Author Archives: Denyse O'Leary

Teacher: See free speech as a moral as well as political problem

From English teacher August Meyrat at The Federalist:

To have more success, free speech advocates should stop seeing this issue through a strictly political lens and start considering it as a moral problem. The arguments people give against free speech have to do more with a nebulous goal of combatting evil (in the vein of Google’s old motto: “Don’t be evil”) than a conscious plan to reengineer society and minimize dissent, like China or Cuba. In other words, this has less to do with the ideas of Enlightenment political philosophers and more to do with God’s choice to make mankind free.

Unfortunately, the more successful the suppression of speech, the more apparent it is that speech becomes meaningless as a result. Artificially removing certain arguments or words will eventually make all arguments and words suspect.

This would still be the case if those with a conservative agenda silenced the other side. In a society where everyone abides by a script, hides their thoughts, and puts on a façade of validation and affirmation, speaking and listening—and by extension, reading and writing—would be a pointless exercise. Whether the speaker was telling the truth or not, he would still be lying because he is conforming to a narrative outside himself rather than the reality of his thoughts

Right. Precisely what progressives want. When everyone is lying, they find people easier to control. Was there something else we wanted to know?

So much of the polarization and division afflicting society today is a direct result of restricting speech.
In the short term, contrary to expectations, this silencing creates more chaos than peace. Those who dissent will resort to other means to speak out. They will protest; they will create their own counter-narrative; they will move to the other extreme; or they will vote for the most charismatic leader they can find. In response, those who sought to dominate the conversation will do even more to end it, pumping out fake news, vilifying free speech advocates, and refusing to present opposing views. More.

Which, in turn, justifies crackdowns on civil liberties.

Reality check: It is a moral problem for sure. The moral problem is created by voting for progressives.

Potted history: Arts faculties decades ago eviscerated the knowledge they could offer in favour of identity politics and their grievance-driven curricula. They graduate people with few skills related to the current workplace. Those people are still angry and – in particular – angry at people who are needed and valued because they have skills the world needs,. Of course they want to shut them up. That’s just for starters.

See also: Opposition to Unite the Right is about building a narrative for future use. People with little else to show for their lives can at least say they shouted back at a handful of fascists.


Another reason why machines can’t think as we do

As philosopher Michael Polanyi has noted, much that we know is hard to codify or automate.

From Denyse O’Leary at Mind Matters Today,

We have all encountered that problem. It’s common in healthcare and personal counseling. Some knowledge simply cannot be conveyed—or understood or accepted—in a propositional form. For example, a nurse counselor may see clearly that her elderly post-operative patient would thrive better in a retirement home than in his rundown private home with several staircases.

Michael Polanyi (1891-1976)

The analysis, as such, is straightforward. But that is not the challenge the nurse faces. Her challenge is to convey to the patient, not the information itself, but her tacit knowledge that the proposed move would liberate, rather than restrict him. More.

Reality check: That’s why many jobs are not nearly as threatened by AI as some fear. But then many others are.

See also: Why can’t machines learn simple tasks?: They can learn to play chess more easily than to walk. If specifically human intelligence is related to consciousness, the robotics engineers might best leave consciousness out of their goals for their products and focus on more tangible ones.


Opposition to Unite the Right is about building a narrative for future legends

From Timothy Meads at Townhall,

Around two dozen hate-mongering, white nationalists traveled to Washington, DC today in an attempt to gain relevance, media attention, and spout nonsensical theories at some event they called a “Unite the Right 2” rally. In turn, hundreds of far-left Antifa freaks counteracted the protest by haranguing President Trump, police, and the free press with threats of violence and uprising. By all accounts, it seems like this was the biggest waste of time for all involved and attended by people whose day would be better off spent cleaning their parents’ basement or taking a shower. More.

Reality check: Exactly. It was nothing in itself. But in the minds of progressives, it is a brave stand against a monstrous army of orcs.

All the better that nothing really happened. They took no risks and lost nothing but wherever they win power again, they can justify harsh measures against anyone who opposes them, given their earlier “sufferings.” Legacy media, knowing that the internet dooms them, play along. They need these types of legends too, to pull out of a drawer and build up later.

As for “the right,” they won’t win because most conservative-leaning voters are not interested in their wares.

See also: Humanities enrolment in free fall


The war on conscientious objection shows how liberalism has changed

From Michael Cook at MercatorNet:

An “expert group” of abortion activists has launched a strong attack on the concept and practice of conscientious objection (CO) in healthcare. “The practice of refusing to provide legal and essential health care due to a doctor’s personal or religious beliefs is a violation of medical ethics and of patients’ right to health care,” says the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) in conjunction with Mujer y Salud en Uruguay. More.

