Playing the Indian Card

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The San Diego Synagogue Shootings

Anti-semitic cartoon, 1896.

It had to happen sooner or later. It is unwise to come to any conclusions based on first reports—the 48-hour rule is a good one—but it looks as though the Passover attack on a synagogue near San Diego in California was by a genuine white nationalist, white supremacist Nazi who at least identifies as Christian.

Mind, since the left has been declaring loudly that this was happening for years without it being true, I think it is proper to blame them for it now. Speak of the Devil, and he will appear. Someone was bound to be listening. And it seems odd that this killer’s manifesto, making all of his motives plain, was immediately available and linked to on the Internet, whereas the Christchurch killer’s manifesto, making it plain that he was neither a “white supremacist” nor a right-winger, was quickly and generally suppressed.

This killer also takes pains to point out that his actions are no “false flag.” Odd that he would; but then, he is doing exactly what those he claims to oppose would most want him to do, and what most advances their interests against those he claims to be his own. He is, by his acts, throwing white nationalism, white supremacy, and Christianity into disrepute, surely. He is confirming a claim on the left that he himself insists is false. How is that supposed to work? Perhaps he protests too much?

Someone else, apparently familiar with 8chan, where it appeared, in linking to the manifesto, comments that it is full of “s***posting and is not to be taken literally.” 8chan is famous for spoofs and false flags. So who knows?

As a Christian, my challenge is this: assuming the manifesto is for real, how can I reconcile his actions and his expressed thoughts with his claiming to be a Christian? There are, presumably, three possibilities. Either 1. The killer is insane. 2. There is actually something in Christianity that warrants this; or 3. He is aware that he is simply doing evil, and is lying. I think 3 is by far the most plausible thesis.

I resist explanation 1. I may find his manifesto incoherent, but not in the obviously disordered way you would expect from the truly delusional. In any case, I do not buy insanity as an excuse for immorality. There is no connection, statistically speaking. That just comes from a prejudice against the insane.

He declares himself a Christian and quotes Bible verses. He claims to have been inspired by “Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Martin Luther, Adolf Hitler, …, Ludwig van Beethoven, Moon Man, and Pink Guy.”

But how seriously can we take the faith of someone who lists Jesus as simply parallel among his influences not just with Adolf Hitler but with “Moon Man and Pink Guy”? Does a serious Christian think that way? It seems at least plausible that he is feigning Christianity in order to malign Christianity. He knows the lingo—his father was apparently a prominent member of a local Presbyterian congregation. But that might only have given him the ammunition; and perhaps a desire to rebel.

To begin with, surely, Christianity is antithetical to the racial ideology on which he has based his actions. It is not just that St. Paul wrote “There is no Jew nor Greek in Christ”: the basic concept of the “New Covenant,” aka Christianity, is that God was now offering to all nations, without ethnic distinction, the covenant that had formerly been offered exclusively to the Jews. Racism is therefore fundamentally opposite to the Christian message.

The Bible verses the killer then quotes to justify harming Jews are not attacking Jews at all, but those who claim to be Jews yet are not. Hypocrites, in other words. For example, quoting the actual verses he cites:

“They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham […] Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not” (John 8:37-45).

For the quote to make sense, it must be a good thing, in conformity with God’s will, to be a devout Jew. If you do truly follow Abraham’s example—as either a Jew or, latterly, a Muslim—you are in obedience to God.

“For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins away: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).

Paul’s point is not that the Jews are especially guilty of persecuting Christians, but the reverse: that Christians everywhere are being persecuted, not by some other racial group, but by their own countrymen. Just as Jesus himself observed: a man’s (or a prophet’s) enemies will come from within his own home, his own family, and his own neighbours. It follows that racism is at best an error. The very error Paul is condemning here among the Jews of Judea.

“I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9).

This passage is necessarily saying that Judaism is a good thing, and not following its teachings is Satanic.

Even without the Bible passages, the thing is logically and theologically unambiguous: God made a covenant with the Jews. Does God keep his promises, or not? It necessarily follows, for any true Christian, that the covenant with the Jews is still in force, for any Jew who keeps it.

It is possible, I suppose, that the shooter is too stupid to see this, but it seems profoundly unlikely that he could have managed to consistently reverse the meanings of Bible passages by 180 degrees simply by misreading the Bible.

It seems to me too that the killer gives hints he knows he is in the wrong. He, as the Devil is said to commonly do, seems to condemn himself out of his own mouth. He accuses the Jews, for example, of spreading “blood libel,” without evidence, only a few paragraphs after spreading the ancient blood libel against the Jews: that they supposedly killed Christ. This is what the term commonly refers to. He is, in other words, scapegoating the Jews for his own sins; and at some level he must know this. It is one thing to be randomly wrong. But when what you say is exactly and fairly consistently 180 degrees from the truth, it tends to betray an underlying awareness of in what direction truth actually lies.

There is indeed an anti-Christian blood libel that has been going around for long years: that Christianity is anti-Semitic. I myself got fed that as if simple fact when studying religion in university. But this is surely not what the murderer is referring to here, because he believes that very libel himself, according to his own claims, and is doing his best to justify it.

Recent history has demonstrated this is an anti-Christian slander. With greater contact with the Muslim world, people in the West discover that Muslims are at least as prone to antisemitism as Christians ever were. And those who read history—or the Bible—know that antisemitism was familiar in the ancient world, among the Romans, who burned down Jerusalem and dispersed the Jews, among the Greeks, who converted the temple in Jerusalem to pagan worship, the Babylonians, who levelled the temple and dispersed the Jews, or the Egyptians, who enslaved the Jews, then tried to wipe them out. And on it goes.

The Romans under Titus haul away the treasures of Jerusalem.

Far from being anti-semitic, Christianity is at its core irreducibly and uniquely pro-semitic. The Hebrew scriptures are also the Christian scriptures. Christians reading them necessarily self-identify as Jews.

Rather than having anything to do with Christianity in particular, anti-semitism, here as everywhere, is simply a reliable expression and measure of human evil. I do not think it too simplistic to say that bad people are always anti-semitic, and good people invariably identify instead with the Jews.

For the real cause of anti-semitism, here and everywhere, is simply envy. It is the sin that dare not speak its name, and so the one always in need of scapegoats and alibis. The San Diego shooter simply envied the Jews, and used whatever cover he could find rather than admit it was because he felt they were better than him.

