Statistics are pretty meaningless, or misleading – unless you apply common sense. In Canada they have a federal program called Equalization. The federal government collects taxes, and then redistributes the money to top up the budgets of the poorer provinces, purportedly so all Canadians can have access to a roughly equal lifestyle. What in fact happens is that receiving provinces often use the money to provide better services than the contributing provinces.
In Quebec you can take your kids to daycare for $7. Not per hour; per day. Quebec gets the largest share of Equalization, and is over $200 billion in debt. Alberta contributes the most, and has no debt. For American readers, soon to go to the polls; that that is how it works when politicians and bureaucrats get into the redistribution business. Caveat emptor!
What these hare brained equalization / redistribution schemes fail to consider is that the average cost of living in a poorer province or state is usually less than that in a wealthier province or state. (I misspoke. It’s not the schemes that are hare brained, its the people who throw them together to buy our votes. And if it works, it’s us.)
For example: in the United States in 2008 – 2009, Mississippi had the lowest median household income – $35,693. The Northeast had 4 of the wealthiest states and the South had 9 of the poorest ones. However, when differences in local cost of living were factored in, a Mississippian earning $38,000 could live as well as a New Yorker in Manhattan earning $93,000.
Common sense would suggest that unless all the costs of living can be accurately and fairly factored in, and all the advantages and disadvantages – very subjective here – of living in one place over another, (hard to go fishing on Manhattan; limited live theater in Mississippi, can’t climb mountains in Saskatchewan), that governments would be well advised to keep their noses out of income redistribution, and let people choose to move to where the jobs they are suited for are; and to where they want to live.
Plastics have been demonized for decades, but a British study shows that they are well down the pollution list. Here’s an interesting factoid from a recent article in The Economist.
“A cotton tote bag must be used 131 times before greenhouse gas emissions from making and transporting it improve on disposable plastic bags. The figure rises to 173 times if the plastic bags are reused as garbage bin liners. (We do that)
The carbon, (they surely mean CO2) footprint of a paper bag that is not recycled is four times that of a plastic bag.”
Here’s a blog I wrote six years ago.
2012 IWUZ at my local, Natural – and greener than thou – Foods store the other day to pick up some Chia seeds and high potency fish oil. I walked up to the check out, and the twenty-something young cashier chirped out: “Would you like a paper bag for 25 cents or a reusable bag for two dollars?”
I couldn’t resist. “Do you know they have to kill trees to make paper bags? No plastic bags?”
TS: Plastic bags could last for ten thousand years! That’s terrifying!
Me: “So what? It’s a landfill.”
TS: “That’s terrifying!”
TS: “That they would sit there for ten thousand years without biodegrading. That’s terrifying!”
Me: “It’s a land fill. Twenty five years ago I read an article in a science magazine about the Fresh Kills landfill in New York City. They dug down 30 feet and one of the things they found was a 15 year old ham sandwich, perfectly preserved. It hadn’t biodegraded at all.”
TS: “It must have been full of chemicals or something! That’s terrifying.”
Although the girl looked Caucasian, by this time I had the uneasy feeling I was dealing with a greenie who had been trained in North Korea.
Me: “No, it’s lack of oxygen. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.”
TS: “That’s terrifying!”
I gave up. I suppose I might have marginally raised my status in TS’s eyes had I told her that we re-use plastic grocery bags to line the garbage and trash containers; rather than buy them separately at the store. And we have four rain barrels. But I didn’t. I paid my 25 cents, and walked out with TS looking at my back and thinking; “That’s terrifying.”
I walked to my car, reflecting on brainwashed twenty-somethings who somehow are taught not to think, and thought: “That’s terrifying!”
IWUZ considering the lonely existence of “Outliers”. (This is not about belly buttons so read on). Outliers are outsiders – with somber overtones of actually being an outcast. What got me thinking about this was a column by Jeffrey Simpson; a prominent, left leaning columnist here in the Great White North. He was bemoaning the fact that, under a Conservative government Canada has – along with the US and a few others, become an outlier. How did we get to this sad state?
First of all, Canada, (and the US), have refused to borrow money to lend to the Europeans. By increasing our debt so the Europeans could increase their debt, we would help them solve their debt crisis. Got it? So by giving the appearance of exercising common sense, (and the Canadian PM suggesting that the Europeans look for some, which Simpson called “hectoring”), Canada has become an outlier.
