Politics, recent

The Circular Firing Squad Is Destroying the Left’s Political Brand: A Case Study from Canada

On last week’s Quillette podcast, I asked Marginal Revolution host and Mercatus Center director Tyler Cowen whether socialism could become a mainstream political movement in the United States. Cowen answered in the affirmative, though only insofar as socialism was presented in a constrained form—as “extreme discontent with capitalism, more redistribution, much more government regulation, [and] nationalization [of] the health sector.”

I believe Cowen is correct. As a Canadian who travels often to the United States, I often find myself shocked by the vast gulf between haves and have-nots in American society. Even here in Canada, where the class divisions are less stark, I’m a supporter of more aggressive measures aimed at helping people who are disabled, uneducated, mired in poverty, imprisoned (or recently released from prison), or burdened with care for the very old or very young. I believe income inequality is a real problem, and I’m troubled by the self-segregation of populations according to socioeconomic status, a phenomenon that has all sorts of toxic political repercussions. And at election time, I seek out parties that support these progressive ideas.

Since I live in Canada, you’d think I’d have plenty of electoral options. And insofar as the above-cited issues go, I do: The incumbent Liberals, New Democrats (NDP) and Green Party all broadly embrace this socialistic platform. But in the cultural sphere, the progressive movement they represent increasingly is being undercut by extremist grass-roots activists who repel moderates. Most progressive politicians either have ignored this phenomenon entirely, or have encouraged it in order to attract support from the media, which, on the most fashionable issues, has put its chips down with the activists.

Every week seems to bring fresh calls for conservative politicians to denounce white supremacism in Canada—which is fine, even if the subject now seems to be overwrought. But Canadian leftists generally have gotten a free pass in regard to the radicals on their own side. If this represents a “double standard,” as many conservatives complain, it’s a double standard that mostly hurts progressives themselves—since it blurs the ideological lines between extremists and the mainstream leftists who seek political office. Justin Trudeau exemplifies this trend, having never missed an opportunity to virtue signal gratuitously on issues related to identity politics.

The last month alone has brought a string of instructive vignettes. In mid-March, a single activist succeeded in cutting funding to a rape-crisis center in Vancouver reserved for females. The activist was not, as one might suspect, a Christian conservative who opposes feminist ideology. Rather, it was a trans activist named Morgane Oger who has long demanded that male-bodied individuals be granted full access to rape-crisis facilities. The idea that raped women should have to indulge the faddish identity-politics fixations of small groups of ideologues is massively unpopular among ordinary people. But Oger—who is listed as a vice-president of British Columbia’s provincial NDP—was able to attract enough support among city officials to pass the measure at council. And the Toronto Star, Canada’s biggest newspaper, published an article celebrating the defunding decision, authored by its “identity and equalityreporter.

The likely victims of this move will be raped women. But to my knowledge, no major progressive politician at the provincial or federal level has explicitly condemned it. In the case of the federal government, this isn’t surprising: The governing Liberals have explicitly embraced the doctrine of intersectionality, which is all about helping the most marginalized slivers of the population. On this axis, trans women—though they represent only about 0.35% of the Canadian population—outrank the roughly 50% of Canadians who would describe themselves merely as female. That kind of arithmetic has a way of turning off voters.

Some of the sharpest blows delivered against Canadian progressives over the last month have been the result of poisonous civil wars within the progressive community itself—what Barack Obama aptly calls the left’s “circular firing squad”: Trans vs. feminist, Indigenous group vs. Indigenous group, Black LGBT vs. White LGBT. This is no coincidence: Since the doctrine of intersectionality encourages the ranking of groups according to victim status, it turns suffering into a competitive sport. And Canada’s various victim groups are starting to get their elbows up in politically unattractive ways.

As Quillette writer Neil Grey pointed out, the cultural-appropriation follies have become a particularly embarrassing farce. In this month’s instalment, one group of indigenous Canadians is boycotting an indigenous music-awards event because a member of a second indigenous group has been nominated for an award based on a musical style that allegedly was “appropriated” from the first group. The event is bankrolled by all three levels of Canadian government, but you will be hard-pressed to find a single mainstream politician willing to point out how silly this whole cultural witch-hunt has become. And since no one in the media wants to be accused of insensitivity, the coverage has been suffused with touchy-feely bafflegab that avoids accentuating the rather obvious absurdity of the situation.

In what may be an even more bizarre story, the city of Edmonton lost its 2019 pride parade this year, after members of the organizing committee became paralyzed in the face of demands from a corps of self-described “QTIBPOC” activists. That acronym stands for “Queer, Trans, Indigenous, Black and People of Colour,” but apparently excludes “mainstream LGBTQ+ communities” in which “whiteness is pervasive.” A full listing of the QTIBPOC demands can be found in this 2,000-word document. But to summarize: The activists demanded that the entire pride festivities be centered on a sort of QTIBPOC-run ideological boot camp. QTIBPOC also demanded more than $40,000 in new funding for its own use, a corps of volunteers to do the actual work required for these programs, the creation of a QTIBPOC-administered ideological litmus test to determine participation in certain activities, a race-segregated “dance party” (for which QTIBPOC wanted $1,500 in dedicated funding), and the institution of race-stratified protocols in pretty much all aspects of pride operations, including the “vigil to honour the lives of LGBTIQ2S+ activists and community members that were lost due to systemic oppression including transphobia, racism, classism, capitalism, etc…QTIBPOC+ and trans folx will lead this vigil, followed by white allies and supports.” The result is that Edmonton will lose one of the most popular events on the city’s civic calendar—all because of a small group of hyper-progressive activists making demands that ordinarily progressive people properly regard as insane but are afraid to call out as such.

The Pride committee’s official statement reads: “It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that the Board of Directors has voted to cancel the 2019 Edmonton Pride Festival. In light of the current political and social environment, it has been determined that any attempt to host a Festival will not be successful.” Media coverage has blandly repeated such euphemisms, along with the vague declaration that organizers “could no longer run a pride festival without creating further divisions within the community.” CTV News ran a softball interview with one of the activists, who lamented, “we were advocating to make changes, to make positive changes in the event. We don’t want this event to be cancelled. We care about Pride, otherwise we wouldn’t be putting in these efforts.” The whole thing comes off as mortifying kabuki aimed at diverting attention from the protestors’ jaw-dropping narcissism. To repeat a theme: If a single prominent, mainstream leftist has voiced exasperation with all this, I haven’t heard it.

Even when Canadian progressives try to escape these circular firing squads, their approach can be strangely parochial. Niki Ashton is one of the most prominent members of the federal NDP, having finished third in the party’s 2017 leadership race (during which she set the tone for the current iteration of progressive politics by apologizing to Black Lives Matter for Tweeting a three-word phrase from a Beyoncé song). Last week, she was on Twitter again, Tweeting about—what else?—Twitter. Embracing the sort of campaign that you typically see led by trolls and Reddit addicts, she pushed for Twitter to eject an eccentric wing nut named Faith Goldy from its platform. Goldy is indeed a toxic presence in Canadian politics. But why in the world is a prominent member of a would-be governing political party demanding that an American social-media company throw a Canadian citizen off a private communication network?

Though it’s a small story, it shows the shrunken character of the progressive political universe. What now animates politicians such as Ashton most are passive aggressive power plays aimed at scoring points within the leftist social-media silo they never leave. The most attractive aspect of socialism is that it focuses attention on the real-world problems of real-world people—problems that have nothing to do with who’s on Twitter, who gets to sing what song, or the marching order in an LGBT parade. Far from dragging down the progressive image, honest-to-goodness socialism that actually improves the lives of ordinary working class people—regardless of their skin colour or pronouns (imagine that)—would actually be a far easier sell than Ashton’s faddish hashtags. Rather than ask whether the spectre of socialism is dragging down progressives, maybe the question should be reversed.

* * *

A week ago, David Brooks tweeted that “if somebody wants to start a new political party, they should make it economically left and culturally right. That’s the big unserved group in America right now.” He’s absolutely right. As Michael Shermer wrote in Quillette last year, what’s needed now is a political movement that combines the economic generosity of progressives with the cultural pluralism of enlightened conservatives. That’s true in Canada, too—and, I suspect, most other comparable western countries.

Politics doesn’t always reduce to simple dyads, of course. And there are some areas of real and important policy conflict in Canada that don’t break down on either economic or cultural lines. (On climate change, for instance, the governing Liberals are pursuing an ambitious carbon-pricing plan, while Conservatives strike a populist posture that improperly downplays the urgency of the problem.) But in general, when I look around to see which politicians are locking down the unserved demand that Brooks and Shermer are talking about, it now tends to be conservatives who’ve made peace with the welfare state—because they’re the ones who seem more at liberty to reject social-media slogans and embrace common sense. Consider: Ontario premier Doug Ford may be caricatured as a conservative monster in the progressive media. But in last week’s Ontario budget announcement, his provincial Conservatives rolled out a new child-care tax credit and government-funded dental care for seniors—on top of a new $11-billion commitment to create four huge new transit projects in the Toronto area.

Later this week, Alberta voters will go the polls. The two front-runners are the incumbent NDP, led by premier Rachel Notley, and the United Conservative Party (UCP), led by former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney. For the past month, my Twitter feed has consisted in large part of Canadian progressives charging Kenney with every species of bigotry imaginable, and parsing the social-media posts of UCP candidates for evidence of wrongthink. Since most reporters are inhabiting this same Twitter silo, these themes have naturally dominated their coverage, too. One would think that Alberta were under siege from fascists.

But these attacks against Kenney don’t seem to have made a whit of difference: According to the latest poll projections, his UCP will win a crushing majority. Perhaps that’s because progressives have by now rendered accusations of sexism, racism, homophobia and transphobia utterly banal and ineffective. Claims of bigotry have become their opening bid in every argument, including (and perhaps especially) when progressives are shrieking at each other. In a world where liking the wrong tweet or singing the wrong kind of music makes you a white supremacist, everyone is a white supremacist and no one is a white supremacist. I’m guessing that many Canadian voters—including an increasing number of people who call themselves progressives—are simply tired of being hectored, both by politicians and by the smug media allies who’ve stoked progressive social panic on their behalf. As the above-described controversies show, even Indigenous artists, lifelong feminists and mainstream LGBT activists now are subject to mobbing if their views diverge one iota from the most avante-garde postures.

If Jason Kenney does become Alberta premier, progressive politicians likely will greet his win the same way they responded to Doug Ford’s victory in Ontario, Donald Trump in the United States and the Brexit result in the UK—with the claim that this only proves that dark forces are on the ascent, and that progressives must be ever more vigilant, and ever more aggressive in responding to ideological deviations.

In other words: a perfect recipe for driving yet more supporters away.


Jonathan Kay is the Canadian Editor of Quillette. Follow him on Twitter at @jonkay.

Featured image: Doug Ford at the 2014 Good Friday procession in the East York neighbourhood of Toronto.


  1. johnnyonline says

    “mortifying kabuki” – i would give up a pinky to claim that phrase as my own.

    • Different opinion; I resignedly looked up kabuki on a separate tab, made the connection, sighed weakly and returned to reading the article.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Cultural appropriation…should have just used “theater.” Ha!

  2. Inequality is not a problem. INSUFFICIENCY is a problem. They’re two very different things.

    “The economic generosity of progressives”? It’s easy to be generous with Other People’s Money (OPM).

    • OWG says

      About OPM, yep, until you run out of it as Ms. Thatcher noted.

    • Jean Levant says

      I quote the author :”As Michael Shermer wrote in Quillette last year, what’s needed now is a political movement that combines the economic generosity of progressives …”
      I’m afraid it’s not the right time for this new party. We’ll soon run out of money, all of us (with some exceptions, for sure). Generosity won’t be in the mood for a good while, I feel.

    • If you don’t think economic inequality is a problem, then you are not looking at all into the roots of what makes men bitter and unhappy.

      • stevengregg says

        If you demand economic equality, then you are demanding that men be made bitter and unhappy because their efforts go for naught. Why be a brain surgeon when your salary must be equal to a janitor?

      • Jack says

        You are right that economic inequality is correlated with some negative outcomes for a society. This seems to be a fairly common argument, but it seems like such a weak argument to me.

        As you alluded to, bitterness, resentment, and even violence can occur and seems to be correlated with economic inequality. But the questions only begin there; you do not have your answer yet, though too many seem to think that it is that simple.

        The main question to ask is: why are they related? Why do mainly men feel such things? And most importantly: do their feelings reflect reality or not?

        Some such men seem to feel that the reason they are poor is that someone is keeping them down. Is that right? Maybe, maybe not. Some people have it bad. Sometimes it’s the fault of others, sometimes it’s the fault of their own bad habits, and sometimes it’s the fault of nobody. The kind of argument that you have laid out is, well, not even an argument. Many individuals seem to be under the impression that some people being upset about economic inequality is all the proof necessary for revolution.

        If the reason that people are poor is shown to be a direct result of the corporate boot being on their necks, then you are right. I am awaiting the evidence.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Yes, and he’d take his last dollar and help the sick and dying rather than trying to push the best and brightest a bit further forward. Charity helps those who are disadvantaged, but only a foolish country spends its resources on the least able over those most promising. It’s like investing in bad researchers instead of the ones with the most promise.

    • Right. Inequality is a red herring that appeals to the envious and resentful. What matters is how well or poorly ordinary people are getting along. If everybody’s walking except for one guy who has a Ferrari, the walkers will complain; if everybody has a Ferrari except for one guy who has three, no one should complain. It’s true that the very rich have too much influence in politics, though. Also, socialism is not the same as a nanny state.

    • LFM says

      Besides, are progressives really all that generous on a personal basis? It’s a rather debatable point, especially these days. Nor am I convinced that most people who think of themselves as progressive are really keen to associate with people of a different class than themselves, not if those people, in addition to being poor, are also outspoken rather than grateful. Many modern progressives remind me of lady-of-the-manor types in Victorian novels, dispensing charity/patronage/good wishes without ever considering the people they help as their equals.

  3. Mike van Lammeren says

    What does Jonathan Kay think socialism is, if not exactly this?

    It starts off with an idea like “to each according to his needs, from each according to his abilities,” then immediately begins to descend into witch hunts, pogroms, re-education camps, firing squads, concentration camps, starvation and mass graves.

    Has Jonathan Kay never read The Gulag Archipelago? The Road to Serfdom?

    Has he never listened to his mother?

    • K. Dershem says

      Do you think that generous social welfare programs create a slippery slope to totalitarian Communism? I don’t see any evidence for that claim? To the contrary, countries with high levels of taxation and services are among the happiest and healthiest in the world. I don’t think Kay is advocating state takeover of the means of production — he just wants more equitable access to health care, education, etc.

      • Jay Salhi says

        The slippery slope is not the problem. The lack of results is the problem. The idyllic view of the Nordic model is grossly over simplistic and ignores numerous differences that make such a model impossible in the US. If you want Nordic style social democracy, you have to be willing to heavily tax the middle class and the working class. That will never fly in the US where nearly half the population pays no federal income tax.

        More generally, center left parties the world over have run out of ideas. They talk endlessly about inequality and helping the poor without having any real solutions. This constant talk with no results pushes some frustrated people towards the far left. More sensible people move toward the center right.

        Social welfare programs are a band aid that have the long term problem of creating a dependent class. The beneficiaries of such dependent class are not the poor people themselves but rather the people who make a living pretending to help them.

        • K. Dershem says

          Actually, countries with generous social safety nets have higher levels of social mobility than the U.S. Entrenched poverty creates dependency, not programs that provide opportunities to escape it. Yes, the working and middle classes in Nordic countries pay higher taxes than their counterparts in the U.S., but they also receive far more in services. Compare the gini coefficients. The U.S. is deeply unequal despite the fact that the poor don’t pay income taxes.

          Please be specific. What programs are center-right parties proposing that are likely to be more successful than the center left? This is a genuine question. I’m a pragmatist, not an ideologue, and support any ideas that can be shown to promote human flourishing.

          • Jay Salhi says

            Have you ever noticed that the US cities that have the worst schools, the most crime, the highest housing prices, the most homelessness tend to share one thing in common? They are controlled by Democrats and the more left they are, the worse the problems tend to be?

