Notes on Free Speech — Only for some?

I have been conflicted over the idea that, in the name of free dialogue and advancing discussion of topics of social and political import, that some university campuses have banned certain speakers from talking at their campus. Of course, this has been going on for decades.

Most people (such as I) react incredulously to such totalitarian measures, and dismiss this as academics having their heads in the clouds to the point that they have become out of touch with the meaning of their own rhetoric (is it possible to advocate free speech while banning people from speaking?). But so too, I have had the experience of people (on a personal level) whose dialog is toxic to frank discussion.

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From: XKCD Comics (https://xkcd.com/261/). Under the Creative Commons license v 2.5 (Attribution-Non-commercial-Generic). These comics may be copied and shared but not sold.

There is the kind of rhetoric that is intended to shut down open discussion of issues. It ranges from hate speech to science discussions to discussions about sex. We have banned free speech over several internet media, the most famous kind of banning has to do with “Godwin’s Law”, which unfortunately specifically targets references or comparisons with Adolf Hitler. I think the spirit of the intent of forum moderators invoking it was (or should be) to ban speech which is designed to intimidate others from expressing themselves, that is, creating a toxic environment designed to shut down opposition rather than enable them to fully express themselves and be heard. Views are not shared, because sharing views is no longer safe.

 

More political articles on the Silent Majority

I believe the third time anyone writes an article on the same creepy topic, it is time either to cease and desist, or to make this into an ongoing series, embracing the concept whole.

Twice before, I have written with a straight face about how the dead participate in all parts of the electoral process, being both the voters, and those being voted on. And I have written more than once, that dead people have often win elections against their living opponents. While all this sounds both creepy and hilarious, these stories are utterly true. And before you think this is a liberal or conservative conspiracy, I also reiterate, that the dead benefit both sides of American politics. Since there are more dead people than living, we call them the real Silent Majority in this blog. We ought to root for them, since many of these are hard-working dead people who have never committed crimes, and don’t bother anyone.

After paying $1.50 for this issue of The Sun yesterday, I find that the cover story is an opinion piece.

Just yesterday in The Toronto Sun, the front page — yes, the front page, in the biggest screaming headlines you have ever seen in your life, decried the Liberal practice of leaving dead people on the voter rolls. So, now the silent majority have invaded the Canadian Liberal party, according to The Sun. While I understand that the Sun takes every opportunity to attack the Liberals, and have never met a politician to the right of Atilla the Hun they didn’t like, I have to say, the dead are not a voting block. I am certain that the list contains conservatives and liberals in fairly equal numbers. Regardless, no one can control the voting preferences of the Silent Majority, since you can’t speak to them, and they can’t speak to you. Even if you could speak to them, the Silent Majority will just vote as they damn well please. Or, do anything else they damn well please. You may have your perceptions and illusions about the Silent Majority, but we can both agree that you can’t tell them who to vote for. They just won’t listen, and you can’t change that.

You can call me a leading authority on the voting behavior of the Silent Majority. I have been observing them for quite a while now. And a good many years from now, I too will some day go to the Majority. To be honest, it’s pretty boring watching them, because I never see them move. I guess that’s part of their mystique.

Alex Jones and his nutty ideas

As you may have known, I have a thing for loonies in that I find their stuff so entertaining. Alex Jones is neither a lefty, nor is he right-wing. He’s nothing more than a conspiracy nutjob, pure and undiluted by rational thought, although there is the occasional flash of bright light which gets quickly clouded over again by the next whacky conspiracy theory or statement which is unsupported by any document or fact that exists outside of the world Alex Jones’s imagination. And on it goes. Alex Jones has been head of InfoWars since before 9/11, and he has only gotten crazier with age. And the one thing about nutjobs — they cannot be parodied. Their heads are so far up their ass, they are already enough of a spectacle in that their own words are enough. I already said the same thing earlier about Rob Ford.

