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turningrite

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Everything posted by turningrite

  1. Those who assert white privilege too often conflate outcomes with design and confuse specific circumstances with generalized assumptions. For those of us who grew up decades ago, as I did, the concept of having benefited from white privilege amounts to an absurdity. In the high school I attended, for instance, there were a handful of non-whites among a total of about 1,500 students. The situation at university wasn't a whole lot different. Back in those days, economic class was the biggest single predicator of economic outcomes, as I suspect is still the case today. We had an entire class structure, from top to bottom, within the context of an overwhelmingly European population. So, privilege and associated inequality long predated Canada's current relatively more diverse demographic reality. Logically, diversity didn't and doesn't in its own right generate privilege or inequality. Education is clearly the key to breaking down entrenched privilege, provided individuals are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that are made available. My paternal grandfather moved from subsistence farming to become an urbanized industrial labourer. During the Great Depression, he and his family suffered enormously, living in inadequate housing and facing malnutrition. Of his five children, however, three were able to obtain post-secondary qualifications, two as a result of programs made available to service members returning from WWII, while the other, who was an academic genius, studied on scholarship and obtained a PhD at an American university. None of this newfound prosperity was premised on pre-existing or inherent "privilege" but, instead, was grounded in opportunity, hard work and perhaps a bit of luck. Who, after all, could have designed to benefit from a war or planned to have a genius-level IQ? There is a lot of inequality in our society. The best we can hope for is to ameliorate its worst impacts over time by promoting the ethos of "equality of opportunity" because in a free and open society it is almost impossible to achieve equality of outcome. And were we to pursue the latter, we might find the society that results to be far less appealing than the paradise some imagine it might be.
  2. I too fear the consequences of silly policies from the NDP but what is Ford offering? Some economists say his platform announcements would if carried out generate the biggest deficit among the three main parties. If the PCs had stuck to a mainstream leader like Elliot or Mulroney, they'd probably be cruising to a massive majority at this point. Instead, they're tied in the polls with the NDP.
  3. A sanctuary province? Hasn't the whole country essentially been transformed into a sanctuary state of sorts? What more could Horwath offer? This issue alongside the pipeline fiasco out west could easily sink Trudeau's government in 2019. Would Horwath, who is unlikely to do better than be able to form a minority government, really want to take on this kind of political baggage? As some have pointed out, in addition to Canada's relatively weak and inefficient refugee determination system many of these migrants are also attracted by all the free stuff on offer in Canada, particularly in comparison with the relatively less sympathetic and more parsimonious treatment they receive south of the border. Reportedly, some aren't even stopping to take in the sights in America and are making a beeline for the Canadian border after landing at U.S. airports, thus mocking our generosity and our system. One wonders why actual potential immigrants who qualify under the regular rules even bother waiting in line.
  4. My riding will be a contest between Libs and the NDP. We have a NOTA candidate, however, and as a protest vote I'm thinking of giving him my support. In particular, I like the party's appeal to direct democracy. I can't see the difference between the Libs and NDP except that the Libs have been in power too long and made too many mistakes while ignoring the plight of consumers. But an NDP government would probably usher in more giveaways the province simply can't afford. And Ford? Well, I think he's just too big a risk. Most I talk to suspect that if elected he'll ditch the folksy appeal and plunk his support behind developers, landlords and the broader rentier class. His secretive campaign isn't doing him much good. He needs to go on the record about serious issues that significantly impact Ontarians other than hydro prices, like outrageous housing costs and poor health care. I would rather the PCs have chosen Elliot or Mulroney, either of whom might have been more forthright and appealing.
  5. It's been years since I read 1984, but it's my recollection that it was about totalitarian and fascism. Fascism is simply about monopoly political control by a single party or faction and is consistent with both ultra-right and ultra-left ideology. Despite its name, Germany's Nazi party ruled over an economy where the means of production largely remained in private hands. There is in fact no more direct conflict between fascism and capitalism than there is between fascism and socialism.
  6. Actually, I suspect you may not have read the entire article, particularly where the author goes on to state that '"[o]ften Muslims support liberalism when it serves them and reject it when it does not," which supports the point made in my post. As for the point you appear to be trying to make, while it's true that Muslims who seek accommodation in the West shouldn't be held accountable for the lack of freedom and human rights often prevalent in their homelands, progressives often employ similar broadly associative critiques when assailing what they perceive as right-wing or reactionary views and logic.
