Four Best Places For Your Charitable Giving

We all have things we care about.  We all know of needs we want to help fill.  Likely, we all get frustrated because we just don’t have the resources to do all we want to do.

May I suggest that, if you’re reading this, you would care about the following things, and if more people would focus their charitable donations on these, a great difference for the better could be made.

I’ll propose what I find to be the needs that are the most worthy in the realms of politics, religion & literacy, and living well.

 

In politics, we live in an era where perhaps the greatest political need has arisen from the emergence of a new Puritan class of righteous elites, who set our cultural guidelines and persecute those who dare dissent.  This is a time of stifling conformity, paired with punishment for any who refuse to worship at the right altar.

Free speech is dying.

You might suggest that the physical threat of terrorism, or the more domestic threat of unsustainable debt, for example, are more dangerous than the almost existential desire for free speech.

You would be wrong.  While other issues have massive consequences which can be seen easily, the cowing of individuals portends even more damage in the long run.

Continue reading

Advertisements

“Culture Trumps Politics”

Mark Steyn, as always, is way ahead of the curve here.  By the time most of my fellow conservatives figure this out, I fear, we’ll be even more of a consciously inconsequential minority, a marginal annoyance with little functional power, than we already are.

*****

Where the Action Is,” National Review, 3/10/14

You can’t have conservative government in a liberal culture, and that’s the position the Republican party is in….Liberals expend tremendous effort changing the culture. Conservatives expend tremendous effort changing elected officials every other November — and then are surprised that it doesn’t make much difference. Culture trumps politics — which is why, once the question’s been settled culturally, conservatives are reduced to playing catch-up, twisting themselves into pretzels….

Culture is the long view; politics is the here and now. Yet in America vast cultural changes occur in nothing flat, while, under our sclerotic political institutions, men elected to two-year terms of office announce ambitious plans to balance the budget a decade after their terms end. Here, again, liberals show a greater understanding of where the action is….

So, no, I’m not particularly focused on a Tuesday in November in 2016. Liberals understand that it’s in the 729 days between elections that you win all the prizes that matter, on all the ground conservatives have largely abandoned.

What Is the Future of Conservatism?Commentary, January 2013

The Democrats used their brutal Romney-gives-you-cancer/ Ryan-offs-your-granny advertising in Ohio as bad cop to the good cop of Obama’s cultural cool. The trouble for conservatives is we have no good cop. That’s to say, we have no positive presence in the broader cultural space where real people actually live. We have all the talk-radio shows and cable networks we need, and the rest of the country is happy to leave us walled up in those redoubts. But culture trumps politics, and not just in the movies and pop songs, grade schools and mainline churches, but increasingly in the boardrooms, too. Instead of giving your hard-earned dollars to help drag some finger-in-the-windy squish with an R after his name over the finish line every other November, conservatives need to start fighting on the turf that matters. We risk winding up like the Shakers–dependent on conversion while eschewing all effective means thereof.

 

The Annotated Steyn

Reading a minor missive from Mark Steyn at National Review earlier today, I was struck for the umpteenth time by just how breezily loquacious he is.  It’s just a blog post, really; by no means a full-fledged article–and yet it carries the confident charm of the most polished master’s thesis.  I’m sure he merely dashed this off, yet is would stand as a major triumph for most authors.

The teacher in me suddenly wanted to footnote his work.  The world needs to see this as I do, I thought.  Those notes are below.  My humble apologies to National Review for reproducing the entire text here, but I think they’ll understand.  It’s necessary to make the point: Steyn’s writing is densely allusive and whimsically clever, and all in the succinct service of a solid point.

Looking at this after I’d marked it up, I found immense satisfaction in being a fan of Steyn’s.  He’s truly a treasure.  I’m a conservative because the ideas are solid and true, but it doesn’t hurt that men like Steyn can also make them so appealing.  One looks in vain for such a scribe on the left.

