Monday, June 18, 2007


Update: Seems Dave, JJ and I have been noticed. Apparently we are "blasphemous" or some such nonsense. For those visitors who come here from, welcome. Please read this post and feel free to peruse the rest of my blog. For the record, I am an atheist, not a secular humanist. I am a left-libertarian and as such don't particularly like my liberty being taken away by anyone. That also means I respect your choice to live and worship as you see fit, so long as you do not try to make me live by your religion or rules. I am willing to live and let live, even if I do not agree with you. Love thy neighbour as thy self, judge not lest ye be judged, as the saying goes. Read this with an open mind and feel free to comment. But remember, I am serious about defending my liberty. How serious? Ask Dave what he was doing 25 years ago. We aren't amateurs.

Thank and enjoy!


After reading this over at the Galloping Beaver, I thought perhaps I need to send a friendly note to Timothy Bloedow and his supporters - people like REALwomen, Focus on the Family, Institute for Canadian Values, Canada Family Action Coalition, Marriage Canada, NARTH, and various other authoritarian, fundamentalist Christians.

Here it is:

Dear and supporters,

But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

Words to live by. As are these:

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"

and its corollary from libertarian thought

"No one has the right to initiate force against anyone or their property, or to delegate the initiation of force to others. One may only use force in self-defense."

Boiled down, these two sayings are the messages of every religion - the rest, as the old story goes, is commentary.

So it disturbs me greatly to see that you wish to create a Christian-based theocracy in Canada, even to the point of calling public servants "Ministers" in the real sense of the term. We've seen how well that kind of thing has turned out in both fact and fiction. Dare I say, I think you may owe Margaret Atwood some royalties after reading your site.

From what I have read, you intend force your narrow interpretation of Christianity on all Canadians, whether people subscribe to that view or not and whether people want it or not. You preach in nice tones and talk about things like "subsidiarity" and "decentralization" and how strong central government is un-christian (I suggest you let the Vatican know about that one - or the Mormons in Salt Lake or the folks in Westminster Abbey). But you also talk of "secular humanism as a threat that must be suppressed" and that "Christianity is the basis for the rule of law, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and equality before the law." In other words, you are stating that one can only have freedom if one agrees with your religious views otherwise they must be suppressed.

Sorry, but that isn't freedom or liberty. It isn't democracy. Neither Christianity, nor any other religion, should be "in the public square" in any way. You don't want freedom, but collectivist, conformist drones that all think like you, and it appears by wishing to form a government, you are prepared to use all of the coercive, violent powers of the state to do so.

Religion is a private, personal matter. It is the guide to the individual, because when it comes right down to it, you can only control yourself and not others. Not without tyranny. This is the kind of religion as practiced by the majority of Christians - learning the lessons taught by their faith, applying them in their personal lives. Living by example, not by force. This is also how the vast majority of Muslim live. And Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists - all religions.

May I suggest the following simple pieces of advice:

If you think abortion is wrong, don't have one. Or help make an environment where the choice to have one is the choice not taken.

If you don't like gay marriage, don't get married to someone of the same sex.

Indeed I suggest you consider looking at it this way: so long as you or your property are not harmed or taken, what other people do or believe makes no difference to you. Live and let live.

This is the creed I try to live by. I am an atheist and, frankly, think any belief in a God or gods is ridiculous. But I have many religious friends that I get along with just fine, because their belief and practice of their religion "neither breaks my legs nor picks my pockets." I have no problems with my Sikh neighbours, my Muslim friends or my Christian wife. We live in peace and harmony, thank you, and have no need of your "Christian" government or desire to live under it.

But I suspect, deep down, this is not really about something personal like religion anyway. Its really about power and authority. Your religion is merely a vehicle to power, so you may take control of the state, in order to force upon us your religious views, to coerce us and enslave us to do your bidding. You aren't religious, you are totalitarian, authoritarian dictators in waiting, dressed in preachers clothing. You want to rule over us for your own selfish reasons, even though you will certain say "its for our own good". You are, for lack of a better term, evil.

You are the Canadian equivalent, in every way, of the Taleban - the "Christaleban". The only difference between you and them is the length of the beards and the colour of the clothes.

So let me put this as simply and straight forward as I can:

You will not win. You will never be "ON THE WINNING SIDE in the culture war that is being waged today for the soul of Canada." You are advocates of slavery, not freedom and you will be fought at every turn.

I personally promise you that you will be fought and defeated by any means necessary. I have every right and every intention of defending my family, my property and my liberty from attack. I will defend these things with every peaceable means available, but through violence if necessary. I will not sit back and let you tell my daughter she does not control her own body, or tell my wife she cannot do any job she wishes. I will never be subjugated by those who would condemn me or my friends because we choose not to believe your religious nonsense. I will not stand by while my neighbours are oppressed and forced to convert, or have their personal religions destroyed.

