TRAVIS PATRON AND BERNIE FARBER

The application of Travis Patron’s newly minted Canadian National Party for tax-deductibility status, and the opposition to that status from Bernie Farber’s Canadian Anti-Hate Network, is the perfect test-case for just how far the rest of us are prepared to go in our tolerance of intolerance. But that said, that’s not what I find most … Continue reading TRAVIS PATRON AND BERNIE FARBER

THE RHETORICIAN AND THE PHILOSOPHER

A Janus word is one that means one thing but also its opposite. Example: sanction. There are word-pairs that sound like they mean the opposite but don’t, like flammable and inflammable. And then there are word-pairs that sound like they mean the same thing but mean the opposite. Example: disgruntled and gruntled. Who’d have thought … Continue reading THE RHETORICIAN AND THE PHILOSOPHER

THE BDS MOVEMENT AND THE SHUNNER’S DILEMMA

Since I’m old enough to remember the Peloponnesian Wars, I can certainly remember that it wasn’t Canadians refusing to buy South African wine that brought an end to Apartheid. It was that Apartheid was no longer sustainable on its own terms. I suspect the same is true today with the hope that the Boycott-Divest-Sanction (BDS) … Continue reading THE BDS MOVEMENT AND THE SHUNNER’S DILEMMA

WOMEN AND GENDER STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE

Not unlike the Indigenous Studies Department, Women and Gender Studies at the University of Lethbridge makes no bones about its commitment to social justice. But on its website it also promises that its students “will develop critical thinking skills”. By this I take it to mean the skill required to critique patriarchy. Fair enough. But … Continue reading WOMEN AND GENDER STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE

INDIGENOUS STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE

The social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has argued that a university can task itself to seeking the truth, or to promoting social justice, but not both. Why? Because the truth is sometimes incompatible with the promotion of social justice. A university that tries to have it both ways is going to fail at both, and as … Continue reading INDIGENOUS STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE

CALLING OUT CODE-CALLING

I’m not sure it’s anything new, so I’ll just say there’s a particular effective but pernicious ploy in popular argumentation that I’m going to call ‘code-calling’. For example, during the 2016 Presidential campaign Americans were told that accusing so-and-so of holding “New York values” is code for Jewish values, and so calling out one’s use … Continue reading CALLING OUT CODE-CALLING

THE UCP GOVERNMENT’S FREE EXPRESSION PROPOSAL

It’s rare that I find myself expressing unqualified support for a piece of legislation that the government, or so I hope, is about to enact.. But the UCP’s proposal for An Act to Protect Free Expression at Alberta’s Public Colleges and Universities strikes me as letter perfect and long overdue. The drafters of the Act … Continue reading THE UCP GOVERNMENT’S FREE EXPRESSION PROPOSAL