Their moral and historical status as God’s original chosen people might well be enough to provoke such envy: it is exactly the thing that caused Cain, in envy, to kill Abel. That makes such murderous envy only one generation removed from original sin. It is as wrong, of course, as wrong could be: it is automatically also an open rebellion against God himself.

Of course, many these days will not take that claim literally. That makes no difference. It is a scientific fact, as measurable by IQ tests, that Jews as an identifiable group are more intelligent than the rest of us. As a result of this, if not directly because of God’s favour, or for whatever reason, it is also a demonstrable fact that, demographically, wherever they settle, and despite frequent discrimination against them, Jews tend to become richer and better educated as a group than those around them. They become overrepresented at the top of the professions, and of business.

This makes them, wherever they go, inevitable targets for this deadly sin of envy, wherever and to whatever extent it is present: that is, whenever they are among bad people.

It must now be said that it has long been the left, not the right, that has endorsed and promoted the sin of envy: of looking on anyone richer then oneself as having stolen something, and deserving punishment. Socialism naturally segues, as with Nazism and Stalinism alike, into anti-semitism.

Certainly the present killer would not identify himself as a typical “Commifornian,” to use his term. But he is no doubt a product of that milieu, and has accepted some of its basic premises.

More than he has been influenced by anything in the Bible.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Politics as Religion and as Entertainment

If you don't know, it doesn't matter if I put in his name. If you do, there is no need. But this is John Diefenbaker.

Perhaps—and this is no new insight—one major aspect of the current breakdown in civil discourse is that so many people have, once losing their religion, put politics in its place.

I otherwise just don’t get at all the antipathy towards Trump. Including, of course, from some “never Trumpers” on the right. I don’t get the antipathy I see now in Canada towards Doug Ford, or, as lefties now like to call him, “Thug Ford.” For, apparently, keeping his basic election promise from just a year ago in the most timid of ways, by trying to modestly reduce the growth in government expenditures.

I love to follow politics, but to me it has always been a spectator sport. The reality is that nothing very important can be accomplished through electoral politics, any more than it is accomplished through the Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s in the nature of the beast: whoever is in power is just reading the opinion polls and trying to follow the general consensus. Otherwise they lose office.

Any desired change can therefore come only by changing that general consensus. Which is not done by politicians, but by writers and artists—and nowadays, YouTubers and bloggers. So long as discourse is not shut down by restrictions on freedom of speech—which is what is actually happening now. That is where the critical battle is underway. Democratic politics is just a useful check on governments that are incompetent or corrupt. As they all tend to become over time.

Same comment applies as above. But this is Eddie Shack

I enjoy Trump immensely, just as I enjoyed Diefenbaker in his day; and for the same reasons. They are entertainers, fun to watch. Like Eddie Shack. Trump apparently actually instructed his staff, during the transition, that they were to treat each day as if it were a new episode in a reality TV show. He knows exactly what his job is, and he is great at it.

Duterte is another skilled entertainer. This week he declared war on Canada. Of course, it is all for show. But he keeps it a show worth watching to see what might happen next.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Biden 2020 with Corrective Lenses

Showing again his narcissistic colours, Joe Biden has just announced his candidacy for US president, by basing it on a lie. He says he feels called to action to stop Trump, because he has openly endorsed white supremacy, the Ku Klux Klan, and Neo-Nazism. His evidence is what Trump said about Charlottesville: that “there were some very fine people on both sides.”

Trump’s words were surely meant in good heart, to encourage reconciliation. But when he said them, he also explicitly excluded and condemned Neo-Nazis and white nationalists. As well as the Antifa activists who had come to crack heads. As he should have. The same violent people Biden now unreservedly extolls.

Biden is demonstrating classic narcissistic behavior: truth has no value to him. All that matters is what furthers his interests. And he will say it with all apparent sincerity. He is gaslighting the electorate.

I doubt Biden is going to be the Democratic nominee. His current high ride in the polls is surely based mainly on name recognition. Having been VP for eight years, it has also not been his role to speak out independently on any issues. He has served only as a reassuring grey presence at Obama’s side. He has not run for office since. Accordingly, few in the public have a strong sense of his views; he is just a smiling, friendly face at this point.

As soon as he engages with other candidates, and marks out his own positions, he is sure to alienate some of his current support.

And, of course, he has a closet jammed full of high-proof ammunition for opposition researchers. It is a surprise to me that his history of pawing and groping has not already torpedoed his candidacy. It seems the left has turned away from their previous zeal on this brief now that they have belatedly realized that it can make Democrats look bad more easily than Republicans. But even aside from this, Biden has an easily documented history of public lying, and some of his past positions on issues are now considered disqualifying to those on the left. Surely his Democratic opponents will use these against him.

More broadly, Biden is the classic wheeling and dealing, gladhanding politician. The rise of Trump on the right, and Sanders on the left, of Obama before them, of Corbyn in England and Macron in France, of Zelensky in Poland, and on and on, are obvious signs that the public is fed up with such politicians and such politics. The cynical game becomes too clear in an era of social media and constant coverage.

Even Kamala Harris, whom I had picked as an early favourite for the Dem nom, seems to have already run afoul of this new mood. Bernie Sanders came out in favour of giving the vote to convicted felons. Harris tagged along by saying the “conversation should be held.” Now Harris is facing big backlash; Sanders isn’t. What’s the difference?

The issue is not the issue. People sense that Sanders is saying what he believes. People sense that Harris is saying whatever she thinks will get her to the nomination.

The same dynamic seems to have already killed Elizabeth Warren, and vaulted Pete Buttigieg to the first tier. For his fifteen minutes; it will not last. Any more than did Betomania before it.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

God Help America

If you are not sure what “hypocrisy” means, or what Jesus meant when he spoke of the mote in your brother’s eye and the beam in your own, ending with the famous and commonly deceitfully decontextualized passage “judge not, lest ye be judged,” we have a perfect example in the recent news.

The Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Yankees have declared that they will no longer play Kate Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” at their games. This had become such a sports tradition that the Flyers even had a statue of Smith outside their arena. It is now, like so many other statues in America, covered in black. Down the memory hole with Kate.

Her crime is that she recorded two songs back in the 1930s that they consider racist: “That’s Why Darkies Were Made,” and “Pickaninny Heaven.”

Those titles no doubt sound terrible to the contemporary ear. But that is because the terms “darkie” and “pickaninny” have changed their connotations since the 1930s. There is nothing in the literal meaning of either word that is pejorative. They have come to be considered pejorative only because we endorse the wider premise that there is something morally wrong with having dark skin (darkies) or being small (pickaninny). When Smith sang either song, she sang in sympathy with African-Americans: the first to lament the discrimination against them in employment, the second to console the many black orphans.

