“The Epoch Times”, Falun Gong, and Me

A few weeks go I was approached by an Editor working for a newspaper based in New York city called The Epoch Times, who said he had been following my work, and asked me to write Op-Ed columns for his newspaper.

I had never heard of The Epoch Times, and so a little research was in order. This is a newspaper that publishes in 35 countries, in 23 languages, and boasts a subscription base (unaudited) of 1.3 million readers! Not small potatoes, as the saying goes.

You can read their statement about themselves here:

https://www.theepochtimes.com/about-us

The short story is that this newspaper was created at the beginning of this century by John Tang and a small group of Chinese businessmen who enjoy a practice known as Falun Gong. This was developed in 1992 and is a kind of exercise + meditation you can read about here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falun_Gong

Falun Gong soon grew very popular, attracting about 70 million practitioners, and so was as soon persecuted by a worried Chinese Communist government. Communism is rooted in a purely materialist philosophy that denies all spiritual realities, and so Falun Gong was correctly seen as a threat to Communist ideology, simply by its existence.

Accordingly, this newspaper was organized primarily as an anti-communist/anti-totalitarian voice, but as you will see from their statement, and from their slogan “Truth and Tradition”, they consider themselves to be mainly an organization promoting truthful non-aligned journalism.

You can see one of my first two columns here:

https://www.theepochtimes.com/libertarian-socialism-how-modern-democracy-overcame-its-own-contradiction_2686279.html

This is going to be an interesting experience, and who knows where it will lead?

Murderers, Aboriginal “Healing Lodges” & So-called “Restorative Justice”

I have just read about how Terri-Lynne McClintic, the murderer and accomplice to the rape – the rape! – of eight-year old Tori Stafford – has been transferred to a low-security “healing lodge” where, it is assumed by Correctional Services Canada, she will receive better “aboriginal” treatment and rehabilitation/healing than in a regular prison.

This blog is excerpted from Chapter Twelve of my book The Trouble With Canada … Still! (2010), and is sub-titled: “Hug-a-Thug, and Justice Be Damned.”

Sadly, nothing much has changed since then. The scandal of so-called “Restorative Justice” and Native “healing” is described only briefly here. But In a future blog I may expand on both.

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This part of the chapter is adapted, from Michael Harris’s book Con Game (2003), a must read for anyone concerned for what he says is “the Truth About Canada’s Prisons.”

In his book, Michael wrote: “Canada’s prison system is a place where criminal behaviour is rarely altered, true recidivism rates are hidden from the public, and the so-called “restorative justice model” is embraced with all the fanaticism of a cult so sure of its philosophy that it is openly hostile to criticism and reform.”

Michael currently holds the Irving Chair of Journalism at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick.

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On average, Canadian criminals serve 32% of their sentence before day parole, and just under 40% before full parole. Non-violent federal offenders who qualify for “accelerated parole review” may be paroled after serving only one-sixth of their sentence. For most of us who assumed that a sentence was handed down because it was deserved, the reality seems to be – justice defeated.

Some 64% of prisoners have not finished high school, 30% did not complete grade 8, and on standard literacy tests, the average prisoner scores at grade 7.5 level. Inmates retain all the rights of ordinary citizens (why, is a mystery, as they have by their actions attacked society). At institutions like Fenbrook, in Gravenhurst Ontario, inmates can buy their own TVs and for a small fee can watch restricted movies on HBO or Cinemac. They can also subscribe to over 15 pornographic magazines. In 2000, 528 inmates at a Saskatchewan penitentiary were treated to a New Year’s “pizza and porn” party organized by the unit managers, who organized the food and piped the porn over the prison’s closed circuit T.V. There were 128 sex offenders in that prison enjoying all this. In 2002 the Sun newspaper chain reported a prison party which included tree-climbing and swimming naked while other inmates BBQed the filet mignon steaks.

