Jun 112015
 

Andrew Bernstein

 
 
 
 

Bob Metz and I interview Dr. Andrew Bernstein on episode 404 of Just Right.
Dr. Bernstein holds a PhD in Philosophy from the Graduate School of the City University of New York. He has taught Philosophy at the State University of New York at Purchase, Marist College, Hunter College, and the State University of New York at New Paltz. He is an Author, speaker for the Ayn Rand Institute, and an advocate for Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.

Nov 182012
 

On October 27, 2012, I was the Master of Ceremonies for the Freedom Party of Ontario dinner held to hear three outspoken individuals give their views about the inculcation of moral subjectivism in our public schools, and how it may affect students and society.

The speakers varied in their ideas about what constitutes a proper code of morality, but they shared an opposition to the view that there is no such thing as right and wrong, better or worse.

None of the speakers was a member or supporter of Freedom Party of Ontario when they participated in this event.

The opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect my views nor the views of Freedom Party of Ontario.

Oct 042012
 
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser

When Saudi nationals perpetrated the September 11th attacks in the United States it did not go unnoticed that there was dancing in the streets in many Muslim nations. It is not a secret that millions of Muslims around the world and even those living in Western countries despise Western values and refuse to integrate into the free and civilized world.

Even today we have prominent American and Canadian Muslim organizations and leaders who are in league with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wahhabi Mullahs of Saudi Arabia and are working tirelessly to destroy the West and every good it stands for.

Not all Muslims are against freedom and capitalism. Not all Muslims are our enemy.  But where are these Muslims? Why don’t we hear from them? For the celebrity few who do speak out, like Ayan Hirsi Ali, or Sam Solomon there are death threats and intimidation. Many keep silent for fear of retribution from the greater Muslim community.

I was invited by Salim Mansur, professor of Political Science at Western University and a frequent quest on our show, to attend and video the September 30th launch of a new voice for the many Muslims in Canada who have either remained silent, or who have spoken out with nobody willing to listen to them. The new organization is called Muslims Facing Tomorrow. Salim Mansur is the Vice President of MFT while activist and author Raheel Raza is the President.

At the meeting journalist and television host Christine Williams spoke and the keynote address was delivered by Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, ex-USA Navy Seal Lt. Commander and Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD).

What I heard at that event is precisely what I had been longing to hear from an organization of Muslims; a call to reject all violence, to embrace Western values and freedoms, including the freedom to offend as with The Innocence of Muslims video trailer.

I did not hear a single note of reticence in their condemnation of those Muslims calling for the curtailment of free speech or any other individual right protected by both the US and Canadian Constitutions. In fact, during the question period one man stood up, gave his name and declared that he was a Muslim apostate and suggested that the crowd give up their belief in superstition. There were no gasps of shock at such an admission, in fact a few people even applauded.

If such a man can stand up in a crowd of about 160 Muslims (by my count) and declare his apostasy without fear then I knew I was in the right room.

While ideas matter it is not ideas which kill people it is people who kill people and even though there are many tenets of what many have come to understand as Islam which are antithetical to peace, freedom and justice it is not the notion of Islam which kills. It is individual Muslims who kill. Those who espouse evil should be routed out as evil and likewise those who espouse freedom and peace should be lauded for their courage to do so.

I have wrestled with the apparent contradiction of what I understand to be Islam and the individual actions of Muslims. That evening I listened as speaker after speaker affirmed that there are many types of Islam. There are Muslims who, much as many Christians do, pick and choose those things attributed to Muhammad in the Koran. Dr. Jasser outright rejected the notion, for example, that Muhammad consummated a marriage to nine year old Aisha. He simply does not believe it. He rejected the call to kill Infidels or Jews regardless of what it says in the Koran. We have seen this before in Christianity as many choose to reject those aspects of the Bible which are inconsistent with civilization and have relegated such passage to history and myth. This may be how a religion reforms itself.

As if in answer to my own thoughts Dr. Jasser also addressed the Muslim notion of al-Taqiyya. He was asked by conservative blogger Dr. Roy Eappen; ‘How does one know that they are not being hoodwinked by moderate Muslims?’ He said that putting his position on the public record and doing it consistently through word and action should be enough to convince people of his sincerity.

When a Muslim stands up publicly to denounce anti-Semitism, misogyny, violence, homophobia, arranged marriages to six year olds and acts consistently to show that he is sincere what more do we need to know to accept the fact that Islam to him is completely different than it is to the Osama-bin Ladens and Wahhabis of the world?

(Originally broadcast on Just Right #270, October 4, 2012.)

Mar 292012
 

Good Lord! – The Right, The Honourable
Abortion And Islam – Morally Superior?
Rude Interruption – The McBean Consensus
Puzzle Unsolved – Issues Resolved

The sphere and cylinder conundrum video by itself.

Depending on you browser settings you can click here to download the show or use the player below to stream it.

Mar 222012
 

On March 22nd, 2012 I sat down with Lord Christopher Monckton for a one-on-one discussion of education, journalism, Catholicism, Islam, conservatism, and philosophy.

Mar 182012
 

Video I took on March 18, 2012 of Lord Christopher Monckton speaking to supporters of the International Free Press Society – Canada at Windermere Manor in London, Ontario. Topics of his speech included the United Nations, environmentalism, science, reason, Agenda 21, Marxism, Islam, and abortion as one of the reasons for the eventual downfall of the West.

Mar 152012
 

241 - Monckton-Essex - 168x100

GUEST: The Rt Hon Christopher Monckton, Autodidactic Mathematician, Game Designer, Architect, Journalist, Politician, Skeptic
GUEST: Professor Christopher Essex, Dept Of Applied Mathematics And Past Director, Theoretical Physics, UWO; Co-Author Of Taken By Storm

Global Warming – Has All The Hot Air Dissipated?
Advising Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – Changing The Views Of The Iron Lady
From SudoKu X To The Puzzle That Is Lord Monckton
The Courtier’s Conundrum – The Intersect Of Science And Politics

Depending on you browser settings you can click here to download the show or use the player below to stream it.

