Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dividing By Zero

The first election I was ever involved in seriously- Ontario, 2007- consisted of John Tory bumbling his way to defeat, followed shortly by a bunch of people I respected getting marched over a cliff for daring to ask dangerous questions like "Why?" and "How?", and the people responsible for that particular disaster making every excuse possible and getting away with it. You could say it was a bit of a formative experience.

One thing I learned from that election that has held true through every single subsequent election, leadership review, leadership race, and generally every test that the Canadian public has been put to is that the voters will always- always- go for the safest option. Not the best option, not even the smartest option, but the safest option. What is likely to cause the least conflict and friction? Who's going to make us sacrifice the least? Who has the fewest negatives? Voters do this because they know on a very basic and intangible level that the world is a scary and frightening place, and the people who know this the best are (usually) the Liberals, who cynically offer them a chance to keep things the way they are and pretend conflict doesn't exist.

Before that election, the PC bosses were confident, as usual (and wrong, as usual) that nobody would believe any of the out-and-out lies the Liberals were going to tell about John Tory. Just look at him, they said. He gets up at 5 AM and doesn't leave a room until he's spoken to every single person in it. Nobody's ever tried to smell his poop, but not only doesn't it stink, it's probably worth more than any of us will ever be worth. What is Dalton McLiar going to do against that?

To this day, it's hard for me to believe that for one month in 2007 the entire province bought the notion that John Tory was a radical social conservative. They did, though. And it's because between the two of them, John Tory had one policy that was going to cause friction and Dalton had none. They got over it in time to help him be "the safe alternative to the Fords," though.

It's also hard to believe, but there was a time that everybody thought Rob Ford was legitimately the best option out of his group of candidates. George Smitherman was hated by his own party, treated anyone outside his Liberal circle like dirt, was a known former drug abuser, and thought this brutish knuckle-dragger from Etobicoke wasn't fit to polish his silverware. He thought Toronto owed him the mayoralty. He made no secret of it. Rob Ford kept it together for the duration of the campaign whereas Smitherman looked like he was going to bite off and eat the head of the first voter who looked at him funny.

Truth challenged but boring Premier beats privileged but decent zillionaire with a tendency to say awkward stuff. Privileged awkward decent zillionaire beats (the angrier brother of) the slightly oafish guy who is somewhat relatable despite saying really offensive stuff from time to time. Oafish and sometimes racist but still relatable guy beats preening snob ashamed of his humble beginnings. It's a hierarchy of safe and predictable from which voters choose the least worst option based on the options they're given for a particular choice.

Now I'm sure that John Tory has read all the newspapers telling the world that the circus has moved out of city hall and based on that he truly believes that he will be able to bring harmony to council, and in that respect he is wrong wrong wrongitty wrong wrongo wrong.

First of all, we have almost the exact same city council we had when the circus was in town, which means we pick up almost exactly where we left off. Rob Ford is still on council. All of Rob Ford's opponents are still on council. The ideological makeup of council is basically the same.

Then you still have Ford Nation out there in the upper left and upper right corners of the city with a whole bunch of entitled social justice warriors all over the place who decided to cut off their noses to spite their faces and let Olivia Chow burn because she didn't give them everything they wanted. Leaderless and confused, they still managed to get Ausma Malik elected to the TDSB even as nearly half of the money wasting trustees got cleared out, mount sizable challenges to centrist and right-centrist incumbents in Davenport, give conservative councilors elsewhere a run for their money, and help obnoxious leftist incumbents that by all rights should have been defeated stay comfortably where they were. That's a hell of a better final score than the right had at the end of the night.

If anything, this mayoral race is just another data point on the trendline showing that, if you want a halfway conservative government, your best bet is to form a "wing" of a much bigger and much better organized Liberal framework. And indeed these two groups, Ford Nation and the social justice warriors, will be pushing their agendas through their respective mouthpieces whilst Wynne and her new toy John Tory will tie their own centrist agenda into a pretzel trying to please everyone and failing. That's the next four years in a nutshell, but at least until council gets rolling again these two factions are battling it out in other arenas: the online debate over Ghomeshigate, for example, or in the chatter over what last week's attack on the Parliament Buildings means for our nation.