All Canadian prisons have a very serious drug problem, and 80% of the drugs are taken “in the front door” by visitors, who due to Charter restrictions are difficult to search properly. A 2000 Warden’s memo recommended searching visitors in “a non-intrusive way.” But drugs are smuggled in any available body cavity, even baby diapers (children are never searched). One favorite is swallowing a condom filled with cocaine, tied with dental floss to a tooth. During the visit, it is pulled up and delivered. In 1999 guards seized 2.2 kilograms of cocaine, 164 grams of opiates, 5.4 kilograms of cannabis, and 1,916 gallons of “brew” (home-made alcohol). Visitors sue prisons at the first opportunity for personal search infringements, and if from a minority race, they sue for racial insult, too. One visitor was arrested for trying to smuggle in $51,000 worth of pain killers.

Due to such Charter blockades, many drug dealers say they make more inside the prisons than outside. At Joyceville prison, 24% were intravenous drug users, and a quarter of those started their drug habit in prison (guards are often pricked by infectious needles). Although official policy is zero tolerance for drugs – and sex – in Canada’s prisons, Harris’s book mentions many prison memos alerting inmates to the dangers of drugs, or that a cyanide-laced drug may be circulating, and about clean needle policy. Prisons also distribute condoms and safe-sex guides (HIV/AIDS levels in prison are ten times those outside), clean needles, and bleach kits. Two thirds don’t use condoms, and many share needles. If the drug use to which inmates are accustomed is threatened at all, they react with threats of major riots. One guard said that notwithstanding official policy, the real policy on drugs and alcohol is “tolerance and appeasement.” In blind inmate surveys, 40% admitted having used drugs in prison. [in 2009, violent offender Wade Gunoff, who was jailed for three years for beating and permanently disabling a 61 year-old man, and who had already tested positive for drugs five times while in prison, told the Parole Board that he “won’t quit smoking marijuana until he is freed from jail” National Post, Dec. 11, 2009].

As for aboriginal offenders? The story is horrendous, as mentioned. Canada’s justice system has responded to the aboriginal penal disaster by going aboriginal itself: there is now something akin to a separate system of justice for aboriginals in Canada, that “ensures spiritual and cultural needs are addressed” during the criminal’s “healing journey,” [which is accomplished by means of the “Restorative Justice,” or RJ methods I will describe in a future blog]. Harris opines that Canada has never had a unified “aboriginal culture,” so the correctional cocktail of native spirituality and customs actually “has corrupted native tribal traditions rather than incorporated them into correctional programs.”

At any rate, along with all this special attention to presumed cultural roots (we really have no idea how genuine or nominal the “spirituality” of the average aboriginal is), there are infuriating instances of racial bias trickling down from the top: in April of 1999 Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that a lower court had not paid sufficient attention to the “nativeness” of killer Jamie Gladue, and suggested that natives should be judged in different ways from the rest of us. Result? Jamie served only six months for manslaughter. This has resulted in what Harris rightly calls “a racially based, two-tier justice system” [it’s an extension of Canada’s aboriginal apartheid/reserve system]. Some native reserves now sign custody contracts with CSC and take their criminals – even their first degree murderers – home, even when they have first been sent to the white man’s prison without any right of parole. In 1994, native offender Susanne Riley got herself into a healing circle and never served a single day in prison for murdering her common-law husband.