I mean, could you even imagine a similarly footnoted post called The Annotated Frank Rich?

**********

“The Last Phobia,” Mark Steyn, posted at NationalReview.com, 9/17/2013

I see David Brooks has attracted a bit of pushback for describing Ted Cruz as “the Senator from Canada,” perhaps snidely hinting at divided loyalties. The Times’s man has jumped the moose[1] with this one. As it turns out, Brooks, like yours truly, was born in Toronto. I think we can all agree that the only thing worse than a Canadian is a self-loathing Canadian[2]: It’s bad enough that the first Canadian president of America has to run around pretending he’ll be the first Hispanic president[3], but it’s outrageous that the New York Times’s only Canuck[4] columnist should be the Roy Cohn [5]of Canadians.

Anyway, as NR readers know, my position, as the presumptive senator from New Hampshire, is that, given the mess you Americans have made of the GOP, I’m in favor (actually, I’m in favour[6]) of an all-Canadian ticket next time round. But in the meantime I don’t see why we Canadians have to skulk around in a state of shame to the point where effete[7] maple-scented[8] Timesmen are forced to be more good-ol’-boy-than-thou[9] and jump the first Canuck in the Senate parking lot. Nuts to this. This is sick. What next? Elizabeth Warren forced to admit she’s one-thirty-second Manitoban?[10]

It doesn’t have to be this way. I have a dream that one day my children will live in an America where they’re judged not on the color of their skin but on whether they’ve got an aunt in Saskatoon.[11]


[1] A play on the idiom “jump the shark.” Moose are often associated with Canada

[2] A play on the phrase “self-loathing Jews,” meaning Jews who oppose things like pro-Israel policies

[3] Perhaps a cheeky reference to Toni Morrison’s label of Bill Clinton as “the first black president”

[4] A slang term for Canadians

[5] Attorney who prosecuted the Rosenbergs and worked with Senator Joeseph McCarthy; Steyn humorously implies that Brooks is persecuting his own people.

[6] A British spelling

[7] Effeminate; Steyn often derides liberals as insufficiently masculine.

[8] Maple syrup is often associated with Canada

[9] A play on the idiom “holier-than-thou.” Steyn is accusing Brooks of populist pandering.

[10] Warren, a Democrat Senator from Massachusetts, famously claimed Native American heritage as a part of her “family folklore,” despite the only known Native American in her family tree being her great, great, great grandmother.

[11] Obviously, a coy reference to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech.

Art and Societal Renewal

James F. Cooper, in the last chapter of his Knights of the Brush: The Hudson River School and the Moral Landscape, says this of the role of art in renewing our society’s disoriented moral compass:

A revolution of beauty, truth, and goodness requires leadership from all parts of society–parents, educators, politicians, business people.   Solutions for the crisis in contemporary culture cannot be successfully addressed only by looking to the past.  We must use language that speaks directly to the people of today.  We must create public and private spaces that invite worship, civility, education, virtue, love, and fidelity.  

Cooper then mentions two fascinating historical precedents for what he envisions.  First,

The emperor Augustus dramatically revitalized the faltering Roman Empire, beset by internal chaos and civil strife, by embarking on an ambitious “cultural program.”  Refurbishing old temples, creating beautiful new works of civic architecture and public sculpture, he found a way to express the longing of the Romans for the virtues of the past.  

Also:

Continue reading

The Biggest Difference Between Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party

I started my observations about these two movements a month ago with a point of conciliatory commonality–their shared opposition to undue influence by rich special interests in politics, whether left or right.  However, after two months of Occupy Wall Street, the most stunning thing about these two movements is how their core is starkly contrasted.

Tea Party protests usually had a “vote the bums out” message–their signs and speakers focused on what those in the crowd should do.  Occupiers, however, seem focused on what others should do for them–their signs and speakers are about the demands they have for what “the rich” should be providing them with (student loan debt relief appears to be a big one).