In this corner we have the tag team of "Ban All Muslim Immigration" and "Ghomeshi Is The Victim Of A Conspiracy of Crazy Women", and in this corner we have, "Canada Had It Coming And They Deserved What They Got" and "If You Don't Think Ghomeshi Is Guilty As The Day Is Long, You're Perpetuating Rape Culture." Ding ding! Well, it's not actually much of a fight, is it? Team Social Justice has critical-theory-using millenials, twitter and tumblr mobs, celebrities, and Glenn Greenwald on its side, and Team Ford Nation has the usual gang of reg'lar folk facepalm-generators.

Based on the other 8692 times we've had this matchup, I'm going to give Team Social Justice a slight edge and predict that it will become just a bit easier to blame Canada for terrorist attacks perpetrated against it, and instead of blaming women for being assaulted like we did and still do, we'll move a little bit closer to assuming men are just guilty (which is way better, of course).

John Tory can't even answer a simple question about white privilege without becoming confuzzled, so I can't wait to see what his views on rape culture are, or what he thinks about Glenn Greenwald's super clear and super helpful "distinction" between justifying the attacks and talking about their causes which is not a distinction at all because it's completely obvious what Greenwald wants to accomplish here: he wants to shift blame for terrorist attacks from Muslims to white people, which, like what the rest of the social justice warriors want to accomplish with Ghomeshigate, won't actually improve the way we treat one another but will instead just change who the victim is, so we'll all be equally frightened and equally guarded and equally miserable.

So long as we need someone to blame (which is always), the John Torys of the world are powerless.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Eye of The Beholder

When I write about the efforts of left wing activists to appropriate power for themselves, I do it for the same reason I became a conservative in the first place: not because I'm overly interested in defending the rights of the powerful, but because at least the defenders of the powerful are honest (OK- they can be honest, from time to time) about what they want, and don't pretend to hold a set of high-minded ideals which they obviously do not have. This false moral superiority- this claiming to be fighting social evils under the guise of social justice- is why I write pejoratively about social justice warriors. As long as I draw breath, I'll never understand why people have to perform increasingly complicated mental backflips to cover up their true feelings.

For example: The fact that, in Western society, historically, white people have had and continue to have advantages over non white people is undeniable. As I pointed out in my previous post, nobody can deny that without looking silly. Unfortunately, though, that's not good enough for the social justice warriors, who want to make sure you understand that racism against white people cannot and does not exist and that they have no time to listen to how white people may or may not have been legitimately treated poorly or felt upset.

Now again: the feelings of white people are not what I'm concerned about here myself. All that concerns me is that if you're trying to make the case that you're attempting to move the species forward in spite of itself, you kind of have to not let your own pain get in the way of all that, so that jerks like myself don't think, "Oh. This has nothing to do with social justice. This is really all about your own stuff." Don't get me wrong: if your aim is simple revenge, there's a definitive case to be made for that. It's what's called rational selfishness.

But you see, for the social justice warriors, A is not A. Not all feelings are equal. The bias in favour of whiteness is so pervasive that any act of discrimination against white people is irrelevant. It's kind of like how the Ontario Liberals blame Mike Harris and Stephen Harper for everything and write off the egregious stuff they do as not really worth worrying about.

There are other ways you can prove that social justice warriors don't really care about social justice. If you cite an example of minorities doing well in spite of this apparently massive bias against them here in the West, you'll usually get something sputtered out about "internalized racism."

If you are a minority and you don't spend your time talking about how your colour or religion holds you back, you've got internalized racism. Instead of staying truth to yourself, you pretended to be as white as possible, and that's the only possible way you could have made it. Thomas Sowell has internalized racism. Amy Chua has internalized racism. Dinesh D'Souza has internalized racism. Michelle Malkin has internalized racism. Ford supporters who are not white certainly have internalized racism.

I could deal with this by pointing out that it's enormously insulting to assume you know how people got the views that they have, but instead I'll just offer up the following story:

When I grew up, I went to a religious school that taught me, among other things, that my race was unique and special, that we were chosen by God, and that we had a special inalienable right to a certain disputed area of land over which people routinely kill one another. This was not "internalized racism." This is the literal teaching of the religion in which I was raised. Many other religions and cultures teach and reinforce something very similar, and in many cases these teachings predate the Western capitalist culture these social justice warrior fools are railing against by a very long time.


