Posted: October 31st, 2011 | Author: Darwin Harmless | Filed under: How Weird is our Culture, sexuality, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
The vibrator was invented by and for doctors. It started out as a serious medical device. It didn’t start as a sex toy. I fact, it started as a kind of anti-sex toy. Something to use on women instead of sex.
This is one of those little known items of medical history, probably because it is an embarrassment to the medical profession and doesn’t represent one of the great achievements, more a side trip into medical buffoonery than a triumph of medical science like inventing the vaccine for polio or curing syphilis, though I suppose with the recent release of “Hysteria”, the movie, and the fairly wide readership of “Sex at Dawn” the story may be getting a bit old. Still, it’s worth repeating because it really is one of the craziest and silliest episodes in medical history.
You see, back in the late eighteen hundreds it was assumed that women, at least normal nice women, didn’t have much of a sex drive. In fact it was assumed that if women did have the same sex drive as men, then life would be one continuous sex orgy. That was taken as an obvious truth. The worst thing a woman could do was to masturbate. That was the cause of all manner of emotional and physical ills, up to and including death.
Women were supposed to be placid recipients of male lust, receptacles for sperm with no real desire to be anything but dutiful. Lie back and think of England. It’s the only way for a woman to fulfill her destiny and give your husband a child, preferably a son to carry on his name and his business. Naturally some women found this depressing. And the doctors had a name for that condition. They called it hysteria. And they had a cure. The cure was to stimulate the hysterical woman to “nervous paroxysms“. That would give the poor woman some temporary relief.
So, how did they achieve nervous paroxysms in their patients? Why they stimulated the woman’s clitoris with various forms of pelvic massage. That would do it.
Strangely enough, doctors did not like to do this for women. It was tedious work often requiring quite a bit of time and attention. As Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha, the authors of “Sex at Dawn”, put it: “Late nineteenth and early twentieth-century tinkerers designed all sorts of devices to provoke the necessary nervous paroxysms in their patients. Some were diesel powered: others ran on steam, like little locomotives that could. Some were huge contraptions hanging from the rafters on chains and pulleys, like engine blocks at an auto shop. Others sported pistons thrusting dildos through holes in tables or involved high pressure water directed at the patient’s genitalia like a fire brigade called in to douse the consuming flames of female passion. And all the while the good doctors never publicly admitted that what they were doing was more sex than medicine.”
As Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha tell it, this humble medical implement became one of the first five electrical devices sold directly to American consumers. Ryan and Jetha tell this story in much more detail, and with much more humour, than I will here. So I suggest you read “Sex at Dawn” for their take on the whole issue of human sexuality. There’s lots in the book besides the history of the vibrator. That’s just one little sequence that struck me as hysterically funny.
My father owned a vibrator. It wasn’t shaped like the modern, phallic units we have now. This one was a big metal blob with a thing that looked like a suction cup on the end of a metal spindle. No matter. One day in a mood for experimentation, during the process of turning wanking into an art form, I proved to myself that it would function just dandy as a sex toy and could actually stimulate an ejaculation. It wasn’t a great orgasm. To localized. But it did the trick. Cured my hysteria on the spot.
Posted: October 29th, 2011 | Author: Darwin Harmless | Filed under: The Conviction That God is a Fiction, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
I got an email today from a Mormon friend whose husband has just recovered from what was feared to be a brain tumor. That turned out to be a misdiagnosis, and her husband will share the planet with the rest of us for some time. I was very happy to hear this, because I like these people. They are kind, loving, right wing republicans. The kind of people I don’t mind having as friends and neighbours, much as I might disagree with their world view. And if she had stopped there, and just told me her good news, I would have been very happy for her.
Unfortunately, like most religious fanatics, she couldn’t stop there. She had to go on to tell me what an amazing fucking miracle her husband’s recovery was, and how it was all brought about because her particular international crowd of fellow believers prayed, fasted, and managed to convince God to give her husband a break for a few more years. She’s now emailing young people she knows to show them this “proof” that what she’s been telling them about God is really true.