What follows has appeared before on the Perry Logan website. It is mostly reproduced here, stripped of commentary, since I think that Alex Jones needs to be best experienced without comments of any kind, since that would clash with rational thinking. Here goes:

  • Israel microwaved a hundred thousand of its own children.
  • Your cell phones are watching you every moment.
  • The main source of meat in North Korea is executed prisoners.
  • SWAT teams are being taught that Christians are evil.
  • The government can control the weather.
  • The Mafia was started by Julius Ceaser’s grandfather.
  • Vaccines are killing our children.
  • Texas is run by the Masons.
  • Masons can commit murder.  They make a secret sign to the judges and are immediately set free.  This has been solidly confirmed.
  • They sacrifice babies at Bohemian Grove.
  • “Cell phones have been proven in hundreds of major studied to cause brain tumnors.  There’s no debating it.”
  • The NRA are gun grabbers.
  • There are government-run white slavery rings.
  • Columbine was a government op.
  • Wal-Mart is a Defense Department front.
  • Illegal aliens get to go to the front in emergency rooms.
  • They put mercury in your vaccines to brain-damage your children.
  • The Aztecs would take hallucinogenic enemas and cut their penises off.
  • Alex Jones has correctly predicted everything that has happened in the last 10 years.
  • FEMA has a giant private army.
  • Illegal immigrants get free tuition and discounts on their Twinkies.
  • There’s a worldwide takeover going on, perceptible only to dumb white guys… …but everyone is waking up. 
  • The ruling elite of the world worship Moloch.
  • During his inauguration, President Clinton openly gave the sign of Satan for all the world to see.
  • The secret rulers of the world can live forever.
  • The elite have openly announced can you buy tramadol online that they want to kill 80% of us.
  • Jacques Cousteau wanted to kill 80% of us.
  • You can’t succeed in academe unless you agree that 80% of the population has to be killed off.
  • Dick Cheney writes papers saying terrorism isn’t real.
  • The U.S. Government went around Italy blowing up school busses full of children…& admitted it.
  • There are little wires in dollar bills that keep track of what you buy.
  • Vicente Fox can morph into a green devil.
  • The Communist Chinese Army has taken over the Massachusetts Port Authority.
  • Noam Chomsky is a mongoloid idiot.  Also an agent.
  • There are Illuminati symbols on Starbucks coffee cups.
  • Exits on tollroads are 50 miles apart.
  • There are live AIDS viruses in the corn.
  • 91% of Americans are Nazis.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is a known Nazi.
  • All of Clinton’s cabinet were Jewish.
  • Devil-worshipers run the country.
  • The United Nations goes around Africa, sterilizing women at random
  • The Founding Fathers were basically stupid
  • All throughout history, governments have always been Evil.
  • Power outages are government plots.
  • Illegal immigration is a government plot.
  • The counterculture is a government plot.
  • Vaccines are a government plot.
  • Thumb scanning is a government plot.
  • Environmentalism is a government plot.
  • The National Seat Belt Initiative is a government plot.
  • Feminism is a government plot. (and Gloria Steinem is a CIA operative.)
  • Toll roads are a government plot.
  • The drug culture is a government plot.
  • Cell phones are a government plot.
  • Wal Mart is a government plot. 
  • Sports are a government plot.
  • Antidepressants are a government plot.
  • All domestic terror attacks are government plots.
  • The government keeps “giant, honeycombed hives full of toddlers drugged on lithium”
  • The government brings in all the drugs.
  • The government is spraying us with EVIL CHEMICALS contained in the cone trails of planes
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is part of an Austrian plot to take over America.
  • Skull & Bones is part of an English plot to take over America.
  • The United Nations is part of a (very slow) plot to take over America.
  • Children’s cartoons are part of a government plot to brainwash us.
  • Organized religion is brainwashing us.
  • The secret ruling elite of the world are putting up buildings that look like owls.
  • Most major police chiefs are CIA operatives.
  • The voting-machine companies are openly run by the CIA.
  • The Quakers are communists.
  • Lyndon Johnson had John Kennedy killed.
  • The UN has sold thousands of children into slavery & for snuff films.
  • Gays are actively recruiting in our schools.
  • The United Nations goes around Africa, sterilizing women at random
  • Every soldier who died in any war since the Civil War was a chump
  • 9-11 was only the beginning; there are going to be lots of even bigger domestic attacks
  • They only hire people with IQ’s below 100 to become police officers. 

Rob Ford and his Enablers

Joy Green

An “Etobicoke resident”, who went by the name of Joy Green, was interviewed twice by the CBC, once for CBC Newsworld, and one more time for As It Happens on CBC Radio One. Etobicoke, a Toronto bourough which is known for shuttered factories and high crime, is known to some (like me) as “the Automotive Ghetto” for its plenitude of auto mechanics who work within a 1-kilometre radius of Rexdale Boulevard and Islington Avenue, who work in run-down garages and will  fix your car for cheap. Some of the closed shops and businesses had been converted to churches of one-of-a-kind denominations such as the “Mountain of Fire and Miracles” Ministry on Rexdale Boulevard which was formerly a car dealership. In fact, these one-of-a-kind churches are quite common around the Rexdale-Islington area. This is Ford Nation, a word they use to describe the hard-core supporters of Rob Ford, who mostly hail from Etobicoke.