Now you can claim that this is horrific and wrong and an example of the evils of religion, but you're not going to get help from the social justice warriors who are preoccupied with destroying the "ideal" of "whiteness". Of course that makes sense when you consider that this is not actually about any big important ideals like social justice which have to be followed consistently. How can we expect predominantly white leftists with first world problems to know anything about what actually goes on in places like Saudi Arabia or Zimbabwe where non-white people do legitimately awful things? It's not part of their frame of reference since these people know nothing outside their own experience anyway.

Isn't it fascinating how everything these people do proves the correctness of the conservative way of thinking?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Little White Lies

It was bound to happen eventually. The time is at hand when the Canadian conservative movement must confront the issue of white privilege.

So far we've had one major clusterkludge on the Sun News Network and one loaded question directed at John Tory, which, surprise surprise, he didn't answer very well. In both cases, there was an attempt to deny the existence of white privilege, and in both cases the right (such as it was) fell victim to one of the oldest tricks in the social justice warrior handbook: make your opponent look like an utter dumbass by causing them to explain away a concept that they don't and can't understand very well. Perhaps I can be of assistance in making sure this doesn't happen again.

First of all, you may have noticed that the very concept of privilege is a colossal logic bomb specifically designed to confuse the hell out of privileged people so that they lose the debate before it even starts. White privilege exists, so we are told, and the reason we know privilege exists is because white people aren't aware of it. Because white people are not subject to racism they have a much easier time of it than non-privileged people, so they would of course have no frame of reference. Then, when they are called out on their privilege, they will naturally say, "Sorry, I don't see it." Denying privilege exists is proof that privilege exists!

If denying the existence of privilege is just going to encourage the social justice warriors and make us look (and feel) stupid, then what we need to do is stop sounding like irrationally positive Liberals who pretend things couldn't be better and say: Yes, privilege exists. There is a power imbalance and society is divided into those with power and those without. If you're having trouble doing this, just remember that in this province, we have been governed for quite some time now by Liberals who have never hesitated to exercise their privileges at our expense.

Now that we have admitted that society is composed of warring factions, we have two courses of action. We can get overwhelmed with guilt at how awful it is that there is a power differential and start falling over ourselves to tell everyone how sorry we are about it all, or we can start exposing the social justice warriors for the immense hypocrites they are by showing how they are out to steal our privilege for their very own.

In case you can't tell which one of these two paths I prefer, let's examine the consequences of each one. Path A, the path where we all feel terrible and give up everything of our own free will, is a nice and comfortable path, and the social justice warriors would really prefer you took it. They say, and some of them actually believe, that if you acknowledge your own privilege, nothing will happen to you. (This is, of course, a nicer way of saying, 'Your money or your life'!)  Path A is the path taken by lots of world leaders, and when you are on this path you bankrupt yourself and others doing whatever the social justice warriors want so as to avoid conflicts and because looking like you don't care about inequality is a bad way to stay in power.

Prospective mayor John Tory has, in his earlier incarnations, tried to win over the social justice warriors by giving them almost everything they wanted, but stubbornly refusing to budge on this or that issue, which always ended up being his downfall. That's the problem with the social justice warriors: they know that they can get everything they want by pushing the guilt button, so they don't settle for half measures.

Ah, but for those rare moments where the John Torys of the world decide to plant their flags, the social justice warriors need to set an example so that all the little people will not plant their flags as well. The social justice warriors do not like having to do this at all. Oh, the indignity! The dirty slog of politics! Why oh why do these conservatives force us to make attack ads and tithe our union brothers and sisters?

At this point, instead of capitulating or going back to pretending the problem doesn't exist, I recommend that conservatives do something that's so insane that it just might work. You see, when the social justice warriors get off their high horses and start using morally ambiguous tactics, they have crossed a threshold. They are now trying to impose their agenda by force. So: if they are willing to leave their saintly principles by the wayside now, what's to stop them from doing the same once they have attained real power? What's to stop them from tilting the playing field in their favour? What's to stop them from becoming- gasp- privileged themselves???? Not a damn thing.

