Auto Added by WPeMatico

Sperm Counts, Indian Residential Schools, and other reversals of enlightened opinion

If you live long enough, you will be able to count the number of occasions on which enlightened and progressive opinion has reversed itself. In the most haphazard count – my own scattered recollections – we have gone through the following opinion changes in my lifetine alone.

Animal fats bad (because cholesterol) to vegetable fats doubtful.

Indian residential schools a progressive and enlightened response to Indian backwardness to residential schools were an act of cultural genocide

Homosexuality is sinful to gay is good and natural.

Coronavirus was a freak cross over from bats to humans to coronavirus was a lab leak covered up by Chinese authorities.

Modern society is reducing sperm counts to doubt that sperm counts are in fact dropping.

Black people are inferior to white people are inferior.

Race is a meaningless ideological contruct to biological differences matter.

CO2 engendered by fossil fuels will engender a climate catastrophe to who cares about global warming, let us use nuclear fission- note: this one has not yet happened, but wait.

Soviet Communism in Russia is a permament part of the European power balance to [poof!] the whole regime collapses within a year or two.

 

Of the changes mentioned above, perhaps Communism was the most important geopolitical event. People born after 1990 can have no conception of the extent to which the 20th century was held in thrall to the idea of planned happiness through the elimination of private property and the centralization of decision making in governments, and of all power in the Bolshevik revolutionary vanguard.

I was reminded recently of how central Europeans, those whose countries had been occupied by the Soviet Union after WW2, were disbelieved when they insisted that the whole scheme was a construction of tyranny that would fall one day like Sauron’s tower of Barad Dur: instantly, into dust. The emigres insisted it was built on a lie, that nothing it said about itself was true, and that it was maintained by Soviet force and police terror. I can recall the  disbelief with which such views were entertained in polite discourse in the 1970s. But the Lubor Zinks and the anti-Soviets were exactly right.

You can arouse similar feelings of outrage and disbelief by posting pictures of snowfalls in April to social media and complain about the absence of sufficient global warming. The response of the Karens, male and female, is immediate.

In your opinion, what other major social beliefs are likely to be reversed in the next twenty years? Discuss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill C10 – Internet censorship coming to a site you read

For some time now I have been tweeting and organizing resistance to Bill C-10. This has kept me busy in my personal capacity, as it were, and Dalwhinnie has had to take back seat to my public-facing self.

I have learned or been reminded of several truths in the course of the past few weeks, but first let me tell you about the bill.

There are two modes of communications, legally speaking. On the one hand, there are speech and writing, film production, and others which occur without prior permission from the state. You write what you want and assume responsibility after publication for slander, criminal conspiracy, obscenity, and other legal liabilities. Then there is that creature of the twentieth century, called broadcasting, which requires a licence from the state. You broadcast under conditions established for a particular class of speaker, one who is assumed to be few in number talking to hundreds of thousands who are limited in their choice of “stations”. This was the original rationale for broadcasting regulation,  few-to-many, one way and which used airwaves that interfered with one another unless carefully assigned by central authority.

It will be readily understood that every advance of electronic communications has served to increase the number of stations, from three to seven to thirty to fifty, to the Internet. The internet has exploded the number of speakers into the millions, or tens of millions. With new forms of addressing, such as IPv6, the number of “stations” will be in the trillions.

Despite this, Canadian law still treats the Internet as a form of “broadcasting”, a licensable activity that for thirty years the government had the wisdom not to touch. Previous CRTC decisions had said that regulating the Internet as broadcasting was superfluous and unneeded. These decisions of the CRTC claimed jurisdiction over the Internet but did not exercise it.

Now that restraint has been overthrown. In a search for revenue from web giants, and egged on by the Canadian cultural organizations – the ones who feed on television productions subsidies – the government, led by the Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbault, has plunged recklessly into a gigantic extension of federal authority over communications.

Bill C10, which is a series of amendments to the Broadcasting Act, would treat

  • all websites
  • all user-generated uploads to social media sites

as “broadcasting”, that is, occasions where you could be regulated by the CRTC. The difference is that, in the case of user generated content uploaded to platforms, you would not be the broadcaster, the platform would be the broadcaster. This would outsource government control and censorship to the large platforms, who would act under CRTC or other government regulations.

