The Quebec Election, Oct. 1st 2018

Some Good News & Some Bad

2018-10-04, 2018-10-11, update to table of election results

My assessment of the good and bad results of the recent Quebec election, on October 1st.

Sommaire en français Mon appréciation des bons et mauvais résultats des élections au Québec du 1er octobre.

In the October 1st 2018 elections in the Canadian province of Quebec, a major upset occurred. The Quebec Liberal Party (QLP), which has held power for most of last 15 years, was swept from power and a new party, the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ), won a solid majority in the legislature. Its leader François Legault thus becomes premier of Quebec. In addition, the Parti Québécois (PQ) lost many seats and was reduced to a shadow of its former importance, while the ostensibly far-left but communitarian Quebec Solidaire (QS) went from marginal status to being about equal to the PQ. There are 125 seats in the Quebec National Assembly. Thus, 63 are required to form a majority government. The following table sums up the situation before and after the election.

Political Party Seats before election Seats after election Seats after recounts
2018-10-11
Quebec Liberal Party 66 32 31
Parti Québécois 28 9 10
Coalition avenir Québec 21 74 74
Quebec Solidaire 3 10 10
Independents 6 0 0

First, the bad news:

Ève Torres
Click to enlarge
Ève Torres, a QS candidate.
Fortunately she did not win.
Unfortunately she came second.

  • The very weak vote for the centre-left PQ, the only social-democratic party of the four major ones, and the party which in 2013-2014 proposed a very good Charter of Secularism. Unfortunately the PQ’s position on secularism has been erratic since then.
  • The election of the centre-right CAQ as the new government. However, the CAQ is probably no further to the right than the former PLQ government which imposed a lot of economic austerity. Also, the CAQ is nowhere nearly as far right as Doug Ford in Ontario or Donald Trump in the USA. For example, all four parties including the CAQ recognize that global warming is a major problem to be faced. As this is the first time the CAQ has held power, we will have to see just how they position themselves in practice.
  • The new premier François Legault plans to keep the crucifix in the legislative chamber (salon bleu) of the National Assembly. This old symbol of Catholicism must be removed, perhaps installed in a museum in the National Assembly, but Legault will evidently not do that. Its continued presence in the legislature is an unacceptable violation of secularism.
  • The worst news of all: the gains made by Quebec Solidaire, a group of sectarian regressive leftist anti-secularists, objective allies of political Islam, whose politics are seriously corrupted by identity politics, the conflation of race with religion and related errors. The gains by QS are a major cause of the losses by the PQ.

Now, the good news:

  • Legault plans to ban face-coverings in the public service, thus replacing the PLQ’s bill 62 whose article 10 (which banned face-coverings) was suspended by two court decisions.
  • Legault plans to ban religious symbols worn by public servants in positions of authority, i.e. police, judges, prison guards and teachers.
  • Legault has indicated that he is prepared to use the so-called “Notwithstanding” clause if necessary (for example, if the courts attempt to suspend a ban on face-coverings or religious symbols). This pro-secular decisiveness is admirable, especially considering the waffling and hostility of most other politicians when dealing with secular issues. Also, this is very different from the situation in Ontario where premier Doug Ford’s use of that clause was for rather frivolous reasons based at least partly on a personal settling of accounts with Toronto City Council.
  • The best news of all: the decisive defeat of the Quebec Liberal Party, a party which is anything but “liberal” despite its name, a corrupt gang of anti-secular multiculturalists who regularly denigrated the Quebec population which they were supposed to represent. Good riddance. Note that the QLP remained in power largely thanks to overwhelming, unwavering and obsessive support from Quebec’s anglophone regions (which, by all appearances, would continue to support the QLP even if that party chose a stone statue of Queen Victoria as its leader). Despite continued support from them in the recent election, the QLP lost much support outside anglophone regions. Thus Quebec’s francophone majority, which is very pro-secular, has finally regained some control of its government. The tail no longer wags the dog.

A final reminder:

As the anti-secular forces have no rational arguments to justify granting privileges to religion, they will do what they regularly do: resort to slander and defamation.

We can expect the fanatical multiculturalists who currently control most political parties, especially the federal ones, to go ballistic in reaction to Legault’s secular initiatives. As the anti-secular forces have no rational arguments to justify granting privileges to religion, they will do what they regularly do: resort to slander and defamation. They will accuse Legault and his supporters of “racism” or any number of similar sins. In fact, they have already begun. Their slander must be resisted resolutely. Remember, anyone who conflates race and religion is incompetent to deal with either. Such accusations simply underline the intellectual sloth and vacuity of those who oppose secularism.


Some Relevant Links:


Next blog: The Moral and Intellectual Bankruptcy of Antisecularists

Ensaf Haidar Challenges Canadian Orthodoxy

Raif Badawi’s wife refuses to kowtow to the “diversity” ideologues

2018-09-22

I congratulate Ensaf Haidar for her call to ban face-coverings in public services and for her support for Maxime Bernier’s criticism of Trudeau-ite multiculturalism.

Sommaire en français Je félicite Ensaf Haidar pour son appel à interdire les couvre-visage dans les services publics et pour son appui à Maxime Bernier qui critique le multiculturalisme à la Trudeau.

As most people are already aware, Ensaf Haidar is the wife of Raif Badawi, a Saudi writer, dissident and activist who has been imprisoned since 2012 in Saudi Arabia. His only “crime” was to call for a liberalisation of the Saudi regime.

Ensaf Haidar now lives with her children in Quebec and all received Canadian citizenship on July 1st 2018. Haidar has worked tirelessly for her husband’s release and for human rights in general, and has received several awards for her efforts. Two recent examples are the 2017 Goldene Victoria, awarded by the Verband Deutscher Zeitschriftenverleger (Association of German Magazine Publishers), and the 2018 Henry Zumach Freedom From Fundamentalist Religion Award from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).

2018 Henry Zumach Freedom From Fundamentalist Religion Award
Ensaf Haidar: 2018 Recipient Henry Zumach Freedom From Fundamentalist Religion Award

Just as her husband defied Saudi orthodoxy by calling for freedom of expression, Ensaf Haidar challenges Canadian orthodoxy […]

Just as her husband defied Saudi orthodoxy by calling for freedom of expression, Ensaf Haidar challenges Canadian orthodoxy by exercising her freedom of expression in defiance of the conventional ideology monolithically imposed by most Canadian mainstream media and politicians, especially the federal government of Justin Trudeau. On her Twitter account @miss9afi, she has repeatedly urged the new Premier of Ontario to follow Quebec’s lead and ban the niqab in Ontario schools, public transportation and government services.

2018-09-16, Tweet, Ensaf Haidar
“I urge Ontario PM to follow Quebec’s and outlaw the Niqab
from schools, public transportation & all govt services”

Unfortunately the comparison with Quebec no longer applies, because article 10 of Quebec’s Bill 62, which banned face-coverings in public services, has been suspended by the courts and the Quebec government has failed to make any effort to fight back against the suspension.

Furthermore, Ensaf Haidar has expressed her support for Maxime Bernier’s criticism of Trudeau’s dubious cult of “diversity,” despite the fact that Bernier has been the target of an enormous degree of contempt and demonisation from the media for a position which is, in reality, eminently reasonable. Tarek Fatah writes about this in his article of September 18th, Why Raif Badawi’s wife supports Maxime Bernier in the Toronto Sun. Haidar expressed her shock at the negative reaction to Bernier and his new political party (People’s Party of Canada or PPC) in a tweet on September 18th.

2018-09-20, Tweet, Ensaf Haidar
“I am shocked at the reaction to my support of the #PPC and @MaximeBernier,
I will listen to myself and look for the new change”

Trudeau’s “diversity” is simply […] a buzzword which he uses to set the stage for spurious accusations of racism or xenophobia against anyone who criticizes his pandering to religious minorities.

I do not support Bernier’s new party—its economic policies are those of the libertarian right—but I agree with his and Haidar’s criticism of Trudeau’s obsession with what Bernier calls “extreme multiculturalism.” Indeed, Trudeau’s multiculturalism is cultural relativism, leading to complacency and inaction in the face of religious fanaticism. Trudeau’s “diversity” is simply code expressing his extreme intolerance of any disagreement with his ideology, a buzzword which he uses to set the stage for spurious accusations of racism or xenophobia against anyone who criticizes his pandering to religious minorities.

