Playing the Indian Card

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ignatieff is In

I’m no Liberal, but the more I see and hear of Michael Ignatieff, the more I like him. Warren Kinsella has attempted to skewer him recently by quoting him outrageously out of context to suggest he favours torture. For example, where Ignatieff wrote “clear thinking about torture is not served…” Kinsella quotes “torture is not served...”

We know Kinsella. But others have made the same claim—that Ignatieff supports torture. Perhaps they are not intelligent enough to understand what Ignatieff has written; perhaps they are not honest enough to report it correctly. It matters little; because the average voter is not going to take the time to read what Ignatieff has actually written.

For what Ignatieff has written is a principled and honest rejection of both torture and coercive interrogation methods.

This is the eternal problem faced by candidates who are both bright and honest. The things he has written in the past are bound to be used against him, torn outrageously out of context by political propagandists like Kinsella. A good and honest thinker or academic must always give an opposing argument as clear and convincing a presentation as possible before disagreeing with it. So it is simple to quote whole paragraphs where he seems to be agreeing with almost anything, however scandalous.

Perhaps the loss of the best and brightest to this sort of political trickery, "ass-kicking," as Kinsella likes to call it, is not entirely bad. The talents that make a great thinker are not the same talents that make a great doer; the skills that make an academic are not the skills of a politician, nor should they be. Someone once observed of FDR that he had a "second-rate intellect, but a first-rate character." It is character, more than intellect, that matters in a politician.

On the other hand, true intellectuals as politicians have not always been that disastrous. I think of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Pierre Trudeau, Benjamin Disraeli, Woodrow Wilson, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vaclav Havel, or indeed Winston Churchill. Not bad company. Though I note many of them only made it into power due to extreme circumstances; intellectuals do better at exercising power than at winning it.

It's a pity if we lose a man like Ignatieff.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Abdul Rahman

I don’t understand why Abdul Rahman, the man held in Afghanistan for converting to Christianity, is facing the death penalty.

First of all, his prosecution violates the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Afghanistan is a signatory. Some nations may be able to flout such international commitments with impunity, but Afghanistan, heavily dependent on foreign help, is not one of them.

Second, it violates the golden rule, which is to say, it is objectively immoral. Islam, along with all other religions, endorses this as the essence of morality: Do unto others as you would have them do to you. Islam is itself active in seeking converts, from Christianity as much as any other religion. It must therefore accord Christians the same right. This is no minor concern, as Islam is preeminently an ethical religion.

Third, it violates the Afghan constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion. So whether there is a statute prohibiting conversion does not matter; it is itself illegal under Afghan law.

Fourth, it violates the Qur’an. The Qur’an apparently says nothing about punishment for apostasy. Instead, it states in at least four separate passages that conscience is free, that, in its own words, “there is no compulsion in religion.”

‘If it had been the will of your Lord that all the people of the world should be believers, all the people of the earth would have believed! Would you then compel mankind against their will to believe?’ (10:99)

‘(O Prophet) proclaim: 'This is the Truth from your Lord. Now let him who will, believe in it, and him who will, deny it.'’ (18:29)

‘If they turn away from thee (O Muhammad) they should know that We have not sent you to be their keeper. Your only duty is to convey My message.’ (42:48)

‘Let there be no compulsion in religion.’ (2:256)

(Credit here to the Council on American-Islamic Relations for pointing out these passages).

Sharia, traditional Islamic law, prohibits conversion away from Islam, true. But the legal authorities apparently base this on hadith, not the Qur’an. Unlike the Qur’an, hadith are not completely reliable; they are merely accounts of what Muhammed did and said in his lifetime, based on the claimed authority of specific witnesses and scholars. They are not divinely inspired; they are historical documents and, like any historical documents, can be wrong.

This being so, traditionally, hadith are to be relied upon only in matters on which the Qur’an is silent. In this case, the Qur’an is not silent, and the hadith seem to contradict it. Therefore it seems to me at least that Islam properly demands the Qur’an, not the hadith, be followed.

In any case, it seems to me the hadith are ambiguous. They have Muhammed calling for execution of those who have renounced Islam, true, but it needs to be remembered that, in Muhammed’s time, “Islam” had a political as well as a religious significance. “Renouncing Islam” in this context also involved the civil matter of rejecting Muhammed’s authority as ruler. It may well be this, not the change in religious faith, that called for such punishment. If a lesser chief, having once accepted Muhammed’s rule, then renounced it, he would have been guilty of civil rebellion, if not treason.