Mr Simpson is also upset by the fact that Canada was not given a seat on the UN Security Council. In this case, Canada is an outlier because it supports Israel. Since Israel is a democracy, and the Security Council has, over the years, steered the world towards peace with the guidance of thugocracies and kleptocracies such as Egypt, Syria, Iran, and Iraq; actual democracies are all pretty much outliers at the United Nations. They are really good only for their money.
I suppose, to regain some prestige, Canada could have sought an ambassadorship with the UN’s World Tourism Office. After all, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was given an appointment as a World Ambassador for Tourism. Instead, on principle, Canada withdrew entirely. No wonder it is an outlier. Common sense and principles are so passé at the UN.
Back on planet Earth, the Republicans of Indiana rejected long time Republican Senator Richard Lugar as their candidate for the November elections, and installed a Tea Party Republican in his place. Senator Lugar was an “Inlier”. (Don’t look it up because I just made it up). Mr Lugar was famous for being able to work together with his opponents and get things done. Even President Obama said he could work with Senator Lugar. The Senator and his comrades worked together so well over his 30 year career that the United States is now $16,000,000,000,000 – that’s trillions, in debt; and is adding nearly 4 billion per day, or 120 billion per month. Isn’t compromise grand!! Each US citizen, including children and grandchildren, now owes about $50,000 as their share of the debt. Teenagers have a reason to be rebellious. Newborns have a reason to cry.
You might remember I mentioned Preston Manning a few blogs ago. He was the ultimate outlier politician who preached “We’ve gotta stop borrowing; gotta stop borrowing, gotta stop borrowing”; to the derision and disdain of the left and the mainstream media. But then one day the World Bank warned Canada that its position was precarious, and The Wall Street Journal named Canada an honorary member of the Third World, and Canada finally noticed the cliff. Fifteen years later Canada is in relatively good shape.
So what’s my point? Well, when you’re trying to avoid going over a cliff, compromise is a dirty word. When you know you are right, keep talking. The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. And never give up.
The soil was muddy all the way down to the bottom, 18 inches or so. The moisture may have gone farther. In any case, the earth was unusually wet, and the hills were unusually green. The flatlands were also green, but then they had been green since my grandfather pioneered this land 110 years ago; and together with neighbors, brought water to dry land. A few decades earlier the Palliser Expedition had called it a desert.
Pete Reesor had heeded the call to; “go west young man”, and settled on the banks of Battle Creek in this, “dry as a bone” area of the Northwest Territories. When he arrived, there were no roads, no fences, no power lines, no telephones, no telegraph, few neighbors; and the nearest town was a 50 mile horseback ride north, over the Cypress Hills. (Fifteen years before, Sitting Bull had found refuge in those hills from the US army, upset over a battle in Montana that had not turned out well for General Custer).
South of the hills, it was dry, short grass prairie. But Pete and couple of other visionary ranchers hadn’t seen dry, short grass prairie. Instead they saw irrigated farmland, hayfields, feed for livestock, and insurance against drought. Pete had also seen a sort of prairie oasis; with shade trees, and gardens, and fruit trees, and buildings; and a wife and family. And, after decades of digging, and ditching, and planning, and planting; it all came true.
Grandpa had sold land to the Canadian Pacific Railway for the town site, and provided a few acres for a cemetery overlooking the town site and the valley. Fifty years ago, he was buried there in the family plot; followed by my Grandmother, and my Dad and Uncle. A week ago, under blue skies scattered with white clouds – she loved clouds; we placed Mom’s urn in the blessedly muddy soil beside Dad’s; a half mile from the village where she had been born, and a mile from the farm where Dad was born. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, earth to earth.
But, Mom’s ashes are all that we buried.
We didn’t bury memories, or life lessons imparted, or standards to live by, or the importance of our faith; or, of pursuing dreams. In fact; having our ancestors buried and memorialized in a specific place gives us and our descendants a place to go back to and be reminded of all those important things. Bob Dylan, borrowing from the Apocalypse in the New Testament wrote; “When ya gonna wake up, and strengthen the things that remain?”
