Playing the Indian Card

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Mirrors

 



Scott Adams, in his daily podcasts, has pronounced himself puzzled by the apparent truth of an insight from Tucker Carlson: that whatever the left accuses the right of doing seems to be just what they have been doing themselves.

They accuse Trump’s followers of trying to stage an insurrection; they use this as an excuse to try to stage an insurrection. A second or third insurrection, following the Russia hoax and the Ukraine impeachment. They accuse Trump of encouraging rioting; after a year of encouraging rioting. They accuse Trump of authoritarianism, for considering calling in the National Guard to protect the White House under siege, or for considering calling in the Guard to cities torn by rioting. As soon as they are in power, they call in the National Guard to protect Washington, and keep them there. And plan to impose COVID regulations on the states. They accuse Trump of colluding with Russia; Hillary Clinton was colluding with Russia, Joe Biden was colluding with Russia, not to mention China and the Ukraine. They impeach Trump for supposedly, perhaps, interfering in Ukrainian legal affairs and demanding a quid pro quo for aid. Yet Biden is on video boasting about interfering in Ukrainian legal affairs and demanding a quid pro quo for aid. They have called Republicans Nazis and Fascists for years; that’s the entire “Antifa” thing. Then when Gina Carano tweets a comparison of the left to the early Nazis, this is intolerable. She must lose her livelihood for it. They declare the right “anti-Semitic” while being anti-Semitic. They accuse the right of being racist, while making everything about race. They actually declare not being racist, racist. They claim the Republicans are for the rich and against the poor, while openly expressing contempt for the poor.  It is only too obvious there is a pattern here.

The principle is simple, and known since ancient times. When someone commits consciously to evil, to something they know is wrong, the truth becomes their enemy. They feel the need to get as far away from truth as possible. They will come to consistently say the opposite of the truth, and accuse the innocent of their sins.




Saturday, February 20, 2021

War by Other Means

 

Joe Biden is working for the government of China.

I was recently watching a video on the history of Iran. As a matter of policy, Britain controlled the government of Iran for years in the early 20th century simply by strategically bribing key officials.

Why not? In the end, it is the cheapest option: cheaper than fighting a war, or sending foreign aid, or making any sort of a government-to-government deal. And it avoids provoking possible conflict with other powers also seeking influence.

So why not China? Now that China’s prosperity gives its government some serious money to work with, why wouldn’t they do the same thing Britain once did? They are not strong enough to overcome the US in war; strategic bribery costs much less.

Especially since, unlike in the case of Britain, bribery is a part of the traditional Chinese way of doing business. 

Surely, then, they will have tried; they will have tried to bribe key figures in a country as important to them as the USA.

If this has not previously been an issue, it is because, in the developed world, we could count on most of our elite being too honourable to sell out their country. That was in some significant part why Britain could control Iran through bribery, but Iran could not control Britain. 

But we have seen a visible decline in the morality of our elite in the past few decades. That sort of patriotism is long dead on the left. They will openly declare the US evil in its inception.

We know, in fact, that the Chinese are doing so: they are bribing, infiltrating, and compromising. We heard recently of prominent academics accepting secret funding from China. We hear of Diane Feinstein’s office, and Eric Swalwell’s office, being infiltrated by Chinese spies. We hear of huge numbers of Chinese spies present in the US. 

Joe Biden, as a longterm senator and then VP, on the left and not publicly predisposed to be anti-CCP, would have been an obviously worthwhile target. He must have been approached.

Biden has a reputation of being for sale. He has acquired a personal fortune in office. He has long been understood to be in the pocket of the insurance industry in his home state.

And we have direct evidence he is on the Chinese payroll, from his son’s laptop, confirmed by his son’s business partner.