In the case of an individual Muslim today changing his religion to Christianity, civil rebellion or treason has nothing to do with it.

Accordingly, Islam itself seems to require Abdul Rahman’s release.

Cynics might fear that, if Muslims were allowed to convert, Islam would suffer decline. But to believe this, surely, one must believe that Islam does not have God’s backing; for otherwise God himself would surely protect it. Given an even playing field, he would surely make the truth apparent to those with a sincere heart.

Now let’s consider what is likely to happen if the Afghan and Muslim authorities insist on pressing these charges. Suppose it is the position of Islam, enforced by Muslim governments, that conversion to Christianity is punishable by death. Then, both legally and morally, Western nations would be obliged by their own laws to accept any Muslim who converts as a legitimate refugee facing persecution if he remains in a Muslim country. In practical terms, that means any Muslim renouncing Islam gets a free ticket to permanent residency in Western Europe, North America, or Australia.

That, surely, would be a bigger temptation to the faithful of Islam in poor countries like Afghanistan than any current missionary activity.

So, even in purely pragmatic terms, holding Abdul Rahman is madness.

Friday, March 24, 2006

On the Move

Just a head's up to my few but faithful readers--this space may be a little quiet for a week or two. The computer's going in the box tomorrow as I move to a new secure location somewhere in the Middle East.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Chaucer's Blog

And you thought I was 'Od!

Anti-Arab Racism

I think The Economist had the right take on the recent controversy in the US about the takeover of American ports by UAE-owned DP World.

It has nothing to do, the magazine argues, with American national security. “What is affected” in foreign ownership, “… is the ability of governments and of individual politicians to use patronage at favoured firms to help their friends, to get favours in return, to support special interests such as trade unions, and, in broad political terms, to paint themselves as patriots. … The nation as a whole is not better off [by blocking foreign ownership]. But the political and corporate elite may well be.”

Just so. And Canada take note, for we are a serious offender in this regard.

As the controversy blew up, one of my students asked me, “why do people in the West hate Arabs?”

I assured him we did not.

But on reflection, of course, he was perfectly right. Racism against Arabs is intense in the West, and the DP World controversy is a clear example.

So why?

As with all racism, is it a matter of finding a convenient scapegoat. Europe as a whole, and North America, have transferred their guilt over the treatment of the Jews in the first half of this century to the Arabs. They carved a new Jewish State out of Arab land, at no cost to themselves, and pride themselves on their supposed moral superiority over the Arabs when they, quite naturally, object.

The UAE, along with Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain, have been exemplary international citizens for some time, and staunch allies in the war on terror.

It’s about time they were shown some respect in the West.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Computers and the New Shamanism

A new Japanese video game has been designed to fight cancer.

The strategy of “imaging” has become popular in cancer treatment circles, and there really is evidence it helps.

This is, in fact, exactly the same technique used in traditional shamanic medicine. In a dance or ritual, often using masks, the evil demon causing the disease is conquered by a good spirit, as the patient watches. I’ve seen it in Korea, in Sri Lanka, and among Native Americans.

Given that mind and body are connected, it should be effective with physical illnesses, just as chemical treatments can help with mental or spiritual illnesses, like “depression” of “schizophrenia.”

But really, what we need are similar games for depressives, manics, and schizophrenics. Since the connection to the imagination and the mind is more direct, they should be most effective here.

Art has always worked for depression and other spiritual ills: “music has charms that soothe the savage breast”; and Saul’s depression was helped by David’s lyre. The shamanic cure is also an artistic performance.

This is because art is an extension of the imagination, an extension and intensification of the “imaging” faculty.

Computers could be especially powerful for this. They are very good at making the imagined seem real: simulation, interactivity, multimedia. There is an opportunity for a vast new field here.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Modern Classics

Just for fun, a list of novels that have had special impact on modern culture. The books that shaped the world as we know it, on Shelley’s premise that writers are the world’s unacknowledged legislators: Not in any order:

Lost Horizon – James Hilton

Probably responsible for the current romantic fascination with Tibet; aka “Shangri-La.” “Glory” Conway also sounds like a prototype of James Bond. I doubt its effects were intended by the author. In terms of quality, just a good thriller.

1984 – George Orwell

Would that it were even more influential. But it has given us a lot of catchwords: “newspeak,” doublethink,” and so forth. Folks are wrong to think that Orwell’s prophecy did not come true. It was not a prophecy. He was describing the situation at the time of writing.

