Deborah Gyapong: March 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Aha! so this is what I am, a fusionist!

A few years ago, I gave a talk to a small group of libertarians about what socially conservative Christians need to learn from libertarians and what libertarians need to learn from Christian socons.

Sadly, my "viral" YouTube video (it had more than 400 hits!) got taken down for some reason, but here's a post at National Review that gives a name for the kind of mixture of social conservatism and libertarianism: fusionism.

Here's an excerpt of Jonah Goldberg's post:

An ex-Communist Christian libertarian, Meyer argued that freedom was a prerequisite for virtue and therefore a virtuous society must be a free society. (If I force you to do the right thing against your will, you cannot claim to have acted virtuously.)

Philosophically, the idea took fire from all sides. But as a uniting principle, fusionism worked well. It provided a rationale for most libertarians and most social conservatives to fight side by side against Communism abroad and big government at home.

What often gets left out in discussions of the American Right is that fusionism isn’t merely an alliance, it is an alloy. Fusionism runs through the conservative heart. William F. Buckley, the founder of the conservative movement, often called himself a “libertarian journalist.” Asked about that in a 1993 interview, he told C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb that the question “Does this augment or diminish human liberty?” informed most of what he wrote.

Most pure libertarians and the tiny number of truly statist social conservatives live along the outer edge of the Venn diagram that is the American Right. Most self-identified conservatives reside in the vast overlapping terrain between the two sides.

Just look at where libertarianism has had its greatest impact: economics. There simply isn’t a conservative economics that is distinct from a libertarian one. Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Henry Hazlitt, Ludwig von Mises, James M. Buchanan & Co. are gods of the libertarian and conservative pantheons alike. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The future Pope Francis smiled at me back in 2008


I had no idea I had this on my laptop. This is from the 2008 International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City. And of course, there's my favorite Cardinal Marc Ouellet.

Victor Davis Hanson on ways to destroy the American economy

Perceptive column, as usual for VDH:

It is not easy to ruin the American economy; doing nothing usually means it repairs itself and soon is healthier than before a recession.
But don’t despair: there are plenty of ways to slow down even an inherently strong economy. History offers plenty of examples. But as more contemporary models, take your pick of successfully ruined economies — the Venezuelan, the Cuban, the North Korean, the Greek, the Italian, the Portuguese, or pretty much any from Mediterranean Africa to the Cape of Good Hope. There are certain commonalities about why and how they fail. Let’s review some of them.
GovernmentThe state can never be too big. Ensure that it is unaccountable and intrusive, in constant need of more money and more targets to regulate. The more government, the more people are shielded from the capital-creating, free-market system. Think the DMV or TSA, not Apple. The point is for an employee to spend each labor hour with less oversight, while regulating or hampering profit-making, rather than competing with like kind to create material wealth. Regulatory bodies are a two-fer: the more federal, union employees, the more regulations to hamper the private sector.  

Lots more at the link. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

More on the Whatcott decision and the fact that truth is no defense

Truth, freedom of speech go hand in hand says The Sun's Alan Shanoff:

Civil defamation laws, which protect harm to reputation, allow a defence of truth. Criminal charges involving publication also allow truth as a defence. Truth is a defence to a criminal charge of willfully promoting hatred against any group distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. An essential element of the criminal charge of defamatory libel requires an accused to publish a statement “he knows to be false”.

But in the recent William Whatcott decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has declared that truth is not a viable defence to a hate speech charge under human rights legislation. It’s a ruling that has many puzzled. After all, freedom of expression is a constitutionally protected right in Canada and should only be restricted as minimally as possible to meet a pressing and substantial concern.

So how can we justify prohibiting a defence of truth?

Why does the court fear the truth?