I really wanted to send her the following. But I didn’t. There’s no point. I know this. There’s no point in pointing out to a delusional mental case that they are delusional. All it would do would be to make me unpopular, and possibly make her very temporarily a little unhappy. No point. She’s almost harmless. I say almost because she does tend to spread this virus of delusion to young and vulnerable people. But I won’t stop that by trying to straighten her out either.
So, for the benefit of you, my dear readers, here’s what I so wanted to say to her:
I’m very happy to hear that your husband is still with us, and I know I speak for (my partner) as well.
My younger sister lost two husbands to brain cancer, one after the other, and in both cases it was a terrible way to die. I’m glad your God decided to spare your husband.
I’m afraid I don’t understand why my sister’s God, a god she very strongly believes in, decided not to spare her two husbands, but then He’s always been very hard to figure out or second guess. Sometimes prayer works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Who can tell what to expect? I know in my sister’s case there was a lot of praying going on, and maybe even some fasting, but of course they aren’t Mormons, so maybe the prayers weren’t said in the right way, or in the right church. It makes me feel bad to think that my sister could have been spared all that pain if she had only known about your wonderful religion, and had your particular faith and band of fellow believers on her side.
Personally, I don’t believe God exists, and I think prayer is a total waste of time. Normally I would think that my sister’s experience proves me right on this. But there you go, proving me wrong. Still, the existence of a personal God who intervenes in our lives and affairs seems very doubtful to me. And if I were to start believing, there is a bewildering number of churches I could join. I haven’t got a clue which one to choose. Right now I guess yours is sounding pretty good. But still, I have my doubts….
Now ___________ I know and you know I’m being sarcastic as I write this. I’m sorry but that’s the only tone I can find to speak in when confronted by the nonsense you sent me. You reduce me to sarcasm and ridicule. I’m sure your faith brings you great comfort and I don’t really want to hurt anybody’s feelings. But when you tell me about how your God was responsible for your husband’s survival, neglecting to thank the people who invented MRI, or the painfully gained advances in brain surgery, or to credit the mistaken diagnosis by the doctors as anything more than what it was, a fairly common mistake, I have to speak out. You should know that from outside your protective cocoon of fellow believers, all reinforcing the same delusion, you look like an irrational nut case.
I invite you to read the lyrics to the song at the bottom of another post. Your account of your husband’s recovery could easily have been the inspiration for this song.
Also, please read this argument from another writer about the absurdity of believing in God. Please read this from the top to the bottom, and then if you still feel like telling me why you credit your husband’s recovery to God almighty, I will know that you are beyond the reach of reason. As if I didn’t know this already.
When religious people give me their point of view, I feel it is my right and almost a duty to give them mine. I hope you accept this in the spirit in which it was sent.
With love in my heart and the hope that you and your husband both stay healthy for a long time.
Posted: October 26th, 2011 | Author: Darwin Harmless | Filed under: Cicumcision debate, justice delayed or denied, Uncategorized | No Comments »
It’s been a while since I posted anything. Sorry about that. Life gets in the way sometimes. Given the number of new registrants to this site, probably thanks to my pet troll spamming his entire mailing list with all caps rants about me, I think it’s time to say something. There certainly is a lot going on. First off, there’s a great thread on the circumcision debate over at Pharyngula. It’s probably dying down now, but I was very gratified to see that the thinking crowd is generally scathing in its criticism of the practice, and delighted to read PZ’s very straight up denunciations. If you are at all interested in the subject, it’s well worth a read. Thanks for the heads up from HaggisforBrains for this.
There are other articles on Pharyngula, newer posts than the circumcision one. His post about the interview with Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell also told me things I did not know. Also well worth reading. Heck, PZ is always worth reading and if you aren’t dropping in on his blog regularly you are missing some great stuff.