On the Road – Jack Kerouac

Every “unconventional” idea that formed the beats of the fifties, the hippies of the sixties, and the conventional wisdom of today, came from this book and its successor The Dharma Bums. It is a matter of record that Kerouac himself was horrified by the influence the book had. It was completely misinterpreted.

Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

The case against war, which grew into the Vietnam anti-war movement.

Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

More a personal than a social statement, and so more personal than social in its visible effects; but it has formed the worldview of a great many people, I believe, since the early fifties. A modern Man of Feeling or The Sorrows of Young Werther.

All indications are that Salinger continues to write, although not to publish. Everything goes into a vault n his home, to be released after his death. I think there is a very good chance that, when eventually published, these manuscripts will change the world.

Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand seems to have had a massive influence, though she represents a minority position within the culture. I must admit I haven’t read her. Perhaps I should, to better understand my times.

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

The case for civil rights in the South. Published in 1960.

Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert Heinlein

The case for free love and hostility to religion. To my mind, a very badly written book, with traces of Fascism in its worldview.

Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

The case against colonialism. But I don’t think that was the point Conrad meant to make. Note its influence in Apocalypse Now. A classic for the ages.

Watership Down – Richard Adams

May have much to do with the modern sentimentality towards animals—the ecology movement, the anti-sealing movement, and so forth. Haven’t read it; the dog ate my copy.

The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

It has created our image of the depression. I understand its image is quite false, but it has superseded the reality. Steinbeck is one of the true greats, though.

Demian – Hermann Hesse

Demian, and not Steppenwolf, because I think Steppenwolf did not influence, but was appropriated later. Demian, though, probably had a lot of influence on the rise of Nazism in the 1920s, the New Age, and the eventual “counterculture.” This was, though, more or less the opposite of Hesse’s intention.

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

The case for drug use. An appallingly bad little book, I’ve always thought.

I’ve omitted Lord of the Flies, after consideration, because I think it has been generally appreciated, but its message ignored. It has strikingly not left an impression on the culture as a whole.

I welcome further suggestions.

Friday, March 17, 2006

News Flash: Godfrey In. No One Cares.

John Godfrey is in the race for the Liberal leadership, it seems. Note the absence of headlines elsewhere. That says it all.

Godfrey has an impressive resume; but he has no obvious base. Unless lightning strikes, I can’t see him doing more than raising his profile for a future role in the party. His best strategy is the John Edwards strategy or, if anyone’s memory serves well enough, the Joe Green strategy: speak no ill of a fellow Liberal and never go negative; work up one damned good speech to showcase his talents; and quickly join forces with the eventual winner.

But I guess that’s obvious. Let’s see if he follows the script.

A Thought for a Friday in Lent

Imagine for a moment that there really is a God. By definition, of necessity, God is perfect. If he were imperfect, he is not God.

This God, therefore, being perfect, is perfect in every way; anything else is not true perfection. He is therefore emotionally perfect, perfect in love, perfect in compassion. Overall perfection implies perfect love.

Now, a God of perfect love for his human creatures would necessarily want to share their experience, their sufferings, perfectly. This necessarily implies the incarnation.

And, if God himself incarnated as a human, wouldn’t everything happen just as it is described in the Gospels? He would have no interest in preferring Jew to Samaritan, or potentate to leper. He would scold all illegitimate authority.

And he would quickly be put to death by the powers that be.

Nor would he resist this death—though of course he had the power to. For experiencing condemnation and death would be the perfect act of compassion for mankind.

Everything follows, it seems of necessity, from the original premise that there is a God.

I submit further that there is no need to imagine that premise. It is a certainty of both reason and experience, as demonstrated by so many philosophers: Anselm, Aquinas, Descartes, Leibniz, to name a few. I find both the ontological argument and the argument from design impossible to deny; were it not also possible to prove the thing to oneself in prayer.

I submit we should all act accordingly.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bob Rae's Chances

So it looks like Bob Rae is in the Liberal leadership race.

Does he have a chance?

I think definitely. It depends a lot on who else jumps in, but he would have been a legitimate candidate in any event. No former premier of Ontario can be considered a political lightweight.

The fact that he is not a Liberal will not matter. Not with the Liberal Party. Trudeau hadn’t been a liberal for long either. If he’s running against Stronach, Brison, and Ignatieff, who would be able to cast the first stone?

The most important thing is having a base, a constituency on which to build. Rae is a natural as standard-bearer for the party’s ideological left. I can’t see another candidate on the horizon who would be able to challenge him for this base.

