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Mark Steyn

At his funny and serious best. Since we are talking about freedom of speech this week at BS, here is the incomparable Mark Steyn, talking in Australia in 2015, about how the new world order has made jokes illegal, and where there are no more Cockneys in London. Where a man was arrested in England and held for eight hours of interrogation for calling his slow-to-close computer “Nelson Mandela”. That’s not funny.

Steyn: If you fight back as hard as the Left fights for its positions, you can prevail. Vow not to surrender the fruits of a liberated society. Everyone of us is made to feel isolated until you speak out, then you find your allies.

I think the offence we commit, in the eyes of the Left, is precisely that we authorize ourselves to act as if we were free. Sharia comes in various forms: climate warming sharia, racial sharia, sexual sharia. Steyn says: act as if you were free. Exercise your liberties. Offend against the various Leftist sharias of our time. Lord knows that should be easy enough to do.

Janet Albrechtsen on free speech

Janet Albrechtsen is a leading Australian commentator, lawyer and a mother of three. She offers a spirited defence of liberal values against the Left’s commitment to grievance, envy, and intolerance.

“It s no coincidence that the corruption of feminism has occurred at the same time that our commitment to free speech has faltered.”

“Forty years ago the left abandoned libertarian notions of human rights and embraced this new definition of egalitarian rights.” And it began with “the right to equal concern and respect”.

“Under this new framework, people are not seen as autonomous resilient and rational, under this new framework people are seen as masses of nerves that need protection”.

There is more. “The scandal is the strategic silence of modern feminism around freedom for women”.

 

 

 

Jonathan Haidt on the problems on campus

Haidt  speaks of “intersectionality” and our tribal nature. “Intersectionality is like NATO for social justice activists”.

You cannot get to a trans-tribal political construct – that is, liberal democratic society – by stirring up tribal feeling in youth.

He says that when he was given an education in the 1980s, he was given many lenses by which to analyze society. Now he says, the kids are given only one lens: power.

Could you invent a morality more at variance with the purposes of a university?

 

 

 

Why now?

 

This frenzy of denunciation is no accident. The current stream of denunciations of males for actions they have committed towards women, some of them thirty years or more ago, is not a sudden explosion of moral rectitude. It is a deliberate campaign, and has been in the works for some time, possibly predating the Trump election. Later in this article I will expose the flimsy evidence for why I think the purge has been planned for some time.

It needs to be clear that the likes of Harvey Weinstein are odious. But people have observed that Weinstein got away with bad behaviour for decades. Why now? Some have speculated that, with the failure of the Clinton campaign, the cover of the Clintons has been withdrawn. The Enabler in Chief and her oversexed husband are no longer able to help Weinstein or anyone else. Their pay-for-play foreign policy gig is now over. The details are coming out, and will not stop, about how US foreign policy was simply bought by donations to the Clinton Foundation. 90% of the $2 billion raised by the Foundation has not been spent on charitable objects.

Even so, despite the rich targets the Clintons present, I do not see this sudden sexual Inquisition, this wave of denunciations of nearly every male celebrity, as being part of a Deep State plot or something concocted by Trump to get even with the Clintons. I have no doubt that the Clintons’ collective record present any journalist with a target-rich environment.
As always, the material has been evident to any reasonably diligent investigator. But it is my contention that though the Clintons may at last be caught in public odium, this frenzy of exposure of male misbehaviour has other motives.

Is this a sudden moral awakening? Is this like Harriet Beecher Stowe and her anti-slavery Uncle Tom’s Cabin? Abraham Lincoln, when introduced to Stowe, said to her: “So here’s the little lady who started the civil war”. Maybe. Moral awakenings cannot ever be ruled out.

I am suspicious of this explanation, and not for the usual cynicism of age and experience. A couple of years ago, a Washington insider lawyer was advising a board of directors I used to sit on that there would soon be a stepping up of vigilance in relation to male-female behaviour. He said, in effect, that touching of any kind, fraternization, compliments, even gentlemanly behaviour as it has been understood, would come under suspicion. At the time I wondered where he was getting this message, because he was talking as if he knew something that we did not. It turns out that he did.

