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Monday, September 29, 2003

It's been exactly one month since I've opened this Blog, today.

I've got very little time at the moment, I just thought I'd comment on the Tory/Alliance merger talks.

Did anyone actually expect those to succeed? And even if they did, did anyone ever expect a "united alternative" (both of those words are used in the loosest sense) to form a credible opposition to the Liberals.

Norman Spector, a high profile Tory and high official from the Mulroney government, talks of the "radioactivity" of the Alliance; and he couldn't be more right. The two back-to-back (almost) votes on gay marriage and hate protection basically showed the Alliance for what it is, according to Spector, and soiled the brand name even further in Ontario and the east, not to mention Quebec. Add to that the fact that former Ontario premier Mike Harris, one of the most reviled politicians in Ontario, would be a major consideration for the leadership of such a party, ensures their defeat anywhere east of Manitoba.

Then there's the three Tories in caucus who have come out and said they will up and quit any new conservative party. Former leadership candidate Scott Brison is one; not only has he said he would outright quit, but he has also admitted to being approached by the Liberals, asking him to cross the aisle.

Now, Brison is one of the most economically conservative Tories in the country. Logically, the only place he would be able to go, being a social libertarian, and obviously opposing the Alliance, would be the Liberals. Isn't it frightening when a staunch conservative is so frightened by the prospect of merging with the Alliance that he would rather be a Liberal?

(Note: He did not say that exactly. He did, however, say he would not be able to run as a candidate for a new Conservative Party, while secrety praying that it did not form the government.)

Many Tories are in this position. An Alliance/Tory merger stands to benefit the Liberals and the NDP more than either of the parties involved. After the 1997 election, 44% of Tory voters claimed their second choice as Liberal. 25% claimed NDP. Just 18% claimed Reform. Sobering numbers. A "Conservative Party" will ensure Liberal governments for years to come. Don't be fooled. The party would be truly Conservative, in the style of Ralph Klein and Stephen Harper; not carrying the socially moderate or libertarian streak found in Tories, the very thing that makes the Tory party at least respectable east of Manitoba, and the very thing that makes the Alliance radioactive.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

To Expound...

On any credible political spectrum, there is more than a simple "left-right" distinction. The fact of the matter is, many simply do not fit on "the left" or "the right." I certainly don't. I personally am more inclined to side with the left, because where as I merely disagree with them on economic issues, I despise the right's views on social issues. That being said, it does not change the fact that I still disagree with them. And this is why a credible politicsl spectrum will have four different quadrents.

The Political Compass, which I have linked on the sidebar, is an example of this. The test itself is a bit biased towards the left-libertarian quadrent, but it gives an accurate portrayal, at least, of what a true political spectrum should look like. The left-right scale measures only economic views. There is then a scale that measure social views, the libertarian-authoritarian scale.

The left-libertarian quadrent is known also as "Anarcho-Syndicalism" to its adherents and to political scientists. Noam Chomsky is a perfect example of a left-libertarian; a man who despises powerful government, but at the same time seeks egalitarianism in society, not through powerful central government, but by working more locally for social justice. In its less extreme form, its adherents can be found within the NDP, some Liberals, and the Greens (somewhat). David Orchard could also fall under here, in a VERY moderated form. Mahatma Ghandi also fit into this quadrent. See also Joe Clark, in a VERY moderated sense.

The right-libertarian quadrent is known also as "Anarcho-Libertarianism", who's adherents typically believe that the state has no place in the pockets or the bedrooms of any citizen. For them, the less government; the less social programs; the less intrusion, the better. The Libertarian Party, in both Canada and the United States, occupies this quadrent, usually in its more extreme form. The absolute farthest extreme of this quadrent would be total Anarchism. Philosopher Ayn Rand fits this quadrent perfectly, as well as John Hospers, former Libertarian presidential candidate, and philosopher. In its lesser extreme it is occupied by some Tories (Jim Prentice), some Liberals (Paul Martin would almost fit in here), and on occassion Canadian Alliance supporters. The Tories' Scott Brison also falls into this quadrent, as well as Jean Charest in a more moderate sense.