So who is the racist here, Smith, or the current management of the Yankees and the Broad Street Bullies? Who is saying there is something wrong with being dark-skinned? Who, conversely, was trying to help?

But wait—it gets worse. What were the New York Yankees themselves doing in the 1930s? Systematically discriminating; famously refusing to put African-Americans on the team. If Smith deserves to be banned from the ballpark for innocently saying now-unfashionable words, surely the New York Yankees too must be banned from the ballpark.

More generally, this current pogrom against the past has been extremely politically selective. Ancestors targeted seem, on the whole, to be those remembered fondly by conservatives, and perhaps too figures important to the general culture.  If the left were honest, they would admit that they hate Kate not for any sentiments legitimately found in "That's Why Darkies Were Made " or "Pickaninny Heaven, ' but for the sentiment "God Bless America." Hector Langevin, Conservative Cabinet Minister, for example, is targeted for merely supporting residential schools. Never mind that this was generally considered the progressive solution at the time, and would have been endorsed as heartily by any given political figure to his left. Why do we still have universities named after Laurier?

If we applied the same standards consistently, Paul Robeson also recorded one of the songs for which Kate Smith is condemned. Why is he still revered?

Why are we still displaying, in Canada, statues of the “Famous Five”? These, as everybody by now surely knows, were five women who campaigned for eugenics and for sterilizing those of “inferior” races. More broadly, the early feminist movement, including most prominent leaders, was opposed to black emancipation and objected to citizenship for Indians/aboriginals/First Nations. Why no outrage or shrouding of statues?

For that matter, why does nobody care that Charles Darwin openly assumed and advocated white supremacy? Why is he still so widely respected? Why has this fact, indeed, been generally suppressed?

A few years ago, CBC proclaimed Tommy Douglas the Greatest Canadian. Why does no one care that the founder of the left-wing NDP was also an early advocate of eugenics? Why does no one care that J.S. Woodsworth, his predecessor as founder of the CCF, who has so many public buildings named after him, wrote a book that, while sympathetic to immigrants, presumed white supremacy, “Strangers at our Gates”? Or that he, like many on the European left, opposed going to war with Hitler?

When Justin Trudeau stands in the Commons and demands that Andrew Scheer, who has no connection with them, condemn white supremacy, why does Scheer not respond by demanding that Trudeau first condemn the white supremacist views of Woodsworth, Douglas, and the Famous Five?

Or, for that matter, of his own father? Marc Lalonde, who knew the father, has said that in his student days Pierre Trudeau was a supporter of the regimes of Francisco Franco and Marshal Petain. That means he was supporting Fascist governments when Canada was already at war with Hitler and Mussolini—Petain only came to power at this point. Ignorance is not a plausible excuse; everyone by then had a pretty clear idea of just what Fascism really meant. Other reports, heard since he first ran for the Liberal leadership, but ignored ever since, had young Pierre Trudeau riding a motorcycle around Montreal during the war years wearing a German helmet. Will Justin publicly condemn and disavow?

Youthful indiscretions, you will say. People change, you will say. I agree. It is fundamentally hypocritical as well as unchristian to either scapegoat the dead, who cannot defend themselves, or to hold people responsible for views once held, rather than for present views. That is something we once condemned as McCarthyism. But then why are any youthful indiscretions on the right permanent and unforgivable? Why is the behavior towards women of Jack Kennedy, or Ted Kennedy, who was actually responsible for the death of a woman, or FDR, or Martin Luther King Jr., forgivable and forgettable, but not that of, say, Roy Moore? What about Bill Clinton, accused of violent rape? Why did Bill Cosby’s behavior only become an issue, and instantly, once he came out of the closet as a conservative?

And I have not even touched on leftist support and fondness for genocidal regimes falling within the Communist spectrum: China, Cuba, North Vietnam; Che, Ho, Mao.

“Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but don’t consider the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you tell your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye,’ and behold, the beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

(Matthew 7: 1-6, WEB)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


ISIS has now claimed responsibility for the Sri Lanka bombings, which makes much of what I wrote about them yesterday obsolete. It really was, then, done by Islamist terrorists.

But it also means the Sri Lankan government was wrong to blame the attacks on a local Muslim organization. In doing this the government may have been exploiting the affair to pursue their own agenda. Or they may only have been trying to cover for their own prior incompetence by being seen to take some swift action against someone.

This also does not speak well for either the intelligence or the abilities of ISIS. Supposedly, the church bombings were in retaliation for the Christchurch shootings in New Zealand. Yet the motive for the latter was not religious, and it is not clear that the shooter even identified as a Christian. He also does not appear to have been Sri Lankan, does he? And the point that the Western media does not care about Christians being bombed still holds.

The explanation may be that ISIS has grown so weak that they are now incapable of coming up with anything more relevant or compelling to the media. They needed some soft targets. They happened to have the assets in Sri Lanka, the churches had little security compared to any historic temples, and ISIS had nothing anywhere else.

A Modest Proposal

Landscape, unidentified Canadian national park.

The standard line emerging on the left, and among the gilets jaunes of France, is that it is immoral to spend either public or private money rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral while people anywhere are starving.

They would seem to have a point. Surely any money would be better spent on the basic material needs of those who are poor? 

Starving child. While rich foreigner can apparently afford a camera.

But let’s apply the principle consistently. Odd that it only comes up now, in the case of religious buildings. We should also by that logic sell off all our national, provincial or municipal parks. We can give the money to the poor, and the land can then be put into production. More food for everyone; but this is especially important to the poor and starving. We should also sell off any museums and public art galleries; these are obviously luxuries. Sell all the artifacts to rich collectors, as no doubt we would if we were shutting down Notre Dame, and give the money to the poor. After all, the poor cannot afford the admission to get in to the galleries and museums anyway.

You know the one place the poor can always get to see such things of beauty and significance, though? The one place they are free? Churches.

But the poor apparently do not need beauty in their lives, or meaning, or entertainment, or escape from the unhappy moment. They need only food and shelter.

There is another reason, too, why we should sell off all the parks. Many these days worship nature. They speak of “Gaea,” “the Earth our Mother,” “Evolution did this”; “Nature intended that”; and “Mother Nature.” I attended a live lecture once by David Suzuki; publicly funded with tax dollars, of course. He spent it arguing that nature was sacred, and declaring his lifelong devotion to the “sacred elements.” He meant the old Greek quaternity: earth, air, fire, water. Their purity must be preserved.