The only person qualified to know what "is for my own good" is me, not you. Not your church and not the 2000+ year old writings of long-dead Middle Eastern mystics.

First you will be ignored. If that does not work, you will be defied. And if that does not work, you will be fought, to the death if need be.

Is that clear enough? Do you understand?

The choice is now yours. You can choose live in peace and freely practice and believe you religion side by side with the rest of us. We will not bother you if you do not bother us. Or you can choose this route of culture war and attempt to use the power of the state to enforce your narrow views on everyone. The first is open and tolerant, the second is authoritarian and enslaving.

I am willing to live and let live, are you?

Choose wisely, and let me assure you, you will not prevail.


In other unrelated news, I have reversed my stance on gun control...

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

The end in Afghanistan

Its time to bring our forces home. Afghanistan is no longer even remotely winnable and will only serve to waste the lives of our soldiers. I support our troops and I don't think support the troops by leaving them in an un-winnable situation to be needlessly killed and maimed. So I want them home.

I have not always had this position, of course. Six months ago I was a pariah, I felt, in my own party at the time. I supported the war in Afghanistan, because I honestly thought that Canadian troops could make a real difference. We did things differently, I thought, and this would be to our benefit.

In the past 6 months, it has become clear, however, that we are not doing what we do best and are now in circumstances that prevent us - or nearly anyone else - from being able to win:

1. We are no longer do reconstruction and helping the Afghan people. $9 of every $10 we spend over there are on combat, not on reconstruction. Even then, we are alienating our allies in the Afghan police, refusing to help them, forcing untrained recruits to take the brunt of the fighting.

2. Pakistan is now making peace in the tribal regions, allowing those fighters to be "freed up" to fight against us. Without the cooperation of Pakistan (who created the Taliban in the first place), we are merely assuming the position that was assumed by the Russians and British before us.

3. We are now complicit in the torture and disappearance of detainees, despite the best efforts of our troops on the ground to prevent it. To Afghan eyes, this makes us occupiers, not helpers.

4. The war is no longer about helping the Afghans, or finding Osama bin Laden. We are making the classic mistakes the Russians made 20 years ago - sending in tanks to fight insurgents (unless you buy that the tanks are there for another reasons). Politically, things like "Red Friday's" have morphed from being non-partisan events to show the soldiers we support them, to Nuremberg-style rallies that unflinchingly support the Conservative government's policy. I now make it a point to NOT wear red on Friday for this very reason.

5. We are playing into the hands of the Taliban. "We can't have reconstruction without security and we can't have security without the kind of combat we are doing" say the Conservative Party apologists and war cheer leaders. But if the Taliban wanted to stop reconstruction and wanted to make the Canadians troops appear to be the heavy-handed bad guys, they have succeeded. They can use car bombs and other IED to cause us to focus our money and effort on combat, rather than what we had intended - Provincial Reconstruction. and since we spend 90% of our money in Afghanistan on combat, its working. So long as schools don't get built, so long as civilians get shot, so long as we are complicit in the torture of detainees, the Taliban strategy is working. And Stephen Harper, Gordon O'connor and Gen. Hillier want us to continue and do it more.

None of this should be construed as saying anything against our troops. They are doing their job well, as best they can, in the circumstances they find themselves. They are acting with courage and determination and every one of them should be personally thanked. But that they do what they do well does not mean they should be doing it in Afghanistan. This is no longer a peacekeeping, peacemaking operation. Our troops are probably in violation of the Geneva Conventions and complicit in war crimes, not because of their actions, but because of the policy of this government and the previous government.

Our troops are now in an impossible situation - fighting a war they cannot win, being forced into illegal, criminal acts by policy rather than action and are supporting a government that is more and more appearing only marginally better than the Taliban. I am at a loss to understand how keeping our soldiers in this situation to be killed and maimed, or deciding to make it worse by expanding the time commitment and role, is in any way "supporting the troops".

And now a word of warning:

First person who says I don't support our troops, or somehow support the Taliban because of this get a punch in the fucking throat. Or worse if I ever meet them in the real work.

My brother is a 16 year vet of the Canadian Forces. He is a Warrant Officer who trains a good many of the troops from the reserves that are going over. The CF is looking at him to go over now too, despite meaning they will have no one to do the armored and infantry training he does. My brother is married with a little boy.

If I am going to lose my brother, if my nephew is to lose his father, if my kids are to lose their uncle in service to Canada, then it is up to us and our government that he will not die or be horribly wounded in vain. It is up to them, and us, to ensure that when we ask our troops to go somewhere and conduct operations that may require them to give their lives, that we do so for good reasons, to help those that want and can be helped and do not place our forces into situations where they could become war criminals.

The Afghanistan mission is not that mission. It is a quagmire that will chew up our soldiers, for no other reason than to look tough in a 'war on terror'. Sorry, but that is not worth the life of my brother, or any other Canadian citizen.

I cannot support this mission, as it exists right now.

Bring the troops home.

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