Sunday, September 19, 2021
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principled conservative viewpoints.

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Margaret Somerville special article

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Take a Hint, Canada.

Yahoo News — Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag resigned on Thursday after parliament formally condemned her handling of the Afghanistan evacuation crisis.
Too bad Canada doesn't have a Parliament. Or a news media.

Canada Excluded From International China Security Pact

Globe and Mail Dismissed by Justin Trudeau as merely a crass American salesman's move to pawn off the latest high-tech US-built nuclear subs to what we have to therefore assume he thinks are the total idiot Aussies, the three-nation deal didn't even include Canada in the talks leading up to the historic pact. And after Trudeau's comments on the matter (and the aforementioned attitude toward the Aussies), you can understand why.
"Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday played down Canada’s exclusion from the Indo-Pacific security deal, saying it is merely a way for the U.S. to sell nuclear submarines to Australia ... “This is a deal for nuclear submarines, which Canada is not currently or any time soon in the market for. Australia is.”"
In a clear indication that even Trudeau's political bro Joe Biden doesn't actually take him or Canada seriously anymore (forcing one to wonder if his high-fivin' bro Barack Obama doesn't also come off as a bit two-faced after Obama gave Trudeau a campaign "endorsement" this week), even Canadian officials were left in the dark. Almost like Canada can't even be trusted anymore on any level.

"Three officials, representing Canada’s foreign affairs, intelligence and defence departments, told The Globe and Mail that Ottawa was not consulted about the pact, and had no idea the trilateral security announcement was coming until it was made on Wednesday by U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison."

Trudeau, in contrast, delayed Canada's Wuhan Virus immunization program by signing a deal not with the Americans or Brits, but with... CHINA, for vaccines, in what turned out to be a total failure with countless Canadian lives lost as a result. What is going on here?

And the science SAYSSS…

National Post —Move over Donald Trump. In their NP Platformed email available to subscribers, columnist Sabrina Maddeaux calmly explains that Justin Trudeau's recent uncontrolled angry outbursts — one at a citizen who was rude, and one at a reporter who dared challenge him with actual reporter-like questions — provides a clue as to his baser instincts. And if you saw these outbursts, you'd agree, it isn't a good look for him or any normal human. But moreover, it's a terrible look for anyone claiming the title of Prime Minister. But it's this new line of anti-science, pure crass political campaign bullshit that has me riled:
"...At a weekend rally in Oakville, Ont., Trudeau revealed his hand when he claimed that, “If you want this pandemic to end, go out and vote Liberal.” He repeated the message again, even turning it up a notch, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, saying, “If you want this pandemic to end for good, go out and vote Liberal!”
"This is the ultimate false promise by a politician who’s become infamous for making false promises. No one can guarantee he will be able to end the pandemic. In fact, the expert consensus seems to be that there will be no real end to it: the virus will become endemic and we will be forced to live with it, albeit hopefully more normally. ..."
So it's "follow the science," and "the science says... to vote Liberal”? Many, especially the media, would dismiss "bible belt" politicians who insinuated that "God wants you to vote [whatever way].  This blowhard — and his disciples — should be treated no differently.

Two NDP humans resign their candidacy for alleged racist tropes

The National Post headline reads, "Two federal NDP candidates...

Inflation races higher in Canada — another new emergent threat to any economic recovery

Globe and Mail — They're reporting that Canada’s inflation rate jumps to 4.1%, fastest pace since 2003, sending shockwaves to almost nobody in the news media ahead of the stupid election. For example, the state-owned CBC "news media" division of the Trudeau Liberals reports it as their news item number seven or eight from the top. The G&M, as if explaining it to the CBC, wrote:
"The Statscan report arrives just five days before a federal election that’s seen affordability emerge as a key theme on the campaign trail, with all major parties pitching ideas to rein in a variety of costs, including for housing, child care and wireless plans..."
The cost of "wireless plans" is something like priority number 18,539 for me and 99% of the country, but Jagmeet Singh and the NDP — and therefore their loyal media at every opportunity — make out like it's more important than... I don't know.... inflation at 4% and Canada falling out of the economic freedom top ten... to say nothing of trillion-dollar debts and out-of-control budgets, and that thing about the end of our freedom of speech 'n junk like that. But ma wireless plan!!%#

Not “election news,” apparently: Canada drops out of top 10 countries in annual economic freedom report

Fraser Institute — In a sane land with actual journalism, this would be front-page news, one week ahead of an election. "In this year’s report, Canada ranks 14th based on 2019 data, the most recent comprehensive data, part of a downward trend since 2016. (Last year, Canada initially ranked 8th, although data revisions later lowered its rank to 13th.)"
“Due to higher taxes and increased regulation in Ottawa and the provinces, Canadians are less economically free, which means slower economic growth and less investment in Canada,” said Fred McMahon, Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute.
Economic Freedom of the World: 2021 Annual Report is the world's premier measurement of economic freedom, ranking countries based on five areas—size of government [Canada: 111th], legal structure and property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, regulation of credit, labour and business. In this year's report, which compares 165 countries and territories, Hong Kong is again number one—although China's heavy hand will likely lower Hong Kong's ranking in future years—and Canada (14th) trails the United States (6th).

