Thursday, June 28, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Wagging the Dawg
Thing is, the man talks absolute rubbish.
In spite of the statement-of-intent-thing that tops his blog, i.e.:
This is to be the usual running commentary on events, if sporadic. I hope it will be a counter to those out there who imagine they have ideas when all they really possess is a collection of right-wing idées reçues accompanied by spasms of anger. What I always look for is debate above the Usenet level.In spite, I say, of this admirably worded proviso, the good Doctor has demonstrated in his most recent post precisely the dangers to the sort of debate he envisions, by presenting his readers with a series of really quite brazen left-wing "idées reçues" accompanied by, if not spasms of anger, then at least spasms of petulant condescension. (Or passive aggression, if you like.)
His post takes as its subject the whole spanking issue, and the proposed repeal of section 43 of the Criminal Code. His argument, ostensibly, is an attack on this op-ed column, that appeared in the Ottawa Citizen yesterday. But you'll notice that he dismisses the piece in fairly short order. He does so, first, by employing an only peripherally relevant argument to the effect that one of the authors is inadmissible because of her association with the Western Standard*; and, second, by mischaracterizing the piece as pushing the line that "spanking is good for you." (It does nothing of the sort. Indeed, it stresses that "spanking as a disciplinary tool is ... neutral"; that the problem with outlawing a "reasonable force" exemption in the Criminal Code is, amongst other things, that serious cases of child abuse will be buried under an avalanche of child abuse charges brought against adults who are, conspicuously, not criminals.)
Now. Dawg dismisses Ms. Mrozek and Mr. Quist's argument, I say, but he is careful to replace it, quickly and almost seamlessly--and without ever letting on explicitly that he has done so--with a series of straw man cases that carry him through to the conclusion that "If anyone had any doubts about the sado-political mentality of the Right, its take on this issue is frankly conclusive."
See how he does it:
The op-ed, citing various studies that claim that spanking is good for you, is in response to the it's-about-time Senate initiative to repeal section 43 of the Criminal Code. There's a good synopsis of the issue here. The Supreme Court of Canada already prescribed strict limits to the practice in 2004: no belts or paddles and no shots to the head, and the child to be hit must be no younger than two and no older than 12. Focus on the Family, an intervenor in that case, liked the law just the way it was, and provides a helpful on-line "how-to" guide to hitting a child, including the use of "neutral objects" ...Okay, okay, okay, Dawg. But what does all this nonsense from Focus on the Family have to do with the Citizen piece? That is, what does it have to do with the issue at hand, i.e. the possible consequences of the repeal of section 43 of the Criminal Code as examined by Ms. Mrozek and Mr. Quist? ... Alas, that first sentence there is as far as Dawg gets in terms of relevant rebuttal.
Then the post really starts to spin out of control:
Now, hitting a child is not everyone's idea of how to generate family harmony. If there is a line between spanking and child abuse, I would like any of the pro-hitting folks to tell me where it's to be legally drawn. Here? Here? Here?Jesus, Dawg! The first two links are to cases of parents beating their children with belts and paddles. You just told us that the Supreme Court outlawed this! So ... the line has very clearly been drawn between their spanking their children, and their flogging them with belts or paddles. Right? And the third link is to a case of murder, for God's sake! As far as I know, that's against the law too. (Even in the United States; where, I should like to point out, each of these cases has its origin! I can't help thinking that the fact that the Doctor wasn't able to find any comparable Canadian examples says rather a lot about just how clear the line is here between spanking and child abuse.)
But let's not stray from the point. Again: what does any of this have to do with the Citizen piece? Mrozek and Quist don't, as far as I can tell, advocate a return to the stricter forms of corporal punishment. Nor do they suggest that parents be allowed to murder their children. So what's your point?