The left-authoritarian quadrent is also known as "Communism" in its most extreme. Mao-Tse-Tung and Joseph Stalin, not to mention Fidel Castro and Kim Jong-Il, all obviously fell under here. Communists believe the state should have absolute control in one's personal life, and manage the affairs of the state economically. Fascists and dictators could also fit under here as well, if they are of the benevolent type that seeks to take care of their citizens. You could also place a few Democrats in here, as well as a few Liberals, and Tories (Elsie Wayne) in more moderate forms; people who want economic equality, but aren't comfortable with issues like abortion, gay rights, gun ownership, and drugs. The Family Coalition of Ontario, and other religious groups can also fall here. A dirty little secret of America's religious right is that they used to be part of the religious left, and helped Jimmy Carter be elected. It's not their libertarian-authoritarian beliefs that have changed over time - just their left-right economic views. Also, think the nationalist parties in Europe, like National Front in France, and Vlams Blok in Belgium. And then there's Maurice Duplessis, former Union Nationale premier of Quebec.

Finally, we have right-authoritarians, that scary label that fits about 95% of Canadian Alliance supporters, a majority of Republicans, a few Liberals (in a VERY moderate sense), a few Tories (Ralph Klein), not to mention the religious right, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Stockwell Day, Stephen Harper, and Margaret Thatcher. In its most extreme, this is known as fascism, a total merger of state and corporate power. Pinochet, in Chile, was in the farthest extreme of this quadrent. Adolph Hitler (more moderated on the left-right scale) and Benito Mussolini also fit under this label. Look also, in a much more moderated sense, for Tory leader Peter MacKay, as well as Ernie Eves. These are people who believe that the government should stay out of the economy, but desire a huge military, a large police force, and restrictive laws governing drug use, abortion, sexual relations, and often freedoms like speech and expression. One only needs to look to America to see the latter in work. John Ashcroft, the US Attorney General, is so far into this quadrent that he, Hitler and Mussolini are actually quite close together.

Where Are Our Parties?

Generally, in Canadian politics, the parties occupy these areas:

Liberals - Economically, they range from centre-left to centre-right, and socially, they are sometimes moderately libertarian, or moderately authoritarian. Not much changes for the Libs in a four-box spectrum; they're still the mushy centre.

Canadian Alliance - They are right-authoritarians, to varying degrees of extremism and moderation. However, they do mix an interesting brand of populism in there, keeping them from reaching the extremes of Hitler and Mussolini.

Bloc Quebecois - The only thing that unites these guys is a desire to separate, but generally, they fit into moderate left-libertarian politics.

Tories - They've got easily the biggest tent. Right-authoritarians (MacKay), Left-authoritarians (Wayne), Left-libertarians (Clark, Orchard), and Right-libertarians (Brison, Prentice.)

NDP - They're left-libertarians, generally.

And This Means...?

This short editorial piece is more to expound on my points from Thursday.

The Tories are going to die soon. And there are several who do not look forward to being swallowed up by the right-authoritarians in the Alliance, especially given how out of step the Alliance's views are with most Canadians.

As I said before, the Libertarian Party has a huge potential to grow, however, it needs a big tent. Right-Libertarians and more extreme Left-Libertarians both share one very important thing in common - a deep-seated mistrust of strong central government. I myself am about as far towards the libertarian end of the spectrum as one can go, and typically place myself in the centre of the left-right scale. I suppose then, I'd be Centre-Libertarian. So where do I go? Right now, the Tories are my best bet. (Not provincially - they're incompetent boobs here). But what happens when they die? The only place I'll have left to go is to the Liberals. The Alliance scares me, and the NDP is too left economically for my tastes. And I don't like the Liberals enough to want to support their technocratic machine. I trust in their ability to govern effectively, but not in their ability to implement the agenda I agree with.

