It seems timely that, just after publishing Thunderf00t’s critique of a particularly silly feminist and the comments to it (one of which, CodeSlinger’s, I had turned into a post of its own), I came across an interesting article.
In it, a self-described feminists recounts a talk by a former radical feminist, attended by (among others) feminists from modern academic circles. Her article is titled ‘Why women’s studies needs an extreme makeover’. It is a most interesting read…
In it, the author, Emma Teitel, quotes the speaker, Janice Fiamengo, as well as gives her own opinions on the evening. I’d like to pique your curiosity with little quotes from both (or, rather, Teitel quoting Fiamengo).
The discipline has devolved into an “intellectually incoherent and dishonest” one, she argued, replacing a “callow set of slogans for real thought.” It’s man-hating, anti-Western, and fundamentally illiberal. “It champions a “kind of masculinity that isn’t very masculine at all,” and shuts down freedom of debate, hence the fire alarm. [the fire alarm was used in an attempt to cancel the event]
She referenced the male to female death ratio on the Titanic, and declared that “self sacrifice and heroism are not exclusive to men,” “but they are distinctive to men.” Students scowled behind their wayfarers. She railed against affirmative action, a family court system skewed unjustly to favour mothers over fathers, and the deep vein of anti-Western sentiment running through academic feminism that makes it okay to decry gender inequality in the West, and keep quiet about vaginal mutilation and honour killings in the East. [my emphasis]
The women’s studies crowd looked constipated. Fiamengo’s arguments weren’t going down easy, this one—her best—in particular: women’s studies “can’t be about the pursuit of truth” because it has an “ideological base.” Its goal is to push the ideology that women are victims and men are perpetrators. Therefore, any evidence to the contrary, regardless of its veracity, is unwelcome. In other words, ideology censors truth. “If you believe you are righteous,” she said, “you don’t challenge other views.”[my emphasis]
She also writes about the Q&A that followed:
Almost every pro-women’s studies person who approached the mic last night, spoke another language, a jargon you might misconstrue as scientific–only the words they used weren’t shortcuts meant to simplify or summarize complex concepts, they were used to make simple concepts sound complex: Hegemonic, racialized, problematic, intersectionality. It was pure obfuscation, 1984 with tattoos and septum piercings. Some of the students couldn’t even string together a single lucid sentence. All they had were these meaningless, monolithic words. I felt like I was on a game show, the exercise being how many times can you say patriarchal, phallocentric hegemony in 45 seconds or less. It was frankly, for a feminist, depressing.
A thoroughly thought-provoking read!
C0nc0rdance is a scientist who often appears on The Magic Sandwich Show, which I sometimes watch. And while I do not agree with all the views expressed on that show, I do like the level and manner at which the discussion occurs.
So, when C0nc0rdance put out a video on the topic of the 2nd Amendment and the whole gun control issue, I expected a well thought out, well supported position.
Having heard C0nc0rdance’s views on individual vs. collective rights, I also expected that his conclusion will not be the same as mine.
I was not disappointed – on either count.
I was, however, surprised how long into the video I agreed with each and every word he said. His conclusion and mine hinge on one very important distinction in how we perceive ‘rights’….
It is my core belief that the only way for a society to function is to recognize the inalienable rights of each and every individual within that society. The very concept of ‘collective rights’ is anathema to our civilization, where all rights derive from the individual. It is therefore not possible for any group to have different rights than those the individuals within that group have….because if it did, then those individuals within these privileged groups would have greater rights than other individuals in society and we would no longer have equality before the law.
In other words, in order to ensure that each citizen is treated equally by the courts and the law, we are limited to only legally recognizing individual rights. This makes any argument based on ‘group rights’ invalid.
Despite this insurmountable difference of opinion in individual vs. collective rights which makes C0nc0rdance arrive at a different conclusion than I, I think his argument is very good and well worth listening to.
‘The Heartland Institute’s Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-7) will take place in Chicago, Illinois from Monday, May 21 to Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at the Hilton Chicago Hotel, 720 South Michigan Avenue. The event will follow the NATO Summit taking place in Chicago on May 19–21.’
This is one Climate Conference which promises to actually address the science and not just the politically correct rhetoric. It is also likely to address the issues arising from faulty or downright fraudulent science on the topic of Anthropogenic Climate Change:
‘On November 22, 2011, a second batch of emails among scientists working at the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit was released by an unknown whistle-blower. “Climategate II” revealed prominent scientists concealing data, discussing global warming as a political cause rather than a balanced scientific inquiry, and admitting to scientific uncertainties that they denied in their public statements. ‘
Did I mention that Vaclav Klaus, the Czech President, will deliver the first dinner speech, on Monday, May 21st?
