Once again, I haven't been blogging much, in spite of my good intentions to spew random thoughts at regular intervals out into the Internet ether. So here is another post rounding up various things that have struck me over the last little while.
I see dumb people. No, really dumb people. And they're in office.
My disgust with the Canadian government continues to grow. In recent weeks we have had various parties threatening to force another election (our last was less than a year ago) which of course creates silly season all around. On the one hand we had Conservative leader Harper accusing Liberal leader Ignatieff of political opportunism for trying to force an unnecessary election just because it looks as though the Liberals might win. Which is true, but it is also exactly what Harper did when he forced an unnecessary election last year. In Harper's case, it didn't work, and he came back into power with another minority government. And then, when Harper forms a loose alliance with the left wing party of the NDP, Ignatieff accused the conservatives of getting comfy with the socialists. Which is true, but it is also exactly what Ignatieff and the Liberals were doing when they were trying to force the election.
But, as odious as this rank hypocrisy may be, it is not the reason why my disgust has climbed past the stratosphere. No, it was the news that the Canadian Federal Government was suing the tobacco companies for fifty billion dollars to try and recover the costs to the medical insurance system for treating smokers.
Let me say this about smoking before I continue: I hate it. I hate the stench, I hate the feel of second hand smoke in my lungs and on my skin, I hate everything about it. Thirteen years ago I sat beside my father as died of lung cancer. That is actually a very clinical way to describe what happened. What I should say is that I sat beside him as he drowned in his own mucus- or I could say snot if I feel like being shocking. I loved my old man, (and I use that term with respect) but no one ever held a gun to his head and forced him to smoke a cigarette. He did that to himself, of his own free will, and he paid a heavy price. He barely got to see one of his grandchildren, and he waited a long time for us to give him grandkids. All his plans and hopes for the future were, literally, up in smoke. And we pay a heavy price without him, and he left a big hole. Smoking robbed me of a father and my children of a grandfather, but I do not blame the tobacco companies for that. I blame my father.
So why are the federal government going after tobacco companies? They are already very heavily taxed, also for the purpose of paying for the health insurance. Have they not collected enough in tax already? The government revenues from cigarettes are enormous. Are the people who start smoking unaware of the dangers of smoking? I can hardly see how that is possible. This move makes absolutely no sense. Smokers already have more restrictions put on them than the people who smoke pot. Can anyone explain the sense of that to me?
The government is suing companies for selling a product the government has deemed to be legal and is allowed to be sold in Canada. This case should be found to be absurd in its face and thrown out of court. In fact, there should be a class action counter suit filed by smokers- against the government. If smoking is so dangerous and so costly to the system, why isn't it banned? By allowing the sale of these products the government is directly responsible for the deaths of thousands every year. That makes as much sense as suing the companies.
The News From the Church in Canada.
A few different things gong on here. First, we have one of the most public faces of the church in Canada- Father Rosica, head of Salt and Light tv- accused bloggers and EWTN of doing the wrong thing when they all condemned the public funeral of Teddy Kennedy. Both the bloggers and EWTN were condemned by Rosica as "Satanic."
And then, just recently, the bishop of Antigonish in Nova Scotia was found to have child pornography on his laptop. The way the airport security found the pornography can only mean one thing: They had been tipped off by persons unknown. Father Rosica weighed in on this one, and the bishop got off lighter than the bloggers and EWTN. Was he Satanic? No. Was he evil? Bad? Naughty? No, no and no. He was misguided. Such a nice man, it is hard to believe how this happened, says Rosica.
And now there is going to be a general meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and guess what is on the agenda, scheduled for a closed door meeting? Is it the issue of the continuing problems of paedophilia within the clergy? No, they're going to discuss bloggers. Bloggers are the threat, bloggers need to be brought under control, after showing they have opinions about Ted and about the Canadian bishops giving money to groups that support abortion.
Some bloggers are worried about what may come of this meeting. I am not very much concerned. I imagine one or two of the more sensible will point out the bishops have no way of controlling the bloggers, and what is most likely to come out of the meeting will be a set of recommendations, directives and guidelines for the bloggers. Bloggers should follow our shepherds' example and read the bishop's recommendations with the same care and obedience these self-same bishops regard the recommendations, directives and guidelines which come down from Rome.
Education Stamps Out Creativity
Hat tip to Roving Medievalist for this video.
I agree with much of what he says. I mean, isn't it obvious education is designed to stamp out creativity? Look at how we begin and how we end. We go into school with a box of brightly coloured crayons, and we draw, write and scribble on multicoloured papers. We graduate from that school system with a single pen (usually either blue or black) and write solely on white paper.
Quite frankly, I have no idea what we should do. Right now, the world is changing so rapidly we have no idea what to teach our children. What knowledge they will need in the future is impossible to say. When I went through school, no one had any idea that computers would be running everything in a short time. However, by the time I was in high school, it was clear that computers were going to be a Big Thing, and people started jumping into that field. For some reason, many also started taking business courses, perhaps believing that there would be an acute shortage of middle management bootlickers in the future. Because of this, many of our shops got closed. As a result, there is now a shortage of plumbers, electricians and bricklayers.
On the whole, I am wary of people who propose one over-arcing solution. My main problem with the school system is that it is a system- we take all these children, whom we apparently believe are all individuals, run them all through the same system and expect them all to turn out more or less the same. Where is the sense in that?
Of course, education is a government affair, brought to us by the same guys who want to sue tobacco companies. Sense is in very, very short supply.