Mandala of the four classical elements.
Given, then, that nature is a religion now, it is obviously a violation of the separation of church and state to fund public parks. At least if we are not going to fund churches equally.

Just as there are still churches, without government support there no doubt would still be parks and museums. Indeed, on the model of churches, they could and should all be admission free. As it stands, most national parks are, unlike churches, simply not available to the poor.

But even this would not be enough for the left. They are objecting even and specifically to private funds being spent on Notre Dame.

So we must have no parks or museums either, even privately-funded, under any circumstances. We must surely also object to anyone spending money building amusement parks, cinemas, theatres, tourist hotels, or restaurants. All are purely luxury goods. People are starving!

Indeed, even so, there is still a better argument for spending on churches than on any of these other things. Not just that churches, unlike all these other luxury goods, are accessible to the poorest of the poor. Aside from that, it is, after all, at least possible that there is a world and a life after this present one. Those who build churches of course think so. And it is believed to be eternal, while this one is transitory. If so, not having enough money for food right now may be trivial in comparison to preparing for this forever. Since each individual eternal life saved is infinite in length, restoring Notre Dame might be of more value than an infinite number of relaxing weekends in nature here on earth.

One cannot under any generally accepted premise say the same for parks. Even the nature worshippers see no path blazed from them to eternal life.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Sri Lanka Easter Bombings

The Temple of the Tooth, Kandy. As significant for Buddhists as Notre Dame for Christians.

I’m not usually one to go in for conspiracy theories. But the official account of the recent Easter bombings in Sri Lanka does not sound probable. The authorities say the carnage was done by a local Islamist terrorist organization.


1. Neither the organization named, nor any other, has yet taken credit. The whole point of a terrorist bombing is to send a message. Where’s the message? Were it a “lone wolf” attack, the absence of a communique might be explicable, but not for something widespread and organized, like this was.

2. Believing the official explanation actually requires a conspiracy theory. This was a series of coordinated attacks across the width of the country. It could not have been managed without a lot of planning by a lot of people. The reason conspiracy theories are dubious is that it is improbable to expect a large number of people to all keep an important thing secret for a long time. Especially if it involves something illegal, and they could hope to escape the consequences with a word to the authorities in case it goes wrong. That applies here. How could the authorities not have uncovered it?

3. More mysteriously, the day after the attacks, the authorities knew who did it and had dozens—I’ve seen higher figures-- in custody. How could they have known so little before the bombing, and so much immediately after it?

4. Where’s the motive? If Islamists want to strike a blow against unbelievers, why target Christians? The Quran declares Christians fellow “people of the book,” supposedly well-disposed to Islam. Buddhists, by contrast, are kaffirs, unbelievers. Why attack your natural allies, a fellow minority, instead of the declared religious enemy? And if there is a threat of cultural assimilation for Sri Lankan Muslims, again, it has to come from the majority faith, not another minority.

5. If the motive was just to get publicity, as might well be the case in a terrorist bombing, why target Christian churches? Hotels make sense, but the local Sri Lankan press would care more about temples. And so would the foreign press. Some Sri Lankan temples are truly historic, comparable to Notre Dame in Paris. By comparison, the Western press consistently underreports any attacks on Christians. So much so that many reports of the present massacre use the awkward circumlocution “Easter worshippers” rather than call the victims Christians. Nobody in the West seems to want to admit that Christians are under threat anywhere. Possibly the attackers are too ignorant of Western attitudes to understand this, but this is unlikely. Those who go in for terrorism are almost invariably the most Westernized of Muslims. And Muslim extremists have recently seen this Western disregard for the fate of Christians play out in Iraq and Syria. How stupid are they really likely to be? 

Also in Sri Lanka: a tree grown from a shoot of the original Bodhi tree, under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment.

6. Any Muslim group blowing up churches gives the local authorities a gold-plated excuse for suppressing Muslims without facing international condemnation. They can claim they are nobly protecting another religious minority.

7. Note that unless they actually hold a geographical region under their control, Muslim terrorist organizations almost always do their dirty work in another country. Notice that there have not been a lot of terrorist attacks in the Persian Gulf countries, for example; although the al Qaeda leadership came from there. There is an obvious reason for this. Otherwise, the leaders and the organization are committing suicide; they are too vulnerable to being round up and executed. Especially when they are part of a small ethnic minority in the country attacked. Yet the Sri Lankan authorities are blaming a local organization.

8. Another body here has an obvious motive for either staging the bombings, or misassigning the blame: the state; the government. Which, interestingly, has just declared martial law and suspended civil rights.

Connect the dots, folks.

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Resurrection of the Left

My left-wing friend Xerxes has chosen the occasion of Easter to declare his belief that our civilization is in need of a resurrection.

I find it fascinating that we both think our civilization or culture is in crisis, both left and right think so, but for completely different reasons.

What alarms me is an apparent growing lack of faith, values, morals, growing totalitarianism, and an aggressive attempt to shut down civil discourse. What frightens him is growing income inequality and global warming. Both of which strike me as non-issues.

As for income inequality, it is inevitable, if everyone is getting richer, that income inequality is going to grow. If, for example, everyone’s income goes up by 20%, the result will be greater income inequality. Income inequality is reduced, conversely, so long as everyone is getting poorer. And an economy that is not growing is almost surely shrinking. So you really have only two choices: either growing income inequality, or growing poverty.

In addition, if any new advancement is found, improving prosperity generally, those who invent, discover, or first adopt it will see their incomes shoot ahead. It will take time for this to spread to everyone. By that time, with any luck, something  else new has been invented. Accordingly, the better everyone’s life is getting, the more income inequality you will get.

And what exactly is the problem with income inequality? So long as everyone is getting enough to meet their needs, how does it harm A if B is doing better? To object is surely simply the sin of envy: I am coveting my neighbour’s goods. This is sometimes presented as the worst of all sins. It was the sin of Cain, that brought murder into the world. Some make it the sin of Eve, and of Lucifer as well; the Quran does.

As for global warming, the full proposition we are required to accept is not just that the earth is getting warmer. To avoid “denying,” you must embrace a sequence of assertions: 1. That the earth is getting warmer. 2. That this will not be corrected by any natural processes or upcoming technological improvements, without conscious large-scale human intervention. 3. That the earth getting warmer is, on balance, a bad rather than a good thing. 4. That we can meaningfully do something about it, and 5. That the costs of doing something about it are less than the costs of letting it happen.

