Thought For The Day

It is obvious that all these people—on the left as well as the right, I emphasize—who participate or have participated in the government of the country or opinion-making, practice a double language: one public and proclaimed, the other personal and hidden, as if they have a double conscience, the one they wave like a flag and the one which hides in the underbrush of unmentionable thoughts, which they only express in small groups of trusted friends, if then.
Jean Raspail, Introduction to new French edition of The Camp Of The Saints

Off Lampedusa: A slow-motion catastrophe

Off Lampedusa: A slow-motion catastrophe

(Photo credit: Flickr: Noborder Network: zodiac)

On With The Notley

Edmonton, May 6, 2015, 11.20 am: A Cold Day In Hell, or Global Warming? Ha, bloody ha

Edmonton, May 6, 2015, 11.20 am: A Cold Day in Hell? or Global Warming, ha, bloody ha?

Final count (Elected out of 87 seats, previously elected, popular vote):
New Democratic Party 54 (4) (40%)
Wildrose Party 21 (17) (25%)
Progressive Conservatives 10 (61) (28%)
Liberal Party 1 (5) (4%)
Cult of One Person, AKA Alberta Party 1 (0) (2%)

So, in the event, my Alberta election prediction was not too shabby. I underestimated the NDP, overestimated Wildrose and failed to account for the unaccountable Cult of One Person Party. In the main, however, I got it right. The NDP won a majority; Wildrose finished second, despite finishing third in the popular vote; and the PC “dynasty” was smashed.

(In any country where the media isn’t a joke, “Jen” Gerson’s National Post column of April 7 would hang like a millstone around her neck for the rest of her career. But this is Canada, where dogs don’t bite dogs, so her lazy and contemptible “reporting” will be forgotten. BTW, check out the title of the piece on the URL—”alberta-is-about-to-be-dropped-into-an-early-election-but-do-we-even-need-to-wait-for-the-results”—and compare it to the title as it stands now. Curious, no? )

What is the big picture? 1. Voters can no longer vote Yes; but they can still vote No (ie, to the corrupt PCs). 2. It’s not so much how good you are; what’s most important is how bad the other guy is (ie, Jim Prentice, now and forever, the Kim Campbell of Alberta).

Why were the PCs smashed? Jim Prentice was too clever by half. He wasn’t content to let “fart in a frock” Danielle Smith waft away with the rest of her party. Instead, he preferred to play the Bond villain, inviting most of her caucus to a secure location that was revealed to be a holding tank filling slowly with water. Prentice then chose to play Action Man, travelling the province to sound the tocsin: Alberta was in Big Trouble and Stern Measures Were Required. Finally, he lost his bottle, presumably after a frantic last-minute intervention by his pollsters, and delivered a damp-squib budget before calling an unwonted election.

What happens to the PCs now? Why, Unite The Right, of course. Just as the Reform Party snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by allowing itself to be maneuvered into a reverse takeover by the Mulroney Tories, Wildrose will be maneuvered into a reverse takeover by the Lougheed Tories. They’ll drop the P from PC, and everyone will be happy—except for the socons, who will blamed somehow for the Prentice debacle. Malibu Stacy’s popularity was maintained with a new hat, and the corpse of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta will be revivified with a slightly different title. “See, we’re conservative. It says so. Right in the name!”

Who is Premier Rachel Notley? She is a 51-year-old apparatchick, who has never had a private-sector job in her life. She is married to an apparatchik, who rejoices in the name Lou Arab. According to his LinkedIn profile, he has never worked in the private sector, either. For all the You Go, Girl! enthusiasm about her rise from obscurity, Notley was born in the purple. She owes her position as NDP leader to her surname. Her father, Grant Notley, was NDP leader until his death in a plane crash in 1984. To our courtier media, Notley père remains Alberta’s Great Lost Leader, despite the inconvenient facts that he accomplished little, and few Albertans under the age of 50 remember him.

What is the nature of the incoming NDP caucus? Vesti la giubba! SJWs all the way down. Teachers mostly and callow almost without exception. They regard wealth creation as a mysterious and odious process. Imagine pin-striped robber barons lighting cigars with hundred-dollar bills. While Alberta’s (and Canada’s) political elite regards religious belief with bemused distaste, Alberta’s new masters regard it with fear and hatred. The family, as traditionally understood, is a dinosaur, of course. And despite not being a particularly diverse group themselves, “diversity” is their savage God, and they will soon be giving it to Albertans good and hard.

What is the physiognomy of the incoming NDP caucus? That’s a bit of a sore point. Last weekend, when it became apparent that Notley was likely to become Premier, some of the more venturesome members of the media went to the NDP website to take a gander and found the message, “The Page You Were Looking For Was Not Found.” But the Internet never forgets, and the evidence does not inspire confidence. Of the 86 candidates pictured, two dozen or so appear to be normal. The rest manifest various degrees of derangement. (Or perhaps don’t have an inkling of how to present oneself for a photo session or hire a photographer whose portraits don’t inspire terror.) I expect that many if not most of the new caucus will be kept under wraps until after costly makeovers.