Mar 082012
 

Stockholm SyndromeLast week the Fraser Institute released a ranking of the schools in Ontario based on the scores each school received from the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO).

The EQAO is an arm’s-length Crown agency of the Government of Ontario instituted under the Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris in 1996.  Its mandate is to conduct province-wide tests at key points in every student’s primary, junior and secondary education and report the results to educators, parents and the public.  The question on EQAO’s tests are developed by Ontario educators and linked directly to the learning expectations in The Ontario Curriculum. The EQAO has an annual budget of approximately $33 million.

When I was a trustee on the London Board of Education I remember the reaction of the teachers, administrators, trustees and unions to this form of standardized testing. They were opposed to it.  But not opposed on any solid educational grounds.  They opposed it purely on partisan political grounds.  The memory of the hatred the teachers unions had for the Mike Harris years is still seared into the minds of many today.  That was a time when the common pronunciation of the word “harASSment” was changed to “HARisment” to reflect the harASSment the teachers felt they were being subjected to by the HARRIS govt.

Every time the EQAO scores are released we see the same teachers and administrators line up to condemn the results mainly because of the sense of effrontery they feel at having their profession assessed by the government.

And no wonder.  The results (although I have to admit many failings in the validity and reliability of the testing) have always shown how poorly the public education system is at achieving the results mandated by their own curriculum.  And while the nature of the curriculum is a topic for another day, suffice it to say that it is a failure in itself; a failure to teach the necessary literacy and numeracy skills to proceed to the next stage in their lives.

The ranking of school scores is always frowned upon because it reveals something of the education system which teachers and boards would like to ignore.  First, areas of lower social demographics or immigration do poorer than schools that have children from more affluent and established families, and second, that if these factors are accounted for what is revealed is the poor teaching ability of the staff at particular schools.

In London the elementary school which scored the lowest was Sir John A. MacDonald, a school which is in a lower income area of town and has a considerable number of immigrant children. However, these same demographics can be found in many other schools in this city and in the province and these schools scored higher than Sir John A. MacDonald.  In fact almost every school scored higher since “Mac” had a score of zero out of ten.

What I find most interesting is not that a school can perform so poorly on the EQAO tests but that the parents of the children attending this school don’t protest but instead actually praise the teachers and staff at the school.

I believe they are suffering from a form of “Stockholm Syndrome”.

From Wikipedia:

“In psychology, Stockholm Syndrome is an apparently paradoxical psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.

“Stockholm Syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.”

Perhaps the most infamous victim who exhibited “Stockholm Syndrome” was  Patty Hearst, kidnapped by the so-called Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974. After two months in captivity, she actively took part in a robbery they were orchestrating.

Parents of these poorly scoring schools, in fact most parents who have children in the public education system, a system which graduates many children who are illiterate are incapable of functioning at the same level as say students who graduated in the earlier half of the last century, seem to rally around in defense of the school system whenever it feels threatened by things such as standardized testing.

Why?  They, like a kidnap victim, are presented with little choice.  They are forced to have their children educated in the Ontario Curriculum (whether in public or private schools).  They are forced to pay into the system even if they wish to send their children to another school or home school they are still forced to pay into the public or Catholic education systems.  They feel bewildered at the array of the ever increasing complexity of the curriculum deliberately made so by the teaching profession with the sole purpose of excluding any layman from doing what is actually a rather simple task – teaching.

Left with this feeling of being captured in a system of force they, like Patty Heart actually support the system even when data shows the harm that it is doing to their children.

Here is an excerpt from one parent who had children in Sir John A. Macdonald which aired on the Andy Oudman radio program here in London:

“I have no problem with the education my children have received at Sir John A. MacDonald.  I see remarkable things at that school every day.  The staff are incredible!  Just incredible.  And I’ve seen a lot of teachers. I’ve probably seen a hundred different teachers over the last 12 years and this group of people are a team.  You can feel it when you walk into the front door of that school; the camaraderie, the compassion the care and the excitement for teaching.  They want to see every child succeed, and whether that’s one step ahead or 10 steps ahead, every step ahead is progress for our students regardless of their background, regardless of their ability. That’s what we focus on.

“I’m not a teacher and I know that the foundation they received from Junior Kindergarten to grade eight was exceptional.

“We’ve considered moving not because of the school. We would find a way to get our kids back to the school if we moved out of the area. Mac is an exceptional place.”

This after hearing that her children’s school was ranked 2,689th out of 2,695 elementary schools in the province.

Stockholm Syndrome can be the only explanation for why parents praise a school system which is crippling their children’s minds.

But the education system is not the only area where we see the “Stockholm Syndrome” at work.  It can be found in any area where force is used to, in-effect, victimize or capture the public with no alternatives just as with actual kidnap victims.

When we are told that fire-fighters make over $100,000 a year we don’t hesitate to praise the good work they do, even though the good work they do is done so infrequently and is usually done by unpaid volunteers in countless communities in the country.  The same praise is given to policeman even though the police department has refused to come in under budget year after year.

Our health care system is praised as the best in the world even though it clearly is not.

We have, as a society become a mass of kidnap victims who have become sympathetic towards our captors, repeatedly giving them salary raises, re-electing them to Parliament, and singing the praises of the essential work they provide us even though we somehow know deep down that they are essentially harming us, and leaving us with little or no alternatives.  We either side with them or accept the fact that we are all victims, held captive, by force, every day of our lives.

(Originally broadcast on Just Right #240, March 8, 2012)