This is a broad generalization, of course, but a useful one.  While there are certainly Tea Party protesters who want government to do things for them, even those things are more limited and more for the benefit of others than what Occupiers demand for themselves.  Decreasing spending so that future generations of taxpayers won’t be saddled with unpayable debts (as many a Tea Party sign begged, such as at 1:52 in this video from a Las Vegas protest) is a far cry from insisting that “government has a responsibility to guarantee access to affordable health care, a college education, and a secure retirement,” as a poll of OWS protesters showed, according to a survey cited on the OWS Wikipedia page.  Rescinding fairly recent policies that exacerbate economic problems strikes me as more restrained and pragmatic than demanding the spontaneous erection of a new infrastructure for a panoply of progressive fantasies.

Consider Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally last year.  Continue reading

Demography Redux

A post at First Thoughts this week links to some recent rumblings over much of the world’s fretting about the global population reaching 7 billion, despite the fact that nobody seems to be worried that most nations now have a falling birth rate.

So which is it? Does the world have too many people, or too few? The most honest answer is probably that the threat of “overpopulation” is alarmist and emotion-based, whereas worries about declining birthrates are underappreciated, even though they are more grounded in hard facts. Indeed, if predictions like Kotkin’s play out, and emerging nations follow the demographic trends of advanced ones, the strange phenomenon of societies breeding themselves out of existence may no longer simply be a first world problem but a global one. It’s entirely conceivable that, 100 years from now, should the ‘birth dearth’ continue to spread, our progeny will look back nostalgically on earlier times when people fretted about “overpopulation.” Indeed, in a growing number of contexts, professional demographers already are.

Quite right.  As a teacher, I often hear people pay lip service to the trope that “children are our future,” but few seem to appreciate just how crucial that human capital is.  In the long run, fewer children must mean less of a future.

This reminded me of an exchange about demography on NPR about a month ago.  Even they’ve had a few stories in recent years about the dangers of falling birth rates, but a comment by the snob interviewer in this one irked me a little.  Continue reading

Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party

  • There is, of course, a major strain of thought that connects the Occupy Wall Street crowd and the Tea Party.  Though largely representing opposing sides of the political spectrum, they each have at their core an aversion to corporatism–not necessarily corporations themselves (any OWS protestor who says otherwise is likely a hypocrite), but the political culture of favors, bailouts, pork deals, corporate welfare, etc.  I’d like to see more of a conversation building on this common ground.

 

  • The biggest superficial difference between the two movements seems to be the penchant for violent rhetoric among OWS.  I’m not aware of any actual instances of violence, verbal or otherwise, at tea party rallies, but umpteen such cases have been recorded and broadcasted at OWS protests.  Despite the reputation that the tea party has been stereotyped with in much of the mainstream media as being full of racists and militia-types, one must remember how many would-be infiltrators have been caught and exposed as purposely trying to create that impression (remember the Oregon middle school teacher who foolishly admitted online that he was planning one such act).  I don’t know if OWS has any similar problem, but certainly I haven’t heard of any, and no rowdy hooligans at these rallies seem to be getting alienated by the rest of the crowd, as they were at Tea Party rallies.  Pictures like these, including one of an OWS protester defecating on a police car (warning: graphic), appear pretty authentic, unfortunately.  Those who are complaining about all the arrests accompanying OWS protests might do well to admit that some of these protesters simply aren’t living up to the non-violent heritage of civil disobedience. 

 

Philosophy Classic On Tolerating Stupid But Harmless “Mormonites”

One of my favorite books is John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, a mid-19th century British work of political philosophy, and still an influential classic of libertarian thought.  This very short book is really just an extended essay showing how government authority can only be exercised when people’s actions harm the safety or property of others. 