Each of these proposition is clearly in dispute, including the first, that the earth is getting warmer. Just do a web search. Some say it is getting colder. The computer models that assert global warming have so far been consistently wrong whenever they have made a prediction specific enough to be tested. Given that we do not know whom to believe, and have no personal expertise in the area, we should rationally take them all at 50/50 odds. Each requires the previous one to be true, so this is cumulative. We end up with a 3.1275% chance of the “global warming” dogma being true and large-scale government action being justified. That’s not good odds for putting down a lot of money. And that is without factoring in whether the given solution proposed is going to be the proper one, if there is more than one option, and whether you can convince all the governments of the world to adopt it.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Good Friday

Floats in readiness for the Good Friday procession at lour local parish, yesterday.

Oddly Defending Duterte

Sometimes referred to locally as "Duterte Harry"

It is not really my place to comment on Philippines politics. It is not my country. But well-meaning fellow Canadians have been sending me messages of concern about the dangers of living under such an oppressive totalitarian regime. I feel under some moral obligation to set the record straight. As in the case of Saudi Arabia, the Canadian press has things very wrong.

I guess we should not be surprised these days about the press getting things wrong, especially when writing about something far away.

To begin with, the odd image with which the linked story begins: of President Duterte “appearing constantly on the 24 hour news channel.” Makes it sound like 1984, or like Communist China used to be, with government the only source for news. We have TV, without any foreign channels, and do not see Duterte on the screen any more often than a Canadian television viewer might see Justin Trudeau. And in similar contexts: often also featuring someone criticizing him. If there is some government 24-hour news channel, nobody we know has discovered it. The Philippines actually has a pretty free-wheeling press.

It has also always been dangerous to be a journalist here; but murders of reporters have actually gone down under Duterte.

The fact that Duterte is at loggerheads with the Catholic Church is not newsworthy. Every Philippines administration at least since Marcos, with the exception of Corazon Aquino’s, has been at loggerheads with the Catholic Church. Traditionally the Church hierarchy holds the government’s feet to the fire. Governments rarely respond by showing anything like reverence. Duterte is more blunt than most about it; but this seems just part of his tough guy act. He is not even novel in that. He’s acting and talking just like Estrada did in his day.

One paragraph from the article:

“Duterte has launched a hate-filled anti-Catholic campaign that is a match for the most virulent forms of Islamophobia. A cathedral in the Philippines was bombed Jan. 27, killing 20 people. Several Catholic priests have been killed on his watch. Somehow he is getting away with it.”

I think Duterte would have a solid court case here to sue for libel. He is, like most Filipinos, not concerned with being PC. But this clearly implies that he was behind the cathedral bombing or the priest murders, doesn’t it? The cathedral was bombed by Islamist terrorists. Duterte is as much to blame as Macron is for the fire at Notre Dame, or Bush for 9/11. Takes one whale of a conspiracy theory to make that claim.

The clear suggestion that Filipinos might be afraid to speak their minds about Duterte is also wildly wrong. Naturally enough, he has many supporters, but even they tend not to be doctrinaire about it. Probably most people are openly critical of him about one thing or another in conversation.

There is actually far more freedom of speech, and far less fear of repercussions for expressing your opinion on any matter at all, in the Philippines than in Canada. Nobody in the Philippines has to watch what they say. Everybody in Canada, by contrast, has to guard their speech carefully. If Filipino-Canadians are indeed afraid of expressing their opinions about Duterte, that says more about an oppressive atmosphere in Canada, than back in the Philippines. They are aware that anything they say in Canada can be used against them at some future date. In Canada, quite possibly, it is not safe to express support for Duterte, just as it is not safe to express support for Donald Trump.

I do not like defending Duterte. I would never have voted for him. I oppose him just as I opposed Trudeau pere invoking the War Measures Act, for the same reasons. His government is acting lawlessly, with its extrajudicial killings. But for the average Filipino, the Duterte government is not a clear and present menace. It is like the situation when Mafia factions used to war in the streets of Chicago or New York. They were ruthless about killing each other, but killing civilians was forbidden between them. So too with Duterte’s vigilantes and the criminal gangs. So long as you yourself keep away from systematic criminal activity, you are not likely to be caught in any crossfire. The situation in Canada is quite different: well-meaning people acting morally and minding their own business can become victims at any moment. There is no real way to predict trouble or to defend yourself.

Duterte, it is true, is sometimes killing drug addicts as well as dealers. This seems very wrong to us in Canada, where the established idea is that we are to pity the addict and put all the blame on the dealers. But perhaps it is not self-evidently wrong. Are alcoholics not at all responsible for their alcoholism? Then how does AA work? In Canada we certainly hold cigarette smokers at least in large part responsible for their smoking. And we legally hold the customers entirely responsible in the case of prostitution, and the dealers innocent. Duterte is at least being consistent. His position is more logically defensible than ours.

Generally, what the Canadian press cannot seem to get is that the problem in the Philippines, as in the Middle East, is not too much or too oppressive government, but too little. The problem has been that the government was not in control. Local gangs, criminals, and corrupt officials could act with impunity. We are so far from that in Canada with our traditions of peace, order, and good government that we cannot apparently conceive of what that means. In my wife’s home town, people were fairly regularly murdered by neighbours or relatives, and nothing ever happened to the murderer. The killer just moved away—or perhaps not.

You can forgive so many Filipinos for feeling that it may take a tough guy to get things under control.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Rebuilding Notre Dame Upside Down

Rolling Stone magazine has run an article on rebuilding Notre Dame de Paris that has generated a lot of comment on the right. Their main point is that the cathedral should be rebuilt not as it was, but to express the “new France,” as it is today. Which, so far as we can tell from the article, represents nothing uniting or edifying. Just “joie de vivre and change.” Hedonism and relativism.

Specifically, the bit everyone is quoting is:

“The building was so overburdened with meaning that its burning feels like an act of liberation,” says Patricio del Real, an architecture historian at Harvard University.

That about says it. There is a significant portion of the modern intellectual class that actually wants to burn civilization down, because they are against meaning itself. They WANT chaos and meaninglessness.

Everything else follows.

John 3: 19-21:

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Evolution and Entropy

Kilometre zero, in front of Notre Dame.

My left-wing friend Xerxes has written a column that, although it does not address it directly, perhaps gives some insight into the celebrations on the left of the destruction wrought on Notre Dame de Paris.

In short, he opines that the universe is based on two great principles, evolution and entropy. Evolution is good, entropy is evil. Science is evolution, religion is entropy. Science is good; religion is bad.

