Frederick Douglass, the great abolitionist who escaped from slavery and went on to become one of the most influential figures in late 19th century America, died on this date in 1895. A lifelong champion of individualism, economic freedom, and constitutional government, Douglass stands as one of America’s greatest proponents of the principles of classical liberalism. We’ve written about Douglass repeatedly over the years here at Reason, and on today’s anniversary of his death, we’re proud to pay tribute once more by sharing two stories from the archives that celebrate his life and legacy.
A Toronto marijuana activist is doing a brisk trade in rolling papers stamped with Justin Trudeau’s face — and he has the Conservatives to thank for the idea.
Chris Goodwin, manager of Vapor Central in Toronto, has sold more than $500 worth of Trudeau-stamped rolling papers in a little more than a day since they hit the shelves in his marijuana-smoking lounge.
“We haven’t broken the Internet…” says Chris Jaffe, vice-president of product innovation at Netflix. He pauses a few seconds for dramatic effect before punctuating the pronouncement: “…yet.” Laughs break out in the streaming video company’s busy control centre, dubbed – appropriately enough – the war room.
eason two of the Emmy award-winning political drama House of Cards has just gone live and data has started to stream in from around the world. The launch is no small feat, considering that it goes live at the same time in each of the streaming service’s 41 countries. Netflix is now responsible for nearly a third of all downstream internet traffic, according to Waterloo, Ont.-based monitoring firm Sandvine. New episodes of its shows inevitably spike those already massive numbers.
For those who haven't had an opportunity to watch, Season Two is brilliant though parts of the plot tend toward the baroque.
As part of its campaign playing to fears of a weakening Quebec identity, the Parti Québécois government has singled out the teaching of history as an area in need of attention.
“Quebec culture and identity have their roots in our history, a facet of our identity that is not adequately valued,” Premier Pauline Marois said after her 2012 election. “A strengthening of the teaching of our history is long overdue.” Her education minister promised curriculum changes to ensure schoolchildren were being properly instructed on the “national question” and last year launched consultations.
So after decades of nationalist tinkering with the history curriculum, guess what young Quebecois think about their culture?
“A large proportion of young Québécois [around 40% of the total of answers collected] hold to a melancholic or sad vision of Quebec history and a perspective in which the history of Quebec is depicted as a struggle,” Mr. Létourneau writes in a summary of his book, titled Je me souviens?
While the struggle for survival has always been part of the Quebecois narrative, it's tone was quite different among previous generations. Pre-Quiet Revolution the emphasis was on heroic struggle and triumph. The continued existence of the French fact, the intransigence of the Church against heretical assault, were seen as proof of the unique strengths of Quebecois culture. A bastion of faith and truth in a sea of Protestant money grubbing. The key difference between these narratives was hope. The Church, for all its flaws, provided hope to the people. That's something the social democratic welfare never has and never could.
This heroic vision was dominant long before anyone in English Canada thought of bribing Quebec's loyalty. While the ROC complains bitterly about the free ride La Belle Province has been getting for half a century, we often overlook the devastation that this dollar bought patriotism has brought to the Quebecois. The real victims of equalization and other inter-regional welfare schemes aren't the suckers in Alberta, B.C. and Ontario who have been footing the bil. Nope. It's the ethnic Quebecois themselves.
It's a public policy truism, at least among those of us on the Right, that the real victims of the welfare state aren't the taxpayers, it's the welfare recipients. The cost of basic social transfers, divided among a large and wealthy population, is comparatively small. Perhaps only a few hundred dollars a year for every middle class taxpayer in the country. It's money that if left in the hands of those same taxpayers would likely be frittered away on amusement. The real victim is the welfare layabout.
There are few, outside of university faculty lounges, who have sympathy for the welfare loafer, the otherwise able bodied moocher who lives off other people's taxes. In fairness the loafer comprises only a portion of those on basic social assistance. Many recipients are in genuine need and are given a pittance by a bureaucracy that does little to help the weak and rather too much to help the clever and dishonest. The loafer certainly gets a free ride. But nothing in life is free. There's a high price for free money.
What does a man do who has no responsibilities? Nothing to fight for. Nothing to life for. Just an organism consuming and consuming. The "help" the welfare state provides is often to maintain a kind of living death among its recipients. It subsidizes negative behaviours, discourages initiative and promotes all manner of vice and violence. Those acquainted with the works of Anthony Daniels will have a very clear idea of what and who I'm talking about.
In the long ago days of the welfare state's early promise, it was hoped that a generous welfare state would lift the poor not simply materially but spiritually as well. So it did to an extent. You spend that much money over so many years its bound to have some positive impact. Clever young men and women were allowed to pursue their education. Abandoned single mothers could raise their children with some measure of security. The unfortunate could obtain basic medical care. The classical liberal will argue that all these things would have happened through private charity. More than this they would have happened with greater efficacy and compassion. But that's not what happen. The State happened.