As for that other special class of criminals – Women? There are just under 500 women in federal prisons, and just over 500 serving time in the community. About 28% of female prisoners are serving sentences for murder. Harris reports that for the most part they are treated not as criminals, but as “social victims.” The trend has been to get women out of prison and into the community insofar as safely possible. Short of that, we have built them very expensive community-style minimum security “living-unit” prisons where they enjoy group housing in cottages (where they are called “clients” rather than prisoners) and do their own shopping, cooking, learning and laundry, etc. and more or less decide on how their lives will be run while serving time. Karla Homolka cooked her own food, wore the clothes she liked (it is hard to tell guards, who do not wear uniforms at such prisons, from prisoners) wandered the grounds of her “prison” freely, and participated in fun-loving birthday parties. (When being transferred she was flown more than once on private RCMP planes at a tag of $20,000 per flight). This RJ approach – where the emphasis is on rehabilitation and “healing” rather than on punishment – was a fiasco at the new Edmonton Institution for Women where, in the first six months, there were assaults on staff, one inmate was murdered by another, suicide attempts, “and seven escapes of medium and maximum security inmates within eighteen days.” Drug use and needle-sharing is rampant at Edmonton. In 2001 twelve of 68 inmates tested positive for HIV/AIDS, and fifty for Hepatitis C (as deadly).

As for human rights? They apply rigidly to all prisoners, under something called the U.N.’s “Tokyo Rules” that mandate member nations to give prisoners all normal human rights. In 2002 Canada’s Supreme Court, without authority of Parliament, granted prisoners the right to vote in federal elections, but as Harris points out, the judges “saw no contradiction in allowing the people who break the country’s most serious laws to have a say in electing those who make them.” Guards are another story. Their rights seem wholly ignored. They are routinely physically and verbally attacked and threatened. Inmates get away with a myriad of crimes against each other and against guards which, Harris writes, “would be the subject of civil and criminal proceedings” if they happened anywhere else.  So much for the “Con Game.”

The Real Meaning of A Living Constitution

Below are the last words of a little-known, 115-page book I published with Stoddart in 1994, entitled Constitutional Crack-Up, when Quebec was agitating for separation, yet again, and Canada’s Federal Government was wallowing in the confusions and contradictions over what the constitution of a free people is supposed to mean. Five thousand copies were printed, which sold out in three days, but the book was never reprinted. I was trying to illuminate the difference between a written and a living constitution.

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And so there is work to be done. For the solution to our troubles will not come from any written constitution. It will come from the unwritten constitution: from the minds and hearts of the people as they reconsider and then restore the founding values of their nation. This will require a new solidarity and belief in eternal, rock-solid principles, without which no euphoric paper constitution will ever have any meaning, and with which, no attempt to corrupt the constitution can possibly succeed.

Such principles, deeply held and clearly articulated are the only possible shield to protect the people against the ceaseless claims of interest groups, radical ideologues, politicians, and tax-mongers of all kinds, who will hurl themselves against that shield in vain. The living constitution, in other words, lies in the passion of the people for the basic values and principles by which they choose to live, not in any piece of paper. But where there are no values or principles, or where these are forgotten, or undefended, there can be no passion; only confusion, and narrow self-interest. Such a people is soon easily corrupted.

So our first duty as a people is to reflect, to read, to comprehend. And then to stand and speak boldly against the enormous engines of big government and special interests, until they fall defeated. For this to happen, every man and woman must be able to say:

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My Original Feisty Interview With Peter Gzowski, Host of CBC’s Morningside Radio Show

Well, I found this original 1990 CBC Radio Interview on an old-style tape, and had it transferred so I could upload it to YouTube.

Here it is: https://youtu.be/y65nMMNSuMw

The backstory, as they say, is that I had been pestering his Producer for months to do an interview about this book. She kept refusing, because she didn’t like anything I argued in the book.

But when the book hit #1 in Canada on the Globe and Mail Bestseller List, and had sold about 50,000 copies, she finally relented, and we did this interview. After his genteel opening, Gzowski jumps in and begins to fire questions at me. You can hear how he is sort of trying to write a book of his own here, rather than to express any genuine interest in my book.

Two years later, when The War Against the Family was published, he once again, and again after much pestering,  agreed to do an interview, but this time, he ganged up on me. With no notice whatsoever, he handed me a 400 page book the moment I walked into the recording studio written by a homosexual professor at the University of Winnipeg, and announced that he, too, would be on the show. We got going, and it turned into a shouting match, with me against both Gzowski and the Professor, who didn’t know what he was talking about. A “family” for him, was any group of people who like each other and live together for at least a day.