So, to expound, we need a Libertarian Party that does not simply occupy the far-right/far-libertarian end of the spectrum. If it wants to grow, and pick up the pieces the Tories left behind, as well as attract people like me, who mistrust the central government, but are not quite as extreme economically, it needs a bigger tent. It needs to bring freedom-lovers of all persuasions, from Anarcho-Syndicalists to Anarcho-Libertarians together. Because they can all agree on one thing - the central government is not the answer. Anarcho-Libertarians don't want social programs anyway, and Anarcho-Syndicalists can agree that they would be better handled the more local they are. In other words, they can all agree that the federal government is too big and technocratic.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Politics as we know it...

That's actually a curious statement. Politics as we know it is usually changing, so it's never really "politics as we know it," is it?

Still, for lack of a better term, I'm going to use it here.

Politics as we know it is dying. And I do not like what I see on the horizon. A virtual dictatorship; no real opposition. We are one of the most freedom-loving nations on Earth while at the same time allowing a single party to rule seemingly endlessly. This will change, of course. The Liberals cannot remain in power forever.

Election 2004...

Paul Martin has won already. In fact, he has won a massive majority. Quebec, the West, and Ontario. A more impressive majority than Brian Mulroney's, even. So what is in store after that?

The Bloc will be wiped off the map, or reduced to so few seats as to become irrelevant. Separatism is dead for now, mercifully. Now as long as it STAYS dead...

The NDP stands to gain much in this election. Martin moving the Liberals to the right will drive the centre-left vote to the NDP. They stand to do respectably in 2004.

The PCs made a fatal mistake in picking Peter MacKay as their leader. The man has all the charisma of a hemheroid, flip-flops like no other, and has no dynamic vision for the country. Scott Brison, Jim Prentice, even David Orchard. All of them had a vision. All of them had charisma. All of them were dynamic. None of them were chosen as leader, due to MacKay's sleazy deal with Orchard. Charest was able to salvage the party. Clark was able to keep it afloat. But it has been handed off to one of the most inept leaders I have ever seen. Martin will absolutely cream him. Sad, really. Seeing the once proud Tories, the oldest political party in Canada, reduced to nothing. It really makes a history buff's eyes water to think about it.

The Alliance will survive. With the PCs dead, they'll be the only real right-wing party left. And, oh, are they ever right-wing. In every way. Including socially. Now that scares me. Who knows, maybe the PCs and the Alliance will form the "Conservative Party", as is its tenative name. That does not change the fact that social conservative Alliance members will dominate the party, and I absolutely refuse to lower myself to the level of working with the most anti-freedom group in western democracy. Not to mention those in the party with the mentality of skinheads.

So, what is a centre-right moderate, or a libertarian (I combine aspects of both; the former economically, the latter socially) to do anymore? One can only hope that the Libertarian party becomes a viable party. Because otherwise, say hello to my Liberal Party Membership.

Towards A New Party

The Libertarian Party has a huge potential for growth in Canada. In order to fill the gap left by the PCs, it will have to step up and give freedom-lovers a new home. Is it up to the challenge?

Currently, no. I wish the answer were different, but it is not. The party is not a credible political force in Canada. Nor has it ever been. Partly because its idealogues have traditionally been occupied by the Tories, the Alliance for those willing to compromise, the NDP for those who desire social freedom, and the Liberals for those who are prepared to vote for a corrupt centrist government to keep a far-right social conservative government out of power.

If the Tories disappear, libertarians will have no place left to go. Except for the Liberal Party, of course. But then, what Libertarian wants to ally themselves with the Liberals? I certainly find the idea unappealing, but they are currently the only party capable of keeping me moderately happy.

Another problem with the Libertarian Party is the same problem that exists for every other small third party. That is, their tent is not a tent; more of a small tarp. As it stands, I would be inclined to stay away from the Party, simply because its economic views are too laissez-faire for my tastes. What the Libertarians will need to succeed is a Big Tent, allowing Canadians who value and cherish their civil liberties and social freedoms, of economic preferences ranging from moderate (Bill Davis) to far-right (Scott Brison).