He also, reportedly, has important backers in the Ontario provincial party. Ontario is not strong as a regional base; it is generally split among several candidates; but it is also a big pool.

He has a serious chance to collect support in Quebec, barring the appearance there of a strong favourite son, as he is bilingual. Even if Dion enters the race, Rae should be able to hold his own against him in Quebec.

He has a lot of political experience; his name recognition should put him at the head of the pack early, and he is unlikely, with his experience, to badly stumble. Nor are there likely to be important skeletons still hidden in his closet that could sink him.

The same is not at all true of possible challengers Stronach, Brison, Dryden, and Ignatieff. Any one of them could self-destruct through inexperience. In fact, it looks like Brison already has.

The rap against him is that his stint as Ontario premier was not to his credit; it was a bad government.

And it was; I was in Ontario at the time, and felt the effects.

He must address this; but I think perhaps he can. His line is that he has learned from it. Why not? Winston Churchill also screwed up in his first years in cabinet; but he learned from it. Rae has always been considered a bright man. He was also, let’s be fair, hobbled by a complete lack of experienced or even qualified hands throughout his Ontario cabinet.

In addition, and perhaps most importantly, some very major former Chretien operatives have coalesced behind Rae. This is huge. The Chretienites would like nothing better than the revenge of taking back the party from the Martinites. If they see Rae as their standard-bearer and their ticket back in, they are likely to work with the fervour of the possessed for him.

Of course, this will cause a reaction among Martinites, and perhaps a bloody leadership fight. But who can they coalesce around as their candidate? They wanted McKenna, but he bowed out. I could see them backing Ignatieff, but not with the same unity as the Chretienites with Rae. They are also probably relatively dispirited, and would have less fight in them.

If Rae won the liberal leadership, I do not think he would go on to win the next election. But then, I don’t think any Liberal leader would. He might still be the best choice for the party: a steady, experienced hand at the helm, who will at least hold things together while the party renews itself, and while some of the very promising but less experienced candidates, notably Ignatieff and Dryden, get a bit more experience and exposure.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Environmentalism: Paper Tiger?

While environmentalists have been raising louder and louder alarms about the loss of forests, an interesting thing has been happening. Forest cover has actually been growing for years—in Canada, in the US, and in Europe.

And last year, pulp and paper production in Canada was down 8.5 percent.

Paper is becoming obsolete. Slowly, so far, but it may start happening very quickly soon.

I know I am using much less of it myself; many things once stored on paper are now stored on cheaper digital media. I’m getting more of my news from the Internet, and less from newspapers and magazines. Things I used to photocopy for my students, I can now project on the Smartboard.

I am surprised that we do not yet have a booming market in e-books (and e-magazines). But it may be coming soon, with lightweight tablet PCs. Once I can curl up in an easy chair with the thing, it’s game over.

I hope we can find something else useful to do with all those trees.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

My Canada Includes the St. Lawrence

The current initiative by the NDP and the “premiers” of the three territories to change the national motto infuriates me.

They want o change “From sea to sea” to “from sea to sea to sea,” to, as the Ottawa Citizen puts it, “capture the true vastness of a country bounded by three oceans.”

“It is much more reflective of this federation, of this great country of ours, Canada, to ensure that all Canadians and the global community recognize that Canada is made up of a country from sea to sea to sea," says Yukon first minister Dennis Fentie.

The whole thing strikes me as ignorant and illiterate.

Doesn’t anybody know any more where the motto comes from?

It’s a quote froim the Book of Psalms: Psalm 72, verse 8. Here it is in the venerable King James version:

“He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.”

That already clearly acknowledges Canada in two dimensions, not just east-west but north-south: from the river, the St. Lawrence, to the pole, the ends of the earth.

In fact, the proposed emasculation reduces geographical accuracy and shrinks Canada: it implies we are withdrawing our historical claim to the Arctic ice mass, and it drops the reference to our southern border. It loses the great historical significance of the St. Lawrence to our national life, while retreating from rather than adding to the significance of our north.

It also, of course, loses a beautiful cultural allusion; the new version would make the Biblical reference invisible. And there are other fine things lost in this: the reference to “dominion,” once the official name of our nation. To (if you check the Psalm as a whole) ideals of justice, peace, resistance to oppression, and care for the poor. All lost to some wrongheaded idea of political correctness.