            There are no easy solutions. Ripping off a band aid will cause people to bleed. But throwing money at problems doesn’t work either. The City of Seattle spends one billion dollars per year fighting homelessness, nearly 100 K per homeless person. Yet, the problem is only getting bigger. The beneficiaries of this largess are not the homeless people but rather the people who obtain and administer the government-funded contracts to help the homeless. One might ask, would it not be better give each homeless person a one-time payment and then shut the whole racket down? It could hardly be worse. But that will never happen because a lot affluent people with master’s degrees would have to find other jobs.

            One idea which should not even be a left / right issue (but is because of Trump derangement syndrome) would be to admit fewer low skilled immigrants. A constant wave of low skilled immigrants strains government resources, lowers wages and will forever inflate poverty statistics. I am pro immigration. But it has to be organized and controlled immigration. The left currently favors less enforcement and more chaos, which is complete insanity.

          • the gardner says

            Let’s see how the Nordic country populations like their heavy taxation to pay for social services for an influx of immigrants who feel no obligation to integrate and contribute. It is human nature to not mind paying for one’s family members, but when the stranger moves in and raids your frig and monopolizes your TV, the reaction might go from temporary accommodate to outright resentment.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @K. Dershem

            Just as it is paradoxically quite true that various governments at various times have increased revenue by reducing taxes, it is also paradoxically true that cutting support for the poor can increase government expenditures. Conversely that various social safety nets can reduce the tax burden on the rich (which, according to some folks is all that really matters).

          • doug deeper says

            K.Dershem, some thoughts on why center-right ideas might grow more opportunity and widespread prosperity.
            When leftism grows, government, bureaucrats and regulations grow. This burden on society is never lessoned as it becomes ever more costly to run the government, and drags down businesses as bureaucrats justify their existence and their need for more resources to regulate all the “unjust” things businesses do. This is why in the Western European countries (which are free of paying for their own defense as the US taxpayers pay for it), most entrepreneurial-minded people desperately want to move to the US.
            I would also note that the extreme concentration of wealth in Silicon Valley is almost unprecedented in the last 100+ years. Yet these are all run as totalitarian entities by extreme leftists and SJWs. They are well on the way to owning the US government under the guise of the Democrat party.
            When power is concentrated to such a degree by leftists monopolists and leftist governments, not only does freedom suffer, but those entrepreneurs who can build widespread wealth are constrained.

          • stevengregg says

            Domain, should you ever crack a history book, you’ll find that Norway was occupied by the Nazis during WWII, like much of Europe, and had to fight off the Soviet Union, too.

            And that’s why they rely on the US to do their heavy lifting in defense.

        • E. Olson says

          Good comments Mike and Jay. The Nordic model is dependent on having a small homogeneous population of high IQ people, getting defense and medical innovation paid for by the US taxpayers, and actually having less anti-capitalist regulation than the US. It is also interesting to observe that you get similarly good social/economic results if you look at the US “Nordic model” in highly Republican North and South Dakota, where poverty rates, criminality, educational attainment, and average lifespans among the Northern European bloodlines that dominate those states are as good or better than those in Sweden, Norway, etc. – all without heavy taxes, redistribution, “free” medical, “free” college, and huge government bureaucracies that people associate with the European Nordic model.

          Perhaps the characteristics of the citizenry is more important than the characteristics of the government in achieving success?

          • Jay Salhi says

            I would go further and argue that the Nordic model is not working nearly as well as advertised, that Nordic governments were forced to take a hard tack to the right in their economic policies when they were mugged by reality a few decades ago and that the sustainability of the model is very much in question, outside of Norway because of its abundance of hydrocarbons.

            Sweden is the poster child of the Bernie crowd and its electorate is leaning right these days. The same policies that regressive liberals want to import from Sweden are turning social democrats in Sweden into conservatives.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @E. Olson

            “Perhaps the characteristics of the citizenry is more important than the characteristics of the government in achieving success?”

            You are going to end up in jail if you keep saying things like that. But we can correspond by mail from my cell to yours. Given the right people the official political stance of the government hardly matters. Good people will produce a good country. But people with no … well, let me call it ‘internalized whiteness’ … will not be able to form a decent society no matter how good the government’s policies look on paper.

          • Joana George says

            I think the most influential factor on the success of the Nordic is the importance of people and the resulting work-life balance. Society as a whole places a lot less importance on status and this has huge ramifications.

            It’s something very subtle that is hard to understand if you haven’t lived in both such a country and in a more competitive one. A good way to quantify it is probably one of Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions, namely: masculinity vs. feminity. In short (from wikipedia), masculinity is defined as “a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material rewards for success.” Its counterpart represents “a preference for cooperation, modesty, caring for the weak and quality of life.”

          • @E Olson: “getting defense…” Defense from what? When was the last time Norwegians seriously thought they were facing a REAL war prospect? And how does this “defense” increase the living standards of ordinary Norwegians?

          • AGopal says

            Nice to see you slip in a bit “bloodlines” and “high IQ people”. Perhaps you’d like to spell it out more clearly? I’m sure us Quillette readers can stomach some old-fashioned Nordic/Aryan Supremacy? When did a little ol’ idea like that ever harm anybody?

          • E. Olson says

            Domain – the oil rich Norwegians spend about 1.3% of GDP on Defense, which is well under the 2% they are supposed to spend as members of NATO. There aren’t that many around anymore, but some Norwegians remember the Nazi invasion and occupation of Norway during WWII, and the Russian saber rattling of recent times has caused some concern, but of course they believe the US would bail them out if anything serious occurred, which allows more spending on the welfare state.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @doug deeper

            Butting in here. I’ll go out on a limb and venture than I can answer for K:

            “This burden on society is never lessoned”

            But it is lessened on occasion. Google ‘size of government graph’ and take your pick. The trend is as you say, but it is not correct that the government never shrinks. Further ‘burden’ is a rather loaded term. I wouldn’t care if the government got bigger if I got value for my money. True, this tends not to happen, but it is not accurate that the people get nothing whatsoever for their tax dollars. Referring to the Nordics again, they have traditionally reported satisfaction with their high taxes since they do feel they get a return for it.

            “When power is concentrated to such a degree by leftists monopolists and leftist governments, not only does freedom suffer, but those entrepreneurs who can build widespread wealth are constrained.”

            I very much doubt that K is so partisan as to support any Rat on the strength of party affiliation. The Rats can and do behave as badly as the Pubs. The grotesque concentration of wealth and control you mention is to be resisted, party notwithstanding. Oh, and Silicon Valley SWJ grandstanding changes nothing.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Jay Salhi

          “Social welfare programs are a band aid that have the long term problem of creating a dependent class.”

          True. But is the solution leaving people to starve on the sidewalk? Damned right there are problems with welfare, so fix them. Pain killers can become addictive too, but we still use anesthesia during surgery.

          “The beneficiaries of such dependent class are not the poor people themselves but rather the people who make a living pretending to help them.”

          Again, sadly true. We not only have the ever expanding bureaucracy problem, we also have the professional Victim types, who’s bread and butter is to exacerbate the very problems they pretend to want to fix. My personal political revolution would be ‘socialist’ (or do I mean ‘democratic social’ or do I mean ‘social democratic’ … never can remember and someone will jump on me for it) — socialist in ‘intent’ but with a very dour understanding of the unfortunate reality that well meaning ideas can go wrong.

          • Jim Gorman says

            Nobody is advocating leaving people to starve, but is more government and forcibly extracting money from citizens to finance a socialist system the right answer? How about giving tax credits for charitable contributions? How about tax credits for volunteer hours? How about matching funds to churches, synagogues, and mosques? I know some will have conniption fits over the separation of church and state but these are options that keep the government removed somewhat from the problem. Churches used to be the primary vehicle for helping the poor. They could be again.

          • Defenstrator says

            I really don’t get your internalized whiteness statement. Japan has no white people and is very orderly and successful. As a world traveler I have found that corrupt and disorderly societies fair poorly, and honest and orderly ones do well. Skin colour seems to have little to do with it.

          • Shamrock says

            “Defense from what?”
            When the Soviet Union existed they were deterred from trying to conquer European countries by NATO. The Nordic countries were close to the USSR so would have been high on the list. The US disproportionately supports NATO both through funding and technological innovations which cost money.
            The Nordic countries benefited from US largeness so they didn’t have to spend as much money on defense as they would have had to had the US not stepped up.
            The USSR may not have existed now for 30 years but for the 40+ years after WW2 that they existed the Nordic countries benefited including from the Marshall plan.

          • Ray Andrews says


            “Japan has no white people and is very orderly and successful. ”

            Of course. There is a short list of decent countries that are not ‘white’, mostly in East Asia. But even then some would say that their cultures have ‘internalized whiteness’ insofar as they have copied the best of what we have achieved and strive to imitate and even improve on it. They say that Bhutan is a decent country that has rather internalized Buddhism. Hats off to them.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @K. Dershem

        Nothing turns me away from the Right more effectively than their own inability to see that there is a middle position between Mao and John Galt. Just as the article points out that the fanatics of the ‘Progressive’ Left are the worst enemies of the sane Left, so it is comments like the one you refer to that have me fleeing in horror from the Right and … well, the fact is that there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. In the last election I voted Green because the candidate came around and she seemed like a nice lady.

        • Harrison Bergeron says

          Mao was a mass murderer and John Galt a selfish jerk. I know which side I would choose.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Harrison Bergeron

            I’d pick Galt myself, but I’d prefer to have better choices.

      • Jim Gorman says

        KD –> You didn’t even read the second paragraph, “I believe income inequality is a real problem …”. If you think income inequality is a problem then you can’t also believe in capitalism and a free market. These system have income inequality “baked in”. The only other system is communism with state control of costs, prices, wages, and distribution.

        I have a real problem when people talk about income inequality. Just how much cash do you think Gates, Bezos, Zuckerberg, etc. have? Most of their wealth is in stock evaluation not in cash. I’m not saying they aren’t rich, but looking at their estate value is not necessarily the correct way. Assuming you could confiscate all their wealth at once (doing so would kill the stock market), just how much of the U.S. government deficit could you fund in one year? How many days would seizing the total assets of the top 10% fund the U.S. government, and remember, that’s a one time shot? How many other folks outside the top 10% does that leave? 300 million maybe? Take another $1000 from each and you’re up to 300 Billion, now we are talking.

        What does a basic wage for 10% of the population run each month? 30 Million people times $1000 a month times 12 months gives you 360 Billion. In case you haven’t figured it out, the real money lies with the proletariat.

        Fixing income inequality will require wage controls. Wage controls always leads to price controls. Wage and price controls always leads to cost controls. There you have it, a communist planned economy! And, if you think communist countries don’t have rich bourgeoisie, think again.

        If envy of the rich is what is going to drive our country and politics, then we are damned.

        • DrZ says

          Mr. Gorman I don’t agree that fixing incoming inequality will require wage controls. The situation would be vastly improved if a few things, difficult to implement things, were to happen. One is to restructure education in the U.S. The current system is broken, it is too political and works not on the rewards of merit, but it is a child of politics, especially between Democrats and teacher’s unions. This has to change.

          There are many high paying jobs waiting for skilled technicians, machine programmer/;operators, etc. Where are the future employees of these kinds of jobs? Do we need more apprenticeship programs at the high school level? Do we need to reverse the elimination of industrial arts programs in high schools? Not everyone is going to college and there are a lot of high paying jobs out there for those who want to work with their brains and their hands.

          It’s my observation that a lot of the wage inequality we see today is due to a lack of understanding that the person responsible to fix it is the individual, not a government band aid. Yes, there are some people who are unable to fix their situation, but it’s my observation that their numbers are far less than those who perceive that they are being shafted by powers out of their control. It is also a product of that fact that most people in the U.S. are illiterate about personal finance and therefor lack an important tool to help them. I encounter these financial dummies all too frequently.

          We will always have wage inequality because we are not equal and therefore have different levels of value to society and to employers. Can the magnitude of wage equality be reduced? IMHO, the answer is a resounding yes, at least here in the U.S. Will it? I am not optimistic because too many politicians have their hands in the pot and that tends to promote dependencies, not end them. Increasing dependencies make people scream even more about wage inequality.

        • K. Dershem says

          Jim, I think you’re presenting a false dichotomy. There are many options available between a completely free market with massive income equality and a Communist country with completely equal incomes. You also seem to be conflating income and wealth. It’s not about envy (for me, at least); it’s about fairness and opportunity.

          • Jim Gorman says

            There are no options between the two. If you allow one person to accumulate as much wealth as he can from the market place, then some will do so. Gates, Bezos, etc. are all examples. How do you stop the accumulation of that wealth? Wage controls, price controls, cost controls. Those are the only ways to keep people from hitting the jackpot and accumulating wealth.

            It basically boils down to the point that if you want to stop income inequality then you must control incomes. Government is the only way to do that and has generally only been done in centrally planned economies.

        • Jay Salhi says

          “Assuming you could confiscate all their wealth at once (doing so would kill the stock market), just how much of the U.S. government deficit could you fund in one year?”

          I saw one estimate that said seizing the assets of every US billionaire would net 2.2 trillion dollars. No breakdown on what percentage of that is liquid assets but the vast majority is likely to be stock and non liquid assets. If you expropriate Bezos’ Amazon stock, the stock price is likely to plummet. Moreover, if you try to tax his net assets Elizabeth Warren style, he’s going to have to start selling stock to pay the annual tax bill. Again, the value of the stock will be driven down. Destroying wealth for no reason.

          Remember Bush Sr.’s tax on luxury yachts and private jets? Bill Clinton repealed it a few years later because it was killing jobs (the people who make and sell boats) without generating much tax revenue. The tax destroyed the market for the underlying product. France was the latest country to try to experiment with soaking the super rich tax policies (most other European countries had long abandoned). It failed miserably.

          Honest governments tell people in advance who will be taxed (and how much) to fund new spending initiatives. Such honesty is rare for obvious reasons. Soaking the rich is just a fee lunch lie, telling the general public that they can have free stuff while somebody else pays for it.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Jay Salhi

            “Destroying wealth for no reason.”

            So then no tax for Bezos? After all it would be foolish to destroy wealth for no reason and if taxing Bezos destroys wealth then of course we’d not want to do that would we? Since the rich reinvest their wealth, perhaps billionaires should be entirely exempt from taxation? As W put it we don’t want to ‘punish success’ do we? Let’s have a reverse incremental tax rate: 50% on wages up to, say, $20,000 pa, then steadily declining so that by the time you’re a billionaire you pay no tax at all.

        • S. Cheung says

          you seem to be using income inequality and wealth inequality interchangeably but they are clearly different things. Bezos famously gets paid 80K per year. But he still owns 80 billion in Amazon stock even after his divorce, I believe.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Jim Gorman

          ” If you think income inequality is a problem then you can’t also believe in capitalism and a free market. These system have income inequality “baked in”.”

          Indeed they do, however just as we might accept the need for taxes, but still say that tax rates are a problem, so one might understand that brain surgeons get paid more than baristas, but still say that the level of inequality is extreme.

          ” Assuming you could confiscate all their wealth at once”

          Few suggest such a thing. Paper wealth, as you say, is somewhat ephemeral. What matters is consumption. One wonders about the statistics one sees, but I recall a statistic to the effect that the mega rich spend more on their pets than the bottom half of society spends on their children.

          “Fixing income inequality will require wage controls.”

          Maybe not. There’s my personal favorite: UBI — which would rather permit most regulatory interference in wages to be dropped. (You are never going to starve, so if you take a job it is not because you are desperate, but because you want to earn a bit of cash and if you don’t like the wages or conditions, don’t work there. Conversely, if you can’t find people to work in your disgusting sweatshop for $3 per hour, then perhaps you’ll have to improve your offer. Remove desperation from the equation and let the labor market sort out the rest.)

          • Jim Gorman says

            UBI is wage control. The wage is paid by the government, but it is still a wage.

            Do you honestly think that people won’t press for higher and higher “wages” from UBI. I am skeptical. Too many will say that if Joe Blow makes a million a year, the least I deserve is $100,000.

            I believe it was Ben Franklin that said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”

            That is what you are talking about.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Jim Gorman

            “UBI is wage control.”

            No it isn’t. I’d advocate near zero interference with the labor market once UBI was in place.

            “Do you honestly think that people won’t press for higher and higher “wages” from UBI.”