Of course, not everyone is planning to be there. Donna Laframboise of NoFrakkingConsensus, for one, has distanced herself from this event over concerns about Heartland’s ethics.
OK – this is a very contentious topic. Please, read my disclaimer first:
In this post, I do not wish to debate the morality of abortion or if it ought to be legal or illegal and anything else related to abortion itself. Let’s leave that for a later post focused specifically on that topic.
This post is about the inconsistencies in the ‘principled positions’ presently proposed (held) by many people who consider themselves as part of the ‘religious right’ and/or (because they do differ at times, but not always) ‘social conservatives’.
No, I am not taking the position that they are correct or incorrect, right or wrong. I am simply stating that they are inconsistent in their reasoning. As in, ‘if A, then you cannot logically argue for B; if B, then you cannot logically argue for A’!
Now that I have presented the disclaimer at such great length, let me present the two positions, as I understand them to be argued by the aforementioned factions within the conservative movement.
A person’s a person, no matter how small – or within a womb he/she is. Since the genetic material is set at conception, from zygote on, this is defined as a human being with full human rights and freedoms. Abortion is immoral and should be illegal because by intentionally killing this entity, one is killing a human being and thus violating his/her civil liberties.
In other words, ‘Position A’ holds that killing a fetus is murder because civil liberties and full human rights kick in at conception. The right of the child to his/her civil liberties is inviolable, regardless of what the parents’ views are.
Parents have a right to raise their child as they wish, without interference from the government.
In other words, parents should have the right to exclude information from their child’s education which they don’t like or agree with, they may discipline their child in any way they see fit, and so on. They could even subject them to plastic surgery for the hell of it, if they wanted to…
Please, don’t get me wrong – I do not know where the proper balance between the civil liberties of the child versus the civil liberties of the parents lies!
All I am saying is that if you think that the government has the right to interfere in in parental decisions from the very beginning – before the child is even born, it is logically inconsistent to then claim that the government has no right to interfere from that point on, whether it is sex ed in school or teaching children from a very young age that there are multiple religious beliefs (as well as disbeliefs).
After all, we do know from multiple, well documented studies that most children who receive religious indoctrination from their earliest childhood can never fully shake the effects of this early brainwashing. We also understand quite well how this works and that early childhood religious indoctrination actually changes the physiology of a child’s brain.
This clearly interferes not just with the civil liberty of freedom of religion, it actually interferes with the right to bodily integrity: the same right which is being violated by abortion if one were to extend civil liberties to the point of conception.
It seems to me that if one is arguing from a principled position, one can either argue that the parents have the exclusive right to make decision on behalf of their children or that children have their own civil liberties which nobody, not even the parent, can violate.
Both positions make very valid points. But, they are irreconcillable with each other because each stems from a set of principles which abrogates the other.
Either the civil libertis of the child – especially the right to bodily integrity – start at conception, as argued in ‘Position 1′: if this is so, the parents do not have the right to violate this bodily integrity, ever. Not to circumcize their children (of either sex), nor to corporally punish them, nor to rewire their brain through early childhood religious indoctrination!
Or the parents, as guardians, have the right to treat their children as they wish, as expressed in ‘Position 2′: they may subject them to non-medically necessary surgical procedures (religiously motivated or otherwise), they may spank them, they may deny them education and they may alter the natural structure of the brain through childhood religious indoctrination.
The problem comes in when the ‘religious right’/'social conservatives’ attempt to take both positions at once: abortion is murder and government must step in to stop it – and the government has no right to ban childhood circumcision, ban corporal punishment and to over-ride the parent’s interference with healthy brain development and education….
Again, I am not passing judgment on either set of principles.
All I am saying is that people need to choose one set of principles and stick with it, or they will not only open themselves to justified ridicule, they will continue to taint the ‘c’onservative movement as a whole.
Today marks a dark anniversary: the massacre at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.
A truly dark day in history.
Many people marked it by attending memorials, including on Parliament Hill.
No, I will not go into a rant about the fact that we were not told back then, nor are any current mainstream news coverages of the anniversary even mentioning that Mark Lepin’s murderous rampage was inspired by his Islamic beliefs – if I do, I’ll get stuck on this and never get to my main point:
All those protesters on Parliament Hill, all those propagandists who are continuously politicizing this massacre (without accurately and honestly describing it) for their own advantage – all the media whipping up the anti-gun hysterics – are drawing the wrong conclusion from this horrible tragedy!