At the end of the interview, which was quite steamy, I extended my hand to thank Gzowski, who was, after all, Canada’s Public Radio Servant #1. But he refused to shake hands with me.

It was uncomfortable and a little embarrassing. But … about three weeks later, another Producer called, to say that they had received “an avalanche” of mail over this show, and would be reading a lot of those letters, pro and con, in a special show that week.

They did so. But what they didn’t read, was a lot of the really critical letters of which listeners had sent me copies, in which many said they had been fans of Morningside for many years, but would never listen to Gzowski again!

I didn’t have the heart to send him those copies.

 

The Best Argument Against Abortion: Follow the Logic

In the “Freethinker” discussion group of which I am a member,  the subject of libertarianism/liberalism, and abortion, has arisen again. This is too complicated to spell out completely for now. But I responded to one of our discussants with the sequence of abbreviated arguments listed below, and am sharing them with visitors here.

Anyone interested in the full version of my philosophical and moral arguments against abortion can find them in a number of my books – especially in my last book, The Great Divide, where there is a whole chapter on this anguishing topic.

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The starting point for me is to get agreement from my opponents, in this order:

1) What a pregnant female human being is carrying is alive

2) It is a human life, and not the life of an animal like a turtle or a puppy. So if you are pro-abortion you have to admit you are in favour of killing human life at some stage

3) What gives modern pro-abortion thinkers (and especially libertarians) a presumed “right” to abort this life, is the conversion of this unborn human life into property ( via the so-called “born-alive” rule – supposing it is not “human” until it leaves the mother’s body).

4) but the conversion of what all must admit is life, into property, is just the old slavery-manouevre. It is exactly the same legal trick used to convert living black people (or greeks, or romans, or jews) into chattel slaves.

5) ergo: our modern liberal-democratic abortion regimes are therefore in fact slave-regimes of a new kind.

6) the modern paradox (“I once was blind, but now I see…”) is that most liberals and libertarians who utterly and even violently reject slavery of any kind, accept abortion on demand. Still blind.

A Fascinating Study on Identical Twins Reared Apart

There is perhaps no better test of the effects of nature vs. nurture, than studies of identical twins reared apart. The social sciences may not have much luck finding “genes” that control human behaviour. But the next best thing is to find the degree of “heritability” of characteristics shared by identical twins who have been reared in wholly different families.

Here is an interesting article from Quillette on this topic.

A Striking Similarity: The Revolutionary Findings of Twin Studies

Good fodder for debates on heritability and parenting.

The War Against Men

Here is another good 5 minute video by Prager U, this one on the war against men and masculinity in the Western world.

It starts out simply, but ends up tying the loose ends together.

https://www.prageru.com/videos/make-men-masculine-again

If anyone wants really good short books on this general theme: how the democracies of the West have been feminizing/de-masculinizing their men – usually in the name of “equality” and “social justice,” and by waging a war against human nature, the natural family, and natural biological differences – start with these classics …

George Gilder, Men and Marriage

Alan C. Carlson, Family Questions (especially his chapter, ‘The Anrogyny Hoax”)

David Popenoe, Life Without Father

Guaranteed, you will never see these issues in the same light after reading these books.

On Democracy and Reason: A Warning!

Yesterday, I was reminded by a reader, of this essay on “Democracy and Reason,” which I published in 1996 – 22 years ago! – as a newspaper column, and which this kind reader said “was prescient,” given the mob-like, dictatorial tenor of recent public discourse.

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In one of those unctuous political utterances for which he was notorious, the former British Prime Minister John Major once declared that “fascism and communism lie behind us. The two great enemies of reason have been defeated.” This was astonishing from a nation that spent so much blood fighting these very evils – and dead wrong on three counts.