Last weekend, we buried what was necessary, and strengthened what remained. It was good.
Going back for our future.
PS – For years I have had the quote above over my desk; ascribed to Lucretius. Jennifer Wainwright pointed out it is by Marcus Aurelius. I do need a good editor! The quote is not meant to imply that I get it right all the time; only that simply being in the minority should not sway you from a carefully, and courageously thought out, and honestly held position.
I used the word nanny statist in my last blog, and someone suggested that I should define it. A nanny statist is someone who believes that the state and its bureaucracy can manage your affairs better than you. They are convinced, and they want you to be convinced, that they are there to protect you from harm.
AURORA, Colo. (AP/CBS4) – A 6-year-old boy was suspended from his suburban Denver school for three days after school officials said he told a girl “I’m sexy and I know it,” a line from a popular song. D’Avonte Meadows, a first-grader at Sable Elementary School in Aurora, is accused of sexual harassment and disrupting other students, according to a letter the school district sent to his mother after he was sent home Wednesday. Aren’t you glad they caught the dangerous little pervert? Nanny statists are also quite adept at catching kids selling lemonade – get this – WITHOUT A LICENSE!!
And they are extremely adept at evaluating, and ruling on even more serious situations so that you can sleep easy. A couple of years ago in Canada, a schizophrenic man beheaded a sleeping, fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Fair enough. Then, a couple of weeks ago, his psychiatrist, Dr. Steven Kremer, told the review board, which looks annually at the killer’s case that his patient is on medication and experiencing no symptoms or hallucinations. Assessments of his condition conclude that he has only a 0.8 per cent chance of re-offending in the next seven years. Accordingly he should gradually be taken out into the public so he can eventually be released. That’s a 0.8 chance of re-offending. Not 0.7, or 8.3. 0.8. Exactly1 in 1250 chances in the next seven years. Don’t you hope you’re not number 1250? This psychiatrist is a true technocrat – an essential cog in the gears of the nanny state. Climate technocrats tell us the earth will warm 1 to 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next 100 years, but they can’t tell me if their will be any overnight frost for the rest of May. Sleep well; they are watching out for you!
Nanny statists also believe they can put your money to better use than you can. Which is why your bridges are falling down, and your country is mired in a debt which cannot be paid in your lifetime. This is also why, someday, your grandchildren will hate you.
Anyway, back to progressives. Since mid 1960s, “Progressives” have more or less had the run of the place. So have we have we moved from a less desirable society to a more desirable society? Certainly, progress has been made on racial discrimination. That is a good thing. And women are free to work at almost any career they choose. “Thank Betty Freidan and Helen “hear me roar” Reddy − free at last!!”
But it doesn’t end there. Women are now EXPECTED to work outside the home. If they decide to bypass the corporate world and run their home, – and as a married man I assure you they do; it is suggested that they aren’t working and are somehow betraying the sisterhood. Apparently, after all the heroic sacrifices made by the bra burners of the sixties, raising kids is no longer considered meaningful work. But not being able to raise kids without having to take a guilt trip does take a bit off the edge of the freedom thing.
In fact, we’ve progressed so far that in many cases women have no choice but to work outside the home. Taxes (which are still not high enough to pay for the party, hence the debt), take a total of 42% from the income of the average Canadian family, and 30% from the average American family, and enough to live on has to come from somewhere. (Additionally, Americans have to pay their own health care insurance costs, or their company does. Canadians get “free” health care paid for by that extra 12% in tax, but have to wait 18 months for a hip transplant).
If these women have children, they often are placed in daycare which is publicly subsidized by the taxes Mom pays on the income she makes working outside the home. How progressive is that?! She gets to buy groceries with what’s left.
Or, put another way; taxpayer subsidized daycare is staffed by low paid childcare workers who replace the original childcare worker –Mom− who has to go out to work to pay taxes to support an endless list of government “benefits” including subsidized daycare, whether she and her husband want to use daycare, or not. Makes sense only if you’re a nanny statist or a bureaucrat.
So, do we need to stop and re-evaluate? Are my granddaughters freer than their great grandmother who died in March, age 91? Have we progressed to a more desirable place? I’ll let you decide, but my mother would say: “Definitely not!”