I congratulate Ensaf Haidar for her principled support for Bernier’s criticisms and for her opposition to the Trudeau-ite obsession of allowing religious face-coverings anywhere and everywhere.


More Relevant Links


Next blog: The Quebec Election of October 1st 2018

The Greatest of All Vices

2018-09-03 2018-09-04: name correction

I discuss several examples of blind and unhealthy conformism, i.e. conforming with the current “diversity” mania.

Sommaire en français Je présente plusieurs examples d’un conformisme aveugle et malsain, c’est-à-dire, se conformer à la mode actuelle de la « diversité ».

I once remarked in a previous blog that a favourite aphorism of mine is “the only vice is conformism” but that I was unable to locate the source. Since then I have determined that I had it exactly backwards. In fact, the correct quotation is “Non-conformism is the major, perhaps the only, sin of our time.” It is attributed to early-twentieth-century American author and psychologist Robert M. Lindner. Apparently Lindner encouraged raising children so that they would grow up to be independently minded. A noble goal, so I think that he would probably approve of my version, despite my error, because its intent is very much in line with his.

So I will stick with my version, albeit with one small improvement, changing “only” to “greatest” thus yielding:

The greatest vice is conformism.

and by that I mean that, when the vast majority–or at least the most vocal–are heading in one direction, it is a serious failure to follow them without first considering the merits and demerits of their choice. Blind, unthinking conformism is perhaps the worst of all vices.

I am a big fan of CBC Radio. I often listen to the programme “Because News,” a comedic quiz show based on current events, which normally does not take itself too seriously, except when certain specific subjects happen to be raised. For example, whenever the topic of conversation turns to Quebec and/or religious symbols, someone usually makes an obnoxious remark denigrating the Québécois for their alleged “intolerance” (or some synonym thereof). Recently, the tweets of Maxime Bernier criticizing Trudeau’s obsession with “diversity” have been in the news, and this issue turned up in the episode of Saturday Sept. 1st. Several of the show’s panelists therefore fell immediately into line with the dominant discourse of the day (which here in Quebec would be called « la pensée unique ») and made the requisite remarks denigrating Bernier for his alleged bigotry, while genuflecting in the direction of Trudeau-ite ideology. No-one dared offer a dissenting opinion. There was no hint whatsoever that maybe Bernier was not completely wrong. Their behaviour was an example of a blind and dangerous conformity.

Maxime Bernier is the sort of politician for whom I would never vote, because he is a right-wing libertarian, the sort who could be expected to allow the worst excesses of free-market capitalism, while at the same time weakening or cutting social programmes which help protect against those excesses. However, his criticism of Trudeau’s diversity schtick was totally valid and indeed necessary in order to resist the steamroller of that dominant ideology. Bernier also a displayed considerable courage in doing so—although, in his case, probably mixed with a good dose of ego.

Just how entrenched this ideology is can be measured by the fact that even the Conservative Party deemed it necessary to condemn Bernier’s remarks. So that party, in addition to being a hotbead of right-wing pro-Christian bigotry, is now also infected by the malady of communitarianism and clientelism, just like the Liberals and the NDP. Even the Conservative Party climbs on the bandwagon of diversity and identity politics, trolling for votes in certain ethno-religious communities.

The bottom line is this: The obsession with “diversity” has nothing to do with combating racism or xenophobia or anything of that nature. Rather, it is at best fashionable nonsense and, at worst, it is a form of soft (and sometimes not so soft) censorship whose purpose is to silence any dissent against the prevailing neoliberal agenda of weakening borders, compromising national sovereignty and muzzling criticism of religion, in particular criticism of Islam. This was clear when Trudeau recently vituperated against a Québécoise woman, accusing her of racism, when all she had done was ask a question about who would pay the considerable cost of a recent wave of irregular immigrants who crossed into Quebec from the US. Those who defend Trudeau’s indefensible behaviour say that the woman in question is a member of a “far-right” organization. Even if that were true, it is irrelevant, because her question was eminently legitimate.

Recently, the columnist Sophie Durocher gave another example of how “diversity” is simply code for censorship, this time from Quebec’s notoriously bad Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) programme. ERC, which is compulsory at all levels of primary and secondary schools, indoctrinates children into a complacent and totally non-critical attitude towards religions. Durocher cites an example from an ERC textbook involving a girl Laurence who questions a classmate’s compliance with Ramadan, shocked that she would deny herself food and water during the day for an entire month. But the classmate responds that she is happy to conform to her “faith.” One of the questions following this story asks, “Was Laurence’s question with respect to diversity appropriate?” In other words, the ERC course teaches children that it is inappropriate to question a religious practice, even if that practice may have serious negative effects on a child’s health and development. Just shut up or we will call you a racist or worse.

If the Ethics and Religious Culture course were in fact ethical, it would instead encourage children to challenge religious tenets. Furthermore, it would question the wisdom of parents who would impose a radical and unhealthy practice such as Ramadan on growing children.

Under such circumstances, non-conformity with this communitarian ideology is everyone’s duty.


Next blog: Quebec-Bashing: Three Recent Examples

More Dubious Words

2017-01-16

In a previous blog Dubious Words I presented several words and expressions which should be used with caution, or never used at all, and which should be met with suspicion when used by others, the worst being “Islamophobia.” In this blog I present several more expressions whose meaning has been corrupted by bad usage, usually by what has become known as the “regressive left.”

Sommaire en français Dans un blogue précédent Dubious Words j’ai présenté plusieurs expressions douteuses, qu’il faudrait éviter ou utiliser avec précaution, et qui devraient inspirer de la méfiance si utilisées par les autres, la pire étant la soi-disant « islamophobie ». Dans le présent blogue je présente encore plusieurs termes dont le sens a été corrompu par une surutilisation et par le galvaudage, surtout par ce que l’on appelle courramment la « gauche régressive ».

Clash of Civilizations

The origin of this expression is the title of a 1993 article in the magazine Foreign Affairs and a subsequent book, both by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington who hypothesized that “people’s cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world.” (See the Wikipedia article Clash of Civilizations or in French Le Choc des civilisations.)

This expression has come to be used—typically by regressive leftists and Islamophiliacs—to denigrate anyone who sees Islam or Islamism (a subset of Islam) as threats. In other words, it is used by those who, through intellectual sloth or political cowardice or whatever reason, refuse to criticize political Islam, in order to bully and dismiss those who do dare to criticize it. It has become another weapon in the arsenal of the regressive left, along with “Islamophobia,” “xenophobia,” “racism” and similar terms. To say that someone is a proponent of the clash of civilizations is basically a euphemism for calling them a racist or a xenophobe.

It is interesting to note the role which essentialism plays here. To say that someone has a “clash of civilizations” mentality is akin to accusing them of seeing Muslims as essentially dangerous and backward, unable to adapt to modernity. And yet regressive leftists themselves display a similar essentialist attitude, but they draw the opposite conclusion: Muslims (which they conflate with Islamists) cannot adapt; therefore we must accommodate them (for example by allowing the veil everywhere).

Populism

In recent years, this term has been used in an increasingly pejorative sense, identifying it with right-wing or extreme right-wing movements, likes hordes of angry degenerates enthralled by dangerous and manipulative demagogues. This demonizes people in general. Demonization is rarely if ever appropriate because it stifles reflexion and debate about the causes of the behaviour being demonized.

In and of itself, populism is neither good nor bad, neither left nor right politically. It simply means appealing to the interests or perceived interests of the common people. That appeal may be either left-wing or right-wing or neither. Populism may appeal to the best in people—a desire for justice and equality, for example—or it may exploit baser instincts, or it may be somewhere between these two poles.

Populism, like diversity, like tolerance, is neither virtue nor vice. It can only be judged in context.

Fascism

This word is vastly overused. Accusing one’s political adversaries of being fascists or, worse, nazis (i.e. extreme fascists) is an all-too-frequent form of abuse. Regressive leftists exploit this term in order to target anyone who does not share their uncritical attitude towards Islamism and Islam. According to historian Roger Griffin who has specialized in this area, fascism is a modern political ideology which favours an ultranationalist revolution in order to restore the nation to some (probably imaginary) glorious past. Although Donald Trump’s program meets these criteria partially, he is nevertheless NOT a fascist because the revolutionary aspect is missing.