Right at the end of chapter four of this five chapter work, Mill gives a fascinating example of what he’s talking about: consider the Mormons.  Deluded practitioners of an intellectually baseless religion (Mill says), they are nonetheless hurting nobody other than themselves, and that voluntarily.  His dismissal is pretty funny in its absolute sanctimony; alas, more than a century and a half of further history has failed to train otherwise bright and fair people to analyze religion objectively.  Anyway, to Mill, “Mormonites” are exactly the kind of problem that regulation-happy do-gooders would love to rush in and solve by government fiat, but Mill says that this is precisely the sort of stupid but harmless thing (to society in general) that we need to tolerate. 

Here’s the paragraph in question, and I’ve highlighted some passages I think are especially intriguing, and added one critical thought.  I also split it up into several smaller paragraphs–in Mill’s text, this as all together.  Besides the grotesque illustration of a solid principle–allowing Mormons the freedom of individual liberty–there’s another great idea here: at the end of the passage, Mill warns about the attitude that many conservative commentators say we are now seeing, and which Mark Steyn has dubbed “civilizational exhaustion,” the collective lack of will to preserve that body of identity that has always been called “civilization,” resulting in the slow erosion of that identity by, as Mill puts it, “energetic barbarians.” 

I cannot refrain from adding to these examples of the little account commonly made of human liberty, the language of downright persecution which breaks out from the press of this country, whenever it feels called on to notice the remarkable phenomenon of Mormonism. Much might be said on the unexpected and instructive fact, that an alleged new revelation, and a religion founded on it, the product of palpable imposture, not even supported by the prestige of extraordinary qualities in its founder, is believed by hundreds of thousands, and has been made the foundation of a society, in the age of newspapers, railways, and the electric telegraph.  [So this religion is so obviously wrong that it doesn’t even warrant explaining why it’s so obviously wrong.  Nice.  What makes it even worse, apparently, is the rise of such a religion in our modern age, when we’re supposed to be too evolved and refined for such crude crap.]  Continue reading

Klavan On Immortal Art

I haven’t read much by Andrew Klavan in a while, but today I got blown away by a quick appreciation he wrote of one of my favorite people in the world: the superhumanly brilliant Mark Steyn. 

In the comments, one woman writes that when she told Steyn that his book America Alone made her laugh hysterically and then get very, very scared, Steyn wrote back, “Excellent.  That’s exactly what I wanted.”

But here’s Klavan’s money quote:

The dying of things—of art forms and civilizations as well as people—seems to me the inevitable and steady state of the world: a point of view that leaves me prone more to melancholy than to panic. What I really care about now is the immortal parts of mortal enterprise. I want to get at the spirit of human business: the wisdom and vitality of a culture’s Great Moment preserved in the artifacts it leaves behind. The irrelevant—the stuff that doesn’t matter but is simply beautiful—the music, the poetry, the pictures and storytelling—the arts—that’s where all the joy is, and it’s the joy that seems more urgent to me as the years pass.

Amen.

A Silly Test of Book of Mormon Authorship

This morning, First Thoughts featured a link to a new tool called “I Write Like…” where writers can compare their work to the styles of famous authors.  The site is clearly an ad for a publishing agency, and gives wildly illogical results: for example, though it correctly identified the first chapter of Huck Finn for me as written in the style of Mark Twain and the short story “Araby” as by James Joyce, it also said the first chapter of Genesis (King James Version) was in the style of Kurt Vonnegut and that the first few paragraphs of Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” sounded like H.P. Lovecraft.  Those comparisons are plausible, I suppose, but still a bit far-fetched.

The site does not provide any commentary on its analyses, nor does it even explain its program’s methodology.  Such background information would make this much more enjoyable.  As it is, it’s little more than a cute novelty. 

However, as I played with this toy, I thought about the issue of Book of Mormon authorship.  Though this would hardly be a scholarly study, I wondered what this site would say about it: does all of the text seem to come from one author, or many?  Does it sound like Joseph Smith?  (Though, to be fair, “I Write Like…” surely doesn’t have Smith in its program, nor is it consistent: in the space of two pages, Faulkner’s short story goes from sounding like Lovecraft, apparently, to Vladimir Nabokov.  My test here is purely facetious fun.) 