Why isn’t this the biggest story in Canada?

National Review — "Why Isn’t the Attack on Larry Elder the Biggest Story in America?"  Their sub-head put it exactly right:
"A white woman in a gorilla mask threw an egg at a black man seeking to become the first non-white governor of our largest state, and the media shrug."
And they begin their story much as I have over the years: "Do a search for “Larry Elder” and gorilla on the CNN website and nothing comes up. Washington Post? Zilch. Nothing comes up on the New York Times site either..." — only replace those outfits with CBC, CTV, Global, Globe & Mail, etc.
In case you're stupid, let me fill you in: Larry Elder is a black man, but moreover, and in fact almost entirely over, he is a conservative man of considerable intellect and conscience. A Republican.
Indeed, in Canada, wherein they talk endlessly about evvvvvvery instance of "racism" in America in their activist effort to have it spill over into Canada and create divisions here to help fulfill their political ends, they utterly ignored this overt racism doozy. Why? Because they're hypocritical, dishonest, ideological, political... anything but journalists. They should all be ashamed of themselves. But I bet they aren't.
And yet they are so self-assured and arrogant that despite their obvious corruption, which they don't even care if you notice, they continue to demand and accept YOUR taxpayer handouts.

WE: The liberals’, the Liberals’, and Trudeau’s shame —documented in 4-part podcast

The Podcastosphere — I've listened to four parts of the well-done series titled "The White Saviors," narrated by Olusola Adeogun. There will be one more episode. The series documents the "cult" — yes, cult is the word used by an interviewee who worked for them — that is the liberals' own WE organization. I always thought of this WE group as cult-y, and corrupt, and as phony as a Liberal or NDP campaign promise, and as a leftist brainwashing center of bullshittery, but now, more so. Including, or especially because of, Justin Trudeau's participation in it. And the news media's love of it. And Big Public Education's embrace of it. And all of that combined.
The podcast is well described as "the exclusive story of a charity that did well when it was supposed to be doing good."
Produced by Canadaland, which has been on it for years, and arguably broke the story of WE and Liberal Party corruption in 2020.

Click and learn:

Biden’s poll numbers are too embarrassing for the “news” media — I bring you the numbers because the others won't. The "news" media only bring you the news they want you to know, filtered through their very special way of telling it to you — because as you know, they're not really a "news media" at all. Therefore, Biden being increasingly underwater, as demonstrated by the scientific data that the news media studiously refuses to follow at, is ignored. They are lying through omission.
Click to see chart
Read a well-reasoned explanation of Biden's declining poll numbers by Rich Lowry, at Politico, but not at any of the "news media" outlets that couldn't stop reporting on Trump's declining poll numbers.

We won’t “get thru this together,” any more, boyfriend.

Globe and Mail — The Liberals' Globe and Mail division sounded off today on none other than their hero, liberalism's fancy-socked neo-liberal, The Right Woke Justin Trudeau. Seems the marriage is off.
"...We will never find comfort in the Liberal Leader’s corrupted line that we will “get through this together.” He doesn’t mean it. Only certain people matter to Mr. Trudeau – the ones he uses to prosecute identity politics for the singular purpose of furthering his destiny. ..."
The G&M, in a historic fashion reminiscent of the Maclean's revelation of two years ago, suddenly wakes up to discover that the Emperor wears no clothes; or at least those he does wear are just butt-ugly, overly showy, and of poor — possibly Fabrique en Chine —quality. He is, in fact, Right Woke, as I've been saying. And thus, the G&M finally seems to have woken up. Good morning.

The Article

NOTE FROM EDITOR: Dr. Margaret Somerville kindly authorized us to publish her article here at PTBC for the benefit of dialogue and intellectual thought, but readers should note that Dr. Somerville is not a member of PTBC nor its columnist team,  and is in no way embracing or even endorsing the opinions or leanings of this web site or its writers.  Dr. Somerville has maintained neutrality throughout her professional life, has never joined any advocacy or political organization or ever signed a petition or group letter.  This gives what she has to say more neutrality than it would otherwise be perceived as having, which she indicates is important for the credibility of her opinions.  Therefore, please observe that she maintains her neutrality even while her article is published at this web site with its inherent political bent.