This raises the question of radical, political Islam. Is the term “Islamofascism” reasonable? The late Christopher Hitchens certainly thought so in his 2007 article Defending Islamofascism. It’s a valid term. Here’s why. So does Hamed Abdel-samad, author of the book Islamic Fascism. However Griffin prefers a stricter definition: in his opinion, the term “Islamofascism” is inaccurate for two reasons: (1) it refers to Islam while it should refer to Islamism; and (2) fascism refers to a modern movement based on nationalism more than religion whereas Islamism is an early medieval religious ideology unrelated to nationalism. The first point is indisputable, whereas the second leaves room for debate.

Despite its shortcomings, the use of “Islamofascism” has at least one major advantage: it defies the regressive left’s attempts to monopolize the term “fascism” for its own tendentious purposes!

Values (or lack thereof)

The question of values was raised during the 2013-2014 debate over the Charter of Secularism proposed by the previous Quebec government. The preliminary name of that legislation, before the final text was released, was the Charter of Quebec Values and the use of the word “values” was denounced by critics of the Charter, as if there could be something wrong with having societal values. Indeed, some opponents of the Charter continue to refer to it by its preliminary name, rather than its official name “Charter affirming the values of secularism and religious neutrality of the state and equality between women and men and governing accommodation requests” for the obvious reason that they want to continue to bash the concept of Quebec values.

More recently, Conservative Party leadership candidate Kellie Leitch has attracted a lot of flack for her proposal to screen would-be immigrants and refugees for “anti-Canadian values.” Leitch was soundly criticized for what many saw as a repeat of her promotion, during the 2015 election campaign, of a Conservative proposal to establish a tip line for so-called “barbaric cultural practices.” Both Leitch’s Canadian values and the Quebec values of the Charter of Secularism were criticized as right-wing measures, whereas in reality the Quebec Charter was motivated by Enlightenment values traditionally defended by the left (but currently abandoned by parts of the left). In both cases, criticism came mainly from Islamophiliacs, i.e. those who impose a taboo on criticism of Islam or Islamism.

Finally, Justin Trudeau, Canada’s most famous bimbo and, coincidentally, its Prime Minister, added his own particularly vapid point of view to this debate when, in a December 2015 New York Times article Trudeau’s Canada, Again he opined that “There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada” and that Canada is “the first postnational state.” Canada, the uncountry.

Cutting through the bullshit, we need to get real. There is nothing wrong with having societal values. There is nothing wrong with having a core identity. The question is: What values? What identity? Where do those values come from and how are they manifested? When the mere mention of the question of values leads to passionate opposition and knee-jerk vilification, then reasoned debate becomes impossible. In my opinion, a lack of values or a lack of core identity is no vision for a country.


Next blog: Fools Against “Islamophobia”

Multiculturalism, Orientalism and Exoticism

2016-11-06

An observation about multiculturalism by Mehdi Nabti, a musician living in Québec, born in France, of Kabyle (Algeria) ancestry.

Sommaire en français Une réflexion au sujet du multiculturalisme, de Mehdi Nabti, musicien vivant au Québec, né en France, d’ascendance kabyle (Algérie). Voir la citation ci-dessous qui débute par « Le multiculturalisme est selon moi une dérive de l’orientalisme et de l’exotisme […] »

Recently (2016-11-02) I attended the press conference of the Rassemblement pour la laïcité (RPL, Alliance for Secularism) at which the RPL launched its newly updated (2016) declaration entitled “La laïcité, la seule issue possible” (“Secularism, the only possible solution”)

There were several speakers, each of whom took the prodium briefly at the press conference:

  • Djemila Benhabib, prize-winning author and secular activist
  • Karim Akouche, author
  • Simon Pierre-Savard-Tremblay, author and sociologist
  • Mehdi Nabti, author, composer, musician
  • Marc Laviolette, former president of the CSN trade union federation
  • André Lamoureux, political scientist and spokesperson for the RPL

Despite the short time available, each of the speakers made cogent and compelling remarks. I was particularly intrigued, however, by the thoughts of Mehdi Nabti. He explained that a few years ago he had been invited by Ubumag, a webzine based in Algiers, to write about his experience as an artist and recent immigrant to Quebec. Here is part of what he wrote:

Le multiculturalisme est selon moi une dérive de l’orientalisme et de l’exotisme : au mieux chacun se présente à l’autre dans sa posture la plus édulcorée, la plus folklorique. Au pire on s’observe mais on ne collabore pas, chacun restant sur ses positions, dans ses traditions. Les artistes eux-mêmes peuvent parfois renforcer et diffuser des stéréotypes négatifs sous couvert de multiculturalisme. Folklorisation à outrance, déguisements, posture et discours passéistes. Le multiculturalisme c’est « rester dans votre communauté. Vous ne valez pas mieux. » Ce goût immodéré pour le folklore immigrant qu’on observe ici au Québec va de pair avec le repli religieux. Ce phénomène ne doit pas être sous-estimé et doit être contrebalancé avec la valorisation des artistes progressistes, intellectuels, tournés vers demain et enracinés dans notre temps. Sans ce type de modèle positif, la jeunessse se tournera, comme en France, vers les rétrogrades, car ce sont eux qui monopolisent les médias et le discours publics.

Here is my English translation of the above:

Multiculturalism is, in my opinion, a derivative of orientalism and exoticism. At best, each individual approaches the other by presenting a sanitized and folkloric image of oneself. At worst, individuals observe each other but do not collaborate, each remaining rooted in one’s own situation, one’s own traditions. Artists themselves sometimes reinforce and promote negative stereotypes under the guise of multiculturalism, with exaggerated emphasis on folklore, costumes, outmoded attitudes and forms of expression. Multiculturalism means “Keep to your own community. That is all you are worth.” This overrated taste for immigrant folklore, which we see here in Quebec, goes hand in hand with the withdrawal into religious identity. This phenomenon cannot be underestimated and must be counterbalanced by recognition of the value of progressive and intellectual artists, whose expression looks to the future while being firmly rooted in the present. Without this kind of positive role model, young people will inevitably turn—as they have in France—towards reactionaries who look backwards, as it is they who monopolise the media and public discourse.


Next blog: Anti-Muslim Incidents in the USA

Challenges for Canadian Secularists

2016-09-20, updated 2016-09-21

A (non-exhaustive) list of seven challenges which Canadian secularists must meet in order to promote a state which is truly independent of religious interference.

Sommaire en français

Une liste (non exhaustive) de sept défis que les partisans de la laïcité doivent relever afin de prôner un État véritablement indépendant et libre d’ingérence religieuse. Ces défis sont :

  • Prôner l’abolition de la monarchie
  • Abandonner le multiculturalisme (communautarisme)
  • S’opposer à tous les intégrismes, y compris l’islamique, et pas seulement le chrétien
  • Reconnaître que certains codes vestimentaires sont nécessaires pour la laïcité
  • Respecter le choix du Québec en matière de laïcité
  • Laisser tomber votre puéril engouement pour Saint Justin Trudeau
  • Rejeter l’influence de la gauche régressive

CANADIAN SECULARISTS MUST:

PROMOTE ABOLITION OF THE MONARCHY.

The monarchy is a religious institution, incompatible with fundamental human rights.

The fact that Canada’s head of state must be of a particular religion is bad enough, but it is only a symptom of the underlying problem: the monarchy is essentially a religious institution, in which the king or queen rules by “divine right,” i.e. a mandate from an imaginary divinity. The fact that Canada’s monarchy is constitutional does not change that situation; it simply makes the monarchy non-absolute. Similarly, so-called “moderate” Christian churches avoid some of the worst excesses of fundamentalist churches, but they are still Christian.

Furthermore, hereditary transmission of the title of head of state violates the principle of equality which is fundamental to human rights and secularism. Finally, the bizarre circumstance that Canada’s monarch is a foreigner—and the head of state of a foreign country—tends to favour those whose ethnic background is from that country and to undervalue all others.

ABANDON MULTICULTURALISM.

Multiculturalism = communitarianism = cultural relativism = ethno-religious determinism = religious essentialism = soft racism = an electoral strategy of unscrupulous politicians

I have criticized multiculturalism in previous blogs and articles and many other writers have pointed out the flaws in this nice-sounding but retrograde concept. In particular the Canadian Multiculturalism Act must be repealed or at least modified substantively so that it can no longer be used to favour the more religious (including fundamentalists and worse) over the less religious and the non-religious.