  7. Personally, I find identity politics tiresome and intellectually pointless. I wonder if the proponents of identity politics understand the logical implications of the very idea upon which they rely? To promote "pride" in one group in relation to others is essentially to assert the legitimacy and interests of one group relative to others. It does nothing less than legitimize "otherness" as a basic societal principle as every distinct group will have an equal tendency to assert the legitimacy of the interests of its members. (And why not, after all?) Trudeau's bizarre speech this week in New York in which he touted the value of diversity as an end in and of itself was an example of the muddled thinking that emerges in the modern context of political correctness. This is the same Trudeau who touts open-ended multiculturalism, which in this country has become a kind of catch-all for every cultural and/or racial and/or religious group seeking to assert its singular virtues and, more importantly, interests. And often the very groups that seek the benefits of diversity seem to be those that otherwise espouse exclusivity rather than integration. As a Muslim author noted in an article published in the New York Times ('Is Free Speech Good for Muslims?', March 27, 2017), members of his own community too often seek the benefits of liberalism and tolerance they are unwilling to grant others. I tend to think this kind of 'diverse' multiculturalism amounts to serial uniculturalism and believe it's only diversity in a very truncated, peculiar and ultimately unproductive fashion. For the most part, anybody can and should be able to associate with any racial, ethnic, religious or sexual identity group one wishes. But in a pluralistic society it's not legitimately the state's role to support or promote any of this as doing so effectively amounts to discrimination.
  8. I believe the American billionaire Mark Cuban has said that in a decade liberal arts degrees will be more valued than will many highly specialized technical degrees. But I think he should have clarified this by stating that liberal arts degrees entailing the demonstration of broadly applicable intellectual capabilities, including literacy, numeracy and academic rigour (i.e. the capacity to participate in and absorb the lessons arising from objective debate) will be the most valued. Many functions that today must be done by specialists will eventually be done by machines employing AI technologies. Recently, there has been growing discussion of the value of workers and managers who demonstrate a capacity for intellectual complexity, understanding that many problems are more complex than fashionable and/or supposedly common-sense analysis might suggest. Educational specialization, while necessary in some fields like medicine, has tended to undermine intellectual complexity.
  9. I think you've fallen into the jurisdictional trap that often enslaves effective policy response in this country. There's little doubt that the country's ability to absorb large-scale immigration is under challenge. A fairly recent internal federal government study, which came to light via an access to information request, reached this conclusion (link below). The notion that federal policy doesn't impact areas like housing, employment and health care access, which strictly speaking often fall outside its jurisdiction, is absurd. Somehow, our political elites have become comfortable with this jurisdictional smoke and mirrors routine. But I suspect that by-and-large members of the public are far more realistic. A major component of the problem is that Canada's current political cartel at the federal level serves to undermine public debate on such contentious topics, thus rendering it difficult to challenge the status quo. This may be starting to change. Toronto's mayor recently spoke about the impact of the refugee/migrant flow on Toronto's already overly burdened shelter system and recent analyses have highlighted the dire unaffordability of rental housing in cities like Toronto and Vancouver. And in Quebec the CAQ is openly campaigning on restricting immigration. I think it dangerous to assume there will never be a reaction and rely upon the fa├žade of jurisdiction to ignore addressing current and looming crises. http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/douglas-todd-canada-struggling-to-absorb-immigrants-internal-report-says
  10. Personally, I think government is a necessary evil. I think it important to understand its legitimate role in balancing competing interests within societies, a role that's even more vital in complex and varied societies. Libertarians tend to acknowledge that a minimal level of government is necessary while anarchists reject the legitimacy of government. Governments in North America, and perhaps generally throughout the West, have become too attached and beholden to special interests. There's a lack of objectivity in the approach to policy matters. Obama's health care agenda was effectively scuttled in the U.S. by the failure to develop a public insurance option to ameliorate the impacts of the private insurance monopoly. On the other hand, the public health care monopoly in Canada has generated a mediocre health care system in which vital services are essentially rationed. To me, it seems like two sides of the same coin where outcomes are undermined by an inability on the part of the state to challenge monopoly.
