With government in charge…

In my latest National Post column I satirize people’s ongoing faith in government’s compassionate efficiency despite all their experience with its actual performance.

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Wish I’d said that – January 28, 2017

“Nothing has been worse than the modern notion that a clever man can make a joke without taking part in it; without sharing in the general absurdity that such a situation creates. It is unpardonable conceit not to laugh at your own jokes. Joking is undignified; that is why it is so good for one’s soul.”

G.K. Chesterton, “The Flat Freak,” in Alarms and Discursions, quoted in Gilbert! Vol. 4 #7

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When Skhug met plancha

In my latest National Post column I condemn the whole concept of food trends and “cutting-edge flavours” in favour of the retrograde notion of liking things that taste good.

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If that’s your idea of fun…

OK, this is pretty grim. I just got this email from the federal NDP with the implausible subject line “One fun thing together”. Fun? NDP? Intrigued, even baffled, I read on and after some tedious preliminaries this is the excitement on offer:

I want you to meet our fellow progressive Canadians fighting for equality with you, and I have a fun way to make that happen. When you take this one-question poll, you’ll let other Canadians know what issue makes you stand up and fight – and you’ll also see what your community is saying about their top issue.

Really? That’s your idea of “fun”? That’s how you kick back, loosen up and get jiggy in high summer? Evidently so. For after what I think was meant to be stirring prose about a “community of progressive Canadians”, it wrapped up with this “gosh, how can I refuse?” thrill-o-rama offer:

let’s all do this one cool thing together – share your “big issue” with the NDP’s community of progressive Canadians and see who’s fighting with you.

Ooooh. Party time. Unfortunately political party time. I know the NDP can be a stridently serious bunch and that as a rule social justice is about as light-hearted as a root canal. But I thought when they actually tried to have fun, if they ever did, there might at least be hats and balloons, activities, forced merriment, maybe even beer. Instead there’s a poll and fighting.

It reminds me of an observation by G.K. Chesterton, a profoundly serious person who found life enormously fun in the normal sense of actually having a good time, that:

Socialist idealism does not attract me very much, even as Idealism. The glimpses it gives of our future happiness depress me very much. They do not remind me of any actual happiness, of any happy day I have ever myself spent…

Exactly. This email certainly had me thinking if this is how they whoop it up I’d rather listen to them complain. Except it seems to be the same activity. So if your idea of “fun” is sitting alone at your computers saying what annoys you most, I do not want you designing my future.

It sounds awful.

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Keynote address to the Real Estate Institute of Canada

Next month, I’m delighted to say, I’ll be taking part in the REIC annual meeting and conference in Ottawa. The topic of my address will be “Without Ethics, None of This Works”.

Institutions are vitally important. But even more fundamental is a political and commercial culture that values honesty and shuns and punishes deceit. Without honesty, formal rules mean nothing, in government, in real estate and commerce generally, and in our private lives.

Without ethics, none of this works.

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