Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Water-Cooler Confession

It's such a vulgar compulsion that some people have--of making a great show of their ambivalence on a given subject. That is, of broadcasting this ambivalence of itself, and there's an end of it. They do not do so in order to resolve anything; just to make it clear to the world that there's something that they're fuzzy on, that it's somehow very personal, and that they have mustered the courage to ... well, to not stare it in the face.

In a gratuitously thesisless piece entitled "Going to church when you have no faith" Vicki Woods presents us with a ripe example of the genre. After a thousand words or so of utterly inane blather she manages what can only be described as an anti-point:

I'm a baptised Anglican, who attended church until I was 15, when I lost all faith in faith itself and stopped for the most part doing God. If you cannot believe in the Virgin birth, or the Ascension, or the Trinity, why go?

I go - occasionally - because the ancient ritual sustains me. The language, the architecture, the communality of common worship.

My children were baptised, as I was. My neighbour the churchwarden thinks that keeping all the churches of the benefice open on Christmas morning, "even if people only go once a year", is important. So does the rector. I'm grateful for that and that's why I go.

(One assumes that it was in the same year of her solipsismal loss of "all faith in faith itself" that Ms. Woods stopped spelling her Christian name in the conventional manner; when, if you will, her why became an I. But to my point ...)

When on earth did it become, what?, challenging?, brave?, controversial?, to declare publically that, er, I don't really have an opinion on the matter as I've never bothered to give it more than a second's thought?

I mean: you lost all faith in faith itself?! How is that even possible? One doesn't have faith in faith, Vicki you twit, any more than one is convinced of conviction. It makes no sense! Rather, one has faith in God! Or, anyway, Christians do. To be sure: Christians are meant to work at faith in God. (Basic, basic stuff, sweetheart. The sort of thing that even a 15 year old could have told you--provided, of course, that he or she was actually paying attention in church.) Indeed, cultivating faith is for a lot of people the labour of a lifetime. So while it may very well be that you would prefer to do other things with your days than sitting around actively trusting in something that is of its essence mysterious (or "doing God," as you so unhiply put it), let's not insult reason--in addition to the Christian religion--by saying that you lost your faith when it's so clear that you abandoned it.

Ms. Woods wishes to impress us with the miraculous feat of her sitting between two stools. Christians, agnostics, and atheists alike will notice that she has only managed to fall on her ass.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tasting Notes

I was having drinks with John L— a while ago, and was perplexed to watch him pour a can of beer into his glass in an elaborately impractical way.

"Serves you right," I said, as beer foam overflowed the glass onto the table, and all over his wallet which was sitting there. "Whoever told you to do it like that?"

"One of the Molson boys, as a matter of fact," he replied, distractedly, sucking his fingers and flinging a pocketful of used kleenexes into the accumulating pool. "Of the Molson's Molsons. So."

"That's fine, John," I said back to him, after all of about a split-second's thought, "but what on earth do the Molsons know about beer?"

Monday, December 24, 2007

Why the Magi Were There

I will be away until the 28th, so I give you this (plus a couple of other things) to add to your reading for the season. (It might come as comfort to any of you who were unlucky enough to have read this.)

The Wise Men by G.K. Chesterton

Step softly, under snow or rain,
To find the place where men can pray;
The way is all so very plain
That we may lose the way.

Oh, we have learnt to peer and pore
On tortured puzzles from our youth,
We know all the labyrinthine lore,
We are the three wise men of yore,
And we know all things but truth.

We have gone round and round the hill
And lost the wood among the trees,
And learnt long names for every ill,
And serve the made gods, naming still
The furies the Eumenides.

The gods of violence took the veil
Of vision and philosophy,
The Serpent that brought all men bale,
He bites his own accursed tail,
And calls himself Eternity.

Go humbly ... it has hailed and snowed...
With voices low and lanterns lit;
So very simple is the road,
That we may stray from it.

