Monthly Archives: June 2016

Why Not? A Brexit Opinion from a Canadian Conservative

Why not? Let’s have another opinion on Brexit from someone who isn’t British or lives in England.

It’s awesome; a fantastic victory for the right over the left. And not the “far-right” as the progressives clambers over each other to proclaim at how shocked and appalled they are by the victory of racists and bigots. No, a victory for the right that rejects ideas of over-arching government bureaucracy and micro-managing of every little aspect of your life, a rejection of the idea that one-size-fits-all policies and pan-continental/world government should take precedence over local and community solutions and desires.

The EU over-reached; had it simply remained a free-trade bloc with the capacity for labour and goods to move freely within its members this would never have happened and the original goal of the EU, post WW-II, of a more integrated Europe to prevent future military conflicts, would have been achieved. But no, it decided to pursue a pan-European government, a one-size fits all pan-European currency, and saddle the continent with a largely unaccountable bureaucracy that nobody really cared for.

The Leave campaign argued that the U.K. is being prevented from negotiating free trade deals with the US, Canada, Asia et. al. by its ties to the continent which has been experiencing near zero growth for the past decade. That’s not anti-trade or isolationist, it’s a valid belief that the economic grass is indeed greener on the other side. The proof is in the pudding; strikes and protests are going on right now in France about such minor reforms to labour laws that we here in Canada have to laugh, but it’s so hard to hire and fire people that the French economy has stagnated. Germany has so few young people that its economy has been stalled for years and so it’s come to Merkel taking a massive gamble that letting in over a million Syrian men will give their economy the boost of young labour and entrepreneurs it desperately needs. Really? Then you have basket-case countries like Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and others that can barely pay their bills and need massive floats of funding from other countries who know, deep down, that they will never see that money back again.

The economic arguments are there, the sovereignty-erosion arguments are there. So the left have to dip into making last ditch arguments about racism and xenophobia. Take for example our virtue-signaler in chief, John Oliver, who does these long form TV essays on issues he wants to expound upon from the angle of his choosing, but when he does get caught out because his facts are wrong or he chooses to omit certain key arguments, he just says “I’m a comedian, not a journalist.” He gets to have his cake and eat it too. But on this issue even he can’t float the Remain boat for too long on the basis of legitimate arguments and of course, slips into the Nigel Farage is a racist bigot etc. argument.

Here’s what the Left do really well – they END arguments. They don’t WIN them, but they are very good at ENDING them. They simply try to discredit the other side as being racist, homophobic, and bigoted, climate-deniers etc. and they unilaterally declare arguments are OVER. The Left has a long track record in recent years of being tremendously successful at doing this.   But they tried that here, and it didn’t work. This is why there’s going to be so much anger and angst in the next few weeks and months. This is a bad precedent for the Left, and we on the right have been given a reason to cheer for a change.

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On Virtue Signaling as City Zoning Policy

Remember Justin Trudeau’s promise for more “evidence-based” policy making? Supposedly evidence-based means an objective analysis of historical evidence and facts to support the creation of policy. What a superb idea. As conservatives we’d embrace this approach, seeing as how conservatism should be at its heart about balance, stability and rational government.

But what we’re more likely to see from your standard leftie is “virtue-based” policy making.   We talked about virtue-signaling in the last post. Now let’s examine a microscopic example of how virtue-signaling doesn’t just infect our social media with misplaced outpourings of grief and support for victims and causes, but also our policy making at something as mundane as a city planning level.

See the picture of these fine young urban planners? Four young professionals about to transform a city of 250,000 into a modern green-topia of cyclists, bus riders and LRT users. The ordinary car powered by a combustion engine? Evil. These four become nauseous at the sight of one in the city core. So here’s what they propose to do with their new city zoning by-laws; make it impossible to find a spot for any cars.

“The proposal would require no parking for the first 100 units and then 0.9 spaces/unit thereafter.”