This website, and all others, commercial, artistic, political, would be treated as broadcasting if they were “predominantly” -word undefined – audio-visual rather than printed in nature. It is not difficult to imagine that by bit count alone, and by inclusion of a few video inserts, a newspaper would become a “broadcaster”, in the same way that a podcaster is now, according to this Bill, a radio station.

It reaches the absurdity of a zoom call among church attendees being considered broadcasting, and subject to federal regulation. Will “balance” in religious programming be imposed on church services? Will the imam share time in the pulpit? If you think this is absurd, you don’t know the CRTC.

 

The authors of C10 are seeking to jam the internet into the form of broadcasting, rather than make  broadcasting conform to the Internet.

It is readily evident that a large number of issues will remain undecided by the bill itself and that years of hearings and lawsuits will ensue, including challenges to the constitutionality of the bill, on several grounds.

But back to the tweetstorm.

The public debate on this bill took a while to get started, for several reasons. The first is that members of Parliament are not clever lawyers on the whole, and it took them a while to scope out the extent of the government’s ambitions. Both the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP favour large public subsidies to their unionized buddies in the TV production industry. The Liberals favour their own guy and they are not averse to totalitarian controls on the Internet, it seems. That left the Conservatives to slowly appreciate that the Liberals had handed them a major electoral campaign issue if they wanted it. They finally realized what the bill meant to ordinary Canadians. And ordinary Canadians are waking up.

This state of affairs was changed only by professors of communications, like Michael Geist, members of the Internet Society of canada, and former CRTC commissioners such as Peter Menzies, Konrad von Finckensten and Timothy Denton to write op-eds in papers until the latter woke up to the notion that they would become “broadcasters” if this bill passed. Open Media got involed and that meant that the political left started to agitate against it. As one wit said of the left-right alliance on C10: “we want to be able to shout at each other without the state refereeing.”

The ignorance of the press on this issue has been astounding, if you were not already cynical about their capacity to understand issues. They had to be told in black and white what the Act said, and even then they still hesitated to get it.

The opinion battle among the elites has taken place principally on Twitter. Throughout, the motives of those opposed to the Bill have been questioned. Vast conspiracies have been imagined by the proponents of the bill, sponsored by the likes of Google and Facebook. It has not occured to them that people could actually freely spend time opposing the bill because of principled concerns for freedom of speech. If you speak only for money, it comes as a shock that people will speak and write for no money at all.

Not once have the arguments of the opponents of the bill ever been frontally addressed. Not once. The Minister has been reduced to blithering incoherence on several occasions by being asked factual questions about what the Bill plainly says. It is as if he had not read his own bill, or did not understand it. A reasoned defence of the Bill has been missing. It might have been attempted, but was not, largely because to address the issues would be to deal with some real concerns that the bill’s proponents would rather not discuss.

The TV production and other recipients of cultural largesse in Canada have only tweeted their unanimous support for C10. (Canada spens about as much money on cultural subsidies overall as we spend on the Candain navy). The French Canadians, it would appear, have no concerns for freedom of speech, and seem not to understand what English Canadians are going on about. Their confidence in a federal institution, the CRTC, to decide matters of cultural concern to them, appears to be unbounded. We are confidently told by those who feel they understand Quebec that even to raise these concerns with them is a provocation.

Normally a story has a two or three day run. The C10 issue has occupied weeks of media attention, and won’t go away because it constitutes an immense assault upon historic rights of free speech won by revolutions and bloodshed in the 17th and 18th centuries, revolutions that passed French Canada by. It remains to be seen whether the Liberals have handed the Conservatives a winning election issue or not. But if enough people say they will die on this hill, not even the federal Liberals can overcome the resolve of the nation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Prosecution of Naomi Seibt

Greta Thunberg.jpg

Greta Thunberg

 

The prosecution of Naomi Seibt by the Ministry of Truth in North-Rhine Westphalia indicates just how rough the Left will play in suppressing climate skepticism of the most reasonable kind.

Repeat daily: science is not a doctrine but a process of inquiry into one’s own premisses.

Christopher Monckton reviews the case here in WattsUpWithThat.

Francis Menton, the Manhattan Contrarian, compares and contrasts the treatment of Greta Thunberg and Naomi Seibt here.

Arthur Koestler: a hero

Arthur Koestler was a Hungarian of German-speaking culture who joined the German Communist Party and left it, for all the right reasons, in the late 1930s. His most famous writing is Darkness at Noon, which tells the story of Victor Rubashev, a Communist official arrested by the secret police, who finally consents to his death in the service of the Communist cause, even though he is innocent of any crime, deviation, or disloyalty to the Cause.