The world grows terrible and white,
And blinding white the breaking day;
We walk bewildered in the light,
For something is too large for sight,
And something much too plain to say.

The Child that was ere worlds begun
(... We need but walk a little way,
We need but see a latch undone...)
The Child that played with moon and sun
Is playing with a little hay.

The house from which the heavens are fed,
The old strange house that is our own,
Where trick of words are never said,
And Mercy is as plain as bread,
And Honour is as hard as stone.

Go humbly, humble are the skies,
And low and large and fierce the Star;
So very near the Manger lies
That we may travel far.

Hark! Laughter like a lion wakes
To roar to the resounding plain.
And the whole heaven shouts and shakes,
For God Himself is born again,
And we are little children walking
Through the snow and rain.

... If you really like GKC on the subject of Christmas you should perhaps also read this. The line to be savoured: "... you never really regard a labourer as your equal until you can quarrel with him."

And, just in case you missed it, Snook the Elder's most recent post about a Christmas card he received from a former student is, if not heartwarming, at least diverting.

A very Merry Christmas to you!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Inalienable Right to Choose between Carthage and the Gulag

A smattering of items today on the theme of secular evangelism:

Apparently the Diocese of Melbourne is making great leaps forward in recognizing that 'there [are] circumstances, especially foetal abnormality, when abortion [is] "the least problematic solution".' ... Honestly. How does that line go again? Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven ... Unless, of course, the least problematic solution would be to top them. Say, if they're retards or whatever.


Archdeacon Alison Taylor, one of the diocese's all-woman committee recommending to the Victorian Law Reform Commission that abortion be decriminalized, qualified her position thus:
The knee-jerk reaction is to make the legislation very restrictive, but the way you reduce abortions is with contraception and sex education. The other thing is to support families — we need to be a pro-child society with a pro-child government.
For the days when sophistry was actually sophisticated! ... Were you under the impression that the knee-jerk reaction would be to make the legislation very restrictive, Ms. Taylor? Really?! I don't think you've been reading very closely your copies of Vogue, then. But I guess when knee-jerkery is understood to be a uniquely conservative thing (and, indeed, a uniquely bad thing), then it's rather difficult to impress upon such as Ms. Taylor the full spectrum of types capable of wielding a reflex hammer. (Bloody awful metaphor. Sorry about that.)

(h/t Alice the Camel)

And this, via Mapmaster of The London Fog:
Catholic Insight magazine has been advised by the Canadian Human Rights Commission that a "human rights" complaint has been filed against it for … well, essentially for being overtly Catholic.

As Paul Tuns notes, you're not likely to see much or any press coverage over this latest human rights crusade since Catholic Insight is just not the press' kind of press.
Onward Comtian Soldiers!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Greetings SDA Readers!

Well, as I can see from my bursting statcounter, I've been plugged by Kate McMillan at Small Dead Animals. At last!

Hello like-minded folk! Delighted to have you. Sorry that Warren Kinsella had to be the reason for our meeting.

A quick word about me:

I, probably like you, am a conservative. (I should prefer to think of myself as a philosophical conservative, but I have enough sense to recognize that this is not only pretentious, it is impractical. That said, I am no partisan.) I--perhaps like you, but not necessarily--am also a Christian. Of the small "c" catholic variety (that is, I'm an Anglican who has a sneaking suspicion he shall die a Roman). I am strongly committed to free speech; I am even more strongly committed to informed and articulate free speech--the current deficit of both I blame on the travesty of Human Rights Commissions, the abysmal state of education and, of course, Warren Kinsella ... I believe that there are such things as objective values, as indeed do I believe that there are objective truths. I love irony, but am sick to death of its abuse by sneering, left-liberal intellectuals. I hate Richard Rorty.

I should say too that I am devoted to tobacco in all its forms, and consider its treatment by society a unique indicator of the greater evils besetting us; it seems to me to be the canary in the coal mine of our freedoms.