The practicalities of this are almost insane – would you spend $300k+ on a condo apartment that doesn’t provide you at least ONE parking spot?  No.  So two things will happen; the market for older apartments with one or more parking spots per unit will skyrocket and developers will either abandon the idea of building condos or, what is more likely, find ways to pay off politicians for by-law exemptions.  It actually opens the market for corruption.

As an example you don’t have to stray too far – the Ontario Liberal government’s Green Belt legislation was supposed to curtail development beyond certain boundaries and prevent urban sprawl, a noble goal but what’s been shown is that in practice all it did was put some more friction in the system that could be overcome with a little green, and not the environmental kind. This is evidenced by the fact that the number one financial contributor to the Ontario Liberals is in fact developers.

And I guess we’re all supposed to work at City Hall and live downtown so we can walk to work in -30C temps.  You can only bike in this country for maybe six months of the year.

So what’s this about then? It’s not about the actual ability to get rid of cars; it’s about the virtue-signaling of one community of urban planners to another, so they can go to conferences in the future and compare impractical and failed ideas and pat each other on the back about all the supposed good they’re doing. As time trudges maybe one or two at the most of this daring foursome will attempt to stick their goals with puritanical zeal and be real pains-in-the-ass to your typical downtown developer, but the others will kowtow to political pressure from developers savvy enough to throw fundraising dinners for the mayor and councilors and get their bylaw exemptions via the backdoor. And the additional cost of application delays and fundraising will just be passed on to the consumer, making the market for condos and housing in general all that more expensive and unaffordable .  Cue the stories about how young people are priced out of the housing market.

There are plenty of market-based solutions to curbing urban sprawl and incentivizing people to use mass transit and alternative modes of transportation.  But those kinds or solutions are devoid of any kind of virtue-signaling because using the free market and letting urban development evolve according to market forces doesn’t provide fodder for fawning news articles that get circulated to your peers around the country.

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On Virtue Signaling

Who remembers the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup hockey riot from a couple of years ago? The Canucks lost in game seven of the finals to the Boston Bruins and then fans in Vancouver promptly rioted and, in the end, nearly 300 people were convicted of crimes during the riot but many more escaped any charges because they couldn’t be identified. Four people were stabbed, hundreds wounded, nine police officers hurt and property damage was over $4 million including widespread looting.

There was a lot of hand wringing after the fact about the identities of these rioters; generally young but university educated, employed and seemingly decent persons in their normal day lives. So the explanations evolved to the whole event being a narrative on what a spoiled, entitled, and moral-less generation millennials have become. But that didn’t explain everything; there was quite a bit of discussion about mob mentality, crowd psychology and how people can be swept up in the spirit of a riot and lose their common sense and moral bearings.

From Gustave Le Bon, who was a leader in the analysis of mob psychology:

“Crowd behavior is heavily influenced by the loss of responsibility of the individual and the impression of universality of behavior, both of which increase with the size of the crowd.”

There is clearly some reciprocity at work; persons looking to relieve themselves of responsibility actually look for crowds to become part of, they embrace crowds. Hence why the “good” kids in Vancouver, when they saw a riot brewing, a crowd with ignoble purpose they didn’t run the other way or try to stop it even, they surrendered to it and fell in. Because it gave them the feeling they were absolved of responsibility.

All of which brings us to “virtue signaling”… You know what virtue signaling is; the changing your Facebook profile pic to the colours of the French or Belgian flag when there’s a terrorist attack, the sending of unsolicited emails to 300 people at a time with links to climate-alarmist videos, the changing of the words of your national anthem because “in all thy son’s command” can’t be interpreted in any generic sense and excludes half the nation, the hashtag campaigns to #bringbackourgirls… in the immortal words of Bill Burr (see around 3:52 in this clip);

She’s sitting there holding up those hashtags, “BringBackOurGirls””

Remember that hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.

That blew my mind, like why are you asking me that, I am a stand-up comedian. Like what am I going to do to get back the girls?

Why don’t you look across the dinner table, you see that guy? That is the leader of the free world; tell him to pick up a phone, call some NAVY Seals and solve it….What am I going to do?