My conclusion: we need to teach more history in our classrooms.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Genocide and Gendercide

Perhaps a high point in the history of sex discrimination: a UN resolution of 31 October, 2000, declares that “women and children account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict” (
Accordingly, that august body calls for all governments to funnel more of their money ostensibly for preserving peace and security to women’s issues, and, when negotiating and implementing peace agreements, “to adopt a gender perspective.” (Would we applaud “adopting a race perspective”?) Among other concerns, the UN General Assembly is apparently able to somehow see “special needs” of women and girls in mine clearance and mine awareness programs.

The initial premise is already absurdly wrong. Women and children do not account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict. Common sense should make that immediately obvious. Men and boys have always been the bulk of those killed and wounded in war. The implication of the UN resolution seems to be simply that harm to men and boys does not count.

It is not just that it is men, and only men, who are sent off to be shot at in wars; but that, when genocide against civilians is on offer, the prime target is always military-aged men. The killing of women and children, even in such situations, is by comparison quite rare.

Thanks to The Conservative Voice for pointing out this anomaly.

Sisterhood is Powerful

In the Third World, evidence of the good works of Christian missionaries is everywhere. Yet these people, these heroes and heroines, are almost completely unheralded in their home countries. I wonder why, when Norman Bethune, for example, one secular missionary, is so well remembered.

For one example, the common English term for a nurse in Arabic speaking countries and in South Asia is "sister." This is certainly an artefact of the work of Catholic nuns; the term is meaningless in Islam or Hinduism.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Jesus Appears in Tignish

To me, frankly, from the photo shown, it could be any face.

Globalization Will Doom Us All

A recent piece in the LA Times warns against globalization, arguing that, with telecommuting, high-end service jobs as well as low-end manufacturing jobs are going to start moving en masse from the First to the Third World. Merely getting a good education will no longer give North Americans job security.

Havng lived in the Third World for some time, I, for one, am not worried.

The first thing to remember is that there is no way the fact of your neighbour growing richer is going to impoverish you. Just the opposite, really; if you are running any kind of a business or supplying any kind of a service, you are boind to get more custom from him, for he is a consumer as well as a producer.

And so are you. If the Third World can provide given goods and services more cheaply than the First World, all of us in the First World benefit too, for we are all consumers.

We simply specialize in what we can do most efficiently. Just as, on an individual level, I have never found it worthwhile to make my own shoes or do my own dentistry, but instead to rely on purchasing these from others.

But I don't see any sudden exodus of high-paying jobs to the Third World in any case.

Third World countries just do not have the education system the First World has. They have fewer colleges and universities per capita, and the colleges and universities they have are much less well-equipped. A university library in the Third World, for example, would pale in comparison to the average small-town library in Canada.

A first-class university and college is a pretty sophisticated piece of infrastructure; more intricate and trickier to build and maintain than a bridge or a dam. And it relies more heavily than almost anything else you could name on honesty in its transactions; because it relies more heavily than almost anything you could name on reputation. It is too easy to sell marks or to logroll for a relative.

Corruption is, as Mancur Olsen and other ecopnomists have demonstrated, the primary reason why the Third World is poor in the frst place. This is just what they lack.

This is also why apparently highly qualified professionals from the Third World often have trouble getting work in their field even when they are already in North America: their credentials can never be assumed to be authentic. This is going to be just as much a problem for them when marketing their skills from India or Madagascar.

My wife assures me, for example, that it is entirely possible to buy a degree from a recognized university in the Philippines, and have it certified by all the relevant authorities right up to the President's Office; and it is still completely bogus. No tests taken, no classes attended.

This doesn't matter so much in some fields. In, for example, the IT field, where the proof is very quickly apparent in the pudding. But it's going to be a big problem elsewhere.

In the Persian Gulf, hospitals and their patients are perfectly eager to hire doctors from Europe, even though they must pay them three times the salary they do for an Indian or an Arab doctor sitting in the next office.

Difference in cost is crucial in low-skill, low-pay occupations. Difference in skill is crucial in high-skill, high-pay occupations.

The Dangers of Theocracy?

Donald Rumsfeld once said Iraq could choose any government it wants, so long as it was not religious. Many Westerners have been worried for a long time about religion-based political movements in the Muslim world.

Frankly, I just don't see the particular problem with "Islamic theocracies," if that is really what is on offer.

Let's just recall the significant examples of "theocracies"--states built on explicitly religious principles--in the Christian world.

That would be the New England colonies of the US, maybe Utah, England under Cromwell, Geneva under Calvin, maybe Holland.

All these places have gone on to be both notably prosperous and notably democratic. Models, even the original models, of stable liberal democracy.