Attackers of religion display their own
fundamentalist zeal

Richard Dawkins has done more than all religious people together to put God on the current public agenda. He is on a highly publicized, international campaign to convince the world that religion is at the root of much evil. I think he’s seriously misguided, at best, and that his campaign is dangerous.

Dawkins confuses religion and the use of religion—I assume deliberately—to promote his thesis that religion is evil. Religion itself is not evil—just as science is not evil—but it can be used for evil purposes, just as science can.

Using religion to convince the 9/11 terrorists to commit mass murder by knocking down the World Trade Center towers was a profoundly evil use of religion. Using airplanes to carry out that evil was a profoundly evil use of aeronautical science. However, Dawkins looks only at the evil uses of religion—never the good it effects—and only the good uses of science—never the harm it does.

Reason is the primary “way of knowing” in science and it is fundamental to the scientific method that produces scientific knowledge.

Dawkins’ mistake is to see reason (and probably science) as the only valid way of human knowing and, consequently, as the only appropriate tool to explore non-scientific questions, such as profound ethical and existential issues.

Our multiple ways of human knowing, in addition to reason, that are essential to ethics include human memory (history, looking back seven generations); imagination and creativity (looking forward seven generations to hold our world in trust for them); intuition—especially moral intuition; experiential knowledge; and “examined” emotions.

These other ways of knowing generate our “gut reactions” that we check out with reason to make sure those reactions are on track, whether ethically, legally, spiritually, emotionally or in some other relevant way.

Very recent research published in Nature, backs this up. In an article, “The Moral Brain,” researchers reported that people with the reasoning parts of their brains intact, but who had damage to the emotional centres, could not make good ethical decisions.

Basic presumptions matter in decision-making because they allocate the burden of proof. When there is equal doubt about an issue, the basic presumption prevails. Dawkins’s basic presumption is that there is no God and, therefore, that those who believe there is must prove it. The equally valid basic presumption is that there is a God and those who don’t believe that must prove it.

Because neither basic presumption can be proved or disproved, both are tenable and, therefore, both must be accommodated in a secular society.

In contrast, and, ironically, where Dawkins and religious fundamentalists are ad idem, is that each wants to impose their choice between these basic presumptions on everyone else. They differ only with respect to their choice of basic presumption.

The proposition that faith and reason are incompatible is at the centre of Dawkins’ arguments against religion. But they are not incompatible and neither are science and religion. In positing these incompatibilities Dawkins, who is a fundamentalist atheist (atheism is a secular religion), and religious fundamentalists are again identical in that they all take an either/or approach to everything: My beliefs or yours; religion or science; reason or faith; and so on. They both seek to reconcile what they see as the conflicts between the elements in each of these pairings, by dropping one or the other of them. Dawkins’ call for the elimination of religion demonstrates such a choice on his part.

This call is dangerous because the vast majority of people will not accept it and, therefore, it is likely also to escalate the culture clashes and “religious wars” we are seeing. As well, it will seriously undermine our chances of finding a shared ethics.

But while Dawkins is wrong to advocate eliminating religion, he is correct that religion can be used for evil purposes. That means we must address the question: How can we best reduce, to the minimum possible, the likelihood that religion will be used for evil purposes and prevent its evil use?

I propose that what we need to search for is a shared ethics that can accommodate as many people of goodwill as possible. We will never find a universal ethics and we will never be able to accommodate fanatics at either end of the spectrum of human beliefs, but we can articulate and develop an approach that will accommodate many more people in a big ethical tent than is at present the case.

This is not a “gently, gently” approach, as Dawkins described it. It is a principled, pragmatic, ethical one.

To achieve that will require us to change in some ways.

Unlike Dawkins’s proposal, which focuses on our differences, we should start from where we agree.

We should stop automatically associating having liberal secular values with being open minded and having conservative religious values with being closed minded—liberal people can be very closed minded (as we can see with some uses of political correctness) and conservative people open minded.

The search for meaning and the desire to belong to something larger than ourselves—the longing for transcendence—is of the essence of being human. And humans have also always searched for morality. Religion is one way—but I agree with Dawkins there are other ways—that over vast periods of time, across all kinds of societies and cultures, humans have sought meaning, belonging and morality. We need to build a 21st-century societal-cultural paradigm that can accommodate, in creative rather than destructive tension, as many of those ways as possible, including religion.

Dawkins is the leader of a pack that includes Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything), Michel Onfray (Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) and Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation).

We need to ponder what is going on in the zeitgeist that fundamentalist, neo-atheism is being given so much attention in the western world.

Margaret Somerville is founding director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University in Montreal.


Joel Johannesen
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