OPPOSE ALL RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISMS, INCLUDING ISLAMIC.

Christianity is not the only crappy religion. Islam is just as dangerous—and currently it is arguably even worse (which does not imply that we can stop criticizing Christianity for now). Sikh, Hindu, Judaic and other fundamentalisms are also dangerous.

In particular, we must resist the Islamist ploy, so commonly used to manipulate well-meaning fools, of playing the victim, of exaggerating the seriousness of anti-Muslim acts. In Canada, hate crime statistics indicate that the most frequent targets of such acts continue to be blacks and Jews.

Although is it obviously unfair to blame all Muslims for the actions of Islamist terrorism, all Muslims, including so-called moderates, nevertheless have a responsibility to confront the reality of that terrorism—i.e. the fact that the coran and other core documents of Muslim tradition contain much hate propaganda and many calls for deadly violence—and to distance themselves definitively from it. The fact that the torah and the bible also contain similar content does not mitigate Muslims’ responsibility; it simply means that Christians and Jews also have responsibilities.

As the journalist Joseph Facal puts it, not all Muslims are guilty but all are responsible. Adopting the posture of a victim is a strategy for shirking those responsibilities. (“enfermement dans une posture victimaire qui conduit à se défiler devant ses propres responsabilités.”)

RECOGNIZE THAT SECULARISM REQUIRES DRESS CODES.

Or do you want police and judges to wear collanders and niqabs?

It is unacceptable for public servants—especially those with coercive power such as police, judges and prison guards—to display blatant symbols of religious or political affiliation while on duty. To allow such aberrant behaviour has nothing to do with “rights”—rather it amounts to granting a privilege to the wearers of such symbols and to their religion or ideology, a privilege which compromises everyone else’s freedom of conscience.

Face-coverings are even worse, as they are impediments to security and communication, among other issues. They should be forbidden for all users of public services, not just state employees on duty.

RESPECT QUEBEC’S CHOICES.

The Québécois have every right to choose laïcité without being vilified for it.

During the debate over Quebec’s proposed Charter of Secularism in 2013-2014, opposition to the Charter from Canada outside Quebec was ferocious and based largely on ethnic bigotry against Quebeckers, bigotry which is often called “racism” (although inaccurate here, because French-speaking Québécois constitute a nation, not a “race”). When the PQ goverment was defeated in the provincial election of April 2014 and the Charter thus died, the defeat was because voters rejected the PQ’s sovereignty option, not secularism. Polls show that secularism remains very popular among Quebeckers, and their secularism is more in line with the modern republican tradition of laïcité which is obviously superior to the lame 17th-century Lockean pseudo-secular tradition which is dominant in English-speaking countries and remains so, largely as a result of anglo-ethnocentrism.

(This tension was also very evident during the recent burkini controversy. More on that in a future blog.)

ABANDON YOUR CHILDISH INFATUATION WITH SAINT JUSTIN TRUDEAU.

Justin Trudeau is as anti-secular and as shallow as Pope Franky. Like the pope, his strength is in dishonest self-marketing.

Trudeau opportunistically courts the votes of various religious communities by flirting with very dubious Islamists (with ideological affinities to the Muslim Brotherhood) and with fundamentalist Sikhs.

Trudeau insults gays and women by marching in gay parades and claiming to be a feminist while continuing to be very chummy with religious fanatics who practice gender segregation and oppose gay rights and gender equality.

Trudeau slanders secularists by lumping us all in the same category as a bigoted con-artist like Donald Trump.

To criticize Trudeau does not imply support for his adversaries and enemies. That would be falling into the trap of what I call the “binary fallacy” and which Wikipedia calls “False dilemma”.

REJECT THE REGRESSIVE LEFT.

Western women who wear the veil contribute to the subservience of women elsewhere in the world for whom wearing the veil is an obligation.

The regressive left uses specious accusations of “intolerance,” “xenophobia,” “islamophobia,” etc. to deflect or silence legitimate criticism of religions and multiculturalism.

Secularists must explicitly reject the odious influence of the regressive left which Wikipedia describes as “a section of left-wing politics which is accused of paradoxically holding reactionary views due to tolerance of illiberal principles and ideologies (such as extremist Islamism) for the sake of multiculturalism and cultural relativism.” This accusation is certainly valid in light of the behaviour of many leftist and centrist Canadian politicians, the most noteworthy being Justin Trudeau who, for electoral advantage, regularly panders to various religious communities (such as Islamist and Sikh) which tend to be of the fundamentalist variety.

It is shameful how Trudeau and his ilk present the wearing of the Islamic veil as some sort of victory for women’s rights when in reality it is precisely the opposite. Remember the admonition of Mona Eltahawy, author of “Headscarves and Hymens”: western women who wear the veil contribute to the subservience of women elsewhere in the world for whom wearing the veil is an obligation.


Next blog: False Memes from the Burkini Wars

Dubious Words

2016-05-11

After my previous blog which dealt with words which should be used more often, this blog lists dubious words which should be used with caution, or never used at all, and which should be met with suspicion when used by others. These terms are often tendentious, i.e. they tend to propagate an underlying ideology while at the same time hiding that ideology. The most important of these is of course the dreaded and utterly dishonest accusation Islamophobia.

Terms to be Avoided Entirely

Sommaire en français Tandis que mon blogue précédent traitait de termes que je suggère pour un usage plus fréquent, celui-ci comporte une liste d’expressions que je considère douteuses, qu’il faudrait plutôt éviter ou utiliser avec précaution, et qui devraient inspirer de la méfiance si utilisées par les autres. Ces expressions sont souvent tendancieuses, c’est-à-dire qu’elles ont tendance à véhiculer une idéologie sous-jacente, tout en obscurcissant celle-ci. En tête de liste se trouve cette accusation redoutée et malhonnête, islamophobie.

The following expressions are very tendentious, i.e. each is implicitly or explicitly partisan and prejudiced, transmitting a preconceived notion or deliberately confusing. Thus, they should never be used, or should be used with extreme caution as explained for each term. When any of these terms is used by others, the speaker should be challenged either to change their vocabulary or to explain their usage.

  • Islamophobia:
    This term must be avoided for reasons which are well known and have been explained by many commentators. It is used by Islamists and their objective allies to censor and silence any criticism of Islam. It confuses two distinct concepts: criticism of Islam (which is necessary and desirable) and prejudice against Muslim persons. And the suffix -phobia suggests that fear of Islam is irrational, which is certainly not true in general. Indeed, anyone who does not fear radical Islam is a fool. Generally speaking, anyone who uses this term as an accusation against others is either a partisan of fundamentalist Islam or Islamofascism, or a dupe of these ideologies. For further information, follow this link: Islamophobia
  • reasonable accommodation:
    This term is almost always used as an excuse for religious privileges granted by state institutions, dishonestly implying that such demands are reasonable. To be honest, it should be replaced by the expression religious accommodation; such accommodations are never reasonable.

Terms to be Used With Caution

The following expressions are also tendentious but are sometimes used legitimately. Thus they should be used with caution, being careful to explain precisely what one wishes to say. Similarly, when others use such language, we should insist that they explain themselves carefully.

Multiculturalism is the main impediment to secularism in Canada, more harmful than any one religion, because it reinforces the influence of religion in general by treating it as essential to personal identity.