At the risk of adding two and two and getting five, I have had enough experience with this particular lawyer and with life in general to trust my inference that this purge was premeditated. If it was aimed at Trump, it is clearly failing. If it was aimed at the Clintons, possibly by dissident Democrats who feel that they must be removed from influence, it will probably result in their disgrace. (About time!)

If occult powers were aiming to put men even more on their guard than they have been, this campaign will succeed for a while. I do not doubt that proper behaviour between men and women is desirable, and that sex should be consensual. All well and true, but we seem to have abandoned the social arrangements that were used to constrain sex to marriage and courtship. The social arrangements that prevailed before the Pill are not coming back without conversions to illiberal patriarchal religions, or changes of that magnitude. Male relatives will have to be recognized as having an interest in the reproductive activities of their daughters and sisters for this to come about. The feminists and most women would oppose this reversion.

Here is another truth we do not tell the kids: the inescapable fact is that sexual activity, by nature and definition, is improper, messy, biological, and lust-driven, and that consent is nuanced and situational. Men get stiff and women get wet; women desire sex in the right circumstances, and men try to persuade women that the circumstances are right.

I feel that some forces in society seem to think sex itself is a problem that can be solved with more militant social policing and shaming. I will be accused of an obtuse misunderstanding of the issue, of conflating sexual harassment with normal courtship and wooing. Yet, given the current propensity to carry everything to extremes (ref. the campaign against Jordan Peterson) this is the direction we will go in.

Who stands to gain from making sexual relations between people even more fraught and neurotic than they are?

 

This is Nathan Rambukkana: Obey him!

 

Meet your new overlord. This is Nathan Rambukkana.  As an Assistant Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, he came to public attention this weekend by confirming in the most clear manner that Jordan Peterson is right. In an article that Christie Blatchford can do so well, it appears that he was part of a board of three that grilled a teaching assistant under his supervision for daring to show a youtube clip of Jordan Peterson, who was debating Nicholas Matte on whether  Bill C-16 would compel speech, that is, cause people to use the pronouns that a transgendered person requires his/her/zir’s interlocutor to use.

 

“She was told that after she showed the five-minute video clip, “one student/many students” — the group refused to say how many students were unhappy because that information is deemed confidential — complained that she had created “a toxic climate.”

Spunkily, she asked if she was supposed to shelter students from controversial ideas. “Am I supposed to comfort them?” she asked at one point, bewildered, and said it was antithetical to the spirit of a university.

Rambukkana then informed her that since Bill C-16 was passed, even making such “arguments run(s) counter” to the law.

I will leave that provocation aside for a moment in order to let Prof.Rambukkana identify his work:

Specifically, my research addresses topics such as digital intimacies, the relationship of intimacy and privilege, hybridity and mixed-race identities, the social and cultural aspects new media forms, and non/monogamy in the public sphere. It is situated disciplinarily at the nexus of communication and cultural studies; methodologically within discourse analysis; and draws theoretical energy from a wide range of sources such as feminist, queer, postcolonial, and critical race theories; semiotics, affect theory, event theory and psychoanalysis.

I invite the curious to pursue Prof. Rambukkana’s utterances further on his professional website. His personal musings are found at Complexsingularities.net

The issue I dwell upon is not the outrageous nature of the affront to free speech and liberal values that is constituted by the behaviour by Rambukkana and his two colleagues.

The question is: is he right? Have entire lines of thought been criminalized in Canada by C-16?  The answer is no, not yet, but the practical effect of Bill C-16, which deals with gender identity and gender expression is already seen in the assertions of Professor Rambukkana.

________________________________________

Does the effect of Bill C-16 criminalize the use of a pronoun a person does not favour? According to Brenda Cossman, of  the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, it does not. What this argument appears to rest on is an ambiguity in the use of “criminal”. Something may not attract criminal procedures and penalties (think about the Alberta Human Rights  Commission, Ezra Levant and the Islamic speech issue)  and yet involve years of punishing process and compulsion though not be, in strict terms, a “criminal” prosecution.

