There are some people whose rhetorical goal is to bring the reader/listener to a point of numbness where they feel that the topic is too complex to understand and they defer to the expert. This is especially used when talking with those who agree with the premises and conclusion that the speaker/writer has. Thus the reader/listener feels good because their view has been supported by an expert, and the writer/speaker feels good because they have received support.
But in reality all that has happened is the linking of premise and conclusion with a bunch of wibbly wobbly rhetorical wimey stuff that isn’t a functional argument.
This leads to polarization of belief as camps grow around the speaker/writer and they are combative with other groups around a different speaker/writer who disagree with the premises or conclusions, but because the speakers/writers never actually educated their groups but simply provided them with unlinked premises and conclusions the two groups turn their backs on each other because to admit that they don’t understand it is to admit that they might be wrong. It is to admit that they hold the premises and conclusions not because it’s true but because they received confirmation of their biases from an “expert”. It is to admit that their proof is based not on truth but on a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the evidence or of the opponents perspective.
Nobody is perfect. It’s a common saying, but let’s really break it down.
No person, past or present, is perfect. They have all done things that are wrong.
We like to play pretend. Let’s pretend that George Washington or Louis Riel or Abraham Lincoln was a saint. We like to pretend that the founding fathers of Canada cared just as much about diversity as we do, or at least that they didn’t oppose it. We like to put people like Martin Luther King Jr. on a pedestal and pretend that he only did the things we consider ‘good’ and none of the things we disagree with. Or Nelson Mandela, or Mother Teresa, or any other popular figure. But it’s just pretend. They’re all people, and people are flawed.
Groups aren’t amorphous independent entities, they’re made up of people. Those people have good actions, and those people have bad actions, and those people do both at various times. However, humans like to think that any group that they are part of or want to be part of are defined by the best people in that group, while groups that they aren’t in or don’t want to be in are defined by the worst people in that group. So we get groups like Black Lives Matter, the GOP, Greenpeace, the Catholic Church, etc. The people in these groups have both good and bad actions. Sometimes it’s hard to see past our preconceptions of the groups and look at the actual balance of good actions and bad actions rather than looking only at the good actions of some groups and only the bad actions of others.
Here’s the secret. It’s possible to identify both good and bad things in people or groups. It’s possible to celebrate the good while at the same time condemning the bad. It’s possible to be part of a group while knowing that there are problematic aspects to it. It’s possible to celebrate it for what it does while at the same time identifying where it falls short.
Identifying problems doesn’t mean something isn’t, on balance, good. At the same time identifying good things doesn’t mean it isn’t bad. In fact our ability to identify good and bad in something and then make a decision with the full knowledge that it isn’t perfect or evil is an important aspect of our humanity.
It is possible to see both that Canada is pretty awesome and provides great things, like basic health care and education, while also seeing that it’s pretty bad and incarcerates Indigenous people for offences that white people get probation for or a fine, or that they under-fund education on reserves. These two things aren’t mutually exclusive. They’re what make Canada. Canada is both the good and the bad.
You can like how the Prime Minister worked with the people who set the Tipi up on Parliament Hill for ceremony this week as being an example of reconciliation while at the same time understand that his fighting the implementation of Jordan’s principle directly harms Indigenous children (a fight that’s been happening for a decade now). You can like that the Prime Minister is increasing the education funding beyond 2% for the first time in two decades while hate that it was his party who first froze that funding, something that’s affected a generation and a half of Indigenous people.
Look at things with both eyes open. There are very few things that are perfect, and discussing the tarnish on them doesn’t harm those things, but rather puts them in their proper perspective. You can be proud of Canada while at the same time understanding where it has fallen short of it’s ideals. You can be proud of Canada while at the same time understanding that it’s historic ideals were what we’d call racist or regressive now.
You can be proud of Canada while pointing out its flaws.
Oh… Canada… we can be proud and aware at the same time. That doesn’t make us non-patriotic, but rather makes us better humans and better Canadians.
UPDATE August 29, 2019: Abortion rights: Scheer has now announced that he holds the opposing position from Harper. He is willing to allow MPs to bring forward private members bills on abortion and same-sex marriage and allow a free vote.
UPDATE June 4, 2019: Yes, I’ve seen that a number of people are referring back here to try to defend Scheer, however, as you can tell, this was written two years ago, as was the original meme. It only applies to him at that point and before. Everything he’s done since is not covered in this. Look it up, research it, think about it, read actual news rather than commentary or opinion pieces.
Original post, June 1, 2017:
If you’ve read my writings during the last election I was very very critical of the CPC. That being said I hate it when people are deliberately misleading. I saw a meme today about the new leader of the CPC Andrew Scheer.
It seemed to list things that I had heard the opposite about so I looked each item up. Here’s what I found.
Looked it up. The meme is very wrong on some things but right on others.
The major Evangelical leader Dr. Dobson has put out a release talking about Donald Trump’s faith. Now I was under the impression that there was no “religious test… as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust”. But since Dobson brought it up… in the words of Aaron Burr in Hamilton “Ok, so we’re doin’ this”.
Only the Lord knows the condition of a person’s heart. I can only tell you what I’ve heard. First, Trump appears to be tender to things of the Spirit.
Yes, that’s true. Only the Lord knows. However, the bible says a few other things about the heart:
Luke 12:33-34: Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Do we want to consider where Trump’s treasure is? We don’t need to ask, he talks about it time and time again.
I thought I’d take a look at the countries who are hosting the most Syrian Refugees. So with a quick skim of news reports and Wikipedia I have this.
These are the countries that have brought in the most Syrian refugees by percentage of their population:
The honorable mentions are:
Germany (almost 500,000)
Saudi Arabia (75,000)
Remember that the next time someone says that the middle eastern countries aren’t pulling their weight. Saudi Arabia has even brought in more than three times more refugees than Canada’s 25,000 (four times if you’re determining it as a percentage of population).
And the US? 3000 refugees. That’s lower than any other developed country except for Japan (refusing to take any), Israel (refusing to take any), China (refusing to take any), India (they’ve taken in about 50) Czech Republic (holding the few they have in prisons and under investigation for human rights violations), & Finland (though they’ve accepted 20 times more refugees by percentage of population than the US).