I think there is a connection. Establishing shared values and a shared commitment to civic morality is a vital part of establishing a functioning democracy.

Without it, you have Weimar Germany.

I find it difficult to conceive of the Muslim world moving to democracy without going through a similar phase, a process of validating liberal and democratic ideals and procedures through Islam, also involving a process of cleanng up and re-committing public life.

A lot of people might not like to hear it, but I suspect this may be what is happening now in Iran. After all, Iran is already one of the most democratic nations in the Muslim world.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Iraq a Failure?

NewsMax, a usually pretty conservative and pretty pro-Bush source, reports that both William F. Buckley Jr. and Francis Fukuyama now publicly call Bush's Iraq policy a failure.

Maybe so.

Best of intentions, but the Bush administration may indeed have been wrong about the idea of importing democracy to Iraq or to the Middle East by arms.

I said at the time I thought this was the wrong idea: I thought they should take out Saddam, but hand power quickly to a king or anyone else with some chance of holding things together, and leave things to evolve on their own.

Then I started to think the theory might be right, watching developments from here in the Middle East. There has been a clear movement to democracy in Egypt, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, the UAE, Morocco, Kuwait, Jordan, Palestine, and there is every reason to believe Bush's policy in Iraq has been the catalyst.

But Iraq specifically has not been going all that well. If it is too soon to call it a failure, the cost is getting high enough for the US that it is fair to say it was not, for them, worth it.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Save the Fish

Paul McCartney, whom I admire, has just been on Larry King debating with Danny Williams over the seal hunt. He is of course opposed. But, reading the transcript, I think Williams hit the seal on the head, so to speak, by saying Sir P. has been misinformed and used by unscrupulous organizations that profit from their opposition to the hunt.

Baby seals are cute. But they are aggressive predators, and their population is exploding. As a vegetarian myself, I see far less problem with killing predators than with killing an innocent herbivore like a cow or a pig. After all, logically, culling seals will probably save more animal lives than it takes.

Ending the seal hunt, therefore, can only be justified by the notion that some animals are more equal than others.

Well, At Least There's Still Apple Pie

Michael Coren says he is being pilloried for a column in which he said that a woman’s place is in the home: that a woman’s first duty is motherhood. He laments that society has lost its stability, grace, and decorum because so many women have decided they ought to emulate men.

He is absolutely right, of course. It is not just that women who have abandoned their children are harming the children. Surely we always knew that. We are raising generations of children with absent fathers, thanks to rising divorce, and absent mothers. We are raising a civilization of orphans.

But women’s abandonment of family values in the West is leading fairly quickly, as Mark Steyn has pointed out, to a mass self-genocide, a cultural suicide, as populations across Europe are due to collapse over the next generation or two. They are already collapsing in Eastern Europe, where feminism and full female participation in the workforce was embraced rather earlier.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Interesting Retirement Option

Ave Maria, Florida:

Quebec Priests Oppose Church Teaching

AP reports that nineteen Catholic priests have come out against the Pope’s current stand against ordaining those with “deep seated” homosexual tendencies:

A few choice statements from the priests, as AP reports them:

‘The priests said the church was invoking "natural law" to make its case against homosexuality, arguing that slavery was also once considered "natural."’

By whom? Not by the Catholic Church. It seems obvious to me that sexuality is natural in a sense that a contractual obligation, such as slavery, is not. "Nature," after all, means "procreation." Contracts are definitive of civilization as opposed to nature.

‘"What we are saying is that human nature is constantly evolving," Claude Lemieux, one of the signatories, told The Associated Press by phone Tuesday.’

What they are saying, then, is nonsense. There is no scientific evidence that human nature is "evolving." There is a lot of evidence that it is not. The concept also opens the door very wide to racism. Are those in societies that have not developed in tandem with the mainstream therefore of a different nature? Subhuman?

‘We believe this position is closer to that which is shared by our parishioners.’

If the church is to take moral instruction from parishioners, rather than parishioners from the church, there is no need for a church at all.

‘The letter questions whether the church has "the last word on the mysteries of political, social, family and sexual life."’

If religion does not have special knowledge of the last word, the Logos, who does? What is the Logos, then, in their minds? If not Jesus Christ?

‘"In these matters," the letter says, "the official teaching of the church has shown itself more than once to be wrong."’

It would help if they could give some example of this. Because the statement itself is directly counter to Catholic teaching.

We need better priests. And we could get them, from the Third World.

We need missionaries.