  • multiculturalism:
    This used to mean cultural diversity, but it has evolved into an ideology based on cultural relativism and should be called “ethno-religious determinism.” Multiculturalist ideologues tend to view religious affiliation as if it were an innate, immutable attribute of the individual, and this attitude leads inevitably to religious privilege. Multiculturalism is the main impediment to secularism in Canada, more harmful than any one religion, because it reinforces the influence of religion in general by treating it as essential to personal identity.
  • interculturalism:
    An ill-defined alternative to “multiculturalism.” It should imply a reciprocity of responsibilities between the host society and any minority culture, where the latter must also adapt to certain core values of the former, while “multiculturalism” is one-way, i.e. the host society must accommodate all others. However, in the absence of a clear definition in legislation, “interculturalism” may simply degenerate into a vague synonym of “multiculturalism.”
  • diversity:
    A much overused term, almost always meant positively, like a marketing buzzword for multiculturalist ideologues. Yes, biological and cultural diversity are generally good things, but not in all situations. Introduce a highly aggressive or predatory species into a diverse ecosystem, or introduce an extremely intolerant “culture” such as a radical monotheistic ideology into a culturally diverse society, and the added diversity may be very destructive. A diversity of opinions may generate creativity—or it may be harmful if several of those opinions are patently false.
  • racism:
    Often misused as a completely specious, false accusation—in particular when discussing religion—and operating as a form of censorship. A religious group is not a race, so the word is inappropriate. For example, the word “Jewish” describes both an ethnic group and a religion, which to be fair must be distinguished, and one way to do that is to use the word “Judaism” when referring to the religion and reserve “Jewish” for the ethnic group. Another example: Donald Trump’s paranoid hostility toward Muslims is not racist, because Muslims are not a racial group; rather, it is anti-Muslim bigotry. (However Trump’s attitude towards Mexicans can legitimately be called racist because nationality and race are closely related.)
  • inclusive:
    Another overused term, a marketing buzzword for multiculturalist ideologues. Its purpose is to imply that those who support secularism and criticize multiculturalism are somehow intolerant and exclude some ethno-religious groups. This is a big lie. On the contrary, secularists insist on preventing the religious, especially fundamentalists, from advertising their ideologies in the public service. No-one is excluded except for those who may deliberately exclude themselves by refusing to comply with rules which apply equally to everyone.
  • For Canadian multiculturalists, asserting one’s identity as a conservative Muslim is cool, but asserting one’s identity as a secular Québécois is “xenophobic.”

  • identity politics:
    Another term overused by multiculturalist ideologues to denigrate secularists. In fact it is hypocritical, because multiculturalism promotes the assertion of ethno-religious identities to the detriment of one’s status as a citizen, and it is this shared status which is important for secularism. For Canadian multiculturalists, asserting one’s identity as a conservative Muslim is cool, but asserting one’s identity as a secular Québécois is “xenophobic.”
  • politics of fear:
    Another buzzword used tendentiously, as if fear were always a bad thing. On the contrary, it is rational and necessary to fear radical theocratic ideologies. Complacency can be worse than fear.
  • open secularism:
    A near-synonym of multiculturalism, a pseudo-secularism, incompatible with secularism. The word “open” means that the state is open to religious interference. So-called open secularism is an attempt to block secularism by replacing it with a pale imitation thereof. See: Secularism: Lockean and Republican.
  • hate:
    Often used in expressions such as “hate propaganda” and “hate speech” but, like all human emotions, this term should probably be avoided in a legal context. What should be criminalized is speech which encourages or threatens violence. Hatred is not always bad, and it may be partly or totally appropriate. Do you hate Naziism? What matters is not hatred or love or whatever, but rather how such emotions are expressed, towards what target they are directed and whether or not they are supported by reasoned argument.
  • racialized:
    The apparent purpose of this term, when used in a religious context, is to allow the speaker to continue confusing religious affiliation with race, in order to rationalize unfounded accusations. Those who criticize Islam are sometimes accused of “racism”—usually by the same people who throw around specious accusations of “Islamophobia.” Such accusations are false because a religion is not race. The accusers, when confronted with this observation, then change tactic, saying for example that Muslims constitute a “racialized group” thus attempting to rationalize continued use of the term “racism.”
  • religious obligation:
    There is no such thing. See: false obligation and The Myth of Religious Obligations.

Next blog: The Extended Weinberg Principle

Secularists Have Nothing to Celebrate

2015-10-26 @ 21:30

The recent electoral defeat of the Harper Conservatives is good news, but the election of the Trudeau Liberals is not. Indeed, for secularists, the new government is even worse than the previous because it is obsessively attached to the anti-secular ideology of multiculturalism.

Sommaire en français La récente défaite électorale du Parti Conservateur de Stephen Harper est une bonne nouvelle, mais l’élection des Libéraux de Justin Trudeau n’en est pas une. Au fait, du point de vue de la laïcité, le nouveau gouvernement est pire que le précedent, car attelé de manière obsessionnelle à l’idéologie antilaïque du multiculturalisme.

On election night last Monday, October 19th 2015, Canadians received some good news and some bad news. The good news: the odious Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) went down to defeat. The bad news: the dubious Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) led by Justin Trudeau has taken power, the LPC, the party notorious for its corruption scandals, led by the very son of the inventor of Canadian multiculturalism.

Thus the leader and party who seem to think that all Muslims are terrorists has been replaced by the leader and party who apparently consider all Muslims—even the fundamentalists—to be warm, fuzzy and innocuous, or, if they are not, it is our fault for not being sufficiently nice to them. The closed-minded neanderthals of the Harper Conservatives have been replaced by the air-headed accommodationists of the Trudeau Liberals. A traditionalist party, representative of some of the most backward evangelical Christians, has been replaced by a multiculturalist party which flirts with Islamist fundamentalists.

This is not good news. We now have a government which takes the position that wearing a face-covering anywhere and everywhere, even during an official state ceremony, such as a citizenship ceremony, is a “right.” And why is such a ridiculous privilege considered to be a “right?” BECAUSE RELIGION. This is the antithesis of secularism. Religious freedom, already greatly privileged in the past, has been elevated to a status above all other freedoms, trumping even the most basic considerations such as communication, gender equality and security.

The closed-minded neanderthals of the Harper Conservatives have been replaced by the air-headed accommodationists of the Trudeau Liberals.

We now have a government led by an islamophiliac, totally besotted with the ideology of Canadian multiculturalism which is indistinguishable from cultural relativism, an ideology which shields itself from criticism by accusing anyone who disagrees with it of “xenophobia”, “intolerance” and even “racism.” We now have a government which, ironically, shares with the previous government the inability to distinguish between ordinary citizens who just happen to be Muslim on the one hand, and, on the other hand, Islamist fundamentalists who constitute a clear and present danger to our security and democracy—the difference being that the previous government apparently considered them all suspect while the newly elected government considers them all hunky-dory.

From the point of view of secularism, the Liberals are worse than the Conservatives. At least the Conservatives attempted to ban the niqab at citizenship ceremonies, although they did so in a way that was destined to fail, i.e. by a mere ministerial directive followed by legal appeals when federal courts invalidated that directive, when in fact what is needed is a modification of several laws, starting with Citizenship Act. At the eleventh hour, only days before the election, the Conservatives floated the idea of banning face-coverings in the public service if they were re-elected, an obviously good idea which any secularist would support. And yet the Conservatives are no proponents of secularism: they were merely opportunists exploiting the citizenry’s legitimate concerns about Islamist radicalism and doing so in ways that converged conveniently with their Christian hostility towards a competing religion.

But the position adopted by both the Trudeau Liberals and the Mulcair NDP was even worse: they agreed with the court decision striking down any ban on face-coverings, and supported the idea that wearing the niqab must be allowed, apparently anywhere and everywhere. If the niqab may be worn at citizenship ceremonies, then how can judges or police be prevented from wearing such face-coverings while on the job? Any hope of a secular public service is completely destroyed if this court decision is allowed to stand. And under the newly-elected Liberals, it will stand.

Do not misunderstand me. I am not saddened that the Harper Conservatives have gone down to defeat! Any government which shows such contempt for basic science deserves to be summarily kicked out of office. Any government which appoints an apparent creationist to a major position—as it did in appointing Gary Goodyear to the post of Minister of State for Science and Technology—merits our rejection.

Thus, as much as I respect and indeed admire both Ayaan Hirsi Ali, celebrated author of Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now and the memoire Infidel, and Tarek Fatah, writer and founder of the secularist Muslim Canadian Congress, I could not agree with their call for Canadians to vote for Harper. Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote in a tweet sent out on election day, “Dear Canadians, If you are in doubt before the polls close please vote for Stephen Harper. He is the strongest on fighting radical Islam.” whereas Tarek Fatah indicated in a Facebook post, shortly before the election date, that he would be voting Conservative for similar reasons.

Although Christian evangelical fundamentalism in Canada—which is a major underpinning of the Conservative Party—is not as retrograde as international Islamism, nevertheless both are resolutely obscurantist and anti-science fundamentalisms. Neither has any qualms about utilising the fruits of science, i.e. modern technology, when those fruits can be exploited to serve their agenda.