Who are my top picks for the NDP cabinet?

Minister of Incantations and Spells

Minister of Incantations and Spells

Minister With Responsibility for Manic Pixie Dream Girls

Minister With Responsibility for Manic Pixie Dream Girls

Minister of Yikes!

Minister of Yikes!

More later.

Stupid Or Malicious?

The National Post editorial board is concerned that some Ontario parents are getting ideas above their station with regard to that province’s proposed new sexual-education curriculum. It alleges that the “nearly 8,000″ of them that have congregated on Facebook are ignorant and hysterical.

Their concerns about the new curriculum, to be introduced in September, range from legitimate disagreements over values to feverish anxieties caused by outright misinformation. There are indeed some aspects of the new curriculum that won’t go over well with parents trying to raise their children according to traditional or religious teachings. The suggestion that individuals might self-identify as one of six genders—a notion introduced in Grade 8—is one example….

Then there are the supposed components of the curriculum that can’t actually be found in any of the document’s 244 pages. They include the notion that “male and female genders are presented as insufficient,” as purported by certain pamphlets and flyers being circulated by “Save Our Children” parents.

These suggestions, needless to say, are utterly false, and have been confirmed as such by Education Minister Liz Sandals. But that doesn’t seem to matter to some Ontario parents, who have opted to get their information from Facebook posts and pamphlets rather than from the document itself.

Does the editorial board of the National Post read its op-eds before they are published? Do its members know how to read or count? Paragraph 3 accuses the “Save Our Children” parents of having made an “utterly false” suggestion, as detailed in Paragraph 2. Specifically, “the notion that ‘male and female genders are presented as insufficient.'” Paragraph 1 concedes that the new curriculum includes “the suggestion that individuals might self-identify as one of six genders.”

Let’s do the math. Male plus female equals two genders. Positing that six genders are required to express the full complexity of human sexuality does indeed support the contention that the Ontario government has concluded that “Male and female genders are insufficient.” Because six is bigger than two.

So is the editorial board of the National Post stupid or malicious? Soon I may have to reveal some of the things in my file on this revolting newspaper.

Fearless Alberta Election Prediction

Given the high number of short-term variables involved, I’ve pretty much given up on election predictions. Having said that, I’ll risk embarrassment once more and make an Alberta election prediction, based on this poll. I know that pollsters got the last Alberta election horribly wrong, but for the purpose of this exercise, I shall ignore that, as well as my detestation of what the polling “profession” has done to politics.

At 18%, with the trend running heavily against it and its strength split evenly between city and country, the PCs are looking at a provincial equivalent to what happened to the national PCs in 1993: wipeout.

At 23% and its strength primarily in the country, Wildrose would do quite well.

My call:

NDP 48/87 (majority government)
Wildrose 32/87
PCs 7/87
Libs, “Alberta Party,” etc: 0/87

I know that many Albertans are saying that change is good and asking, “How bad could an NDP government be, anyway?”

We said the same things in BC in 1972. Then we found out and were reduced to naked supplication: I don’t consider myself a religious man, but dear God, please have mercy on the people of British Columbia. On December 11, 1975, the date of the next provincial election, Vancouver was hit with a snowstorm so severe that bus service was cancelled, and people were trapped downtown. I managed to get to about two miles from where I lived and then ran the rest of the way home. But before that, after it was confirmed that the Socreds were back in power, total strangers came up to me, shook my hand and said, “Isn’t this great! Isn’t this great!” And I saw with my own eyes people dancing in the streets.

Caveat lector: I strongly discourage anyone making last-minute bets based on the above. I remain confident, however, that disregarding this warning will prove to be less wallet-shrinking than having acted on the prediction made April 7 by Jennifer “Jen” Gerson of the National Post:

Will the Progressive Conservatives win a mere majority—or a super majority? Will the opposition Wildrose Party maintain official party status? Which party will claim opposition, the incumbent Wildrose, or the Alberta NDP? And will the 43-year-old Tory political dynasty find obtaining its 13th consecutive electoral mandate to be very easy, or moderately easy?

Those are the pressing questions that await Albertans as the PCs drop the writ on Tuesday morning, a full year ahead of their own previously legislated election date.

Oh, dear. Anyone can drop a clanger, but what Gerson did was much worse: lazy and contemptible posturing posing as political reporting. The bare minimum required of even jaded pisseurs de copie is to pretend to be interested in elections. You see, these are the sole occasions when those who seek to lead us must pretend to be interested in justifying their records and in delineating policy. The beliefs that “anything can happen” in elections and that politicians are bound by their promises are mostly polite fictions but are nonetheless essential to representative democracy. That smirking hipster “Jen” Gerson and her employer cannot bother to pay them lip service proves them not fit for purpose.