... So there you are. If you're interested in the treatment of such things as these I hope that you'll come by again. Warren certainly will--but that's not much of an incentive, is it? (Indeed, I wonder where the man manages to find the time to raise his family when he spends so much of it here. A most perplexing mystery.)

The End of An Error

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you: Sheila Copps' last column.

Never again will we be treated to such as this:
The written word, condensed, fractured and often discombobulated by cyberspace, is unique. It knits together disparate ideas and provides a backdrop for coherent reflection and discussion.
The insane ramblings of an idiot-child? The Seventh Seal? Who knows!

Oh Sheila! In spite of your two years as a regular columnist for the Toronto Sun, we hardly knew ye! Or hardly knew what ye were on about, anyway.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Talentless Mr. Kinsella

Well, we could hardly expect that Warren Kinsella's slow but inexorable descent into obscurity was going to go without some grim display of unmanly protest. Recently we were treated to the spectacle of his turning on Ezra Levant, which, I expect, must've been deliciously entertaining to any of you who profess a liking for this sort of thing. I had to look away, myself.

But he's after Chris Selley again. The sad proof, my friends, that the abused always kick downwards*--particularly when they sense that those beneath them aren't likely to be there for long. Oh, how Mr. Selley's talent must gall a consummate hack and fraud like Warren Kinsella!

Here's what he says:

I don't know him, and he really dislikes me. That's the blogosphere, etc. Whatever. I send him my very best wishes in this joyous holiday season.

And I read him sometimes, I admit. But, even by his usual standards, Chris Selley - who regularly pumps in his column for conservatives who have said nice things about his blog - deserves a spanking for his latest posting. Therein, he seems to mock Barbara Hall for opposing anti-Asian violence, without quite having the guts to come out and say it. Then, in the same posting, he ridicules human rights folks for having the temerity to receive a complaint about Maclean's magazine - without quite having the honesty to come out and say it employs him.

Oh, and on his web site, he still promotes links to a loser who writes articles about "the kosher tax," and another one who says "F**k The Jews." And one who says he is a bigot. And, naturally, the Small-Brained Animal, who defends Nazis.

Swell guy. He has a promising career ahead of him in journalism. I guess.
(God! What do those first two sentences mean?!)

And here's the post to which he is referring:

Barbara Hall says: "Stereotyping any one community by assuming that certain people are more likely to commit illegal activity is not only wrong, it’s against the law."

She's wrong, surely. Right? "Assuming that certain people are more likely to commit illegal activity" can't possibly be illegal unless and until one acts upon said assumption—say, by running a pickup off the road because it's full of Chinese-looking people you assume committed some sort of angling infractions. No, wait—that's illegal no matter what you thought they did. Hmm. Am I allowed to think a Saudi is more likely to be a terrorist than a Bermudan?

Oh, our wacky HRCs. Perhaps while Hall is clarifying her bizarre comment, she can explain why Maclean's should face sanction for excerpting a bestselling book even as the Toronto Public Library system lends out 72 copies of the entire friggin' thing for free.

You'll notice, first and foremost, the quality of prose and argument here as in direct contrast with Warren's. You'll notice too that Selley is right--absolutely, and without question, right--about Barbara Hall being wrong. As for this business of Selley's not declaring interest re. the Maclean's affair: there isn't a person who reads Tart Cider who doesn't know that the reason why that website has been sitting mostly idle the last year+ is because Selley's efforts have been focussed on Megapundit. Posts wherein this has been made abundantly clear can be found here.

As for this ludicrous nonsense about linking to Kevin Grace, Robert McClelland, Jay Currie, and Kate McMillan ... Well, I'm friends with the first and third of these, so I guess any defense I can muster for them is worthless. But I find Warren's repeated attacks on Mr. McClelland for his notorious "fuck the Jews" post truly staggering ( ... a notorious, and notoriously misunderstood post, I hasten to add, though I'm no fan of Mr. McClelland). As I've pointed out before, Warren Kinsella linked to My Blahg in his blogroll for a full year after the post went up (see left margin of this).