Broadly speaking, there are three general approaches to the question of religion and the affairs of the state. These are:

  1. Traditionalism, which promotes the continued dominance of the traditional majority religion (in Canada: Christianity), allowing it considerable privilege and influence on laws and state affairs.
  2. Multiculturalism, or ethnoreligious determinism, which broadens traditionalism by extending religious privileges to a plurality of religions, giving each religion an influence either equal to the others or weighted according to its demographic importance.
  3. Secularism, which opposes all religious privileges and and promotes universal human rights, in particular freedom of conscience, and involves complete separation between religion and state, so that the state is autonomous and independent of religious influence.

Zunera Ishaq […] exploited Canadian multiculturalism in order to promote an essential tenet of Islamic fundamentalism, the segregation of women. Ishaq is what I would call a “legal jihadi,” i.e. a fighter for Islamism who uses strictly legal means […] her objective role as a promoter of Islamist values is patent.

Both the traditionalism of the Conservatives and the multiculturalism of the Liberals are anti-secular ideologies. However, multiculturalism, although more modern, is also more dangerous because it is currently the dominant ideology in Canada and in other countries. Indeed, even the traditionalists (like Catholics, Islamists, etc.) rely increasingly on multiculturalism to disseminate their ideologies because traditionalism is out of fashion and often cannot be imposed directly as it was in the past. That is exactly what the niqab-wearer Zunera Ishaq did when she exploited Canadian multiculturalism in order to promote an essential tenet of Islamic fundamentalism, the segregation of women. Ishaq is what I would call a “legal jihadi,” i.e. a fighter for Islamism who uses strictly legal means because extra-legal means are not yet feasible. Although Ishaq has apparently been linked to radical Islamist organizations, even in the absence of such ties her objective role as a promoter of Islamist values is patent.

Multiculturalism is much easier to sell than traditionalism, especially as it often masquerades as a form of pseudo-secularism (c.f. so-called “laïcité ouverte”). Furthermore, multiculturalism also masquerades as a solution for racism, when in reality it tends to preserve and deepen divisions by identifying each individual with the ethno-religious community into which he or she was born.

The victory of the Trudeau Liberals (and the poor showing of the NDP) is probably much more attributable to anti-Harper sentiment than to any love for the winning party. Do not forget that BOTH hatred for Harper AND opposition to the niqab (and disgust for Trudeau’s and Mulcair’s opposition to any ban) were very strong in Quebec during the campaign. In fact, polls indicated that the majority of Canadians, not just Quebecers, favored a niqab ban, and yet Harper was still defeated despite his opportunistic exploitation of that issue.


Next blog: Secularism: Lockean and Republican

Thoughts on the Niqab

2015-10-13 @ 13:00

A collection of observations about the current controversy surrounding the niqab, which recently received legal recognition in two Canadian federal court decisions. Wearing the niqab while taking the citizenship oath is now a “right.”

Sommaire en français

  • Parler du niqab comme un vêtement “musulman” comme font constamment les médias anglophones Canadiens, c’est déplacer le centre de la diversité des musulmans vers l’extrémisme. C’est une insulte faite aux musulmans plus modérés.
  • Il y plusieurs raisons (chacune étant suffisante) d’interdire le niqab dans les cérémonies officielles : (1) Le niqab entrave la communication. (2) Il symbolise l’asservisement de la femme. (3) Il compromet la liberté de conscience des autres participants de la cérémonie. (4) Il est une forme de militantisme politique fasciste, totalement déplacé dans le contexte. (5) Il nuit à l’identification de la personne et à la sécurité de tous.
  • Le seul argument pour permettre le port du niqab dans les cérémonies est l’ensemble des lois fédérales canadiennes qui sont défectueuses car elles accordent une priorité indue à la religion. Il faut modifier ou abroger ces lois.
  • Les autres pseudo-arguments pour permettre le niqab sont d’une nullité totale et souvent mensongers. On essaie de culpabiliser les gens qui s’opposent au niqab pour une opinion tout à fait raisonnable.
  • Le « débat » sur le niqab—qui n’est pas un débat mais plutôt une campagne toxique de dénigrement de la laïcité—est une reprise de la controverse autour de la défunte Charte de la laïcité en 2013-2014, avec la différence qu’on ne peut comparer le Parti Québécois (qui a pris une position pro-laïcité) aux Conservateurs de Harper (qui n’ont rien de laïque).
  • La reconnaissance légale du port du niqab en tout lieu et en toute cironstance est une grande victoire pour l’islamofascisme et une grande défaite pour la démocracie.
  • Comble d’ironie, ce n’est pas Harper qui est en train de mettre le dernier clou dans le cercueil de la bonne réputation internationale qu’avait le Canada avant le début de son régime en 2006. Non, ce sont ses adversaires Mulcair et Trudeau qui s’opposent sottement à l’interdiction du niqab qui font maintenant du Canada la risée de la planète.

Moving the Muslim Mainstream Towards Islamism

By refering to the full veil—such as the niqab—as “Muslim” clothing, as the media repeatedly do, they effectively move the “centre” or mainstream of Muslims down the spectrum towards extremism. This is because the niqab is not just plain Muslim dress, rather it is a form of clothing imposed by a particular radical fundamentalist fringe of Islam, usually referred to as Islamism. If the niqab is now considered representative of Islam, then Islam is now centred around radical Islamism. This does a serious disservice to moderate Muslims, because it colours them with the same radical brush as the extremists.


The Arguments for Banning the Niqab During Official Ceremonies

Of course the wearing of face coverings during official ceremonies must be banned. It is utterly absurd to even consider allowing such accoutrements in the context of a solemn occasion such as a citizenship ceremony. There are several arguments to be made, any one of which is sufficient to justify a ban:

  1. Communication In human interaction, non-verbal communication via facial expression is a major component (about half) of the total communication. By hiding the face or most of it, the niqab-wearer refuses to communicate effectively. That individual is cut off from other humans by the virtual wall she or he is wearing, seriously undermining interactions with others. Human beings are social animals. A person who covers her/his face is a person not to be trusted.
  2. Rights of Women The full Islamist veils such as the burka and the niqab are blatant symbols of the subjugation and inferiorization of women. It is a flag of gender inequality and transmits the message that women are the property of men.
  3. Freedom of Conscience of Participants By allowing one particular group to display blatantly one of its sectarian symbols during an official ceremony, the freedom of conscience of all other participants is compromised by having a particular religious belief system imposed on them. Allowing such religious advertising in a context which is a state occasion totally unrelated to religion is similar to having large displays of commercial advertising in the classrooms of public schools.
  4. Political Activism in an Inappropriate Context Islamist fundamentalism is not just a religious tendency. It is a major and very dangerous political ideology with an anti-democratic program. Wearing the full veil constitutes implicit promotion of this fascist ideology. While this may be tolerated, for reasons of freedom of expression, outside of public institutions, such promotion is unacceptable during an official ceremony (or, similarly, if the wearer is a public servant on duty).
  5. Identity and Security Of course face-coverings make identification difficult and are thus a major security issue. No further explanation is required on this point.

There may be other arguments missing from the above list.


The Argument Against Banning the Niqab During Official Ceremonies

There is only one argument against banning the niqab, and it is not really an argument but rather a set of legal constraints. Canadian federal law is severely flawed and unjust because it grants many privileges to religions and to religious institutions. That is why judges have recently struck down the niqab ban, i.e. because Canadian law strongly supports such an interpretation. Freedom of religion is given a higher priority than other freedoms. The obvious solution is to change the law.

In the case of the niqab, the following modifications are required or highly recommended:

  • Repeal 17.1.b of the Citizenship Regulations, part of the Citizenship Act, which stipulates that the oath must be administered with “the greatest possible freedom in the religious solemnization or the solemn affirmation thereof.”
  • Repeal (or greatly revise) the Multiculturalism Act, and remove references to it from other legislation, because Canadian multiculturalism is basically equivalent to cultural relativism. As writer and secular activist Djemila Benhabib has pointed out (in a Facebook post, Oct. 10), “Multiculturalism quite simply legitimizes, in the political, judicial and social spheres, inequalities which originate in the culture and religion of one’s birth. Given that it is founded on the recognition of religions and the assignment by default of each individual to his or her immutable birth identity, any constraint on religious expression is usually interpreted as a hindrance to freedom of religion per se, as discriminatory, or even as racist. From that perspective, the various fundamentalisms have found an ideal vehicle and an open road to advance their cause!” (Translation: D.R.)
  • Revise the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to remove its pro-religious bias. For example, the Charter lists freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and freedom of belief as three of several fundamental freedoms. However, the last two are NOT fundamental; rather, both are part of freedom of conscience, which also includes freedom FROM religion and freedom of NON-belief. Thus, freedom of conscience should be listed as fundamental, while freedoms of religion, irreligion, belief and non-belief should all be listed as corollaries of it.