So what should conservatives do, then? It's easy: Point their fingers and draw attention to the fact that the high-minded social justice warriors are no different from anyone else. They are people, and people are self-interested. They do not want equity: they want supremacy. They do not want an end to privilege: they wish to have it for themselves. They do not want social justice at all, but a license to kill.

An example of this would be to make the case that your opponent is not a spoiled manchild who is "in over his head", but a bloodthirsty revolutionary enamored with his own destiny who will not hesitate to brutalize everyone who dares oppose him. By saying these completely true things, the CPC would be giving Canadians a reason to believe they are "better off" with Harper, instead of just saying so and hoping they'll believe it. Because Canadians are no different from the social justice warriors or from Trudeau or from anyone. We're all people, and we're all driven by the desire to protect ourselves and the people who look the most like us (which is a pretty good explanation for white privilege in and of itself, but that's neither here nor there) and while it's fine to dream, the song isn't quite true: Heaven is not a place on Earth.

And the social justice warriors, incredibly enough, acknowledge this fact. Why, they ask themselves, can we dream of all kinds of fantasy worlds yet we have not been able to imagine one where oppression does not exist? I have never yet heard a better argument for the correctness of the conservative worldview. The reason why we cannot imagine a world without oppression is because one cannot exist, and will never exist, because privilege is part of who we are.

Indeed, privilege is so integral to society and to all of our lived experiences that no conservative should have a reason to deny that it exists!

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Running Man

Mild-mannered Richard Klagsbrun was just doing his thing, blogging at Eye On A Crazy Planet and writing about educational issues, until one day, fed up with mismanagement at the Toronto District School Board, he decided to run for school trustee in downtown Toronto.

He didn't have grand political ambitions. He didn't know about the politics of his opponent and trustee-apparent, 
union puppet and Hezbollah flag-waver Ausma Malik, until he got into the race. And he certainly didn't know that by putting his name on the ballot, he would turn a low-profile trustee race into a national news story. Now he's up against the social justice warrior machine, in what might be the fight of his life.

Who are social justice warriors? They used to be your basic leftists, but around 2011 they kind of got fed up with how the right was marching to victory every time because people were worried about jobs and the economy after the recession and the right had the issue of the economy well in hand. Realizing that they were never going to win so long as the concept of the economy mattered to people, they set out to demonstrate massively against income inequality, as well as racism and misogyny and all the other problems that come along with living in a world where an economy matters. They decided they were going to shut down the system entirely and start a new one. They were going to make use of social media to attack capitalism and racism en masse wherever they saw it. Instead of wasting their time reaching out to drones like you and me who are embedded in the system, they decided they were going to destroy the system and that would be so awesome that people would join them of their own free will.

In summary, social justice warriors are the new face of the left, people who are so done with being not-haves that they have collectively said #YOLO and have stopped worrying about collateral damage. This is crucial. In days of yore you could always count on the left to come to the table and talk about the economy and how to make it so people who didn't have it so good would be taken care of in some way. No more. These people are damn proud of what they're doing and how awesome they are for doing it.

At the three major levels of government, where there is scrutiny by the media and an organized resistance, they have to move forward slowly. But in places like the Toronto District School Board, where there is less scrutiny, the social justice warrior agenda is given free rein. The result: Widespread misuse of public money. Barely disguised attempts to promote the agendas of governments with awful human rights records under the guise of helping students "understand their history". Attempts to exorcise the demon of white privilege.

Their M.O. is always the same:

Step 1: Find a group of unsuspecting people congregating together, slightly out of sight from the public view
Step 2: Surprise them with a swarm of attacks
Step 3: Take advantage of their disorganization and confusion to impose their agenda.

As they spread from sector to sector, coming soon to a theater near you, the social justice warriors must, eventually, make their presence known in your world. If you have a thing that you like, that thing is going to be attacked as a symptom of our diseased culture, and you need tostop liking it because if you just like the thing without being intensely critical of the thing, you're just perpetuating the culture.

