After much prodding by other bloggers, I set this up for my own writings. The name is in honour of the two women that mentored me throughout my life on politics and intelligence issues, as well as being wonderful family members, now alas deceased. I hope to live up to their standards at this site.

Monday, July 31, 2006

The reason why I advocate religious toleration even while being without religion myself

Cerberus has a very detailed and well linked post here which I would commend to any and all that read this blog that have not already read this post of the three headed dog's. Personally I would have thought the basis behind religious tolerance within our secular society was fairly obvious, but then I actually enjoyed learning about history something I fear many these days can't seem to be bothered with. The reason for religious tolerance is very simple, throughout human history wars fought over religious differences have almost always been the most ugly, most intractable, and longest running. The reason for this should be fairly clear, religious faith is for those that believe a core element of their worldview and their lives, therefore if it is felt to be under threat will generate an equivalent level of response in defence. One of the main reasons for the success of the USA historically was because it allowed religious diversity as a core value and that the State had no business placing the interests of any one religion or even sect within that religion ahead of any other. Why was this so obvious to the American Founding Fathers? Simple, most of them had emigrated from a Europe that had spent the last century or so waging sectarian warfare and had seen just how dangerous it was to have an official State religion and wanted to set up a State where this evil could be prevented within it, and they managed to succeed brilliantly for a couple of centuries for the most part, although the last couple of decades or so have significantly undermined this alas.

We in this country have done the same. I have in my life been friends with Christians of varying sects, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Shinto, and Wiccans, just to name a few Faiths within the great Canadian mosaic. While each had their own beliefs they were all equally Canadians and accepted that in this country the rights of all religions were to be equally respected/tolerated within our society in order to preserve the freedom of worship for all. They accepted that the way to increase their own Faith's acceptance in this society was through example and persuasion, not by forced conversion. This was fine by me, indeed I would argue this is how it should be done and not by using the tools of the State to advance the agenda of any one Faith or sect within that Faith.

Which is why when I see any religious bigotry/intolerance it raises my hackles. Which was the case with some of the bilge I saw at the Western Standard thread that triggered this post at Cerberus. Like Cerberus I recognize that it is unlikely the majority of Conservatives in this country would accept the POV demonstrated in that WS thread any more than I and those at the link at Cerberus would. What does bother me about seeing this at the Shotgun blog though is that the Western Standard is the most openly Conservative and CPC supporting national publication in this country. The publisher has strong ties to the top level of the CPC and this CPC government. Therefore seeing the degree of intolerance not only being written there but for the most part being agreed with I find more than a little disturbing. It would be one thing if this was some no namer's blog (like my own for example, I have no illusions about myself in this regard) this was from, this though is a blog with national prominence under the title of what is supposedly the voice of Canadian Conservatism. That I have a big problem with.

I also find the degree of open hatred for those that do not share their POV more than a little worrisome as well. While I oppose the CPC and even consider it real threat to the long term viability/stability of this nation I do not hate them, I do not hate Harper. What I do feel is strong concern, and a need to oppose them because I do not trust the ideology from which the CPC leadership has been clearly influenced by, the writings of a man by the name of Leo Strauss (article link thanks to POGGE). This man's beliefs among others is that only an elite is qualified to shape national policy and the acceptance of the "noble lie" in the pursuit and maintaining of power. I consider both of these principles to be inherently dangerous to the idea of democracy, and Canada operates under a representational democracy in the form of a Constitutional Parliamentary structure. The tendency towards increased polarization of seeing everything in two camps us (the "good" guys) and everyone else (the "bad" guys) worries me, as I am someone that believes in reality rarely ever being so simplistic in nature, especially where human interactions/behaviours are concerned. When I see this I worry regardless of the political/social affiliations involved.

We have seen in our American neighbour a tendency to try to turn everything into us vs them binary configurations. We have seen the rise of religious bigotry into public policy de facto if not yet de jure. We have seen those that push for religious supremacy of their sectarian beliefs align themselves with those that follow the teachings of Leo Strauss, also referred to as the neoconservative movement aka neocons. Now while I will be the first to admit that the term neocon has been abused by those that oppose the Conservative movement in this country there is still an element of accuracy in the charge where our current PM is concerned. We also have seen our own Conservative party combine religious politics and the Canadian equivalent of the neoconservative philosophy (The Calgary School) (see also this post at The Galloping Beaver on this group) in the current configuration of the CPC. So we see the potential of the ugly religious bigotry that has consumed the GOP doing the same in this party, which is one of the reasons there are those that fear a "hidden agenda" to the CPC, the "noble lie" of Straussian teachings being the other main reason for this fear.