Says Brenda Cossman:

“Non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression may very well be interpreted by the courts in the future to include the right to be identified by a person’s self identified pronoun. The Ontario Human Rights Commission, for example, in their Policy on Preventing Discrimination Because of Gender Identity and Expression states that gender harassment should include “ Refusing to refer to a person by their self-identified name and proper personal pronoun”. In other words, pronoun misuse may become actionable, though the Human Rights Tribunals and courts. And the remedies? Monetary damages, non-financial remedies (for example, ceasing the discriminatory practice or reinstatement to job) and public interest remedies (for example, changing hiring practices or developing non-discriminatory policies and procedures). Jail time is not one of them.

The second thing that the Bill does is add the words “gender identity or expression” to two sections of the Criminal Code….

It will add the words “gender identity and expression” to section 318(4) of the Code, which defines an identifiable group for the purposes of “advocating genocide” and “the public incitement hatred” It joins colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation or mental or physical disability.

Finally, Bill C-16 also adds “gender identity and expression” to section 718.2(a)(i) of the Criminal Code dealing with sentencing for hate crimes. The provision provides that evidence that an offence is motivated by bias, prejudice or hate can be taken into account by courts in sentencing. The list already includes race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor.”

At this point I need to point out that, although Cossman carefully describes the effect of C-16 on freedom of expression, the Act is already taken to mean, by the like of Prof. Rambukkana,  that a point shall not be argued – not just the use of a pronoun, but an entire train of thought on how students need to be exposed to debate about whether transgendered rights might result in compelled speech.

Those who argue in recondite legal articles about the limits of free speech need to carefully consider what happens to laws when they are interpreted in daily life by faculty committees and other sources of authority, especially those who have an interest in suppressing discussion.

Jared Brown, in another interpretation of C-16, from a point of view more favourable to the principle of free speech, takes a different view.  The text of the federal act on this matter was copied from earlier Ontario legislation to the same effect. Hence what Ontario’s Human Rights Commission says about the wording is relevant.

Thereafter, the [Ontario Human Rights Commission] OHRC clarified its policy by creating a Question and Answer on gender identity and gender expression which seeks to define these terms, and to set out that the refusal of a person to use the chosen/personal/preferred pronoun, or deliberately misgendering, will likely be discrimination.

What this means is that if you encounter a person in a sphere of human activity covered by the Code, and you address that person by a pronoun that is not the chosen/personal/or preferred pronoun of that person, that your action can constitute discrimination.

Further, in the event that your personal or religious beliefs do not recognize genders beyond simply male and female (ie. does not recognize non-binary, gender neutral, or other identities), you must still utilize the non-binary, gender neutral, or other pronouns required by non-binary or gender neutral persons, lest you be found to be discriminatory.

It is the OHRC policy requirement that persons must use the pronouns required by the portion of transgendered individuals making that demand that constitutes compelled speech.

Brown also points out that failure to comply with a finding of the Ontario Human Rights Commission could entail

– requirements to communicate or publish an apology or a publication of the facts of the case and the resulting order;

-non-defamation or gag orders (to refrain from making further offending statements);

-non-defamation publication bans (to refrain from printing further offending statements);

– orders to undertake sensitivity or anti-bias training.

As Brown points out, you can go to jail for contempt of one of these orders, indefinitely.

Rule 60.11(5) of the Rules of Civil Procedure (Ontario) confirms that where the court finds a person in contempt, they can order imprisonment for an indefinite period, in addition to fines and other remedies.  Further a judge can issue a warrant for the arrest of any person against whom a contempt order is sought.

 

Thus while C-16 does not deal with criminal law as its central point, its provisions affect the interpretation of hate crimes, which are criminal in nature. Moreover, if the offence is tried under provincial Human Rights laws, going to jail for refusal to use some person’s desired pronouns for their particular sexual status, and facing years of litigation, a fines, constitutes compulsion.