            Various people never stop pressing for higher and higher [whatever] and others never stop pressing for lower and lower taxes. Any program at all is subject to people whining at it. That a good idea can be distorted into a bad idea is given — it is always true. It is no argument against UBI that it could become absurd — folks wanting $10,000 per month for doing nothing. Nope, $1,000 per month — enough to keep you alive and sheltered, but not much more — is about the right amount. And remember, this replaces a thousand other bureaucratic ministrations.

      • David of Kirkland says

        Equitable access just means investing in those without promise at the same rate as those with promise. Is it really better than we spend on a 94 year old with dementia the same as we spend on a sick child?

    • Just Me says

      Mike van Lammeren-

      This is the same kind of slippery-slope, catastrophising argument as the one that claims, for example, that any criticism of fundamentalist Islam is the first step to concentration camps for Muslims, anything but enthusiastic embrace of trans people is “hate speech”, misogyny, etc.

      Mirror images of each other.

      All political positions are on a continuum, a little bit of something is not the same as a whole lot of it, good or bad.

  4. K. Dershem says

    Traditional liberals must stand up to the twitter mob and call out the insanity of the Regressive Left. If they allow themselves to be bullied by lunatics like QTIBPOC, they will deservedly lose elections to conservatives and populists.

    • Jay Salhi says

      They must but few do. And the few who do tend to pay a horrible price. This goes way beyond university campuses and twitter mobs. The leading Democratic party candidates are all endorsing the regressive left narrative. Increasingly, the regressive left is the the left. Full stop. There may be a silent majority who disagrees with them but they are irrelevant as long as they remain silent.

      • K. Dershem says

        I’m don’t think this is true. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg are not exactly SJWs. Kirsten Gillibrand is most “woke” of the declared hopefuls, and she’s nowhere in the polls. Most Democratic candidates will tack left during the primaries, but it’s very likely that they’ll move back toward the center for the general election.

        “Increasingly, the regressive left is the left.” This simply isn’t true. AOC does not represent the Democratic Party — most elected representatives are far more moderate than she is. AOC and Omar receive a disproportionate amount of media attention because they generate clicks, but they are outliers in terms of their political commitments.

        • Jay Salhi says

          Biden isn’t even in the race yet. Before the “creepy photos” crisis, he was already on a non-stop apology tour apologizing for imaginary crimes against wokeness in his past to pave the way for his candidacy. And VP Biden was an enemy of due process of law in favor of campus kangaroo courts.

          Kristen Gillibrand, mattress girl’s biggest supporter, is not woke? What planet do you live on?

          The only resistance to SJW nonsense coming from Bernie was his plea that the nominee should not be determined by race or gender. Gee, I wonder why?

          Mayor Pete, a total long shot, is the only guy who appears to have any common sense on this topic.

          AOC doesn’t represent the Democratic Party? Why did the DNC chair call her the future of the party. Why does she get the red carpet treatment from the all the talk shows and MSNBC? Why did the top six leading candidates all endorse the GND? Why di Pelosi back off the resolution condemning the vile Jew Hater, Ilhan Omar, after AOC rand interference for her? Moderate Dems may hate AOC and wish she’d go away but they are scared to death of her. Meanwhile, she fears no one.

          Green New Deal, slavery reparations, all around wokeness. The Dems are definitely moving very far left. It will not be so easy to track back towards the center after primary season. The Republicans had this problem for years with their base being too far right. Now, the situation is the Tea Party in reverse.

          • K. Dershem says

            Kristen Gillibrand, mattress girl’s biggest supporter, is not woke? Sorry, you misread my comment (perhaps because I omitted the “the”); I wrote that she’s the most woke.

            I don’t deny that Bernie and Biden will be forced to genuflect to progressive activists in order to win the nomination, just as Republican candidates have to appeal to the GOP’s conservative Christian base even if they don’t share their beliefs (e.g., McCain and Trump). However, Bernie is clearly more concerned with economic inequality than the issues that animate SJWs, and I’m confident he would govern that way if elected. Major Pete isn’t alone; other moderates simply haven’t received much media attention. For example, my Senator (Amy Klobuchar) refused to call for Al Franken’s resignation.

            Pelosi has been quite dismissive of AOC’s ideas (the “Green Dream”) and has pushed back against the left flank of her party. For example, she has wisely refused to allow impeachment hearings for President Trump to proceed. I think the situation involving the “vile Jew hater” (a bit of hyperbole there, I think) is more complicated than you suggest. Many Democrats are justifiably critical of the policies of the Israeli government even though they’re uncomfortable with the anti-Semitic tropes that Omar used.

            I agree that the Democratic Party is in danger of moving too far left. Extreme candidates have an advantage in both parties thanks to ubersafe gerrymandered districts.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Jay Salhi
            @K. Dershem

            Gentlemen, that was a first class exchange entirely evidence based. Yes, there is room for optimism but also caution. Perhaps the Dems will offer America a sane candidate. I like Bernie. He’s far to my left, but he’s basically an honest guy who’s concerns are for real people of any color or sexual issue.

        • Stephanie says

          K, I see a tendency for countries with bigger governments to infringe on freedom of speech and association. Whether that will lead to totalitarian communism I don’t know, but the way the State controls what you are allowed to think in the UK or Sweden certainly resembles what is going on in China, if somewhat sanitized. Combine that with political parties that have the same positions on all important issues (immigration, welfare state, ect), and you have to wonder if revolution is necessary. Seems to me we’re skipping to the part communists are actually interested in: retaining power and controlling the populace.

          Conservative solutions are straightforward: shrink the government, slash regulations, simplify taxes, remove incentives for sloth, ect.

          It shouldn’t be surprising that people in countries with large welfare states report greater happiness: they are domesticated. Like children, they don’t have to worry about the trials of adult life. Freedom is hard and only for the brave.

          • K. Dershem says

            Stephanie, I’m not sure how to respond to your comment since we’re so far apart on our understanding of the facts. Have you ever visited Northern Europe (or Canada, or New Zealand)? It’s true that European countries lack our First Amendment and therefore have more limits on free speech, but comparisons to a totalitarian state like China seem completely unfounded. In some ways, I would argue that Swedes are more free than Americans: they don’t have to worry about homelessness, medical bankruptcies, affording childcare, paying for college, etc. The same is true of Americans who live in higher-tax states that provide greater security (e.g., Minnesota vs. Mississippi). Suggesting that they’re happy because they’re “domesticated” seems to me like a silly, Ayn Rand-style slur, and certainly doesn’t comport with anything I’ve seen or read.

          • E. Olson says

            Steph and K – perhaps you noted my comments about the Nordic Dakotas above, but I neglected to address the happiness factor. Both states rank in the top 5 happiest states in the US, but all the top 15 states happen to be relatively small states heavily populated by people with Northern European roots. In other words, if you want free-market capitalism or semi-socialism that works reasonably well in “making” people healthy, happy, and productive, populate your smallish cold-winter country with Northern Europeans. On the other hand, if you want unhappy citizens and dysfunctional government, make sure you have a diverse population.


          • Stephanie says

            K, I’m from Canada. I’ve lived in the most socialist province (Quebec) and the least (Alberta), and for the last couple of years I’ve been in Sydney, Australia. I usually spend a few weeks every year in various European countries, but I can’t pretend it gives me any statistically significant insight. I assume you assume I’m American, but I’ve never lived there and I found New York and San Francisco disgusting. I’d move to rural Arizona, Utah, or Nevada in a heartbeat, though. I had to purchase health insurance to live in Australia, and the taste of responsibility is addictive. I’d love to be an American one day.

            European courts are putting people in jail for offensive jokes, fining people for concealing their faces from publically-installed facial recognition devices, and criminalising dissent on hotbutton issues like immigration. Canada is fining people thousands of dollars for incorrect pronoun usage. If it’s not as bad as China on the free speech front, it’s moving in that direction more every year.

            “They don’t have to worry about homelessness, medical bankruptcies, affording childcare, paying for college, etc.”

            How is that not domestication? That’s like saying a dog has it better as a pet than in the wild: it has shelter, it’s health is taken care of, puppies watched over, ect. That this results in a certain, often better standard of living does not diminish that the dog is a pet and the human is similarly domesticated. Some people prefer living like that, but it would be nice if we kept the country founded on freedom free.

          • Shamrock says

            “Conservative solutions are straightforward: shrink the government, slash regulations, simplify taxes, remove incentives for sloth, ect.”
            I agree with the principles but certainly the conservative governments (at least in name) don’t abide by them. They make token cuts but their overall level of taxation is not noticeably different from say Chretien/Martin to Harper.

            The problem is too many people don’t want reduced spending and for a government to do so would be political suicide. Ironically the last government to do anything significant with respect to spending and the debt in Canada was Chretien, a Liberal.

        • Jim Gorman says

          KD –> Do you really think the radical progressives in the mainstream media will let them tack to the center? The mainstream media will demand that they continue to stay radical left in order to demonize Trump.

          • K. Dershem says

            If you think the mainstream media is “radical,” you must be extremely right-wing. Actual radicals are highly critical of mainstream news. See, for example, https://fair.org/

            “Given that most media outlets are owned by for-profit corporations and are funded by corporate advertising, it is not surprising that they seldom provide a full range of debate. The right edge of discussion is usually represented by a committed supporter of right-wing causes, someone who calls for significantly changing the status quo in a conservative direction. The left edge, by contrast, is often represented by an establishment-oriented centrist who supports maintaining the status quo; very rarely is a critic of corporate power who identifies with progressive causes and movements with the same passion as their conservative counterparts allowed to take part in mass media debates.”


        • Andrew Scott says

          That’s the beauty of democracy. The primaries let you pick from a handful of candidates to select one who competes in the general selection. But in order to win the general they must stop being who they were for the primary. You get to pick one or the other, but what are the chances of electing someone who represents you in any meaningful sense? (And that’s the best case scenario which assumes they weren’t lying about some or all of what they said just to get elected.)

          It’s no wonder that politics less resembles choosing representatives and more resembles cheering for sports teams. It’s a symptom of lowered expectations.

  5. David Tétreault says

    Well said sir. To add to your point, Trudeau should be next to fall to the conservatives. And I predict Max Bernier will overtake the NDP in the popular vote.

    Most people can see through this pc bs.

  6. Jonathan, I think you make an important point here, but also leave out a point that’s just as important; namely the callousness of the “progressive” left.

    In Canada the main achievement of the environmental movement has been to make it impossible to build pipelines. This has led to 10s of thousands of people in Alberta losing their jobs. In the coming year, another 12,000 jobs are expected to be cut. “Progressives” regard this as a great achievement.

    As you say, the idea of socialism or what used to be known as progressive politics, is to make things better for people. The “progressive” ideal is to signal how virtuous one is, and if that costs 100,000 Canadians their jobs, ah well, such is the price of virtue.

    • Joe says

      There is no doubt that to the average “progressive”, people’s livelihoods run a distant second to saving the planet. Reducing CO2 emissions and stopping mining or logging are more important than some redneck’s job. But hey, who cares, they vote for the other side anyway.

      Australia’s “progressive” left forces oppose around 60% of income producing industries (coal, iron ore and uranium mining, animal farming). They have policies on all these areas but none worth speaking of for the farmers and miners who would be rendered unemployed. And, moreover, no idea that there would be less money to pay for anything. On the positive side we wouldn’t have to travel to Venezuela to see what a failed state looks like. We would be living in one.

      • Jay Salhi says

        “There is no doubt that to the average “progressive”, people’s livelihoods run a distant second to saving the planet. Reducing CO2 emissions and stopping mining or logging are more important than some redneck’s job. But hey, who cares, they vote for the other side anyway.”

        Great observation. The professed desire to reduce CO2 emissions is hard to take seriously. Natural gas piplelines are opposed by progressive activists even though natural gas reduces CO2 emissions. Nuclear power is carbon free but they hate that even more. But cut down some trees using fossil fuel technology, ship them to Europe using more fossil fuel technology and burn the wood releasing CO2 and the activists give it their seal of approval.

        • E. Olson says

          Very interesting developments in Texas – it seems that oil production is generating more natural gas than there are pipelines to send it to markets, and as a consequence so much is being flared off at the well that it could power all the homes in Texas. And guess who won’t allow more pipelines to be built? Answer: climate change advocates who would rather have the gas burned off and emitting emissions for no purpose whatsoever rather than allow a pipeline to take it where it might be used to generate clean electricity or heat someone’s home. Environmentalists are stupid.


          • Jay Salhi says

            New York has a similar disease. Lots of natural gas the Governor won’t let them tap. Ban on pipelines. In some places, the gas company is refusing to do new connections.

            The nuclear plants that provide 25% of NYC’s electricity are going to be retired in 2022. The original plan was to replace them with natural gas. That idea has been scrapped. Plan B is to “look at renewable options”.

            Colorado, a fossil fuel state, is flirting with similar self-destructive policies to undermine the source of their prosperity. Parts of Minnesota nearly froze during the polar vortex because the wind wasn’t blowing and gas was running scarce but opposition to needed pipeline infrastructure remains strong and the legislature is flirting with yet more unrealistic renewable mandates.

      • neoteny says

        On the positive side we wouldn’t have to travel to Venezuela to see what a failed state looks like. We would be living in one.

        That’s quality gallows humour.

    • Jay Salhi says

      The irony being that pipelines are the safest, most environmentally friendly way to move the product.

      • E. Olson says

        Well Jay there is the tree-hugger preferred choice of leaving it all in the ground, at least until the lights go out.

    • Our provincial govt invested heavily in wind power. Problem with that is the wind tends to blow most at night and in the winter and least of all in the day and in the summer, which is when we actually need extra power for all the air-conditioning.

      The result has been that we’ve had to sell all that wind-generated power to other jurisdictions on the open market. Consequently, we take a loss on every watt of power, because it costs far more to produce wind power than you can sell it for.

      • E. Olson says

        BH – but at least you have the satisfaction of knowing you are saving the polar bears.

  7. Rick Phillips says

    Well described Johnathon…

    Hanniabl ad portas
    Carthago delenda est

    (with apologies to Quillette latin scholars for any appropriation)

  8. Done With Q says

    “The activist was not, as one might suspect, a Christian conservative who opposes feminist ideology.”

    As one might suspect?!?

    WTF? There is now a band of roaming conservative Christians shutting down rape crisis centers because of their opposition to feminist idealogy?

    What utter nonsense. I am tired of the stereotypes and I was raised Jewish!

    What a sad small world the author has in an echo chamber that Quillete rails against.

    Editors, do better! Oh wait, you are an editir. My God you are drunk on hypocrisy.

    • Thank you for calling this out. I noticed it as well and believe the choice of words soils an otherwise excellent article. In an attempt to be fair minded, I did a quick Google search for instances of Christians opposing rape crisis centers …. crickets. Although I did find the ultra conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family recommend treatment for rape victims through crisis centers. What a shock!

      Mr. Kay, I would kindly ask that you modify that sentence in the interest of integrity and honest journalism. No need to veer off point. We can all see that, in present day, the only people capable of willfully defunding a rape crisis center are the narcissistic transgender activist clowns.

      Christians that I know are content to mind their own damn business. Maybe the activists will come around to that sooner or later.

    • I believe the truth, hard as it may be to swallow, is that it’s more likely to be a Christian conservative. Most rape response centers are going to have abortion-related services. Many Christian conservatives draw a hard line on abortion. Don’t succumb to victimhood culture. If you’re a Christian conservative, admit there are those among your ranks that would engage in such protest.

      • Stephanie says

        In All Fairness, you completely made that up. Like Kay, you want to see conservatives as monsters so you assume something so disgusting must be true. Look in the mirror: it is the left shutting down rape crisis centres.

    • E. Olson says

      Good comments Done with Q and JD – You see any “socialist” writing for Quillette who dares to criticize the Left MUST always point out the excesses of the Right to show that both sides are equally at fault. Those crazy Christians shutting down rape crisis centers and Leftist speakers on campus, and/or Trump saying nasty things about Mexican rapists and supportive things about the KKK must be acknowledged before commenting about some over-enthusiastic (but well-meaning) behaviors among the Left. Of course such moral equivalencies can only be true if both sides actually are committing sins, but as is most often the case the author here creates a totally fictional Rightist sin to compare with.

    • y81 says

      The sentence has to be interpreted to read: “not, as someone like me who lives in a smug, self-congratulatory left-liberal cocoon might suspect, a Christian conservative . . . .” If you read a lot of mainstream political commentary, you get used to making those constant emendations.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Done With Q

      He was making a sarcastic dummy comparison. If you do not understand such simple rhetorical devices, perhaps you should indeed stay away from Quillette.