My own surfing has turned up some truly shocking stuff that I also didn’t know. After posting about the judicial murder of Troy Davis, a man who was quite possibly, in fact most likely innocent, I got following links to other articles. I ended up disgusted by the commentators who claimed to be convinced, from carefully weighing the online evidence, that Davis was guilty and deserved to die. The arrogance of the arm chair analysts, and the smug way they can dismiss a man’s life, was truly depressing. And then one of the links took me to the New Yorker story about Cameron Todd Willingham by David Crann, a fine piece of journalism and one of the most disturbing accounts of an innocent man being destroyed and executed I have ever read. The first part had me totally convinced that Willingham was guilty, and the second part completely destroyed that conviction. Now I am just as certain that Willingham was totally innocent.
The callous way that those in authority ignored appeals and scientific evidence should sicken every American. Actually, it should sicken everybody. And the man ultimately responsible for sending an innocent man to his death is now a potential presidential candidate. I’d love to know if he’s read the New Yorker article, and how he feels when he looks in the mirror to shave in the morning.
Okay, one final appeal for you. Please go and participate in my circumcision survey. Believe it or not, you have something to say. In fact, you are the only person in the world with your perspective on the practice. Talk to me.
Again, sorry about the scattered post. I have some good stuff in the pipeline, much of it written already. So come back and see me sometime soon.
Posted: October 7th, 2011 | Author: Darwin Harmless | Filed under: How Weird is our Culture, Personal issues, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »
If you’ve ever investigated Scientology*, you may know that L. Ron Hubbard loved military sounding acronyms. You may also know what PTS stands for. Here’s the story of how I came to be one.
Years ago, in another life and lifetime, I had a different partner than I have now. My work at the time required me to travel, and I could be away from home for days, weeks, or months. During those times, I left my partner unattended, no doubt lonely and bored, though I did try to call her every day. But on one particular job I was at sea, literally, and daily communication was impossible. My partner was left without my, ahem, stabilizing influence.
When I returned home I discovered that my partner had joined an organization I’d never heard of. She had become a Scientologist. She was quite defensive about this development, but told me, quite rightly, that I couldn’t criticize it until I found out about it. I agreed. How can I be critical of something when I know nothing about it. That would be prejudice. So sign me up.
Scientology is a pretty hinky organization. It includes people who wear clerical garb and call themselves Ministers in the Church of Scientology. It also includes people who wear jackets covered in gold braid and call themselves Admirals. The organization would be scary if they weren’t all such a bunch of dumbfucks. Their stated goal is to infiltrate government, the prison system and the schools and quietly take over the world. They are sworn enemies of psychiatry and mainstream science. They have the morals of thugs and hoodlums, and their founder, L. Ron Hubbard, was a sociopathic genius who wrote science fiction and famously said he was founding the religion to make real money. I knew none of this back then. I was an innocent, a hick about to meet the con artist.
I don’t know what they charge today, but in those days the first Scientology course cost a mere ten bucks. I read the book, Dianetics, though apparently without a very critical mind because it seemed to make some sense to me, and I started attending “classes”. I’m embarrassed to admit that I bought in. I got quite enthusiastic. These seemed like “real” people who didn’t care about “bad” words and seemed to take a very materialistic/naturalistic view of the world and reality.
The first course cost ten bucks. The second course cost $1500. The third course would have cost $3500. Do we see a pattern here?
There were a few things that soon started to bug me about the organization. The first was the sign on the receptionists desk, a little note under the glass that read: “If somebody comes in off the street and asks you about Scientology, do not answer their questions. Direct them to buy a book.” I always get annoyed when somebody refuses to answer a question but tries to get me to spend money. I told this to the local leader. He told me that the receptionist wasn’t competent to answer questions about Scientology, and would only cause confusion. To get the straight dope you had to hear from L. Ron himself.
That lead me to my second problem. In the book, Dianetics, L. Ron claims that it takes a maximum of 80 hours of “processing” to rid anybody of their “engrams” and get them to a state which is called “clear”. He spent considerable print explaining why being “clear” was such a good thing. In essence being clear meant being fully competent, not subject to irrational, “reactive” behavior, in control of your own emotions and fully functional in any situation. Obviously, if I was running a business I’d want everybody who worked for me to be clear. Why not? Why have irrational fucked up people working for you when you can have highly rational, totally emotionally balanced people working for you? So why wasn’t the receptionist competent to answer questions. Wasn’t she “clear”. Well, no. In fact she wasn’t clear. None of the people in the “org”, doing the grunt work of keeping it going, were clear. Not one of them. It seemed like as soon as you were clear you buggered off and looked after your own interests and didn’t want to hang out at the old “org” any more.