If the Libertarians could fashion themselves into a credible party, they would have many capable leadership candidates, drawn from the remains of the Tory party, as well as some disaffected Liberals. The above-mentioned Scott Brison and Jim Prentice would make wonderful candidates, as would New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord. Gordon Campbell sounds like a nice idea, but he has handled his tax plan in B.C. all wrong, giving breaks to the richest instead of to the poorest, as Lord did, and should be commended for. Jean Charest would be great, also.

Am I dreaming? Maybe.

And who knows, maybe the Tory party will somehow be salvaged. Maybe they'll dump Peter MacKay and a capable leader will be able to step forward and lead the party to victory, or at least to survival and relevance, as an entity separate from the ultra rightists in the Alliance.

But it's never a bad idea to have a fail-safe plan.

And a Big Tent Libertarian Party is my best idea at the moment. I'd join in a heart-beat.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Ontario Thus Far

While we're waiting for the next poll to come out, I thought I'd state the obvious. McGuinty is leading the pack. He did exponentially better in the debate last night than he did in 1999. Eves is underwhelming when compared to Harris.

Though one thing is painfully obvious. Eves has Harris' boys working on him. And he's clearly uncomfortable with the rhetoric they're giving him. That's probably why he's not able to perform as well as he did when he won the Tory leadership over a year ago.

It seems my earlier predictions, in the meantime, were off base. I had figured a Liberal minority, but I clearly underestimated their growth potential, as did many others. 50% support is more than what is necessary to form a powerful majority in our brutal first-past-the-post system. This will not just be a Liberal victory. It will be a Liberal landslide. Dalton performed well enough in the debate that Eves won't be able to extract any votes from him, and potential NDP voters probably remember well what happened last time, when their vote-splitting caused Harris to win another majority. The Liberals are poised to win all 8 seats in my area, most (possibly all - I'm not entirely sure) of which went Tory last time around.

All I can say is, yay. McGuinty is even going to bring in fixed election dates, or so he says. I'll take any bit of electoral reform I can get, and thus far, he's been the only one to promise such a thing.

Ontario and Canada

What will a Liberal victory in Ontario mean for the rest of Canada? I won't pretend to know, but I will point out a noticeable pattern.

In the 70's, Bill Davis became the Tory premier of Ontario. Pierre Trudeau was the Liberal prime minister of Canada during that time.

In the late 80's, David Peterson became the Liberal premier of Ontario. Brian Mulroney was the Tory prime minister of Canada during that time.

In the early 90's, Bob Rae became the NDP premier of Ontario. Brian Mulroney and then Kim Campbell were the Tory prime ministers.

In the 90's and new millenium, Mike Harris became the Tory premier of Ontario. Jean Chretien and now Paul Martin were and are the Liberal prime ministers.

Ontario, which as we all know is a major factor in deciding federal elections, seems to like to counter-balance its choices federally and provincially. Left at a provincial level means right on a federal level, and vice versa. What does the election of the Liberals mean in Ontario?

SCENARIO 1: The Liberal victory in Ontario will give rise to a powerful right-wing force in Canada, causing a sweeping electoral victory for it, if not in this election, than in the next.

SCENARIO 2: The Liberal victory in both Ontario and Canada will prove that the Liberals in Ontario have become more fiscally responsible, and the Liberals federally have shifted far enough to the right that they provide a suitable counterbalance. In other words, centrists. And after all, the only direct counter to one centrist is another centrist.

SCENARIO 3: This is just proof that the Liberals are the natural governing party, both because of their ability to govern inoffensively, and because of the fact that there has not been a credible opposition party federally since the 80's. The Liberals will come into power in provinces across the country, and federally.

Given the popularity of Paul Martin and the dissaffection with right-wing parties across the country (except in Alberta) I think the second and third are the more likely (though perhaps not the most desirable) options. But never fear.

With any luck, people will eventually see the threat to democracy that the technocratic Liberal giant poses, and a credible opposition (right or left) will have to step up to take power from them. A one-party state is bad for democracy, even if you are a member or supporter of that one party. Hopefully, people will see that.

