Saturday, February 18, 2012

National Post and Andrew Coyne

I never seem to have the luxury of lying in bed reading the newspaper.  Gilbert licks my face. If I'm not at Laura's or awake before Laura I have to get his bladder and bowels outside. Then I'm usually downing a morning coffee, showering and shaving and rushing off to work. On weekends there's as many chores and activities that follow the slobbery dog tongue to face alarm clock.
This weekend we are at the Ramada Executive Hotel in Harrison's. I'm fighting a cold and my back is  still recuperating from rolling an ATV.   Rest and relaxation has been forced on me.
After the slobbery tongue alarm clock I walked the dog across the street to the cafe and returned with life refining coffee and delicious egg and bacon breakfast sandwiches. The Ramada had a complimentary National Post newspaper.  I don't usually read the newspaper. I've taken to getting the news via the Economist, BBC on line, CBC driving to work though that as commonly angers me, and word of mouth leading to google searches.
With sandwich done,  still drinking coffee I "read the newspaper'.  Who would have known?  
I was blessed to grow up in Winnipeg and read the Winnipeg Free Press. Travelling in my 20's overseas I fell in love with the Manchester Guardian weekly.  Living in San Francisco I read the Chronicle and actually enjoyed a weekly diet of Hunter S. Thompson in the raw.  Back in my University heydays and former luxurious marriages I even lay in bed weekend mornings reading newspapers from around the world I'd picked up on the way home Friday night from news sellers. I always read news magazines, The World Press Review a favourite when it lived, the Economist a mainstay, and Manchester Guardian Weekly, with Le Monde and Washington coverage thrown in.  But living in Vancouver I was more likely to appreciate news written in the Georgia Strait than the Sun or Province.
Nationally the Globe and Mail floundered and occasionally I'd glance at the Post but never really read it. Like my father read the newspaper, cover to cover.  Dad read the Winnipeg Free Press as a ritual and today at 93 remains  perhaps the wisest man I've ever known not because of arcane knowledge and bits of pieces of jargon or celebrity names but because his remarkable critical thinking.
The Winnipeg Free Press was really an education in critical thinking and probably explains alot about the sometimes brilliance of Winnipeggers when it comes to understanding and assimiliating diverses topics from politics to law, religion and medicine.
I've just read 2 full days of the National Post and damn if it didn't take me back to the halcyon days of the Winnipeg Free Press.  The spread of information was encyclopedic but the relevance was profound. Every one of the stories I'd heard this week were touched on but expanded on in a way that radio sound bites simply cannot do.
I don't know who the editor is but he's obviously a genius.  Some of the best writing I've read in years was represented. Fascinating story about a white guy whose family history from DNA turned out black and jewish because of grandparents who fled persecution.  The Vic Toews case. The Saudi funded Missassauga Iman who spews anti Canadian rhetoric to promote a narrow 'fundamentalist' Moslem viewpoint that inflames youth to acts of violence. A great discussion of the discrimination against mentally ill in media.  The fall out from the Squamish alpinist purist taking garbage (Italian spikes)  off an Argentine mountain top causing international furor.  All really captivating stuff.
But the creme de resistance is this fellow " Andrew Coyne".
In a discussion of Justin Troudeau's rant and retraction Coyne made this comment that really captures the problem of the New Canada.  "the seeming inability of many members of the Liberal party in particular to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Conservative government. They are not merely a government whose policies some find disagreeable - they are beyond the pale. They are quite literally, anti Canadian. This is what comes of spending time with people who think in exactly the same way as you. It becomes impossible to imagine how any rational person could think otherwise."
How perfectly Andrew Coyne has captured the new Canadian mindset of psychotic paranoia masquerading as intelligent dialogue.
Andrew Coyne has speaks to the balkanization that lost the liberals the election and stole it from the grasp of the NDP despite the profound efforts otherwise of Layton.  It gets down to 'shame'.  If you disagree with me your 'opinion' isn't just wrong 'you are wrong'. This was the cornerstone of the radical feminist movement and central to the gun registry folk who profiled anyone who owned a gun as a white male and a baby killer.  Meanwhile Canadian women are takin all the awards for marksmanship around the world while their bitching sisters don't acknowledge them because they don't fit their 'profiles'.
Piagetian psychologists studying adults found that few had progressed to the 'abstract thinking' that Piaget noted in his very bright children by early adolescent. Most in fact stayed in 'concrete idealization' black and white categorization without any comprehension of the range of possibilities. That said 'relativism' the 'whatever' of today's pot head teens is not evidence of critical thinking.  Acknowledging diversity doesn't mean everything is 'equal' but rather that differences exist and are to be celebrated. However, Goreski remains the best hockey player not the best baseball player.
Now I learn that the great anti tobacco lobbyist Dr. Mark Segal who cost that satanic industry 10s of billions of dollars has pulled away from the extremism of the anti tobacco lobby because it has gone beyond science denying people the individual right to smoke outside.  There's no science to saying your smoke outside is hurting me yet there are those people who would argue that 'difference' is dangerous and deny any difference. They want us all to believe as they do and have no respect for diversity.  If you are conservative then you are the anti christ. If you are Christian you should be shot. The odd thing about this rhetoric is that 77% of Canadians are Christians and some 95% of Canadians believe in God.  Those whose 'religion' is 'aetheism' would claim this is 'secular' when to be 'secular' is not to be aetheist by any means.  The vast majority of Canadians decidedly spiritual collectively operate in a secular society but are wearied by the aetheists, materialists and the stupid bullies who batter with shame and rhetoric as logic and critical thinking seem quite beyond their primitive adolescent tribalism.
The Winnipeg Free Press taught a province how to think and I personally would today have Andrew Coyne required reading in all Quebec.  I fear that would cause more scandal than asking the belabored Quebec intellectual romanticists to read about transexualism on Valentine's day.  
I may just subscribe to a newspaper again, the National Post,  for the first time in a decade. Admittedly I prefer the delete button on my iphone and ipad to carrying old newspapers out to the garbage. Gilbert however would prefer  we make more outdoor excursions so perhaps it's the least I could do to read more Andrew Coyne. Critical thinking does come at a cost.  

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