It’s embarrassing to admit that I got sucked in to Scientology to any extent at all, knowing what I know now. But you do have to understand something. The organization is designed to prey on emotional needs, which may be the only way it actually resembles a religion. Scientology takes totally fucked up human beings and raises their competence level to the point where they can be useful…. to Scientology. Then they are put to work doing stuff like sending out endless streams of junk mail** announcing endless events and great news about how Scientology is winning the battle against evil. They aren’t paid for this, and are expected to pay the postage themselves, just because they like (believe in) Scientology so much. Scientology also latches on to very smart people, like my former partner, and exploits emotional needs to develop a dependency on the cult, and also to make them useful to Scientology. They don’t tell the new comers any of the crap about Xenu.
“How are things going?”
“Really? Everything’s great.”
“Well, yeah…. everything’s pretty good.”
“So it’s not great. It’s just pretty good.”
“No, it’s normal. I mean I have the usual petty problems and hassles. But really my life is pretty good.”
“But not great?”
“Everybody’s life could be better.”
“So why isn’t your life better?”
You see what’s happening here. This perfectly happy-with-his-life schmuck is being lead into being dissatisfied. The next step is the pitch – wouldn’t it be cool if your life really was great? That’s what we do for people. Yeah, right.
What they also do for people is to isolate them from friends and family, in part by developing their own lexicon of special terms, which can be understood only by fellow Scientologists. At the point where the star struck inductee is most enthusiastic about their new friends, they find that the can’t even talk to their old friends. They speak a different language. Thus the acronyms and special terms for what are, usually, very ordinary things. L. Ron did the same with science, recycling a lot of pop psychology with his own terms and definitions, so that he could then claim to have invented new ideas.
To make a long story short, the more I discovered about Scientology, the more they pissed me off. Catching little lies like Ron L. claiming to have a solid scientific background, yet obviously not understanding basic rules of chemistry, claiming for example that beer has similar properties to LSD because it was made from rye, and rye carries the fungus, ergot, from which LSD was derived. I mean, puulllleeeese. That’s like claiming that table salt is poisonous because it’s made from chlorine and sodium, both of which ARE poisonous. I mean, just stupid. I recognized it as stupid, but shrugged it off as a mind fart by the great man. Maybe he just needed to pull an argument out of his ass so they could detoxify the drunks that Scientology drags in.
My falling out with Scientology was inevitable, but the way it happened was really funny. For weeks they’d been buzzing about the great new movie that was being produced by the folks at Flag Land Base, the headquarters for North America. This was going to be the greatest movie ever. It would explain everything about Scientology, and show how Scientology was going to defeat all the evil forces in the world and bring on the golden age of rationality. Tickets only cost $60. We bought two. I should mention that this was a long time ago, back when a hundred and twenty bucks was serious bread. But of course we had to see this movie. And so we did.
The movie was the dumbest piece of crap I’d ever seen, and held that position until I watched “Expelled”, the Ben Stein anti-atheist hate fest. It had all the nuance and subtlety of a Communist propaganda film from the fifties. It made “Reefer Madness” look reasonable. The production values were hideous, and included a lead actress in her thirties, playing the part of a woman with terrible problems, aged back to late childhood with laughable pigtails and Maggie Muggins wardrobe for the flashback scenes in which the demonically evil psychiatrist assaults her and makes her a mental slave. Worse than that, the characters who were supposed to represent the highest level of the Scientology organization were portrayed as juvenile idiots playing bullshit mind games on each other. The whole movie was… stupid is far to mild a term for it. Amateur. Idiotic. Laughable. So I laughed. I came out of the theater laughing. Suddenly all the doubts and questions I’d had about Scientology coalesced into one great negative face palm of shame and embarrassment. How could I have been so fucking stupid as to think these idiots had anything to offer me.