However, what is most disturbing about what has been going on at the Shotgun and within many of the online Canadian Conservative movement is the increased willingness to portray their opposition as unpatriotic, terrorist sympathizers, and in general not just to be opposed but to be at best incarcerated ant worst taken out and shot. I see an increasing acceptance of dehumanization of their political foes, which quite honestly scares the hell out of me. Hatred of their enemies is seen as natural, whereas I see hatred of the enemy as becoming the enemy. I wish I knew how to fight this better than just trying to draw attention to it but I do not. I do know though that the last time I saw this kind of insanity prior to the current movements was back in the left political movement in the USA back during the late 60s into the 70s, and I no more found that acceptable then than I do now in the Conservative movement.

Any party regardless of affiliation that embraces the politics of division and hatred is an inherent danger to the multicultural nation that is Canada. While there has always been a certain amount of the politics of division it has been rooted in the difference regions of this rather large country. What I have been seeing develop though that really troubles me is that politics of division being employed not on the traditional region differences but within the differences of political affiliations and of social sub-groupings, and that worries me greatly. What was seen at the Shotgun may be the fringe of the Conservative movement currently. However, it's apparent acceptance by that publication worries me that this is becoming more and more acceptable within that political movement. I also find the willingness to equate opposition to Conservative policy and ideas with support for terrorism and radical/extremism more than a little worrisome. I find the acceptance of several in the online community of hate-mongers like Anne Coulter and to a lesser extent Michelle Malkin downright scary.

Hatred is one of if not the most destructive and dangerous of all human emotions. It allows for the dehumanization of those it is focused upon which in turn allows for atrocity to be done to that target focus. It destroys not only the focus of the hatred but the souls of those doing the hating. It is quite possibly the single most important underpinning to the various atrocities of human history which should be enough to have all humans of good will/nature regardless of political beliefs opposing it wherever the find it, even when it is in their own ranks/social/political affiliations. Indeed, I would argue especially when found in such.

In any event, while I do not believe that most Canadian Conservatives are like this I do fear than many within that movement are and are pushing that party in that direction. There is alas this belief in many Canadians that this sort of thing cannot happen here. Well that belief tends to be one of the best aids those that would spread hatred and intolerance rely upon when trying to move things in their direction, and too often it is too late when the majority recognize the threat. That is what I fear, and why I oppose those I find promulgating such hatred of the other. Xenophobia is one of humanity's most ugly and horrific traits and one that is alas all too easily manipulated, just ask the 1930's Germans about that as one example among many in human history, even modern history.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post. You know, many on the "right" would have found my "auld man" to be quite the enigma. He held to his own very strong Christian beliefs (he called himself "fundamental" but his fundamentalism was more along the lines of the "Reformed" theology - not the carrying of the signs at protests sort) and yeah, he'd do some "witnessing" to others.

Yet at the same time, he had a kindness towards others - even when he vehemently disagreed with them.

At his funeral, it was standing room only, with people from just about every faith and every race attending.

The concept of "tolerance" was something my auld man seemed to firmly understand. He wouldn't put up anyone denigrating his faith in his house, that is for sure. And he might disagree vehemently with others' faiths. But he still enjoyed the person, would help when he could, and it was a sad day for many at his funeral.

Tue Aug 01, 04:01:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought provoking. As you've indicated though, a lot of this has come from Straussian models via the Calgary school, b oth of which are known for utilizing the religious community - Christian that is - to back their own view of how the world should be run. These men are not truly religious, just power hungry, and have recognized a way to ensure they get what they want, much like Hitler did in manipulating the German population. The truly sad thing is that a lot of their followers are truly religious, and do not realize they are being used. All they see is an opportunity to force everyone else to conform to their way of life, whether they like it or not. That's a simplistic take, and for that I apologize, but I'm so sick and tired of the religious inspired wars that are killing thousands of people - how long before it becomes millions, how long before it matches the Crusades in lives lost, civilizations lost, never ending hatred.....

Tue Aug 01, 04:06:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Scotian said...

Ian Scott:

I know what you mean. My Great Grandfather was alive from the late 1800s to the mid 1900s, a born and raised Canadian. He was someone that saw all people as just that, people. He was a very successful businessman, was the third man in Cape Breton to own an automobile, and also a man of deep religious Faith (RC). This was a man that would take his dry-cleaning to the typical Chinese laundry because he found their work to be good, but he also developed friendships with the owners of that business despite the at the time clear bigotry within "polite" society (of which he was a member) for Chinese people. When he died the attendance at his funeral was also SRO and also had a very multicultural look in the makeup of the attendees.

Indeed his inability to treat people as other than fellow human beings was the single most recurrent note of that funeral. Yet he died well before the so called "multicult" political movement (as referred to by many CPC supporters online) had started taking root. Which to my mind only underscores the reality that well before it became a government policy it was a part of the Canadian makeup. Both of the women mentioned in the blog dedication here were daughters of this man. I count myself most fortunate to have been born and raised with such ancestors to have in my family and to have been taught by in my youth.