And if they don't... isn't it fitting that the Liberals' colour is Red?

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Every Vote Counts; Democracy Matters! Time For More Democratic Freedom

Yesterday's vote against the Alliance motion to preserve the traditional (read: discriminatory) definition of marriage proves one thing: that democracy in this country is alive, and that it truly matters. By allowing a free vote on the issue, all party leaders have shown how close a motion can come to success or defeat when all opinions are heard, not just the opinions of the leader of the government and of the opposition. What does this mean for Canadian democracy?

Paul Martin has been campaigning, speaking a great deal about giving MPs the freedom to vote with or against the government, except in cases of confidence votes. Turner, Mulroney and Chretien all promised this, but never carried through, so is there any guarantee that Martin will carry through? Political historian John Duffy thinks so. According to him, Martin has fleshed out his plan a great deal, rather than simply mused about it, as did Mulroney and Chretien.

Is this sufficient? Absolutely not. However, as far as democratic reform goes, it is long over-due, and will be well-received in every area of the country. Politically, it will lead to a great increase of MPs for Martin in his new government after the 2004 election, with people more confident that their Liberal MP will be able to speak for them instead of just rubber stamp the agenda of the PMO. But where do we go from there? The next logical steps, of course: Proportional Representation and Senate Reform. We likely will not see these things under Martin's government, at least in its first term. (Assuming Martin sticks around for more than one term; which may or may not happen, given his age.)

Martin's plan is not sufficient. But it is a start. It is the first step in a long road towards more democracy in Canada. Hopefully, the change will not take as long as the evolution of gay rights has taken - since Pierre Trudeau's "no state in the bedroom" edict in 1968 to gay marriage in 2003-2004 - and hopefully Martin or his successor will realize that such a move would be popular with everyone in the country. The West has been clamouring for democratic reform for years, and the Liberal east has been dissatisfied, or at least irritated, with the impotence of their vote and their representation.

137 to 132. This is not something to take lightly. If the NDP caucus had not been present; or if some Tories had not sided with the government; or if the Bloc Quebecois (they WERE good for something after all) had not been present, the vote would have been different.

This, people, this is how it should be! An MP should go into a vote feeling that they actually need to be there, that if enough of them work together, they can affect legislation one way or the other. This is the type of thing that would happen under proportional representation. This is what happens in free votes. This is what happens in a freer system - more democracy, more debate, more expression, and more exciting elections. Not to mention a more satisfying environment for junkies like myself.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Oops. Been letting this slip...

Ontario Thus Far

The Toronto Star's Ian Urquhart published an article in Saturday's paper. What caught my interest about it was that the article was about my riding of Peterborough.

The article, in a nutshell, showed that Peterborough is always a perfect picture of Ontario, politically. The popular vote usually mirrors the popular vote of the entire province, and the elected MPP is of the government party; no matter Liberal, New Democrat or Tory. Interesting bit of information, and what's more, it's true this time around, also. At least, thus far. I'm doing what I consider my civic duty and volunteering for the Liberal campaign, and I've noticed that about 40% of residents are putting up Liberal lawn-signs, another 40% Tory, 18% NDP, and a few scattered Greens. Which seems to be an accurate picture of the province... except the NDP is doing better here, mostly in student housing. Still, my guess is, whoever wins in Peterborough will also win in Ontario, just like the past several elections.

(Interesting side-note: The article also mentions, "Stewart, 65, is running largely on his record of bringing more than $400 million in government goodies to the riding, including a new hospital. "400 million reasons to vote for Gary Stewart," proclaims his campaign pamphlet." Well, that's not very Conservative is it? Actually, given the record of these Tories, that's a very Conservative thing to do. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars going to favoured ridings is not unusual for a corrupt government like this one.)

So who's going to win in Peterborough? Well, working the phones, I've noticed that the decided voters seem to be leaning Liberal, but there's more undecided - 2 to 1, at least - than decided voters, so it's really a toss. If I had to guess, I'd say the Liberals will win a very close race. We might have a minority government situation. Given how close the race is, and how much each individual riding will count, a minority government could very well occur - the vote split is about the same as last time, but this time the races in every riding seem to be closer and more intense.