Gerson: Lazy and contemptible

Gerson: Lazy and contemptible

Thought For The Day (Virtue In One Lesson)

Despite their apparent toughness and machismo, the other inmates have no courage, no sense of justice and no compassion to help the weak, brutalized rape victim. The model of manhood represented by the prisoners proves bankrupt. Conrad, in contrast, the disciple of Epictetus, rises to this trial sent by Zeus. Conrad acts from virtue, and so he acts as a real man. He draws strength from the pages containing the divine wisdom of Stoicism, which teach him that “The living part of him was his soul, and his soul was nothing other than the spark of Zeus.” It is Conrad’s commitment to Stoicism that empowers him to preserve his moral integrity, and fan the spark of Zeus growing inside him. His understanding of Stoicism enables him to reject “the pod’s code of false manliness.” His belief in Stoicism equips him to face each challenge with resolve, calm courage and spiritual strength.

Conrad’s next challenge is upon him in moments. Confident from the success of his rape of Pocahontas, Rotto believes he can similarly terrorize Conrad. Yet Conrad, armed with his Stoic courage, iron determination, and the powerful hands produced by the Suicidal Freezer Unit, subdues Rotto by crushing his hand in a vice-like grip when Rotto pinches Conrad’s cheek. Just as he read in Epictetus how Hercules cleansed the world of unjust and brutal men, Conrad marshals his strength of will and bravery to defeat the physically superior but spiritually impotent Rotto. The bully’s brawn and swagger is no match for the inner strength of the Stoic disciple.

After the fight, the inmates are herded back to their cells. Conrad’s cellmate, a Hawaiian nicknamed ‘Five-O’, urges him to fake insanity in order to escape from the lethal retaliation of Rotto’s gang that awaits him in the pod the next day. “‘I wouldn’t even consider it,’ said Conrad. ‘I—’ But he stopped. He wanted to say, ‘I want to keep my character. Why did I fight Rotto? Because I refused to be dishonored. Outside this hole, this pigsty, no one will ever know that I lived as a man and fought like a man and refused to sell myself at any price. But in this grim little universe, the pod, the only world that is left, they will know, and Zeus will know, and I, a son of Zeus, will know.’” Conrad has learned another Stoic lesson. Zeus knows everything you do, so always conduct yourself respectably regardless of your circumstances. Your moral integrity never eludes scrutiny. Your commitment to Stoic principles is repeatedly tested.

As he lies sleeplessly in his bunk, Conrad tries in vain to visualize his son Carl, his daughter Christy, and his wife Jill. Epictetus teaches that mere flesh is to be discounted, but Conrad muses that it was through Jill’s flesh that he had transmitted the spark of Zeus to Carl and Christy. When he fails once again in his attempt to visualize Carl, tears come to Conrad’s eyes. He thinks to himself: “One day Carl would be a man, and long before that time he would need someone to tell him what a man was.” So Conrad gets his Five-O to promise to write down Conrad’s entire prison story and send it to his wife so his son Carl will know that his father didn’t lie in his cell bunk trembling and moaning and groaning and whining. Conrad insists that testimony of his moral fortitude—proof of his Stoic manliness—be passed on to his son to guide him in his journey to manhood.

That night Fate intervenes. An earthquake rocks the Bay Area, destroying much of Santa Rita prison. Conrad, seeing the quake as Zeus’ providential handiwork, acts decisively and courageously to save both his own life and the life of Five-O. He escapes from the prison and the death that surely awaited him at the hands of Rotto’s gang. With the help of his friend whose life he saved in the Suicidal Freezer Unit, a kind of underground airline for fugitives provides Conrad new clothes, money, a new identity, and plane tickets to Atlanta. There his connections get him a job as a home healthcare worker. On the job his compassion and courage move Conrad to protect an elderly couple from a menacing extortionist. Eventually Conrad is sent to the Croker home to tend to Charlie as he convalesces from knee surgery. Hobbling about on crutches, Charlie has lost his physical prowess—the last remnant of his earlier manliness. The significance of the fact that Epictetus was also lame is not lost upon the reader.

As they become acquainted, Charlie is impressed by Conrad’s friendly self-confidence and intrigued by his devotion to Stoic principles. Charlie explains his dilemma to Conrad and confesses that he’d rather die than become a beggar. Conrad responds by telling Charlie about Cleanthes. Cleanthes was one of the great Stoic philosophers and he hauled water to make a living. But nobody thought of him as someone who didn’t have a respectable job, because Cleanthes radiated the power of the spark of Zeus. The Stoic lesson: you don’t have to have some high position before you can be a great man. Conrad awakens the Stoic bull of manliness that had been slumbering in Charlie’s soul. Charlie recognizes that he had been trying to deal with his dilemma like a fox instead of confronting it head-on with bull-like mettle and rectitude. He had declined into a weak and vulnerable condition [and] realized, “Because the source of his strength had always been his money, his reputation, his success in worldly affairs. But the one true source of strength was his own might, his own will, to get or to avoid, his own divine spark of reason, which enabled him to judge which things were in his power and which were beyond it.” Thus Conrad, the Stoic disciple, dramatically converts Charlie to Stoicism.
William O Stephens on Tom Wolfe’s A Man In Full

This is the model

This is the model