      • Ray Andrews says

        … sheesh, am I the only guy who understands what Kay was trying to say? I can’t remember any Christian ever trying to shut down a rape crisis center but it’s the sort of thing that the Woke would ‘expect’.

        • K. Dershem says

          Ray, you’re one of the few who practices the principle of charity instead of virtue signaling to your fellow right-wing ideologues.

          • K. Dershem says

            To clarify, I’m not suggesting that you’re a right-wing ideologue, but many of the other commenters seem to be.

      • Lydia says

        Nice try, Ray. If it was a rhetorical device why not just use abortion instead of rape? Then it would be truer.

        • Ray Andrews says


          Because he wrote the article, not you or I. Besides, Christian fundamentalists really would try to shut down an abortion clinic but they have no problem with rape shelters. Sheesh, old school Christian/conservatives types long for the return of the death penalty for rape.

          • Joana George says

            @Ray Andrews

            I’m glad I came across your comment here. I was beginning to feel really clueless and naive for automatically interpreting that as sarcasm. That might still be the case (as only the writer knows how he meant it), but at least now I’ll have company.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @K. Dershem

          “To clarify, I’m not suggesting that you’re a right-wing ideologue, but many of the other commenters seem to be.”

          Thanks. I must admit, for a few seconds there I was rather wounded, the clarification is appreciated.

  9. North American says

    Writes article about circular firing squad.

    Shoots people (Conservative Christians) in circle reading it.

    Peak Quillette.

  10. Serenity says

    Thank you for the article. In the United States progressives are also supported by democrats.

    Over the weekend, US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was once again the center of controversy over comments she made about 9/11 and criticism of the comments.

    The controversy began on April 9 with a video of Omar speaking at a March 23 event of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. She was condemned that day by her colleague Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas). “First member of Congress to ever describe terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11 as ‘some people who did something,’ unbelievable.”

    When Trump tweeted “never forget” next to a video of Omar saying “some people did something,” he was accused of inciting violence against her. “President Trump understands the weight his words carry. His tweet about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar puts her life and her family’s lives at risk,” claimed Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Massachusetts).

    Soon, “IStandWithIlhan” was trending. “Donald Trump is trying to incite violence,” claimed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). “We must protect Rep. Omar. We cannot allow the President’s Islamophobia to incite violence,” wrote Rep. Al Green (D-Texas). Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona wrote that “the President of the United States is targeting an American citizen and attempting to incite violence.” Randi Weingarten of the AFT Union agreed that this was “purposely endangering her safety.” The Democratic Coalition also said it was inciting “violence and tensions against women and minorities.”

    “Her identity lies at the intersection of everything white America has been taught to fear and eliminate: black, female, immigrant, visibly Muslim” writes The Washington Post’s Global Opinions editor. “It’s sad that in America in 2019, we have legitimate reasons to fear for her safety.”

    • the gardner says

      Ya’ gotta hand it to lefties, they and both skilled and shameless in turning around and blaming their opponents for exactly what they do, making victims of the guilty. And the complicit media play it up, even trashing a one-eyed vet for pushing back politely against Omar.

    • Jack B. Nimble says


      Although Crenshaw deserves credit for his service, as do all veterans, that doesn’t excuse his association with rightwing extremists:

      “Five GOP candidates linked to a racist, far-right conspiracy Facebook group, later removed themselves from page By Ramsey Touchberry [Newsweek.com 8/31/18, emphasis added]

      Five Republican candidates vying for seats in the U.S. House and Senate in November’s midterms appear to be current or former administrators of a far-right Facebook group that has pushed debunked conspiracy theories and made racially charged posts about Muslims and black people.

      The group has a history of pushing far-right conspiracy theories ….[and] has also made posts and comments calling Islam a “cancer” and labeled the Black Lives Matter group as “black supremacy with white masters.”….

      The five candidates were Daniel Crenshaw, a House candidate from Texas; Danny Tarkanian, a House candidate from Nevada; Corey Stewart, a Senate candidate from Virginia; Matt Rosendale, a Senate candidate from Montana; and Patrick Morrisey, a Senate candidate from West Virginia.

      Crenshaw, who was a group administrator as of Friday morning, has shared two of his campaign videos to the group, on July 29 and August 13. Other group administrators have shared his campaign website. In a statement to Newsweek, Crenshaw claimed he has “never actively managed or interacted with that page,” despite posting his videos…..”

      And here’s why Crenshaw deserves to be criticized for his tweet about Ilhan Omar:

      Why conservative attacks on an out-of-context Ilhan Omar quote are dangerous by Ryan Cooper [from theweek.com]

      On March 23, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) gave a speech about her views on Islam, religious civil rights, and the threat posed by anti-Muslim bigotry following the Christchurch massacre. More than two weeks later (following the duplicitous Andrew Breitbart script to the letter), conservatives have cherry-picked four words from her speech and twisted them wildly out of context to suggest Omar was downplaying the 9/11 attacks…..

      So here are the details from Omar’s speech (which is quite good and worth watching in full, by the way). After discussing some of the many ways rampant anti-Muslim prejudice is expressed in American society, she says the following:

      Here’s the truth: far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen. And frankly I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and then all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties. [Ilhan Omar]

      That’s the source of the line conservatives are using to whip up a storm of bigotry. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) led the charge…..On Fox and Friends, Brian Kilmeade said: “You have to wonder if she is an American first.” Further down the right-wing media food chain, others made the sentiments a lot more plain. While discussing Omar on Instagram, far-right activist Laura Loomer accused her of treason and said, “Islam is a cancer on humanity and Muslims should not be allowed to seek positions of political office in this country.” With that she’s echoing the teachings of conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, who has used fake statistics to argue that the majority of the world’s Muslims — some 800 million people, by his count — are dangerous radicals. (Also, in early March a West Virginia GOP Day event featured a poster directly linking Omar to 9/11.)…..

      What you can’t quibble with is that right-wing terrorists are getting the subtext of these conservative messages loud and clear. The Quebec City mosque shooter was a big fan of Trump, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Ben Shapiro. The Christchurch mosque shooter praised Trump as a “symbol of white identity.”

      And just this week — before this latest ginned-up frenzy of hatred — a New York man was arrested and charged with threatening to assassinate Omar herself. According to the charging document, he told a staffer: “Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she’s a fucking terrorist. I’ll put a bullet in her fucking skull.” The FBI interviewer reported that he “stated he was a patriot, that he loves the president, and that he hates radical Muslims in our government.”……..”

      • y81 says

        Incidentally, Omar’s statement is untrue: CAIR was founded long before 9/11.

        • Jack B. Nimble says


          You are right about that, but the real problem here is the quote-clipping [that is, selective quotation] that the GOP is using to smear Omar.

          Quote-clipping is a favorite tactic of the right, especially among Christian conservatives, that is used for psychological manipulation and intimidation. See for example the creationist literature [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quoting_out_of_context ] and the practice of ‘proof-texting’ from the Bible that is prevalent in conservative denominations [ http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2012/07/the-subtle-power-of-spiritual-abuse-chapter-7-abuse-and-scripture/. ]

          • Serenity says

            Jack B. Nimble,

            In context: ‘Some people did something’

            Ilhan Omar: “No matter how good you are, if you one day find yourself in a school where other religions are talked about, but when Islam is mentioned, we are only talking about terrorists and if you say something you are sent to the principal’s office.

            So to me, I say, raise hell, make people uncomfortable. Because here’s the truth: For too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen, and, frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it.

            CAIR [Council of American-Islamic Relations] was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”

            The speaker did not identify civil liberties she lost access to and did not specify schools ‘where other religions are talked about, but when Islam is mentioned, we are only talking about terrorists and if you say something you are sent to the principal’s office’ – to substantiate her claim.

            I find it hard to believe that Muslims in America are treated as second class citizens. And I find the call to ‘raise hell, make people uncomfortable’ unhelpful if one intends to promote peace and mutual understanding.

          • Stephanie says

            Jack, a little rich to attribute quote-clipping to the right when the left routinely takes what Trump says about M-16 and frames it like he’s talking about immigrants both illegal and legal.

          • Jack B. Nimble says


            ‘……..I find it hard to believe that Muslims in America are treated as second class citizens. And I find the call to ‘raise hell, make people uncomfortable’ unhelpful if one intends to promote peace and mutual understanding……..’

            The comments below by @Stephanie and @Shamrock are examples of persons treating Muslims as second-class citizens.

            Why are tea-partiers and other rightwing groups allowed to raise hell and make people uncomfortable [in part by open-carrying guns in groups] without getting nearly as much criticism as Muslims do? Is there a double standard here?

            To be clear: I don’t agree with everything that Ilhan Omar says, nor am I pro-Islam. But Muslim citizens have a right to participate in the political process.

      • Stephanie says

        Jack, if the worst this Facebook group said (as you’d assume based on the narrative the story is pushing) is that Islam is a cancer and BLM is a supremacist group, I see nothing wrong with that. Not even sure you could call that far-right. The correlation between Islam and horrible human rights conditions is readily observable, and the way it is spreading to the West and ruining neighbourhoods renders the “cancer” analogy fitting. As for BLM, they are a political organisation with some pretty extreme beliefs, criticizing those is appropriate and need not be extrapolated to the black community at large. Of course discussion on the many problems plaguing the black community need not be racist, either.

        Right-wing media (at least what I watch) reported the full quote. It absolutely does not diminish the gravity of the insult, it only makes it worse because she used 9/11 as justification for the the existence of an extremist organisation funnelling money to terrorist groups on American soil. The full quote is much more damning than her trivilization of 9/11, as awful as that is. She admits to being a terrorist sympathizer.

        Ben Shapiro’s statistics are sound, I checked them myself. There are opinion polls available where you can quantify extreme political opinions. Of most concern in the West, 25 – 40 % of Muslim adults under the age of 35 think suicide bombings in defense of Islam can be acceptable (low in the US and high in France). That is far more than you would need for a pretty brutal Intifada, so there is ample cause for concern. Rep. Omar is the political front of this movement in the US. Her district provided ISIS with the most fighters of anywhere in the US. If she weren’t an extremist, she would be addressing the problem in her district instead of trivializing 9/11 to justify the activities of a pre-existing extremist organisation.

      • Shamrock says

        There is a huge conflict going on between Islam and the West. There is a common sentiment that Muslims are loyal to Islam first and the country they live in second. Omar has attacked Jews a few times and now is speaking to a Muslim organization and emphasizing their victimhood. Whilst doing so, she downplays the 9/11 attacks. She constantly talks about white supremacy.

        In other words, she is playing into the stereotype of being a Muslim first. By saying some people did something she is downplaying to her Muslim audience the fact this was a Muslim terrorist attack. How can someone who claims to be a proud American who loves the US be so dismissive of the 3,000 Americans who lost their lives? I think people may have been more forgiving if this wasn’t a pattern of behavior for her.

        • Jack B. Nimble says


          There is bitter irony in the fact that conservatives have been calling for Muslims in America to shed outdated views on women’s rights, homosexuality, etc. and adopt positions more in the mainstream. But when a politician like Omar comes along who has progressive views on economic and social matters, she gets smeared as an extremist. Here are highlights from her campaign website, https://www.ilhanomar.com/vision

          Guarantee Access to Public Education

          Provide Healthcare Coverage for All

          Establish Economic Justice for Working Families

          Ensure Environmental Justice & Energy Independence

          Promote Peace & Prosperity

          Fight for LGBTQIA+ Rights

          Prevent Gun Violence

          Bottom Line: Omar’s positions are mainstream. The persons calling her a terrorist-sympathizer are the extremists.

          • Peter from Oz says

            All of those policy positions are on the extreme left and far from mainstream, and you know it. Stop trying to normalise left fascism, matey

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @Peter from Oz

            Oh get real. Omar is a liberal Democrat. Those are mainstream positions within the Democratic party.

            Are her positions mainstream within the USA as a whole? Well, polling data indicate that majorities in both parties support liberal positions when partisan identifiers are removed, to avoid bias:

            ” thehill.com Poll: Majorities of both parties support Green New Deal

            More than 80 percent of registered voters support the Green New Deal proposal being pushed by progressional [sic] Democratic lawmakers, a new poll found.

            The survey conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that 92 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans back the Green New Deal plan.

            The organizations behind the poll explained poll-takers avoided mentioning to respondents which representatives were backing the New Green Deal to prevent injecting bias…..
            “Therefore, these findings may indicate that although most Republicans and conservatives are in favor of the Green New Deal’s policies in principle, they are not yet aware that this plan is proposed by the political Left.”

            The plan’s centerpiece is a goal of moving the nation to 100 percent renewable electricity. It would also guarantee jobs for unemployed people and boost energy efficiency and infrastructure……

            The poll surveyed 966 registered voters and has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points…..”

            Bottom Line: You’re the one who is out of touch with American political opinion, matey.

  11. Jay Salhi says

    “I’m a supporter of more aggressive measures aimed at helping people who are disabled, uneducated, mired in poverty, imprisoned (or recently released from prison), or burdened with care for the very old or very young. I believe income inequality is a real problem, and I’m troubled by the self-segregation of populations according to socioeconomic status, a phenomenon that has all sorts of toxic political repercussions.”

    “honest-to-goodness socialism that actually improves the lives of ordinary working class people—regardless of their skin colour or pronouns (imagine that)—would actually be a far easier sell than Ashton’s faddish hashtags.”

    Sounds great in theory. I’m a utilitarian. Show me a plan that actually works in practice. The problem for center left parties the world over is that they’ve run out of ideas. They act in the name of the poor and downtrodden without any results. This opens the door to the far left, who have ideas all of them very bad.

    • K. Dershem says

      I suspect Kay will regret including this paragraph in his article — I predict it will attract most of the comments, overshadowing the point of the essay. I posted this above, but it’s relevant here:

      Do you think that generous social welfare programs create a slippery slope to totalitarian Communism? I don’t see any evidence for that claim. To the contrary, countries with high levels of taxation and services are among the happiest and healthiest in the world. I don’t think Kay is advocating state takeover of the means of production — he just wants more equitable access to health care, education, etc.

      • Jay Salhi says

        I have responded to that comment where you made it originally.

      • Jay Salhi says

        “I predict it will attract most of the comments, overshadowing the point of the essay.”

        I didn’t grasp your original concern, which appears to have been a fear of the discussion veering off towards debating the merits of Swedish-style welfare policies rather than focusing on SJW excess, the main theme of the article.

        Getting back to the main theme, what you refer to (correctly) above as the “insanity of the regressive leftists”, I submit that this is the natural outcome of taking dubious premises seriously and then hoping we can have them only in small doses.

        For example, the problem with SJW’s is the concept of social justice itself. Social justice is the antithesis of actual justice. It needs to be discarded altogether not consumed in moderation. The same is true of numerous other mainstream leftist ideas about race, gender, identity and assorted phobias. The problem lies with the underlying false premises themselves not with the fact that far leftists take them to extremes.

        • K. Dershem says

          Jay, how do you define “social justice”?

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Jay Salhi

          Every social policy is a matter of balance. ‘Small doses’ … really finding the right dose … is all there ever is. There is no policy than can’t be slippery-sloped into some nightmare. We are always on a slippery slope. That said, I’m inclined to agree that if ever there was a doctrine that is entirely bad it is SJ.

          ” Social justice is the antithesis of actual justice.”

          I agree.

      • Jean Levant says

        “To the contrary, countries with high levels of taxation and services are among the happiest and healthiest in the world.”
        I guess you’re not French, K. Your vision of a happy welfare-state woud take a knock.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Jay Salhi

      What do you mean no results? Every poor person who does not die that day is a ‘result’. Every welfare kid who breaks free of the cycle is a ‘result’. Ben Carson is a result. Yes, sometimes the taxpayer does not get the results he paid for. Things can and do go wrong. My truck needs a tuneup (really). But my truck still produces results.

      • Jay Salhi says

        As stated elsewhere, I admit that pulling off a bandage will cause bleeding. I can understand why people want to keep a safety net in place. But we need to be honest about the downsides.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Jay Salhi

          ” But we need to be honest about the downsides.”

          Indeed we do. Mostly because it greases their own wheels, the professional Victimologist is always looking for more money and programs for the Oppressed. The Rightie responds that the answer is to abolish all of it, implement Galt’s Gulch, and let the loosers die. Something like Dickensian London.