When I opened up my newspaper and saw 43% for the Liberals, and 42% for the Conservatives, I nearly choked on my breakfast. Not only does that show how close this election is, but it shows that the Liberals still haven't gotten over their chronic problem in Ontario provincial elections to squander early leads very quickly. Though with any luck, this new "Reptilian kitten-eater from another planet" incident will make the Conservatives look desperate and foolish.

The Liberals seem to be trying to make this election a referrendum of the Harris legacy, where as Eves seems to be making it a referrendum on leadership - and neither appear to be doing a very good job. This campaign has been immature and petty, from both sides. Eves making idiotic comments, or letting his staffers do it, and McGuinty responding with good-humoured wit. Unfortunately, with alien reptillian kitten-eaters stealing of the family dog abound, there doesn't seem to be a great deal of coverage of the issues. How irritating. And of course, don't even get me started on Hamptons cheap gimmicks.

I hope the maturity level of the candidates improves as election day draws closer. Ontarians deserve better than this. But I guess that's what we get for electing cynical, mean-spirited, incompetent, corrupt government twice in a row. Will the Liberals be any better? One can only hope.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

AND THEN HE BECAME A CONSERVATIVE

Is it just me, or does Ontario Premier Ernie Eves have no idea what his political ideology is? I must say, this is almost more painful than watching Al Gore reinvent himself time and again in 2000. At least Gore stuck with a consistent political ideology.

It is unreasonable for anyone to expect someone's ideology to remain static throughout their entire life, or even career. However, Eves'recent shift to the right has been very curious. I almost anticipate his eventual statement decrying abortion rights or some such. His recent statements, to be fair, have not contradicted anything he has said in the past. For example, his position against gay marriage does not contradict his laissez-faire attitude towards the issue. (More from my August 30th entry.) And his fresh new statements in favour of capital punishment do not contradict anything he has said in the past, at least to my knowledge.

Eves could simply be expressing his own long-held views. But this raises the troubling question, why has the public not been made aware of these views before? Did Mr. Eves not hold public office for several years? Did he not serve in former premier Mike Harris' cabinet? Did he not run for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario? All of these things, especially the latter, should have given a clear and up-to-date version of his views on important issues like gay rights and capital punishment.

Let me be perfectly clear in saying that I do not believe Eves has flip-flopped. I do believe that he is merely expressing what he believes. (On social issues, at least - his economic views are even more of an enigma.) However, the fact that it has taken him this long to admit that he is, at heart a social conservative is troubling. Eves seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place: first trying to distance himself from the radically tax-cutting and socially liberal, or at least socially apathetic (I refrain from saying libertarian: Harris' policies were more in line with pro-business neo-conservatism than they were for the good of the common, hard-working citizen who deserves a tax-break, and a bigger one than Harris gave I might add; add to that the fact that Bob Runciman, a hard social conservative, is in charge of law enforcement in this province thanks to these geniuses) days of Mike Harris. Then trying to make himself seem more like a Harris conservative than a pragmatist, or a Red Tory. At the same time as he was distancing himself from Harris' legacy, he was keeping his social views unknown, knowing that they would be unpopular in Ontario. Now he has distanced himself from Harris' apathy on social issues to a social conservative line, while embracing Harris' old neo-con policies.

Are you confused yet? I know I am. Confused and annoyed. I don't want a premier that pragmatizes his views on important issues depending on what polls say, or because he wants to energize his base. I don't want a premier that is a social conservative. I will vote Liberal in this election. I can not say as I agree with everything Dalton McGuinty stands for, but at least I get the feeling that he is making his views known. Eves is a slippery career politician with nothing left to lose by skillfully maneouvering around the tough issues, and that makes me nervous.

FROM THE MAILBAG:

I would like to post some interesting comments I received since opening this blog. If anyone ever wishes to E-mail me their comments, please feel welcome. Just know that I will not respond to or acknowledge flames or other inappropriate comments.