1 Nephi chapter 1 is written in the style of cyberpunk master William Gibson.  (Strange, I don’t remember Nephi spending much time dwelling on malevolent artificial intelligence.  Perhaps the desert wilderness into which his family was exiled was the Matrix?) 

1 Nephi 22 sounds like Daniel Defoe.  Makes sense.  Nephi Robinson and Lehi Crusoe sure could have used Friday. 

Alma chapter 1 could have come from the pen of Jane Austen, it says.  Continue reading

Real Multiculturalism

The fatal flaw with our society’s obsession with “multiculturalism” is that it is really nothing of the sort–there’s no anthropological searching for the best of various cultures so we can integrate them into each other’s, there’s no melding of multiple heritages to create a new and stronger fusion, and there’s certainly no understanding that these activities exist with awareness of some cultural values being more productive than others, more in line with the greater, general traditions of civilization than others. 

Allan Bloom, in his spiel against relativism in The Closing of the American Mind, makes this point when he notes that only Western European civilization has ever shown any interest in exploring and investigating other cultures.  What politically correct history calls colonialism, we might better call sharing and learning.  Remember the scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian when the zealots indignantly ask, “What have the Romans ever done for us?” only to find themselves rattling off an ever-growing list of benefits of their unequal cultural interaction.  Bloom also laments that we no longer learn foreign history or languages as well as we used to–for all the bewailed closed-mindedness of previous generations, no one can deny that they took the rest of the world far more seriously than we do now.  Now, as Bloom further and incisively recognizes, all that is required is to feel good about other cultures. 

This is the thorn in the side of any rational multiculturalism: this refusal to admit that not every facet of every culture is equal and deserves to be celebrated.  Continue reading

Alexis de Tocqueville On Potential American Despotism

Just when I thought Mark Steyn had used all his A-game material, when he couldn’t possibly come up with anything else to add to his greatest hits canon of jaw-dropping, earth-shattering work, I read this essay in The New Criterion where he quotes Alexis de Tocqueville on that observant post-revolutionary Frenchman’s prediction of how America’s sanguine freedom could be corrupted into the kind of tyranny that American and France had so recently both thrown off.  Steyn quotes him as follows:

I would like to imagine with what new traits despotism could be produced in the world.

 

I see an innumerable crowd of like and equal men who revolve on themselves without repose, procuring the small and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls.

 

Over these is elevated an immense, tutelary power, which takes sole charge of assuring their enjoyment and of watching over their fate. It is absolute, attentive to detail, regular, provident, and gentle. It would resemble the paternal power if, like that power, it had as its object to prepare men for manhood, but it seeks, to the contrary, to keep them irrevocably fixed in childhood … it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their needs, guides them in their principal affairs…

 

The sovereign extends its arms about the society as a whole; it covers its surface with a network of petty regulations—complicated, minute, and uniform—through which even the most original minds and the most vigorous souls know not how to make their way… it does not break wills; it softens them, bends them, and directs them; rarely does it force one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one’s acting on one’s own … it does not tyrannize, it gets in the way: it curtails, it enervates, it extinguishes, it stupefies, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

 

Steyn follows this up with a very droll, “Welcome to the 21st century.”

Now, I assume he’s quoting from Democracy in America, but for the life of me I can’t find that quote to underline it!  There doesn’t seem to be a decent online text I can search.  Can anyone out there please, please find for me which chapter this comes from?  If I find it first, I’ll update this post.

Recent Reactionary Readings

Perhaps I’m so taken with conservative thought not only because it’s the most rational political philosophy, but also because it’s being articulated by some of the most talented sculptors of felicitous prose out there today.  The only things I like more than quality products in an area of my inetrest are quality products that combine multiple areas of interest.  Mark Steyn, for example, is conservative, a talented writer, and funnier than that satirical farce written by Lewis Carroll’s and Dave Barry’s genetically enhanced clone. 