And anyway, it seems to me that there are a number of Warren's colleagues at the National Post who also link to these people. Colby Cosh links to three of them. And to Tart Cider. What's in store for him, I wonder? But, oh yes! The rule is that the abused kick downwards. Nearly forgot.


ADDENDUM (December 23rd)

Of note from the comments at Small Dead Animals, this:
There is no racist like one who capitalizes in race politics...And there is no bigot like the one who evaluates everything in terms of race.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Sanctity of Property, and The Necessity of Violence

"Well, Huw," said Mr. Gruffydd, "some trouble with the Philistines, then?"

"Yes, sir," I said.

"How did this pencil-box come home like this?" Mr. Gruffydd asked me. "I asked you to take care of it."

"From the way he came home," my father said, "I wonder he had the sense to bring it with him."

"Let Huw answer, Mr. Morgan," said Mr. Gruffydd. "Property must not be broken like this without some action taken to stop it happening twice. Huw had it in his care. He was not to blame. Who was?"

"Those who left their marks on him," said my father.

"I was out of the room when it was done, Mr. Gruffydd," I said, "but I said I would fight all of them, and I will. So they shall have payment for it, whomever they were."

"Kennel-sweepings," said Mr. Gruffydd, "and only kennel-sweepings could smash a little box like this. I am in a mind to cut myself a handful of twigs and go down there tomorrow and take the skin off their backs."

"Good," said my mother, "and burn the old place up."

"Hisht, girl," said my father. "Better to let Huw fight his own way, Mr. Gruffydd. I am just as able to go down there, and God help them if I did. But it is Huw's fight. Not ours."

"It is our fight, Mr. Morgan," Mr. Gruffydd said, and putting the box on the table. "Huw can teach them he is the better with his fists, but he will never teach them the sanctity of property. The vandal is taught physical fear by superior violence, but he cannot be taught to think."

"Will twigs do any better?" asked my father, and pulling on his pipe not to smile.

"Far better than fists," said Mr. Gruffydd, and starting to laugh, "for fists are between man and man. But twigs and reason are the universal law, good for all men. Fists will teach you to fight better if you have heart and head, and your fists will teach other men to let you have your share of the road in peace. But twigs and a talk will teach you to think to live better. And that is why I am in a mind to go down there to-morrow morning."

"I am going to mend the box, Mr. Gruffydd," I said. "There will be no signs when I have done with it. Like new, indeed."

Richard Llewellyn, How Green Was My Valley

Fiction meets Reality, Reality meets Fantasy

Two totally unrelated pieces for you today, but which I couldn't resist.

The first is for any of you who might've spent any time reading detective novels or comic books when you were younger: the headline of your dreams!

(Best line of the story:
“She’s a little girl, she was grabbed, he’s a man, we put two and two together,” said Det. Emerson Finn, describing why the suspect was designated a potential sex offender.
God forbid I suggest that this doesn't really seem like enough to call the man a potential sex offender, but the math, the metaphor, and the logic are all delightfully preposterous. And anyway ... Six fingers! Outstanding!)

The second is an absolutely hysterical piece in every respect.

Nalo Hopkinson blogs at about her involvement in this year's "Canada Reads" literature competition, and the post's got everything! Ms. Hopkinson declares that she has something called Adult Attention Deficit Disorder; she gives us a rollicking synopsis of her book Brown Girl in the Ring (
which tells the story of Ti-Jeanne, a black, single mother struggling to survive in "a Toronto suffering the extreme end-results of extreme cutbacks"); and she revisits her experiences of Canada Reads events past.

It was difficult to find a favourite line from this as there are just so many good ones, but I thought the following particularly inspired:
In that first year, I know that some Canadians were dubious about turning the serious contemplation of serious lit-ur-rat-oor into literary Survivor and voting a book off the island every week, as though you could weigh and measure artistic excellence like potatoes in the market.
Oh baby! A Survivor analogy and a grocery metaphor all in one delicious little run-on sentence. But a sampling of the craft on offer at this year's Canada Reads!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

From: The Correspondence of Snook (The Elder)

From Ms. Esmerelda Pinch, B.A., B.Ed.