Also know that I will not post your name if you instruct me not to do so - I do believe in privacy. I also will not publish your comment if you tell me not to.

Re: "Thou Shalt Not Violate The First Ammendment"

I agree with most of what you wrote. You make a good point but you've missed a glaring detail. "Congress shall pass no law..."

The first amendment prohibits the federal government from promoting any particular religion. This was a state courthouse and no law was passed. Unless the constitution of the state of Alabama prohibits such acts (and it doesn't) judge Moore was right. Another example of a federal government overstepping its jurisdiction.

- Francois

Indeed, I suppose this is entirely a matter of where the federal government ends and the state government begins, and more importantly, who's constitution is supreme. In the end, I personally side with the federal government, because I believe that the laws of any state should be subject to the constitution of the people of the nation.

Re: "Eves' 'Flip-Flop'"

Angel;
It just happens that my beliefs coincide with those of Premier Eves. I am not a "political" person nor am I a follower of any religion.
In fact I avoid religious discussions as much as possible. I am however a borderline redneck when it comes to homos, pedophiles, etc. I had a bad experience with those types when I was in the navy in ww2 and I just cannot stomach them since that time.
If they want to live that way so be it - just don't flaunt the lifestyle and insist on it being "normal"

- Anonymous

As vehemently as I disagree with this, I must commend the courtesy and politeness with which I was addressed in this E-mail. Others have not been so polite.

Anyway, there are a couple of points I would like to address here. The first is the association of homosexuals and pedophiles. There is nothing wrong with being a "redneck" when it comes to pedophiles; the rest of society wholeheartidly agrees on this matter. However, homosexuals are an entirely different matter. To equate a homosexual with a pedophile is akin to equating a heterosexual with a murderer - that is, the two have no necessary connection. Some homosexuals are pedophiles, and some heterosexuals are murderers. (And vice-versa.) It is also okay to have an aversion to a sexual practice, this is only natural. However, to demand of the people who engage in that lawful practice to subject themselves to certain codes of behaviour that people who engage in equally valid and lawful practices is unreasonable in a free society.

Monday, September 01, 2003

THOU SHALT NOT VIOLATE THE FIRST AMMENDMENT

It's been almost a week since a monument to the Ten Commandments was removed from the rotunda of Alabama's Supreme Court building, and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is still fighting his crusade to have it restored. He claims to answer to a higher authority, but the rest of us are not so schizophrenic. Most sane people in the twentieth century follow the rule of law.

It's a very simple equation.

Placing a monument specific to a certain religion front and centre in a government building; a court of law, the one place where all should truly be totally equal, is tantamount to establishing a state religion. It is the state promoting one religion over another. And that is specifically prohibited in the First Ammendment of the American Constitution. The First Ammendment does protect individual religious freedom, however, it does not give a state official the right to use the power of the state to force his religion upon others. The monument, which I will admit is very nicely structured and designed to the point where it would be a shame to destroy it, belongs on a church lawn, not in a court of law.

The Ten Commandments are NOT the basis for law, nor is God the basis of law, as this blind idiot and his fanatic supporters in Alabama are claiming. There are other bases of law, that rely on logic and reason, the values that came out of the Enlightenment, and the foundation upon which America's founding fathers rested their philosophy. Time and time again the founding fathers refused to consider the United States a Christian nation, and refused to submit the state or its laws to any creed.

The people opposing this monument seek to destroy the tools of a state-established religion, the monument that is a testament to the closed-minded idolatry of a Justice disobeying his oath to uphold the laws of the land and the constitution upon which they stand. The First Ammendment specifically prohibits the establishment of a state religion. When the state gives its promotion to one religion; ANY religion, the rule of law has been violated; the freedom of the masses thrown into question; the ability of the state to guarantee a free and equal society to those of all religions undermined. The state has no business in the promotion of faith. This is best left to preachers and evangelists, who themselves are much easier to ridicule, as many of them, such as Rev. Falwell, should be, when they do not have the force of the most powerful nation on Earth behind them. When religion is sponsored by the state, the first step towards theocracy is taken.