Below is a link to a Canadian take on nanny statism. It’s 20 minutes, but at the end of it you will understand that nanny statism has overrun western society like dandelions or kudzu. And, like dandelions and kudzu, it won’t go away without a lot of hard, and sustained, work.
IWUZ thinking about the problem with words in the English language; and lo, (behold) (see) (like), there are many. (That’s a progression from old English to new- like, English y’know). But cows also low. And we sometimes feel low. To someone whose native tongue is something simple like Chinese or Nguni, English must be terribly confusing.
After the American Revolution, Noah Webster of dictionary fame, Jefferson, Franklin, and others tried to simplify English, including making the spelling of words more phonetic. Wimmin for women didn’t make it. (Rabid feminists want still want that one because it eliminates the men. Seriously. Colour did become color in the US but it is still colour in England and either one in Canada. But those are minor aberrations.
Here’s what progress used to mean; “the development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial than, and superior to, the previous level”; or, “movement toward a more desirable position from a less desirable position”. That’s a good thing. Of course the opposite is regress. The implication is backward movement, or “to revert to an earlier or less advanced state or form”. That’s a bad thing.
In an election year “progressive” is a big word. “She is a progressive”. “This is a progressive piece of legislation”. Nanny statists have co-opted the word, and it is now attached to anything that will allow the government to take more of your money, and then send a portion back to you with instructions on how to use it.
Of course if you’re not a Progressive, then you must a Regressive. And who would vote for a Regressive, or support a regressive piece of legislation?
The person most credited with changing Canadian political thinking from “we can afford the deficits and debt”, to; “deficits and debt are ruining us”, and even worse for a politician; “running a deficit might get you kicked out of office”; was a politician named Preston Manning. Manning was a preacher’s son, wore glasses, and wasn’t a spellbinding orator. He was caricatured as Mr. Regressive.
But beginning in the 1980’s, Mr. Manning began to warn of the ruination facing Canada if it didn’t get its fiscal house in order. His message was;”We are digging ourselves into a debt hole; we have to stop digging”. He was jeered at and nicknamed Parson Manning; his hairstyle was mocked, his voice was mocked, his message was mocked; but, in the early 1990s Canada’s debt rating was lowered, (sound familiar), and the Wall Street Journal called Canada an honorary member of the Third World. At the time, Canada’s deficit to Gross Domestic Product Level was 6%. The US deficit to GDP is now at 10%.
So; ARE WE THERE YET? Or is it time for; “movement toward a more desirable position from a less desirable position”; in other words, progress instead of progressivism?
IWUZ listening to the coverage of the Alberta election, and the theme of every commentary on every network was; “What happened?”
What happened was that the conservative Wildrose Party, which every pundit, pollster and prognosticator in the land had predicted would win big, was blown out by the “Progressive” Conservatives, or as I call them; the Purportedly Conservatives.
There are lessons here, for true conservatives everywhere.
1. Even if people want change, they don’t want it all at once.
2. The best defense still, is a good offense. During one debate, Danielle Smith, leader of Wildrose said that, “climate science isn’t settled”, and the debate should be monitored. The boos, and catcalls were instantaneous.
A few days before, 49 NASA scientists and former astronauts had said exactly the same thing; i.e., that the science is not settled. By not being properly briefed, or because of the exhaustion of the campaign, Ms. Smith missed a golden opportunity to point out that if NASA scientists were disputing global warming alarm-ism, then empirically, the scientific debate is not over.
3. Try to keep your people who have, or are likely to make extreme comments, out of the limelight. One former pastor / Wildrose candidate; had commented a year before, as a pastor, that practicing homosexuals were going to burn in hell. I would suspect that the pastor was practicing well above his pay grade. But whether you agree with his belief or not; that is an extreme comment to pack in your luggage when you head to the political arena.
4. Don’t expect media coverage to be balanced. Another Wildrose candidate, a Mr. Leech, who was running in an ethnically diverse community, said that, as a Caucasian he was better able to represent all the people than someone who was identified with a visible minority group. He was pilloried. He apologized profusely but it was too late. He had been “exposed!”
