The Book!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Good News on the CBC

Sorry to neglect you, readers. Paid work must take priority. In the meantime, some good news for Easter.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The World Has Plenty of Oil

So a recent article by the former head of reservoir management for Saudi Aramco, world's largest oil extractor.

Executive summary: we've pumped 1 trillion barrels. Twelve to sixteen trillion remain in the ground.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Leftists, Liberals, and Progressives

It seems to me that if the left were dealing straight, they would not play poker with words. As George Orwell showed in both 1984 and his essay “Politics and the English Language,” tinkering with the language is the first refuge of the political scoundrel. It is the first way to put something over on the public.

Take, for example, their violent abduction of the word “liberal” to describe their own positions. In fact, there is nothing liberal about them. “Liberal” implies an overriding concern with basic freedoms and individual rights—in the words of the Oxford English Dictionary, “(in a political context) favouring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate reform.”

This is a far better description of the Conservative than the Liberal party in Canada; and far closer to the Republicans than the Democrats in the US.

Who favours the right to bear arms, Charlton Heston or Michael Moore?

Who championed individual over group rights, John “No hyphenated Canadians” Diefenbaker or Pierre “Multiculturalism” Trudeau? Who supports “affirmative action,” systematic and enforced employment and advancement by group identity?

Who champions free speech, Ezra Levant or Warren Kinsella? Who invented “hate laws,” “speech codes,” and “politically correct” speech?

Who introduced free trade, the Liberals or the Conservatives? Who now talks of tearing up the deal, John McCain or Barack Obama?

Who supports the right to life? Who is against the individual liberty to smoke? To hunt? Who is more reliable in defending the right to property? Life, liberty, property—check. Those are John Locke's big three.

The problem is that “socialism” is such an unpopular word.

But using a new word never fixes the problem—because the original word was unpopular for a reason. Now the left has hopelessly tarnished what was once a very honourable term; nobody any more wants to use the word “liberal” either. A leftish friend of mine this morning instead employed the more recent euphemism “progressive,” explicitly contrasting it with “right-wing.”

But surely a “progressive” should, at a minimum, believe in human progress? And who is eternally convinced in the face of all evidence that the world is going to hell in a shopping cart? If not straight into nuclear holocaust, or overpopulation, or running out of oil, or ozone depletion, or pollution, or running out of water, or into global warming, or somehow, no matter how, descending into poverty, disease, and starvation? Who is broadly fearful of the future, and who is not?

By actual survey, consistently, Democrats are; Republicans are not. Republicans, therefore, are more progressive than Democrats.

Aw heck, why stop? Who opposes development generally? Who favours “conservation”? Who commonly opposes new technologies and efficiencies like genetically modified organisms, nuclear energy, outsourcing, plastics, globalization, increasing automation, new hydro installations, new anything? Who considers change per se bad (hint: check speech transcripts. Two words: David Suzuki)? Never mind human progress; who actually wants fewer human beings?

Perhaps the best contrast, given all this, is not “right” versus “progressive,” as my friend would have it, nor “right” versus “liberal.” Perhaps it's simpler than that. The devil being the father of lies, perhaps it ends up being just “right” versus “wrong.”

One begins to wonder, after all, what it is they themselves so badly want to hide.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Is that a Frying Pan, Or Are You Just Unhappy to See Me?

Slowly, the big lie about “wife abuse” is coming out. Barbara Kay wrote a column in the National Post last week pointing out something that has been clear for many years: studies consistently show wives are just as likely to abuse husbands as husbands are to abuse wives. (Kay also quoted the founder of the first women’s shelter in Britain as saying that for men, “Canada is the scariest country on the planet.”) The earlier studies that did not show this, and were trumpeted for years by feminists, were flawed in a simple, obvious, way: they interviewed women only. They never asked men.

The fact that there are hundreds of government-financed “shelters for battered women,” and none for men, is the most blatant example of sex discrimination imaginable. And the bias against men among social workers and in the courts on this score amounted and amounts to the state itself aiding, abetting, and matching blow by blow the abuse of men by any woman so inclined.

In response to Kay’s column, reader Amelia Elstub falls back on the last-line defense of the feminists (Letters, Feb. 28): the claim that, even if men and women are equally violent, women suffer more, because men are physically stronger.

Odd that this makes no difference, according to the same feminists, when hiring for the military, the police, paramedics, or the fire department. Yet we are properly to count it against men in court? The same act is worse when done by a man, because he is physically stronger? Would it also extend to two men—that the physically stronger is always the guilty party? Is that equal protection before the law? By the same logic, shouldn’t blacks get more severe sentences in such cases—as they tend to be more athletic than whites? It seems to follow.

In any case, ever since old homo erectus figured out a little gimmick called the tool, raw physical strength has been rather unimportant in violent altercations such as wars generally—albeit I suppose this probably was not in all the papers, and so might have been missed.

And indeed, in the typical, traditional home, who is more likely to know the exact locations at any given time of readily available heft-enhancers? Things like, say, rolling pins, mops, brooms, breakable glass bottles or porcelain vases, kitchen knives? Even power tools--who, after all, is home all day?

Those dwindling few of us old enough to remember the days before feminism, yet not too old to remember anything whatsoever, ought to be aware of the big lie. Did you, like I, grow up reading Sunday comics like Bringing Up Father? In that strip, you may recall, rolling pins and porcelain vases were regularly bouncing off Jiggs’s head, while Maggie shouted “Insect!” A popular toy based on the series was a Maggie doll complete with rolling pin.

Or Blondie? Wasn’t Blondie regularly dousing Dagwood with buckets of water to get him off the couch on his day off? Or Li’l Abner, whose Pappy Yokum often had a black eye and bandaged face from the firm discipline of Mammy? Or Barney Google’s rolling-pin-wielding Luweezy homing in on Snuffy Smith? Can you picture any strip showing the reverse, an armed man chasing a woman, or actually administering blows? Can you even imagine it?

The fact that it was comic does not mean it was common. But it does mean it was socially okay. Funny, even. But if a man injures a woman, it is a scandal. Showing a husband doing these things to a wife in a comic strip, then as now, would be unthinkable.

This may perhaps be proper; this may perhaps be best. There may even be valid reasons for extending to women now even more special privileges than they have historically had. Just as probably (or improbably) as that there may be valid reasons for a class system, or for favouring one race, creed, or colour over another.

But let’s not add dishonesty to discrimination, and insult to injury, by pretending it has any relation to “sexual equality” or (hideously illiterate phrase) “gender equity.”