          There is a moderate position. I advocate for the mixed economy that we all live in anyway (certain Righties seem not to know that every Western democracy is a mixed economy and has been for a century at least), one that has a ‘safety net’ but that is also fully vigilant at all times as to what goes wrong with safety nets. As I like to say, narcotics are addictive, but we still use anesthesia for surgery, don’t we?

      • Peter from Oz says

        Read some Theodore Dalrymple and some James Bartholemew. They will open your eyes to the evil that the left has committed in the guise of caring about the poor.
        The fact is that the modern left’s obsession with not condemning bad behaviour and not wanting to be “judgmental” has led to massive social problems. Subconsciously the left has noticed the social degradation they have caused and is now trying to introduce a new Puritanism as a replacement for the old right wing social rules. Hence the hunt for bigotry in every statement made by anyone not sufficiently paying obeisance to the gods of wokeness.
        It is a sad thing, but it cannot be addressed by soft leftists any more than islamists can be stopped by moderate muslims. The fact is that leftism is a huge categorical error of thought that needs to be eliminated by reason.
        Conservatism is probably the only hope we have. But we are now faced with the problem that people like Mr Kay, have been so brainwashed with bad thinking that they can’t see that conservative values are the values that most fit the lives of humans. He like so many people is scared of being seen as old fashioned and lacking in compassion. Bit the irony is that the left has now become “conservative” in that sense, just like the hardline communists in the USSR just before its fall we’re labelled as “conservatives”.
        Both sides have a tendency to allow the negative side of their thinking dominate, and seek therefore to spend more time censoring the behaviour and speech of others rather than pointing out the NGOs about their argument. Since the 1990s the left has fallen into this trap of authoritarianism whilst the right has escaped from it, and become the better side because of it.
        The welfare state encourages dependency unless society itself (not government) imposes some discipline on the populace so that welfare is seen as a privilege that should be resorted to sparingly and not a right or way of life.
        The irony of people like Mr Kay is that they love all the sweetness of western life, but are not able to defend it. Islam in alliance with extreme left wingers will slowly erode Mr Kayks freedom and he will just go along with it as long as he can be comfortable.
        Sinistra delenda est

  12. Saw file says

    An interesting takeaway of these ‘Lefty’ (progressive) issues within CDN, by Kay.
    As anybody outside of the few major urban centers and academia know, the disconnect is much deeper. The majority is becoming more and more pissed off, on/at all levels.
    Very few disagree with assisting the disadvantaged, but other than those who truly have a legitimate disability, why should we who work so hard carry those who simply can’t accept the lot that their own choices awarded them?
    A previous commenter stated, “Do you think that generous social welfare programs create a slippery slope to totalitarian Communism? ” That’s simply an atypical ideological conflation trope.
    “Social welfare” exists primarily on two levels in Western societies (such as CDN): communal (charity) and government (forced). There’s also a long existed a combination of those as well . In Canada, since the 90’s, t has been almost wholly put into the government sphere.
    It has now become such a wealth distribution method, that the typical “welfare mom w/ few kids” receives more $ and $ perks than many dual parents working nuclear families.
    The average CDN is sickened almost to death of workig so hard to be taxed to fund the death of the society/culture that created it and maintains it.
    They are long past being frustrated with paying for no progress for themselves.
    Any historian who has studied Canadians )in conflict) would understand the potential danger.

    • K. Dershem says

      @Saw, can you define an “atypical ideological conflation trope”? I’m the commenter in question and honestly don’t know what you mean.

      • Saw file says

        @K. Dershem
        I wasn’t meaning your belief, I was exampling that trope.
        I should have stated clearer.

    • Jim Gorman says

      Hear, Hear!! The same is happening in the U.S. The real crime is that our national politicians have turned into the elites and don’t really know what the common folks believe. Folks who are getting tired of the increasing government simply won’t speak up in town meeting or to polls, etc. because of the treatment they will get from the SJW crowd. Treatment that could cost them their job. But, in the privacy of the voting booth, the SJW folks may get a big surprise next year.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Saw file

      “the typical “welfare mom w/ few kids” receives more $ and $ perks than many dual parents working nuclear families.”

      There is truth in that. Getting up close and personal, when my sister’s husband buggered off, leaving her with two toddlers and no income, one might not be surprised that she went on welfare. But it only lasts so long. When it was about to expire, having been a homemaker her entire adult life, and still having preschoolers to look after, and daycare being so expensive as to eat 70% of whatever she could earn in a minimum wage job, what did she do?

      She got pregnant and thus renewed her welfare.

      • Saw file says

        I’m in Alberta, and though I’m still a ‘home town boy’, I’ve worked and lived all across the country.
        I personally know more than a few multi-genarational “welfare mom” examples. They honestly do (totally) take in more $ than a lower wage couple w/ kids do. Plus, the ‘charity’ perks are tremendous.

        ” She got pregnant and thus renewed her welfare.”

        Often, but it’s not just that. When the next welfare generation has generated more offspring, the social welfare system tries to ‘upgrade’ the mother’s to enter the normal working world. Now a home-care provider is needed, paid by the ‘system. Enter…grandma!
        This way of gaming the ‘system’ is well known among those that do it. I learned about it by actually listening to them.
        My heart breaks for these generations of kids that come to believe that such is how life is.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Saw file

          You have the straight shootin’, plain talkin’ ways of a prairie boy. I agree with your observations entirely. (Three years in Edmonton, myself.) My wife was a welfare girl and tho I had illusions about being the knight in shining armor, rescuing her from all that, the fact was that you could get the girl out of the welfare but you couldn’t get the welfare out of the girl. I don’t pretend that welfare as we know it is not hugely busted. But the hard right suggests either starvation or perhaps brutal poverty and I think that in the 21st century we can do better than that. Actually my sympathies are far more with the working poor than with the welfare types. My sympathies are not with rentier capitalists, Wall St. the global banking elite, or other such parasites. Make a billion the way Musk does and you should pay taxes maybe even as high as your secretary, but please enjoy the rest, you earned it.

  13. Marko Novak says

    I love watching the intersectional “progressives” devour each other as they wrestle each other for that gold-medal podium spot in the Oppression Olympics. As they attempt to drag moderates further and further to the left (with full media support of course) all they’re really doing is exposing those moderates to their their self absorbed rage and tenuous grasp on reality.

  14. Chad Chen says

    For a long time, Canada’s Leftists have been splintered. There are three Left-of-Centre parties in the federal parliament– the Liberals, the New Democrats and the Greens.

    But there is no circular firing squad. Until recently, Liberals controlled most of the provincial governments, with the New Democrats right behind them. Now the Conservatives are taking over, but only because of the normal alternation of the main political parties in office.The same pattern is seen at the federal level Swing voters go back and forth. That is all

  15. neoteny says

    A couple of notes:

    either economic or cultural lines

    My working definition of ‘culture’ is the set of skills a society has & uses for solving its problems. One of the most basic problems a society faces is the economic problem: how to use its resources in the most efficient manner. I find the distinction between economic & cultural ‘lines’ artificial.

    common sense

    René Descartes said that

    Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have.

  16. The idea of a political party that advocates policies that are economically left but culturally right is not a new one. If it means a party in favour of policies designed to reduce inequality and assist those who are disadvantaged while any form of discrimination it is just the classical liberla tradition within left wing politics.

    The issue is that left wing political organisation and instituitions of all sorts have been taken over by identiarian politics. This happened initially with respect to feminism and anti-racism which got a foothold in so far as there was wdiespread racism and anti-woman sexism (very doubtful). The problem is that once identity politics took hold it dominated and drove out wider concerns while narrowing the focus to smaller and smaller groups of ‘oppressed’. It is inherently discriminatory both racist and sexist by nature. The hypocrisy at its heart means that it repulses those natural supporters of left wing policies that are not ideologues.

    Even the author is infected with the infection of identity politics:
    ‘On this axis, trans women—though they represent only about 0.35% of the Canadian population—outrank the roughly 50% of Canadians who would describe themselves merely as female.’
    Why does the author not say that :
    1. They represent 0.35% of teh Canadian population … 100% of Candaians who woudl describe themselevs as merely ordinary people.
    2. The point is not that the group concerned is 0.35%, 10% or even 60% but that they want special treatment to the detriment of other groups. They should get exactly the same treatment as everyone else.

    Anti-racism and Anti-sexim need to be about treating people the same not about giving favoured groups advantages and disadvantaging those identified as ‘priviliged’. if the left retruns to this basic principle things will be well.

  17. E. Olson says

    Why don’t generous welfare states work? Because governments don’t have any natural predators to keep their size in check and enforce efficiency, and government employment tends to attract Leftists who like job security and nice pensions, and think it is important they control people so they don’t make mistakes such as being too prosperous and earning too much money, and also to discourage people from buying things that are bad. Thus the bureaucracy needs to stop greedy landlords from charging too much rent to poor people, and stop greedy employers from paying too little wages and benefits to employees just because they are unproductive or unskilled, or stop callous employers from firing people just because they don’t always show up for work or are lazy. And if productive people somehow still manage to overcome all the bureaucratic barriers to earn a fortune from their hard work, innovation, and entrepreneurial activities, they must be forced to pay high taxes to “spread the wealth around” and achieve fairness and equity.

    The global warming threat also means the government needs to add huge taxes to fossil fuels and mandate expensive and unreliable renewables, which may stop people from drowning in 200 years, but in the meantime forces poor people into energy poverty where they can freeze in winter and stay immobile and unemployed year-around. And of course, to protect the health of the public the government needs to heavily tax or ban sugar, fat, alcohol, drugs, and tobacco, and if mostly poor people continue to use them to excess it is important to provide them with free medical care so they can survive their obesity and overdoses and continue their unhealthy lifestyles. It is also important to avoid discriminating against people with poor genes and bad behaviors who want to have children, and the government should therefore provide free maternal care and welfare payments (as long as the toxically masculine father isn’t around to perpetuate the patriarchy) so that their low IQ/delinquent kids can be future dependents of government services ranging from remedial education to prison residents. And if there is still some rich people’s money left to spend, the government can solve other people’s problems by inviting poor and sick foreigners across the open borders so that they too can become clients of the generous welfare state.

    But if the ever shrinking group of productive, innovative, and hard working citizens start to complain about high taxes and regulations and open borders, Leftist politicians and the media need to call them racist, sexist, xenophobic, Islamphobic deplorables, and perhaps use the IRS and law enforcement to keep them in line (and stop improper pronoun use) and block their preferred racist/sexist/xenophobic candidates from winning elections and dismantling the welfare state. Meanwhile the education system can be used to indoctrinate children on the evils of capitalism and western culture, and the joys of socialism, non-Western cultures, and non-traditional genders and sexual relations.

    • Wentworth Horton says

      Ha! Quite a screed, I applaud. However the same amplitude could be used to describe runaway Conservatism. Granted, that is currently not a threat however it’s the balancing of dialogue or ideas that over time allows the healthier society. Completely discounting one or the other is the threat and currently that is the game we are playing. The exercise that should be being employed by both sides of any conflict is: What is one point my opponent makes that could be legit? And: What is one point I am making that could be erroneous? Right now the Right is much more capable of that exercise than is the Left. Both sides are needed though if not only to take turns dragging the other from the edge of the abyss.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Wentworth Horton

        Thanks, you saved me the trouble. Anything runaway is a problem and anything can runaway if it is not kept under control.

      • Lydia says


        I have never seen “runaway limited government”. But a girl can dream. Especially one who believes in self-government.

        • Ray Andrews says


          Sure you have, we call it anarchy. Much of Africa suffers from it chronically, Syria just had a few years of it, and ISIS was happy to fill the void in Syria and Iraq when the limited government literally ran away.

          • E. Olson says

            Actually Ray, most of the problems of Africa and Syria are created or exacerbated because they have lots of government, government ownership of industry, and regulation. There isn’t much capitalism or limited government in those places. Just because there is anarchy doesn’t mean that government hasn’t created it.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @E. Olson

          “Just because there is anarchy doesn’t mean that government hasn’t created it.”

          Touche. Yes, by trying hard to have too much government they end up with almost none at all. They say that in the Congo — the Devil’s playground, the Heart of Darkness — the Government — the army — is merely another armed gang. The Einsatzgruppen were humanitarians by comparison.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @E. Olson

      “Why don’t generous welfare states work? ”

      But they do sometimes work very well. Every western democracy has some degree of welfare state, please name an exception. Sometimes they don’t work as well as we’d like however. As I said in another post, my truck needs a tuneup, but I’ll not be junking it, I’ll be giving it some love.

      “Because governments don’t have any natural predators to keep their size in check and enforce efficiency”

      You could say that, OTOH that’s what elections are for, no? And supposing that we changed the paradigm a bit and warned ourselves every day that the bureaucracy needs constant minding? What if pruning the bureaucracy was like taking out the garbage — we do it once a week as routine, and if we didn’t, we’d not be shocked and appalled if our properties started to stink. We should not be shocked and appalled if bureaucrats need oversight.

      “so they don’t make mistakes such as being too prosperous and earning too much money”

      Putting on my own Leftist hat for a moment, I can assure you that the more money people make the happier I’ll be. And yes, partly that’s because I’ll be taxing some of it away.

      “or stop callous employers from firing people just because they don’t always show up for work or are lazy”

      Yes, it’s a good example of well meaning policy going too far. Still wearing my Che beret, I say that excessive socialism relates to good government the same way that drinking a dozen cokes every day relates to good health.

      “they must be forced to pay high taxes to “spread the wealth around” and achieve fairness and equity”

      Exactly so. Money, like mass, tends to pull everything into one giant black hole from which nothing escapes. Guatemala is a shithole country for everyone including it’s rich. At some point recycling wealth back to the next potential Steve Jobs is a very good idea. And poor people who are not starving outright not only keeps bodies off the sidewalk, it might just give them enough energy to work better. It is demonstrated that prosperous workers produce prosperous societies that, paradoxically, produce more billionaires. I like billionaires, but it is neither necessary nor inevitable nor good that almost all the new wealth the West has seen since 1980 has gone to the 0.1%.

      “it is important to provide them with free medical care so they can survive their obesity and overdoses and continue their unhealthy lifestyles”

      A real problem in need of a robust solution (that might involve hurting feelings or worse …)

      “It is also important to avoid discriminating against people with poor genes and bad behaviors”

      Let’s take another look at eugenics. Really.

      “Leftist politicians and the media need to call them racist, sexist, xenophobic, Islamphobic deplorables”

      Let’s find someone more respectable than DJT to call a halt to all that. Wearing my Himmler SS cap now, I say that the Identitarians are a malignancy und vil be … sorry.

      • E. Olson says

        Ray – generous welfare states don’t work. Just look at where middle/upper class people move in the US – away from high tax and regulation NY, NJ, Illinois, and CA, and to low tax and regulation Texas, Florida, Arizona, Washington, Idaho, and even the cold middle of nowhere Dakotas. The wealthiest people in “socialist” Scandinavia also tend to move to lower tax places, because they want to keep more of the money THEY EARNED. Welfare needs to be limited to temporary help to the able, and permanent help to the truly innocent and permanently disabled.

        In theory elections should have consequences, but when the state becomes large and powerful, it becomes impossible to peacefully shrink it. Even the “Conservatives” tend to get sucked into spending other people’s money on the segments of society who they hope will re-elect them (the most important task of a politician), and the permanent (mostly Leftist) permanent bureaucracy (AKA the swamp) certainly don’t want any part of small efficient government, which means they just need to slow things down until the Trumps of the world are replaced by the Obamas/Clintons/Bushes.

        Steve Jobs didn’t get rich because he got welfare taken from some rich guy. In fact, I can’t think of a single self-made billionaire who got his “big break” due to government redistribution. Billionaires mostly get rich by finding a product that many people will gladly exchange their money for, but large government almost always means the easier path to riches is crony capitalism (aka corporate welfare), which corrupts both governments and markets.