This must be challenged!
Some of these protesters are saying that if another woman gets shot ever again, their blood will be on the hands of those who scrapped the long gun registry.
Guns are the great equalizers!!!
Even a small, frail woman can protect herself from a large attacker with a gun and a bit of training.
Would 14 women really have been massacred at Ecole Polytechnique if each and every one of them had been armed at the time of Lepin’s attack?
And, please, consider the following: during the attack, Lepin’s gun jammed and he had to clear it. Yet, while his gun was not functional, nobody tackled him – though they could have. If they had, many lives would have been saved.
So, why didn’t anyone tackle him?
Because we have been inculcated with an irrational fear of guns.
I am not saying that fearing guns is irrational in and of itself – rather, that the level of fear with which we, urbanites, treat guns is irrational.
There is a remedy: each and every adult should be taught basic gun use and safety. It should be part of every person’s education, just like learning to drive is. (Remember, in Canada, cars ‘kill’ way more people than guns do!)
And while I am not advocating that each and every person should be legally mandated to always carry a loaded weapon in public, ready to use at all times, I think it is reasonable that we demand that each and every educator do so. After all, we entrust them with the care of our children – they ought to have the means and ability to protect them.
Even with the best police response times, a gunman who enters a school will have ample time to massacre students. What is the current mandated response? Lock students in their classrooms, turning them into sitting ducks and ensuring that it is easier for the villain to find her/his intended target.
Consider how much safer our children – all students – would be if every teacher would be able and ready to offer armed resistance!!!
So, let’s demand of ourpoliticians that they pass a law making it mandatory for each and every teacher to be trained in the use of firearms and to be fully armed at all times while at work! It’s the only logical lesson to be learned from this horrible, horrible tragedy.
CodeSlinger had left a comment on a post about the ‘Occupy Toronto’ demonstration which I think deserves a post of its own:
By contrast, I found the crowd at Occupy Victoria very receptive to my libertarian message.
I didn’t go there to speak. I went to find out, first hand, what these people want. And what I discovered was… they haven’t got a clue.
I heard a lot of crowing about coming together, and a lot of whining about being oppressed, but no one had any idea what to do about it.
I didn’t go there to speak. But I couldn’t help myself.
So I spoke to the crowd about the importance of individual rights and freedoms.
The kind of rights that have nothing to do with what’s written on some piece of paper.
The rights we are born with. The rights nobody can take away from us.
The crowd applauded enthusiastically.
I remarked that we had heard a lot about tyranny and abuses of wealth and power.
But none of these abuses would be possible if we lived in a place that respects the inalienable rights and freedoms of every individual.
The crowd cheered wildly.
I said that we had heard a lot about collective action and direct democracy.
But a collective is made of individuals, and democracy is nothing but mob rule unless it respects the inalienable rights and freedoms of every individual.
The crowd roared its approbation.
I told them that this is the underlying cause and cure for all the diverse concerns of the assembled people.
This is what unites us.
This is the one thing we all need. We need to take back our –
Inalienable. Individual. Rights and freedoms!
And to do that we must set our government one simple task:
Protect the equal rights of every individual equally!
And beyond that – leave us the hell alone!
The crowd thundered unanimous agreement.
I didn’t go there to speak. But I’m glad I did.
Because it proved that these people are not as stupid as they are made out to be. They know truth and sense when they hear it. They just don’t hear it very often.
I went there to find out what this movement is all about.
I came away absolutely certain that now is the time to clearly and forcefully bring the libertarian message to the people of Canada.
The people of Canada are more than ready to hear it.
This is most excellent news! And – most enjoyable reading…
Quick recap: John Baglow and ‘Peter O’Donnel’ got into a heated debate online which spanned several blogs and the Free Dominion discussion forum on the topic of Omar Khadr, his trial and whether or not supporting Omar Khadr constitutes ‘supporting the Taliban’.
John Baglow then tried to sue ‘Peter O’Donnel’ and Free Dominion for defamation: ‘Peter O’Donnel’ for what he said and Free Dominion for being the forum in which he said it. (‘Published it’ would be a more accurate term – but ‘said’ just rolls off the keyboard so much more easily!)
Today, the ruling in the case came in: the case has been dismissed.
Here are a few quotes from the ruling which I found most interesting:
 Bringing an action on the comment in mid-debate runs contrary to the rules and has the
effect of chilling discussion. If allowed, it places the opposing party in a defensive mode, rather
than an offensive one, strategically putting that party at a disadvantage.