Three things I’ve read in the last couple of days are prime examples of this elementally effective commingling of content and style with which I’m so gleefully taken, like a passive-aggressive, effeminate egomaniac with Twilight

First, screenwriter Burt Prelutsky’s essays in WorldNetDaily have been a staple of my intellectual intake for years.  He keeps within a fairly narrow range of topics, but his anecdotes and quick, witty disarming of liberal bloviating are so refreshing that they function as my morning pick-me-up each midweek morning. 

The money quote from this week’s essay:

Liberals are in favor of open borders because they feel sorry for those people sneaking across. It doesn’t occur to liberals that American citizens suffer from the influx of millions of impoverished illiterates. They are not concerned with the drain on schools, hospitals, jobs and prisons, because what’s important for liberals is that they feel good about themselves. It’s a unique type of selfishness because it’s disguised as an altruistic concern for others. It’s the same reason they oppose capital punishment. They don’t care about the victims or their loved ones. Any schmuck, after all, can sympathize with innocent people. But it takes a very special kind of individual to hold a candlelight vigil for a monster who had raped and murdered a child. A very special kind, indeed.

Next, the inestimable Mr. Steyn himself, who returns from his sabbatical with essays such as this one, typically full of caustic insights somehow so good-natured that they vivisect current events like a surgical laser but leave a fresh, pine-tree scent afterwards. 

Example, on the long-term value implications of last month’s election, namely, that a majority of Americans appear to be enamored of increasingly imitating a European-style socialist state:

Continue reading

Politics and Demography

On Thursday I got to work with some of the Boy Scouts in my area on their Citizenship in the World merit badge.  To prepare for the presentation, I Iooked up some information relevant to current world affairs. 

I was intrigued to find a chart from the United Nations about world demographic trends.  I trimmed it down to the essentials and presented it to the Scouts, who were likewise fascinated.  Consider: in any size population, every male and every female must pair off and have how many children for the population to remain stable?  The answer, of course, is 2: the children replace the parents.  If the average birth rate is more than 2, the population grows; if it is less than 2, it shrinks.  It’s that simple. 

According to the numbers, Africa and the Middle East are booming.  The U.S. is precarious but steady.  Europe is in a death spiral from which it is already mathematically improbable to recover. 

One friend of mine responded to this subject by warning of the tendency to prognosticate, and how often it fails.  But demography isn’t fortune telling.  It’s mere accountancy.  If Country X has 1000 children born in the year 2008, then in the year 2018, it will have no more than 1000 ten-year-olds.  You see? 

And if a country goes for two or three generations with low birth rates, then the burden on each successive generation to repopulate the nation becomes more difficult.  If Country X starts with an adult breeding population of a million people and their couples only have one child per couple, the next wave of adults will only consist of 500,000.  If that generation then only has one child per couple, on average, the next generation will be a piddling 250,000.  And if they then only have one child for, say, every four people (a 0.5 birth rate), that leaves us with a mere 62,500. 

Why would that last generation breed so much less?  After two generations of small families, with all the wealth, attention, leisure, and complacency that implies, how could they not preserve that indolence into their adult years?  Of course, this is exactly what we’re seeing in the Western world today.  Let’s call it the Sex and the City Effect. 

And the children of that last generation (the fourth total in our example), after three generations of increasingly entrenched self-centeredness, can hardly be expected to pair off and have the 32 children each that it would take to undo all the damage done and return their people to the million-strong that their great-grandparents knew. 

For many Asian and Western countries, such as Russia, Japan, and the Czech Republic, such is already their fate, which is why I said before that they are past the point of no return.  This is why you see so many news stories, like this one, about toys that replace the companionship of families for lonely adults in Japan. 