Reality check: They are doing the same with euthanasia in Ontario. Soon, you will not be able to choose adoctor who would not kill you or your kid.

Progressives know that in order to win they must compromise everyone they cannot crush. Their defeat at the polls is a necessary first step to restoring safety for human beings.

See also: The growth of an authoritarian centre in politics


But how can there BE a smugger country than Canada?

From Brett Graham Fawcett at C2C Journal:

They Desire a Smugger Country

When the Order of Canada was introduced in 1967, Canada was deep in anxiety over its own identity, revelry around the centennial notwithstanding. Two years earlier, George Grant’s jeremiad Lament for a Nation had presented the thesis that Canada, as a project, had failed.

In 2008, Dr. Henry Morgentaler, the champion of legal, state-funded, abortion-on-demand in Canada (though he was “terminating pregnancies” long before the law permitted him to), was appointed to the Order. Several historic “firsts” ensued, such as the first time a sitting Prime Minister publicly criticized the Order: “My preference,” Stephen Harper remarked in response to a question about Morgentaler’s worthiness, “would be to see the Order of Canada be something that really unifies.” The Morgentaler award also precipitated the first resignations from the Order because of who else had received it. Six Roman Catholic churchmen, including Cardinal Turcotte of Montreal, subsequently returned their insignia.

George Grant saw abortion as the ultimate triumph of technology over human dignity. Grant was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1981 and died in 1988, the year of Morgentaler’s Supreme Court victory. If he had lived to see Morgentaler rewarded with the nation’s highest honour 20 years later he likely would have bemoaned it as further confirmation of his thesis that the national project of preserving a society of duty and morality had been a failure. And he probably would have given his OC back. More.

Reality check: A country where our prime minister corrects someone in order to enshrine the use of “peoplekind” is already the smugliest place on Earth. Also the country with the least protection for unborn children.

See also: The war on conscientious objection shows how liberalism has changed


Which side will atheists choose in the war on science?

From Denyse O’Leary at MercatorNet:

In June, I wrote a piece here at MercatorNet, “A shambolic atheist community faces some tough choices,” reflecting on the discontent of some members of that community. It attracted a good many comments and at least one riposte shortly afterward. The riposte garnered 114 comments too.

Clearly, the piece struck a nerve. That said, fewer readers than I had expected took up the issue that seemed most significant to me: “‘Eiynah’ fears that the [atheist] movement is going ‘right wing.’” I don’t think the atheist movement is going right-wing so much as that some prominent atheists are re-evaluating their relationship with progressivism.

It’s about time too. Considering how many atheists see science as a worthy successor to religion, they should think carefully about the current progressive assault on the core values of science. Some items for reflection:

We hear that objectivity, along with “scientific,” “valid,” “reliable,” and “rationality,” is racist and sexist, a mere veneer for white male power (P.L. Thomas. “White Men Of Academia Have An ‘Objectivity’ Problem,” HuffPost June 14, 2017). Darwinian atheist Jerry Coyne complains, “These misguided people argue not only that there is no objective reality, but that attempts to find and teach it are sexist: that such endeavors are masculine ones, and that the methods of science themselves make the discipline sexist and patriarchal.”

Yes, Dr. Coyne, they do argue that and they are dead serious. Their cause includes citational politics, which means avoiding the citation of research by white male academics like himself. Would the fact that he is considered an expert in his field (evolutionary biology) make any difference? Not if objective reality is sexist. More.

Reality check: For progressives, science is just another institution whose collective neck needs wringing in pursuit of their goals.

See also: A shambolic atheist community faces some tough choices


Will cotton bags save the environment?

From Hank Campbell at American Council for Science and Health,

Before straws this year, there was a war on plastic bags, brought about by, you guessed it, environmental press releases and carefully staged photos of garbage. Now poor people have to pay for bags, a regressive tax, unless they can foot the upfront cost for buying bags. But how often do people really wash their bags? Ever? Well, rarely, a study found. Even the most casual cleaner knows you don’t want meat drippings on your counter promoting illness the next time you make food, but most won’t think about it in bags. And if you keep them in your trunk the bacteria could increase 10X.

But it’s for Gaia.

Except it isn’t. A recent study found that a cotton bag will need to be reused 7,100 times (2) for it to make sense from a Life Cycle Assessment environmental impact perspective. 7,100 times means that if you go grocery shopping once per week (and you shouldn’t go more often because that’s bad for the environment too) you will have to use that bag for 136 years.More.

