I know I’m going to hell. I get that. I’ll go quietly and without a fight.
One of God’s finest creations, I’d say.
I know I’m going to hell. I get that. I’ll go quietly and without a fight.
One of God’s finest creations, I’d say.
In Italian, we use lots of single words to describe people. My favorite is ‘musciad’ (moo-shh-yad), or ‘moosh’ (moh-shh). Literally, it means something that is mushy or flimsy… But growing up in a Neapolitan household, we often used it to describe someone who was without defined morals, or had principles like ‘wet cardboard’.
If I could use just one word to describe liberalism, it would be moosh. And it’s not that the liberals themselves are lacking in passion, it’s that the passion is so horribly misdirected that almost all of their championed causes become caricatures of themselves.
Take the picture above. On one side, ‘feminists’ in the UK on their annual Slutwalk — A rally protesting the ‘oppressive’ notion that promiscuity, specifically in women, is socially and individually harmful. On the other side, a Pakistani woman whose face was mutilated by the family of her husband after she refused to prostitute herself for them.
Oh, what I would not give to put these women in a room together. Sometimes, in my head, I wonder how that would play out. Would the feminists attempt to deflect and defer to their own problems, psychotically seeing the oppression they perceive in their own nation as significant as those of the young Pakistani girl? Or would they start to understand that if they live in an environment where they are allowed to parade around city streets whenever they’d like, often wearing nothing at all, as well as enjoy the privileges of education, equal #sometimes superior# protection under the law, and freedom from slavery, than perhaps their plights aren’t as dramatic as they had initially thought?
I want to believe the latter, but I am still a cynic.
Modern liberalism embraces feel-good politics. Politics without substance, but providing the instant gratification that comes in the belief that you are more morally competent than others. That gratification is also available through what I call fetishistic rebellion… This is a phenomenon I frequently see in atheists. Choosing a cause or idea to represent that won’t at all be met with opposition, but it is rooted in an idea of how things are… Even if that idea is entirely inaccurate.
Atheists and Secularists are a great example of this. They may talk about being against ‘religion’, and use that all-encompassing word, but realistically, the only religion atheists attack is Christianity. They lambaste it, campaigning to eliminate any signs of the faith in all aspects of public life, even going so far as to condemn the construction of the 9/11 memorial because it took the form of a cross. Its as if atheists live in an alternate universe where the Christian theocracy still exists, even though present times see Christians, the Vatican, and the Church as being the all-in-one target for whatever wrong needs a scapegoat. Only recently have some prominent atheists come down to Earth on this issue, like Richard Dawkins. His increasing focus on Islam as being the actual religious threat has been met with a lukewarm reception from his once-zealous followers.
Even Libertarian atheists, Penn and Teller, whom I have great respect for, have admitted that the reason behind their ignoring Islam altogether when discussing religious wrong in their popular show ‘Bullshit’, is because they are afraid of retaliation.
In other words, Christianity is easy.
We see this pattern of cheapness across the board in liberalism. An inability, perhaps a fear, to leave the so-called battles on empty hills for those with actual enemies. Still, I can’t help but wonder where their so called altruism runs off to.
Women are being imprisoned for having been the victim of rape, children are starving to death, genocides rage on perpetrated by tyrannical states — But where are the liberals? I looked here, I looked there, and I could not find one anywhere. Perhaps they are all busy at a Slutwalk… Or taking a break from a long day of protesting western encroachment on South American lands by digging in to a bowl of quinoa*. Maybe they stopped off to look at hybrid cars on their way to a palm oil sit-in**.
Critical issues exist around the world that surpass by many miles our own petty discourse. If liberals want to assume total control of issues like women’s rights, religion, sustainable agriculture, and addressing poverty, they need to be able to do just that.
It’s hard when there isn’t a simple answer for everything. It’s hard when you have to recognize that life is not a zero sum game. It’s hard when you can expect violent opposition for every idea you have, every thought that goes through your mind. It’s hard to be a conservative.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
* = Liberals love quinoa. Bolivians love quinoa. Increases in Liberals in western nations loving quinoa have resulted in soaring prices across it’s native Bolivia. This has resulted in Bolivians not being able to afford this nutritious, once-cheap staple food, and contributed to a massive increase in the consumption of fattening cereal grains which we know inevitably lead to a surge in diabetes in indigenous peoples.
** = Hybrid cars use susbstantial amounts of palm oil. The massive increase in the need for palm oil over the years have resulted in the Orangutan losing it’s natural habitat and will soon lead to their total extinction.
It’s easy to get caught up in the gluttony of Parliament Hill. I learned that within a few weeks of having moved to Ottawa. In an environment where excess is encouraged, and disregard for the taxpayer is commonplace, being a fiscal conservative can make it difficult to survive.
