Not so free speech

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Shenanigans at my alma mater: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/04/06/george-jonas-when-it-comes-to-free-speech-winners-win-losers-try-to-shut-you-up/

You’d think champions of free speech would give up already (not that I think they should). This isn’t the first time a ‘free speech wall’ has been taken down or destroyed on a university campus. Universities are becoming stodgy old places, I suppose. They certainly seem to be so wrapped up in a ‘social justice’ agenda that it’s impossible for them to host the kind of honest conversations one would expect from an institution of higher learning.

Not that juvenile expletives or mean-spirited racial slurs are honest conversation. But they do serve as benchmarks. A freedom and justice robust enough not to cower from the idiocy of a few is a freedom and justice that can weather tyranny.

Queen’s students are, apparently, too stupid to know a person who scrawls an ethnic epithet or some other slight on a public board is an ignoramus (or perhaps not – I suppose a quick test of freedom, or a way to expose your school’s lack of commitment to the same, would be to scrawl one of any number of hurtful terms that immediately trigger a reaction in our sticks-and-stones-AND-names-will-break-our-bones society).

I did my time at Queen’s. The accusations of political correctness are bang on. Leftist righteousness was, and may still be, a religion in the humanities departments at that school.

I don’t want to spend time going into detail about this, except to say it’s a step in the right/obvious direction: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/04/08/ontario_should_force_colleges_universities_to_specialize_says_expert_panel.html

I’ve written before about the profound changes coming to the way post-secondary education is delivered, and this is just the beginning. The days of generalist degrees as the default path for high school grads are ending, and that’s a good thing. Too much time and money wasted.

Margaret Wente’s column today touches on the topic, quote: “…students and their families will probably be taking a harder look at what they’re getting for their money.” (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/fries-with-that-ba-the-declining-value-of-a-degree/article10869374/)

A lie is a lie. The NDP say they have a surplus of $16 million in their budget, but that’s after disingenuously fast-forwarding a payment of $36 million to universities – putting that deficit on this year rather than next.

This columnist got it right that the ‘balanced’ budget is predicated on economic growth that may not happen: http://thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/1121839-leger-ndp-s-future-hangs-on-back-to-balance-claim

But he got it wrong when he said they had no hope of balancing the books a day earlier. Surely not giving away hundreds of millions of bucks as corporate bribes – shipbuilding, mills – would have gotten us balanced at least ‘a day’ earlier?

Could the NDP have done worse? Of course. But since when is that an acceptable standard?

This young girl has started a daily publication at her elementary school. That’s very cool. Someone should start a newspaper at ARHS: http://thechronicleherald.ca/community/bedford-sackville/1120619-doing-what-she-loves

It doesn’t mean he wants total war, but it’s another step towards it: http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/390452/North-Korea-to-launch-missile-TOMORROW-after-warning-foreigners-to-evacuate-South??

I said last week the threat of war in Korea is real and I stand by it. Look, I think the percentage chance of all out conflict is still relatively small – say, less than 10 per cent. But the chances of an ‘incident’ causing casualties is much higher (using the Ericometer 6000 I compute it to be 40 per cent likely). The absurd posturing of the regime – telling diplomats to leave and having a missile test – is predicated on what I think may be an incorrect belief that South Korea and the U.S. will eventually back down. That is by no means a foregone conclusion.

Does Kim Jong-un have the sense to stop when he should? Does his political position even give him the latitude to stop when he should?

I’m always intrigued by the friction between what is right for a society – and should be enforced by law – and what is right for the individual. Clearly, the two can conflict. For example, this story is making the rounds of the Internet: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2306088/Reddit-murder-confession-Naratto-admits-killing-sisters-abusive-meth-addict-boyfriend-bear-meme.html

The confession may or may not be true. What is more interesting to me is the conversation about the act itself (regardless of whether it really happened). Clearly, as a society, we can’t condone vigilante justice – and no, I’m not being sarcastic: acceptance of vigilante justice would very quickly devolve into chaos and blood feuds. But, what if you were in the situation described or, to make it more clear, a situation even more perilous (not that this one isn’t grim)? What if you thought the life of a loved one was in imminent peril and there was nothing the law could do to protect him/her?

This is very cool. Now let’s see if we can get them a Predator to really deter poachers: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/india-drones-protect-rhinos-poachers-18904921#.UWQeUaXdKxJ

Finally, in keeping with the violent turn this blog post has taken, two people the world would be better without (if the allegations are proved accurate): http://abcnews.go.com/International/muslim-parents-attack-daughter-acid-talking-boy/story?id=17624182#.UWQe26XdKxI

 

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