Monday, April 27, 2015

Democracy Watch Has Jumped the Shark

So, this happened.

Democracy Watch has officially joined the political hysteria over government advertising.

I suspect that someone in the Auditor General's office is going to find their email-writing campaign a little confusing. They describe their letters as "calling on the Auditor General to audit Conservative ads, and on PM Harper to stop them."

That's rather amusing. The Auditor General has no power to investigate Conservative ads, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has no reason to stop them.

Then you read the rest of the page in question and discover that what they're actually complaining about is "the Harper Conservatives’ government advertising that is propaganda for the Conservative Party."


Now, I don't recall Democracy Watch complaining when the Liberal Party was in power and they spent $111 million on ads in a single year... this after the Liberal Party was caught red-handed stealing from one of its government own advertising programs, the sponsorship scandal.

One of the revelations from the Gomery Inquiry was that, aside from the blatantly-stolen monies, the sponsorship program was administered in such a way as to help Liberal Party candidates get elected in Quebec.

The problem was so bad that then-Finance Minister Ralph Goodale -- who learned so little from the sponsorship scandal that he simply refused to investigate the Income Trusts leak -- felt compelled to defend government advertising in this document.

That document contains the following statement:

"The government of Canada has a duty to tell its citizens about its initiatives, decisions and priorities. Government organizations advertise to inform Canadians and non-Canadians about their rights and responsibilities, government policies, programs, services and initiatives, or about dangers and risks to public health, safety or the environment."

The amusing thing is that Goodale wasn't wrong when he wrote this. But that was 2004. He and his party are wrong today when he objects to government advertising for this purpose, simply because it's no longer to their advantage.

With all the benefits the Economic Action Plan -- which is, by the way, a government program -- offers Canadians, it's unsurprising that the Liberal Party would prefer that Canadians not know about it. It undermines their entire "economic program" advertised to date.

So the Liberals are doing what the Liberals have always done: they're attempting to poison the well. It's a little strange that an allegedly pro-democracy group like Democracy Watch is working with them to try to undermine this vital link of information between the government of Canada and the citizens of Canada.

Unless, of course, Democracy Watch is no longer a pro-democracy group, and has simply become a partisan organization.

In other words, they've jumped the shark. As has the Liberal Party.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Real Rape Culture on Campus, Part Two

 If colleges and universities produce the next wave of a society's leaders, the next wave of toxic radfem's leaders are going to be an amazing ineffectual bunch.

Just how ineffectual are the next generation of toxic radical feminism's leaders going to be? Well, they're going to be so busy insisting that ideas that conflict with their own are "harming" them that they may find themselves far too busy to formulate, define, and defend their own ideas.

For a quick example of this, check out the toxic radfem backlash against a scheduled speech by Christina Hoff-Sommers at Oberlin College.

Apparently radical feminists on the Oberlin campus have taken the impending presence of Hoff-Sommers as some sort of existential threat. They're literally declaring that Hoff-Sommers being permitted to speak on the Oberlin campus is going to "harm" them.

What's Hoff-Sommers going to do that's so dangerous to radical feminists? She's going to give a factual discussion about rape on campus.

One thing has become clear, particularly in recent weeks: the factual foundation of the so-called campus rape epidemic was shaky from the get-go, and the facts of the matter demonstrate that, in fact, there is no such thing as a campus rape epidemic.

That's what seems to be so threatening to these ideologues. After all, they've made out like bandits under the shadow of the campus rape panic, and they intend to keep doing so, so much so that they've congealed into an online mob to try to shame or rhetorically-intimidate event organizers into not permitting Hoff-Sommers to set so much as a foot on campus.

The most sobering thing about it is that all of this is happening in the wake of the University of Virginia rape hoax -- a rape hoax in which toxic radfem transformed into a literally violent mob which may have succeeded not in bringing down a fraternity chapter falsely accused of rape, but Rolling Stone magazine.

These are people who apparently stopped to ponder nothing, question nothing, learn nothing.

This is the real rape culture on campus: an ideological movement that is not above using force and coercion to attain gratification -- as literal a definition of rape as there can be. The difference is that the real rape culture on campus, unlike the fictional (yes, fictional) rape culture on campus, is that the rape culture that is toxic radfem is non-sexual in nature.

But it's a rape culture no less. And unlike the fictional (I say again: yes, fictional) rape culture demanding unfettered access to women's bodies, the real rape culture demands unfettered and exclusive access to people's minds. Or else.

