestseller list, and similar lists in Canada, Australia, and Britain. How did this happen, so quickly?

A lot of us feel we owe Peterson admiration and support for his principled stand against Bill C-16 and compelled speech. I myself recently gave him high praise for his performance in a debate/discussion with William Lane Craig on the meaning of life.

But now that I have seen more of what he says on YouTube, I begin to be alarmed. He obviously has a lot of positions on a lot of other issues beyond free speech, and he is eagerly exploiting his new fame to push them. It is almost as if the free speech thing was a gambit to get the publicity and the opportunity. It is almost as if he had it all waiting to ship.

And these other views look alarming.

To begin with, I am concerned with the simple and basic fact that he is giving out “Rules for Life.” That is a pretty pretentious thing to do. What gives him the authority? Or, more precisely, what makes him think he has the authority? It speaks of narcissism. He now seems to have an opinion on almost everything, and his opinions do not seem on the whole to be backed up with reasoned arguments, but are stated as if intuitions or revelations of the truth.

I have checked him on a few now, and they seem to be unsupported by the facts or by the current research. Some are, some are not. It does not seem to matter.

But the big red banner is that Peterson keeps quoting Nietzsche. And with high praise. Good people, quite simply, do not cite Nietzsche as their authority or inspiration.

Nietzsche leads by a pretty direct path to Nazism.

Yes, I know, you will have heard he has been exonerated of this accusation. The Nazis misinterpreted him. His sister, his literary executor, was a Nazi, and she twisted things. He was not an anti-Semite at all. No, no! He was against anti-Semitism.

This misses, or deliberately avoids, the datum that Nazism was about more than anti-Semitism. No, it would not have all been okay if Hitler had just left the Jews alone.

There is no way, surely, to read Nietzsche as other than a bad man promoting evil.

The core of Nietzsche’s philosophy, his key assertion, is that all philosophers before him were not actually seeking or asserting truth. No, they were just asserting what they wanted to be true. Philosophy was wish-fulfillment.

If Nietzsche is right, then this must also apply to his own philosophy. Including this assertion, this claim about other philosophers. We have a right, therefore, to dismiss it; Nietzsche just wants it to be true.

But then, we need to accept that everything else in Nietzsche’s own philosophy is just wish-fulfillment. This is necessarily true whether or not Nietzsche is right about anyone else. If Nietzsche is right, his philosophy is just wish-fulfillment, and has nothing to do with reality. But if Nietzsche is wrong, his philosophy is just wish-fulfillment and has nothing to do with reality. It is perfectly self-refuting.

But Nietzsche’s core assertion here, nonsensical as it is, is the central premise of all narcissism: Things are true because I want them to be true. Things are good because I consider them good for me.

This, then, is the essential rule for living Peterson is promoting.

It is also strikingly similar to Hitler’s basic argument in Mein Kampf. But perhaps I digress.

One you hold this view, that you are the ultimate arbiter of truth, and truth and good is whatever you want, you face an obvious and immediate problem. What about everybody else? There appear to be other human beings around you, and some of them do not accept “your truth,” or are not giving you whatever you want. So what are you supposed to do?

Given Nietzsche’s assumptions, you have every warrant and right to either silence or destroy them.

There is no way this does not end in Holocaust.

Among other fun ideas, Nietzsche despised Christianity and Judaism as “slave morality.” The superior man follows a “master morality” instead. This is much better. It basically means he gets what he wants, if necessary by subjugating others. Being master, he gets to make all the rules, and they get to be whatever he wants.

According to Nietzsche, of course, most famously, “God is dead.” He has been defended as not really an atheist by people claiming that he was not happy about this. Does not stand scrutiny: to assert that it is possible for God to die is to deny he ever existed. It is to presume he is a human creation.

“Christianity,” Nietzsche wrote, “is called the religion of pity. Pity stands opposed to the tonic emotions which heighten our vitality: it has a depressing effect. We are deprived of strength when we feel pity.”