 This was all the more so where the blog is used to aggressively berate the other side,
score points employing colourful derogatory characterizations, e.g. the plaintiff calling the
defendant Comrie Fournier the “Free Dominatrix” or referring to the opposition as “yokels with
pitchforks”, or to undermine their logic and indeed their standing by superior debating skills.
* * *
 In any event, the plaintiff largely contradicts his view of the evidentiary basis that the
Court should use to judge this matter. He describes the foundation for his own contemptuous
views towards the defendants as follows:
With respect to paragraph 7, I do not deny that the Defendants and I are
ideological adversaries and opponents in the blogosphere. I do not know the
defendants personally, and so my derision, scorn and contempt for them. can only
be for their opinions and actions as evidenced by their postings.
 I am in agreement with the plaintiffs statement, which should have mutual application to
all parties engaged in this political debate. There is nothing in the blogging threads which would
suggest that there was any personal or inherent express malice on the part of the defendants
directed at the plaintiff, as opposed to the mutual contempt of the parties for each other’s
opinions and actions as evidenced by their postings.
 The defendants would be entitled to rely upon the defence of fair comment should their
statement be found to be defamatory.
The way I understand these words, the judge is saying that when one starts to loose in an online debate, running to the courts to sue the other side is not an appropriate course of action. And, if it is OK for YOU to call somebody names, it is OK for THEM to call you bad names as well…
OK – I that was the sweetest bit in the ruling – in my personal opinion.
Here are some other bits that caught my eye:
 Instead, I conclude that the opinion expressed by the defendant lies at the heart of the
debate between the factions represented by the. parties and whether the underlying facts are true
or not, readers following the blog would understand the comment as being one side of the debate.
 The fact that the parties are engaged in ongoing debate over what it means to support the
Taliban is recognized in the plaintiffs attempt to explain the distinction between his situation and
that when the late Jack Layton, former leader of the NDP) was described as “Taliban Jack”.
Secondly, the handle “Taliban Jack” does not necessarily imply conscious
support, but rather suggests giving an unintentional and unplanned advantage to
the Taliban. I respectfully submit the words spoken by Mr. Smith cannot be given
such an interpretation and imply conscious support for a political group at war
with Canadian Forces. [Emphasis added]
 I frankly fail to see the distinction in not implying “conscious support” when applied to
“Taliban Jack” giving an advantage to the Taliban and to the statement that the plaintiff is a
vocal supporter of the Taliban.
 But more importantly, the plaintiff’s comment is understood as being part of the ongoing
debate between the two factions represented by the parties’ views. No reasonably informed
Canadian would conclude that Mr. Layton was defamed by being called Taliban Jack,
understanding that this was simply a catchy label attached to him by conservatives to showcase
what they consider the weakness of the liberal argument in this political debate.
 Reasonably informed readers of these blogs would understand labelling the plaintiff a
supporter of the Taliban as performing the same function and would not consider the comro.ent
capable of lessening the reputation of the plaintiff.
 nternet blogging is a fonn of public conversation. By the back and forth character it
provides an opportunity for each party to respond to disparaging comments before the same
audience in ‘an immediate or a relatively contemporaneous time frame.
 This distinguishes the context of blogging from other forms of publication of defamatory
statements. One exception couId be the live debate, of which blogging constitutes the modem
 I am not suggesting that defamation can never occur in a live debate. I do say however,
that the live debate forum should be considered as a contextual factor 10 determine whether the
statement is defamatory in so far as whether it is complete.
 An example that does not in any manner reflect the Court’s views on these issues, but
wbich might serve to explain how derogatory, even defamatory remarks are expected to be
parried in a live debate so as to remove the “sting of the libel” and attenuate any threats of
diminution of reputation might be as follows:
Mr. Smith knows full well that I abhor what the Taliban stand for. His calling me
one of their supporters because I think they should be entitled to due process in
accordance with lntemationallaw would be like me calling him (some derogatory
descriptor, e.g. “a Nazi fascist”) because he wants to trample the rights that’
Canadians cherish, etc. [Example provided by the Court]
 Given that the plaintiff pleads his belief that “there is a reasonable likelihood of damage
to my repumtion if it became generally believed that I supported the enemies of the
Canadian Forces”, it seems that the tendency of the comment to lower his :reputation, particularly
when arising in the form of a comment in a debate, could have been quickly nipped in the bud by
a simple rejoinder in the fashjon described above. This would have had the additional benefit of
allowing him. to score some points of bis own.
There are other really interesting bits – read the full ruling for yourself!
An excellent explanation of the origins of our copyright laws – and how they have evolved over time. Plus – a strategy on dealing with the problems they create.