But nothing's stopping him now:
If the various conservative sources I have cited think that hitting children is good for them, setting them on the Correct Path, why stop there? What about troublesome teenagers? Adults? Seniors? They flog people of all ages in Singapore, don't they? But perhaps I shouldn't encourage them further. A number, in fact, are well along that road already ...Dawg! Section 43 does not, I repeat NOT, permit anyone to "flog" anyone else! It does, however, permit the use of reasonable force by parents, guardians, or teachers towards children between the ages of 2 and 12. You know who else has a privilege remarkably similar to this? The police! So if one of your "troublesome" teenagers, adults, or seniors does something to merit it--like, say, beating hell out of a child in spite of requests that he or she desist--then they too will have the standard of reasonable force applied to them.
Res ipsa loquitur nothin', Dawg. Try non sequitur and ad hominem ... ne plus ultra!
Now, I'm very willing to entertain suggestions of how we are to create this race of noble savages that Dr. Dawg imagines to be the apotheosis of leftist achievement, but I should like very much to know how that can be accomplished in this specific case (i.e. via the repeal of section 43 of the Criminal Code) without creating more problems than are solved. And I'm not being rhetorical here either. The Doctor has done a bang-up job of proving that conservatives are all either idiots or aspiring murderers, but that is quite beside the point. (Particularly given that confessing conservatives aren't the only people who are alarmed at the prospect of having the state act out on its belief that parents are insufficiently equipped to be able to tell the difference between reasonable and unreasonable force.)
The questions he needs to answer--directly, and without any obtuse surmising about the "sado-political" alignment of the people the questioner bares a fleeting resemblance to--are 1) how the outlawing of spanking will improve the protection of those children who currently suffer very serious abuse (that is, by people who disregard the law even as it stands now), and 2) how it will protect all children from possibly falling victim, in their adolescence, to the sorts of epidemics of violent behaviour Mrozek and Quist outline in their, as yet unchallenged, Ottawa Citizen op-ed piece.
*I don't deny that this information is relevant, but taken alone it amounts to nothing more than an accusation of guilt by association. Which, needless to say, is a fallacy.
UPDATE (11:30 PM)
Well, the good Doctor has posted a reply to the above on his site. (He does so as an addendum to the original post.)
He notes that I don't have comments, which is true. I have been working on the assumption up until now that if people have something they really desperately need to say to me, they'll just send me an email. That way I don't have to sift out any of the spam or nastiness that's likely to come in on comments. I have just discovered, however, that Blogger for some reason--and I don't know when--decided to remove my email address from my profile. This has been remedied. (And no smart ass comments about how I never noticed this until now, and that that says rather a lot about how much interest EMG is generating.)
Anyway, as I say, Dawg has posted his reply. And very terse he was about it too--but perhaps I deserved this. It's worth reading, and of an impressive length given how little time there was between my posting and his. I'll try to come up with something like a worthy reply over the next few days.
Until then--and in the hopes that I might be given a better sense of the substance of Dr. Dawg's idées reçues (which I'm still really really fuzzy on)--I give you this from some dude:
What modern people want to be made to understand is simply that all argument begins with an assumption; that is, with something that you do not doubt. You can, of course, if you like, doubt the assumption at the beginning of your argument, but in that case you are beginning a different argument with another assumption at the beginning of it. Every argument begins with an infallible dogma, and that infallible dogma can only be disputed by falling back on some other infallible dogma ...I can confidently say that the infallible dogma under which I am currently labouring in this matter is that while violence is terrible and undesirable, it is inevitable. Take away my ability to
Now the question is: what is Dr. Dawg's infallible dogma?
Monday, June 25, 2007
The Path to Rome
That this General Synod resolves that the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with the core doctrine (in the sense of being credal) of the Anglican Church of Canada.It did not, however, manage to pass this resolution:
That this General Synod affirm the authority and jurisdiction of any diocesan synod, with the concurrence of its bishop, to authorize the blessing of committed same sex unions.The National Post reports today:
While the Anglican result will please many conservatives in the Church, it is a stinging setback for thousands of Anglican gay and lesbian worshippers and their champions, who have been pressing the issue for more than a decade.Serendipitous wording! But alas, quite incorrect. For while the failure of the second resolution may very well disappoint those Anglicans who've made the object of their worship gays and lesbians, that first resolution there pretty much sets the seal on Anglicanism's bid to disencumber itself of the burden of Christianity. Conservatives are not pleased; conservatives are devastated (if totally unsurprised).