Good Grief:

The Straussians are the single greatest threat to our political environment in this country and that is why I so firmly oppose the CPC in it's current configuration. It was why I saw the Martin Liberals as a lesser evil in the last election and my preferred choice to win, not because I supported corruption but if the CPC led by Straussians could not beat such a weak opponent then maybe they would be removed from the leadership of the party and a more moderate element could take hold. Alas that did not happen, now the goal is to prevent a majority government by the Straussians, for I fear the damage they could do in just one full term with such a majority.

Wed Aug 02, 04:03:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Tim said...

The Straussians are the single greatest threat to our political environment in this country and that is why I so firmly oppose the CPC in it's current configuration.

Indeed, and this Straussian wellspring sums up the fundamental difference between the former Progressive Conservatives and the gorup now calling themselves "Conservatives". They are neo-cons dressed in conservative clothing, and the fact that so many Canadians find them appealing makes me fear for our future.

Wed Aug 02, 07:17:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Scotian said...

"They are neo-cons dressed in conservative clothing, and the fact that so many Canadians find them appealing makes me fear for our future." Tim

Remember though many of these voters are not aware of the meaning of Straussian influence and the belief in the elites and noble lie. This is what the Straussians are counting on, and why it must be exposed wherever possible. I took the results of the last election as clear evidence of distrust of the CPC by the general electorate and the increased support that they did receive an anti-Liberal vote far more than a pro-CPC vote, especially given the CPC morals campaign since it's creation.

With any luck the actions of this government by the time it falls will have exposed the CPC to be yet another do as I say not as I do party despite all their protestations of being otherwise. Actions like yours and mine and many others in helping to document and remind our fellow Canadians of this is also a way to fight back. Which is of course why I keep bothering to do so even though I am just one voice unaffiliated with any blog aggregator, political party/movement, etc.

Wed Aug 02, 08:15:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The saddest thing about this whole mess is that the Conservative Party was once a party of ideas worthy of respect and they offered an alternative voice based on reason and concern for Canadians (okay, most of the time until Mulrooney - the Liberals had King, so those who live in glass houses etc)
It must be so very enlivening for Mulrooney, after being unceremoniously being booted out of power, to find that he is back in power. I wonder sometimes whether Steven realizes what he has wrought, or whether in his quest for power, he even cares? If he's like his mentor, the latter applies.
Keep up the good work Scotian. Your postings keep me on my toes, and in my current state, that is a definite plus. Thanks.

Fri Aug 04, 01:37:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Scotian said...


You are most welcome, although I apologize for the rather erratic work. Partly this is happening now because of domestic matters taking up time and partly because the heat does bad things to me. One of the secondary aspects of my blood disorder is that it causes me to retain body heat more effectively than the norm, which while in the winter is great is more than a little problematic in the summer, especially these days with the high humidexs we have begun to have the last decade or so.

As to your point about the old Conservative party being one of ideas, I agree with you. I have always distinguished between Canadian Conservatism and the Americanized Straussian influenced variant that is at the core of the Reform/CA/CPC. This is why I oppose them, not because I hate conservatism but in part because I valued Canadian Conservatism and I am dismayed by the selling out of such a rich heritage. The fact that I also see the CPC as a real threat to the long term survival of this country so long as it is Straussian influenced being another reason.

Fri Aug 04, 01:01:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scotian, I've missed your postings, but understood because of your situation. I was very happy to see you back, because you, to my mind, are a representative of reason, regardless of the few who stalk you, and I tend to agree with everyting you write because of the thought that goes into your postings and your cogent arguments. backed up by facts. Unlike those that would stalk you, you have a mind, you think with that mind, and I have no doubt that if Stephen Harper were the saviour of Canada (which he is not), you would step beyond partisan politics and proclaim him as such. as a matter of fact, I seem to recall a post, much earlier, where you hoped that he would step up to the plate.
Is you wife okay? You don't have to give details, just indicate that all is well.

Sat Aug 05, 10:24:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Scotian said...


Her health is holding, but there was a couple of close deaths within her family over the past several weeks and that takes it's own toll. That more than anything else has been the main issue to deal with domestically. I appreciate your strong appreciation for my writings, and you are correct, I do work from a fact based environment and that if I did believe Harper was the best choice I would be supportive of him instead of acting in opposition as I have. However Harper has given me many reasons to oppose him and few to support him.

As I have stated before I am just one Canadian citizen, I am not a partisan of any party, I do not belong to any party, and I am not affiliated with any political movement online as shown by having no membership to any blog aggregators. Which is of course why my readership is low, but that is fine by me. I comment enough elsewhere that anyone that finds my comments worth noting can follow me back to Saundrie and read more of it. I do this because I like being able to voice my opinions, not because I see myself as some sort of political operative or journalist.

