Monthly Archives: April 2009

In defence of human dignity

Oh great. Now we’re supposed to stand there and gawk while courts give us legal incest. The intolerable alternative would be self-government plus moral clarity.

Citizen Editorial Pages Editor Leonard Stern wrote two weeks ago that “A few years ago it would have been unlikely to hear conversations in Canada about the decriminalization of incest. Now we find them on morning radio. What happened? Same-sex marriage happened. I supported same-sex marriage, and still do.” Stern then asked: ” … polygamy among consenting adults? There is no constitutional basis on which to make it illegal. The revulsion against incest is even more pronounced than that against polygamy, but unfortunately the same principles of autonomy and freedom apply.”

He admitted to sharing that revulsion but “I just don’t see how in a secular democracy we can insist” that incest be illegal. Continue reading

Walking out on the talk

As numerous news stories relate, “delegates” walked out of the Durban II anti-racism conference over Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s predictable racist rant. (And as CFRA radio’s “Madely’s Morning Minute” and the National Post editorial board observe this morning, a number of western nations were already boycotting the conference, following Canada’s example. An actual example of our moral leadership in the world – think our progressives will celebrate it?)

What the news stories don’t mention is who didn’t walk out. Surely significant.

Talking ’bout a revolution

Would you like tea with that tax revolt? It sounds sweet to me.

A lot of Americans like theirs that way too. Tea and tax revolts, I mean. Wednesday saw tax-day “Tea Parties” across the United States protesting the way Barack Obama and his Democratic party are determined to spend other people’s money they don’t even have, on things they didn’t mention in the election, until everyone is rich or busted.

We dropped in on one such festivity on our way back from North Carolina.

They sure do things differently there. Continue reading

Stop the presses?

[First appeared on]

Stop the presses? Can it be? Compared to the suddenly very possible demise of newspaper titans including the New York Times, the fate of the “unsinkable” Titanic a century ago seems mildly odd, the collapse of General Motors merely a bit strange. It’s going to leave a gap in the American national conversation. But we’ll all survive fairly easily.

It’s weird to see this fate overtake the daily press, an institution that once seemed as much a part of American life as the neighbourhood barber shop. Twentieth century fiction and commentary alike could not imagine urban life without daily mass circulation newspapers, or those newspapers without the authoritative, massive, eternal flagships every reporter and editor envied. Now paper after paper folds up or seeks bankruptcy protection, and even the mighty Times is reduced to swearing it really honestly won’t go bankrupt… next month.

The economic difficulties of newspapers are not all that surprising. It is true that they have not been in a long slow decline like most of the “rust belt” industries that defined American economic might from the turn of the century into the 1960s. Newspapers were not slowly ground down by foreign competitors figuring out mass production while compulsory unionization drove up costs and drove out innovation. Instead, they were suddenly blindsided by the Internet. Continue reading

My adult perspective

Hey, kids, an adult here. Got something to say. No, no, don’t go rolling your eyes at me. Actually, I know you won’t. You’re all so darn clean-cut.

Not LOL here. Really. I just read in a newspaper (that strange papery thing over there that doesn’t go “tweet”) how sociologist Reginald Bibby says you’re all sober, industrious, get along with your folks and plan to have good jobs, stable marriages and a passel of kids. Makes me wonder why we all bothered to be so decadent. Honestly, it’s like the 1950s out there.

Actually, I’m delighted that you have these aspirations. Beats planning to hang out and get hammered. Still, I realize maybe there’s a couple of things we ought to have mentioned while you were growing up that we kind of didn’t. Especially one of those ugly four-letter words: work. W-o-r-k.

I know what you’re thinking. We work all the time. Mom and Dad scramble out of bed, rush you off to daycare, fly to our offices, eat at our desks, check our BlackBerrys during dinner, slam you into bed and rush back to our e-mail. Continue reading