Saturday, June 23, 2007
"Sexual Realism" Takes a Front Seat to Reality
The main concern of the conference appears to have been that none of the magic solutions proposed by progressives over the course of the last 20-30 years are working. At all. Indeed, things seem to be getting worse.
Their solution, of course, was simply to pour on more of the same.
Carolyn Stewart, a Simon Fraser "Health Educator", suggested this:
When someone tells you, 'Sex sucks with a condom,' then you could say, 'Actually, I know how to make it really hot. Do you want me to show you?'That is.
Trent Psychology Professor Terry Humphreys, offered the following:
"Consent is a complex set of negotiations," he said.That is.Pulling from two decades worth of research on the topic, Prof. Humphreys illustrated why saying "No" is not only not part of "normative sexual scripts," but also a clear violation of most people's conversational norms. When it comes to sex, he said, "Young people have a strong belief that they have a 'Yes,' unless it's stated otherwise."
Complicating the matter, Prof. Humphreys explained, is that most sexual cues are non-verbal: verbalizing kills the mood and dulls the spontaneity so intrinsic to arousal. Even more problematic, he said, is that both sexes often prefer ambiguity during casual liaisons, offering less chance for awkwardness and rejection.
Does this nonsense strike anyone else as being the frozen limit of pointlessness? In the end, you get the distinct impression that Professor Frink there, and his Guelph Gang of Progressively- Minded Pedagogical Masturbators, aren't so much concerned about the sexual health of adolescents as they are about being able to "relate" to young people so that they aren't made to feel so old themselves. (Which, incidentally, teenagers consider to be a particularly repulsive trait in adults.)
If you'll allow me: the only way to bridge the gap between you and a bunch of rutting kids is, I'm afraid, to wait until the inexorable passage of time has made grown-ups of them too. Until then, yours must be that untiring voice ringing in the back of their tittle-tattle filled heads, commanding them to keep it in their pants! Spank them if necessary (and while you still can). Lame, I know. --But who cares?! You're worried about looking lame to a bunch of teenagers? Grow-up, for God's sake!
And rest assured that once they've shaken off that dreary dew of youth, they will understand. (And, likely, if they've acquired any brains in the meantime, they'll be grateful too.)
... In related news:
A Toronto city councillor is hoping to make it a little harder for young spray paint artists to practise their trade.
In a letter going to council's licensing and standards committee next Friday, Councillor Paul Ainslie (Ward 43, Scarborough East) says he wants to prohibit the sale of spray paint to anyone under age 18 to reduce "graffiti and tagging."
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Crunching Dalton's Granteds
I know, I know! What?! ... But don't worry. I'm fairly certain that it's not quite the one he thinks he's making.
Check it out:
On Tuesday he said the following with regard to the increasing problem of road racing in the city of Toronto:
At the end of the day it’s one individual who sits behind the wheel of a car. It’s like a loaded gun. And we have to call upon Ontario drivers to act reasonably and responsibly and to drive safely.Now, this "loaded gun" comparison is undoubtedly being employed here for effect. The Premier was, after all, speaking to a relatively small and quite specific epidemic of irresponsible driving. And hyperbole is always handy in such instances to drive home a point that the majority of people don't really consider their problem. (Nor, I hasten to add, should they.) But the thing is--if you check the numbers--the man's pretty much spang-on! It turns out that the risks of owning a car are only a fraction of a fraction of a percent less then the risks of owning a gun!
So, let's take a look at those numbers, shall we? (Bearing in mind that some of them are quite old (see notes). They were the best I could manage, I'm afraid, but I think it's safe to say that there probably hasn't been any significant change in them, relatively speaking. Indeed, if there has, it would likely only further even-out the risk factors at issue.)
If the total number of registered road vehicles in Canada is 20,065,171* and the total number of road fatalities per year is somewhere around 3,091**, then--broadly speaking--the odds are 1 in 6491 that a Canadian car owner will be in a fatal accident.