The implicit message is also that all change is good, and leads to progress. All that already exists, then, is bad and no doubt should be burned to the basement.

The problems with this line of thinking are so many it is hard to see where to begin.

Let’s start with the first concept mentioned, evolution. Xerxes argues that evolution leads inexorably to greater complexity. He associates this with Darwin’s theory. “Evolution evolves” “to adapt to altered environments.” “Evolution always moves towards greater complexity, more specialized roles. It never moves backwards.”

This is not supported by Darwin’s theory. Evolution, to begin with, clearly does not always move towards more specialized roles. The evolution of humans has moved in the opposite direction. Humans are generalists. The same is true of some other species.

There is, moreover, nothing in Darwin’s theory that should direct evolution to greater complexity over time. Actually the opposite: an engineer will always go with the simplest mechanism to perform the needed task. Fewer moving parts favours survivability, and so Darwinian evolution should on balance move from complexity to simplicity.

Nevertheless, what we all see in reality is the reverse: creation as a whole indeed seems to be moving over time towards greater complexity and, more importantly, greater consciousness. This includes the inanimate universe, to which the Darwinian theory of evolution simply does not apply.

Which amounts, really, to prima facie empirical proof of the existence of God.

I am less confident about discussing entropy. Biology is more my bag than physics. I suspect when Xerxes says entropy, what he really means is inertia. After all, his criticism of religion seems to be that it is too committed to order and stasis, not that it is dissolving into random disorder. And according to the theory of entropy, all change, being irreversible, is actually decay, a loss of energy that can never be recovered. Yet his argument is pro-change.

But if he means inertia, is it right to equate the lack of change with evil, or even indeed in simple terms with lack of progress? Only if change is always good. We know it is not. Our most dramatic physical examples of rapid change do not suggest creation or advancement to greater complexity, but destruction: a nuclear explosion, a wildfire, a hurricane, a corrosive acid. In terms of creation/destruction, inertia seems the lesser of two evils. If nothing new comes into being, what already is, is preserved. The opposite state of extreme change is chaos, in which nothing is.

Many of our highest values imply a lack of change, inertia. We value diamonds, gold, iron, true love, honesty, and Christmas precisely because they do not change.

So where are we? Evolution in the Darwinian sense is neither good nor evil. Evolution in the sense of creativity, of moving towards greater consciousness, is good. But inertia is not the opposite force. And inertia is not the same as either destruction or evil. And Xerxes seems to have the positions of science and religion reversed. Science cannot account for evolution in this sense; it knows only entropy. Religion can account for both.

Both science and religion change and build—evolve. Both are creative forces. Science changes more rapidly than religion. That is not evidence that it is more creative. Greater change does not equate to creativity, because as we have seen change can be either creative or destructive. The true measure of creativity—evolution if you prefer--is the fruits over time. “By their fruits you shall know them.” What human endeavour has been producing the most enduring and compelling artifacts in the three great fields that are the goals of all human endeavor: the Good, the True, the Beautiful?

It seems to me religion wins that competition knees down. To begin with, science cannot touch on two of those three values at all. Science has produced nothing in terms of morality, on which it is scrupulously disinterested. It is amoral. Its influence on beauty is indirect and ambiguous. It has generated technology that might then be employed to create art. It has at the same time generated the technologies Blake called “dark Satanic mills,” those others call aesthetically soulless, “Stalinist,” and some that others call “pollution” or “pillaging the earth”: plagues of ugliness, because of its general lack of interest in aesthetics. Its successes have been in material comfort.

Philosophers like Popper have argued that science also cannot establish truth, our third value. It only disproves, never proves. All its claims are provisional.

That makes it, although of obvious practical value, on balance, not terribly creative. A bit of a treadmill. A provisional, but not clearly an ultimate, good.

Religion, by contrast, has given us Notre Dame de Paris. And the civilization that surrounds it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Morning After

The BBC shows the debris of the interior of Notre Dame

As Benedict XVI observed in his recent letter, once you accept the existence of God, it is not really tenable to suppose that anything is ever by accident. And the existence of God is, in philosophical terms, beyond question.

“For God to be really God in this deliberate creation, we must look to Him to express Himself in some way.”

Accordingly, it is only right to look for a message in the recent immolation of Notre Dame. God is saying something to us.

This morning, the message seems to be of hope. The terrors of the night are gone. It is moving to see photos of the interior, with the grand cross standing pristine and intact behind the rubble. It seems indeed a powerful symbol: nothing essential has been lost.

We hear the rose windows have survived. This is surprising. There had been definite previous reports that they had exploded. To my mind, that would have been the greatest loss. Not only are they more beautiful than almost anything else ever made by human hands; they are also literally irreplaceable, since the technology with which they were made has been lost.

All the major relics and art objects seem to have survived. The façade and the two bell towers, where Quasimodo had his home and his fictional career, have survived. They say a relic of the True Cross seems to have been lost. Yet this is not cataclysmic; there are many such relics. Toronto’s own cathedral has two. The spire has been lost—built in the 19th century, not one of the oldest parts of the structure, but a late add-on. Not hard to replace. Even the sculptures from the spire, miraculously, had been removed just a few days before.

So what is God telling us?

I think of God’s message to St. Francis when he stopped to pray in the little ruined chapel of San Damiano: “Rebuild my church.”

St. Francis's call in San Damiano

It is surely clear enough to us all that the Catholic Church, and our civilization as a whole, has a rottenness in it. That rottenness was the subject of Benedict’s letter. Civilization has turned away from God, from the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. The Church in its turn has been infected with immorality, hypocrisy, politics, and careerism up the hierarchy.

Is it all rotten? Should we despair? Is it time to scrap it all and start again?

Benedict insisted we should not: it is still the Church God founded; we cannot logically do better by ourselves. And you cannot become more civilized by scrapping civilization.

Fire can be a punishment. God sent fire on the cities of the plain, Sodom and Gomorrah.

But fire can also be seen as a purification. There are the fires of Purgatory as well as the fires of Hell. Paris, unlike Sodom and Gomorrah, is not burning. Nor did the entire church.

If this fire has descended from heaven, the message seems to be that the core, the essence, all that is truly valuable, in our Church and in our civilization, remains intact. There is ruin; there is chaff that needs to be burned away, just as there was in Francis’s time. But the essence, and its beauty, is still there and still sound. We need to get to work, as St. Francis did, at clearing out the debris and rebuilding.

Where do we begin?