I think Biden spoke with surprising openness when asked about China’s treatment of its Uyghurs at a recent town hall:

“So, the central -- to vastly overstate it, the central principle of Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightly controlled China. And he uses his rationale for the things he does based on that. I point out to him, no American president can be sustained as a president if he doesn't reflect the values of the United States. And so the idea I'm not going to speak out against what he's doing in Hong Kong, what he's doing with the Uyghurs in western mountains of China, and Taiwan, trying to end the One-China policy by making it forceful, I said -- by the way, he said he gets it.

Culturally, there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow.”

He is excusing the Uyghur genocide as “different cultural norms.” And he seems to have assured Xi Jinping that his opposition to the genocide or to the Hong Kong takeover is purely pro forma, to satisfy public opinion. It does not reflect his own views, and he is not actually going to do anything.

The same attitude could have maintained good relations with Hitler in 1938. Biden sees himself as fundamentally on the same side as Xi, and essentially in opposition to the US population. They must just be kept quiet so business can be done.

If China owns Joe Biden, who else have they bought? 

Justin Trudeau probably need not have been bought. He looks to me like what Lenin used to call a “useful idiot,” with delusions of glamour about Communism. On the other hand, Trudeau has shown himself to be buyable by others. And his actions towards China seem contrary to good sense and Canadian interests. To be sure, his government has also been in conflict with China; but that seems to have been forced on him by the need to honour an extradition treaty with the US.

I suspect from their actions and public stances that China has down payments as well on President Duterte of the Philippines, and President Moon of South Korea.

Nobody in China goes in through the front door. Everything has a back door.

The US, or Britain, or someone, ought to be smart enough to buy Xi Jinping.



Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Work of Human Hands

 




These are the words of consecration at the mass:

“the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.

“the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink.”

I suddenly realize it is significant that the bread and wine have two sources: nature plus human effort. This is their essential nature, and this is why they are the things we consecrate.

They are works of art, in the proper sense: they are co-productions of God and man.

This is the divine plan of salvation: God made the natural world to be perfected by man in art. God offers each of us grace and salvation, and it is up to us to respond and to work with it, as in the creation of art.

This is the contrast between the wine of the Eucharist, and the apple of Eden.

We are saved by art—not just the fine arts, but by every craft and skill. We are made, in Genesis, to be gardeners. We are made out of red clay by Yahweh, as a pot is made, and made in his image—to be potters. We are to imitate Christ--and Christ was a carpenter.

Through each work of art, we are building the New Jerusalem.


Monday, February 15, 2021

Wild in the Senate Chamber

 



Many are celebrating the acquittal of Donald Trump in his Senate trial. Others, of course, are lamenting it.

I am more shocked that 57 Senators could vote for a conviction. The only practical result of a conviction would have been to prevent Trump from running in the next election. That would be irrelevant unless the Democrats believed he had a real chance of getting re-elected. In other words, their intent was to subvert the will of the people, to subvert democracy. To deny the entire population the right to vote.

This was an attempted coup.

It was also a blatant assault on freedom of speech. Trump was being tried for something he said, and for campaign rhetoric. Besides the issue of human rights, freedom of speech is necessary, as John Stuart Mill demonstrated, to have a functioning democracy. This is why no representative can be sued for slander, for example, for anything they say on the floor of the House of Commons. It is essential that political speech by elected officials be unrestricted. Unless all views are heard, the people are not being allowed a choice.

This was an attempted coup, shameless and in broad daylight. It was an attempt to overturn the constitution of the United States, and its system of government. The regrettable January 6 incident, whoever was responsible, was not.

And this attempted coup in the Senate came alarmingly close to succeeding. With alarmingly little objection from anyone.


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Thinking Way Too Far Ahead

 



Possible Republican contenders for presidency in 2024:

Donald Trump. The Republicans make a grave error if they turn away from Trump. If they do, his followers will stay home or form a new party. He is their best shot.

He may, on the other hand, not be up to it after four more years. If so, the ideal contender for the leadership of the Trump faction is Jared Kushner. His involvement in the Abrahamic Accords has demonstrated his ability; he would not just be a Trump surrogate or dynastic successor. And he comes with Ivanka.