Dear Mr. Snook,

Happy Holidays, old schoolteacher of mine! I hope that Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or whichever religious festival you have chosen to celebrate this year finds you, your partner and dependents, well.

You'll notice from the postmark that I'm living in the U.K. now! (I cherish a fantasy that you'll come to think of me as one of your beloved Brits soon!) And, indeed, I've become a teacher too--at a wonderfully challenging comprehensive school in London's East End! How proud it must make you to learn that a former student of yours chose to follow in the footsteps of her dear old "Sweat Circles" Snook ... Though, likely it'll reassure you to know that I'm not following in your footsteps exactly. I like to think that we've progressed just a little since your day.

Speaking of progress, you will have read about the lamentable condition your generation has left the planet in--of the prospect of sea levels rising 800, perhaps even 900 feet, threatening the extinction of our indigenous coastal communities--and it is for this reason that, rather than continue to perpetuate the cycle of consumerist enviro-violence that brought us to this pass, I have decided to make charitable donations to worthy causes on behalf of all my friends and family. Seeing as you're still stuck over the pond (in what my partner likes to call 'the West's trailer park') it took some doing familiarizing myself with the organizations on offer there. But I think I have found a suitable beneficiary for you. Indeed, I'm rather jealous that we don't have something similar here. It combines all the virtues of an activist agenda with a robust political mechanism; it's called the Green Party of Canada. Have you heard of it? It's all the rage apparently amongst voting Liberals. In any case, I have made a donation of £2 to this Green Party, in your name. And, yes, you're very welcome. Know that the satisfaction of having given it is thanks enough for me.

Anyways, I'll leave it at that, I guess, and just wish you all the best of the season again--recognizing, of course, that it is not necessary that you should expect any more of this season than you should of any of the others.


Esmerelda Pinch

P.S. I wonder if you're still smoking that stinky old pipe? It was a very quaint affectation, to be sure, but perhaps you didn't know of the risks associated with second-hand smoke? I've enclosed a pamphlet, just in case. We must begin to think of the health of future generations after all.


To Cough O'Hoone, Esq.

Dearest Cough,

Just received the strangest card from that little tick, Esmerelda Pinch. Do you remember her? The one with the clumpy hair and the unfortunate complexion? I have nothing but miserable memories of the girl myself--that fuss she kicked-up over a perfectly respectable grade I gave her on her final exam, and how her father threatened legal action--and yet she sends me this Christmas card, pretending all the familiarity of a fellow Boggle enthusiast!

Of course, I say Christmas card, but I mean one of these anything-but-Christmas cards. It's a phenomenon that has always amused me, as I know it has you; the insistence on the part of such people that holidays in general are the cause of their once yearly output of greetings in the form of ambivalently worded and, often, tastelessly decorated bits of cardstock. I've always wanted to ask one of them why they don't then send cards (that explicitly ignore the given occasion, of course) on any of our other statutory holidays. I have half a mind this year to send all of them greetings and well-wishing that should arrive precisely on their birthdays, but which don't specify why I should've ever bothered doing such a thing.

But back to Esmersmella. Did you know that she openly refers to me as "Sweat Circles" in her letter? What is wrong with this generation that they're so utterly incapable of recognizing the difference between a playfully respectful nickname and an out-and-out insult? And, anyway, you had given me to believe that "Sweat Circles" had been your nickname amongst the rabble! Are we to take it from this that our students were so deficient of imagination that they could only think of the one hopeless slander with which to paint us all? I don't know about you but I'm beginning to think that my life as an educator was a wasted one.