Having sat through the Duffy-Brazeau-Wallin affairs, and in fact having been physically present in the Senate Chamber for the historic vote that saw the three conservatives suspended, I was left feeling wholly unsatisfied by the aftermath of the Senate scandals. Instead of focusing on the obviously arbitrary expense system that existed in Parliament and contributed to these Senator’s downfalls, media and the public isolated those incidents and used it as an opportunity to criticize the person who appointed them. Sure, you can chalk that up to just being the nature of politics – But still, I can’t help but feel entertained when I watch where the line in the sand is drawn in terms of acceptable and unacceptable uses of the taxpayers money.
Mike Duffy overspent on his housing allowance by $90,000, defending his costs before paying them back with money given to him from the Prime Minister’s then-Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright. This was the initial push that led to the falling dominos which resulted in what we know now to be the Senate Scandal, it is also what led to the vote which indefinitely suspended Duffy. Certainly, you can ask people what was appalling about Duffy’s behaviour, but I guarantee that you will get a different answer from every single person. Even the Opposition wasn’t quite sure which story to stick with for maximum longevity. Was it because Duffy overspent? Was it because Stephen Harper initially defended him? Was it because Nigel Wright gave him the money to pay back? Was it because he lied about it at first?
While people were busy asking themselves these questions, I was pondering why the taxpayer was on the hook for Duffy’s housing costs in the first place. Indeed, that $90,000 was just a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that were accepted by the House as ‘proper’ claims, and there is in fact some evidence to suggest that the violations Duffy, Brazeau, and Wallin made were backed by unclear or insufficient rules and regulations in the areas of their violations. In other words, they didn’t ‘technically’ do anything wrong. There is even reason to believe that the suspension of these senators by the upper chamber itself was unconstitutional and illegitimate.
Enter my concerns about the system as a whole, not the individuals in question. This is a system based on technicalities and assumptions, not just in the Senate, but with all Parliamentary personnel. The ever-selective media picks and chooses scandals, politicizing only certain segments of what is a significantly bigger issue. The line in the sand I mentioned comes in when you consider that in the proportionate scale of it all, these so-called ‘scandals’ in improper expenses seems like a drop in the hat by comparison. Duffy was ousted on a $90,000 maybe-overcharge in an annual office and housing expenditure that was likely over $400,000 per year, not including his own salary, health care benefits, and future pension. Throw that much money and power at someone who is accountable to no one and is likely to face no real consequences for any abuses and you can see how $90,000 might not be such a big deal to them.
This standard, unfortunately, does not just go for Duffy, but for every single Senator and Member. They are given luxuries that make their jobs some of the most lucrative in the land, not a single penny is expected to leave their pockets during the course of their service – And that doesn’t just go for debatably legitimate costs like running their offices, it also goes for fancy toys like new laptops, iPads, and IPods. And let’s not forget the lunches and dinners at the velvet-and-marble Parliamentary Dining Room where a meal regularly costs over $100 per person can be charged at whim, and are all a part of an extremely vague area called ‘acceptable costs’. Expense claims are generally not rejected unless the public or other Members make enough of a stink about them, like in the case of Eve Adams, who charged everything from spa visits to toothpaste, or Justin Trudeau, who was found to have double billed on his travel claims multiple times. Pay it back and apologize, and all is forgotten.
In my time as a Parliamentary staffer, I can attest to that I did not see a single instance of an occasion where a Member or Senator genuinely had to pay out of pocket for something. What a shame it is that their six-digit salaries have to accrue endlessly in their bank accounts.
This is the kind of decadence that led to the Senate Scandals, not because of individual instances of moral flaws in some Senators. Duffy, Wallin, and Brazeau were nothing more than scapegoats to protect an eroding system, cast away to feign the illusion of consequence. But what was it really? They may be suspended from sitting, but they will still enjoy full healthcare benefits and a pension as well as access to some Parliamentary perks.
And let’s elaborate on those pensions. Though some reforms were recently introduced after public outrage discovered that Members and Senators pay in only $1 for every $25 supplemented by the taxpayer, Parliamentary pensions are still out of control with the average annual payout after service (whether that mean being kicked out, voted out, or retiring) being almost $60,000 per year for the rest of that individual’s life. These payouts are estimated to cost you $804,000,000 for past MPs and Senators alone, in addition to the $600,000,000 per year Parliament costs anyway, and excluding future payouts.
Let me make this clear – Every one, every party is responsible for this culture of decadence. The Liberals can say they are for the middle class, the NDP can say it represents the poor and vulnerable, and the Conservatives can say they represent the taxpayer – But they all consistently vote in favour of pay increases, more perks, and fattening their pensions.