And so I say to the following people on Oberlin college campus -- to Lydia Smith, Sarah MacFadden, Juliana Feline, Stevie Anne, Madalyn Berg, and all the other proponents of the real rape culture on Oberlin College's campus -- no means no. And don't you forget it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Culture Fights Back Against Cultural Marxism

First it was My Little Pony. Now it's Degrassi. Social justice warriors are certain to not be amused.

The internet reached a fever pitch recently when the season 5 premier episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic -- a cartoon show ostensibly for girls, yet enjoyed by many men -- turned its guns on extreme social justice ideologies. In particular, Cultural Marxism.

In the episode, the main characters travel to a village where the residents have surrendered their "cutie marks" (emblems on their flanks representing their special talents and powers) in the name of friendship. The idea, the main characters are told, is that nobody -- or nopony as the show's lexicon seems to hold -- can maintain a friendship unless they're equal in all things. So in the places of their "cutie marks" they all sport an equal symbol.

The villagers -- who all live in bland identical minimalist houses -- aren't as happy as they try to seem. With each villager stripped of their special talents, pretty much everything in the village is mediocre. For one thing, the muffins are terrible.

Fans of Derpy Hooves will understand the significance. 

There's more afoot than there may seem. By the end of the episode it becomes clear that the episode's villain is really only out for herself. Her crusade against "cutie marks" and insistence that everyone be "equal" seems to be for the sake of gaining power for herself, nothing more.

I don't imagine that this episode will be very popular in daycares where children are forced to build identical LEGO houses so one child can build a better house than any other child.

So there's one blow up the gut of social justice warriors. Now, courtesy of Degrassi, comes another.
Batten down the hatchets, social justice warriors. It's not going to be smooth sailing from here on out.

Long a staple of Canadian television, it's hard to find a cultural property more socially progressive than Degrassi. It was among the first television programs to sympathetically tackle such subjects as HIV, disability, teen pregnancy, mental illness, homosexuality... far too many to name. All of this beginning in the 1980s.

Now the show is going to take a swipe at the concept of "safe spaces," -- the idea that social interactions must be strictly regulated in order to facilitate the comfort of specific groups -- and  not in a way that social justice warriors are going to enjoy. Judging from the above trailer, it doesn't look like the kids are down with this at all.

With a social justice ideologue holding the reins of power at their school as principle, it looks as if the kids are going to react quite poorly to the invasion of stifling, freedom-killing social justice ideology into their school. Some look like they're going to push back. Hard.

My Little Pony is incredibly popular among children. Degrassi's current home is on youth culture juggernaut MTV.

Social justice warriors have apparently managed to earn themselves some very powerful cultural adversaries.

Welcome to Degrassi, social justice warriors. Hope your Cultural Marxist ideologies (don't) survive the experience.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hillary Clinton & The Hipster Vote

Hipsters ruin everything.

I think this is more than just a truism, it's an indisputable fact. Right now western culture has become a wasteland of things that hipsters have ruined. What passes for rock music foremost amongst it.

So hipsters, with their insatiable taste for anything and everything ironic, could certainly manage to ruin the 2016 Presidential election.

Elect a woman President who, as Secretary of State, left an American Ambassador to die? What could explain any prospect of such a thing other than irony?

It's enough to lead a person to presume that hipsters suffer from a supreme lack of self-respect. It explains the glasses, really. But just how little self-respect do hipsters have? Enough to elect a Clinton President? Consider what hipsters have grown up "knowing" about the Clintons:
"Blister in the Sun." Violent Femmes. 2000.

Essentially, the music video for this song -- which was originally written in 1983, but re-recorded in 2000 for the film Grosse Pointe Blank, not Weekend at Bernie's 3 (sorry idiots of the internet) -- holds that Socks was essentially the brains of the Clinton family.

Yes, Socks. The Clinton family cat was the only member of the Clinton family worth assassinating.

That's what hipsters have grown up being taught about the Clintons by staples of hipster culture.

So do hipsters have the dearth of self-respect necessary to cast their ballot in favour of a woman who, in the eyes of their culture, paled in importance comparatively to an adopted stray cat?

It can't all be about the irony. If hipsters want to do something really ironic, they could always vote Rand Paul for President.

Just imagine how Gordon Gano would respond to that.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

How Modernity Fell Out of Favour With "Social Justice"

In part one of this series, I explored the nature and the ongoing crisis of modernity. The crisis took the form of the conflict between camps referred to as the revolution (who preferred to rely upon empirical evidence) and the counter-revolution (who preferred to rely upon dogmas and doctrines).

The conflict could never be permanently resolved. Periodic detentes were achieved through a mediating force: Cartesian reason. But those detentes were few and far between. I refer to the ongoing process of attempting to mediate between the two Cartesian modernity.