The Supreme Court’s justification for allowing this remarkable bit of state censorship is simply put that “even truthful statements may be expressed in language or context that exposes a vulnerable group to hatred.” Thus we have elevated the right of a vulnerable group to be free from expressions of hatred to be paramount to the ability to speak the truth.
Our highest court has affirmed Canada as a country where accurate statements of fact may result in human rights complaints, expensive and lengthy hearings and imposition of significant financial penalties whenever a vulnerable group has been or is likely to have been exposed to hatred. All this, with no legal or financial exposure to the person or persons filing the human rights complaint.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Mark Steyn on those pesky drones

For all its advantages to this administration – no awkward prisoners to be housed at Gitmo, no military casualties for the evening news – the unheard, unseen, unmanned drone raining down death from the skies confirms for those on the receiving end al-Qaida's critique of its enemies: as they see it, we have the best technology and the worst will; we choose aerial assassination and its attendant collateral damage because we are risk-averse, and so remote, antiseptic, long-distance, computer-programmed warfare is all that we can bear. Our technological strength betrays our psychological weakness.


The guys with drones are losing to the guys with fertilizer – because they mean it, and we don't. The drone thus has come to symbolize the central defect of America's "war on terror," which is that it's all means and no end: We're fighting the symptoms rather than the cause.

Do you remember the way it was before the "war on terror"? Back in the Nineties, everyone was worried about militias and survivalists, who lived in what were invariably described as "compounds," and not in the Kennedys-at-Hyannis sense. And, every so often, one of these compound-dwellers would find himself besieged by a great tide of federal alphabet soup, agents from the DEA, ATF, FBI and maybe even RRB. There was a guy named Randy Weaver, who lost his wife, son and dog to the guns of federal agents, was charged and acquitted in the murder of a deputy marshal and wound up getting a multimillion dollar settlement from the Department of Justice. Before he zipped his lips on grounds of self-incrimination, the man who wounded Weaver and killed his wife, an FBI agent named Lon Horiuchi, testified that he opened fire because he thought the Weavers were about to fire on a surveillance helicopter. When you consider the resources brought to bear against a nobody like Randy Weaver for no rational purpose, is it really so "far-fetched" to foresee the Department of Justice deploying drones to the Ruby Ridges and Wacos of the 2020s?

Of course, as the state becomes more and more rabidly secularist---though with a strange bye for the radical Islamists with whom lefttists share an antipathy to the Judeo-Christian foundations of Western Civilization--it will be those Christian believers who insist on obeying God rather than kowtowing to the statist gods who will have these drones hovering over their homes and churches.  It is sobering to realize that pro-life groups, for example, are listed among dangers to national security, and many seem to think Christian "fundamentalists" are as much a threat to America as radical Islam.  Mark Steyn has been right all along that our real problem is civilizational suicide not any external threat.  

H/t  Kathy Shaidle

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Can we have human rights without God?

Can we have human rights without God, and a faith in a particular God?   There is one true God, who revealed Himself to the Jews, then became Incarnate in Jesus Christ.   Our whole Western Civilization and its understanding of human dignity and human rights is posited on the idea that man is created in the image of God, male and female, and thus our rights are inherent because we are God's creation, not a creature of the state.  No, these rights did not start with the Enlightenment, but the Enlightenment borrowed the notion and tried to strip these inalienable rights from the God-content.  (Supreme Court of Canada, please pay attention!)

But we are losing this notion that even Christian atheists like the late, great Oriana Fallaci realized was important for the proper functioning of the social order in the West.  Without this grounding, upon what basis do you assign rights?  The state defines them?  Watch out.  Real rights, God-given rights, limit state power.  They draw a line on where the state can go in interfering with them.   Sadly, we are shifting to a definition of rights as whatever the state deigns to grant us.  This is dangerous to human freedom, especially when the truth is no longer valued and is no longer a defence for freedom of expression. The whole reason why there is religious freedom and freedom of expression is in defence of Truth with a capital T.  Ever wonder why, in totalitarian countries, the Bible is the first book to be confiscated?