So let me reiterate: You, Mr. or Mrs. Blog Reader Type Person, will soon be in the same position as our friend Richard, having to defend yourself against incursions from the social justice warriors, whether you want to or not. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

It's Not A Lie.....If You Believe It

I've been staring at the following two headlines for the past hour trying to figure out a way they can co-exist in the same universe:

"Ontario Premier Says Her Government On Side Of Unions When It Comes To Good Jobs."

"Ontario Orders School Board Trustees To Cancel Pay Raises". I'm sorry. There's just no way she could get away with this. She did not promise good paying jobs to unions and then tell trustees to retract a pay raise for themselves like 5 minutes later. Well, actually, of course she did, because Ontarians are just that gullible, which just may be how Ms. Wynne got to be Premier in the first place. If Kathleen Wynne stood in front of a bunch of voters and said, "I am not here in this room right now," I'm pretty sure they'd believe that, too!

Oh, wait a minute, it's actually worse than that. Wynne just told the trustees to cancel the raise. She didn't elaborate how she'd make them actually do it. So she's like a parent who threatens to punish her kids but never does. We knew that already, of course. This is the Premier who made a transparently false apology for the gas plant in a debate. This is the Premier who said the government would be more careful about consulting people about wind turbine development when it hasn't. This is a Premier who declared that there would be an open government initiative and then slammed the door shut on what's going on at the Ontario Power Authority. She says stuff because she knows you fools are dumb enough to believe it.

For the past two months I've watched my conservative friends on Facebook cream their jeans every time Kathleen Wynne makes a move towards corralling her out-of-control union pals. It's like watching Charlie Brown try to kick the football. "No guys, she actually said there was no more money this time! We should totally believe her!" Never mind that these are exactly the sort of people who should be able to see Wynne for the duplicitous, mendacious, disingenuous soul that she is: they want government spending to decrease, dammit, and that's all they care about.

Let's look at the hard evidence. Unions put Wynne in power and kept her there. Less-government-spending people didn't. Therefore there is precisely 0% of a reason for Kathleen Wynne to actually follow through on her half-hearted calls for less spending.  But because there are enough people who are so stupid as to actually believe her calls for less spending are genuine since she's such a nice lady who smiles a lot, we're going to be stuck in this two-step forever. Ontarians are never going to wake up to the fact that Kathleen Wynne is playing what amounts to a game of peek-a-boo with them, because she's smart enough to realize that this bluster about the deficit is just that: bluster.

Of course all the other provinces point their fingers and laugh, ignoring the fact that wherever you live right now, you've probably got a provincial government that has decided to ignore massive chunks of their own electorate. Right-leaning governments are toppling like dominoes across our country, and the ones that do have conservative credibility (B.C. and Quebec) are only that way because conservatives comprise a wing of that party that could be replaced at any time without too much damage to the government at large since the left is effectively non-existent there (for now). In those provinces they have tried to create actual conservative parties that have failed because: why? Why pay anything more than token attention to this rump of voters? Who cares about what they want?

Then you have the absolute champion of this new brand of Liberal fuddle-duddle: your friend and mine, Justin Trudeau. This week Derpy decided to take it to a new level by saying no, the fact that ISIS/ISIL are beheading and raping and running wild across the Middle East doesn't mean we should step up and help people there.

Well, why the hell not? He's already given the one finger salute to people who are opposed to marijuana legalization, pro-lifers, those who believe in a partisan Senate, Sun News, supporters of Israel, and those of us who give a whoop about the economy. Why shouldn't he toss foreign policy hawks off the island, too? Who are these Bush-lovers, anyway, and why should they have anything resembling representation in government?

Oh, but Trudeau will continue to reassure everyone that he is the Prime Minister of all Canadians, as opposed to those conservatives who are only interested in playing to their base. And we will believe him, and he knows it. He knows that the government has already won the battle for our souls, and we depend on it to show us the way.

Of course most conservatives think this is Trudeau proving he's unfit to be Prime Minister, but I beg to differ: I think Trudeau knows exactly who he's speaking to. He thinks there is a Bizarro World Ford Nation out there who wants an end to wars abroad, an end to social conservatism, and an end to austerity. He has a raft of allies who have won elections banking on the same thing.

I hope to heaven that he, and I, am wrong. But I don't think I am.