Although it surfs the tidal wave of anti-intellectualism and anti-science in our society, the whole “5G-is-evil” conspiracy has been amusing, I must admit. From burning down cell towers, to accusing Bill Gates of spreading COVID through 5G waves, it’s been a delightful cavalcade of the funniest, stupidest notions to flitter through the internet. They have a Marjorie-Taylor-Greene wackiness about them (albeit without her nastiness); the sort of conspiracy nuttiness not quite attached to gravity or reality, like the flat earth, … click below for more!
If you listen to Pierre Poilievre, the leading — and rightmost — candidate for the Conservative Party’s leadership, Canada is a dictatorship suffering under the thumb of the tyrant, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. To escape from the authoritarian rule of the Liberals, Poilievre (aka Skippy) promises to make us “the freest place in the world.” In a recent interview published in Macleans, Poilievre used the words freedom or freedoms 24 times. In one answer to the interviewer, Skippy said, I believe … click below for more!
In 1644, the English poet and pamphleteer John Milton wrote an impassioned defence of free speech (or, more factually, against censorship of print and in favour of restriction-free publication) called the Areopagitica. It was subtitled A speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicenc’d Printing, to the Parlament of England. In it, Milton argued that, given the choice between truth and lies, people were wise enough to see what was true. And that people’s character grew stronger when … click below for more!
It’s been a while since I wrote about Flat Earthers and their inane —but laugh-aloud funny — ideas about science, religion, and politics. Their worldview is wrapped up in wacky conspiracies, then layered with a topping of pseudo-biblical claptrap, crypto-mythology, scary demons, and your basic rightwing paranoia about the “deep state.” I wrote two pieces about flat-earth nonsense in 2016 (read them here and here), but have not really looked at their loony anti-science movement in any depth since then. … click below for more!
The clearest, most concise statement about the alt-right protests and demonstrations comes from Mark Carney, former governor of both the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada. This protest was never about freedom: it was always about pushing a virulently rightwing agenda, endorsed by the treasonous Donald Trump, to hold the lawful government hostage. Source: Globe & Mail post on Facebook. Click the image to see the full column by Carney in today’s G&M (subscription required). See the comments … click below for more!
It’s a sad statement on modern affairs that the word “freedom” has been reduced to a generally meaningless term, thanks to the constant gaslighting by the right. Every rule, regulation, protocol that the right doesn’t like, doesn’t agree with their ideology or that hurts their feelings is trumped up as an attack on freedom. The right thrive on such conspiracies. But while they press all the hot buttons to get their followers riled into a frenzy over perceived slights against … click below for more!
Dr. Linda Manyguns has stylized herself as Dr. linda manyguns because she stopped using uppercase (capital) letters to protest the “symbols of hierarchy.” Manyguns is the associate vice-president of indigenization and decolonization at Mt. Royal University in Alberta. On her own office’s website, she wrote: we resist acknowledging the power structures that oppress and join the movement that does not capitalize. the office of indigenization and decolonization supports acts that focus on inclusion and support the right of all people … click below for more!
In a recent opinion piece in Macleans Magazine, Scott Gilmore wrote what I expect many vaccinated Canadians felt about those who still refuse to get vaccinated and help end this pandemic: We need to begin treating the vaccine holdouts as the fools they are. It is not fair that reasonable and responsible Canadians should pay the price for their deadly selfishness. No more soothing tones and patience. Time for the stick. The stick in question that Gilmore suggests is withholding … click below for more!
While walking our dog recently, we encountered another couple “our age” (somewhere between 65 and 90) also walking their dog. While the two pets sniffed and frolicked, we chatted with them (at a safe distance, of course). And, as might be expected during a lengthy pandemic, one of the first questions we asked them was, “Have you had your shot yet?” Shockingly, they both answered, “No! And we’re not going to get one.” My first thought when I heard this, … click below for more!
I was reading a story in CollingwoodToday about another anti-mask/anti-lockdown protest recently — this one in Barrie, Sat. April 24 — and thought to myself that our language does not have the appropriate words to describe the combination of selfishness, stupidity, and ignorance that fuels this sort of event. Sure, we have lots of individual words to describe these people, but it seems the pandemic has brought out a unique combination of attributes that deserve their own vocabulary. This was … click below for more!
One has to wonder how creationists can maintain their beliefs during a pandemic where the virus is clearly evolving to improve its ability to infect people and avoid immune system responses. It’s like watching Darwin in action every day. What sort of cognitive dissonance is necessary to believe in creationism while reading the headlines about COVID variants emerging all over the world? Or maybe they don’t read the news to avoid being confronted by such inconvenient truths. Although viruses evolve … click below for more!
A recent survey by Research Co. and Glacier Media shows a deeply disturbing trend in Canadians: we seem to be getting increasingly stupid. While this survey didn’t get the media coverage that other current events received (and hasn’t even been hinted at in local media, but no surprises there), I think it is one of the most troubling surveys of the last decade. The survey showed that, … more than half of Canadians (57%) believe that human beings evolved from less … click below for more!
“We truly can’t praise the love and pursuit of wisdom enough,” wrote Marcus Tullius Cicero in one of his last works, How to Grow Old (De Senectute; aka On Aging or On Old Age), “since it allows a person to enjoy every stage of life free from worry.” “Ancient wisdom for the second half of life,” is how Philip Freeman subtitles his translation of Cicero’s little book in his 2016 Princeton University edition. Cicero wrote his essay (not really a … click below for more!
Ever had the frustrating experience trying to correct someone’s obviously un-factual post or meme on Facebook? And found yourself in a swamp of comments all telling you you’re wrong, an idiot, it’s just your opinion, it worked for my friend so it’s true, or you don’t know anything, followed by insults and accusations? Welcome to the backlash from Brandolini’s Law. According to Wikipedia, Brandolini’s law states that it’s easier to spread bullshit than to debunk it: Brandolini’s law, also known … click below for more!