Well, here's a link to an article I wrote about one of Canada's prophetic voices on real human rights:

Farrow spoke of the way the understanding of objective reality and the truth of our dimorphic identity as male and female in the image of God has been damaged by the redefinition of marriage. He noted how Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus, last December had spoken about the trend towards replacing God’s gift of our biological sexual identity with the notion that sexual identity is merely a social construct. 
Those on the cutting edge of the social constructionist movement “are not interested in natures or essences,” Farrow said. “They are opposed to everything that smacks of essentialism.” 
“Man is not male and female,” in their view, he said. “The end game is the abolition of man’s nature.”
When calling man’s nature into question, social constructionists are also calling into question the “dignity that comes from God.”

It is vital Christians “order their thoughts and order them aright” concerning authentic freedom, which is grounded in the understanding God’s creating man, male and female, in His image and oriented towards expressing man’s identity through the good and the true, he said.
“Only the freedom that submits to the truth leads the human person to his true good,” Farrow said, quoting Pope John Paul II. There is a need to help our culture “understand the essential bond between freedom, truth and the good.”
Christians must also “stiffen our resolve to live according to the truth,” he said. He urged Catholics to read John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth) on this its 20th anniversary in order to recover an understanding of the integral relationship of freedom and truth. “Right action ordinarily depends on right thinking,” he said.
Veritatis Splendor warned the “denial of God as the source of truth” could “lead to a democratic form of totalitarianism,” Farrow said, noting the present climate of threats and intimidation to force support for same-sex ‘marriage,’ abortion and euthanasia.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

National Post editorial on why human rights commissions must be abolished

Great editorial in today's National Post by Jonathan Kay.

Would any Canadian government, even at the provincial level, ever have the courage to eliminate the human rights commissions (HRCs) whose judgments have become such a national joke in recent years?

If you think the answer is no, consider a precedent: the federal Court Challenges Program (CCP) of Canada.

Go on over and read why Kay sees human rights commissions as similar outfits to the CCP that basically funded social engineering.  

And an undermining of our fundamental human rights, in my opinion.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Kathy Shaidle's latest Taki's Magazine piece

She has something to say about AA and the Whatcott decision.   Enjoy.

If you’ve never been to an old-school AA meeting, imagine Vince Lombardi’s locker room if he’d been coaching Pilgrims with Tourette’s: a spartan, Quaker-meeting setup, all bootstrapping, no bullshit. A newcomer dumb enough to whine about their “feelings” gets ordered to scrub out the coffee urn by a gruff “old timer.”

That’s not what I slunk into in 1992, by which time then-faddish PBS fixture John “Finding Your Inner Child” Bradshaw had accidentally turned Alcoholics Anonymous into a New Age unicorn-and-rainbows therapeutic weep-fest that would’ve disgusted Greatest Generation founders Bill W. and Dr. Bob, who probably kept their fedoras on in the gutter.

Some meetings even served decaf. 


Brace yourself for “otherkin-phobia” and the fines and firings that will come with it.
There’s a fair dollop of therapeutic chatter,” one notes, in last week’s ruling by Canada’s Supreme Court declaring that mass homosexual “self-fulfillment” trumps one crazy Christian’s freedom of speech, even when he’s just quoting the Bible. (Especially then.)

Who’s to say some “cripple” is cheating the insurance company just because you saw him shooting baskets in Bermuda? He’s really transabled, you bigot.
If you don’t want your life ruined by the powers that be, you’ll cultivate the cowardice to know the difference and keep your mouth shut.

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Monday, March 04, 2013

Okay, it's time to rev up the blog in favor of freedom of speech

My head is still spinning from the Supreme Court of Canada's Whatcott decision.  When it comes to human rights commissions and their vague "likely to" thought crimes provision, truth is no defense, neither is motive.  In other words, you don't actually have to be guilty of hateful feelings of detestation in order to be found guilty of villification.  Equality trumps foundational rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  It was sickening, frankly.

