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A summary of where I stand

I unintentionally did a series of posts last weekend, prompted by the idiots occupying Ottawa, so I suppose I should come clean on why I think they are idiots.

I’m all for disagreement, but all sides must be willing to take in all of the facts and then make the clear choice on the correct course of action. Now, this is easier said than done, I get it, especially on issues where choices are made and positions are set based on different guiding principles. (The abortion debate is a very clear example.) But under the pandemic there seems to be this undercurrent of denialism of science prevalent among a certain segment of the population. I’ve never seen any information from these people that stands up to scrutiny, whereas the information I’ve seen espoused by health and disease professionals — i.e., trained professionals, people who have studied the science for decades — is very persuasive to me. Combine misinformation with fatigue and you have a recipe for disaster, as people latch onto examples of misinformation that appeal to their biases and personal experiences, not to mention their wanting to get rid of the cause of their fatigue.

Further combine this with information siloing and you have a fatal combination. It’s the bane of our time. The likes of Facebook, Instagram (both owned by the same company) and Twitter won’t make money if you move off of their platforms — i.e., go to work, go to bed, have dinner, leave the computer or put down your phone — and while you’re on their platforms they make more money if they can keep you clicking. As has been made abundantly clear recently, as if it was hard to figure out intuitively, negative news results in more clicking and more sharing, and bigger profits for the likes of Facebook. And all of the Internet giants want you to feel good — it’s ironic that feeling angry apparently makes people feel good, but that’s a psychological debate for another day — and so if you show them that you love conspiracy theories, guess what? They’re going to feed you more conspiracy theories! Before you know it, you’re down the rabbit hole, getting all of your biases and prejudices confirmed, and the next thing you know you’re claiming that vaccines (which have been around for centuries) actually kill people. I have received a dozen or a couple of dozen vaccines against various diseases in my life, and none of them have killed me!

So that’s why, I believe, many people have succumbed to the false beliefs they now hold. These beliefs are complete and utter bullshit:

  • Vaccines will kill you.
  • All of us “sheep” — i.e., those of us who believe science and scientists — are all part of a huge conspiracy.
  • Cooperating with others in society to attempt to reduce the spread of disease is an abridgement of my “freedom”.
  • Trump won the 2020 US election.

I know the names of some of these idiots, and you might too: Jason Kenney, Scott Moe, Pierre Poilievre, Candice Bergen and Andrew Scheer … among others. I don’t actually know if these five believe the four points above specifically — I actually don’t believe they would — but they have sided with people who believe these things. Kenney in particular looked recently like he couldn’t comply with the truckers’ demands fast enough, falling all over himself to ignore the scientists advising him, to straddle the fence in a way that would hurt if he had any balls; Moe looked like a frightened or cowed child with his deer-in-the-headlights look as he started rolling back “mandates” as quickly as he could! As for Poilievre, Bergen and Scheer, well, the Conservative Party is so desperate right now to look relevant that they’d try anything, and that included (before they reversed course) supporting the occupation of Ottawa by anti-vaxxers and -maskers who do believe the above lies.

I’d suggest that the Ottawa Police Service better get their shit together by Friday.

The beginning of civil war in Canada?

I’m not trying to be alarmist with this title, but the actions of a minority of Canadians are having very negative effects on their fellow Canadians. Some have gone as far as to refer to it as “terrorism”, and if you’re in Ottawa in the middle of it and you can’t sleep at night because of the blaring of horns, that adjective is all too real to you. It’s a classic torture technique to deprive your captive of sleep, and the residents of Ottawa in the vicinity of the occupiers of the city are indeed captives, as are the people being laid off because their employers can’t receive the deliveries they’re expecting across our borders.

So if your actions go beyond simple “peaceful” protest and start very negatively affecting the lives of your follow citizens — whether that effect is death or something slightly less drastic, like depriving them of sleep and income — how is that fundamentally different from an actual shooting civil war? The protestors make the point that if they don’t have this great an effect their point will be ignored. Well, they may be right. However, if you’re such a small minority and your demands are so great — as seems to be the case here — then your point, your demands, should be ignored! Every single one of us in a civilised society has to live within the confines of behaviour accepted by the majority. Anyone who has ever read Lord of the Flies learnt the alternative in high school!

How did we get here? As I said in my last post, this ostensibly started out as a trucker protest by people who opposed “vaccine mandates”. However, it has clearly morphed. The thousands of participants are clearly not the 10-15% of truckers who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Others have glommed onto their protest. Who are the others? That seems to be the biggest unanswered question here, and I sure don’t have the answer. The current federal government is a minority government, which means that most Canadians didn’t vote for them, Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party. Personally speaking I am one of them, but as much as Justin Trudeau irks me, and as much as I have written against him and his leadership on my blog, I support his stance against this array of yobbos, and I think their calls for him to be jailed are abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous.

But why do these people honestly think that they can make this demand? Because they’re extremists who all talk to each other in their own little social-media bubbles. People on both sides of the political spectrum make this mistake and come to different extremist conclusions. In addition to coming to the conclusion that they can call for the overthrow of a duly elected government before the next scheduled election, they advocate for the jailing and execution of the politicians, and the “lying media”, the “fake news”. It’s just bizarre. No matter what beliefs you hold, you cannot reasonably come to the conclusion that you can effectively segregate the population and eliminate every last person who disagrees with you. That guy standing next to you on the protest line likely has a slightly different position to you on any number of issues, so should he/she be executed too? If you answer “yes”, who will be left standing next to you?! Nobody, that’s who.

I used to think that America was on the verge of civil war, and we reasonable people in Canada would be watching the refugees streaming across the border into our civilised country. However, it’s becoming clear that many Americans, mainstream politicians (e.g., Trump, Cruz) and underground right-wing extremists, are treating Canada as the fifty-first state. And we may actually be! The people behind the protests are the sheep of the American right-wing movement (and they even carry their flags!), and they are blindly (and very rapidly!) importing American civil-war politics into a country that simply doesn’t need that garbage!