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Zeitgeist

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Everything posted by Zeitgeist

  1. Well winter is too long here and it’s nice to get out of it for a while — but not if the risk of ending up on a respirator is too high. This is going to be the problem going forward, staying open without having a surge. Hard to do everywhere.
  2. Where do you get that idea? We can fly into the US without quarantine. My understanding is that Americans can’t fly into Canada unless for essential reasons. Business flows in both directions in equal volumes. I would worry about next winter, however. If Florida doesn’t watch the rise in cases, that will hurt traffic flowing south, and not just from Canada.
  3. Yes I know a few. The test is now available to anyone who wants it in Ontario. They aren’t advertising it, however. Perhaps they should.
  4. I’ve seen too many of these younger supposed activists shouting at older, much wiser activists. Honestly this is what happens when young people don’t learn basic etiquette. Free range parenting seems to have reeked havoc across all races.
  5. We have to be extremely wary of accusations of systemic racism when there is absolutely nothing inherently racist in the hiring and employment policies of an organization, which is what Lucki’s point was when she said she struggled with the idea of systemic racism in the RCMP. The problems are not with the policies and official positions of that organization and the vast majority of organizations and businesses in Canada. The problem is with individuals who have racist attitudes and biases. When enough of these individuals influence their coworkers, the local culture is poisoned. However, it isn’t clear that in most cases of police brutality towards racialized individuals that the behaviour/attitudes of the aggressors are found in the aggressors’ coworkers. Sometimes the coworkers are surprised by the aggressor’s behaviour and are suddenly made to decide in the moment whether to back up their coworker or resist. The decision isn’t always easy. Our PM hasn’t helped, undermining the head of the RCMP by claiming there’s systemic racism without reference to investigation or evidence. His taking a knee is an easy and empty gesture that has zero to do with how someone interacts with minorities on a daily basis. The gesture has some symbolic value, nothing more. I have always respected and enjoyed the influences of our big variety of cultures in Canada Do I have unconscious bias? Perhaps, and I certainly try to be mindful not to be unfair towards people because of race, socioeconomic or other factors, but no one else knows what my biases are either. I think we should be very wary of any inquisitors who are empowered to determine what is politically correct in our organizations, because we’ve seen the dangers of such purity tests in the Salem witch trials, the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution, the Spanish Inquisition, Bolshevism, and Macarthyism. When there isn’t a clear and simple metric of what is unacceptable that most people would agree makes good sense, we blindly give such deciding authority to someone who may not be as kind, educated, or knowledgeable as many other people, but who has the fervour and cruelty of the angry zealot. Such tyrants create black lists and happily preside over firings and hangings. They scream injustice until their own injustice becomes so apparent that the society finally shuts them down in counter-revolution and moves on to, eventually, a reasonableness that allows for free, open debate without fear of reprisal for saying the wrong word or not going far enough in support of the cultural revolution. We should be wary of the chill created by some of the equity officers who have been given outsized authority. We should be wary of new forms of pledges such as land acknowledgements and other proclamations that members of organizations have been told to make without discussion or consent. We should be wary of attempts to override merit and force equality of outcome by taking away people’s jobs or taking people’s property/money and redistributing It in the name of reparations. If we want true equal opportunity we need to see each other as equals and listen to each other’s opinions, even when we disagree with them, without shouting them down and claiming that they have broken some unwritten code that means that these people are no longer acceptable and should be canceled. Wendy Mesley and Conrad Black are just a couple of the latest targets of the inquisition to be cancelled, but certainly not the last. I hope for the sake of progress that the zealots leading this charge realize that they are in fact undermining the important cause of police reform and other progressive work. The attack on education is another problem, as we see the founders of public education, a truly progressive initiative in its time, being slammed as not progressive enough by today’s standards. Egerton Ryerson in Ontario comes to mind. It seems that today’s youngest students need to learn much more history in order to see beyond their present context. The distractions of our current media technology seem to have robbed the current younger generations of a sense of a wider perspective beyond the latest memes and Youtuber mashups.