There are other possible contenders for the Trump crown: Mike Pompeo, any of Trump’s children; but only one of this group can run. The advantage this faction has is that they will probably only run one of their number; the others will stand down, ensuring a strong showing in the early primaries. If any of them ran against the Trump-backed candidate on their own, they would lose all support for doing so.

If not Trump, there is a large constituency for another non-politician. Another populist candidate might convince people he could do a better job than Trump at draining the swamp, and that is the underlying source of Trump’s appeal. Politicians in general are in disrepute, and the just-concluded impeachment trial has accentuated this. 

This leaves a big opportunity for Tucker Carlson, who is sounding populist now; but I doubt he would want to give up his media position, which probably has more real power to change things. Or Kanye West, as another billionaire; but since he is reputedly crazy, and inexperienced in politics, he comes with a high risk of self-immolation. Other obvious billionaires lack Trumpiness—as Arnold Schwarzenegger discovered when he tried to replace the master on The Apprentice, or as Mike Bloomberg discovered in the Democratic primaries. Doing the in-command billionaire role is not that easy. Elon Musk might be able to do it, but Elon Musk has more important things to do with his genius. Candace Owens has hinted at interest in running; but I’m not sure she has the intellectual chops. I’ve seen her flat-footed in an interview. If it were my choice, I’d love to see Ben Shapiro.

Traditional and religious conservatives are another large constituency within the party. Trump and Trumpites are actually rather odd bedfellows for them. They ought by rights to coalesce around Mike Pence; but Pence may not be capable now of being a unifying figure within the party. He was unfairly blamed by Trump for accepting the Electoral College results, and if he has to run against Trump or a Trumpite in the primaries, this adversarial image will be reinforced.

Ted Cruz is another prominent possibility for the TRCs. He has kept on the good side of the Trump populists. The rap against him is that he is unlikeable. That stopped Bob Dole; it did not stop Richard Nixon. Other possibilities in this slot are Tom Cotton, Tim Scott, Josh Hawley. The problem here is that there are too many possible standard-bearers, and they are unlikely to step aside for one another. This may spread the TRC vote too thin in early primaries, and eliminate them all.

Then there is the libertarian wing of the party. They have an obvious leader in Rand Paul, who has also stayed on the good side of the Trump faction. Paul’s problem, to my mind, is that he sounds unpresidential, whiny. Cut out for opposition, not leadership. Someone has floated a unity ticket of Rand Paul and Tulsi Gabbard. Great idea, but probably not achievable, politics being the art of the possible,

Ron DeSantis as Governor of Florida is making waves these days. But sitting governors are sitting ducks; they have to govern, and bucks stop there when things go wrong. Andrew Cuomo has recently gone from Democrat star to Democrats demanding he resign. Kristi Noem has faded as COVID numbers have risen in her state. Chris Christie was supposed to be the odds-on favourite for the nomination in 2020--and then there was that bridge thing. Some governor may rise, but it is unpredictable four years in advance. 

Dan Crenshaw looks good, and charismatic. But he also seems too new and inexperienced.

What about the party stalwarts, the professionals, the guys who would have backed Jeb Bush last time? I think they have long had their eyes on Nikki Haley. I think Haley may have won their support, but killed her chances of becoming president, by coming out publicly against Trump recently. I don’t see the Republicans winning if they run against Trump instead of the Democrats.

My track record for predicting nominees has been awful. I called it for Jeb Bush last time, for Newt Gingrich the time before, for Rudy Giuliani the time before that. So don’t trust me on this. But I think the next Republican nominee will be Nigel Farage.


Saturday, February 13, 2021

The Real Issue

 



Some years ago, on an email list populated by professionals, I came out as a fan of free markets. The immediate response was that I must be an objectivist, a Randite. And that, apparently, would have been okay. But when I insisted I was not, that her philosophy seemed to me immoral, I was suddenly shunned.