Muhammad Rasheed, a “Progressive” candidate was recorded saying that his area is “demographic, and very different”, and people there want “someone like them” representing them in the legislature. Of course he was making exactly the same point as Mr. Leech, just in a different way, and with a different conclusion. Both were actually telling the truth. But there was total silence from the mainstream media regarding Mr. Rasheed. Why the difference? Politicians seen as driving resolutely down the left shoulder of the road with an occasion lurch into the left ditch will get an automatic pass. Get used to it conservatives.
However, there are many things conservatives can and must do leading up to and during elections; and even more critically, between elections, to begin to change the zeitgeist. One place to start is to insist on correctly defining the words we use in our debates, and even more importantly, to define ourselves or the left will be happy to do it for us. In the next blog I’d like to find out what you think of when you hear that someone or some idea is; “progressive”. La di da!
Going back, for our future
IWUZ – door knocking the other evening on behalf of our local Wildrose candidate (Wildrose is a conservative, libertarian party in Alberta), and one of my neighbors said he didn’t get involved in politics. I said you are, whether you want to be or not.
My name is Dave Reesor and I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Most Canadians are aware that there is a provincial election in Alberta on April 23d; just as most Americans, and many Canadians, are aware that there is a Presidential election; now apparently narrowed down to 2 contenders, and elections for Congress, and various other positions, happening in the US. In the IWUZ blog I hope to get behind politics and start a conversation about the ideas, philosophy and worldviews behind politics.
Peter Risser and his wife Anna Hershey moved to the American Colonies from Switzerland in 1739, and pioneered some raw land in the wild American West, about 100 miles west of Philadelphia near what is now Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. The Peter Risser church (Risser is the original name that came over from Switzerland), built in 1775, still stands and is used weekly. A century later, more Hershey’s moved to Pennsylvania and started a candy business.
In 1804, my branch of the family moved again, this time to the wilds of Canada, founding what is now Markham Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. I now have thousands of family members, and many friends, on both sides of the border. The Risser name has mutated into 14 different spellings including Reser, Reese, Reasor, and the Canadian version, Reesor.
The immigrant story has been repeated thousands of times over 400 years, on both sides of the border, by your families as well as mine; families that moved to North America for security, opportunity, and freedom. Even the earliest settlers, our aboriginal peoples, came here from Asia for the same fundamental reasons.
We Canadians and Americans have become exemplary neighbors and allies, at least since we threw you out during the War of 1812. Just joking Americans!! For decades we have been the World’s largest trading partners across the World’s longest – 5000 mile, (8000 kilometer), undefended border.
Canada is the largest foreign supplier of lumber, oil, comedians, actors and musicians to the United States. (I apologize for some of them but Celine Dionne is one of the hazards that come with proximity, and an open border relationship).
The United States supplies Canada with great cars (again), IPods, Phones, and Pads; movies and TV, warm getaways in the winter, the Blues and Rock and Roll; and on occasion, Celine Dionne at Caesar’s Palace. We are grateful.
We live in different countries, but we face the same problem. Our politicians, whether they call themselves (L)liberals or (C)conservatives, progressives or social democrats, regular Democrats or Republicans; all seem to end up loading us with more paperwork, bureaucracy, and nanny state intrusion into our lives. Most politicians seem to succumb to what is called The Beltway Syndrome in the US, or they are Ottawashed in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. I suppose in Britain, common sense is Londoneered out of them.
In any case, too much government and too much bureaucracy is a global disease; one that I believe requires a global solution. Paradoxically, the solution is not global government, but instead, a return to local government. Yet, again paradoxically, it will not be cured in isolation because we live in a socially and economically globalized world.
I believe the cure will begin within the Anglo-sphere; Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The last 100 years have frequently brought us together as natural born allies in the fight for freedom; with our common language, common legal institutions built on common law, and the idea that citizens grant powers to the state, not the other way around. France and Germany, or France and Britain, or even Norway and Sweden can never be allies in this fundamental sense.
Sadly, over the last 60 years, our freedoms have been severely eroded by the bureaucracy, and what Neil Postman called the Technopoly – that shapeless mass of “experts in everything”, meant to make you feel inadequate. It’s time again to unite in arms; this time using electronic media and the ballot box in the fight for freedom, and the right to “Do it Ourselves”.
Contrary to what my neighbor said; we are all involved in all of life, and that includes politics. Let us know what you think.