  6. You and everyone on this forum will be declared on the wrong side of history. It’s a matter of time. Nevertheless, we don’t ask that the anti-semitic triumphal arch that the Romans built be removed. We recognize that the same civilization that threw the Christians to the lions invented concrete and progressed in its own context, one which is unfathomable to people today who don’t understand the value of protecting historic artefacts.
  7. I definitely think the debate has shifted away somewhat from right versus left because both liberals and conservatives have come to a consensus on what the floor should be roughly on poverty. Perhaps the ceiling is still up for debate as far as taxation levels go. Interestingly, I even think wide consensus could be found on raising taxes on the super-rich. I think the new emerging opposition is between populists (right and left) who want to bend the natural world to meet human wishes versus the technocrats who are all about the science. We are currently watching the usurping of the populists by the technocrats under the pandemic. We are being ruled by health authorities and computer simulations of projected viral spread and environmental outcomes. However, the populists are pushing back, demanding social justice in a pandemic that has hurt poor and minorities (and highlighted racial divides), as well as demanding the right to work and participate in public life, even if it kills them. It’s logic versus emotion, computer versus human, and virtual versus physical. The programmers and operators of the tech infrastructure are the new oligarchs. The peasants work for them on their tech platforms, not unlike the factory workers at the Victorian textile mill. The “clerisy” will no doubt provide the ideological cover for this inequality through progressive measures like UBI for those who can’t make it in the gig economy using the tech platforms. Yeah it’s just a different wheel with the same cogs. We risk lapsing into forms of totalitarianism from either capitalists or green socialists if the situation gets more desperate. Our consumer-driven liberal democracy, a combination of growth capitalism and light socialism may be on the ropes. Cancel culture, protest, and censorship from the left are countered by greater consolidations of power and wealth from the elites who pretend to understand and relate to the marginalized in order to sell into the new Cultural Marxist markets. It’s a new form of an old class struggle, but if humanity becomes more desperate through economic hardships resulting from the pandemic and other crises, the political reactions could become much more extreme.
  8. I think the kind of immigration you value is the kind most Canadians support, people coming to achieve what they can, learn about the country, adapt to the prevailing customs and values, provide interesting cultural additions, and make some modest contributions to the country by being kind people. Where I think we get resentment of immigrants from the mainstream has very little to do with race or other superficial markers. I think it has to do with recently arrived immigrants who seem to disdain local customs and make people who have grown up here feel like there is something inherently wrong about the country and who they are. Such attitudes undermine institutions and national pride, including the pride of immigrants in their new homeland. It’s fine to be critical of a government and certain attitudes. I find it problematic, however, when radical criticism comes from people who would not let their children marry Canadians because they were raised Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist. They might criticize Canadia for supporting Israel because their home country is anti-Israeli, or they might slam Canada for not being pro-American or pro Israeli enough. It’s the unwillingness to support the democratically chosen values of Canadian society, and it can lead to ghettoization or the phenomenon of segregation and a separate form of citizenship.
  9. The big anti-Sir John A. movement relates to his statement that government shouldn't be feeding and housing indigenous. This is taken out of context to try to pin some form of genocide on him, when all he was saying is that it's a moral hazard for government to feed, house, and clothe people. It's a basic debate about whether people should be responsible for themselves and have to work for money to pay for things versus the state taking care of people even if they don't work. The verdict was settled decades ago that creating a culture of dependency is bad for everyone involved, the recipients and the taxpayers. Generally the peoples who have been the recipients of such programs have not faired well over time. One only has to look at the reserve system or public housing to see the truth of this, which isn't to say that a public safety net isn't necessary. We don't let people starve or die in the streets today, and the decision to provide such a safety net evolved over many decades, especially after the Great Depression. Egerton Ryerson, the founder of public education in Ontario, has been another target of protest, based on the idea that he is the founder of residential schools. Of course without the churches and taxpaying public building these schools and providing public education, there would be no public education. Indigenous didn't run schools then. Residential schools were where people who had to leave their communities in order to attend school went to school because there were no local schools. This is still true today when students from the far north leave their communities to attend high school in places like Thunder Bay when there are no local high schools because their home communities are remote and tiny. The main difference today is that now most of these schools are indigenous run and the students are staying with indigenous families. Yet depression, suicide, and substance abuse-related deaths exist today. Read the Seven Feathers about the high school in Thunder Bay. It may be easier for us to look for scape goats to blame for the all the social problems in the world today, and no doubt there were many past injustices. How accountable are present generations for the sins of past generations? This is worth considering as calls for reparations and recriminations abound. Do we seek refunds from the Americans who seized land from the Loyalists who came to Canada? Are the descendants of the first French settlers who lived somewhat peacefully alongside the Algonquins responsible for the various inequities over the subsequent centuries? There is value in reform and it's important to get a fair perspective on past historical figures, but let's make sure we look at the context in which those figures lived and look at multiple viewpoints instead of jumping on a reactionary/revolutionary bandwagon stirred by anger rather than facts.
