All posts filed under: Society

The Trouble With Proud Boys

yetGavin McInnes looks like someone you’d see at an avant-garde art exhibit, or discussing Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy over a craft beer…at a Father John Misty concert. That’s according to conventional reasoning. In reality, McInnes is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Or more jcisely, an abrasively parochial nationalist in prototypical hipster attire — certainly not a combination you see every day. As the impresario of the belligerent Proud Boys group, McInnes is a self-proclaimed “Western chauvinist” who “refuses to apologize for creating the modern world”. He denies any harbouring of misogynistic or racist sentiments, and espouses an ideology teeming with contradictions. In fairness, the Proud Boys, a quasi-cultish consortium possessing excess levels of testosterone, doesn’t disavow members from visible minorities. McInnes rightfully points out, on numerous occasions, unfounded journalistic conclusions categorizing the group as neo-Nazi in design. Despite that, it’s his rigid conception of Western identity, and its alleged superiority, that imply the more malignant underpinnings. Just because he’s not a proponent of eugenics doesn’t exonerate him from latent, crude prejudice. After all, McInnes slams the …

Why Donald Trump is Poised to Throw Billions of Dollars Away

  In fairness, we were warned. “On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall”. The rhetorical overture captured a political leitmotiv, and subsequently, Donald J. Trump hasn’t wavered. The initial comment – which appeared to be a hyperbolized metaphor extemporaneously pulled from the mystifying recesses of the 45th President’s intuition – has transformed into an imposing beacon of hope for his base, and a crude manifestation of exclusionary populism for others. On top of that, leveraging DACA extensions to suborn bilateral support for construction is, quite frankly, appalling. Moral outcry aside, the wall needs to be viewed in the context of what it purports to address: illegal immigration. It is arguably the cornerstone of Trump’s agenda, image, and appeal. As such, it’s worth considering whether the construction of a wall is the most cost-effective way of addressing the issue, as well as exploring the current nature of illegal immigration. To end the suspense, it’s far from a panacea, only acting to compound the blatantly generalized and ill-informed …

Objectivity Has a Poor Reputation in the Humanities, and Universities are Paying for it

A lot of the so-called ‘social justice warrior’ rhetoric that alienates people on both the left and right (concepts like cultural appropriation, microaggressions, etc.) comes directly from academia. News stories about hypersensitive students acting ridiculous are typically interpreted as a reflection of millennial attitudes. However, the type of students who show up in these news stories are taught these concepts in a matter-of-fact manner by the same departments who publish papers on topics of social justice. That’s fine, that’s how university works, but the issue is that the academic quality of a lot of humanities papers is incredibly poor. It’s natural that there is a lesser standard of proof in academic writing about social issues (i.e. not every claim can be supported by statistically significant data), but under normal circumstances the ideological diversity of the field would keep everyone from making claims that are too outlandish. However, there is no longer any ideological diversity present in humanities departments across the US and Canada. In history, for example, democrats outnumber Republicans by a factor of 34 …

A Deep Dive into the Academic Humanities: White Privilege

As I mentioned in my first article, ‘social justice warriors’ are reported on by the media in a way that makes them seem a lot more numerous than they actually are. This is not the case in certain academic publishing spheres, some of which appear to consist exclusively of these types of people. In my most recent article, I asserted that academic publishing in the humanities has become divorced from reality, in that articles that are nothing more than postmodernist nonsense are frequently published in reputable journals. I illustrated this by giving a few examples of articles accepted by reputable journals that were either blatant hoaxes by authors trying to discredit the field or genuine articles that are completely ridiculous. The problem is that these articles are used as teaching instruments in university and are the foundation of the modern social justice movement. This didn’t convince at least one reader, who wrote: “This article is garbage, with extreme cherry picking of its data and no concept of the different tiers of journals that actually matter …

The Humanities Have Gone Insane

At a now-infamous TA meeting at Wilfred Laurier University, an assistant professor of communications asserted that that Nicolas Matte’s comment “…it is not correct that there is such a thing as biological sex” is not something that’s up for debate, in that Matte’s statement is unequivocally true. The other professor in the meeting echoed this sentiment, claiming that one side of the TVO debate in question (Jordan Peterson’s side) had zero academic credibility. But how is it possible that there is zero academic credibility in something as simple as “there’s biological differences between males and females in animals and human beings”? The answer lies in certain subsections of academic journals in the humanities, which have been at odds with reality for a long time.   A Brief Introduction to Academic Publishing Scandals In 1996, a physics and math professor named Alan Sokal published an article in Social Text, an academic journal of cultural studies. His goal was to see if they would “…publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and …