Hitler was on about pity in the same way. The goal is to be pitiless—and to destroy anyone weaker than yourself. It is a direct appeal to resist your own conscience.

Nietzsche titled a book “Beyond Good and Evil,” and declared the division of acts into good and evil a “calamitous error.” If this is not a clear call to do evil, I cannot imagine what is. This is the devil talking, with a contract in his hand, and urging you to sign on the dotted line.

If good and evil, or conscience, or compassion, are not to guide our actions, what is?

Nietzsche says “the will to power.” Hitler took this one to heart: “The triumph of the will.” Life is all about trying not just to achieve your own will, but to ensure others do not achieve theirs. That is what “power” consists of. Making others do things they do not want to do.

And then there is Nietzsche’s concept of the “ubermensch,” the “superman.” He based this on Darwin, and this is the reason so many religious people have for so long been so concerned about Darwin. No, it has nothing to do with a literal interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis. It has to do with the risk of seeing Darwinism as a moral guide. Based on Darwin, Nietzsche explicitly rejected the concept of human equality. Of course humans are not equal; some are smarter, stronger, than others. The logic of evolution says these smarter, stronger people have the right and the duty to kill all the weaker ones so that only they reproduce. They are creating a new species, the “superman.” And, indeed, everyone has the natural right to assume they are this “superman,” and to destroy everyone else with whom they cannot breed. Their success in this endeavour is enough to prove their righteousness in this endeavour.

“The superman does not follow morality of common people since that favors mediocrity but instead rises above the notion of good and evil and above the ‘herd.’”

So, by declaring yourself a superman, you get to do whatever you like, and have a moral right to take whatever you consider in your own interest from anyone else. And, if you do not do this, you are simply proving yourself inferior and worthy of destruction. You, and other such weaklings, are only pissing in the gene pool.

It worries me in this context that Peterson is so big on “bucking up” and taking personal responsibility.

Nietzsche:

“You have made your way from worm to man, and much in you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even now, too, man is more ape than any ape... The overman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the overman shall be the meaning of the earth... Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman—a rope over an abyss ... what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end.”

This is a direct and explicit rejection, not just of Christian morality, but of all morality. Kant said, morality consists in treating other human beings “not as a means, but an end.” “Love thy neighbour as thyself” says essentially the same thing in different words; as does “do unto others.” Nietzsche says the opposite: treat all others as a means, not an end. They exist only to be useful to you in your struggle. Your kampf.

Nietzsche went full-tilt mad, psychotic, in his later years. His supporters are adamant that this had nothing to do with his philosophy. It was long claimed that this psychosis was all due to syphilis. More recently, however, it has been pointed out that his symptoms were not consistent with syphilis. Had he had syphilis, for example, he should have died within months of the onset of psychotic symptoms. He lived like this for eleven years.

I think it is only too obvious that his madness was directly related to his philosophy. I was simply the philosophy stated plainly; the philosophy is mad. Nietzsche had set himself up as God: he had the right to do whatever he liked, and since reality was a matter of will, he had created the world, the universe, himself. Perfect narcissism. This is exactly what he says, in what are called his “mad letters.” He declared himself the god Dionysus, and Jesus Christ, and simply “God.” He says he created the world. He orders the pope jailed and the Kaiser shot. After all, both have impudently claimed power over him. It all follows.

“God is on the earth. Do not you see how all the heavens rejoice? I have just taken possession of my empire, cast the Pope into prison, and let Wilhelm, Bismarck, and Stöcker be shot. [signed] The Crucified.”

I hope I am wrong, but it looks as though this is what Jordan Peterson is pushing. This is apparently what he has to sell.

It may be that he is not a “white nationalist,” as is so often claimed. Just as Nietzsche was no anti-Semite. But we seem to be missing the forest for the trees. Peterson actually looks far more dangerous, to his followers and to everyone else, than a mere “white nationalist.”





Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Pentecost



Jesus was not swallowed by,
But swallowed up a whale.
And then, the sea thing conquered,
Climbed a mast, become a sail.

And he billowed out so wide
That he became the shroud of sky;
And, sum of stars, capsized,
That all the world might die.

And is he dead?
World never knew before such emptiness.
And is he dead? Our only one?
The night wind answered "Yes."

Then lonely Mary, full of grief,
Turned face away from dawn,
And stumbled down the hillside west,
And wandered sightless on.

Until she came to bitter sea,
And sat down there to die.
All before her seemed a flood,
Such flood was in her eye.

And is he dead?
One perfect son, the diamond of the West?
And is he dead? Our only one?
Ocean answered: "Yes."

And Mary saw her life in sand,
And sat upon a stone;
And, hard as mother's lot is hard,
Prayed God to take her home.

And as she looked unseeing out,
Where waves wet tent of night,
She dreamed, where vision blends with hope,
A sail, a nonce thing white.

And does he live?
So small it seemed a foolish thing to pray.
And does he live? A sea-blown dove
Appeared above the spray.

And the sail that billowed out then bore
The image of her son.
Strangely old, yet strangely calm
As Galilee at dawn.

And the sail, in growing nearer,
Grew to fill the Western sky,
With golden sun transfixed in one,
Pale moon in the other eye.

And does he live?
The stone awoke as Virgin rose to pray.
And does he live?
Stone grew a church
That Pentecostal day.
-- Stephen K. Roney



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Selling Choppers to the "Repressive Duterte Regime"



Philippine President Duterte.

Many are concerned, it seems, with Canada’s sale of helicopters to the Philippines. The Duterte regime, after all, is a repressive totalitarian government. The same sort of concerns were raised not long ago about military sales to Saudi Arabia. 

I have lived in both countries, and I think these concerns are wrongheaded.

The real issue for ordinary people in countries like the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, or China for that matter—I lived there too—is not repression by government. That barely enters the field of vision. It is chaos.

In such countries, nothing works. Far from being oppressive, government in particular seems to do nothing at all. Very expensively.

The problem, in short, is too little, not too much, government.

Canada, by contrast, is an example of a country that has too much government.

In daily life, the average person living in the Philippines, China, or Saudi Arabia has far more personal freedoms than a Canadian. The Canadian government is, in practice, far more totalitarian.

But chaos is hardly preferable. It is hard to make any money or to be secure in your possessions. Or even to manage something simple like getting a telephone hooked up. My own current headache is trying to figure out how to get signed up to pay Philippine taxes. You’d think the government would want this. You’d think they’d make it easy…

As a result, in the mind of the man in the street, a tough guy coming in and cracking a few heads is cause for hope, not for concern. Sure, it may turn sour; but that is a purely secondary worry. Duterte was elected. There was a reason for that, and Canada has no moral right to challenge the will of the Philippine people. You want to condemn colonialism? That’s colonialism.

The average Filipino or Saudi probably welcomes the helicopters and the ATVs for the same reason.

Among other things, the Philippines has a large domestic terrorist threat from ISIS/Al Qaeda.

In the case of Saudi Arabia, look on a map and get real. Who are her neighbours, and do they model a much better way? Iran? Iraq? Syria? Egypt? Yemen? How many different ways can you spell “chaos”? Granted, the Gulf Emirates seems to have done better—but following the same system as Saudi Arabia. Saudi also hardly lives in a peaceful neighbourhood. Everything it has is under constant and direct threat. It has a need for and a right to the weapons to protect itself. In context, they are clearly the good guys.

Better government will probably come to Saudi Arabia or to the Philippines eventually, in the same way and for the same reasons it has come to such other nations as South Korea or Taiwan within recent memory. A stable, healthy democracy tends to arrive with the development of a large, financially independent middle class.