My partner at the time also saw the flaws in the movie, and recognized my criticism of Scientology. But somehow they had the hooks into her deeper. I think maybe she felt she had problems they actually were helping her deal with. She was a woman with inner demons. She continued to attend sessions at the org. I said I’d rather play with the military than with those jerks. About that time the scientologists told her that she’d have to “disconnect” from me, or she couldn’t continue with her “processing”. I had been declared a PTS, and no scientologist is supposed to associate with a PTS. So there we were. Those fuckers play hardball. Just like Jesus himself, they don’t give a shit whether they break up a marriage, or a family. They are cynical pricks, but they really had my number. I certainly was, and remain, a PTS. If you haven’t figured that out yet, it stands for Potential Trouble Source. Damn straight.
The tearful crisis came when my partner told me she was going to spend $3,500 for the next course. We were in business together. She claimed the right to use half our money for whatever purpose she wanted. I told her she had a decision to make. Either Scientology or me. And for every hundred bucks she spent on Scientology, I was going to put a hundred bucks worth of coke up my nose. We all find our own way to enlightenment.
Fortunately it never came to that. We really did love each other. Still do. She chose me.
But I remain a PTS***. Don’t see that changing in the near future.
*This post was inspired by No Forbidden Questions, where I found a little rift on Scientology. Worth reading.
**It is almost impossible to get off a Scientology mailing list. My repeated requests were ignored. The only way we finally got off the list was by moving, and then for years the owners of our former home would try to forward me all the Scientology junk mail. Don’t expect a fascist organization to respect requests by individuals.
***Here’s an account by another PTS, a far more effective one than I have ever been. Gripping story. When I read about what Scientology has done to others I feel very lucky that I just walked away. Here’s a link to Clambake, a very reasonable site dedicated to exposing Scientology.
Posted: October 5th, 2011 | Author: Darwin Harmless | Filed under: Opposing bigotry, separation of church and state, The Conviction That God is a Fiction, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Following up on my last two post, I seem to be getting lots of inflammatory stuff from my Canadian friends. Here’s another, this time ranting on the Canadian anthem. It seems Canadian atheists don’t think they should have to acknowledge a God they don’t believe in to show they are patriotic. Some Christians want them to at least mention their sky faerie. He needs the publicity.
*******************begin email spam************************
Oh Canada our home and native land
True patriot love in all our sons command
With glowing hearts we see thee rise
The true north strong and free
From far and wide oh Canada
We stand on guard for thee.
*God keep our land glorious and free
*Oh Canada we stand on guard for thee
Oh Canada we stand on guard for thee.
Shock on CBC Yesterday Morning. I bet the response came as a big surprise to CBC to the question : Do you Believe that the word God should stay in Canadian culture? CBC this week had a poll on this question. They had the highest number of responses that they have ever had for one of their polls, and the percentage was the same as this:
86% to keep the words ” God Keep our Land” in the National Anthem
That is a pretty ‘commanding’ public response. I was asked to send This on if I agreed or delete if I didn’t … Now it is your turn. It is said that 86% of Canadians believe the word “God” Should stay, therefore, I have a very hard time understanding why there is Such a mess about having the word “God” in the anthem!
Why is the country catering to this 14%? AMEN!
*******************end email spam************************
“I have a very hard time understanding why…”
this should be a blank line but WordPress won’t buy it for some reason so this is a work around.
My guess is there are quite a few things you have trouble understanding. Let me see if I can explain this difficult concept for you. Canada, your country I assume though you sound more like an American, is not “catering to this 14%” . Canada is catering to the near absolute majority, all of those Canadians who are not mostly Muslim religious fanatics, who say they want a SECULAR government and country.
Secular. That means not religious. Separate from religion. Free from religion.
A secular Canada means a country in which Canadians have both freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion.