Virtue signaling are all those symbolic gestures that in the end amount to nothing. They get nothing accomplished except… make it widely known to all your friends, families and peers that YOU CARE. You are a caring, empathic, wonderful human being. You are good and you are announcing it to the world. But there’s the whole crowd aspect of virtue signaling too that would explain in part why there always seems to be stampede like a herd on Facebook and Twitter and all the other social media sites to immediately proclaim your solidarity with the victims of this tragedy or that tragedy, like the most recent Orlando shootings. Proclaiming your sympathies and solidarity with gay people is the very least you can do, but I believe the great majority rush to do this as quickly as they can because then there is the inference that that’s it, they’re done. Their responsibility in the matter has ended. They have washed away or diluted their responsibility in the crowd they have joined by virtue signaling. It’s intellectually dishonest and morally bankrupt, but that is the society we are living in today. Take the easy road. As Mark Steyn so aptly puts it in this clip, most of society goes on frolicking in the fields, holding hands and singing about our wonderful lives, and the conservatives are the ones left to look at the world as it truly is and be labelled as the mean or racist or bigoted ones.

Conservatives are not innocent of virtue signaling, we certainly do our share of it. But we need to point it out whenever we see it and call people out on it, because only shaming people and pointing out the uselessness of symbolism over substance will provide at least a modicum of resistance to this increasing herd mentality. When you see the left contorting itself so that they can claim the Orlando shooting is an unfortunate result of the marginalization of two communities, gay and Muslim, you know you are seeing overt virtue signaling that will not accomplish anything other than make the situation worse.  We cannot seek out crowds to join that let us shirk responsibility for dealing with the root causes of problems just because it might make us seem harsh or uncaring.

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Losing the Battle

So I got this email the other day at work.

From: Bag, Douche

Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2016 12:41 PM

To: Everyone at Work in My Building

Subject: Kids on climate change

Hi everyone.

I know I shouldn’t do this, but I had to share this video developed by the Ontario government and featured on their climate change website.

And here’s the website:


Douche Bag

Senior Tree Hugger

(PS – I wear board shorts and flip-flops to work in an office because I’m huge prick.)

What strikes me about receiving this email is the inference on the part of the sender that all those receiving this email would be either grateful for it or accepting of its contents. There is an implied impunity to any blow-back, because if I had replied something to the effect of, “Please, in the future do not send me links to government tax-payer funded propaganda that uses little kids to hector their parents about climate-alarmism,” guess who would have been the f’n bad guy? Me. What kind of Neanderthal, anti-science, troglodyte calls this propaganda? Isn’t it the truth?!? WHO IS AGAINST TRUTH?!? EVIL PEOPLE, THAT’S WHO.

So, I debated for a few minutes responding to Mr. Bag, weighing the costs and benefits of outing myself as a “denier”. Then I came to the conclusion, as I usually do whenever I stop and not let my emotions get a hold of me, that I cannot change this person’s mind nor can I do anything other than put a giant target on my back for the eco-cultists on the 3rd floor to shoot at (with their metaphorical guns, certainly, not real guns), so what would be the point other than to start argument I cannot win.

I thought briefly about forwarding the email to Human Resources and inquiring as to whether it was appropriate to be circulating political emails at work, but then after thinking about that for several minutes also, I came to the conclusion that the interpretation at HR would likely have been “what’s political about that?” and doubtless my complaint would have gone nowhere, or equally likely they would have lazily just forwarded my email on to Douche with some kind of limp-wristed instruction to please take care in the future, and I would have been outed anyway.  We are talking after all about a company that has a “Sustainability” group that does bullshit false-economy work commissioning buildings so they achieve some kind of minimum threshold of environmental compliance and can hang a cheap looking diploma in their lobby stating that they’re LEED certified, or something like that.  Meaningless work unless you have a culture that upholds meaningless work as way of corporate virtue-signaling…. “Look how awesome and environmentally conscious a company we are!” and then they get a nice profile in some year end magazine listing the “greenest” companies to work for.