Likewise, if there are a total of 7,158,114 registered firearms in Canada, averaging at 1,131*** fatalities per year, then--broadly speaking again--the odds are 1 in 6329 that a Canadian gun owner will, directly or indirectly, be responsible for a fatality.
Pretty close, what? Damned close!
So we can look at these figures in one of two ways:
1) We can say that because car ownership poses an almost equal risk to citizens as does gun ownership, then it should follow that something along the lines of a car registry--accompanied by a move towards banning the riskier varieties of compact vehicle (Vespas, SmartCars, etc.)--needs to be put in place without delay.
Or, or, or ... 2) We can accept that if the risk of owning something is under, oh I don't know, say 5% (let alone .02% as it is with guns and cars) it is so negligible as to be unworthy of any more thought than what was required to make the initial, fiddling calculation.
I don't know about you, but I have complete faith in the government that it will see reason on this ... I fully expect that the new registry will take effect no later than June of 2009. And might I further suggest that parents undertake preventative measures for future generations by confiscating all their children's Hot Wheels, as one can only hope they have already done with their water pistols.
*Note that this figure, and the figure for the total number of registered firearms do not balance with the number of owners in each case. People who buy guns tend to buy a lot. Not so much with people who buy cars. Still, the numbers should yield something interesting on this front too; at least as they come to bear on Dalton's little bit of equivocation. Readers willing to undertake the number crunching are encouraged to send me their findings.
**This figure was published in 1996. (The number preceding it, in 2006).
***This figure was published in 2000. (The number preceding it, in 2007.)
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
A Convenient Mythology
"Arctic Tale," produced by the company behind "March of the Penguins" and narrated by singer-actress Queen Latifah, depicts the lives of female polar bear cub "Nanu" and female walrus calf "Seela" from birth to parenthood [...]Fantastic! All those rednecks and corporate fascists out there will finally be made to understand that Global Warming isn't just some theory; it's got a face! ... Well, no more than 23-odd faces, anyway, give or take a dozen:
Nanu and Seela are shown facing life-and-death challenges made greater by an Arctic climate which changed dramatically during the filming and inspired the movie's theme, said Adam Ravetch, who directed the film with his wife, Sarah Robertson."There was a time where we were discussing, should we address climate change or shouldn't we, and we felt a responsibility," Ravetch said on Saturday [...]
"Arctic Tale" shows Seela's walrus herd and Nanu's bear family clinging to shrinking ice floes. The bears struggle to find food when the pack ice on which they hunt returns too late after summer. Both species take refuge on a rock island, where walruses become an ever more frequent prey for the much smaller polar bears.
The difficulties global warming poses for Arctic wildlife are known to scientists. But in what Robertson calls a "new genre" of nature film, "Arctic Tale" gives the problems a face with its focus on Seela and Nanu, who are often cast in human terms and shown close up.
It kinda reminds me of that scientifically factual story about the single mother who immigrated here from Jamaica, the Philippines, and Albania; whose son, in spite of his being shot dead by a fellow gang member at the age of 15, pulled himself up by the bootstraps after a life-altering experience at 17; got himself a university education; became a Crown Attorney; got killed again, this time from a faulty airbag and secondhand smoke; then married a beautiful wife with AIDS; had three children all of whom died from SIDS, helmetless tobogganing, undiagnosed dyslexia and various lynchings by various stripes of bigot.
Robertson said it would have been impossible to tell the story without using composite characters because of the difficulty of trying to follow an individual animal in the Arctic for the eight-year cycle shown in the film. She said of Nanu and Seela, "To us they represent the very best of their species."
The scenes were genuine -- gathered during the two or three days a month that were suitable for filming, Ravetch said. "Everything you see in the film, we observed. It is also backed up by scientific facts."
Man! What a mind-boggling tragedy that was.
Still, for all the good "Arctic Tale" might be doing, I can't help wondering if its benefits really justify such flagrant speciesism? Ah well! Babel wasn't built in a day!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
The Lord of the Flies
If I wrote with my left hand, the brothers smashed me with a ruler because God didn't want me to write with my left hand.Oookaaayyy. Any chance you were going to say something about the repeal of section 43 of the Criminal Code? No? Or, sorry, that was what you wanted to say? But section 43 is the one that provides for the use of reasonable force by adults towards children; not crazy force ... Still no?--
Here Senator Jim Munson takes over from the (now gently weeping) General:
There is no such thing as reasonable force. You either hit a child or you don't hit a child.Yyyeeesss?