Darkness at Noon is one of the classics of the literature of disillusionment with Communism. I cannot recommend it enough.

Quite by accident I came across his autobiography “The Invisible Writing“. It recounts his years in the Communist Party in Germany in the years 1931 to 1938. The opening sentence reads:

“I went into Communism as one goes to a spring of fresh water, and I left Communism as one clambers out of a poisoned river strewn with the wreckage of flooded cities and the corpses of the drowned”.

In the second chapter he recounts the fatal weakness of the Communist Party of Germany in the face of the National-Socialist takeover. He likens the Party to a castrated animal, and describes how rapidly the whole structure was rounded up by the police after the Nazis took over in 1933.

“We had marvelled at the conspiratorial ingenuity of our leaders; and, though all of us had read works on the techniques of insurrection and civil warfare, our critical faculties had become so numbed that none of us realized the catastrophic implications of the scheme. The preparations for a long underground existence in decentralized groups meant that our leaders accepted the victory of the Nazis as inevitable”.

Another salient feature of living as a Communist was the total subordination of personal emotions to Party discipline, which meant that close personal friendships were eviscerated.

“As in boarding schools and convents intense personal ties are suspected of having an erotic background, so friendships within the Party aroused political suspicion. This attitude was not unreasonable, for between people whose entire life was dedicated to and filled by the Party, non-political friendships were hardly possible. The slogans of the Party emphasized the diffuse and impersonal “solidarity of the working class” instead of individual friendship, and substituted ‘loyalty to the Party’ for loyalty to friends. Loyalty to the Party meant, of course, unconditional obedience, and meant furthermore, the friends who had deviated from the Party-line, or for some reason had fallen under suspicion. Almost unconsciously I learned to watch my steps, my words and my thoughts.”

The same lack of freedom is recounted by the former leftist David Horowitz, in his book Radical Son, written in the 1980s. That is to say, Horowitz maintains that only outside the Left, as he defines that term, does freedom of thought and discussion exist. (There might be equivalent constraints on thought inside a severe order of Catholic priests or intellectuals, or Muslim radicals). Thus when Horowitz broke with the Left, he found that there were liberals who favoured the Vietnam War and conservatives who were against it. I can still recall his shock at discovering that outside the iron grid of Leftism, people were actually free to disagree. Horowitz so defines the Left as to exclude from it most reasonable, non-totalitarian, left-wing politics, and I follow his example.

In the venomous atmosphere of the Party, every sort of personal betrayal was not merely possible, it was expected. Koestler again:

“Few among the intellectuals in the Party realized the time that their mentality was a caricature of the revolutionary spirit; that with in the short span of theree generations the Communist movement had travelled from the era of the Apostles to that of the Borgias. But the process of degeneration had been gradual and continuous, and the seeds of corruption had already been present in the work of Marx: in the vitriolic tone of his polemics, the abuse heaped upon his opponents, the denunciation of rivals and dissenters as traitors to the working class and agents of the bourgeoisie.”

“The Marxist doctrine is a drug, like arsenic or strychnine, which in small does have a stimulating, in larger doses paralyzing, effect on the creative system”.

I eagerly await the emergence of re-convertants from political correctness. I eagerly await the literature of disillusionment from the political doctrines of equality pushed to extremes. Unfortunately, I do not think there will be one. I propose two reasons. In the intervening years since the 1930s, the decline of educational standards has become so acute that I doubt they would have the discipline and writing capacity to express themselves on anything other than confessional television shows. More important, the political Left was always grounded in Marxism which, however demented, was actually a theory of history, and made some predictions about how the world was to turn out. That they were wrong only showed the extent to which Marxism at least pretended to be scientific.

Currently the political Left is driven by anti-whiteness, which is really the current manifestation of antinomianism. It does not even pretend to be scientific. By antinomianism I mean the hatred and rejection of all existing standards and structures in the liberal West because they represent the workings of bourgeois commercial “white” civilization. My essential point about contemporary Leftism is that, if you made all white people disappear in a puff of smoke and replaced them with Japanese, or any other technically and socially competent group, the Left’s hatred of reality would compel them to reject that outcome just as severely.

The Marxists at least had a clue that one structure would be replaced by another. I am not sure the current anti-whiteness brigade have even approached that degree of coherence.