Of course, this has huge ramifications for foreign relations (nations that are newly strong will smell the blood of those who have grown too weak to recover and will act accordingly), welfare (not only will generation four above have to breed like rabbits, they’ll each be financially responsible for the care of several members of the sick, retired older generations), and immigration (those young people, frankly, will get tired of such abuse and leave for greener pastures…which is also already happening in much of the world). 

Here’s my short version of the UN chart:

 


















   

















   

















   

















   
United Nations – Department of Economic and Social Affairs – Population Division
World Fertility Patterns 2007
(United Nations Publication, Sales No. E.08.XIII.4).
Wall chart data in excel format
http://www.unpopulation.org

                     




   
Updated version for the weba
March 2008
All rights reserved.
                                     
                                     
                                     
Trends in total fertility, age patterns of fertility and timing of childbearing
Country or area Total fertility per woman



(12)
WORLD 2.6
More developed regions 1.6
Less developed regions (excluding least developed countries) 2.6
Least developed countries 5.0
AFRICA 5.0
Eastern Africa 5.6
Middle Africa 6.2
Northern Africa 3.2
Southern Africa 2.9
Western Africa 5.8
ASIA 2.5
Eastern Asia 1.7
China 1.4
China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 1.0
China, Macao Special Administrative Region 0.8
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 2.2
Japan 1.3
Mongolia 2.3
Republic of Korea 1.2
South-Central Asia 3.2
Afghanistan 6.8
India 2.8
Iran (Islamic Republic of) 2.2
Pakistan 4.0
South-Eastern Asia 2.5
Western Asia 3.2
Armenia 1.4
Azerbaijan 1.8
Bahrain 3.1
Cyprus 1.5
Georgia 1.6
Iraq 2.8
Israel 2.9
Jordan 3.7
Kuwait 2.1
Lebanon 1.9
Occupied Palestinian Territory 4.7
Oman 3.6
Qatar 2.8
Saudi Arabia 3.1
Syrian Arab Republic 3.8
Turkey 2.4
United Arab Emirates 4.1
Yemen 6.2
EUROPE 1.4
Eastern Europe 1.3
Czech Republic 1.2
Russian Federation 1.3
Northern Europe 1.7
Ireland 2.0
United Kingdom 1.6
Southern Europe 1.4
Greece 1.3
Italy 1.3
Spain 1.3
Western Europe 1.6
France 1.9
Germany 1.4
Switzerland 1.4
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN 2.5
Caribbean 2.6
Central America 2.7
Mexico 3.3
South America 2.5
Brazil 2.1
NORTHERN AMERICA 2.0
Canada 1.5
United States of America 2.0
OCEANIA 2.4
Australia/New Zealand 1.8
Australia 1.8
New Zealand 2.1

 

This also has a major application on the domestic front: voting.  This excellent article explains a truth that the 2004 election made dramamtically apparent: liberals don’t breed.  Largely confined to older, coastal, metropolitan areas, America’s liberals consistently do not have many children.  On the other hand, America’s heartland conservatives have far more children (bringing the national average up to 2.0).  This chart is excerpted from the research:

(Incidentally, Republicans also give more to charity.)

Such, then, may be the resolution of red state/blue state tension: the blue states will voluntarily extinguish themselves.  (Even the mainstream media has picked up on this obvious sign of doom.)  But don’t worry, New England hippies: before you go quietly into that night, your elite suburbs will fill up with refugees from the Old World, who are running from the burden of caring for a dozen pensioners each and the conflicts brought on by massive immigration from hostile countries which are filled to the brim with new babies.  And if those hordes of “developing world” babies grow up and decide to try out the opportunities of Vermont for themselves, the new dark ages may really begin.

I Call Amnesty International To Defend Mark Steyn

I have a few days off work before summer school starts.  What am I doing with that time?  Oh, not much, just painting a banister on the staircase, taking a broken old lawnmower to the dump, and launching a global campaign to save free speech!