Nice to know that our politicians can come together on something.
In the meantime, I’ll still lament that in many instances, this disparity between the financial well-being of Members and Senators, and the people who elected them in the first place, leads to a political aristocracy that transforms Government into a ruling class, not a serving one as it should be.
“The non-profit social industry of late has been skewing the free market in affordable rental housing. It commonly builds to excess to attract the best tenants, has grants to pay down construction costs and pays very little or no mortgage, taxes, business, property or income. It rents at just below market to be highly competitive and then asks for government to pay any portion of the rent the tenant cannot.
Small wonder the private sector rental industry no longer builds entry-level rental housing – it cannot compete. Social services regularly spend taxpayer dollars for upscale social living. Private industry cannot compete with the deep pockets of government at taxpayers’ expense. Private sector rental property owners are no more driven by greed than owners of retail stores, since market forces affect individual landlords as significantly as other corporations. Monthly mortgage and tax costs generally eat up most of the rent, while ongoing repairs and maintenance must be provided. A reserve fund must also be provided for instances such as when a property remains vacant, a tenant breaks the tenancy agreement, or a disaster occurs.
Landlords are also affected with interruptions in cash flow due to tenant disputes. A tenant can literally occupy a rental unit, refuse to pay rent, and dare a landlord to force the tenant to move, knowing full well that it will cost the landlord many thousands of dollars to force the departure. The tenant also knows the damage that can be done to a landlord’s reputation by complaining to neighborhood advocacy groups, rather than having the matter addressed through the landlord-tenant mediation services. The media and some politicians participate shamelessly in these bouts, which serve to discourage honest business development.
Private sector rental property owners face many challenges. Rental prices are mostly set by mortgage, tax and maintenance costs. Usual free market circumstances fluctuate according to supply and demand and as people choose to enter the housing market. Consequently, high rental costs are often reflective of low vacancy rates and can serve as “catch up” periods when rents more readily approximate costs. During these periods the drive for ownership renews with vigor as high rents cause people to opt for home ownership. Increased demand exacerbates housing prices and causes a spike in new construction. New housing supply eventually drives rental costs down unless sustained by an artificial economy. In Alberta, multiple barriers by governments of all levels, that are prohibiting new private sector rental property development, are artificially driving higher rents and higher prices.
The marketplace for the private sector rental industry is neither free nor fair. Governments have caused the artificial imbalance and governments must repair the imbalance or subsidize the imbalance.”
— Peter Goldring, Member of Parliament for Edmonton East, discussing how Government acts as a barrier in the creation of affordable housing.
I’d like to say that the violence and upheaval in Ukraine is a defining moment in the fight for international democracy. I’d like to say that the Euromaidan protestors that have fallen, disappeared, or been injured or otherwise victimized by the state will be hailed as both heroes and examples by onlookers in the global community. I’d like to say those things. But I don’t think that is realistic.
The sad situation is, and always has been, that clear indications of the state exploiting power over its people to the extent that citizens have to literally barricade themselves to find refuge from military and police assaults have always existed to be ignored. We may recoil in disgust at the treatment of the Ukrainian people whenever a news clip detailing their plight happens to pop up in between the latest updates on Justin Beiber and Madonna, but what are we really learning?
This is certainly not the first instance of a people rising to look their Government in the eye and demand change, and it’s absolutely not the first time that Government has rejected those calls, and lashed out at the people in retaliation. But there remains a divide between the West’s perception of the situations occurring internationally, and the West’s perception of its own situation. The slow erosion of human and democratic rights, the lack of consultation of the public, and the lack of reverence in lawmakers for the law has resulted in the situation in the Ukraine, and in Venezuela and Thailand, which are currently experiencing their own (much less publicised) uprisings. Somehow, the onlookers in the West can see the violence and brutality perpetrated by the state on its own people, but do not recognize similarities in the political climate of their own countries and those which resulted in the protests beginning overseas.
It can’t happen here.
A resonating thought carrying us through each and every day, through each and every Ukrainian newsflash. What is it about the situations we see happening around the world that we cannot fathom applying to our own situation? Do we consider ourselves so morally and intellectually superior to the Ukrainian people that we believe their current state is a result of some kind of primal disconnect? That maybe the Ukrainian people are quick to violence and their Government is just particularly brutal?
We don’t have problems like that here.
Problems like what? Problems like Government tapping in to our personal information whenever they’d like, for whatever reason they needn’t disclose to you? Problems like Government officials breaking into civilian homes to disarm them (as we saw in High River, Alberta)? Problems like police brutality and total abuses of power? Problems like people being denied due process for thought crimes? How about problems like increasing restrictions on freedom of speech and expression? And of course, I could go on forever.