  11. She tended to equally see capitalism and socialism as scourges in their own right, particularly if taken to their logical extremes. She believed that people had a right to basic services like health care, for instance, and that if the private sector couldn't adequately serve this need there was a role for government to play to ameliorate the influence of private sector monopoly. However, she was equally skeptical of government monopoly. She tended to see ideological conflict as pertaining to conflicting forms of monopoly and felt the only legitimate role of the state when acting to serve the people was to serve as a referee on behalf of the broad public interest.
  12. I'm not sure this point serves to validate your argument. Why on earth would the Canadian government (i.e. Canadian taxpayers) be accountable for the outcome of decisions made by his family members any more or less than if the decisions were made by Khadr himself? Of course, the SCC dealt with two entirely separate matters, in one instance concerning his treatment at Gitmo and secondly concerning the failure/refusal of the Canadian government to repatriate him. I tend to agree with the SCC on the latter concern, although to be fair the Harper government's general approach was to avoid repatriating Canadians caught up in the often draconian web(s) of the U.S. security and justice systems. On Gitmo, however, I tend to be more skeptical. In particular, I question whether the involvement of Canadian officials who attended Gitmo had any significantly negative impact on Khadr's treatment there by the Americans. Would his treatment have been more humane had Canadian officials not been involved? Was/is it reasonable to hold the Canadian government complicit in Khadr's treatment at Gitmo? It seems to me the SCC veered heavily in the direction of applying the principle of vicarious liability to this situation, which is very problematic when our main ally operates on the basis of 'exceptionalism' where adherence to international law is concerned and in particular where international law conflicts with American security interests beyond the country's borders. Historians will of course parse these issues as well as the not insignificant broader implications of the Trudeau government's settlement with Khadr.
  13. That's an interesting list. As a birthright Canadian-U.S. dual citizen raised by an American mother, your second point touched on something my mother often noted, which is that Canadians expect far too little in return for their money. She felt this applied both to private sector transactions as well as to interactions with government agencies. She felt that Canadians were too docile and too willing to accept mediocrity. At heart, she was a libertarian although she accepted that government, if carefully watched and monitored, could provide limited benefit to the broader population. I never felt she was inward looking. In fact, she was very intelligent and despite growing up in a working class environment acquired a university degree before reaching the age of 20 in an era where it was uncommon for women, especially in her economic class, to be university educated. She was self-critical where what she perceived to be America's faults were concerned just as she was of those of her adopted country. She felt it was an obligation of all citizens in a democracy to be skeptical of the motives of those in power in business and in government as well as of those representing special interests. She was a democrat and a rebel to her core and to this day I tend to view the U.S. through the prism of her attitudes and values.
  14. I think it's difficult to have a lot of sympathy for those who leave Canada for war zones and other dangerous places. I suspect many believe that most such cases should be treated as 'at your own peril' expeditions and even more so when the intent of such journeys ostensibly violates Canadian law, as now appears to be the case with the returning ISIS members. The SCC ruled on the Charter violations in the Khadr matter yet it did not set compensation. I believe this should have been determined in the lower courts where the very real concern about moral hazard could and should have been considered.
  15. I think I'm like a lot of Ontarians who simply believe the province is broke. What can any party do to fix this other than strip the role of government down to basics? I have siblings who live in the U.S. who are shocked at how much we pay for things, including taxes, and how little average middle class people get in return. In particular, our health care system in Ontario is in shambles. Transit is a mess. Affordable housing for middle class people has evaporated. But where has all the money gone? What have we to show for it? I'm pessimistic about this province's future unless we adopt the approach that the role of government must be limited. It can't lead to a worse situation than now exists, in my opinion.
  16. What is a real right winger in the Canadian context? The current mass immigration program commenced during Mulroney's regime and he was a right-winger by Canadian standards. It's continued unabated without much critical analysis throughout the ensuing decades with the support of Canada's entire political class including all the mainstream parties - left, centre and right. I suspect many Canadians, including many immigrants, have misgivings about the policy yet debate about it is virtually forbidden. I'd like to see a federal party from any part of the political spectrum encourage research, analysis and fulsome public debate on the matter. I suspect that if any party did pursue such a strategy it would garner significant public support.
  17. Not sure where you got this? I believe it takes 3 or 4 years of residency in Canada to apply for citizenship and be permitted to vote.
  18. I too worry about the cost of all of this. Further, affordable housing is all but nonexistent in Canada's largest cities and the latest influx will further tax resources available to those at the bottom of the economic ladder. The federal government seems to have no plan here. It should pay a big price for this in 2019.
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