And if anyone thinks these commnamdments are the basis of law, and are completely inoffensive, let us examine them, shall we?

THOU SHALT HAVE NO GODS BEFORE ME. This statement cannot be misconstrued. By placing this front and centre in a court of law, the state is for all intents and purposes commanding its citizens to obey a certain religion. This is clearly what many of these tyrants desire, but they cannot be allowed to win the day, lest a country founded by philosophers degenerate into a land ruled by blind fanatics.

And unless this statement is made law, then the Ten Commandments are not the basis of law. The same condition applies to the second commandment, THOU SHALT NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD THY GOD IN VAIN. Same with THOU SHALT HONOUR THY FATHER AND THEY MOTHER. Same with THOU SHALT KEEP HOLY THE SABBATH. Same with THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY. Same with THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOUR'S WIFE.

Are they not aware of the greatest irony, that the commandment THOU SHALT NOT COVET is the basis of the free market system, that right-wing demagogues like Moore defend so vehemently? Are he and his supporters seriously advocating that coveting be made illegal? Such a level of mind-control can only be possible in an Orwellian world. And I will have no part of such world. I should hope they would neither.

Truly, the only three parts of the Ten Commandments that mean anything in modern society are THOU SHALT NOT KILL, THOU SHALT NOT STEAL, and THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS. And even the latter of the three only applies to certain instances, in which case it is not an absolute. The Ten Commandments are absolute laws, and as such, the last one is nullified. THOU SHALT NOT KILL is violated routinely by the state when it kills prisoners, sometimes innocent, and bombs overseas countries. And THOU SHALT NOT STEAL, some would say, is violated when the government takes the money of the people without their permission. So, what is the basis of law again?

How would these people feel if the government placed a monument outlining the laws of Islam in a court of law? How would they feel if they knew that their government was sponsoring a religion that they not only disagree with, but many of who's members mistrust, dislike and even hate them? How would they feel knowing that the government had taken a side on a matter about which it should never be concerned, and that that side was not theirs? To have the state telling them that your religious beliefs are incorrect, and inferior? This is what is done when the state sponors a religion. This is why the founding fathers made a point, in the very first Ammendment of the constitution, of forbidding it.

Moore and his fanatics claim that hypocrisy is taking place, because statues of Greek Gods exist in court houses. This would be a valid point, and I would totally agree, were it not for one detail that they seem to gloss over: the fact that Greek Mythology is no longer a religion. No one in the world believes Greek religion to be true anymore, except for maybe some fringe weirdos, but for this matter, they really don't count. It is simply not the same to place a statue of a mythological creature, that represents nothing more than justice or power, as it is to place a monument to a specific religion in which billions of people believe. No one in their right mind would argue that Greek Mythology is the official state sponsored religion of the United States, for the simple fact that nobody believes in that religion. It is dead, and has been for some time. If these were statues of Buddha, things would be different indeed. But, they are not.

People have asked me, on some of the internet message boards I frequent, to begin spouting "typical" anti-Christian rhetoric. (Keep in mind that to them, "anti-Christian" is anything that disagrees with their beliefs.) All I can say is, just watch these fanatics gathered outside the building. Watch them as they listen blindly to their holy martyr, as he fights his jihad against the rule of law, and be reminded, as I was, of the fanatical Arabs you can see marching through the streets on CNN whenever the mullah starts preaching about the heroic deeds of their martyrs. The police have gone so far as to erect crowd control barriers to keep these people from storming the building. That is how fanatical they are. That is how unreasonable they are. These people subject their children; their babies to the brutal Alabama sun so that they can carry on their misguided attempts to restore medieval theocratic tyranny to a land founded by some of the most intelligent and intellectual men in history. And when you watch that, any anti-Christian statement I can make becomes meaningless, because as the old saying goes, their actions speak louder than their words. Though their words are pretty damn psychopathic as well.

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