The Bill also creates the atmosphere of ideas wherein the not too clever can assert that entire avenues of discourse are now illegal. As has Professor Rambukkana.

________________________________________________________

The incipient totalitarian nature of the views being propagated at our universities ought to concern those who endorse a liberal education. You may seek to convey your views to Professor Rambukkana. Be polite.

nrambukkana@wlu.ca

T: 519.884.0710 x4346

The iron mask is coming down. This debate is not, as the left asserts, about respect, dignity and equality. This is about causing masses of people not to speak what is on their minds, and that is the iron mask. It is the hallmark of the totalitarian regime, and it is here now.

McGill Students, Marxism, Jews and BDS

 

What a perfect trifecta of provocations this morning! I must apologize in advance for this blog because my thoughts are ungenerous. Extremely un-PC. They have been prompted by a report of the expulsion of a Jewish student from a student governing board. The Post article explains:

Students at the bi-annual General Assembly of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) voted to remove a Jewish student, Noah Lew, from the society’s board of directors. Lew later wrote on Facebook that he had been targeted for his Jewish identity. Before the vote, Lew and two other directors were publicly accused of corruption by a student political group for their affiliation with Jewish political organizations such as the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC).

The actions of the students are discriminatory in the worst sense of the word, anti-Jewish, and wrongly motivated, to say the least. Entirely typical of left-wing thought and behaviour. How did we get to this? I offer some observations as an eye witness to events long ago .

When I went to McGill some 45 years ago, almost the entirety of the student Left was Jewish, and for various reasons not clear to me the Faculty of Arts was about 80% Jewish. I attended classes where the three, four or five goyim would sit together among the 25-35 Jews. That was just the way it was then. It did me no harm, and in a large measure being in an ethnic and religious minority constituted an important education in itself.

What blew my mind – if a I may use a term from that time – was that the political coloration of about a quarter of those Jews (maybe as much as a half)  was some flavour of Marxism. Marxist, Marxizing, Marxian, Marxoid thought was esteemed as historically correct. Franz Fanon was then all the rage. RD Laing. Herbert Marcuse. Norman O. Brown. The intellectual atmosphere was soaked in Leftist assumptions, methods, and political fashions. That toxic stew has since evolved into the anti-Israeli movement called Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) which roils the student politics of McGill, York and many other Canadian centres of higher education.

I am making claims that may need to be teased out.

1) Forty years ago, student Leftism was very largely a Jewish phenomenon. That is provocative but accurate description of the SDS and its allied organizations. Jews so preponderated in left-wing politics that when non-Jews wanted their own party (quite contrary to scientific materialist doctrines) they formed a “Maoist” group. The Maoists were composed principally of rich kids from Third-World countries: India, Argentina, and the like, plus a few police infiltrators from Saskatchewan. Thus, the Marxist orthodox and the Maoists splitters could shout slogans at each other, decry the others’ heresies, apparently oblivious to the fact that a group composed entirely of Jews and another group entirely non-Jewish (atheists from Sikh, Roman Catholic and other backgrounds), had formed different political clubs. Their political religion had split on lines of religion and ethnicity, forces whose reality and legitimacy were inadmissable to them.

2) Forty years ago, the Marxists were siding with the working class of Quebec, so that its targets were the WASP administration and the English minority in Quebec, and its supposed allies were the French-Canadian working class. The BDS movement of its time dealt with South Africa, not Israel.

3) Today, Jews are victims of that same leftism. After the fall of the Soviet Union, leftism did not die, on the contrary it went from strength to strength. Once Leftism dissociated itself from any sort of intellectual discipline – and Marxism was an intellectual discipline even though its doctrines were murderous in consequence and fatuous in content – Leftism was free to become  what it now is: anti-white, anti-male, anti-Christian, anti-civilization, anti-economic progress, antinomian. And especially anti-Jewish. When in doubt, blame the Jews. When not in doubt, blame the Jews.