Reality check: The air is thick with virtue these days.

See also: Do-gooderism as a Millennial cult Berezow: WeWork, a company that provides shared office space for small companies and startups (i.e., Millennials), has decided to ban meat. Employees are no longer allowed to expense meals if they contain red meat, poultry, or pork. Why? It’s for the planet, of course.


Is a Politically Correct chatbot as bad as Twitter? Worse?

  From Mind Matters Today:

Many tweaks later, is Zo correct enough? Is everyone pleased? Well, maybe the digital teen is too Correct now. From Quartz, where Chloe Rose Stuart-Ulin has been checking in with Zo for over a year and finds her “sort of convincing,”speaking “fluent meme”:

But there’s a catch. In typical sibling style, Zo won’t be caught dead making the same mistakes as her sister. No politics, no Jews, no red-pill paranoia. Zo is politically correct to the worst possible extreme; mention any of her triggers, and she transforms into a judgmental little brat.

One wonders, what is the market potential for judgmental little brats? More.

See also: GIGO alert: AI can be racist and sexist, researchers complain Can the bias problem be addressed? Yes, but usually after someone gets upset about a specific instance.


Humanities enrolment in free fall

From Alex Berezow at American Council for Science and Health,

Students are rejecting the humanities. The most striking graph, which includes data for English, Languages, History, and Philosophy, shows that the number of college degrees in these fields awarded as a percentage of all college degrees fell from roughly 7.5% in the 2000s to under 5% today.

While some humanities fields — such as cultural, gender and ethnic studies — have escaped the devastation, most others have not. Indeed, Dr. Schmidt reveals that enrollment is down in nearly every field considered part of the humanities. More.

Reality check: … “cultural, gender and ethnic studies — have escaped the devastation” … In short, the humanities as such are dying. Victimhood and grievance studies are not disciplines; they are a questionable form of therapy that – absent permanent progressive government – the public may begin to resent subsidizing.

See also: When an English major becomes health editor… Berezow: The truth is that the anti-vaxxer movement began with members of the progressive left, such as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Bill Maher.


Cyberbully to dying pro-life teen: Your cancer is your mom’s late-term abortion

From Katherine Rohlhoff at Life News,

With perhaps only weeks left to live, Jeremiah—a former all-star, state champion football player from Waco, Texas—has been told numerous times on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook that he is not dying soon enough … because he took a stand for life.

“Cancer is giving your mom a late term abortion. Lmao [laughing my a– off],” one message said.

“Jeremiah … You aren’t dead yet? God do your job!” taunted another.

“Good Riddance,” another posted to Jeremiah’s prayer group page on Facebook, following with a one-star review.

Jeremiah’s mother, Kendra Thomas, quoted one person as saying Jeremiah has “a racist, homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic [sic], hateful” agenda, and another as saying “He’s garbage and is suffering as he deserves.”

All of this because Jeremiah made a “legacy wish” through the 38-year-old Make-A-Wish Foundation’s chapter for the North Texas region.

Jeremiah’s wish was to abolish abortion. More.

Reality check: Well, these are, after all, abortion people. They aren’t deceiving us.

See also: Making abortion seem like just another blip in one’s life. Heldt: It seems though that, if nothing else, conservatives have every reason for optimism: Judge Kavanaugh’s recent nomination to the United States Supreme Court continues to worry abortion advocates.


Canada lacks effective euthanasia safeguards

From Alex Schadenberg at Euthanasia Prevention Coalition:

Canada has instituted a self-reporting system that enables physicians and nurse practitioners who are willing to kill their clients, a system that enables them to cover-up decisions that are controversial or outside of the intended parameters of the law.

Canada’s euthanasia law also employs imprecise and undefined terms and require the doctor or nurse practitioner to lie about the cause of death on the death certificate. More.

Reality check: And if progressives remain in power, there will likely be a law against snooping into situations that sound suspicious. Could we call it a “bubble zone”?

See also: Canadian doctors and nurse practitioners have euthanized nearly 4000 patients Smith: Moreover, the “foreseeable” limitation is likely unconstitutional — cases have already been filed — as the supreme court made it explicitly clear that the positive right to receive euthanasia it conjured was not to be limited to the dying. If (when) these court challenges succeed, Canada’s euthanasia numbers will spike even higher.


Speaking of fake news, there’s Michael Moore…

From Phelim McAleer at Townhall:

According to Mr. Moore:

“In Nashville, a man with a knife leapt up on the stage and started coming toward me. The Seal grabbed him from behind by his belt loop and collar and slung him off the front of the stage to the cement floor below. Someone had to mop up the blood after the Seals took him away.”

