Sunday, May 27, 2007

Favorite E-mail Signatures

Scriptural quotations notwithstanding, these are some of my preferred tag lines to my e-mails:

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." --Voltaire

"Think not those faithful who praise all your words and actions, but those who kindly reprove your faults."

"He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool...shun him. He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is willing...teach him. He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep...awaken him. He who knows, and knows that he knows, is wise...follow him."

"The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts." --Edmund Burke

"The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error." --John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

"There are 10 types of people in the world; those who understand binary, and those who don't."

"Freedom includes the right to say what others may object to and resent...The essence of citizenship is to be tolerant of strong and provocative words."
--Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, April 9, 1970, House of Commons

"Men are qualified for liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites." --Edmund Burke

"Let no man turn aside, ever so slightly, from the broad path of honour, on the plausible pretense that he is justified by the goodness of his end. All good ends can be worked out by good means." --Charles Dickens

"What will destroy us?-- The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice." --Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi

"Being a lover of freedom, when the (Nazi) revolution came, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but no, the universities were immediately silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks...Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration for it because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual and moral freedom. I am forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly." --Albert Einstein from Kampi und Zeugnis der bekennenden Kirche

"The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." --John Stuart Mill

"Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong."
--Prime Minister Diefenbaker

"Little vicious minds abound with anger and revenge, and are incapable of feeling the pleasure of forgiving their enemies."

--Lord Chesterfield

"The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors." --Thomas Jefferson's response when he was asked why he did not read any of the newspapers of his day

"It is better by noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to half the evils we anticipate than to remain in cowardly listlessness for fear of what might happen." --Herodotus

"Power is a poison well known for thousands of years. If only no one were ever to acquire material power over others! But to the human being who has faith in some force that holds dominion over all of us, and who is therefore conscious of his own limitations, power is not necessarily fatal. For those, however, who are unaware of any higher sphere, it is a deadly poison. For them there is no antidote." --Alexander Solzhenitsyn

"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." --Thomas Paine

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." --Goethe

"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." -- Attributed to Thomas Jefferson(Please let me know if I have misattributed any of the above quotes, or if you know who the unattributed quotes should be attributed to.)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

My E-mail to CTV's "Ask Us"

To Whom it may Concern,

Though I was unable to catch the "Ask Us" question on March 16, 2007 that Joy Malbon was responding to, her answer contained statements that were at the very least misleading, if not outright wrong.

First she said that every U.S. President has been a Republican or Democrat since 1776 except for George Washington and the "accidental president", John Tyler (a Whig). She failed to mention that Millard Fillmore was also elected as a Whig. Prior to Abraham Lincoln, today's Republican Party didn't exist, though another party now referred to [by historians] as the "Democratic-Republican Party" elected four Presidents under that [the Republican] name. Also, John Adams considered himself a Federalist, and thus was neither a Republican or a Democrat.

Then she went on to describe the candidates vying for the Republican and Democratic nominations in the current Presidential election. I was surprised she decided CTV is empowered to act as a "benevolent censor" by failing to mention any Republican candidates other than John McCain or Rudy Guliani. Even though her U.S. media counterparts are also guilty of selective reporting, at least they have also generally acknowledge Mitt Romney's Republican Presidential candidacy. Several other competent Republicans and Democrats, that have and will be ignored by the U.S. news media, are already registered with the U.S. Federal Election Commission (FEC) as Presidential candidates, have and will be ignored by CTV as well.
The choice - Tweedledum or Tweedledee?

With so few "legitimate" choices being presented to the public in [elections] by the press and network news media, old media should accept their complicity in the poor caliber of leadership the electorate are left with - Tweedledum or Tweedledee.

Such a lack of thoroughness and accuracy belies the increasing mistrust of the public in old media, and their willingness to rely on independent new media via the Internet.

Al Cruikshank

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Global warming.

Some believe that all truth and reality are subjective. This is a false belief. Truth does not care if you choose to ignore it. No amount of unbelief in the law of gravity is going to change the consequences of jumping off a cliff.

Well, in science you better not call something a truth that is only rooted in a philosophy or belief, no matter how authoritative the source.

Years ago, a church messed around with the domain of astronomy by pronouncing that the earth was the center of the universe. Being as this church used its authority to impose its dogma on the state, people suffered. Those who publicly challenged this dogma were even branded as heretics, and were persecuted for their beliefs.

Nowadays, many scientists are calling anthropogenic global warming, "an inconvenient truth." Some have even advocated silencing heretics who challenge this "truth." Most of these same scientists wish to use the power of the state to reverse the alleged consequences of this "truth." Sounds like dogma to me. Sounds like their proposed prescriptions might be worse than the illness.

However, giving these scientists the benefit of the doubt I ask, "why not adapt?" Here in Canada, we are liable to have a net benefit from global warming. More arable land, an open northwest passage, and a more moderate climate would be welcome by many a Canadian and tourist alike. Also, needing less fuel to heat our homes may result in cleaner air.

Most animals can adapt too. Some won't. My thoughts drift to a photo of a bunch of "stranded" polar bears on an iceberg. Its not like polar bears haven't ended up on icebergs before. If some bears are so dumb they don't know when to get off, maybe they deserve to be removed from the gene pool.

In a future blog, I'll discuss a legitimate place for dogma.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

A New Dark Age?

"In America today, each faction's "truths" are defined by the faction's dogma or ideology. Each faction bans factual analysis that it doesn't want to hear. This is as true within the universities as it is at political rallies. The old liberal notion that "we shall follow the truth wherever it may lead" has long departed from America. Think tanks reflect the views of the donors. Studies are no longer independent of their financing. In America, truth has become partisan."
Equally applicable to other Western democracies, Paul Craig Robert's complete column is linked below:

America Enters a New Dark Age of Dogma