But again, to my point: in the newly-minted tradition of sending one's friends the gift of one's own political agenda, the girl informs me in her card that she has made a donation to the Green Party in my name. My question for you: is this actually possible? I was under a strong impression until now that such was more in the nature of being an illegality. The absence of a tax-receipt to prove her claim suggests to me that my surmise is correct and that she did no such thing. But I can't help thinking that this could just as easily be put down to the miserliness of the sort of person who thinks that two British pounds qualifies as charity.

Yours eagerly awaiting confirmation that I still live in the free world,



To Esmerelda Pinch, B.A., B.El.

My Dear Esmerelda,

A Merry Christmas to you too! And what a charming card! Two fruit flies in bowler hats holding hands was just the thing to break up the monotony of all those Nativity scenes, Journeying Magi and Archangels on our mantelpiece. God bless us, every one!

It is very nice to hear that you've moved to England, of course, but I think there might be a bit of confusion re. my apparent love of "Brits." "Brits," as I understand the term, are a class of Englishmen who have acquiesced to the wholesale dismantling of their society and culture--an undertaking for which, I'm afraid, I have no sympathy. But it might interest you to know that the term was coined some time ago by the Americans as part of their ritual of degrading their former sires. While I suspect that you have no affinity for historical Great Britain, it occurs to me that you might be persuaded to drop the pejorative if you recognized that by doing so you will be stemming a bit the oft criticized 'cultural hegemony' of the mighty and terrible U.S. of A. ... Yes, I fear that any Englishman willfully using this term "Brit" is as likely as not to be George W. Bush in a wig and doing an Estuary accent. (Which, of course, isn't very difficult for an American.)

And, yes, I am most grateful of your generous gift of a donation to Canada's burgeoning political force, the Green Party. You'll remember my commitment to the spirit of democracy, and how often I have lamented its betrayal by the letter--so I'm always happy at the prospect of a greater diversity of representation available to the Canadian public. Of course, I'm often upbraided for this encouragement of the lunatic, one-issue fringe. But the more the merrier, say I! There may be less chaff to sort from three bushels of wheat, but there's less wheat, too, as compared to four bushels.

I was so inspired by your gesture that I couldn't resist returning the favour--in spite of your commendably selfless insistence that I refrain. I have, therefore, made a donation of five dollars, in your name, to the British National Party. I confess that I know very little about this organization, save that it too is considered a political underdog, but I simply could not resist the cherub-face of its chairperson, one Nick Griffin ... As you say, Esmerelda my dear, no thanks are necessary. Knowing how this gift must make you feel is reward enough for me.

As regards your postscript: I'm embarrassed to say that I am still smoking my pipe. Though, the twenty page glossy on the effects of environmental tobacco smoke was unnecessary. Once in a while a clammy draft from the outside world does penetrate the thick, fragrant blue fog of my sexagenarian solitude, and it wouldn't be the first, second, or even third time that I've been pestered by this particular breeze. You suggest that I need to consider future generations. But I tell you that I do, and it seems only to have an opposite effect! Take this dinner party I went to the other night: I excused myself from the gathering--with the kind permission of my host, of course--to go out on the front porch to have a smoke. No sooner was I bundled up for the -10 degree weather and shivering away on the stoop, than I found myself being closely observed through the window by a young man of, say, six years. Try as I might to shoo him from his perch, the lad refused to be dissuaded, and stared, wrapt--sometimes laughing, sometimes clapping--as I shot jets from my nose, and blew near-perfect smoke rings to the silent, one-clouded heavens.

Unfortunately for these future generations you mention, they seem to be under the impression that my smoking's a kind of magic. And I suppose that I am so far gone in the throes of my addiction that I'm inclined to agree.

Yours from the well-nibbled bit of his faithful old briar,

Sweat Circles

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The "P" Word

I read that the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) gathered yesterday in downtown Toronto's PATH system to protest the city's treatment of panhandlers. OCAP organizer Mike Desroches put their case thus:
Police, security and sometimes the media will suggest panhandling is something people should be afraid of and it is not at all. It is people trying to make ends meet, to survive.
Fair enough, Mike. But it seems to me that you're only compounding the problem by maintaining the use of this offensive term "panhandling." Have we learned nothing from the example of Canada's soon-to-be legitimized profession? You don't strike me as the sort of chap who would ever be so uncouth (nay, intolerant!) as to call a sex-trade worker a hooker--so why refer to the solicitations for loose change of the homeless as "panhandling"? It's disgraceful!

