Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thoughts on Creation

There is evil in the world because god created light before coffee.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What is Freedom?

Its been while since I've posted, so I'm going to cut right to the chase (after this bit of nonsense).

Freedom is the strength to resist. (Yes, this is simplified to the max.)

Oppression can be from any source: governments, corporations, shiny advertising, etc.  Anything that would cause you to do something that you otherwise would not.

But the irony of it is that unless you plan to live as a hermit, with no contact with anyone else you're going to need help to make yourself strong and keep yourself that way.

Those choosing to living on their own will mostly likely hit the Hobbesian wall of having this lives cut nasty, brutish, and short.

So, what is strength?

Strength is not just physical power.  Really living in a modern western democratic society, I'd say that physical and military strength (see also gun rights) is probably the least important factor in the resilience of a democratic citizen.

Education, health, and wealth are the three most important factors in ensuring that citizens are as free as they can be.

All else being equal no one can deny that:

One who is healthy is stronger than one who is ill.
One who is educated is less likely to be duped than one who is not.
One who has financial stability is more willing to resist than one who has nothing.

This is why strong citizens demand that these three things be provided to them by the government.
This is why these are the first things that strong governments take away from their people.

If I am educated, then I can recognize that which threatens me.
If I am healthy, then I can oppose any force that threatens me.
If I am financially stable, then I have the time and resources to make my opposition meaningful.

"Freedom from government" is the largest and most successful ruse that has ever been pulled on a democratic society.  It takes the fears and realities of 250 years ago and applies them to today, convincing people that the very things that are good for them are poisonous.

In colonial America, the biggest threat to freedom were foreign and domestic governments, who through the power of armies and navies could come and seize your lands and enslave you to their will.  Today, domestic democratic government is the tool of citizens to enable their freedom.  It does seek to enslave its populations as it once did because it doesn't make sense.  Such a system is far too expensive to maintain, and doesn't generate anywhere near the wealth and power that would be necessary to maintain themselves.

The freest democratic countries in the world are those that have universal healthy care, inexpensive and excellent educational programs, and low disparities between rich and poor.  This figure is even more apparent when you take away net financial growth figures, that artificially keep countries such as the USA higher on the chart than their status actually warrants. (

Freedom means having the strength to demand that the government provide the means to strengthen citizens against them.  It means demanding that the government direct its power to prevent powerful interests from manipulating and poisoning us with lead infested toys, false and misleading advertisements, under priced goods made by slave labour and so on.

Freedom is using government, and the fastest way to lose it is to be 'liberated' from it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Economics of War

Last week in The Star a bureaucrat in the Ministry of Defence stated that the Conservative government had encouraged a policy of Canadian soldiers dying overseas rather than coming home injured because it was more cost effective.

I've tried various ways of expressing my outrage over this, and I can't think of anything that isn't captured by the cold reality.

Dead Canadian soldiers = Cheaper than injured soldiers.

Lives have been given a monetary value, and they're apparently not worth the cost.

$16 billion on shiny new planes is a higher priority than making sure that our men and women of the armed forces who serve over seas will be properly taken care of when they get home.

I want to express my deepest sorrow for the families and friends for all those who have died in Afghanistan and won't be coming home as a result of this heartless policy.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Where caution goes too far

This is more of a rant than my typical more academic approach.

At some point politicians and citizens need to be able to say enough is enough and stand up to their government and demand an election.

For me this happened years ago when Harper decided to "save" $0.10 per Canadian, but scraping the Charter challenge fund, which helped regular Canadians afford the cost of taking legislation to court for violating the constitution.  Trudeau considered this absolutely vital to making the Constitution a safeguard for the people.  But the Liberals and the opposition squabbled little over this and it was destroyed without much of a fight.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Clement lies about Survey

Well this was no surprise.

The Star

The Globe and Mail

So the Conservatives lied about StatsCan's support of their plan to make the mandatory long form census into a voluntary survey.

Turns out that StatsCan was opposed to the idea since it deteriorates the value of the census and makes it more difficult to use the data as a benchmark against other surveys.

The two parts of this story that I really liked were how the documents surrounding the government's decision were redacted as though they contained some secret material (about statistics).

And how Harper's office asked former head of StatsCan Munir Sheikh to alter his statement saying that the new survey would not be as valuable as the traditional census; to "StatsCan is confident that it will meet the needs of a broad range of users.

Which completely conveys the same message and makes me wonder what other areas the Harper government is filling our lives with such truthiness.

Friday, July 30, 2010

From my Bleeding Heart: The Census and Discrimination

When the Harper government announced its intent to make 54 of the 62 questions on the long census form voluntary, Harper and Tony Clement claimed that it was to protect people’s privacy from invasive questions.  I, like many businesses, academics, politicians, government agencies, and rationally minded citizens, felt that explanation seemed… lacking, which made me suspicious of Harper’s actual motivations.

One month later, while the controversy over the census rages on, the CPC announces that they intend to “review” the government’s hiring policy in regards to affirmative action. 

So Harper has modified the census so that it will be harder to determine if there is racially based discrimination in the job market, then he seeks to remove a program designed to combat the same problem.
The only way privacy makes sense as an explanation for the changes to the census is if it refers to the government’s “right” to enact legislation in private, without “interference” by the opposition, media, and non-white Canadians.