When the left shows itself so intolerant of the right, it is not “capitalism” or any sort of economic policy that bothers them. It is the hint of a moral order. This is why so much of leftist politics is about sex.


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Art

 


This CBC Report is disturbing: the government of Canada is giving $19 million dollars to the families of missing indigenous women for works of art.

Even if we ignore the RCMP statistics, common sense tells us that murdered women and girls are relatively unlikely to have been murdered by random strangers. The likeliest suspect is a family member. Aside from such direct murders, girls vulnerable to murder by a stranger are most likely in that vulnerable position because they are trying to escape an abusive family situation. They are trying to “disappear” as a matter of survival. And of the rest, neglect or rejection by their family is most likely to have led them to be on those remote highways alone.

Indians, especially Indian youth, are being sacrificed by the Canadian government to twin idolatries: on the one hand, the myth of the “noble savage,” which holds that no Indian can be held morally responsible for their actions; and on the other, the myth of “family values,” which holds that all families are loving and supportive.

Rejecting the reports of the police, the federal government set up a commission that interviewed only family members of the missing women, in order to get to the “truth” about the missing women.

Great idea. Kind of like interviewing only OJ Simpson to get the “truth” about the death of his wife Nicole.

And OJ didn’t even get a painting out of it.


Sunday, February 07, 2021

The Real Face of Racism


Woodrow Wilson, who wanted all states to be ethnically segregated. See his "Fourteen Points."

The left has recently redefined “racism” to mean any commitment to the founding principles of liberal democracy. Therefore, anyone who holds either conservative or liberal beliefs is “racist,” or “white supremacist.” Only Marxists or anarchists, apparently, are non-racist. And only if they are not themselves white.

Unfortunately, dictionaries can no longer be trusted on any political issues. They are now often altered in real time to reflect current usage, whatever it may be. Accordingly, Merriam-Webster now includes, as a possible definition of racism, “a political or social system founded on racism and designed to execute its principles.” Leftists can therefore argue that the US or Canada were “founded on racism”—supposedly, on slavery, on the unfair seizure of Indian lands--and everything since has accordingly been racism. Supporting the continuance of their systems of liberal democracy thus becomes “racism.” 

This attitude among the publishers of dictionaries, unfortunately, makes dictionaries useless. There is no point looking to them for correct usage: they are looking to you. And this ability to alter the language for political purposes also violates dire warnings left to us by Confucius and by Orwell. The meanings of words are subject to the memory hole.

Webster’s New World Dictionary still gives us the established definition. Quoted in full, racism means “Feelings or actions of hatred and bigotry toward a person or persons because of their race. Discrimination or prejudice based on race. Racism is a belief that one race is superior to the other or the practice of treating a person or group of people differently on the basis of their race.”

Given this definition, the modern left is racist. The political right is not, and I warrant has never been.

It is an old tactic to taunt the left that segregation in the US South was purely a Democratic Party project. It was; the Republicans freed the slaves. The left, however, can respond that “Democratic Party” does not correspond to “leftist”; that these were conservatives who happened then to be Democrats, and are now Republicans. 

But does this wash? The same people who supported segregation were solid supporters of FDR for four elections, with his program more or less defining the modern left. Who in the modern left is against the TVA? They, the segregationists, were almost the sole supporters of Al Smith before him, that supposed radical progressive, and before that solid supporters of Woodrow Wilson, commonly considered the godfather of modern “progressivism.” Wilson’s administration was largely responsible for the entire segregationist system at the federal level.

Indeed, racism was deeply embedded in the progressivism of the early twentieth century; one might even argue it was at the core. “Progressivism” was all about science, and injecting this new expertise into the business of government and social order. And one of science’s brilliant new discoveries was this matter of human races. At least, we could see the dawning of the millennium: the human race could now be genetically perfected. Eugenics was one of its cornerstones. Tommy Douglas wrote his thesis arguing for it. Chinese immigration, at the same time, was banned at the insistence of the labour unions. Immigration was unfair competition for the working class. Although its contents were rather ambiguous, as befits a politician, J.S. Woodsworth wrote a book with the provocative title “Strangers at our Gates.”