In the first hours, many on social media suggested that this was an act of vandalism, and even that it was probably done by Muslim terrorists. Hardly unreasonable; French churches have been systematically vandalized and set to the torch in great numbers in recent months. It turns out this is almost surely not so: the fire appears to have started on the roof, near the spire, where restoration work was being done.

Accordingly, if this is a message, the message is that the real threat to the Church and to our civilization, is not from Islam, and not from Muslim immigration. The real threat is from within and from above. It is from those we have put in charge, the very people we have been expecting to preserve it.

And surely this is so. I cannot vouch personally for any Muslims inside or outside Europe celebrating at Notre Dame burning down. But I can personally vouch for many leftists, nominally and in a broad sense from a European and a Christian background, celebrating it. Such comments are all over Twitter. Ironically, they too, here if nowhere else, believe in God and in his acting through history. They will say that France and Catholicism had it coming for supposedly oppressing non-Western people. I saw the same when the Twin Towers went down in New York: the first, spontaneous reaction from apparently all my friends on the left was joy and celebration. The Americans had it coming. Those people working in the towers got what they deserved.

Not to say that some Muslims too are not guilty of hostility to Christian and to Western European traditions. Obviously some are: those, for example, who flew into the Twin Towers. Yet that is indeed not the crucial problem: why, given this were true, should the Western elites be so eager to usher in more Muslim immigrants, and so eager to prosecute what they call “Islamophobia,” while denying any problem with antisemitism or anti-Christian persecutions? It is because, surely, they see common cause here. They want to burn down Western civilization, and they hope these immigrants will help do it for them. They have concluded that it is irredeemable, rotten to the core.

“My friends on the left,” those I saw celebrate the genocide of 9/11 and who now celebrate the immolation of Notre Dame, were and are, of course, intellectuals and professionals: the class, in effect, that we have hired to protect and to restore our civilization and its traditions. The teachers, the writers, the editors and publishers, the journalists, the lawyers, the politicians: the scribes and the Pharisees. They are in charge of the cathedral of the culture, being paid by the rest of us to preserve and restore it. They are at best careless of its interests. More often, they are committed arsonists.

It should be noted that the “Muslim terrorists” in turn, of the sort who destroyed the Twin Towers, are not typical Muslims. Neither are they “extremists,” in the sense of being unusually serious about their faith. Just the reverse. Bin Laden was an engineer, not a religious scholar. They are invariably Western-educated professionals with little prior interest in religion. They are, in other words, the same elites in the Muslim world who denigrate Christianity and “Western Civilization” within the Christian world. They are, in effect, members of the “Western” technocratic elite, not traditional Muslims. And they invariably develop their radicalism on some Western university campus.

So too in the current Catholic Church scandal; the problem is coming from above. The scandal is not the molestation of children. By all accounts, that has even at the worst of times been a bigger problem outside than inside the Church. The scandal is that the hierarchy reacted so cynically, concerned not with preserving or promoting the truths of the faith and the morals of the shepherds and their flocks, but with their own comfortable position, satisfying their own desires, and the immediate material interests of their clerical class.

It is, in both cases, the roof that is on fire.

Perhaps, however, God is also saying that the incompetent and cynical elite are burning themselves out—or he is burning them out.

It will be up to the rest of us to rebuild.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Paris Is Burning

I am seriously depressed by the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Its rose windows are one of the three or so most beautiful things I have ever seen. Now probably gone forever. They will no doubt rebuild, but it will not be the same.

Others on my personal list of the world’s most beautiful sights:

The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, also in Paris

Sinulog, Cebu’s annual festival, Philippines.

Mirinae shrine, Korea, when the cherries are in blossom.

The view of Westport, Ontario, from Foley Mountain, in fall.

Tian Tan Buddha, Hong Kong.

The Sigiriya maidens, Sri Lanka.

Jihua Shan, China.

If the Biblical advice "by their fruits you shall know them" is sound, I count 5 great beauties produced by Christianity, 3 by Buddhism. Other religious traditions seem to trail in their ability to evoke the spirit; although my selection is no doubt biased by both my own preferences and where I have happened to visit. I suspect Hinduism would do rather well had I travelled more in India, On the other hand, I expect Orthodox Christianity would be well-represented here had I travelled more extensively in Eastern Europe.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Liberal Strategy Revealed

Justin Trudeau seems to have declared his line of attack for the next election. Every time now, in the Commons, he is asked anything about the SNC-Lavalin scandal, he responds by demanding that Andrew Scheer denounce white supremacy. At last Friday’s Liberal Party convention in Mississauga, he accused the Conservatives of planning to cut the federal budget, abandon the fight against global warming, and embrace white nationalism.

I expect that the Conservatives would have little quibble with Trudeau’s claims that they want to cut government costs and kill the carbon tax. Fair enough. Here Liberals and Conservatives disagree.

But Trudeau’s attribution to the Conservative Party of white nationalism and white supremacy is dishonest.

Are there any white supremacists in North America? No doubt; but no more than might fit in a clubhouse up some backyard tree. To denounce them is therefore counter-productive, if your intent is to oppose white supremacy. You are giving the position publicity and respectability. You are forcing it to the public’s attention. Some will want to know what all the fuss is about. If it is immediately and self-evidently false, then no harm done. And nothing useful done. In any other case, you are promoting it.

This Trudeau is blatantly doing for short-term political gain—to distract from scandal. Scheer would be irresponsible to do likewise.

There is another fundamental problem with denouncing “white supremacy.” It is the inclusion of that modifier, “white.” To denounce “white supremacy” as a stand-alone item is to imply that other forms of racial supremacy are fine: black supremacy, Asian supremacy, Muslim supremacy, aboriginal supremacy. The problem is not with supremacy, then; it is with whites. That is extreme racism. And should be called out as such.

There is a vital distinction to be made here, between white supremacist and white nationalists. Not the same thing.

Are there any white nationalists in North America? That’s a more interesting question: it illustrates the likely effects of Trudeau’s strategy. Just a few years ago, say 2015, there was apparently also no “white nationalist” movement to speak of in Canada, or for that matter in the US. When the term “alt-right” was first coined and aggressively promoted on the left, the people it was referring to and demonizing were only geeky kids on the Internet playing with memes, just yanking legs. But the aggressive promotion of the term―on the left―seems to have now summoned up such a movement for real. Faith Goldy, for example, seems to be a genuine white nationalist; as was the guy who shot up mosques in Christchurch. Before the left invented the “alt-right,” they probably would not have come out with their views, even if they entertained them in private. It may well have been the left that suggested to them that others apparently felt the same way. All I can say about that is that I followed conventional right-wing news sites and aggregators throughout the relevant period, and heard for months not a peep about the alt-right, nor any views endorsing anything like white nationalism. For months, all the noise about it was coming exclusively from left-wing sources. Only eventually did right-wing sources begin to be heard—all either dismissing the alt-right, or condemning it. 