  10. Only because he finally listened to Churchill after the failed attempt at appeasement. Now that’s a word to consider as we discuss dismantling police forces and removing monuments.
  11. I don’t know if you visited the political prison section of Auschwitz-Birkenau, but the prisoners who were gassed there were mostly progressives in today’s terms. Whatever racism Churchill exclaimed, the reality of his work was to prevent the silencing and elimination of progressive thinkers and minorities. Racism by today’s standards was the prevailing viewpoint then and there were far fewer visible minorities in countries like Britain and Canada. It’s easy to criticize and overlook the achievements of past leaders because of their imperfection by today’s standards, but much of the privilege that today allows us to criticize derived from these leaders’ efforts. I’m not sure today’s leaders would have the grit and determination it takes to defend our current freedoms. The progressive posturing of people who never had to fight much for anything probably wouldn’t stand up to much under pressure of war. Just a guess.
  12. As I thought, no perspective on this. If it wasn’t for Churchill’s big push to fight Hitler, the western world with its current freedoms probably wouldn’t exist. What a short memory and lack of respect for the sacrifices of our grandparents. I guess the world looks quite different to those who had freedom handed to them. I guess we haven’t learned much. I wonder how the 6 million dead Jewish ancestors, half a million American and Canadian soldiers, and 20 million Russian soldiers who fought fascism would see the lack of gratitude. I sincerely hope we don’t learn the hard way again. History has a way of repeating itself when it’s forgotten or rewritten.
  13. https://www.mississauga.com/news-story/10017802-online-petition-calls-for-renaming-of-winston-churchill-boulevard-in-mississauga/ So, the first leader to declare war on Hitler and Nazism is under fire with calls to change the name of Sir Winston Churchill Blvd. Thoughts?
  14. Yes, equity is the new manifestation. I’ve wondered whether it’s possible to have completely blind interviewing, such that employers aren’t allowed to see names or know the race or gender of applicants, and interviews would be blind with computer-modified voices, but I’m quite sure that most interviewers would insist on meeting the applicant to get a sense of grooming and confident body language, for example. We actually seem to be moving in the opposite direction of providing racial data on a range of practices, such as discipline, incarceration, educational outcomes, income levels, executive positions, etc. Such data is used to inform system policies. I can see how such data can be important to preventing unfair practices, but I also wonder if it makes race a focus of organizational practices when race shouldn’t come into decision-making at all. We seem to fall into the trap of believing we can score victimhood based on a single metric, such as race, when of course we know there are privileged black people and underprivileged white people, for example. Or we try to add up multiple intersectionalities, such as poverty, marginalization due to homosexuality, minority status, etc., as though victimhood can be quantified. Do such practices reinforce a victim culture wherein we compete at illustrating how hard done by we are? Is that really something we can assess when everyone is different and some people come from humble beginnings to achieve great success while others who are given every opportunity fail miserably? Is there a middle ground that seeks equality, perhaps raising opportunities for those who are genuinely hard done by, and not only based on race, without creating new forms of bias and unfairness?
  15. With all of the accusations of systemic racism, including the idea of unconscious bias, some companies are implementing affirmative action hiring policies that will aim to hire more minorities. The CBC, for example, claims it will make sure at least 50% of its workforce are minorities. Do you agree with affirmative action policies?