The left will counter with “But what about the Nazis? They were the ultimate racists, and they were on the right.”

But by what logic have the Nazis ever been placed on the right? They were, by their own account, socialist revolutionaries and progressives. The associated movement in the arts was called “futurism.” The claim seems based on only two things: that they considered the communists their chief rivals, and that they were racists.

The latter claim is tautological. In fact, the Nazis here were in the mainstream of the left in their day.

The Oxford English Dictionary has no entry for “racism.” The term was invented after the dictionary was compiled: it was invented in the early Twentieth Century—the era of the first “progressives.”

Until modern times, and the Marxist/progressive project of setting human society on a properly scientific foundation, mankind was not classified like animals into biological races, and so racism was not even a possibility. In this fundamental sense, the left invented racism. Conservatives would have found the notion alien. And liberals would have rejected it on the grounds of human equality.

It is true that there was discrimination before this period; there was slavery, for one thing. But this previous discrimination was generally on cultural or religious grounds, not on the basis of race. That might have been better or worse—but it was a different animal.

The founding principles of either Canada or the US are the opposite of racist. The Declaration of Independence declares that “all men are created equal,” and the Constitution guarantees “the equal protection of the laws.” The Canadian Constitution declares “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”

These promises may or may not have been kept in any given instance, even on a large scale; but they are the system. Those who uphold and defend them, liberals and conservatives, are anti-racist. Those who object to them, Marxists, progressives, and anarchists, in wanting an alternative system, are racists.

The contemporary left aggressively promotes hatred and bigotry based on race: complaints of “white privilege” and overt hatred of “whites,” primarily; sometimes Asians; sometimes Jews. It sees people as groups, races, rather than individuals, and seeks to treat them as such. It demands unequal treatment based on race. This is the dictionary definition of racism.

The left is racist in its nature.


Friday, February 05, 2021

Scientism

 

A traditional unsympathetic portrait of the Qin emperor.


Most of the horrors of the modern world can be traced to scientism.

Do not misunderstand me; scientism is not science. But science is rarely heard from in popular culture. Scientism is the pseudo-religion that considers science the source of meaning and reality. It is the dominant faith of our age, and its consequences are profoundly destructive. Not least to science.

When people claim that doubting climate change is “anti-science,” or that “the science is settled” on any given issue, this is scientism, not science.  True science is based on skepticism and taking nothing on authority. Science makes no truth claims; it is a method of inquiry, not a set of dogmas. 

Besides the damage to science, scientism is, for example, the foundation of all racism. If we can agree that racism is a problem, rejecting scientism is the way to solve it. Before science sought to classify humans as if they were animals, the concept of race did not exist. The ancient Romans, or the Medieval Christians, knew nothing of race, and would have considered it as senseless to discriminate against someone due to their skin colour as due to their hair colour or eye colour. This is why both Roman citizenship and Christian baptism was open to all, without discrimination of birth.

Marxism, and all the mass murders it has produced, is also based on scientism. Marxism wanted to reduce all human life to material, and scientific, terms. It defined itself as “scientific socialism,” and was and is, of course, aggressively atheist. People were merely objects, means rather than ends.

Nazism is also directly based on scientism—it is Darwinism applied to the human species.

Everything we today experience as “mental illness” can, I think, also be attributed to scientism, which strips the world of its meaning. It is a striking fact that, before Freud, “mental illness,” melancholy, was generally considered transitory and curable. Now it is multiplying like an epidemic, and is incurable in all its forms. It is still highly curable in non-Western societies.

A Chinese student of mine, without anything being assigned, chose to write and submit an essay arguing for the need for society to support the Humanities. This looks to me like an appeal: Chinese schools and universities, like those in the old Soviet Bloc, do not teach the Humanities. There are no Humanities departments. There are only the STEM fields, and Marxist ideology.