Cartesian modernity was a successful enough project that for centuries it prevented Europe from completely destroying itself.

But as fate would have it, Cartesian modernity -- and with it, objective reason as its central mediating force -- would fall out of favour with powerful ideologues.

Why did this happen?

It happened when ideologues linked Renaissance-era modernity to imperialism and Eurocentrism. The world was quickly changing.  The old world, so to speak, was stumbling upon new ones, and discovering new ways to assert itself in others. As Hardt and Negri explain:

"The internal conflict of European modernity was also reflected simultaneously on a global scale as an external conflict. The development of Renaissance thought coincided both with the European discovery of the Americas and with the beginnings of European dominance over the rest of the world. Europe had discovered its outside. 'If the period of the Renaissance marks a qualitative break in the history of humanity,' writes Samir Amin, 'it is precisely because, from that time on, Europeans become conscious of the idea that the conquest of the world by their civilization is henceforth a possible objective ... From this moment on, and not before, Eurocentrism crystallizes.'"

European incursions into Asia, Africa and the Americas opened new fronts on which the philosophical adherents of the revolution and the counter-revolution could compete.

While the resources and the infrastructure of the revolution (universities, primarily) were immobile, the prime resources of the counter-revolution were not. The counter-revolution could send missionaries and militant forces into these lands and obtain relatively-instant gratification. Universities of the European standard didn't exactly sprout from the soil overnight.

But even as the counter-revolution gained an edge on these fronts, it appropriated reason, or at least what it could pass off as reason. In order to do this it had to appropriate many of the tools of the revolution.

The counter-revolution asserted that European domination over these lands was justified by the technological superiority and (what they deemed to be) intellectual superiority of European modernity.

So missionaries carried Bibles into the depths of Africa, Asia and the Americas. But instead of simply lecturing about Christianity, as European priests had with their flocks, missionaries taught their flocks how to read for themselves. In time, the Bible was even translated into those languages.

This was an under-appreciated lesson that the counter-revolution had taken away from the Renaissance. The refusal of the Catholic Church to permit the Bible to be translated into languages other than Latin -- which only the clergy spoke -- had opened a front within Christianity which turned far more ugly than perhaps anyone could have expected, with rivers of blood flowing.

This was just one way in which the counter-revolution appropriated the methods of the revolution. In short, the counter-revolution cloaked itself in the form of Cartesian modernity. And it was under this guise that it spread itself across the globe while the revolution remained rooted mostly in Europe.

It's with this in mind that perhaps it's easy for people such as Hardt and Negri to mistake the counter-revolution for Cartesian modernity itself. But make no mistake about it. For the counter-revolution, Cartesian Modernity very much was a problem. Even Hardt and Negri have it as such:

"On the one hand, Renaissance humanism initiated a revolutionary notion of human equality,of singularity and community, cooperation and multitude, that resonated with forces and desires extending horizontally across the globe,redoubled by the discovery of other populations and territories. On the other hand, however, the same counter-revolutionary power that sought to control the constituent and subversive forces within Europe also began to realize the possibility and necessity of subordinating other populations to European domination. Eurocentrism was born as a reaction to the potentiality of a new found human equality; it was the counter-revolution on a global scale."

Interestingly enough, this belief in "new found human equality" is the preserve of neither the revolution nor the counter-revolution. but rather the result of Cartesian reason.

Contrary to what one may be tempted to think, it wasn't a result of mediation of the two sides' views. In both revolution and counter-revolution can be found the seeds of Eurocentrism. For the counter-revolution, the lands into which Europeans had incurred were full of heathens, not yet uplifted by Christianity. For the revolution, (most of) these lands were filled with technologically- and scientifically-deficient peoples. In each case, the conclusion was that Europeans were superior,

A mediation between these views obviously does not produce a belief in the essential equality of humankind. Rather, this belief was a spontaneous product of Cartesian reason, but one that would require centuries before it would convincingly take hold.

The position of the counter-revolution was clearly rooted in subjective and self-serving thought. It could have been based on nothing else. But it's not difficult to look at the comparative states of these civilizations and see how one could presume the conclusion of European superiority was based on objective reason.

Speaking strictly for myself, I don't believe that presumption would fail the tests of virtue epistemics, particularly virtue reliabalism. It's my personal opinion that the locus of the conclusion of European superiority was as much, if more so, internal as it was external. In short: ego. It's not at all difficult to understand how someone may have made the comparison between the civilizations and simply wanted to conclude they were superior.

But the appropriation of Cartesian reason for the purpose of drawing this conclusion has, in the minds of many, linked it indivisibly to Eurocentrism and by extension to imperialism.

People who subscribe to social justice ideologies don't care for imperialism very much.