        We don’t need to look at eugenics – we only need to stop rewarding bad behavior and punishing productive behavior. If you get fat and have a heart attack, don’t expect me (the taxpayer) to pay for your medical treatment, or use government force to make insurance companies charge fat smokers the same rates as fit runners. If you need welfare, then don’t expect me (the taxpayer) to pay for a kid you can’t afford, welfare needs to be linked to birth control implants. And why don’t young, smart, productive couples have more kids? One big reason is the high taxes they pay to support the welfare state and their often deadbeat clients. Lower taxes and it is easier to afford children, and live on 1 or 1.5 paychecks.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @ E. Olson

          “Just look at where middle/upper class people move in the US – away from high tax and regulation”

          That’s not an example. Naturally everyone tries to pay as little tax as possible while reaping as much benefit as possible. Everyone who can hides their money in the Caymans but they still want genuine economies in which to make the money that they try to pay no tax on. There is always the race to the bottom but I repeat my challenge: particularly since WWII, which Western democracy has not had some level of welfare state, or some sort of mixed economy?

          “Welfare needs to be limited ”

          Sure, the details are debatable, but that there must be limits is clear, and it is also clear that more is very often not better.

          “certainly don’t want any part of small efficient government”

          The dynamic you describe is accurate, but is collapse and/or revolution inevitable? Some say so, but we have seen various shrinkages and so it would seem to not be impossible. Me, I’d pass an Amendment limiting the size of government to (debatable) % of the GNP. What? 25%? Anyone whining that they need more would have to explain who gets less, and the latter would have to agree, naturally.

          “Steve Jobs didn’t get rich because he got welfare taken from some rich guy.”

          Not as direct welfare, but he grew up in the sort of society than valued the prosperity of the working class, and subsidized all sorts of things, including his education. Had he gone broke, he’d not have been left to starve. Welfare is perhaps the least and last of the the things a decent society spends taxes on.

          “crony capitalism (aka corporate welfare), which corrupts both governments and markets”

          I quite agree. As you know I’m a big fan of genuine entrepreneurial capitalism — wealth is generated not invented or scammed or stolen.

          ” we only need to stop rewarding bad behavior and punishing productive behavior”


          “or use government force to make insurance companies charge fat smokers the same rates as fit runners”

          Agree. It is essential that folks feel the consequences of their choices even if I would at some point intervene. Really, folks dying of cancer on the sidewalk is not something I want to see.

          “welfare needs to be linked to birth control implants”

          Yup. I might feed you, but you’ll not be having any number of welfare babies at my expense, so very sorry Latisha. Kids are for those who can afford them.

          I’m a very mean socialist.

          • E. Olson says

            Ray – Steve Jobs benefited from a well functioning society including taxpayer funded schools and perhaps knowledge of a welfare safety net to catch him if he failed, but the same is true of several hundred million others who never become billionaires. He alone was the one who built Apple from a garage start, got pushed out of his own company when it floundered, had several follow-up ventures with mixed success, and then eventually came back to Apple as a savior, and then died young from cancer because he didn’t trust Western medicine. If others fail to achieve big things from similar or better beginnings, why should they be entitled to the wealth generated by the vision and effort of Jobs and other billionaires? If non-billionaires want some of that Apple wealth, its available to anyone who buys shares in the company.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @E. Olson

            “a well functioning society including taxpayer funded schools and perhaps knowledge of a welfare safety net to catch him if he failed”


            “If others fail to achieve big things from similar or better beginnings, why should they be entitled to the wealth generated by the vision and effort of Jobs and other billionaires?”

            Because we don’t know where the next Jobs will come from. I enrich the soil in my garden that will grow some weeds because it will also grow better veggies. The situation you fairly describe above was funded to some extent by taxes on the ultra rich who probably complained about it, but that entire environment is the one that fosters creativity by offering security, thus enabling the taking of chances. If Jobs had been born in Guatemala we’d not have Apple. As I say, it is mixed economies, economies with social supports, that produce the most billionaires. Taxing billionaires is just reinvesting in the next billionaires. Folks seem to have forgotten that society itself needs feeding. Sheesh, even the physical infrastructure is falling apart. The social fabric no less. Both have not been fed properly. Honestly E, I think you agree with this.

    • Lydia says

      Thank you, E Olson.

      Leftists, in my book, are equivalent to the controlling sin sniffing Puritans who always knew best for everyone else.

      • E. Olson says

        Lydia – Thank you for the perfect analogy.

      • K. Dershem says

        Leftists, in my book, are equivalent to the controlling sin sniffing Puritans who always knew best for everyone else. Unlike the Religious Right, who are known for their “live and let live” tolerance? Jesus fucking Christ.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @K. Dershem

          Hard not to react, isn’t it? And she really means it too. Mind, the latest generation of leftists/wokeists do meet that description. Like other fundamentalists, they want to tell you how to live. But even then, the pot should refrain from commenting on the kettle.

  18. the gardner says

    Generous welfare states like Canada can exist because they have good ol’ Uncle Sam spending $700 billion/yr on defense so it doesn’t have to. You’re welcome, Mr Kay.

    When Obamacare passed, the promise was that all Americans could afford health insurance. We were promised lower rates and no compromise on quality. We were lied to. And we still have 14% (or is it 18%? I’ve read both) uninsured. Many now pay way more for their health insurance. I think Obamacare is a failure and would be happy to go back to my private plan. With this latest example of the government thinking it is smarter than the market, and failing disastrously, why would I want it to take over anything else? You can keep your single payer insurance, Canada. And if your system is so good, why do Canadians come to the US for care?

    • The probem with this analysis is the fact that even before Obama care america spent far more per head on healthcar ethan any other nation yet had much worse outcomes. I have lived in the US and the UK and when in the US I had a private healthcare plan. The NHS surely has many issues and like any other large organisation has many inefficiencies but I was absolutely dumfounded by the inefficiencies I saw when I visted my doctor. There was an army of administrators outnumbering the handful of medical stafe three or four to one and this was just primary care.

      Healthcare is a special case, demand is effectively infinite and in some way what is provided is always limited by cost, directly or indirectly. The US has managed to end up with the most inefficient system in the world and as a result massive vested interests who make enormous amounts of money while resisting any reform which would make the system less inefficient. I have no idea how it can practically be reformed but it desperately needs reform and the problem is not the government getting in the way of the market but a completely broken and disfunctional market.

      As an example ERM systems assist doctors to maintain patients records. Most contain modules which suggest extra treatments of marginal benefit which can be performed and charged without triggering insurance companies overcharging/fraud detection algorithms by modelling those same algorithms. These modulss are marketed as optimising doctors income, which they so, but as a result everyone pays more for no real benefit.

      • E. Olson says

        Patients need to pay for healthcare out of their own pocket, otherwise they will never be price sensitive. And if customers are not price sensitive, the medical establishment will never have any incentive to devote resources to more cost effective medical treatments. Doctors, clinics, and hospitals need to be forced to post their prices so that comparison shopping can be done, and to force each other to be price competitive. Patients need to pay the price for their bad health habits – obese, drug abusers, smokers, etc. need to pay insurance premiums that reflect the added actuarial risk. Tax free health savings accounts together with cheap catastrophic insurance are the only way that the medical cost curves will ever bend downward without hurting quality, because they will force patients to spend their own money.

        20-30% of lifetime medical spending is in final year of life, and can you imagine a doctor saying to an elderly patient with a bad prognosis something like: “we can do some major surgery that will cost about $100,000, and might give you another 6 months to a year of life if you survive the surgery, or we can skip the expensive surgery and give you $10,000 in pain medication and hospice care to make you comfortable for your remaining few days/weeks of life. Thus the question you need to consider is whether you think the 1 year of extra life is worth cleaning out your health savings account for the surgery, or whether you would rather leave a nice sum for a loved one or favorite charity?” You can bet that when insurance/government is paying the bills, the patient and doctor are going to choose the surgery much more often than if the patient is going to pay out of their own funds.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @E. Olson

          ” Patients need to pay the price for their bad health habits – obese, drug abusers, smokers, etc. need to pay insurance premiums that reflect the added actuarial risk.”

          There is much truth in that. Although the US has the worst medical system in the developed world, although nationalized health is demonstrably superior, it yet remains unavoidable that if you subsidize bad health you will get more of it, if you subsidize good health you will get more of that. Can we have the best of both? I think so.

          • E. Olson says

            Ray – if the US has such a bad medical system, why do so many Canadians (and Mick Jagger) use it? All the statistics that suggest the US does not have the best medical outcomes vs. nationalized systems are bogus because they don’t compare equal cases. For example, Swedes live longer than the average American, but they live shorter than the average Swedish-American. In part the lower American average is genetic (African-Americans don’t live as long as Europeans or Asians, but live longer than Black-Africans), and partly lifestyle (Americans are more likely to be obese, not exercise, eat junk food, abuse drugs, etc. than people in other developed nations), and neither medical statistics influencing factors is the fault of the medical system. Part of the poor US result is also in how outcomes are measured, for example any live child birth is counted in US child mortality statistics even in cases when the baby is born very premature, but in other countries premature babies are not counted in the statistics, which gives them a better statistical result.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @E. Olson

            The rich use it because they can afford to.

            “because they don’t compare equal cases”

            That’s entirely possible but I’ve never seen a single study or documentary on the subject that does not share my conclusion and I’d have thought that by now someone would have noticed your point. But I’d welcome some documentary or essay on the subject that would defend your claim. But it seems to me that the obviously true is likely to be actually true, namely that your system makes a whole lot of people — mostly middlemen — very rich and that’s the way they like it. Our system has no middle men, and everyone involved is free of profit motive and simply tries to attend to your health. And yes we trade that off with increased bureaucracy and lackadaisical treatment. But very few Canadians would want your system except perhaps the very rich. I’d like K’s views on this, he being a Yank like yourself but a bit of a socialista like me.

  19. What’s happening Quillette? The last several times I have come here to read, I feel like I am getting mainstream leftist propaganda mixed in with a little bit of good writing. It doesn’t seem well researched or thought out, and I don’t leave having read something that makes me think or reconsider anything.

  20. the gardner says

    @AJ, this is not a forum on healthcare, so I won’t get into the weeds with you on it. My bigger point was, government is not good at running much of anything. And that’s where socialism points. The free market is not perfect, but is still preferable.

    • @the gardner “government is not good at running much of anything.”

      My experience is all organisations and systems become inefficient and start to create their own internal reality divorced from the outside world as they become very large.

      This is a problem with no good solution but the least worst is a mixture of public, private and regulations. There is nothing that says the best (or least worse) solution for each country is the same. The US has a lot of government regulation, public ownership and funding regulation rather than being the stripped down capatilist system which we often imagine in the UK/europe. This includes the healthcare system. There is no magic bullet and that applies to getting rid of all government influence and involvement as much as expanding it to control everything.

      • the gardner says

        @AJ “….as they become very large.”. Exactly. You make my point for me. Why do governments become too large? Because the bureaucrats running them think they know best. Ever read “The Road to Serfdom”?

      • the gardner says

        @AJ. “…as they become very large”. Exactly. Big government is bad government. Back to my original point— Obamacare is a big government failure and the socialist solution is to make it even bigger.

      • Ray Andrews says


        Always a pleasure to read something reasonable, thanks.

      • BrainFireBob says

        Private systems are ultimately subject to dog eat dog rules. Governments lack that.

        How would a privatized DMV function? It wouldn’t only be flipping open from 8 to 5pm M thru F. The very fact most government service jobs are on 9-5 M-F should tell you government “industries” survive only due to non-competing options.

    • Lydia says

      Socialism kills creativity and innovation. Free markets inspire such. We just have to keep the regulating bureaucracies in check. Free markets really need limited government. Bureaucrats are desperate to maintain their system and guaranteed pensions.

  21. Niké Clipped-Wing says

    A modest proposal: I urge we adopt a terse one-size-fits-all solution to this alphabet-soup: PAIN (Poly-Acronymic-Indentitarian-Narcissists). A portmanteau all-embracing and supple enough to accommodate the oncoming motley throng.

    • Niké Clipped-Wing says

      Typo: -Identitarian-

      The alt-right ‘Identitarian Movement’ would have to relinquish its tenuous grip on the title first.

      • Dia Tribe says

        @Niké Clipped-Wing

        Many ‘Poly-Acronymics’ are narcissistic, but not necessarily all are, so this usage could be taken as gratuitously provocative (and therefore it will be!). As is admitted ‘Identitarian’ is spoken for and perhaps redundant (why narrow the field?). Since much of the po-mo furore underlying inter-sectionality has its origin in a denial of reality – perverting Mill’s notion that “there is nothing general except names” – this would be aptly denominated by the term ‘Nominalist’.

        The PANs would even have their own off-the-rack god, suitably animalistic perhaps but a tad (demi-)masculine for some. In the event, PAN could be a succinct, all-embracing (is sex creeping in…) and jolly alternative to the present primly worthy but glutinous alphabet soup.

  22. The Hang Nail says

    Economically progressive and culturally conservative is already a big thing. When the oligarchs crash and burn they get bailed out. It’s called socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor. They are right that Trump supporters and Tea Party types would actually be amenable to economically progressive ideas. The Tea Partiers started off being upset with the bailouts. They understood that the oligarch’s were corrupting the system. That was only one small nudge away from slapping them down with some progressive policies. But they got co-opted by culture-war rhetoric. Trump supporters are routinely scammed with bad-faith rhetoric. They are told that free-markets are great but then he get sold on tariffs and border walls that just shut down free movement of labor. When you point out that a single-payer health system will free up labor and create efficiencies and that the current system is just a jobs program for the medical-industrial complex it is a slam-dunk argument. But then the culture warriors on both sides will tear it up. Progressives will yell about how the benefits of single-payer will covertly only go to whites. The right wing warriors will yell about how undocumented immigrants might be allowed to have their health-care needs taken care of. In the end who benefits from all of this stagnation and nonsense? It’s not just the left that is impeding progress. The right is trying to obstruct progress so that they can continue to extract rent from the current system.

    • Lydia says

      “Trump supporters are routinely scammed with bad-faith rhetoric. They are told that free-markets are great but then he get sold on tariffs and border walls that just shut down free movement of labor. ”

      Maybe you can explain how a “free market” works with a country like China? Do your homework.

  23. Andre says

    “if somebody wants to start a new political party, they should make it economically left and culturally right”

    Huh??! That’s precisely what the far left is these days.

    What we need is a party that is culturally left and economically right.

    • E. Olson says

      Andre – by an large the Libertarian party is culturally Left (anything goes) and economically Right (anything goes).

      • Andre says

        True. We need a party that looks less like a clown car. Unfortunately, it’s hard to sell cutting spending when both the main parties are hell-bent on spending more.

  24. Swtwnd says

    I’m always amused how often comparisons are made between countries with 5 or 40 million people to those with 350 million, without acknowledging multiple complexities, history, fiscal policy, etc.

    • ms100 says


      Exactly. However there isn’t anything stopping progressive blue states from implementing their Swedish welfare state utopia and showing us evil conservatives how it’s done. I’m sure the middle class living in CA, NY, or IL will be happy to pay 23% VAT and $7gal gas. Their total tax rate would be 70% of their income.


  25. Daniel V says

    I think the really interesting point raised is the idea of the social media silo the mainstream media puts far too much value in. The influence of something like Twitter is grossly overestimated. I don’t believe the average person even used Twitter and its popularity is more with academics and armchair intellectuals.

    Even if a few thousand people react to a post it doesn’t mean that few thousand can accurately represent the opinion of millions. Yet the thinking is if there is a seemingly large reaction on twitter that must be the case. So the media and even politicians react while average people just shake their heads.

    Which in turns means the left focuses on issues they believe are critical to their base but are in reality important to a very slim minority of people that live in virtual bubbles. It’s a vicious feedback loop.

  26. Andrew says

    Some conservatives seem to need a more nuanced view of socialism. It’s not the case that it is all bad and capitalism is all good. There are many good socialist ideas and, most of them have already been implemented in Western democracies e.g. unemployment insurance, labour laws, welfare and universal health care (with the US being the lone exception there).

    • K. Dershem says

      I completely agree. About half the comments on this article presuppose a false dichotomy between a Randian free market and totalitarian Communism. Every economy is a mixed economy — that should be so obvious that it doesn’t need to be stated, but evidently it does.

      • Jay Salhi says

        There is a need to define socialism and use it consistently. Socialism = state control over the means of production. The Nordic countries are not socialist. They are market economies with large social welfare programs.

        So when someone self-identifies as a socialist, what do the mean? Well, some of them are very honest that their goal is to destroy capitalism. Others seem to waffle back and forth or perhaps not even know exactly what they are advocating. While some really do want the Nordic model.