So why should a Canadian atheist be made to feel any less a Canadian because he or she doesn’t believe in the silly Christian sky faerie? If Canada really is secular, and takes separation of church and state seriously, why should that atheist Canadian, whose beliefs are just as valid and important as the other 86%, many of whom seem to want to bully everybody in their whole secular country into singing “their” song, have to violate his beliefs to demonstrate loyalty to Canada?
Any Canadian who want to live in a theocracy should consider moving to a different country. Here’s a link to a list of the remaining Christian countries that still have a state religion
. If you were Muslim you’d have more to choose from, but Denmark is a nice country, as is Costa Rica if you happen to be Catholic. Most other civilized countries have decided we should all get along with each other and stop killing people over unverifiable beliefs. Maybe even allow the atheists to be patriotic without mouthing religious nonsense.
Posted: October 4th, 2011 | Author: Darwin Harmless | Filed under: Cicumcision debate, Personal issues, The Conviction That God is a Fiction, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
I’ll give you the good news first. Clifford Olson is dead. Dead as in gone forever. Gone is great. No longer existing. Not singing with the choir invisible. Not pining for the fiords. Not even pushing up daisies. Just gone. No longer breathing the same air that you and I breath. The sun shines a little brighter this morning. The breeze is a little friendlier. That bad small that has been hanging over the whole planet for decades is no more. I rejoice.
I must thank Nina over at RandomNtrygg for bringing me this news this morning. Nina laments the fact that there is no Hell where Olson’s soul could be tortured for eternity. I do not lament this. If Hell existed, I’d have to think about Olson suffering there. While this would be pleasant it would mean that Olson was still, in some sense, alive. I’m MUCH happier with the thought that he is dead. Dead as in gone forever. That brightens my day considerably.
Nina was also the source of the bad news this morning. Actually, it’s not all that bad. It’s just that California has passed legislation making it illegal for cities or districts to attempt to pass legislation protect to protect infant boys from genital mutilation, otherwise known as circumcision. California has banned the banning of circumcision for infant male humans. Circumcision remains banned for dogs. Also for baby girls. They get protection from the great state of California. It’s only baby boys they can chop a piece off without medical justification or consent.
I’m not really upset about this California legislation. A temporary setback. It’s just part of the normal waking up that the population of the world has to do, the equivalent of hearing the alarm go off and punching the snooze button. They are running scared. They have recognized that there are those who find the practice offensive enough to warrant legislation, those who take the idea of cutting off a part of another person’s body without consent seriously. They recognize the threat to the existing order, and they are taking defensive measures. Bound to fail. This will only stimulate debate, and it is debate that we need.
I would like to see the practice of circumcision of infants end without legislation. I want to see the practice end in the court of public opinion. Wouldn’t it be great if a parent suggesting that he or she wanted to circumcise a son were greeted with shock, horror, and disapproval. Wouldn’t it be great if such a parent had problems finding somebody willing to perform the procedure. Wouldn’t it be great if boys, on reaching the age of eighteen, started suing their doctor, their rabbi/mohel, or their parents for assault and mutilation without consent. All of this is going to happen. Trying to stop the tide will only make more people aware of the rising water.
I’ve said this many times now. At least people are talking about this issue. This is a great improvement over the situation in my childhood. Let’s keep the conversation going. We can find other ways to put pressure on this abomination.
Posted: October 2nd, 2011 | Author: Darwin Harmless | Filed under: Opposing bigotry, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »
People send me bullshit. Here’s a recent example:
*****************Begin editorial from the Calgary Harald**************************
Time to Change Tune on Official Multiculturalism
By Licia Corbella, Calgary Herald – February 12, 2011
About one dozen families who recently immigrated to Canada are demanding that the Louis Riel School Division in Winnipeg excuse their children from music and coed physical education programs for religious reasons. The families believe music is un-Islamic ~ just like the Taliban believe and then imposed on the entire population of Afghanistan ~ and that physical education classes should be segregated by gender even in the elementary years.