The last of these three modifications would be very difficult to achieve because it involves amending the Constitution. The first two would be less difficult, but not easy. Once again, the above list may need to be expanded. For example, the Criminal Code needs to be revised by removing both the blasphemy ban and the religious exception for hate propaganda. And of course the mention of “God” must be removed from the preamble to the Canadian Charter.


Some Pseudo-arguments Against Banning the Niqab During Official Ceremonies

The Binary fallacy

This fallacy, called the “either-or” fallacy and other names, describes the false notion that there are only two possibles responses to a situation. In this case, you must either oppose Harper (and support the niqab as a “right”) or oppose the niqab, but not both. We can succinctly summarize this fallacy using the following pseudo-syllogism:

  1. Harper is evil.
  2. Harper hates the niqab.
  3. Therefore, the niqab is good

That sums up rather well the intellectual acuity (i.e. vacuity) of those who claim that the wearing of the niqab is a “right.” It makes as much sense as opposing the breathing of oxygen because Harper breathes oxygen.

Religious “Freedom”

The court decisions striking down the niqab ban and the discourse of those who support those decisions are riddled with references to freedom of religion which elevate that freedom above other considerations. This privilege must be refused. But to do so will require modifying legislation as explained above.

Specious Accusations of “Intolerance” etc.

Accusations of “divisiveness”, “identity politics”, “intolerance”, “xenophobia” and even “racism” are regularly thrown at supporters of a niqab ban. These accusations are pure bullshit, a smokescreen to distract from the speciousness and vacuity of arguments against the ban. In response to the fact that polls have shown that a majority of Canadians, and an overwhelming majority in Quebec, support a niqab ban, opponents of a ban blather about a “lack of understanding” of other cultures and a “lack of exposure” to diverse cultures, as if this majority were motivated only by ignorance. Yet these accusations come from those who never mention the very dangerous aspects of some very prominent variants of Islam; it is the accusers who display ignorance. Furthermore, the niqab itself is a barrier to knowledge of and interaction with others.

The Politics of Guilt

Closely related to the previous point is the tactic of trying to silence secularists—and anyone else who would try to put reasonable constraints on the excesses of religion—by instilling feelings of guilt. This is often phrased as “the politics of fear” as if fear were irrational or even a horrible sin. In reality, to fear religion in general and Islam in particular is in no way irrational. On the contrary it is a matter of due diligence, a necessity. When that due diligence is performed, when we make the effort to examine various religious doctrines and movements objectively, we find many of which we should indeed be very afraid, and Islam is currently at the top of that list. A particularly disgusting example of this strategy can be found in the Toronto Star Editorial Can Stephen Harper stoop any lower on the niqab?. They even manage to slander Quebec.

Extreme Libertarianism

The dangerous meme which states that wearing a full veil anywhere and everywhere is a “right” is related to an extreme version of the ideology of libertarianism or right-wing anarchism. This ideology holds that the only good government is basically no government, or the smallest and weakest possible. Consequently, it leads inevitably to the tyranny of the rich and powerful. For example, if a country has no legislation preventing foreign powers from financing religious institutions, then that country is a sitting duck for the Saudi Arabian government (which internally is certainly not libertarian!) and its very well financed campaign to use petro-dollars to establish mosques in many countries and use them to preach a Wahhabite version of Islam.


The Niqab “Debate” is a Repeat of Opposition to Quebec’s Charter of Secularism

There is a strong parallel between the currently proposed niqab ban and the Charter of Secularism proposed in 2013-2014 by the former PQ Quebec government. In both cases there is no real debate, but rather toxic hostilities and moralizing from those who oppose any dress code. Supporters of a dress code are vilified, accused of the usual plethora of imaginary crimes (“intolerance”, etc.) taken from the familiar arsenal of Canadian multiculturalists. In both cases opponents elevate “freedom of religion” to a status having priority over other freedoms and then call this privilege a “right.”

Of course there are also differences between the two situations. The separatism (or sovereignty or independence) promoted by the PQ is an innocuous political program compared to the anti-science, anti-environmentalist and anti-democratic policies pursued by the current federal government. Antipathy towards the PQ is largely just a matter of hatred of Quebecers, i.e. ethnic bigotry (which in other contexts many people would imprecisely call “racism”) against Francophone Quebecers, whereas antipathy towards Harper’s Conservatives has a much more rational basis. Voting for the Parti Québécois in the April 2014 provincial election was an eminently reasonable option for secularists, whereas in the current federal election the niqab issue does not justify voting for Harper, especially given that his government’s attempts to ban the niqab—although laudable and certainly preferable to the cowardly and retrograde position of the two opposition parties—have nothing to do with secularist goals.

Nevertheless, it must be recognized that these questions of secularism—i.e. the Charter in April 2014 and the proposed niqab ban currently—must be distinguished from other, unrelated issues and evaluated on their own merits. A good idea is a good idea, even one coming from the much hated (and for good reasons) Harper government. There are many good reasons to vote against Harper, but the niqab issue is NOT one of them.


Democracy 0, Islamofascism 1

The recent success of Zunera Ishaq in obtaining the “right,” as ruled by two federal courts this year, to be sworn in as a Canadian citizen while wearing the niqab, is a major victory for Islamofascism and a major defeat for secularism, and hence a defeat for democracy, because it enshrines in Canadian jurisprudence an important religious privilege. Indeed, the courts’ rulings imply that Ishaq’s religious affiliation is more important even than the citizenship she is obtaining. By elevating religious privileges, the rights of the non-religious are demeaned; indeed the rights of everyone not belonging to the particular religious sect enjoying the privilege is similarly demeaned.

The niqab, like the burka, is a sort of flag of international islamofascism and Ishaq, whether she realizes it or not, is in the vanguard of that movement. The niqab is of course a Muslim symbol, but promoted by the most fundamentalist, radical and extremist of Muslims. To trivialize the full veil, to make it commonplace, a mere choice of clothing, while simultaneously elevating it to the status of a “right” which must be protected in the name of freedom of religion—even in a solemn ceremony having nothing to do with religion—is a major victory for fundamentalists. It is a victory won without physical weapons, using only legalities, to destroy rights using “rights.” It is a victory made very easy by Canadian multiculturalism, which leaves the door wide open for abuse.

The Islamists must be laughing all the way to the mosque.


Canada’s Ruined International Reputation

After a decade of government by the Harper Conservatives, Canada’s formerly enviable reputation in the international community is almost destroyed. But, ironically, the final nail in the coffin of that reputation is being hammered not by Harper but by the fools who oppose his policy of attempting to ban the niqab. By supporting the ridiculous idea that a religious fanatic and political activist for an international fascist movement has the “right” to wear a symbol of her or his movement, anywhere and everywhere, even during a solemn state ceremony, Mulcair, Trudeau and other niqab-defenders have made sure that Canada is now the laughing stock of the planet.