I comment primarily on political matters because that has always been an interest of mine since literal childhood. I also have some interests and background with intelligence matters thanks to one of the people that raised me being a member of the intelligence service for over three decades including through WWII and well into the Cold War. I also like being able to have a way of showing that I had an opinion about something back at the time and that it is not a lately come to opinion, and that whatever else I may be that I am consistent in my beliefs and in the way I approach matters.

Which is of course one of the reasons why I tend to be a bit wordy, it makes it far harder to take me out of context without it being obvious when checked against the original. It also reflects my view that things are rarely ever simplistic in nature, especially where human interactions are concerned. It also permits me to outline my reasoning as to why I reach a particular conclusion/opinion and not just state without explaining why I think the way I do. This of course has infuriated some because I do not use a simple cookie cutter set of one size fits all principles. Which is in turn sneered at, usually as being a moral relativist although also as someone with no moral compass, etc.

I am not interested in becoming a prominent voice, if that happens to me it will be because others made me so, not because I sought it out. So long as I am able to voice my opinions and my views that is enough for me. Whenever someone like yourself and others that have demonstrated an ability for complex reasoning find my work of value that is a nice compliment, which I genuinely appreciate but it is not why I do this. My sense of self and who I am, what kind of person I am is more than secure enough, I do not need such unlike some of my detractors. I also find that most of my detractors are far more interested in smearing character than they are in discussing the actual issues/positions being expressed, which for me is usually enough to cause me to stop paying attention to them after a while.

I have come to treat some over the years online in the manner Steven Colbert does, that they are dead to me. Once that happens I rarely even read that person's work. It is not something I jump to right away, contrary to the claims of some, nor do I feel the need to continue a fight at this blog onto other blogs, again unlike some. Incidentally, I do appreciate your support on that at Cathie's, however I hope you do not end up having to put up with similar harassment for doing so.

I have been mocked for my declaration of having "internet credibility" at places like Cathie, but all that ever meant was that I had a track history of not starting fights, not tending towards personal smear attacks and avoiding profanity as a general rule. That I shaped my opinion from facts that were already established and reasoned from them instead of working from some set of talking points. This of course has been twisted and used as a smear by one example, but that is nothing unusual. I think one of the things that most infuriates most of my critics is that I rarely rise to the bait they troll in front of me, and that too often I can demonstrate they are putting words into my mouth and revising my statements to mean other than it originally did. Also that I am big on fully quoting someone when I critique their words and so I have moral credibility when I call others out for not doing the same with my work.

What really tends to be idiotic though is having someone tell others that they know my mind better than I do, that they know what I am saying better than I do. The hubris in such an opinion is no small thing, and it is also incredibly intellectually pretentious IMHO. Pity that like so many other methods attempted it has never really discredited me with my general readership here and on other blogs. Anyways, I expect once Parliament resumes sitting my posting will go up accordingly, but this is a quiet time for the most part in our politics and as I said earlier the heat tends to make it difficult to maintain focus for writing. I still do a lot of reading online and offline though, for as wordy as I am I read at least 20 words for every one I write on a given day, and that is a very conservative estimate at that.

Sun Aug 06, 03:29:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First this "The Straussians are the single greatest threat to our political environment in this country and that is why I so firmly oppose the CPC in it's current configuration."

Then this "As I have stated before I am just one Canadian citizen, I am not a partisan of any party, I do not belong to any party, and I am not affiliated with any political movement online as shown by having no membership to any blog aggregators."

And also this "Actions like yours and mine and many others in helping to document and remind our fellow Canadians of this is also a way to fight back. Which is of course why I keep bothering to do so even though I am just one voice unaffiliated with any blog aggregator, political party/movement, etc."

So you are not partisan, except when you are? Your movement is the destruction of the current CPC. That is your partanship. You can talk yourself into a big group hug and take comfort in the fact that your three blog friends prop you up and try and present yourself as someone who "do work from a fact based environment" but when push comes to shove, your partanship takes over. For someone who claims their writings have "views that things are rarely ever simplistic in nature" (your head big enough yet?), you think you would notice the simplistic bias in everything you write. I mean, you contradict yourself in your own postings!

The reason why your readership is low is because you create fact and as you say, when challenged for proof you "I also find that most of my detractors are far more interested in smearing character than they are in discussing the actual issues/positions being expressed, which for me is usually enough to cause me to stop paying attention to them after a while."
I am not interested in smearing your character but for someone so deep, I would have thought you could understand that for people to have a real discussion, you have to come with real facts. Nobody is interested in discussing anything with someone who cannot support what they say and then just runs away when confronted. That's not a discussion, that is tabloid writing and why nobody takes you seriously.

Thu Aug 10, 11:17:00 AM 2006  

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