The school division is facing the music in a typically Canadian way – That is, bending itself into a trombone to try to accommodate these demands, even though in Manitoba , and indeed the rest of the country, music and phys-ed are compulsory parts of the curriculum. Officials say they may try to have the Muslim children do a writing project on music to satisfy the curriculum’s requirements. The school officials have apparently consulted the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, and they have also spoken to a member of the Islamic community suggested by those very same Muslim parents. In any event, the school district is trying to find a way to adapt the curriculum to fit the wishes of these families, rather than these families adapting to fit into the school and Canadian culture.
Mahfooz Kanwar, a member of the Muslim Canadian Congress, says he has a better idea. “I’d tell them, this is Canada , and in Canada , we teach music and physical education in our schools. If you don’t like it, leave. If you want to live under sharia law, go back to the hellhole country you came from or go to another hellhole country that lives under sharia law,” said Kanwar, who is a professor emeritus of sociology at Mount Royal University in Calgary .
That might be putting things a little more forcefully than most of us Would be comfortable with, but Kanwar says he is tired of hearing about such out-of-tune demands from newcomers to our country.. “Immigrants to Canada should adjust to Canada , not the other way around,” he argues.
Kanwar, who immigrated to Canada from Pakistan via England and then the United States in 1966, says he used to buy into the “mosaic, official multiculturalism” (nonsense). He makes it clear, that like most Canadians, he is pleased and enjoys that Canada has citizens literally from every country and corner in the world, as it has enriched this country immensely. But it’s official multiculturalism – the state policy “that entrenches the lie” that all cultures and beliefs are of equal value and of equal validity in Canada that he objects to.
“The fact is, Canada has an enviable culture based on Judeo-Christian values – not Muslim values – with British and French rule of law and traditions and that’s why it’s better than all of the other places in the world. We are heading down a dangerous path if we allow the idea that sharia law a place in Canada . It does not. It is completely incompatible with the idea and reality of Canada ,” says Kanwar, who in the 1970s was the founder and president of the Pakistan-Canada Association and a big fan of official multiculturalism.
Kanwar says his views changed when he started listening to the people Who joined his group. They badmouthed Canada , weren’t interested in knowing Canadians or even in learning one of our official languages. They created cultural ghettos and the Canadian government even helped fund it. “One day it dawned on me that the reason all of us wanted to move here was going to disappear if we didn’t start defending Canada and its fundamental values.” That’s when Kanwar started speaking out against the dangers of official multiculturalism. He has been doing so for decades. So, it’s no surprise that Kanwar is delighted with the recent speech British Prime Minister David Cameron delivered to the 47th Munich Security Conference on Feb. 5.
“Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism,” said Cameron, “we Have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to Belong. We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values. So when a white person holds objectionable views – racism, for example – we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices have come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious, frankly even fearful, to stand up to them …. . . This hands-off tolerance,” said Cameron, “has only served to
reinforce the sense that not enough is shared. All this leaves some young Muslims feeling rootless and . . . Can lead them to this extremist ideology.”
Kanwar actually credits German Chancellor Angela Merkel for being among the first of the world’s democratic leaders to take the courageous step in October to say that official multiculturalism had “failed totally..” It appears leaders are getting bolder. During an interview with TFI channel on
Feb. 10, French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared: “We have been too concerned about the identity of the person who was arriving and not enough about the identity of the country that was receiving him.”Cameron ended his speech by saying: “At stake are not just lives, it’s our way of life. That’s why this is a challenge we cannot avoid – and one we must meet.” That democratically elected leaders are at long last starting to sing a different tune on official multiculturalism is sweet music to Kanwar. Here’s hoping those poor kids in Winnipeg will get to hear some of it.
Licia Corbella is The Herald’s Editorial Page Editor
(c) Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
*****************End editorial from the Calgary Harald**************************
A great example of mistaking the cure for the cause. - D.H. comment
Those who are against multiculturalism simply don’t understand the concept. And those who try to limit Christianity under the banner of multiculturalism, don’t understand the concept either.