An early "alt-right" meme: the flag of Kekistan.

Nice job, lefties. White nationalism is your baby, not Scheer’s.

Now Trudeau and his like are hell-bent to up the ante to promoting white supremacy. And, by declaring any view on any issue and any person with which they disagree “white supremacist” and “alt-right,” the left suggests real white supremacy is equally reasonable. If everyone is Hitler, including really nice people, what’s wrong with Hitler?

And the white nationalists are creatures of the left, of the Trudeaus of the world, in yet a third and more direct sense. Nationalism of all kinds, or, more accurately, tribalism rather than nationalism, has been aggressively promoted by the left over the past forty years. They call it “multiculturalism,” and even make it legally mandatory. They have long insisted on black tribalism, and Cree tribalism, and Inuit tribalism, and Iroquois tribalism, and Innu tribalism, and Muslim tribalism, and Quebec tribalism, and Irish tribalism, and Greek tribalism, and Ukrainian tribalism, and Sikh tribalism, and Hispanic tribalism, and Portuguese tribalism. Even gay tribalism, and transgender tribalism. It is obviously arbitrary, discriminatory, and dishonest for them to object only to white tribalism. They have been promoting it all along, the only distinction being the substitution of the word “white” for more specific ethnic categories.

It’s Trudeau’s tarbaby. Scheer and the Conservatives have nothing to do with it, and they have no call to sully their hands with it. It is up to Trudeau to denounce tribalism in all forms.

Nor is this playing this “white supremacy” or “white nationalism” card hard likely to work for Trudeau. To begin with, it seems unlikely that the public are gullible enough to be distracted by this from the SNC-Lavalin scandal. But even if they are: is it even by itself a winning issue? The Liberal government has suddenly reversed its policy on accepting refugees. From open borders and an open invitation, now they are proposing to deport everybody. Their own opinion polls are apparently telling them something. Apparently unhindered by principles, they are pandering to “white nationalism” themselves.

Hard to do that while scapegoating the Conservatives for hypothetically wanting to do the same. And it looks as though, arrogant and utterly out of touch, they are trying just like Hillary Clinton to insult as “white nationalists” and racists the very average voters they are expecting to vote for them.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The McGill Red Line


McGill University has finally buckled and agreed to change the name of their men’s sports teams, the “McGill Redmen.” Supposedly, this is offensive to Canada’s First Nations. 

This action seems unnecessary on multiple grounds:

1. There is no reason to take the name as a reference to Canada’s First Nations. Historically, it appears that it developed as a reference to the team colours; like the University of Toronto Blues, the Harvard Crimson, or the Syracuse Orangemen. Naming teams after the uniform colours is a local tradition: Laval Rouge et Or, Sherbrooke Vert et Or, Montreal Maroons, Ottawa RedBlacks.

2. There is no reason to take “redmen,” even if it did refer to indigenous Canadians, as an insult. It is still just a colour. Historically, it seems to have originated with the Indians themselves, and was then adopted by Europeans. To say it is an insult is to say implicitly that someone should be insulted to be called an Indian. That is racist.

3. It is bizarre to claim that anyone deliberately names their own sports team something insulting. Does anyone really want to insult their local heroes? Just the reverse. Nobody thinks calling the Queen’s team the “Golden Gaels” demeans the Scots, or calling the Notre Dame teams the “Fighting Irish” is a slight on the Irish. Least of all the Irish. It is racism to see aboriginals differently here.

4. There is no evidence real Canadian Indians see anything wrong with the name. Nobody ever asks them. Real Indians tend to be football fans, and are likely to cherish the sport’s traditions as much as anyone. When somebody did a survey in the US of how actual Indians felt about the “Washington Redskins” name, 90% did not want a name change. When the Edmonton Eskimos, under pressure, went to Inuit communities to ask the locals about their moniker, they found no consensus against it.

5. The name given to a sports team cannot harm anyone. If this is a problem for you, you live a privileged life.

In sum, this name change has nothing to do with concern or consideration for First Nations. It is a case of wanting to wreck established traditions for its own sake. It is reminiscent of China’s Cultural Revolution, or the Khmer Rouge’s Killing Fields: a thing is bad simply because it is old, and represents the general culture, which is bad. By this ideology—a mad theory—if we destroyed civilization, we would be back in the Garden of Eden. Evil and sin are not inherent in mankind, but imposed on us by culture.

This position includes an obvious logical flaw: if mankind is inherently and instinctively good, how did evil ever enter the world? If it was introduced, say, by evil rich capitalists, or the kulaks, are they not also human? What sinister alien force destroyed their own original innocence?

The conventional answer, of course, is: some of our neighbours are not, actually, human. The Jews, perhaps. We can see that one on the horizon already. Or, if that is too clichéd, cis white males. Choose a despised minority, and off you go.

I suspect this idea of original innocence is itself only an alibi. It masks two less creditable desires. First, the urge to ignore right and wrong in favour of indulging one’s will. With civilization comes the social requirement to act morally. Second, the deadly vice of envy: any great accomplishment, and any great men, must be pulled down and trampled, because it is something you did not do. It is always easier to destroy than to create.

But turning to more cheerful thoughts, the name of a sports team is trivial. Lamentable that this vile disease of envy has struck Canada, which starts out with a severe deficit of shared history and shared traditions; each one we lose brings us nearer to killing one another in the streets. But it is still, in itself, trivial. And despite the proud associations that have adhered through the years to the name “redmen,” the name itself is hardly inspired. Perhaps we can do better.

Any new name must take into account the established team colours. It would be yet more unreasonable to demand that they too be changed.

Here are a few suggestions:

McGill Red Line
McGill Red Watch
McGill Red Guard
McGill Grenadiers
McGill Fencibles

100th (Dublin) Regiment of Foot, as they appeared during the War of 1812.

All of these rely on the red team colour matching that of the old traditional British army uniform. Which feels like a neat analogy for a football team. McGill at its founding, after all, was an outpost of “British North America” and the far-flung “thin red line.” If Francophone Quebeckers take offense at what they see as a too-distinctly English rather than Canadian reference, no problem. Simply point out that it has already been clearly established that naming them after British soldiery is an insult.

Redmen firing in a reenactment at Toronto's Fort York.