It was pointed out in the CBC interview that Joy Green lives in a condo that has had numerous drug raids. In fact, one of those raids led to the infamous crack video that incriminated Ford and is currently under police possession. This would make it possibly the 320 Dixon Road complex, well-known for its high crime. It is the reason why that complex and other condos in the area command the lowest prices in the Greater Toronto Area. It is about the only place in Toronto where you can buy a condo for under $100,000.

One would find it hard to believe that a resident such as Ms. Green would support Ford, but she is unwavering.  Joy speaks with eloquence and intelligence, in fact disarmingly so. She has that “common touch” to her voice that almost makes you forget the level of literacy she seems to have, and in fact in both interviews, the CBC never tells us what she does for a living. I estimate buy tramadol overnight shipping from her eloquence that she must be a lawyer or some other kind of professional, but then what would she be doing living in one of the mosr crime-infested condos in Etobicoke? Why doesn’t she move out? In both interviews, these and other obvious contradictions were never explored.

Most of what I read in other media and news reports seem to treat the allegations against Ford as serious, and the strangeness of Ford’s refusal to resign despite his own admission of cocaine use with a raised eyebrow. The dominant theme I hear, including from Joy Green, is that he ought to “get help” and at the very least take some time off. This I don’t dispute, but that is not the whole story, and compared with other things, is the least of his worries.

The real story, the one that arose briefly over the past couple of days then got buried, was the extended journeys with Alexander “Sandro” Lisi, Ford’s “unofficial” driver, and a man now up on charges of extortion. From there, we are aware of a connection with drug dealers that go back a long way, and possibly involve Bob’s brother Doug Ford. Police had recorded observations of Ford “exchanging envelopes” between cars in a parking lot, where Lisi was involved. This is  a much darker tale than being caught smoking crack while inebriated (which for the mayor of the fourth largest city in North America, is already dark enough as it is), and it links Ford and Lisi to possible criminal activity. Lisi was not the only shady character Ford was known to hang around with. The fact that the Fords have been allowed to get away with this up until this huge scandal would establish them as skilled public manipulators. They lack polish, but they even work that to their favour.

UPDATE: I have discovered Joy Green mentioned in the UK Independent. News travels far.

The new OCT designation (Ontario Certified Teacher)

I have seen the OCT promo video (looks expensively done) that justifies the new letters which are touted to put me on some kind of a footing with doctors and engineers, and others who pay exorbitant fees to have letters placed after their name, like FRCP, and so on. In this designation, “OCT” stands for “Ontario Certified Teacher.” OCT also stands for the Ontario College of Teachers, so it can be a bit confusing.

The promo was received by teachers without a single positive comment that I could find. But in the defense of the OCT, there are some things about the designation that I think would set me apart from say mom or dad who may decide on a whim to give their own children credit courses. The OCT accreditation, to me, says that I am qualified to give credit, I know my ethics, and I can deliver it fairly and with confidence that your kid will be prepared for further education in the career of their choice. Someone with no designation has no such guarantee, and they can’t award credit anyway. It means that both public and private schools can’t just hire anyone off the street, they have to have an OCT crtificate also.  Anyone teaching any high school credit from Calculus to Cosmetology will need this.

But they always have, since the college was first started in 1996. The new letters after my name which they encourage me to use will change nothing. It also hasn’t stopped school boards from hiring “emergency supply” teachers (teachers with no such certs, and often no union representation), or from hiring fulltime teachers from “off the street”, and certifying them later. It also doesn’t appear to stop the growing practice of universities and colleges offering high school credits, and using entirely non-accredited staff to deliver them, even as entirely accredited (and horribly underfunded) adult schools exists all across Ontario with certified teachers in its classrooms.

But since its inception in 1996, the Ontario College of Teachers have acted more like the policing arm of the Ontario government more than an upholder of standards. If they were really serious about teaching standards, then they ought to vigorously defend our profession from practices mentioned above. But they don’t. However, they make a big deal out of taking teachers to court and of publicising the fact in their Professionally Speaking publication (many teachers know them as The Blue Pages). I am not against taking legal action against teachers to defend and uphold a standard for professional ethics, but I am against the “public hanging” approach that is taken by the publication of their names and locations in the Blue Pages. I don’t need to know the names of anyone buy cheap tramadol overnight being found guilty of some abuse of power or other.  I don’t even want to know that it’s happening, unless it is a major social issue. It only serves to demoralize. It would be better, if ethics are such a big deal (and I agree it is), to educate us on ethics in a positive way, if that is the supposed lesson of these blue pages.