        Our most famous “democratic socialist”, Bernie, is an interesting case study. He assures us that his role model is Denmark not Venezuela or Cuba, but then obfuscates when asked to condemn these regimes. He has a long history of membership in organizations dedicated to the overthrow of capitalism and support for people like Daniel Ortega. And people who know him say he’s still the same guy he was in the 60s.

  27. Farris says

    “I believe income inequality is a real problem, and …”

    The other issue with progressives is dramatic thinking. In the above sentence the author comes off as sounding so noble but the truth is he simply wishes to transfer wealth from people he doesn’t like to people he prefers. If he were truly worried about income inequality why not compare Canada with Zambia and transfer wealth thereto? Surely the author is not some nationalist whose compassion for income inequality ends at his country’s borders?

    “The likely victims of this move will be raped women.”

    More drama. While it is terribly unfortunate this rape crisis center was forced to close, the fact is rape crisis centers do not prevent rapes but rather provide services to rape victims. If the center is forced to close those services will be lost, but more women won’t be raped as a consequence of the closing.

    This continual drama, wailing and gnashing of teeth by progressives makes it impossible to have a civilized debate. This method of debating protector v. defiler is the result of indulging in drama over discourse. As the author correctly notes this continual jockeying for being the most marginalized group or most noble protector has created the current situation. End the drama and return to fact based discussions with the realization that the thespian activist have no argument or substance and thus are entitled to be dismissed.

    • E. Olson says

      Good comment Farris (as usual). Obviously there are very few votes to be had in sending Canadian tax revenues to Zambia. On the other hand, if Canada opens its borders to Zambian “refugees” there might be many future votes for the party that gives out the most “free stuff” to “poor Canadians”, and it might also create some added business (and need) for taxpayer funded rape crisis centers, so a win-win-win for everyone on the Left.

    • S. Cheung says

      ” If the center is forced to close those services will be lost, but more women won’t be raped as a consequence of the closing.”
      —that’s precisely what the author said. The victims will be raped women…(ie women who have already been raped),… due to those lost services.

  28. Morgan Foster says

    “The Pride committee’s official statement reads: “It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that the Board of Directors has voted to cancel the 2019 Edmonton Pride Festival. In light of the current political and social environment, it has been determined that any attempt to host a Festival will not be successful.”

    The good news is the taxpayers of Edmonton – of whom most are not interested in a Pride Festival and wouldn’t have attended anyway – won’t have to help pay for one.

    • neoteny says

      the taxpayers of Edmonton – of whom most are not interested in a Pride Festival and wouldn’t have attended anyway – won’t have to help pay for one.

      They aren’t getting a refund of those taxes; City Hall will find another way to spend it on the SJW/progressive agenda.

  29. GSW says

    “As a Canadian who travels often to the United States, I often find myself shocked by the vast gulf between haves and have-nots in American society.”

    Since the Revolution, chatterati Canadians have been on the hunt for any evidence validating their self-congratulatory opinion that they live in a morally superior political space than their benighted American neighbours. Theirs is the pharisee’s prayer thanking God that in “the true north” they are not like those other sinners to the south. Seriously, this writer should get around more before getting the vapours about class stratification in the United States — maybe visit Brazil or India or South Africa. And, unmentioned facts, Canada’s economy is weaker, less diverse than the U.S. economy with a significantly lower per capita income.

    “Every week seems to bring fresh calls for conservative politicians to denounce white supremacism in Canada—which is fine, even if the subject now seems to be overwrought.”

    Overwrought? Do you think? Or, maybe it’s just plain weaponized hysteria by “progressives” as the actual number of politically active white supremacists in Canada would fit into one, perhaps two, Ontario-made minivans?

    “what’s needed now is a political movement that combines the economic generosity of progressives with the cultural pluralism of enlightened conservatives. That’s true in Canada, too — and, I suspect, most other comparable western countries.”

    Thanks but no thanks. Enough with the political movements sucking the life out of liberal democratic society. “Progressive” chatterati have a near monopoly over the means of mental production in the contemporary west. Kay touches on an aspect of the real issue — “And since no one in the media wants to be accused of insensitivity, the coverage has been suffused with touchy-feely bafflegab that avoids accentuating the rather obvious absurdity of the situation” — but seems unable to grasp how this ideological monopoly overdetermines the political phenomena he is writing about in this article.

    • neoteny says

      the actual number of politically active white supremacists in Canada would fit into one, perhaps two, Ontario-made minivans?

      Nicely played.

    • scribblerg says

      How is Kay’s article not just more ‘touchy feely bafflegarb’?

  30. Elton H says

    The description of intersectionality “circular firing squad” is very accurate. Anyone can be denounced as the oppressor instantly because there are infinitesimal types of oppressors. Mao recognized the chaos he unleashed when he formed the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution and eventually put them down. Even Mao could’ve been denounced eventually had he let the Red Guards run its course. Yes, intersectionality is just a Maoist/Marxist tactic.

    “honest-to-goodness socialism that actually improves the lives of ordinary working class people—regardless of their skin colour or pronouns”

    Socialism has always devolved into totalitarian rule where there was increased inequality (resources concentrated to those with political power), and wide spread poverty (more equality for the powerless.) The author of this piece is just another person who thinks they can avoid this outcome. The solution is to raise quality of life for the lower income end through work and not some fake redistribution scheme our politicians propose to bribe the masses.

  31. DiamondLil says

    The only people we hate more than the Romans is the Judean Peoples Front! The wankers!

  32. scribblerg says

    Fact: We had much greater social mobility in the U.S. when we had a much smaller govt and less welfare. But even today, social mobility is much higher than Mr. Kay seems to understand. Most Americans don’t stay in the same income quintile for more than 10 years. I don’t know what it’s like in Canada, and kind of don’t care.

    Also, Mr. Kay doesn’t seem to understand what socialism is and isn’t.

    Socialism – A utilitarian view of the role of govt in society which situates govt to deliver the maximum benefit possible to the most people possible. I was born in France in the early 19th century. It starts with the idea that the classically liberal order that was emerging in the West was insufficiently just and effective. Diverse ideas from JS Mills to Bentham and many others were part of this utilitarian view of the legitimate role of govt. Try to remember that classical liberalism’s crowning achievement was to undermine the absolute authority of the monarch, a project underway since the Magna Carta in Europe.

    Socialism also emerges in the midst of German Historicism raging through the European academy. Hegel’s dialectic emerges from this ideology and Marx turns uses Hegel’s work as a basis for “dialectical materialism” and develops what he calls “scientific socialism”. The short version is that Marx claims socialism is an inevitable artifact of “progress” that emerges socially due to the inherent conflicts within capitalism.

    Socialism also imagines an educated elite constructing these govt policies and agencies and instead of cronyism or politics driving these enlightened beings, they somehow rise above more normal selfishness and just serve, serve, serve, lol.

    This is again where classical liberalism has it in spades over the socialists in that the classical liberal order was also informed by the likes of Montesquieu, which made us limit govt quite strictly. We divide it’s power and make it hard for it to change an act intentionally. Socialism of course just ignores all learned in human history about how humans will always abuse power and accrete power to themselves over time due to human frailty, biases and natural self-interest.

    Of course the socialists just hand wave their way through the last point and try to quickly get back how evil rich people’s objective in life is to harm workers. Just because it’s fun…

    I suppose Mr. Kay sees himself as an intellectual. But he doesn’t even seem to know what socialism is versus classical liberalism… Fyi, one can readily see legitimate uses of govt beyond the “night watchmen state” and not be a socialist. But the classical liberal lives within the limits placed on govt and respects the balance of power as good for the people over the long run, even as it may be inconvenient to his/her current political passions. I detect none of this subtlety in Mr. Kay’s remarks. He seems to believe that govt can automagically wipe away the differences between people with “education” and also sees low education as in the same class of problems as disability. No, that’s a very stupid thing to say actually.

    In fact, we are unable to care for the truly disabled among us because we waste so much money on bad socialist ideas. Imagine we didn’t try and all of life for every class of victim some college prof dreamed up. Imagine instead that we focused on much clearer needs – that we agreed on in the vast majority – and tried to do a good job for those people. Imagine we weren’t stuffing illegal aliens grandparents on social security and medicare too, and instead were trying to support only retirement via social security and only for those who paid in. Do you have any idea how much better most social security retirees would be? But nope, we couldn’t just stick to one aim of the program and now it’s a disaster.

    Meanwhile, Chile built a private social security system – the kind that I’m sure Mr. Kay would decry as unfair or some garbage – and the average Chilean retires with 5x the income in retirement as the average American. All due to dastardly, “unbalanced” capitalism.

    Socialism is an intellectual virus that you can’t extinguish if you don’t understand it.

  33. Sean Leith says

    “Goldy is indeed a toxic presence in Canadian politics.” — This is most outrageous claim I have seen in a long time, care to give a reason?

  34. B Nelson says

    A. We are already 90% of the way there; B. Won’t get to 100% as long as it is explicitly advocated (socialist gains to date have been through stealth regulation/taxation); C. As to the left’s circular firing squad – Good.

  35. Jack B. Nimble says


    “…….the average Chilean retires with 5x the income in retirement as the average American…..”

    I can’t let this industrial-strength bullshit pass unchallenged. The average US SSA monthly benefit is about $1500; Chileans average about $300, which is 1/5 as much, not 5X. And living in Chile is about half as expensive as in the US. Here are details:

    With Pensions Like This ($315 a Month), Chileans Wonder How They’ll Ever Retire, By Pascale Bonnefoy, Sept. 10, 2016, nytimes.com

    SANTIAGO, Chile — Discontent has been brewing for years in Chile over pensions so low that most people must keep working past retirement age. All the while, privately run companies have reaped enormous profits by investing Chileans’ social security savings.

    The bubbling anger boiled over in July [2016] when Chileans learned that the former wife of a Socialist Party leader was receiving a monthly pension of almost $7,800 after retiring from the prison police department. That figure dwarfs the average monthly pension of $315, which is even less than a monthly minimum-wage salary of $384……

    In 1981, the military dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet privatized the old pay-as-you-go pension system, in which workers, employers and the government all contributed.

    Under the privatized system, which President George W. Bush hailed as an example to follow, workers must pay 10 percent of their earnings into accounts operated by private companies known as pension fund administrators, or A.F.P.s, the initials of the term in Spanish. The administrators invest the money and charge workers a commission for transactions and other fees. Employers and the government do not make any contributions to the workers’ accounts.

    Chileans were given the option of keeping their old plan or switching to the new system. Most switched. But those entering the work force after 1981 had to invest in the privatized system. (The armed forces and the police were exempted from the change and today enjoy pensions several times higher than those available in the privatized system.)

    The money invested by the administrators bolstered Chile’s capital markets, which stimulated economic growth and yielded reasonable returns. Today six A.F.P.s — half of them owned by foreign companies — manage $171 billion in pension funds, equivalent to about 71 percent of Chile’s gross domestic product, according to the office of the supervisor of the pension funds.

    But the pioneering privatized system has failed to provide livable pensions for most retirees. If the stock market dips or investments go awry, workers’ savings and retirees’ pension checks decline…..”

    Other highlights of the AFPs:

    The median AFP pension in 2014 was 34% of a retirees last average salary. Although the figure rose slightly due to a govt. bailout, it is projected to decline to around 15% in 10-15 years.

    The money AFPs collect from salary deductions is more than twice as much as they pay out in pensions. The rest goes to fees and other types of overhead.

    Some employers take the 10% payroll deduction and hold on to it without forwarding any money to the AFPs, due either to their incompetence or their malice.

    Bottom Line: Chileans are screwed.

    • E. Olson says

      JBN – yes trust that capitalist icon the NYT to provide unbiased analysis of a private pension system. If you truly want to learn something from a more balanced analysis follow the link below, – and I hate to break it to you, but those public pensions system you seem to favor, including Social Security, are almost all on the verge of insolvency or will be soon.


      • Jack B. Nimble says

        @E. Olson

        Thank you for providing a link that substantiates all the points I was making!!

        “……The official retirement age is not as important in Chile as it is in countries with state-run systems. By and large, in that system, people retire when they have accumulated enough savings, not when politicians think they should retire…”

        This is a polite way of saying that most Chileans can’t afford to retire.

        “….Chile has no pension crisis as most of the rest of the developed world does – no worries about a “trust fund” and no Social Security “cuts” to speak of….”

        The Chilean system is a DEFINED CONTRIBUTION system–what you are [required] to pay comes back to you after retirement, plus interest and minus fees. These systems can never be underfunded [obligations exceed assets], because the financial risks are all born by the worker, not the system.

        “……The scheme’s founders told workers that if they contributed continuously throughout their careers they would receive a generous 70% of their final salaries upon retirement. …But most workers contributed far less. Women took time off to raise children (and retire earlier than men)….”

        In this defined contribution system, there is no minimum monthly benefit, no survivors benefit and no disability benefit–where would the money for all that come from? The government? Remember that this system is private.

        “…..The system has generated high returns for pensioners, averaging 8.6% a year between 1981 and 2013. But…high fees have bitten a huge chunk out of those returns, reducing them to 3-5.4%…..”

        In other words, the private systems are taking half of the investment returns off the top. Would you buy a mutual fund that did that???

        Bottom Line: This forced saving plan has provided a modest boost (0.5%) to the Chilean economy, but the function of a pension system is to provide a good retirement for the plan holders, not to goose the economy. And plan holders would have done much better if they could have somehow bought an index fund invested in the US stock market over the 33-year interval mentioned above.

        • S. Cheung says

          Government-mandated contribution into a private fund with an average MER of roughly 4%. Wow. Sounds like “AFP administrator” would be a sweet job in Chile.

        • E. Olson says

          JBN – fees seem to be very out of line in Chile, but even after fees they still get a better return than US social security (see 1st link). It is also important to note that small country investment funds tend to have higher administration fees than the US due to lack of economies of scale, but even in the US it is possible for “uneducated” or “poorly advised” investors to buy funds with very high fees. For example, it is possible to buy an S&P 500 index fund with 2.33% administration fees or get them for 0% fees from Vanguard and Fidelity (second link).

          I also fail to see why you think that a retirement system based on having others subsidize your retirement is a fair system to anyone except the subsidized.



          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @E. Olson

            Neither you nor @scribblerg has provided any link that shows the avg. monthly benefit in Chile coming remotely close to that under SSA, even after allowing for the difference in cost of living.

            Could US citizens paying into SSA do better in the stock market? Maybe–if their employers matched their contributions, as with SSA and some 401k plans. But the stock market doesn’t provide long term disability insurance, nor does the Chilean system.

            As your ‘monkeyCPA’ link noted:

            “….The disability benefits of Social Security are very valuable for most people. It is much better than any private disability insurance available because the benefits don’t run out. If you face long-term disability, Social Security will keep paying you through retirement. Private insurers, on the other hand, place strict limitations on benefits – often only 2 years….”,/i>

            If a person needs disability or survivor benefits to live on, it doesn’t matter much what their ‘rate of return’ is. Your mutual fund isn’t going to provide a lifetime benefit if you become disabled or the wage-earner you are married to dies.

            Bottom Line: Social Security is SOCIAL insurance because people pay into a collective system that is designed specifically to aid hardship cases–those who become disabled or were not able to earn much income during their prime working age. Go ahead and call social insurance ‘unfair’–that just shows how out of touch you are.

            PS–thanks for providing another link that supports my position. More, please!

  36. Kevin Herman says

    Taking one person’s money and giving it to another in the name of economic equality is not generosity its tyranny. There is nothing stopping your average bleeding heart from basically giving away all excess income they have besides the barest essentials to live to charity.

  37. Just Me says

    Canadian here, big fan of Jonathan Kay. Excellent article, agree totally.

    As a moderate, I used to vote Liberal, could not do it last election with Justin Trudeau, he to the Liberal Party to the extreme Left and outflanking the NDP, although paradoxicaly, the only reason he won and with a majority is that the NDP self-destructed in Quebec with their defense of the niqab…

  38. Morgan Foster says

    “…the cultural pluralism of enlightened conservatives.”

    All too often what is meant by “enlightened conservative” is a person who used to be a conservative but is now a progressive leftist.