I have had very cautious conversations with people who were at McGill back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The politically correct denied absolutely that the Left at McGill was, at the time, a largely Jewish phenomenon, the Maoists excepted. With those honest enough to recall what was then evident to their eyes, the conversations have been more productive, in the sense that much of what made McGill such a drag in those days was the joyless tone favoured by the spoiled-kid Marxist rabble from middle class Jewish homes, where clearly the apples had not fallen far from parental trees. Dinner tables where a civil conversation had never occurred, where ideas were not for play or exploration, but for bludgeoning, where absolutism was the prevailing mental style: these  Marxists had come from parents who had taught them how to feel and think; they had not sprung like Athena from the brow of Zeus.

Did they get their Marxism from their grandparents in eastern Europe? Were we getting the blow-back from Tsarist repression three or four generations later? Because, for a certainty, the Jewish Marxists I encountered seemed still to be living in a shtetl of their own mind, expecting any day the Cossacks to come and suppress them with whips, and they seemed oblivious to the liberal political culture of Anglo-Montreal and North America in which they then lived. When you cannot tell a liberal state from a fascist one, you are ideologically blind. And they could not discern the difference between freedom and repression. Too much Marcuse, with his ideas of “repressive tolerance”.

There is an ignoble part of me that says to the Marxist Jews of that time: you brought this on yourselves. You spent years and years creating and fostering a culture of leftist opposition to the true, the beautiful and the good, to British constitutional thought and civilized political discourse, to a reasonable, sane and balanced appreciation of politics, to a non-hysterical approach to political division, to an adaptive accommodation to social change, to a spirit of inquiry and compromise, to the possibility of reasoned political discourse that admits the legitimacy of other points of view.  The Marxist Jews of my time were the instigators of Marxist phenomena like political correctness – the notion that politic thought is capable of being right or wrong like an arithmetical sum. They instigated thought crime trials, repressions, schisms,  self-repressions, and mounting hysteria about political divisions. Now that the Left has abandoned Marxism, but retained its oppositional spirit, the Jews find themselves the targets of forces that their Leftist co-religionists abetted and exemplified back in the Soviet era.

You have sowed the wind, and are reaping the whirlwind. I am bold enough to think that some of the Marxists still alive might grudgingly admit the truth of this.

How does it feel to be on your own, with no direction from home, like a rolling stone?

As I said, my thoughts this morning are neither noble nor forgiving. I hold those Jewish Marxists in that time responsible for much evil that has come, is here now, and is yet to come. That the evil is happening now to Jews, however undeserving, provides the unseemly frisson of schadenfreude.

Academic rot

Quotes:

We are producing graduates who have very little idea of the diversity of opinion in the real world.

Peanut allergies are rising because we are not exposing kids to peanuts. The same is occurring with conservative opinions.

You need to experience exclusion and intolerance in order to grow up.

Kids today are never out of sight of adult supervision.

“Bias response teams” are always available to be called in to mediate conflict. “Bubble-wrapped kids”.

What do universities do to promote interaction of different political viewpoints? Nothing. They are suffocating it.

Slurs replace argument. Kids learn to slur, not argue.

The key to the new morality is a method of looking at society as a matter of power and privilege. That is the only perspective they learn. Privilege is bad, victimhood is good. One totalizing perspective. we are actually making students less wise.

Does the Left not  know that what they are doing is causing the election of Trump? [That’s Jonathan Haidt asking, not me]

 

 

Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt discusses the university political monoculture of leftism, victimhood, and social justice warriors. You gain prestige by invoking the university’s authority to settle your sensitivity issues with professors. Haidt links this tendency to changes in the American parenting style: a parent is always present, and kids never learn to settle things by themselves. He calls it a feminized culture. Liberty and freedom are not talked about; diversity and inclusion are always talked about, and diversity never means diversity of opinion. A gigantic staff of therapists supervizes the playground. “We need to change diversity training”, he says. That is a code for changing the moral education of students.