Category Archives: civil rights

Punching Nazis

civil rights, culture, politics Leave a reply

Due to the recent rebranding of white supremacists, fascists, and nazis as “the alt-right” and their subsequent resurgence, there has been much hand wringing about ‘punching nazis’ as an appropriate response against those who are moving to enact genocide.

This hand wringing holds echoes of the “just ignore them and they’ll go away” nonsense that was often blathered in my direction when I was accosted with bullies throughout my life, and (as such) I have an opinion on this topic informed by long involvement with violent confrontation.

Punch them as hard as you can. Just the once. I don’t feel like burying this at the end of the essay, so I thought I’d just set it up at the start. Why? The answer to that is long.

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Koukl’s Anti-Abortion Nonsense

civil rights, politics Leave a reply

[Note to reddit visitors from /r/prolife: I haven’t ‘run away’ from my attempt at discussion on your forum, your mods have simply decided that ye are too fragile to discuss this topic and have banned me. If you would like to continue the conversation, you’re welcome to comment below.]

I recently made the tactical error of engaging with some anti-choice folk on their Kelowna Right to Life facebook page. As this particular group seemed to laud themselves on their intellectual and academic rigor, while disparaging that of the pro-choice folk, I thought I’d see how they responded to Judith Jarvis Thompson’s seminal work, A Defense of Abortion.

The short answer to that is “poorly”. In addition to clearly either not reading or understanding the paper, they kept referring to this awful article by Greg Koukl. This article will be a dissection of Unstringing the Violinist. (If nothing else, the anti-choice people come up with some decent article titles)

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Maximize Charitible Giving on Humble Bundle (A Guide)

Charity, civil rights, Gaming Leave a reply

There’s been a crisis in the US for a number of years, and Trump’s administration is expanding and worsening it. As we’ve seen over the last few days, the response of the American people (and around the world) has been a large rejection of his policies, largely through donations to charitable organisations working for human rights (e.g. the ACLU raised 6 years worth of donations over a single weekend).

But let’s say you’re kinda, sorta interested in donating, but worried about whether your money will be well spent. Perhaps you’re just a bit skeptical of charity work in general, your budget is a bit tight and you want to make sure every penny counts, or you’d like to see something tangible in exchange for your donation? These are not unreasonable positions, and this post is for you.

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Physician Assisted Dying and the BC Catholic

civil rights, culture, ethics, philosophy 1 Reply

Physician assisted Dying (PAD from here on, aka active euthanasia) is currently being legislated in Canada, so it’s being discussed by a number of outlets, with a variety of opinions being put forward. This is a topic that has a storied history within philosophy, and I think it’s important that we have informed conversations on this topic as much as possible, rather than just repeating the “common sense” nonsense that we’ve grown up with all our lives.

Unfortunately, having a degree in philosophy apparently can also mean learning how to really cement the foundations for that nonsense, and can add an air of authority to what should be obviously ridiculous babble. Kreeft’s nonsense has been written up in that bastion of fact-checking, the BC Catholic, and the amount of errors (or intentional falsehoods?) in that article are staggering…..

I feel that doing a general overview/correction would make it seem that I’ve missed some key line here or there, so I’m going to do a point-by-point rebuttal. Which means that this is going to be a long article. Strap in.

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“Go Home Irish” is just Bigotry

civil rights, culture, ethics, History 1 Reply

I’m Irish. I migrated to Vancouver, BC, in May 2006. I’ve spent a lot of time learning about the imperialist and colonial history of Canada, mostly because I felt I had a responsibility to understand where I was living. I’m a citizen of both Ireland and Canada, the former by being born there, the latter as my mum was born here.

Over the years, I learned that Canada, like the US, UK and any other country really, is both a nation of immigrants and anti-immigrant. The group that rose to the top were those descended from the British settler group, the White Anglo Saxon Protestants. And while anti-immigrant racism certainly isn’t unique to the British, anti-Irish sentiment seems to be. That came too.

Let me be clear: there is no comparison to be drawn between what happened to the Natives of Canada and the US, nor to Black people. How the Irish (and Italians) are treated in North America is, frankly, cordial when compared to these other groups. That said, anti-Irish racism and bigotry is a thing.

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“Marriage is Between a Man and a Woman” is Dishonest

civil rights, culture, religion Leave a reply

Sometimes you really have to wonder what people were thinking when they did something. But then, sometimes that thing is quite extended, and you realise that a *lot* of people were involved, and they *all* had to go along with it for the complete production time. And you start to realise that it wasn’t like that because nobody thought it through: they thought it through, and they were ok with it.

In this case, I’m talking about Catholic Vote, who created a reprehensible video declaring to the world what awful human beings they are.

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Secular Humanism is not about Silencing Belief

civil rights, culture, religion Leave a reply

Sometimes I wonder what getting a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard University entails, or even a Ph.D. in Religion and Literature from the University of Virginia. Alas, if the Rev. Dr. David Fekete is any indication, it entails not being required to actually know what you’re talking about, and to just blather any old thing without consequence.

Fekete recently penned a screed in the Edmonton Journal claiming that prohibiting prayer as part of government business privileges the belief system of Secular Humanism. From this single erroneous claim, he moves on to declare a number of falsehoods, such as “Secular humanism would have a world evacuated of religion”.

If this is the tripe that the Edmonton Journal prints, then I guess we also have the measure of that rag, in addition to Harvard’s Theological Studies department….

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Fashion Bloggers in Cambodia

civil rights, crapitalism, philosophy Leave a reply

I ran across this short online reality show ‘Sweatshop’ on Ecouterre “Fashion Bloggers in a Cambodian Sweat Shop“, and it’s worth taking a look at. It’s mostly a expression of ignorance and privilege, but it’s also helpful to put clothing production into the proper context.

There’s a line in particular that stands out, in the second episode, by Ludvig Hambro: “Those who make the garments should also be able to afford them”. This seems like a good jumping off point to discuss Marxism.

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Bradley Miller, Judged

civil rights, culture, law, Philosophy of Law, politics Leave a reply

Professor Bradley Miller has been appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, effective January 16th, 2015. His bio there states that “his main areas of practice were commercial litigation, class actions, administrative law, constitutional law and human rights law”. And yet it would seem that his understanding of human rights is less than complete.

In an article written two years ago in Public Discourse, (Same-Sex Marriage Ten Years On: Lessons from Canada), Miller makes a range of claims that are supportable only if one believes that the right to tear down others is more valuable to society at large than the right to not be torn down.

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Firedrills Good, Active Shooter Drills Bad

civil rights, culture, ethics 2 Replies

Florida has recently been in the news for having ‘active shooter drills’. Alas, Florida is not alone in this, so the rest of the world can yet again sigh ‘only in America’. And let’s face it: this is yet more security theatre, serving no legitimate purpose. Like taking off one’s shoes at security in the airport (thanks for that too, America).

Indicating his complete disconnection from reality, Polk County Public Schools spokesman Jason Gearey said in an e-mailed statement to The Washington Post:

“Unfortunately, no one gets an advanced notice of real life emergencies. We don’t want students to be scared, but we need them to be safe.”

This is, unfortunately, just a jumble of words with no real meaning contained within.

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