  16. First off, I don't believe you're Canadian because I don't know any Canadians who "hate being Canadian". For the past few years since I started taking the bait and responding to posts on this site I've seen the fakes come and go. Be grateful that you live in this country (if your claim is true), because if you didn't live here you'd have to live somewhere else. I haven't run across many countries that come close in wealth and freedom. Trudeau may be soft, but he's not a complete dick. We could do worse. Whatever it is that you think is so admirable about Trump is out of line with prevailing opinion right now. It's fine to critique the left and limits to free speech, but I don't see people here reacting to Trudeau as they are doing to your crush:
  17. The deaths and cases are real. Much of the political rhetoric around the facts are sophistry, stories told to win friends and influence people.
  18. I agree that public disturbances and disorderly conduct are worthy of attention from law enforcement. It’s all in the how. I’d rather put up with seeing the odd stumbling fool in a park carrying a bottle around but not hurting anyone than see people get ticketed or hauled off for drinking in the park. It’s of a matter of degree, but certain laws seem to give keen zealots the green light to be assholes and shake people down who just want to socialize and relax in a park. This is especially important when the bars are closed and there’s really nowhere else to meet friends.
  19. Yes but then we like to pat ourselves on the back for not having it as bad as in the US, which can be another form of self-deception. A good example is Covid. It’s easy to look at the higher percentage of cases in the US overall and think we’ve achieved something, but when we look at populations and jurisdictions, we see that some US states have outperformed some similar-sized Canadian provinces and vice versa. Context is everything. We have different histories and regional differences. Sometimes it isn’t better or worse. Sometimes it’s just different.
  20. That’s why there have been calls in Toronto to reallocate about 20% of the Toronto police budget to root community causes, a proposal black police chief Saunders calls naive. I do think we’re over-policed. Seeing more police than people in a Toronto park recently, hounding people about social distancing, carrying a beer, or peeing in a bush, and issuing tickets for all three, sealed the deal for me. Half as many police would have achieved the same level of tension. Many of these officers are making six figures. It’s an enormous chunk of the Toronto budget, the biggest item. Now, one might say that Toronto wouldn’t be as safe as it has been with fewer police, yet the rise in police numbers has coincided with a rise in gun violence in the past few years. I think as the city has grown and boomed, that wealth has accumulated much more in some areas than others. Housing affordability coupled with transience and precarity have created new tensions. I don’t think Toronto or many of Canada’s cities face much of the brutality we see in the George Floyd incident. Our problems with race seem more subtle and I think have more to do with privilege and entitlement. They may be more socio-economic than race-related, though race is still a thing here. We tend to superimpose US narratives on the Canadian context, which is a different context that also varies regionally within Canada.
  21. Yes, that’s why there’s value in political activism.
  22. It’s both a legislative problem and an enforcement problem, the former due to intrusive overzealous legislation, the latter due to the misappropriation of force. No one is advocating the abandonment of law enforcement.
  23. Enforce the right laws with the appropriate amount of force and everyone wins.
  24. You make an important point about victim culture wherein we compete to claim our worthiness for sympathy or some form of reparation based on our level of victimhood or quantity of intersectionalities. However, I’m not pushing for equity, just making sure already disenfranchised people aren’t being mistreated on the basis of their colour or monetary position. We need to reduce the number of behaviours we enforce, not just because the behaviours themselves are nobody’s damn business, but also because their enforcement is often used as a wedge to go after people for other reasons, such as, “this person (black/down and out) makes me feel uncomfortable”. Keep it about public safety and clear crimes and we’ll have fewer excuses for police brutality and injustice.
  25. I want to stop enforcing certain things, or rather, change certain laws. Feel free to start a thread on indigenous justice. I made reference to two questionable police actions against indigenous. It’s a very fraught topic that I’ve considered a lot. However, I’m not sure that ignoring gun control on reserves in Trudeau’s new gun control approach is an example of equity we should follow. Two-tier justice is never good.
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