Category Archives: History

Been there, done that…

It gives me great pleasure to announce the first installment of “Been There, Done That… Shouldn’t Have”, a print and video commentary for the Economic Education Association of Alberta’s “Freedom Talk”. One of the most frustrating things about economic policy is we’re not even making new mistakes, just repeating old ones we forgot about. Sometimes so old they were first made in Latin.

That’s why the focus of the series will be stories from economic history and, sometimes, mythology as well, to remind us that on at least 90 percent of the policies labeled bold and new we’ve been there, we’ve done that and we shouldn’t have. You can find them on the Freedom Talk site, of course, and we hope you’ll want to share them with your friends and help us keep the series going.

Canadian self-reliance

In my latest National Post column I talk about how odd it is that instead of Canadians mistrusting government, we now allow it to mistrust us. It doesn’t believe we can shop by ourselves, ride a bicycle or get in a boat safely, defend ourselves, speak freely without speech codes or build a deck without rules about the height of our railings. And instead of insisting that we know what we’re doing, too often we let it tell us what to do.

In doing so we are losing our heritage. Servile incompetence is not a Canadian value. This country was built by self-reliant people who kept their governments in check, and it’s high time we went back to that arrangement.

Visit our Kickstarter campaign here.

Baby Hitler, Jeb?

In an excruciatingly studied effort to show more passion on the campaign trail, Jeb Bush says he would have killed baby Hitler given the chance. Apparently the question is a thing these days thanks to New York Magazine, and Bush’s response was a mild obscenity (wow, such authenticity) followed by “yeah, I would!” Phooey.

If I might refer you to my Sept. 28 post on the apparent opportunity of Henry Tandey, VC, to shoot a wounded Hitler on September 28 1918, it’s absurd to suppose that anyone could have known a corporal in the trenches of World War I would have turned into a successful genocidal warmongering maniac politician in the 1930s. It’s not even a category into which that young soldier could fall.

As for the notion that you could identify a baby who would later certainly do great evil if you didn’t slaughter it in its infant innocence, that you could determine scientifically its necessarily malignant influence on history and preemptively exterminate it with a clean conscience, let’s leave that for Minority Report and stick with the fairly elementary fact that killing babies is wrong.

So is appeasing dictators, but that’s a story for another decade.

As for politicians faking passion, it’s always a sorry sight.