So in the end, despite my dismay at receiving an email promoting a Nazi-youth, North Korea style, climate propaganda video that speciously uses children, I lacked the courage to do anything but meekly read his email, click on the link, watch in disgust, wait a few minutes for my fuming to subside and then delete the email. I have kids to feed, a mortgage to pay, I cannot afford to make any great moral stand on something ultimately I have zero ability to influence. But oh wait – after some monkeying around with Outlook I did find a way to block the asshole so I will never see another email from him again.   That will teach him.  Next time he invites us all to one of his lunch seminars about filling out our mileage forms to comply with our commute-reduction goals, I won’t get the invite.  Straight to trash.  We have to take triumphs, no matter how small, wherever we can get them.

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On French Racists and Push-Back

The French national soccer team manager, Didier Deschamps decided that he didn’t want Karim Benzema on the final roster for the upcoming European Cup because he was involved in a scheme to blackmail a teammate, Mathieu Valbuena over a supposed sex tape. Benzema is a pretty decent striker, and probably the best French striker available to pick for the national team, but Deschamps elected instead not to select him because his presence in the locker room probably wouldn’t be great for team chemistry. Chemistry between players, team spirit, trumps individual talents in a team sport like soccer.

Then there’s Samir Nasri. A complete asshole and by most accounts a corrosive personality in the French locker room. He’s talented too, but didn’t play much this past year for Manchester City and will probably get turfed when new manager Pep Guardiola comes in later this summer mostly because he’s lazy and a bit of a prima donna. He was left off the team as well by Deschamps.

Oh, and wait. Here’s Atem Ben Arfa. He was a Newcastle United reject and went back to the French league two years ago where he just had a barnstormer of a season. But lo and behold, he’s a jackass too and nobody on the national team likes him, he’s seen as a selfish player, so one more player left off the team by Deschamps.

What do they have in common? All players of Algerian descent… so naturally Deschamps is being accused of racism by, amongst others, loser Globe and Fail columnists who know nothing about soccer and who is not even a sports columnist. Deschamps is accused of being a racist despite the fact that there are 11 out of 23 players who are black or of African descent, all of whom deny that Deschamps is discriminatory in any way.

But is it any surprise? Progressives are always on the search for things to be outraged about, even if it needs to be imagined and manufactured or conveniently ignores facts that are as plain as day. And this is just a small example of a very big problem with progressivism – it never stops. It never relents. If you ask a conservative, what 10 to 15 things would make you happy, a conservative would list them (lower taxes, reduce the size of government, reduce entitlements and balance the budget, strengthen the military, etc.) and say, if you give us this, we will go away. We’ll go live our lives and get on with things. Ask a progressive this question and they will look at you as though you are from another planet… There is no limit to what they want, because as soon as they achieve something they ignore it, fail to acknowledge any progress and just go on the hunt for more, and more, and more. They are insatiable.

So is the French team racist? No! Because you need to look at it in the context of what the French team might have looked like 50 years ago… there wouldn’t have been a single black player on the roster! That’s progress, no matter how you define it. That should be appreciated, not dissected for the fact that players representing one single minority aren’t represented on the team (for valid reasons).

And this unrelenting assault on everything, this inability to take a breather and appreciate how far we’ve come as a society and a species it eventually produces a resistance. There comes a push back and it gets ugly, the metaphorical pendulum that swings the other way. You get a Donald Trump who, when he calls Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” because she bullshitted about her First Nations ancestry to get a plumb university job, a reporter or someone in the audience shouts, “That’s offensive!” and what does Trump do? He repeats it 4 or 5 more times, this time with a smile, a shark who’s just tasted blood in the water. He’s an asshole who has no business running for President, but this is what a large segment of the population want to see – resistance. Mocking of progressive sensibilities and orthodoxies. Push back. What a shame the current leader for this resistance is total boob and not a conservative at all.  The progressive left are creating a monster, a nationalist alt-right movement that is picking up steam across the world, and when it gets rolling who will stop it?

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