Contrary to 150 Opinions

As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary of confederation many informal expressions of national pride have been heard. The official gala at Parliament Hill on July first, marred by the actions of demonstrators representing so-called First Nations was less spontaneous.

Spontaneous does not necessarily mean thoughtful. Responses to surveys of sources of Canadian pride included tropes about natural landscape, universal healthcare and diversity. These are accepted bromides mouthed by others in the culture and adopted without question.

The most common bromide I’ve heard through social media, the press, sports announcers and even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is that Canada is the best country in the world. To which I respond, by what standard?

If the scale is to what extent has the country regressed toward a Leftist, utopian welfare state, then yes, Canada is surely a contender. But a proper standard must be in the form of an appropriate fundamental.

Canada the nation is a modern social system with a government. The fundamental relationship which has been the criteria for judging political societies for most of history is that between the individual and the state. This has been the case since we evolved from living in primitive tribal societies.

The essence of the individual is survival by the volitional use of his mind, a function which cannot be forced. The essence of the state is force, which in advanced societies has been deemed delegated to the government by the members of that society. Without such delegation societies would be anarchistic, full of conflict by competing factions and often plagued by civil war. Instead we have defensive, rights-protecting institutions of police, military and systems of justice both civil and criminal. You may think of this force as the point of a gun ultimately, properly used against those who initiate force.

The proper criteria for judging the best country must be the relationship between these essentials: force vs. freedom. Now the judgment becomes more meaningful and perhaps more difficult.

Canada is a semi-free country. It is not the worst in the world nor the best. Unfortunately, since the high point of individual freedom during the historical period of the Enlightenment most advanced western countries have regressed.

We now endure governments that have greatly increased functional scope. The modern welfare state with its elitist political bureaucracy, mercantilist trade policies, preventive law, oppressive taxation and official policies that intrude on privacy and most dangerously, seriously restrict free expression has become the norm.

The nationalist road Canada is traveling develops classes and clashes within society and this can only result in more unrest, conflict and official repression. It will not end well unless a government less coercive begins to emerge or we will not last fifty years let alone another 150.

© Copyright 2017, Edward Podritske


Canada’s “Up in Smoke”

While forest fires rage in central British Columbia, the government of Canada under Justin Trudeau is blowing smoke from Ottawa with its proposed Cannabis Act.

I’ve received a short survey request from the Member of Parliament (MP) for my area who says he wants to know ” . . . (my) thoughts on some of the specifics regarding the legislation, . . ..” I’ve responded to the survey in the context of my fundamental views on such legislation.

The simplest and most moral action for the government to take is to de-criminalize the cultivation, production and consumption of cannabis, leaving this economic activity to the market where it properly belongs.

My position is that I am against all forms of prohibition, as I’ve explained in an article I wrote in 2010 entitled Feeling Alright.

Fundamentally, such legislation falls into the category of preventive law for which there can be no justification. These laws make all individuals subject to government coercion without specific evidence, only on the grounds that some have acted irresponsibly or criminally in some relationship to the prohibited activity, or the activity is not favored by some elite minority.

More importantly, preventive law is a complete rejection of the presumption of innocence of the individual in a justice system. In addition, it cynically regards all of us as elements of a class or as cells in an organic whole.

As to the specifics of the survey from the MP, they concern two things: ” . . . who can smoke marijuana and how much can they consume? . . .. (and) Whether it is legal or illegal, youth getting their hands on marijuana is a growing concern . . ..”

First, people should be left to kill themselves any way they choose, whether by the slow self-destruction of mind-altering drugs or the faster expedient of putting a bullet through the head.

Second, parental responsibility is the proper realm for addressing the concerns of the immature. Only when parents have objectively failed in this should the state intervene on behalf of the child.

The state fails when it enters areas outside its proper jurisdiction, which arises from its monopoly on the use of force. When it initiates force against its citizens, destruction is the result.

Just The Facts 

I don’t want to defend Donald Trump; I still think he’s a megalomaniac who successfully exploited the worst prejudices of American voters to gain the office of president. Of course, there were those who voted against Hillary Clinton in the process of electing Mr. Trump and I do understand that. 

The beauty of the American system of electoral colleges however, is that it settles procedural disputes so neatly and keeps Americans a step away from mob rule. (More sophisticatedly known as “democracy”.)

So it is of particular interest and concern that I observe the obsession of American media with the legitimacy of the Trump administration. The allegations of Russian interference with the electoral process is a case in point. You would almost have to be asleep not to have noticed. 

Where’s the evidence? Conjecture and subjective moral condemnation is not enough. The election of Trump was a reflection of the state of American culture. 

Accept the facts. The choice of American voters through its fine system was Trump. If you don’t like it, what is the alternative? 

Impeachment is not the answer. An establishment of leftist intellectuals may think so because the use of force is their traditional way of achieving goals. 

The proper way forward for American media is to objectively address the fundamental issues as they arise rather than continuously trying to ferret out its leftist conception of evil. 