Words, Violence and Hate Speech

In 2001, Canada expanded section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) to include “telecommunications over the internet”. This section of the CHRA dealt with “hate messages”. The expansion allowed the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) to go after anyone on the internet “that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt” based on group identity. Investigations were prompted by complaints, which allowed serial complainants like Richard Warman to effectively use the CHRC for personal vendettas. The cases prosecuted under 13(1) were done so outside of the Canadian judicial system, which resulted in a number of controversies concerning the CHRC’s handling of these cases. To provide a sense of how the CHRC was operating, the lead investigator gave the following quote when being interviewed about the Marc Lemire case in 2006. “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value… it is not my job to give value to an American concept.”   This is the type of person leading the commission, so it is …

Liberalism and the Social Justice Movement

Wherever there are political arguments, there’s a left-wing person accusing the right of being stupid and racist. Likewise, there’s a right-winger saying that the left is full of triggered snowflakes who have never held a real job. Of course, both of these arguments are disingenuous. These caricatures apply to only the fringes of each side, and the number of individuals who fit either of those descriptions is greatly outnumbered by far more reasonable people, both on the left and the right. However, the reason the fanatics garner so much attention in the media and in general conversation is that covering their antics are an effective way to delegitimize the opposition, be it left or right,  without having to give a real argument to substantiate one’s claims. A good example of this is the recent coverage of the ‘Unite the Right’ Rally in Charlottesville. Here is a brief summary of the rally and the events leading up to it. In February, the Charlottesville City Council voted to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee in a …

Meet Harrison Lee: A Voice Not To Be Drowned

Today’s political and cultural landscape is one of intimidation and censorship, both explicit and implicit. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that the field of academia is overwhelmingly reflective of one particular stream of thinking. It’s pretty much groupthink. While that stream of thinking is present if not ubiquitous among the student population, many actively disagree. Discovering one’s own values and principles requires the act of seeking knowledge, and that cannot be done without the freedom of speech and expression. In high school classrooms all across America, education is shaping up to be a tool for indoctrination and propaganda, a consequence from almost a century of plunder and deceit. As William F. Buckley Jr. wrote in God and Man at Yale, “a free association, within a free society, shaping an educational institution toward its own purpose, is practicing a freedom which totalitarian societies would never permit to do.” Pointing out an obvious bias on campuses in North America, Buckley warned of a present and existential threat towards one’s right of free expression and …

The Bitter Pill of Syria: From Militant Optimism to Desperate Compromise

As hard as it is to believe now, barely six months ago it appeared that the Damascus-based regime of Bashar Al-Assad was on its last legs. Pressed by both Western-backed moderate rebels and ISIS alike on a front ranging from Idlib in the north and Homs in the east, and with his own forces disintegrating under an increasing number of both defections and desertions, the main question seemed to be whether Assad would even be able to hold on to his western Syrian, Alawite coastal strongholds and the capital city itself, or if even those pillars of loyalty to the regime were now in danger. The days of the House of Assad as the rulers of Syria appeared to be numbered.   Well, that was then and this is now. President Putin, determined to rescue his puppet and Russia’s sole naval base in the Mediterranean, choose to directly insert himself into the conflict under the guise of fighting ISIS, but in reality directing the bulk of his fire upon opposition rebel forces. Buoyed by the …

Winning Back the Land: Indigenous Peoples and International Law

By: Claudia Dessanti The relationship that indigenous peoples’ have with their land goes far beyond its monetary and productive value. Land is both a fundamental aspect of the their identity and a necessary means for their cultural and physical survival.  Since the 1970s, the transnational indigenous movement has pushed for greater recognition of their rights on international fora. Gradually, their efforts have produced treaties, UN bodies, and a series of domestic constitutional reforms. Not surprisingly, obtaining the right to access traditional lands forms an integral part of this struggle. The indigenous right to collective land ownership is affirmed by the two main international legal instruments on indigenous peoples’ rights: the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s Convention No. 169 (C169), and the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Access to traditional lands has become widely recognized as a fundamental indigenous right. Historically, these lands were taken from indigenous peoples around the world using a combination of force, threats, and deceit. In theory, states agree that what sets these communities apart from other minorities under international law is their special privileges, including land rights, that result from this history. …