First, fascism and communism may be napping, but are not comatose. Their roots are far too deep for that. Many Eastern European nations, after having been joyously liberated from the horrors of communism in the 90s, turned right around and freely voted it back into power with only a slight change of make-up. As for the much misunderstood fascism, there are signs of it everywhere, both in Europe and in North America, especially in the schools and Universities, which heavily promote ethnic identitarianism.

Second, the implication of his comment was that communism is a demented expression of the left, and fascism, of the right. As a good pluralist, Major wished to blame them equally. Leftist journalists and undergraduates are always eager to echo this balancing reflex by quickly labeling anyone with non-egalitarian views, a “fascist.”

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How A Constitution Is Turned From a Shield Into A Sword

Here is a fine, clear piece from The National Post (June 30th) in which Professor Bruce Pardy of Queen’s University scolds judges for wandering outside the confines of the law and “reading in” meanings to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) that are not there, and were never intended to be there.

https://www.pressreader.com/canada/national-post-latest-edition/20180630/281801399704581

Professor Pardy explains how this sneaky usurpation of the Will of the People takes place by invoking “Charter Values” that judges either invent from whole cloth, or simply assume were meant to be a part of the Charter, or ought to have been part of the Charter, and so on. But as they are nowhere to be found in the Charter, judges simply invent and invoke them, and rule accordingly. Which means that far too often, we are being ruled by phantom values that exist only in the heads of judges.

Pardy explains how this illegitimate manoeuvre (inventing “Charter Values” that are not in the Charter), in effect “transform the Charter from a roster of liberty rights [intended to protect citizens from illegitimate state power] to a regime of undefined, collectivist values [that enable the state to impose its own values on citizens].

And this, in effect, “turns the protective shield of the Charter into a sword.”

 

A Letter On the Difference Between Culture, and Multiculturalism

Some time ago, I wrote what follows to a friend and Professor of French Literature at York University who, like me, was struggling with the term “multiculturalism.”

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Thank you so much for the nice lunch and the convivial conversation. I have missed that, living, as I do out in the country. I have reflected on the slogan on your new book (in my loose translation of your French), which you float under the label “transculturalism.”

Peace is the genuine meeting with the Other, it is the total acceptance of difference.”

It is a moving dedication to some of the best impulses of the human spirit – to neighbourliness. But I respectfully disagree with this sentiment, and to its “multicultural”  implications.

First, there is hardly anyone I know as pro-culturalist as me. And deeply so. I feel that there are aspects of culture that go so deep we are never actually fully conscious of them, or of their effects in our personal lives, or of their real-world effects on our evolving history, the nature of our particular civil society, and on our way of thinking as a whole.

The official government “multiculturalism” policy that I oppose, however, is something else entirely. It is a fabrication of governments that are attempting to quell intra-cultural tensions by dissolving all deep cultural affiliation, and appealing instead to a shallow, T-shirt conception of culture as something you can put on, or discard, at will.

In other words, official multiculturalism is a concept that dilutes true culture, which, if it is a real culture, must have real-life philosophical, economic, and political consequences. And it attempts to replace or rather, to dislodge that reality with a kind of sentimental cultural tourism. You know: exotic food and travel, dabbling in foreign languages, admiring all other races as beautiful and fascinating people, etc.  But going no deeper. This skimpy notion, however, has little to do with any real, deep culture that has, and as I say, must have, real world consequences. It is just recreational, skin-deep culture.

One effect that government multicultural policy has had in the Western democracies – and a dangerous one, I believe – is a leveling of all deep cultures, as if, in historical, political, or economic terms, all cultures were equally valuable – which is what your slogan suggests. The aim all the modern Western states is to slowly convert all deep cultures into equally ineffectual skin-deep cultures.

That is why I must modify your slogan, above, to read as follows”

“Peace is understanding the Other, and  the acceptance of differences that do not threaten or diminish the strength and value of one’s own deep culture.

Here are just a few reasons why this is a better slogan …

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