She contends in her essay that this is why the Soviet Bloc fell—history shows, she writes, that any society that neglects the Humanities must fall in time. She cites, along with Eastern Europe, an earlier example from Chinese history, the Qin Dynasty. The Qin unified China in 221 BC under the banner of “legalism,” which emphasized social order as the only value. Books were collected and burned. 

The dynasty lasted only 15 years. It collapsed as the leaders, guided by no principle but power, began executing one another.

A point we are coming to, I fear, in our current societies. Humanities give us morals and meaning. Without the Humanities, there is no “why.” 

My student is not alone in her perception that scientism is a fatal flaw. When the Berlin Wall fell, the new democratic regimes of Eastern Europe thought the same, and sent their academics to the West to bring back knowledge of the Humanities.

Sadly, they discovered that the West, too, had largely abandoned them, in everything but name. Instead they had themselves been concocting and distilling the poisoned Kool-Ade of scientism. 

It has only gotten worse since.

Now the West seems to be falling apart, just as China is falling apart; from the same poison.

The difference is perhaps that there are more people in China who realize the problem. Chinese culture may recover first.


Thursday, February 04, 2021

Paranoia Strikes Deep

 


Expressions of insanity appear now all the time. A commentator on my friend Xerxes’s latest column says “January 6 was the day the Republican Party illustrated its true purpose—white supremacy.” 

Really? 

There were probably more genuine communists in the State Department back in Joe McCarthy’s day than there are white supremacists in the entire US today. I have never encountered one, in person or in print, although I have not gone looking. They used to be around, but probably not since the 1960s.

I have seen nothing in the Republican Party on January 6 or any other day that would suggest even tolerance within its ranks for such a view. I recall when Trent Lott was drummed out of the party leadership for a muted suggestion that the Dixiecrats were right back in 1948. While not necessarily “white supremacist,” the Dixicrats—a faction of the Democratic Party of the day—were segregationist. A position still heard in the Democratic Party today, but not among Republicans.

Of course, it is also debatable whether those who illegally entered the capitol building were, indeed, Republicans. Whether they were or not, there is no evidence whatsoever that they did so because of a belief in “white supremacy,” as opposed to a belief that the recent election had been stolen. Had they or even any faction of them indeed been interested in demonstrating in favour of white supremacy, one would have expected at a minimum the publication of a manifesto.

The simplest explanation for this comment is simply that the author of it is insane, in the proper sense of the term. He is completely disconnected from external realities.

Another leftist comments, in alarm, referring still to the events sin Washington on January 6th, “there are, at the last count I could find, 165 well-armed civilian militia groups across the U.S.” This is actually what the framers intended with the Second Amendment: it was to ensure the existence of “a well-regulated militia.” There is nothing sinister about a militia per se, except to a government up to no good. A well-armed citizenry was understood by the framers to be, and is, a protection against abusive government. 

Said commentator writes “all it takes is incendiary speech from misguided leaders to ignite them”—i.e., the militias. If he is referring to January 6, there is no evidence that any militia was involved. Nor that the people who did enter the capitol illegally were inspired by any particular speech. Those who did enter the building did so only minutes after Trump finished his speech, some distance away. They could not have been listening to it. Moreover, there is much evidence online that their invasion of the capitol was planned in advance.

This commentator, too, seems to be delusional; or at least badly misinformed.

He writes, of Republican objections to now being scanned by metal detectors on entering the building, “Can you imagine wanting to carry a concealed handgun into a congressional chamber?”

I can. Mass shootings usually take advantage of gun-free zones. The certain knowledge that no representatives are armed makes them sitting ducks.

As to being concerned about the representatives themselves acting responsibly, these are the people chosen by their peers as the most responsible in their communities, and entrusted with the powers of government, including the power to declare war. Nobody has the authority to overrule the vetting of the people. To demand that authority is itself an attempt to usurp the government; it is a coup attempt.