That's it, is it? Okay. So chalk up one non sequitur and one tautology for the Honourable members.
And I'll be sure to remind you chaps of this when a feral eight year old belts the pair of you in your fast-withering dangly bits, while his parents stand idly by, spouting some existential rubbish to the effect that while the child didn't have to punch you in your nuts, he did, and that at least his illiteracy expresses itself with the left hand.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Oh. So Genocide's Okay Then
Almost invariably, we discuss Darfur in a convenient military and political shorthand -- an ethnic conflict pitting Arab militias against black rebels and farmers. Look to its roots, though, and you discover a more complex dynamic. Amid the diverse social and political causes, the Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change.Fascinating stuff, of course, but something along the lines of being totally indifferent, what? I mean, we're talking about men here, right? Men. Not animals. And men don't slaughter huge numbers of other men (or women or children) because of the heat.
Now, if Mr. Moon were using climate change to explain the ruthless treatment of, say, one group of sub-Saharan jackal towards another group of sub-Saharan jackal, then I might be willing to up my appraisal of him to trivial ... A mere rung away from the sort of authority Alex Trebek wields ... But alas! Criminally insane he must remain.
(Or was this his was of saying that the Janjaweed are animals? Now that I'd be willing to call thinking.)
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
More from The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism
Where to begin?
We could, I guess, talk about the absurdity of his saying things like this:
A free media is a vital part of a free society. You only need to look at where such a free media is absent to know this truth. But it is also part of freedom to be able to comment on the media. It has a complete right to be free. I, like anyone else, have a complete right to speak.In light of events like this:
Soon after Labour's 1997 election victory, the economics editor of a daily newspaper wrote a story to which some people close to Gordon Brown took exception. The result was dramatic. Charlie Whelan, then the Chancellor's press secretary, yelled down the telephone to the unfortunate editor the details of how she, and her newspaper, were to be punished. She was to be declared a non-person: for a year there would be no briefings in her direction, no press releases and no invitations. As far as the Treasury was concerned, she would no longer exist.Or, simply, in light of the more salient recognition that Tony Blair's New Labour party is "the most media-obsessed government Britain [has] had in modern times"--employing, to cite but one glaring example, a notably ruthless former journalist as its Director of Communications shortly after it took government in '97.
But that would be to focus on Tony Blair's hypocrisy. Which, you must realize, is exactly what he wants us (or Britons, anyway) to do. He wants us to focus on his hypocrisy, I say, in the hopes that we will be persuaded that he regrets it; so that we will then give this honest, ultimately well-meaning man's New Labour Party carte blanche to correct it ... Even, that is, if it is to be at the expense of a free press.
This, it seems to me, has always been New Labour's desired endgame. They're playing the media now as much as they have ever done.
... But I feel silly even bothering to point this out.
Mr. Blair presents us with an admirably sinister variation on Nixon's adage:
Any change becomes impossible to resist when bureaucrats exacerbate--to the point of propagation--the chaos in which they exist, and to which only they (as its authors) can offer remedy.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Burke On What Has Been Lost
This mixed system of opinion and sentiment had its origin in the ancient chivalry; and the principle, though varied in its appearance by the varying state of human affairs, subsisted and influenced through a long succession of generations, even to the time we live in. If it should ever be totally extinguished, the loss I fear will be great. It is this which has given its character to modern Europe. It is this which has distinguished it under all its forms of government, and distinguished it to its advantage, from the states of Asia, and possibly from those states which flourished in the most brilliant periods of the antique world. It was this, which, without confounding ranks, had produced a noble equality, and handed it down through all the gradations of social life. It was this opinion which mitigated kings into companions, and raised private men to be fellows with kings. Without force or opposition, it subdued the fierceness of pride and power; it obliged sovereigns to submit to the soft collar of social esteem, compelled stern authority to submit to elegance, and gave a dominating vanquisher of laws to be subdued by manners.