Properly understood official multiculturalism is the polar opposite of “the state policy ‘that entrenches the lie’ that all cultures and beliefs are of equal value and of equal validity” This is utter nonsense. That is cultural relativism, not multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is something completely different. No supporter of multiculturalism who understands the concept accepts the intolerance of Sharia law, or the practice of FGM, as of equal value and equal validity to western humanitarian traditions. That is the bullshit part whereof I spoke. Let’s see if I can clear this up:
There seem to be two different models of what a national identity should be. Multiculturalism vs. the Melting Pot. Many countries in Europe have official multiculturalism. Canada has official multiculturalism. America is a melting pot. Let’s look at the difference.
Canada is not like America. America has always been a “melting pot”. The idea is that immigrants should come to America, forget their original country, not teach their children any language but English, and BECOME AMERICAN. We see the results of this. It works pretty well for Europeans and others with white skins. After just one generation they blend in to the melting pot and feel like any other Caucasian American. It doesn’t work all that well for Blacks or Latinos or Asians, the visimin (visible minorities). The melting pot concept breeds distrust and conflict between races. We see this anytime we look at American news reports. Racial violence. Ethnic profiling. A huge identity crisis for Americans who simply can’t fit the mold of white Anglo-Saxon or Eastern European.
Canada by contrast is generally a much more peaceful country than America. Canadians are known for their excessive and annoying courtesy, their appreciation of good government, their quiet patriotism that only waves a flag at hockey games, for their commitment to humanitarian aid and global harmony. They are also known, by the way, as formidable warriors and people not to be messed with, as their performance in both the Pacific and European theaters proved during WWII. Canada is committed to multiculturalism. This seems to be a tough concept for a lot of people, so I’ll try to explain it in simple terms.
When an immigrant comes to Canada, he or she is invited to keep all the wonderful things about their home culture, the language, the ceremonies, the food, the performance art. They are invited to encourage their children to learn the language of “the old country”, because it’s good to have more than one language in a global world. They are even encouraged to maintain ties with their former country, perhaps visit relatives on occasion. They are also told to learn English or French, the other national language, and become a Canadian, and that means obeying Canadian customs and laws. It is a Canadian custom to make physical education in classes of mixed gender compulsory in schools. So this is something immigrants should be told they must follow or go back where they came from.
Canada is a richer country for encouraging the diversity of cultures. It should also be a more tolerant country as a result. Unfortunately, the one thing Canada can’t tolerate is intolerance. Any immigrants who wants to be intolerant toward Canadian traditions, customs, other cultures (including members of the GBLT community), religions or practice religiously sanctioned gender discrimination, should be invited to go back where they came from in no uncertain terms.
Multiculturalism does not mean that the present dominant culture of Canada, the Judea-Christian culture, should be repressed or discouraged. It does not mean that they shouldn’t celebrate Christmas, even in schools. What they should NOT do is celebrate Christmas or Easter as a religious celebrations, with prayers and proselytizing of the Christian religion. It’s fine to teach ABOUT Christianity on such occasions. It’s not the same as preaching Christianity. Canadians should also celebrate Ramadan and Hanukkah and any other cultural celebration that the teachers, or students, would enjoy and find interesting, with the same restrictions applied. Multiculturalism means more culture, not less.
There is a very fine line to be drawn here. Canada is a SECULAR country. This means that no government building, no school, no official organization should give the appearance of supporting ANY religion. It’s the same in other secular countries. I was very happy when my Mother was in hospice in Holland to find that there was no religious nonsense in evidence. None. People with strong religious feelings were welcome to bring their icons and statues and symbols into the private rooms, and decorate them as they saw fit. But they were not welcome to impose their beliefs on others.
This last thing seems to be hard for Christians to get. Secular means you don’t say a Christian prayer in school in the morning. Nor do you say a Muslim prayer. Secular means that you are not required to swear on a bible in court, nor be subjected to religious iconography in a government supported hospital. Secular means that the national anthem should have words that can be sung by a devout atheist without violating that belief system. The fact that atheists may be only 14% of the population, as we atheists seem to be in Canada, is totally beside the point. Atheists have the right to be Canadians too, and that means they don’t have to sing religious songs to demonstrate their loyalty to their country. Not if their country has a commitment to separation of church and state.
Is everybody clear about this?