  39. Lydia says

    “Michael Shermer wrote in Quillette last year, what’s needed now is a political movement that combines the economic generosity of progressives with the cultural pluralism of enlightened conservative”

    I haven’t had time to read all the comments but my guess is some astute commenters have picked up on the problem with this. Are you suggesting that progressives are generous as individuals with their own money two other individuals who need it? I have absolutely no problem with that. What I have a problem with is they are generous with my money when they get power. and it’s interesting how they tend to exempt themselves from the same mandates they put on others. Not very generous.

  40. Lydia says

    I am not aware of any Christian groups that are trying to shut down rape crisis centers. Does the author have any examples to share?

    • BrainFireBob says

      Comment: The issue with welfare states is the question of what level of lifestyle they should support.

      Upper and middle class pseudo intellectuals concerned about the poor being disadvantaged tend to want to put it at what their life would see as belt tightening, especially with kids involved: lower middle to middle class. Since entering the workforce for someone with long term existence at that level would be a loss, they are disincentized.

      Something is wrong when kids born and raised on welfare have the latest Xbox and free tablets for school, and a family with both parents working shops at Goodwill.

      • E. Olson says

        BFB – some small corrections: “Something is wrong when FAT kids born and raised on welfare, SUCH AS FREE SCHOOL BREAKFAST AND LUNCH, FOOD STAMPS, have the latest Xbox, SMART PHONE, and free tablets for school (FOR THE HOMEWORK THEY DON’T DO), and a TAX-PAYING family with both parents working shops at Goodwill.”

    • Steve says

      “Does the author have any examples to share?”

      Nope. He’s just a rather boring middlebrow atheist with a thing for passive-aggressive attacks on Christians.

    • Just Me says

      That was his point. Progressives would want us believe there are.

  41. Gera says

    The circular firing squad of which you speak is the result of pushing conservatives out of the debate completely. The natural result is leftists fighting amongst themselves.. leftists by definition always push against the establishment. Well you, sir, are the establishment.

    The strange thing is not the cancellation of the Pride parade you write of, but you actually calling the counter activists narcissists and the lack of reflection and self-awareness this implies. It’s not strange that men, who leftists have told are 100% women, to want access to women-only spaces. These are natural consequences of your philosophy. Yet I don’t see you owning them. Since the 60s leftism has pushed for the rights and privileges of the minority over the majority. How then, is any of this a surprise?

    Your idea for a new political party with the economic generosity of liberals and the tolerance of the right kind of conservatives is nothing but a desire for the old days when liberals were themselves tolerant, and you were on the vanguard of caring and tolerance. The old enemy of religious conservatives has been long vanquished and yet you are surprised they are not to blame for cancellation of the pride parade??

    Oh look, the author points to an issue for gathering traditional leftist consensus: people segregating themselves by economic status, aka living where they choose. “…I’m troubled by the self-segregation of populations according to socioeconomic status, a phenomenon that has all sorts of toxic political repercussions.”

    Some individuals will never be done with their beneficent tyrannies in other people’s business. The left will ever push further and further left.

    Maybe now that you’ve become the chilly, unsympathetic right, you’ll see your own ideals and behavior in the fight of those you call narcissistic.

  42. codadmin says

    Are ‘progressives’ generous or are they parasites?

    • E. Olson says

      There is no “or”, because progressives are generous parasites.

  43. Morgan Foster says

    “[Faith] Goldy is indeed a toxic presence in Canadian politics.”

    Speaking of … are there any toxic presences in Canadian politics who are not white?

  44. Why Waste So Much Time & Energy Attacking Your Own Side? says

    “What are you looking for?”
    “I lost a contact lens.”
    “I see. And you were standing under this street light when it fell out?”
    “No, it fell out two blocks back.”
    “Then why are you looking for it here?”
    “The light’s better here!”

  45. Steve says

    “honest-to-goodness socialism that actually improves the lives of ordinary working class people”

    Kay is even more of an idiot than we thought.

    • Phil says

      let’s be more nuanced. See my response to Kay below.

      • K. Dershem says

        let’s be more nuanced — YES. This should be Quillette’s new motto. The comment section is rapidly descending into Breitbart territory.

        • S. Cheung says

          you’re not kidding. Mere mention of the word “socialism” brings them out of the wood-work. Nvm the fact that many attribute the term to things that have nothing to do with centralized control of the economy.

        • Bab says

          I am not sure why the Breitbarters are here – if they want right-wing boilerplate dudgeon then there are plenty of other places to get it. The fact is that Quillette was largely set up by disaffected liberals who were in despair over what the New Left has become, basically an insulated, elite-driven cabal that preferred form over substance, interminable disputes about language, and which was actively hostile to any form of class politics or the building of any sort of genuine mass movement.

          The fact is that the conservative movement and the New Left enjoy a symbiotic relationship, by keeping the focus of political debate on bullshit slapstick cultural issues like transgender bathrooms, abortion and flag-burning, and safely away from the bread-and-butter concerns of everyday working people. Which is exactly how the ruling class like it, a Punch and Judy show to keep the proles away from their pocketbooks. Amazing how both the Democratic and Republican establishments sing from the same song-sheet when someone like Bernie Sanders comes along.

  46. Phil says

    There are lots of issues to unpack in this article, and I think that the author is getting his wires crossed on several fronts including most notably the economy. Kay is entitled to his political views and personal political leanings of course, but I am not clear as to the relevance of noting the greater income inequality in the United States and how this would influence one’s political choices in Canada? Giving credit where it’s due, it is quite possible that traveling to the United States can serve as a helpful reminder that free market economies with a socialist tinge – such as Canada and the UK for instance – are capable of producing dynamic ecconomies while still affording the average man and woman basic protections (consistent with Universal Human Rights) including socialised healthcare, education and a reasonable safety net for people in our society who need a leg up. In other words, “socialism” need not be a dirty word as the Americans often see it. These solicialist institutions (e.g. subsidised healthcare, education etc) do not exist to the same degree in the United States, and these are the very pillars that make Canada and the UK free market economies with a socialist bent. Being a conservative party supporter in Canada does not mean that you are trying to dismantle publicly-funded healthcare, education or otherwise. It simply means that you will clasically believe that encouraing a more dynamic economy (which starts with reducing the absolute level of taxes – which gives people a greater incentive to work more and start businesses / establish themselves in Canada, and perhaps reducing the “progressiveness of the tax brackets”), is a more effective way to reduce unemployment and raise GDP and consequently tax revenues, which in turn are able to fund the “socialistic pilars” of your society. It also probably suggests that you are more scepticall of people who claim benefits for extended period of time, as the idea should be that this is a safety net, rather than a safety hamack. But ultimately, what Conservatives had understood the best is that it’s all about the economy, and a healthy economy spits out greater tax revenues which in turn allow for more spending on government expenditure of any sort. The other thing that can be expected from a Conservative government is a shift in the mix of government spending, and the Conservatives would classically be expected to spend a greater proportion of the overalll government budget on the military for instance, which necessariy means the percentage allocation to other programmes must mathematically be reduced unless you fund the gap with greater levels of debt. So the Canadian and UK conservatie ethos has nothing to do with dismantling the socialistic pillars of society. So the point that I am making is that income inequality in the United States is irrelevant to your political choices in Canada. Structurally speaking, Canada will always have a socialist bent given the socialistic pillars that I describe herein. And it certainly not the Liberals or the Green party that will implement more pro business policies that ultimately serve to raise living standards (GDP and GDP per capita), employment, and consequently tax revenues which are available to fund government programmes (including the socialistic pillars), and which matter far more than income inequality. Absolute living standards are far more important than income inequality: that is, it is far more important to raise people out of poverty as opposed to worrying about the fact that some bloke up the street drives a ferrari. The problem is of course compounded (as is the case in the United States) when you have both high absolute levels of poverty, and when you have high income inequality as well.

    I think we all agree with the existence of the “circular firing squad” on the Left. So the point of the article seems to be that, EVEN YOU, as a Left-Wing voter, appear to feel alienated by what’s going on. That is, you are suddently made to feel like even YOU are being branded as “alt right” or alt-right adjacent, despite clearly having a political proclivity for highly leftist policies. But what your article does not consider is that many traditional (Canadian) Conservatives will be viewed as extreme right by the same vocal minority of radical left ideologues. The reaction of the radical left is both unreasonable, unfair, and certainly not warranted, and even YOU should be indignant about that. In Canada, you can be Conservative whie still being a proponent of the fundamental socialistic pillars that I describe. So you are falling in the very trap you sppear to be warning us about: that is, you make the point of emphasizinng your own leftist political ideogoly (even though economic theory and practice would prove you wrong) before complaining that the left has gone too far. That misses the point entirely.

    The argument should stand on its own two feet irrespective of your own political leanings. I don’t care whether or not you are a left-leaning voter: the LEFT HAS GONE TOO FAR. Full stop.

    And in the age of the web and social media, it’s no surprise that ideas are travelling cross-border. And the reprehensible game of identity politics, and the corresponding “Victimisation Olympics” to paraphrase Gad Saad, are alive and well in Canada.

    When I was growing up, good people (whether Liberals or Conservatives) had the guts to stand up to and rubbish the nonsense. But we have now entered a new era: one in which the tail is wagging the dog, and it’s not even a fully formed tail, it’s that of a giant Schnauzer – a 2 inch stub tail. And the silent majority is giving the radical ideologues the space and platforms that they need to spew further nonsense. As Steven Pinker would point out, the first step is to de-politicise the issue. So let’s start by doing that instead of virtue signalling and emphasizing the sports team that you support.

    • codadmin says


      The left hasn’t gone too far. The legitimate left, or liberals, have been duct taped, with a rag in their mouth, and stuffed in their own basement.

      What oppressed liberals now hear trotting about on the upstairs floorboards are fascist thugs.

    • S.Cheung says

      well said. Regardless of where you are on the spectrum, the regressive left has destroyed the type of balance or symmetry that we once took for granted in public discourse.

      • K. Dershem says

        Although it’s almost never addressed in Quillette articles, I think the right is equally to blame. Extremists on both ends of the political spectrum have toxified the political system with grievance-fueled campaigns. In the U.S., the regressive right has been more successful in electoral politics, but the regressive left has far more power in academia.

  47. Phil says

    @codadmin, I feel for the Classic Liberals. But I hope that I am misunderstanding your posting which seems to suggest that anyone on the right of Classic Liberal is a fascist thug. I don’t think the fascist thugs are as rampant in today’s Western world as the illeberal Left.

    • codadmin says


      I’m certainly not suggesting that.

      I’m a conservative myself. I’m just saying we can’t blame the left for it’s own kidnapping. I’m using the word fascist in a generic sense.

      The left has been highjacked. The fascist SJW’s are not the left that I remember. They are alien to it.

  48. Rick says

    The good thing about the current Left’s penchant for circular firing squads is that they’re not using real bullets, and thus have the opportunity to learn from the aftermath of figurative, rather than literal, dead bodies.

  49. lloydr56 says

    Progressives used to concern themselves with actual poor people, and actual women (for example). Now the concern is for people who are “poor” only in the sense that their voices haven’t been heard enough, whether they say anything constructive or not. There is a detachment from fixing objective problems, and a detachment from studying things like nature to understand what the problems are, and how they can be fixed. Economics, for example, might work with incentives that actually relate to human psychology, so that voters and citizens will accept or “buy in” to reforms. Criminal justice would also have to work with actual human beings to be successful. Today’s progressives are proud of their detachment from such matters. I’m afraid the climate change orthodoxy–including somehow replacing the burning of fossil fuels–is similarly detached from nature or objective reality–while claiming, of course, complete acceptance of such things.

    • K. Dershem says

      Many progressives are still focused on practical issues, but they don’t get nearly as much media attention (especially on sites like Quillette that focus on the excesses of the Regressive Left). On the criminal justice front, for example, reformist prosecutors have been elected in numerous cities.

      *Local prosecutors, who handle 95 percent of the criminal cases brought in this country, are well positioned to take reform into their own hands because of their broad discretion over whether and how to prosecute cases and what bail they decide to seek against defendants.

      And they’re exercising that discretion in new ways.

      In Chicago, State Attorney Kim Foxx raised the threshold for felony theft prosecution to reduce the number of shoplifters who go to jail. In Philadelphia, the D.A., Larry Krasner, has instructed his prosecutors to make plea offers for most crimes below the bottom end of Pennsylvania’s sentencing guidelines. In Kansas City, Kan., District Attorney Mark Dupree created a unit to scrutinize old cases haunted by questionable police practices despite opposition from local law enforcement. More broadly, many of these new, progressive prosecutors are declining to prosecute low-level marijuana offenses and have stopped asking for bail in most misdemeanor cases.*


    • “actual women…” kay… Yeah, let’s only talk about gender based violence against what you identify as the gender at less risk of violence than the general population and then let’s wonder why your criminal justice system is a bastion of nonsensicality.

      You want to talk about objective problems and then run away from objectivity (including the 25-1 incarceration ratio by assigned sex) and spew tautology when it’s comfortable. Neurological sex exists and I have the depressed cis women with high androgen levels to prove it.

  50. Stinky says

    Socialism does not eliminate poverty – it eliminates the middle class. Socialism does not eliminate the Elite – it only changes the occupants. Socialism does not improve all peoples lives – it eliminates economic freedom. It is truly amazing after all of the history of the world – people are so willing to give their freedom to a bunch of bureaucrats.

  51. David of Kirkland says

    Isn’t this shooting bad thinkers with other bad thinkers a good thing?

  52. OLd NiK says

    The problem with Mr. Kay is that he’s too much like the CBC idiots he hangs around with. Leftist hysteria is ignored by the vast majority of Canadians as are lunatics on the right. Canadians want things to run smoothly, and get done in a timely manner. They are increasingly fed up with immigration, especially the illegal kind. When they watch the news about the latest urban shootings and the perpetrators are the same colour as the people pouring across the border they aren’t impressed. They couldn’t care less about the LGBT parade, or the natives who seemingly can’t do anything for themselves, (like run a water purification plant). They aren’t wild about muslims with their leftist boosters and they don’t see any great threat against Jews, despite Kay’s mother losing her mind in print everytime someone gets uppity with Israel. Canadians don’t give a damn, eh.

  53. peterschaeffer says

    “If a single prominent, mainstream leftist has voiced exasperation with all this, I haven’t heard it”

    Meghan Murphy has expressed her views on some these issues right here in Quillette. Of course, I don’t speak for her and she can certainly represent her own opinions.

  54. peterschaeffer says

    “If Jason Kenney does become Alberta premier, progressive politicians likely will greet his win the same way they responded to Doug Ford’s victory in Ontario, Donald Trump in the United States and the Brexit result in the UK—with the claim that this only proves that dark forces are on the ascent, and that progressives must be ever more vigilant, and ever more aggressive in responding to ideological deviations.”

    If Jason Kenney wins it will be (further) proof of Russian election interference / collusion. That’s obvious.

  55. Geddy Peart says

    Circular firing squad? Or the natural consequence of a sophomoric quest for perfect fairness?

    “So the maples formed a union
    And demanded equal rights
    ‘The oaks are just too greedy
    We will make them give us light’
    Now there’s no more oak oppression
    For they passed a noble law
    And the trees are all kept equal
    By hatchet, axe and saw”

    some Canadian dudes

  56. Nicolaas Stempels says

    Michael, there are definitely some positives in the ‘nanny state’. Mandatory vaccination, for example, and universal healthcare, that benefits everybody.
    I disagree with your Ferrari ‘parable’: it is not about what one has, but what one has compared to others that matters, such is human nature, it appears.

  57. JP Merzetti says

    Progressivism throws the baby out with the bathwater (all that’s left is the tub) and identity politics obviously does not mix well with real politics.
    None of this surprises me.
    I keep wondering when relatively new Canadians, or even not so new Canadians – who arrived upon these once foreign shores in order to rid themselves of various incarnations of state sponsored oppression…..will finally start making the rounds.
    “Psst! Lemme fill ya in on a little secret. This has all been done before and it don’t end well.”
    and further – “So please leave off because I don’t wanna halfta migrate twice!”

  58. Most rape victims are what the author would (incorrectly to my mind) describe as male-bodied. So are most murder victims, most abuse victims, most of the homeless…

    Maybe the author should take a minute to understand why a transfeminist critique of cisfeminism matters (not that Morgane Oger’s interested in providing one, since she’s a cisfeminist too, just not a cis woman), but apparently they’d rather ignore what being a sapient species means.

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