I’ve praised Mark Steyn on this blog before; he is, bar none, the wittiest living columnist in the world.  As you might be aware, he is also at the center of one of the most ridiculous PC boondoggles ever–an essay of his, critical of Islamic immigration’s effect on Western Civilization, has spurred a complaint by the Canadian grievance industry, and now he’s about to be convicted by the “British Columbian Human Rights Tribunal,” an Orwellian kangaroo court that could fine him and his publisher, and force them to stop publishing anything they might find offensive. 

The essay in question is still online here.  Read it before it’s banned. 

More details about the case are summarized here

Now, where’s Amnesty International in all this?  A man is being persecuted, and probably muzzled, simply for exercising his right to free speech.  Isn’t this kind of thing right up their alley?  People might disagree with Steyn, but he’s not inciting violence, no matter what his critics might say.  Voltaire is spinning around in his grave. 

Amnesty International is a group of human rights do-gooders who organize letter-writing campaigns to free political prisoners and such.  I joined in 1993–thank you, liner notes in U2 albums.  I haven’t been active in it for years though, mostly due to their overly-zealous opposition to the death penalty and their bizarre definition of torture (I was truly disgusted three years ago when Amnesty officially labelled Guantanamo Bay “the gulag of our time.”  This prompted me to read Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s classic account of an actual Soviet gulag, One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich; it bore very little resemblance to cushy Club Gitmo.) 

But I thought they might be able to help here.  My wife still has a long distance phone card that, since the advent of the ubiquitous cell phone era, has just been sitting in a drawer for years.  It has over 700 minutes left on it.

So this morning I looked up the number for Amnesty International’s headquarters in London and called.  An automated voice told me that I had 120 minutes on the card for this particular call.  A receptionist quickly informed me that if I wanted to initiate a new campaign, I had to call the office in the country in which the offense was occurring.

So I called Amnesty’s office in Canada.  The phone card’s mechanical voice told me that I could use up to 280 minutes for this call.  A receptionist routed me to a “manager,” who answered (natch) in French.  I said hello and he switched to flawless English.

I asked if they at Amnesty were aware of the Mark Steyn case and he said that he hadn’t heard of it (I guess this isn’t as big of a news item as I had thought).  I briefed him on it, emphasizing that this “trial” seemed to be a clear violation of section 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which carries the weight of scripture for Amnesty), and he asked if I would send a summary of the case to his email address; he would then have his researchers look into it and get back to me with their position.  This sounded fair, and I made a note of his address. 

He closed by explaining that if Mr. Steyn was being represented by a lawyer, Amnesty would probably not get involved (which works against me–Steyn is so defended), but that if he was being denied due process, Amnesty might be able to do something (this is more encouraging, as every defendant ever brought before the BCHRT has been convicted.  Every.  Single.  One.  That doesn’t look good for keeping up the appearance of fair trials). 

I thanked him again and we said our goodbyes.  It’s not a terribly exciting start, but it’s something.  I’ll be sure to let you know how this develops. 

Mark, if you’re reading this, keep your chin up, chap.  Folks are rallying around you. 

If anyone else would like to advocate with Amnesty on Steyn’s behalf and help them get on board with us, try writing to info@amnesty.ca.  Better yet, write to Senator Raynell Andreychuk, chair of the Human Rights Committee in the Canadian Parliament: andrer@sen.parl.gc.ca, and to Stephen Harper, Canada’s Prime Minister: pm@pm.gc.ca, and ask them to intervene for Steyn, preferably by dismantling the shameful BCHRT altogether. 

If I don’t receive a reply to my email to Amnesty by the end of the week, I’ll call back.  I’m sure I still have plenty of minutes left on my phone card.

 

UPDATE: Apparently, somebody on Steyn’s team noticed this little activist tribute of mine; a link to this post has been added to the page covering the trial on his web site.  How flattering!  No word back from AI yet…