For every clever young boy in need of a scholarship, for every abandoned housewife, there were hundreds more who were simply responding to incentives. If you pay me not work, I won't work. If I can get more money having children than getting a job, that's what I'll do. If you subsidize me spending years studying pseudo-subjects, that's how I'll spend my youth. When you subsidize short-sighted behaviour you get more of it. You also get more short-sighted people. What past generations have regarded as essential is destroyed: Family, work and some philosophy of life that sustains the individual past the given moment and pleasure.
The welfare state offers only money. It takes away almost everything else.
What is done at the individual level can be done at the level of an entire province. In transforming the second largest province in the country into a welfare scrounger, we have helped destroy traditional Quebec society more completely than the nationalists could ever have done on their own. Some of that traditional society had little place in the modern world, a series of pernicious anachronisms that held back the Quebecois. But there were also things of value. The good and bad were all subsumed. What's left is a embittered hulk.
The young Quebecois thinking that all their history has to offer is tragedy and defeat. That's the classic mentality not of the defeated but of the dependent.
The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture), outlined the Government of Canada's commitment to supporting and enhancing the competitiveness of Canada's pork sector in international markets today at the Canada Pork International (CPI) Annual General Meeting.
How lacking in self-awareness is Mad Max? This much:
"Significant actions have been taken to ensure that Canadian pork producers can better compete in international markets. The ability of Canada's pork sector to adapt to changing trade environments, while continuing to produce a high-quality product at competitive pricing, makes it well positioned to compete in both established and emerging markets."
- Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture)
There is a legitimate role for the federal government in negotiating trade agreements with foreign governments. There is a semi-legitimate role for the government in helping businesses enter foreign markets. I suspect that given the state of modern government more is being done here than handing out business cards.
The son of television host Steve Paikin has announced his intent to run for the Liberal party in the next election.
In an email, Zach Paikin said he supports Justin Trudeau and is confident the Liberal leader “has what it takes” to be prime minister.
Zach Paikin seems to be a fairly smart fellow, so it's unlikely he actually thinks that Justin has what it takes to run a lemonade stand, much less the federal government. But you don't climb the greasy pole by telling off the boss. Nope. In the beginning you say nice things about everything and everyone. The only way to betray someone in the Liberal Party is get within striking distance of their shoulder blades.
Just ask Paul Martin and Jean Chretien.
It is a truism long established that while Conservatives and NDPers tear themselves apart based on ideological differences, the Liberals fighting civil wars based on cults of personality. It's why the Martin-Chretien feud was so interminable. It's why the mere mention of Pierre Trudeau gets even Blue Liberal weak in the knees, despite the fact that the former PM was a socialist in Grit clothing.
When you jettison principles all you're left with is personalities. In that spirit we have the young Mr Paikin's stirring call to political arms:
“I love my country and am ready to do my part for the community that my family has called home for the past century,” he wrote.
If the young man is so keen to serve his country, perhaps he should think of walking over to the local recruiting office. Then again an MPs pension is rather more lush than that of a private soldier. There is the old fashioned notion that service is sacrifice, you give up something important to aid something even more important. You put up with lousy pay, crappy equipment and limited comforts because you believe that serving your country is worth it.
Serving your country in elected office is rather a different prospect. Yes the media can be very mean and intrusive. Yes being insulted and rejected by members of the general public is hard. But it ain't quite like serving in uniform. In all of Canadian history only one politician has ever been assassinated at the federal level: D'Arcy McGee way back in 1868.
The casualty rate in the Canadian Forces since that time has been a wee bit higher.
I won't be as hard on Zach Paikin as I am on Justin Trudeau for a simple reason. Both men are inexperienced and unqualified for the roles they're seeking to win. Thing is that in time the young Mr Paikin seems to have enough wit and confidence to make a real mark in the political life of the nation. Justin Trudeau is on the sad side of forty and has done nothing but give vapid speeches. In all likelihood that is all he'll ever do in public life. The Canadian Barack Obama, an empty suit who will act like a stalking horse for elements less savoury and far more Left-wing than himself.
But please let us stop with this nonsense that politicians are "public servants." They're people doing a job like anyone else. There is nothing more noble about running for office than raising a family, running a company or taking out the trash. Often times being a politician is less noble that being in private sector. For profit businesses create wealth, charities distribute it and governments tend to waste it. What sounds like a more noble way to spend your time on earth?
Best of luck to Zach Paikin in his new career. If he really wants to serve the country, he should start practicing with a Colt C7.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz today announced an investment of $4 million to the Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC) to further strengthen the poultry industry’s role within the Canadian agri-food sector.
The research will focus on helping the poultry processing industry remain competitive, while addressing consumer concerns about poultry welfare and environmental preservation. This will include developing new vaccines, reducing the environmental footprint of poultry farms and providing poultry farmers access to high-calibre training opportunities.