Edmund Burke Reflections on the Revolution in France
Friday, June 08, 2007
A clock! A clock! My kingdom for an analog clock!
I mean, I know that it is rarely a good month for anyone, what with the blahs; the cold, the interminable gray, the confinement to the indoors with those idiots you work with or live with moaning endlessly on about the cold and the gray and how everyone they know has, for some inexplicable reason, turned into an idiot ... But this February was particularly bad, and not for these reasons. Not just for these reasons, anyway.
So what happened? did I hear you ask? And keep it short for once! I think I heard you add.
Well, it's a long story and a rather involved one, but I will keep it short as it isn't actually mine to tell ... Oh, sorry, did you think I'd been talking about myself? God, no! My February was fine! What I can remember of it anyway. No, I was talking about Kevin Grace's February. Brutal thing that.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Warren's Tangled Web of Whine
June 4, 2007 � To the three folks who have asked: why do I consider Maclean�s Chris Selley so contemptible? Because he links to bigots who promote that old anti-Semitic canard, the "kosher tax"; a woman who calls for genocide in Africa; and another guy who calls himself a "bigot". He�s a tit, in other words. And I still don�t understand why Adam hired him.Well, tits are wonderful things. Aside from their aesthetic virtues, they are marvelously functional too. Which, I guess, is a lot like Chris Selley. So, fair enough Warren. And, indeed, how serendipitous that you should use this type of analogy when I was just thinking what a complete asshole you are.
Can I just ask, though, that if your criteria for titishness is met simply by linking to "bigots", why is your first link there to a thread posted by white supremacists?
Not fair? Then, how's about this?
Penny dropping? No? If you look closely, you'll notice that My Blahg appears in your blogroll. (It doesn't anymore, of course, but it did.) That's the blog belonging to Robert McClelland; the guy you accused a while back of posting "some of the most offensive -- and stridently anti-Semitic -- material in the Canadian blogosphere." You know the guy: you now include him in the Top Ten Jerks list on your website:
Robert McClelland - Robert McClelland - NDP blogger who writes "fuck the Jews" on his web site, and defends the use of the word "nigger". Single-handedly demeans the Dippers by breathing. Suspicion remains that he is a Red Deer Canadian Alliance member working undercover to sabotage the entire Canadian Left.... And when did Mr. McClelland make that first slur you mention? Why, in May of 2004! And yet he appears on your blogroll more than a year later! Are we to understand that you endorsed Mr. McClelland's apparent anti-Semitism all that time? Do I risk something by linking to you, who have linked to "bigots" who have "promoted" anti-Semitism?
Some fascinating scrutiny of Warren's malice from Jay Currie.
Not to mention the man himself.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Further To Notional Anglicans
So the knight makes the movement, but what movement? Does he want to forget the whole thing? Because in that too there is a kind of concentration. No! for the knight does not contradict himself, and it is a contradiction to forget the whole of one's life's content and still be the same. He has no inclination to become another, seeing nothing at all great in that prospect. Only lower natures forget themselves and become something new. Thus the butterfly has altogether forgotten that it was a caterpillar, perhaps it can so completely forget in turn that it was a butterfly that it can become a fish. Deeper natures never forget themselves and never become something other than they were. So the knight will remember everything; but the memory is precisely the pain, and yet in his infinite resignation he is reconciled with existence. His love for the princess would take on for him the expression of an eternal love, would acquire a religious character, be transfigured into a love for the eternal being which, although it denied fulfilment, still reconciled him once more in the eternal consciousness of his love's validity in an eternal form that no reality can take from him. Fools and young people talk about everything being possible for a human being. But that is a great mistake. Everything is possible spiritually speaking, but in the finite world there is much that is not possible. This impossibility the knight nevertheless makes possible by his expressing it spiritually, but he expresses it spiritually by renouncing it. The desire which would convey him out into reality, but came to grief on an impossibility, now bends inwards but is not lost thereby nor forgotten.
Soren Kierkegaard Fear and Trembling