Another respondent finds it “chilling” that some right-wing outlets are openly suspecting Joe Biden of being a “socialist radical.” This leads her to the conclusion that “the virulence and irrationality of the opposition is very frightening.”

During the recent primaries, Bernie Sanders was Biden’s chief opposition within the Democratic Party; it looked in the early going as though Sanders was going to take the nomination. It seemed to take some fast work in the backrooms to grab the nomination instead for Biden.

Bernie Sanders openly calls himself a socialist. 

It follows that a large proportion of the Democratic Party, perhaps a majority, is socialist in their allegiances. And they have just been elected into power. It is reasonable to at least suspect that Biden either agrees with them, or has cut a deal. It is certainly exponentially more plausible a suspicion than that the Republican Party is “white supremacist.” Literally nobody in the Republican Party, I warrant, would say they are a “white supremacist.”

Another commentator actually quotes Trump telling the crowd on January 6th “to ‘get’ Pence if he didn't stop the certification process.” 

The transcript of his speech, which is available online, shows that Trump did not say this, or anything like it. The quotation is either deliberately invented, or hallucinated.

The characterization, common throughout the left, of the illegal entry into the capitol building as an attempt to seize control of the government seems similarly delusional—indeed, paranoid. Few of the civilians present seem to have been armed. As your correspondent notes, they had no plan for any alternative government. 

By this standard, any political demonstration could be characterized as an attempt to seize control of the government.

The left likes to stress that five people died during the event—as if this demonstrates that it was a violent attempt to seize government. CTV News refers to it in headlines as "the deadly capitol riot." They do not note that four of those five were demonstrators. One woman shot dead by capitol police. Of the other three, one man died of a heart attack; another of a stroke. One was trampled in the crush. These are the sort of things that might happen in any large gathering, especially of relatively elderly people. The officer died the next day of a stroke. As far as we can tell, the worst he suffered at the hands of demonstrators was being pepper sprayed. His death may or may not have been related to the stress of dealing with the protesters.

What are we to make of the fact that a large proportion of the general public seems to have gone insane? How can we respond?



Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Dogs in Canada

 

It is commonly said that people come to resemble their dogs. Perhaps instead it is that people choose dogs that resemble them.

National dog breeds do seem to reflect the personality of the place. German shepherds for the German character: rather aggressive, wolflike, martial. Poodles for France: clever, all show and style. The bulldog for British tenacity: bred to fight bears. America is a beagle, eager to please.

And if so, I think our native breeds speak well for Canada.

Perhaps I must omit the Husky; people may accuse me of cultural appropriation. It is essentially an Inuit-bred dog. Not from the mainstream. Pity, because it is an admirable breed.



But the generic country breed in Eastern Ontario, is the border collie. Kingston holds an annual sheepdog competition that attracts entries from across North America. Originally, of course, a Scottish breed. But then, so are many Canadians. And it seems significant that the border collie is so dominant on Eastern Canadian farms, even though sheep are not.



The border collie is, like the beaver, a tireless worker. Perhaps along with the sedentary poodle, it is the most intelligent of breeds. But a collie makes a terrible watchdog. It is friendly to everyone, and never snaps. Its care is for the welfare and proper order of its flock.

Typical Canadian.

Then there is the Newfoundland: perhaps also the product of a subculture, but one that has its adherents, thanks to internal migration, across Canada. It is so completely identified with Newfoundland, in foreign eyes, that when Newfoundland was first granted a parliament, Punch showed it populated by this dog. Big, powerful, gentle. A dog that will risk his life in heroic rescue. 



And the Labrador, another working dog, common across the country, the world’s finest retriever. Most famous for his gentle bite, which will not puncture the skin of a fallen bird. Much less think to eat it: he will always deliver it instead to the proper authority.

If our dogs reflect our values, as they almost almost self-evidently do, Canadians are nice, Canadians are polite, Canadians work hard with heads down, and Canadians believe in following the rules.

And Canadians are easily distracted by a squirrel.