Our hope now rests with pushing for legislative change.  That means that all the free speech bloggers and pundits needs to rev up the old public opinion engines and make sure our politicians know these laws must be taken off the books.   The next big battle-ground is the Senate on Bill C-304 to eliminate the Section 13 "likely" clause of the Canadian Human Rights Act. While there is a Conservative majority there, some Senators have spoken against the bill.   And the Liberals, led by former Parliament Hill journalist Jim Munson are revving up all the tired arguments that seemed to make their way into Justice Rothstein's decision.

Did anyone else get a sense that the decision was so old hat, so obviously disproven, so discredited that it was astonishing to see them re-iterated by the highest court?  As if all the justices do is watch the CBC all the time and don't even realize contrary views and even facts that support them exist.  Sigh.  I mean, really, the arguments about Germany and the Jews and the Rwandan genocide making it necessary to have human rights commissions are ridiculous.  Those genocides were government-sponsored; government entities were promoting the hate speech and used systematic, planned, government-sponsored methods to eradicate Jews or Tutsis in both genocides   It was not the result of some guy handing out pamphlets who got the population all riled up.

In fact, reading the Whatcott decision seemed like the ingredients for a hate-tract against believing Christians like myself and the menu for state persecution of those who refuse to bow down and worship the state.

Here's a link to a recent story I wrote about the progress of the bill now before the Senate.

OTTAWA - Senator Douglas Finley warns the passage of Bill C-304 to eliminate the anti-free speech Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act is “not a done deal.”
Conservative MP Brian Storseth’s private member’s bill to eliminate the vaguely worded Section 13 clause that deems communication “likely” to expose a protected group to hatred or contempt discrimination under the act passed the House of Commons last June. Finley, the Conservative senator who is shepherding the bill’s passage through the Senate, said many pundits assumed the fight had been won then, leaving “a false impression.”
“This will receive opposition in the Senate, although we have a pretty large majority,” Finley said, noting that even some Conservative senators have spoken against it.
Bill C-304 is expected to go to a vote on second reading soon. Finley expects the bill to pass and go on to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs committee, which will receive witnesses.
“How long this will take is very largely a matter of the interest shown by outside witnesses to attend the hearings,” he said.
“The process can take anywhere from a matter of days to several months. It’s difficult to predict,” but the “issue provokes passion on both sides of the argument.”
I would advise anyone who is concerned about this issue to contact Senator Finley's office or the committee named in the article.  Plan to make an appearance before the committee.
Meanwhile, Mark Steyn had this to say about the decision over at The Corner:
Jay, re last week’s Canadian Supreme Court decision, there’s no doubt (after some partial victories by us northern free-speechers in recent years) that it’s a serious setback for freedom of expression. The defendant, Bill Whatcott, is not partial to those of a homosexual bent. If one feels otherwise on these matters, it’s reasonable to be offended by his observations. But it’s entirely unreasonable to criminalize them. Bruce Bawer, who falls into the protected class on whose behalf the Canadian jurists claimed to act, says take your finely balanced, reasoned, nuanced judgment, and shove it:

"Don’t do me any favors. I feel far less threatened by the likes of Whatcott than I do by courts that consider it their prerogative to limit the liberties of a free people in such an arrogant fashion. The justices seem not to recognize – or to care – that if you want to live in a truly free society, you’ve got to be willing to share that society with people who consider you an abomination and who feel compelled to shout their views from the rooftops."

He’s right. Bill Whatcott is far less of a threat to liberty than those six judges. What’s weird about all this is that, around the world, supposedly free peoples are happy to accord the bench (even a bench whose arguments are as incoherent as the Ottawa guys’) a monopoly power on all the great questions of the age. Even as every other societal institution in the West — church, monarchy — has lost authority, blokes in black robes have accrued more and more.

The biggest danger to a legislative repeal of the insidious faux human rights regime is the deference most Canadians and politicians have for the Supreme Court of Canada.