I hereby propose, then, that Canada's panhandlers hitherto be referred to as no-trade workers. Give it a couple of years, Mike, and you can expect to have even the Fascist Post pleading your case.

(I'm not married to no-trade workers, and any other suggestions are welcome via my email.)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Post-Modernity: Pleasing Taste, Some Monsterism

When I was in University I was constantly being warned off various writers, thinkers, for being too Victorian. This once saw Robertson Davies onto the pile, which even then struck me as a bit odd, but I sort of understood.

When it became clear, though, that Elizabeth I, Augustine of Hippo, Homer--indeed, every person and idea that had had their run before the year 1960--could all somehow be of this category too, but that Oscar Wilde couldn't, then it dawned on me that something might be amiss.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Stupid Beyond Reckoning

Did Sheila Copps really say this?
Contrary to popular myth, immigrants are not a drain on the economy, but an adrenalin shot of prosperity.
Cities with large immigrant populations face fewer fears about the capacity of Canadians to adapt to new realities. Debates, such as the Quebec reasonable accommodation discussion, have been launched in rural Herouxville where immigrants are all but nonexistent. Ironically, this unwarranted fear of the unknown will actually drive those same communities into further decline.
"New realities" good, "further decline" bad. Gotcha. Only, what were those "new realities" again? More immigrants, was it? And what was that "further decline" you mention? Less immigrants?

So, wait a second. You're saying that the reason why more immigrants is good is because less immigrants is bad? That more immigration is desirable because it leads to ... more immigration? This would be a pretty basic instance of what's called begging the question, wouldn't you say, Sheila? And this is supposed to be the proof of your "immigrants are an adrenalin shot of prosperity" thesis? That prosperity, a priori, equals immigrants? Alas no, Sheila. I think you'll find that immigrants equals immigrants and that prosperity equals prosperity. No doubt they're not mutually exclusive categories, but they are about as interchangeable as "Sheila Copps" is with "increased Sun readership."

And as for this adrenalin shot metaphor ... I wonder if Ms. Copps is familiar with the phenomenon of adrenalin overdose? "Adrenaline," I gather, "is not a treatment without risk--especially in patients with cardiovascular comorbidity or who are taking an interacting medication." So the question might be: do we have any cardiovascular comorbidities that might compromise this gratuitous treatment of our apparent anaphylaxis? Say, the decline of traditional Canadian values/culture/society, perhaps? Or are we using any interacting medications? What about the Prozac of political correctness?

Actually, I rather like this analogy.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Diligite Iustitiam Qui Iudicatis Terram

Loved star! what jewels, and how many of them
Showed me 'twas Justice whose terrestrial course
Is governed by the heaven thou dost begem!

Therefore I pray the Mind which is thy source
Of might and motion, that It mark whence comes
The smoke that dims thy rays and dulls their force;

That wrath rekindle soon to purge these scums
Of mart and sale within the temple wall
Built once with miracles and martyrdoms.

O soldiers of that host celestial

On whom I gaze, pray for a whole world run
Astray after ill example! Pray for all!

Wars, that the sword once waged, are waged and won
By banning now, wherever men think fit,
That Bread the Father's love locks up from none.

And thou, who writest but to annul the writ,
Take heed! for Peter and Paul, who died to save
The vineyard thou play'st havoc with, live yet.

But thou wilt answer: "I who only crave
For him who chose to dwell alone, and then
Was danced away into a martyr's grave,

Know naught of all your Pauls and Fishermen!"

Dante Alighieri, Paradise*, Canto XVIII.

*I could only find an online link to the Longfellow translation. The above comes from Dorothy Sayers'.