Saturday, May 30, 2015

One event, three observations

The event:
Adolescents in a Toronto are vehemently protesting their high school dress code, specifically the injunction against clothing which exposes girls' midriffs. The piece of clothing in  contention was once called a halter top. Young girls believe they have discovered something new because haberdashers now call them crop tops.

Observation One:
"Youth due to its limited experience, tends to gravitate to absolutes. If it rejects, with cause, the absolutes of U.S. policy, it moves easily to separate but equal absolutisms."
               --- Rick Salutin, Toronto Star, May 29, 2015.

Observation Two:
"The young, at an age when they have not yet any experience other than sexual, when they do not yet have years of personal suffering and personal understanding behind them, are jubilantly repeating our depraved Russian blunders of the Nineteenth Century under the impression they are discovering something new . . . But of those who have lived more and understand, those who could oppose these young, many do not dare oppose. They even such suck up, anything not to appear conservative. Another Russian phenomenon of the Nineteenth Century which Dostoevsky called "slavery to progressive quirks."
                --- Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Lecture in Literature 1970

Observation Three:
Recently, I saw a reference to "the ethical sensitivity of youth."

Monday, May 25, 2015

Omar Khayyam

OK's to-do list:

--  a loaf of bread from the baker
--  a jug of wine from the vintner
--  a book of verse from the library
--  two song sheets
--  pick up thou
--  head for the wilderness.

P.S. That's Paradise enow.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Muslim dress vs French hot pants

A 15-year old Muslim girl in France has been banned from school for wearing a long black skirt. That's anathema to the nation's cult of secularism. An official said it was not the skirt that was the issue. Rather, because she wore it as a sign of her faith. Are we at that point in Western history where one's motive for wearing a certain piece of clothing is of greater importance than the clothing itself?

She was ordered to wear "neutral clothing." Does that mean mini-skirts and hot pants? Would the government object if a Paris fashion house introduced The Muslim Look?

Much of the current situation stems from idolatry of the state. Its current manifestation, secularism, tends to eliminate personal freedom, as in the case of this young woman. France has a poor record in this regard. The search for a national persona continues. How about something yet untried -- a tolerant and accommodating secularism?

Canada should launch an immigration program in France designed for Muslims. Advertising would read: "Come to Canada. Come as you are. You will be welcomed (except in Quebec)."

In her book "Belonging," former Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson wrote, "True secularism means the acceptance of many beliefs, not the eradication of them all."  

We should all work towards a balance between extreme freedom of expression which sews the seeds of violence and extreme criticism of religion which demeans personal belief. Life entails a balancing of interests, a compromise.

The TTC has gone PC

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is ending Sunday stops outside churches. I can understand the TTC ending Sunday stops for business reasons. 

The excuse offered was intellectually insulting. The spokesperson said, "It's just about ensuring there's some equity." In other words, because some receive an extra service, equity says none can have it. Does that mean consideration for the handicapped and seniors will be abolished?  

The TTC has expressed the race-to-the-bottom mentality of the politically correct. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Sex education

Letter to Toronto Star, published May 9.

Re Dispel myths on sex ed, Editorial, May 2:

This editorial claims that 49 per cent of those polled support the Ontario government's proposed sex education curriculum, while 34 per cent oppose. In the same edition of the Toronto Star we read that 42 per cent support while 40 per cent oppose. Within the margin of error, this constitutes a tie. 

Whichever numbers one uses, each side is a minority. Neither can rightly be described as a "vocal minority" with its covert message of disapproval.

Ninety per cent of Ontarians may agree the curriculum needs updating. That does not confer blanket approval for whatever some in the government deem acceptable. With so many opposed to parts of the proposed curriculum, this has become a classic case calling for accommodation for both sides.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

What standard to judge the past?

Letter to the Toronto Star, April 26.

Re War poet remembered, April 26:

In his review of of a new biography of Rupert Brooke, James Cullingham comes close to the error of presentism -- the judging of historical events in the light of today's purportedly superior standards. 

For example, in his travels across Canada, Brooke met Duncan Campbell Scott whom the reviewer describes as the "now notorious assimilationist Canadian poet and Department of Indian Affairs mandarin." Scott believed the best future for our first nations was assimilation into the European culture. 

That was a common feeling a century ago. Today, some consider it notorious. A century from now, who knows?

Order of Canada B-list

Published in the Toronto Star of May 3, 2015
Burnishing the honour, Editorial April 27
The government is correct when it says there are “under-represented sectors” among recipients of the Order of Canada. That group includes discredited Conservative senators, media clowns and other denizens of yahoo land.
Honours must not be awarded according to geography, notoriety or a misguided notion of democracy. The purpose of any award is to recognize special achievements of deserving people, achievements that serve as inspiration for the rest of us.
The proposed affirmative action program will create a B-list of winners and the attendant dumbing down of this unique award.