After the book was published I inquired and Officer Don Aaron of Nashville Police Public Affairs Department said there is no record of such an incident involving Mr. Moore occurring in the area. More.

Reality check: The time for truth is over.

See also: An immigrant filmmaker (McAleer) on American progressive culture The Americans don’t stand a chance, any more than the rest of us, unless the Dems get beaten so badly in the next few elections that they must go back to being a workers’ party and not a party of the totalitarian elite fomenting grievances among the useless entitled.


Canadian doctors and nurse practitioners have euthanized nearly 4000 patients

From Wesley Smith at Life News:

Canadian doctors and nurse practitioners have reported that they have killed almost 4,000 (3,714) patients since euthanasia was legalized in Quebec in December 2015 — after which it was legalized throughout the country by supreme-court fiat — an act of judicial hubris quickly formalized by Parliament.

That might be one reason that progressives don’t worry so much about balancing the budget.

The report notes that some euthanasia requests were refused because the patient wasn’t competent or the deaths were not reasonably “foreseeable” — the wording of the national law passed by Parliament.

But even these weak limitations are likely to be discarded soon. Canada is already debating whether to permit people to order themselves killed if they ever become incompetent with dementia.

Moreover, the “foreseeable” limitation is likely unconstitutional — cases have already been filed — as the supreme court made it explicitly clear that the positive right to receive euthanasia it conjured was not to be limited to the dying. If (when) these court challenges succeed, Canada’s euthanasia numbers will spike even higher. More.

Reality check: Progressives don’t stop. As Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot show, progressivism differs as to target but not as to outcome: mass murder

See also: So many patients had their lives “shortened” at British hospital that police do not know how to proceed


Fatal Flaws: A Canadian film chronicles the march of euthanasia


Making abortion seem like just another blip in one’s life

From Brianna Heldt at Townhall:

More specifically, an article written by 52-year-old Deborah Copaken is presently making waves for attempting to rebrand abortion as a normal, inevitable part of an otherwise healthy motherhood.

“Three Children, Two Abortions” chronicles the author’s sometimes joyful, sometimes difficult reproductive years–from unexpectedly becoming pregnant at age 17, to having three children with her now ex-husband, to making the decision to (again) abort a baby conceived while an IUD was in place. (She also attempts to justify her post-marriage abortion by saying she was on a medication for toenail fungus at the time, which could have potentially led to birth defects.)

The effect that radically progressive news features, such as the one in the Atlantic, will have at the ballot box in November remains to be seen. Deborah Copaken’s feminist attempt at making abortion a valid, normal, and heroic act for mothers–just as natural as giving birth to the child–may indeed further rally liberals to protect their beloved Roe v. Wade. It seems though that, if nothing else, conservatives have every reason for optimism: Judge Kavanaugh’s recent nomination to the United States Supreme Court continues to worry abortion advocates. More.

Reality check: They have certainly got over the “safe, legal, and rare” phase. Abortion is back to being a sacrament. But in the age of euthanasia, we are all “the fetus” now. That may make a difference in how the abortion people are viewed as well.

See also: Hollywood wants a more positive image for abortion. Hollywood probably does not get the fact that the #MeToo revelations have robbed it of moral authority. People may not care what the celebs do but they don’t look up to them the same way either. Abortion chic will probably go the way of the many PC duds currently hitting the sod. There is just so much else nowadays to watch, see, and do, stuff that represents more accurately how real people think.


When an English major becomes a health editor…

From Alex Berezow at American Council for Science and Health, on interesting moments in an English major’s efforts to understand science controversies:

It’s troubling enough that a person who knows nothing about public health is allowed to write about it. It’s far more troubling that a person who knows nothing about public health is in charge of the topic at a major international publication. So, I decided to take a look at some of the other articles this English major has published. What I found was predictable.

For instance, this: How disgraced anti-vaxxer Andrew Wakefield was embraced by Trump’s America. The truth is that the anti-vaxxer movement began with members of the progressive left, such as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Bill Maher. The demographics of the anti-vaccine movement have changed over time, but this rather inconvenient historical fact is missing from Ms. Boseley’s article. More.

Reality check: Getting the history wrong means getting the drivers wrong too. The rise in autism diagnoses, for example, coincided with the era of Trump but only Tinfoil thinks the two are related. Not sure if all that comes from being an English major or being a progressive as well.

See also: Science writer: New York Times is cool with pseudoscience


Another academic freedom meltdown in science, this time re GMOs