How often and significant do these problems have to be in order to be considered legitimate enough for a rebellion? According to the founding fathers of the United States, the smallest abuse of power in a single instance was too often… According to the Ukrainian people, nothing more than Government ignoring the people’s wishes on trade agreements was necessary. Today, the West sees Government expanding its reach exponentially, and those who oppose this expansion are completely and utterly demonized. Today, people welcome dependency on the state with total compliance and appreciation. We see further Government control as regulations necessary for our safety and happiness.
The Ukrainian Government wasn’t issuing orders to shoot to kill civilians prior to the uprising. Ukrainian police officers didn’t beat families up before they started to reject their authority. Ukrainian wireless providers influenced and issued by the state didn’t cut off the service of customers in ‘riot zones’ when there were no riots. Only through testing the limits of Government will you see what yours is really capable of. Of course there are no soldiers in our streets… We haven’t given them any reason to be there. And when they do come, it will be because we’ve done something to scare the state.
I pray for the safety of those in Ukraine, Venezuela, Thailand, and anywhere else where communities have found their heartbeat and voice against their Government… But more than just wishing that the suffering will end with a favourable result for the people, I hope that we in the West can learn from the bravery of others.
в знак солідарності!
I am obsessed. Absolutely obsessed.
Anonymous asked: what are you doing for valentines day?
Being lonely, basking in that loneliness, and then drinking and eating until that loneliness becomes numb.
If American politics was any more circular, frustrating, and hopeless it would pretty much be Flappy Bird.
Because the Sochi Olympics have somehow become more about where, or if, you like to take cock, rather than about the amazing athletes who have spent their entire lives training to represent their countries — I thought I would just make a few notes provoked by a tweet from comedian Ricky Gervais.
Here it is, for your reference:
To be honest, I really like Ricky Gervais, I think he is funny and his movies have always been very good. If only celebrities could learn to stick with what they actually do well — Which, in most cases, is not usually the art of thinking.
I don’t think I have ever heard anyone on the right use the term ‘gay privilege’ when it came to gay marriage. Certainly, I have used that term myself when it came to homosexuals being able to shut down any opposing views or perspectives because they felt offended or hurt, and their being offended was more important than the freedom of speech or religion we should all cherish. In that way, I wish Ricky could look back on a tweet he made July 16th, 2012, where he wrote, “Everyone has the right to believe whatever they want, and everyone else has the right to find it fucking ridiculous”.
Homosexuals have a right to advocate to be able to marry, and individuals from different cultures, religions, or political ideologies have a right to believe they should not have that ability. Conservatives, for the most part, do not even believe that marriage should be classified as a right for anyone, let alone as something that should be expanded and idolized by Government. I know that I speak for a lot of conservatives when I say that I believe that marriage started as a purely religious institution, and so it should be left to those religions to decide whether or not they will grant authorization for marriage. It was only when the State got involved that marriage became more of a political and economic union than a religious one.
When the gay community catches the slightest sniff of people in opposition to their advocacy, they seek the upheaval and removal of those people. In this case, we are not even talking about some people, rather, an entire nation. The vast majority of Russians oppose gay marriage, about 85%. So it is not entirely a surprise that Vladimir Putin would be against it, too. It’s no wonder that the gay community in Russia has to import protesters from the West, and outsource outrage to other countries.
It’s true that in Russia, homosexuals are often treated quite badly by the general public. They are not accepted for their sexuality. But, the fact of the matter is, homosexuality is legal in Russia, as are sex-change operations. Russia does have a lot of crazy laws surrounding gay ‘propaganda’ and same-sex couple recognition — But realistically, the conditions for homosexuals in Russia are not as bad as you would find in some other countries. Whether or not Vladimir Putin personally likes homosexuals, or will fly the gay pride flag, or let a float full of naked or crossdressing men parade through Red Square, should not be the primary issue of advocacy or support of sanctions against Sochi.
Then again, if these social elite socialists like Ricky Gervais wanted their advocacy to have substance rather then just feel good, they would be spending a heck of a lot of time protesting the human rights abuses in the Middle East and Africa, where homosexuals are sentenced to death by the State for their behavior and don’t even have the slightest chances of leading happy, successful lives. Ironically, these same elitists love to protest the one country in the Middle East where homosexuals have the same rights and recognition as heterosexuals, and has multiple gay pride parades — Israel.
As for that comment about Churches receiving tax exemption — That’s not seen as a privilege to most Churches, rather than a significant burden. The State has control over Church’s social views and teachings because it seized control of the Church’s ability to pay its bills. But then again, I am not going to take any lessons on privilege from Gervais, who seems to be the most entitled and privileged of all.