Suggested reading:


Next blog: Trudeau & Mulcair Can Easily Resolve the Niqab Issue

Secularism Versus the Multicultis

2015-07-23, last modified 2015-07-24

Sommaire en français La diversité culturelle est un fait incontournable de la vie et, comme la diversité biologique, une richesse. Il y a plusieurs façons de gérer cette diversité, les deux principales — distinctes et mutuellement incompatibles — étant le multiculturalisme et la laïcité. Le multiculturalisme se fonde sur le relativisme culturel, sur ce qui divise les gens, et associe l’individu à la communauté ethno-religieuse dans laquelle il est né. Il favorise les traditionalistes dans chacune de ces communautés, au détriment des croyants plus modérés, des incroyants et de la société en général. L’affaire du niqab dans les cérémonies de citoyenneté en est un exemple. La laïcité, par contre, accorde la priorité aux libertés et valeurs humaines, à ce que nous avons tous en commun. Elle rejette le privilège religieux. Elle n’accorde aux croyances religieuses aucune préséance. Les islamistes, ou plus exactement les islamofascistes, prônent la théocratie pure et dure dans les pays où ils ont suffisamment d’influence politique. Mais ailleurs, ils instrumentalisent le multiculturalisme, adoptant frauduleusement le langage des « droits » et de la « liberté religieuse » afin de s’approprier des privilèges religieux. Juste avant le début du processus de l’adoption formelle du multiculturalisme, il y a plusieurs décennies, le terme « biculturalisme » était très à la mode, mais dans l’espace de quelques années il a été totalement éclipsé par le multiculturalisme. Cherchait-on à noyer la culture de la moins dominante de ces deux cultures fondatrices du Canada dans une mer à multiples cultures ? Le comportement des multiculturalistes durant le débat sur la Charte de la laïcité, défaite en 2014 par une alliance de circonstance — c’est-à-dire une convergence d’intérêts et de propagande — entre eux et les islamistes, nous a fourni la réponse définitive à cette question. Le multiculturalisme, idéologie dominante au Canada, est devenu un outil de choix pour étaler son mépris pour le Québec et pour les Québécois. De plus, le multiculturalisme est l’arme la plus importante dans la lutte contre la laïcité.

According to Wiktionary, the term multiculti is an informal, derogatory word for “one who pushes multicultural beliefs and values in a politically correct way.” The derogatory connotation is certainly appropriate, because multiculturalism is highly problematic and a major obstacle for secularism.

By the way, Wiktionary defines “multiculturalism” as “The characteristics of a society, city etc. which has many different ethnic or national cultures mingling freely; political or social policies which support or encourage such coexistence.” I disagree with this definition. The first half (the free mingling of cultures) is closer to a definition of “cultural diversity” (confusing the two is a common mistake), whereas the second half is just false in my opinion. Indeed, multiculturalism as practiced in Canada does a rather bad job of supporting or encouraging such coexistence, as I shall explain.

Cultural diversity is an essential part of the human experience. It has been with us since the dawn of time. Ever since neighbouring hominid tribes found themselves with overlapping territory — which probably occurred long before our current species homo sapiens evolved into existence — we have been rubbing shoulders with others of the same species but different races, different languages, different cultures. We will, I assume, continue to experience similar diversity as long as humanity survives. Or at least I hope we will, since cultural diversity, like biological diversity, is a source of enrichment. Nevertheless, managing such diversity — whether cultural or biological — has its challenges.

Multiculturalism and secularism are two distinct and incompatible ways of managing cultural diversity. Trying to reconcile multiculturalism with secularism is like trying to make religion and science compatible. It is an impossible task.

Multiculturalism stresses cultural relativism. It gives priority to what divides us, associating the individual with the particular ethno-religious community into which he or she was born. The ultimate expression of multiculturalism is Lebanon, where even the national philharmonic orchestra must respect religious sectarian quotas when hiring musicians. Multiculturalists pander to such communities, thus favouring and empowering traditionalists and fundamentalists — to the detriment of moderate believers, non-believers and society in general.

One particularly egregious example of how multiculturalism and its multiculti cheerleaders empower fundamentalists — of both minority and majority religions — is the Federal Court decision to allow the niqab, a blatant symbol of a powerful international fascist movement, to be worn during Canadian citizenship hearings. Just as even a broken clock displays the correct time twice a day, the anti-science and pro-Christian-fundamentalist Harper government did the right thing and decided to appeal that decision. They undoubtedly did so for the wrong reasons — probably religious bigotry, in this case a pro-Christian, anti-Muslim prejudice. Nevertheless, doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is still better than doing the wrong thing, which is precisely what the opposition did. The leaders of both major opposition parties — T. Mulcair of the NDP and J. Trudeau of the Liberals — made the spectacularly stupid decision to support the court in allowing the niqab and criticized the Harper Conservatives for its appeal. Thus, the political “left” (if we can still call it that, given its betrayal of secularism) and the political centre united in handing a huge gift to the Christian right. Harper will in all likelihood garner many votes from frustrated Canadians who are justifiably outraged that religious fanatics are being allowed to show such contempt for Canadian citizenship and that Mulcair and Trudeau are helping them to do so! Both Christian and Muslim fundamentalists benefit.

Multiculturalism and secularism are two distinct and incompatible ways of managing cultural diversity.

Secularism, on the other hand, stresses universal human rights and values. It gives priority to what unites us, our common humanity. It rejects religious privilege. In public services it refuses to accommodate traits which are mere choices, such as political opinions or religious beliefs — but of course it must and will accommodate more innate characteristics, i.e. objective factors, such as genetics, gender, health status, sexual orientation, etc.

There are other ways of managing cultural diversity. Perhaps the most common (other than the two ways which form the subject of this blog) is the traditional method — or rather methods — of theocracy. These can range all the way from brutally repressive theocracies such as Saudi Arabia which “manages” diversity basically by crushing it, all the way to soft neo-theocracies such as constitutional monarchies which were very repressive in the past but have evolved towards multiculturalism.

It is important to understand that islamists — whom we may also call islamofascists — favour the most draconian form of theocracy possible wherever they hold sufficient power, but pretend to support multiculturalism — or rather they use it as a tool to advance their cause — in countries where their power is not yet sufficient, deceitfully employing the language of “rights” and “freedom of religion” in order to accumulate what are in reality religious privileges. The multicultis are the dupes of the islamists, as the example of the niqab amply illustrates.

Many secularists have written extensively about multiculturalism. (Read a few articles by Maryam Namazie for example.) Its inherent dangers have been discussed and documented for years now. Anyone who still refuses to understand is being wilfully ignorant.

The important distinction between cultural diversity and multiculturalism is often deliberately blurred in order to justify vilifying anyone who criticizes the latter.

The history of formalized multiculturalism in Canada goes back nearly half a century. The government of P. E. Trudeau declared in 1971 that Canada would adopt it as policy. In 1982 it was recognized in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and finally the Canadian Multiculturalism Act was enacted by the government of B. Mulroney. But what many Canadians forget, or are too young to remember, is that just before that process began, the terms “bilingualism” and “biculturalism” were on everyone’s lips in political discussions. In 1963, the L. B. Pearson government established the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism to inquire into the situation of Canada’s two founding cultures, the English and French. But within a few years, the term “biculturalism” had practically disappeared, having been supplanted by multiculturalism. It certainly looked like the recognition of a multiplicity of cultures had been engineered in order to drown the less dominant of the two founding partners in a sea of competing cultures.

In 2014, the Quebec Charter of Secularism, one of the best pieces of secular legislation ever proposed in any jurisdiction in Canada, was defeated by an alliance of multiculturalists and islamists. I am not talking about any formal, organizational alliance, but rather a simple convergence of interests and propaganda. Both groups engaged in specious accusations of “racism,” “xenophobia,” “intolerance” or “islamophobia” whenever they encountered opposition. During the Charter fiasco, the overriding tone of Charter opponents, especially outside Quebec, and a favourite strategy of both multicultis and islamists, was a fanatical hatred of Quebec nationalism. This strategy served to distract from the real issue, which of course was secularism.

The main ideological weapon of anti-secularists today is multiculturalism.

And that is the dirty little secret about multiculturalism, or at least its particularly noxious Canadian variant: it is a weapon very frequently used to “bash” (figuratively speaking, of course) Quebec and Quebeckers. Multiculturalism is very popular — so much so as to be a sacred cow — in Canada outside Quebec, but much less popular inside Quebec where secularism enjoys greater popular support. As multicultis typically flatter themselves about how non-racist and tolerant they claim to be (because they fail to understand that multiculturalism is not a solution for racism but rather a close cousin of it), they easily slip into a habit of denigrating Quebec secularists for their “intolerance,” etc. The important distinction between cultural diversity and multiculturalism is often deliberately blurred in order to justify vilifying anyone who criticizes the latter. In other words, multiculturalism has become a vehicle for ethnic bigotry directed against French-speaking Quebeckers. If there were ever any doubt about this, it was completely erased by the obnoxious behaviour of multicultis during the Charter debacle.

Multiculturalism is not only incompatible with secularism. Multiculturalism is the principal expression of anti-secularism in the 21st century. The main ideological weapon of anti-secularists today is multiculturalism. And it is, unfortunately, the dominant ideology in Canada.


Next blog: “Thoughts on the Niqab