So they were confronted by the need for tools not tainted by Eurocentrism and imperialism. They stumbled upon a rather curious alternative: subjective reason. Thusly, postmodernity was born.

They found that subjective reason had advantages that objective reason did not. Objective reason required that one reason strictly according to empirical evidence -- material evidence which could be observed. But many of the arguments that the champions of postmodernity wished to make could not be made on the basis of empirical evidence, or at least not on empirical evidence alone.

To do this they would colonize the primary intellectual infrastructure of the revolution: the academy. And in doing so they would create entire new fields of study with loose evidentiary standards, and effectively non-existent tools of internal inquiry.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Real Rape Culture on Campus

The gray lady, she shall never be the same.

She's been violated. Will she survive her victimization? And if so, will she survive intact? Only time will tell.

But what of her victimization? Well, it just so happens that there really is such a thing as a rape culture. But the real rape culture is that of social justice ideologies that exist to force their ideas into the minds of as many people as it can, to colonize as many institutions with its toxicity as it can.

It's not a sexual rape. It's not a rape of the body. It's a rape of the mind, and make no mistake, journalism has been raped.

For evidence of that, one needs look no further than the vile hoax perpetrated by Sabrina Rubin Erdley, whose story entitled "A Rape on Campus" was published by Rolling Stone. The story sparked a firestorm on university campuses across the world. It was also completely false.

Before other outlets began to do the pesky work of actually fact-checking Erdley's article, Erdley spent some time as a media darling. She was treated to slathering praise on such media outlets as MSNBC, wherein she was toasted for helping to crack the case on the "rape epidemic" on American university campuses.

Thankfully, this didn't last.

The story slowly unravelled until today, when the last thread was pulled. After the New York Times published a damning account of Erdley's shoddy journalistic work, Rolling Stone finally retracted her article in full.

But it turns out that there was more to the story than simply Erdley reporting a story she had been told. Rather, Erdley spent months going from campus to campus, "shopping" for the most sensational rape story she could find. Erdley had been to Harvard, Yale and Penn State (yes, that Penn State) before she finally found "Jackie," who claimed she'd been brutally gang raped at a fraternity party.

The story had literally everything Erdley was looking for, including convenient rape villains.

Even now, in the wake of the story's proven falsity, there are signs that the ideological violation of journalism may be harder to shake than it should be. Far, far harder to shake.

In Politico, UVA student Julia Horowitz offers her personal explanation for why the story got so much traction at UVA. The following excerpts offer a stunning revelation: Horowitz has learned nothing.

"The University of Virginia — like most American universities — has a problem with rape. Current estimates, cited earlier this year by Vice President Joe Biden, hold that one in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college. That means that in my 200-person politics lecture, roughly a full row will be filled with survivors. In my 20-person major seminar, there are at least two. That is not a calculus I should have to work out in the margins of my Marx-Engels reader."

"We were frustrated by the repeated use of the 'Rugby Road' song, which appeared to make fun of the rape culture on campus but which most students, in fact, had never heard."

"... from where I sit in Charlottesville, to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake."

"Yes, the story was sensational. But even the most sensational story, it seems, can contain frightening elements of truth."

Clearly, Horowitz continues to staunchly believe that there is a "rape culture" on campus. She invokes the "1 in 5" canard, despite the study on which it's based having been thoroughly discredited. And she actually attempts to sublimate a disdain for fact-checking that she and Erdley share in common, and was in fact the very reason for this entire debacle in the first place.

Hopefully, someone at UVA is making Horowitz an appointment with a dunce cap. Perhaps she'd manage to learn something from that, even if she has learned nothing from the ignominious ending of Erdley's journalistic career.

And it is over, make no mistake about this. It's over as a reporter, and it had damn well better be over as a journalism instructor.

And in a terrifying portent for the future of journalism, it just so happens that Erdley has taught journalism at the University of Pennsylvania, and at Temple University.

Sabrina Rubin Erdley wrote a story based on a false account of gang rape. Rolling Stone published it. A group of young men were terrorized out of their fraternal home by a mob of psychos similarly-indocrinated into social justice ideologies as was Erdley, as was Horowitz. And from the looks of it, the next generation of journalists may be ready to rush out and repeat the injustice all over again with the same disdain for fact checking.

How could they not? Apparently they were taught by Erdley.

And when they do this, large swaths of the journalistic landscape will accept it unquestionably. Because of the narrative. Because of the agenda. Increasingly in journalism it's becoming the narrative, the agenda, that matters.

It's been an institutional rape of terrifying proportions, with horrifying results. Will the gray lady survive this violation? Only time will tell.