For example, where is the objective analysis of so-called healthcare reform? The Trump campaign said it would repeal “Obamacare”. With a concession to the moral principle underlying this monstrous violation of individual rights, the Trump administration proposes a revision of the same fundamental error. This, rather than moving forward with a principled free market option that most Americans would grasp, particularly if some transitional system were established to deal with the uninsured or pre-existing conditions.

Those sorts of considerations are factually based and understood by most Americans, including the least sophisticated individuals. The media does a great disservice by ignoring them in favor of Utopian fantasies. 

Keeping Out “Extremists”

President Trump delivered a well-received speech in Poland. He at least tried to defend western values although his promise to keep terrorism and extremism out of America was off the mark. “Extremism” is a rubber term that equates extreme good with extreme evil. The term is a package-dealing tool of the political leftists and generally anti-American sentiment. 

By Any Other Name

In reference to a $600,000 spending initiative by Alberta’s NDP government to educate people about climate change, a commentary in The Edmonton Journal asks: “Propaganda or education?”

The question is a false alternative.

The long-standing definition of propaganda involves the wide spreading of information or ideas to promote a particular view. Education, according to the commentary, is being employed to “counter the spin” of those who have opposing views on the issue of anthropogenic global warming. No difference.


The journalist, a Mr. Thomson, refers to carbon tax legislation which is being promoted by a $9 million campaign. Thomson concurs that this may be called propaganda because: “It’s the government promoting one of its own policies.” But the additional spending to educate people is different he says: ” . . .this is the government trying to educate the public about the basic realities of the science behind man-made climate change.”

Mr.Thomson introduces a few issues of contention among political leaders and politically funded organizations and then condescendingly adds that ” . . .this just confuses the public.” Overlooking the blatant paternalism in that statement, he continues by indicating that the reason the government has launched this education initiative is ” . . .to counter the spin by those who deny the science behind global warming and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” (Did you notice his switch between “climate change” and “global warming”?)

The implication is that the “science is settled” on the issue of anthropogenic global warming and of the political need to forcibly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Richard Feynman once stated: “If you thought that science was certain–well, that is just an error on your part.”

In the instance of anthropogenic global warming the evidence is simply unconvincing, based as it is on computer models that have been consistently wrong in their predictions. Instead of rejecting the hypothesis, the models have been repeatedly reconfigured in an apparent effort to produce the desired results. From Feynman again: “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”

So what’s going on with all the “climate change” and “global warming” fear-mongering? In a word: politics. Politics and faith, faith rather than reason and the validity of the individual mind. Faith in government spending. Faith in the premise that man must be subordinated to nature.

It’s an environmentalist’s dream to have his particular political view enforced by the coercion of the state. If people understood that the consequences of global warming would likely be slightly warmer and shorter winters, they might be, particularly in Edmonton, more interested in hearing more than one view on global warming.


© Copyright 2017 Edward Podritske

A Bid of “No Trump”

donald-trumpConrad Black writes in the National Post that Donald Trump will be popular and that Canada will adapt.

Donald Trump will be popular? He already is, among those whose worst prejudices he has appealed to: bigots, nationalists, mercantilists, corporatists, isolationists and collectivists of many other stripes. He represents the epitome of demagogues.

Trump’s presidential legacy is most likely to be a disastrous, historical turning point with capitalism getting the blame for the intellectual, political and economic failures of the future. The shameful conduct of both Canadian and American media, politicians, academics and ignorant entertainers will hasten the misconception.

It will be regrettable for Canada to “adapt”. Principled politics has rarely guided Canadian politicians and voters. Witness the example of Justin Trudeau’s election: our own version of the “hope and change” candidate.


Canadians followed the era of the Obama administration as a sort of desired Canadian-style development. Contrary to the view of Mr. Obama and the Air Canada advertising motto, the world does not need more Canada. Collectivism and the trending to Marxism while suppressing free speech through so-called human rights tribunals and “anti-Islamophobia” (whatever the hell that is) legislation is not something of which the world needs more.

There may be some short-term good to come from the Trump era but what it will be is difficult to imagine. The man is clearly dependent on the opinions of others for his self-esteem and little good can come from that. Any resistance he encounters as a consequence of the separation of powers and system of checks and balances may be taken as a personal affront. His hostile temperament and anti-intellectualism will result in much serious conflict, domestically and perhaps internationally.

I am reminded of Theodore Roosevelt and his “walk softly but carry a big stick” approach to international diplomacy, as well as his cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s domestic blunders that prolonged the Great Depression. Both were manifestations of how political power corrupts. Where the proper scope of government is violated, corruption is the rule rather than the exception.

©2017 Edward Podritske


Happy Independence Day to Americans, wherever they may be found today. I wonder how many remain who understand the significance of the concept of independence? Discuss.

Related concepts include life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.

Beer, picnics, fireworks, hot dogs and holidays from work just don’t seem to be enough anymore, as tasty and fun as those fine things may be. Is there more?