The Ontario College of Teachers was formed on an act of the Harris government in 1996, called “The Ontario College of Teachers Act.” Many teachers at the time felt that the OCT was imposed on them, against their wishes, serving only a coercive role.

The link to the YouTube promo is festooned with teachers calling for the banning of the Blue Pages and even an end to the College of Teachers, which seem to serve no useful purpose. One colleague quipped to me that our College fees are being used to finance their lawsuits against us. They are also used to finance a large office building near Bloor and Yonge, which will soon be owned outright by the College, thanks to our fee payments, which we have all paid on time like good little soldiers. Meanwhile the other tenant, who obviously is not making as much money (Alliance Atlantis!) is going to have to find another place to set up.

I have a vision for the OCT that they will not, and cannot, justify themselves as a policing arm of the government, because we pay the dues. In that vein, I can forsee a major change in the role of the OCT, in that it can and should separate itself from the government and become an independent body. That way, it can have the teeth to monitor and do something about government decisions that lead to the watering down of standards, such as allowing non-certified teachers to teach credit courses as they do in the college and university system. That should be regarded the same as allowing a non-certified doctor to treat a patient, or an uncertified engineer to build a bridge. If we don’t do the latter, then we shouldn’t be allowed to do the former. At the same time, it can monitor abuses of power among teachers as before, but I don’t need the constant reminders in The Blue Pages. If I am really interested, I can go to OCT’s professional library and check it out. Or maybe they can give me login access to such filthy details. But I don’t feel that the Blue Pages makes me a better teacher. But the OCT designation? Well, I see possibilities, but the OCT has to change its emphasis.

The origin of the phrase "silent majority"

This phrase was made popular by Richard Nixon around 1968 when he attempted to discredit Vietnam war protestors as a group of vocal fringe elements, while he was secretly escalating the war into Cambodia. “The silent majority”, it was supposed by Nixon, still supported the US involvement in Vietnam.

It must be admitted, that 40 years later, the phrase still resonates with us. But as clever and smart as Nixon was, he did not come up with it himself; the phrase actually had its origins in classical literature. It was used to describe dead people. So, surely that must mean that in Nixon’s democracy, we should always respect the opionions of the dead, since there will always be more of them than of us. This need to respect their opinions is made more urgent by the fact that dead people cannot speak for themselves, and thus have no voice of their own in our political discourse. In addition, most of them are hard-working dead people who have never committed crimes.

In recent elections, however, dead people have in fact lent their weight to various political parties by voting in several recent elections in several states in the US. Dead people have also run for political office, and one of them won an election in a race against John Ashcroft. In America, dead people are full participants in the democratic process, benefitting both Democrats and Republicans.

Surely, Nixon’s phrase has resonance, not in the apologetic, hawkish, warmongering sense, but in the originally intended sense, backed by over 1000 years of classical European literature.  I think Nixon really was referring to dead people, and he may have even been invoking the spirit world.

What is the true origin of that phrase? I was itching to find out.

At first, I thought “silent majority” must have originated from Dante’s Inferno, where would likely have used it to describe the dead. It turned out to be too juicy a fact to be true. He doesn’t use the phrase.

Phrases close to this have been pointed out a few years ago by the late classical scholar James B. Butrica, who quoted several writers, including the ancient Roman writer Petronius (AD 27-66): “Abiit ad plures” or, “S/He’s gone to the majority”, a fancy way of saying “S/He’s dead”. Butrica says that the same phrase was also used some 200 years earlier by Roman writer Plautus (circa 254–184 BCE).

At any rate, all I have to say is: one man, one death. It wouldn’t be terribly democratic if one man had two deaths. And also, I believe quite strongly that if you vote when you are alive, then if you die right after you leave the polling station, then you shouldn’t be allowed to come back and vote again as a dead person before the polls close.

In closing, I must say that the constant invocation of “the silent majority” over the years whenever most discourse opposes what a politician does, is a fallacy. We only have one way to read “silent majority” (I’m talking about the living this time), which is to say that if you don’t speak up, it is because it (whatever “it” is) doesn’t arouse your passions, and thus you don’t care. If the majority of voters decide not to vote, for example (as is too sadly the case most of the time), then their silence is not seen as a vote for anyone, and their non-votes are never counted. A politician cannot “listen” to the silent majority, because there is nothing for them to hear.