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Paul Albers

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Robin Hoodism is on the rise

Once upon a time, and in some periodical publication somewhere, I wrote a piece on Robin Hood. It was a review of some semi-scholarly book about this semilegendary figure, as I recall. Partly, I...

Taking on the Reformation

One of the comforts, for a pundit out of tune with the choir, is to think “history will absolve me.” The whole world, or most of it, may appear to subscribe to various propositions,...

The miserly Canadian

Canadians, as everyone should know, are tightwads. This is true of Christmas-season giving, but also true in every other season of the year. When it comes to demanding that the government provide more generous...

Rediscovering the meaning of Christmas

Christians, or at least the Catholic ones, are supposed to do something through Advent—the season that immediately precedes Christmas. Prepare, in some way. The “Christmas season” comes in with the Midnight Mass, announcing the birth...

A vocal truth

In addition to the convenient facts—news that fits effortlessly into a writer’s view of the world—he should deal also with the inconvenient facts. This is more than a question of honour. It is also...

Don’t underestimate Barack Obama

The notion that “the voice of the people is the voice of God” is the paper currency of representative democracy. There is no gold behind it, and its essential worthlessness was exposed even by...

Stop waiting for policy

I mentioned recently in this space a book by John Pepall, Against Reform, just published, which gets to the core of national politics. And while it might seem on its surface to be merely...

Pagan savagery in London

Prince Charles, and Camilla, were not the only things under attack in England this week, on the streets of London, as the British government took its latest steps to avoid the fate of Ireland...

A pogrom in Baghdad

Breaking news quickly passes into “archive”; but days, weeks, and sometimes years may be required, to reconstruct what actually happened. Sometimes there are no survivors of a crime or catastrophe, and no testimony to...

Something worse than terrorism

It is such a rare event when I disagree with George Jonas, my hero and mentor among Canadian newspaper columnists (along with the late Richard J. Needham), that I’m inclined to devote a whole...

Matters of life and death

It has been argued that those who would consider the assassination of Julian Assange, because he has effectively become an “enemy combatant,” are uncivilized. But this is to confuse civilization with what is fey,...

Treason and Wikileaks

Can there be such a thing as treason? This is a question no one thought to ask, or at least no one sane, until recently. But part of the general insanity that has come from...

Something beautiful and worthy in its own right

One of the happier moments, in what has begun to feel like a long life (for I have now lived through three dekaenneateric cycles), was in the Khan Market at New Delhi. This was some...

Malled all over

The secular shopping year takes a long time to die, but its death throes are now upon us. Yesterday was Black Friday, and not only across the U.S.—for while American Thanksgiving is hard to...

Talk loudly, carry a big stick

Technically, the Korean War never ended. There was no peace treaty in 1953. The war (in which Canada was intimately involved) went from hot to cold by tacit understanding. It is a mere ceasefire,...