Good morning, folks, and welcome to the tenth issue of Bright Morning. We say this quite often, but it’s hard to believe that we are ten weeks into this project. Before we kick off, we would like to offer some words of appreciation and reflection.
This project kicked off with an idea: would we be interested in starting a newsletter? Neither one of us even really liked reading newsletters, and after we talked about it for a bit, we quickly realized why: we had not found anything interesting to read. Obviously our sample was not representative, but based on what we had seen, we thought that newsletters only offered small snapshots of stories without any probes for thought. As well, a lot of newsletters out there only offered cookie-cutter, boring, and faux-progressive talking points. And out of this realization, we found an opportunity.
What if we could try to do it better? What if we could talk about the big stories of the week through the lens of our own conservative and classical liberal values? Is there an audience out there who would be receptive to this ambition? It turns out that there was. And so, ten weeks into the development of Bright Morning, we believe that we have landed on something that works. We have learned a lot in the past ten weeks, and we look forward to continuing to learn. We hope that while we are satisfying our need to write about what is important to us, we are also meeting your need for honest and authentic analysis. We really are thankful for your continued support of our project.
Having said that, let us now turn our heads to some of the stand-out absurdities from the week, shall we?
Jordan Peterson returns, and so do the hit-pieces
The Nitty Gritty
Outrageously famous Canadian psychologist, Dr. Jordan Peterson, appears to be back in action after a long hiatus from the public eye
Now that he’s back, so are the critiques 🕵
Dr. Jordan Peterson, the Canadian Clinical Psychologist who is most famous for his criticism of compelled speech legislation and his international best-selling book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, has returned to the public sphere after a nearly two year hiatus.
Legacy media outlets have always had a creepy obsession with attempts to delegitimize Peterson. With a quick Google search, audiences will find nonsense articles with inflammatory headlines such as “Jordan Peterson, Custodian of the Patriarchy” or “How dangerous is Jordan Peterson, the rightwing professor who ‘hit a hornets’ nest’?” The first is from the former newspaper of record, The New York Times, while the second is from the comically left-leaning tabloid, The Guardian. With headlines like this, uninformed observers might conclude that Peterson is a misogynistic cult leader who encourages men to exert tyrannical control over unsuspecting and nubile young women - and this is exactly the point. As Andrew Doyle writes, the left has manufactured a folk devil around the image of Peterson. And as the infamous interview with Channel 4’s Cathy Newman demonstrates, the person who always comes off worse is not Peterson, but the interviewer.
Now that Peterson is back in the public sphere, legacy media outlets have returned to their tried-and-failed attempts to delegitimize him. The Times UK recently published an article which, among other things, dishonestly suggested that Peterson is schizophrenic. This is amusing, not least because it is a blatant lie, but also because it is a mockery of one of the subjects that mainstream legacy outlets purport to care about: mental health. Moreover, like so many other failed hit-pieces before it, the author does not contend with the most interesting things about Peterson. For example, what makes his work so attractive to so many people across the world?
Very few mainstream news outlets have ever attempted to address this question. Instead, they have dishonestly insisted that he is whatever type of “ism” or “phobe” is currently trending on Twitter. It is almost impossible to overstate how demented this perspective is. If one actually takes the time to read Peterson’s work or watch his lectures on YouTube, they will experience deep insights into religious archetypes, classical and contemporary psychological research, and meditations on history. He encourages people, young and old, to embrace the suffering that is inherent to the human experience, to tell the truth (or, at least, to not lie), to clean up their own lives before they criticize the world, and to be grateful for what they have. Furthermore, in contrast to what many of his critics dishonestly suggest, Peterson’s work is not exclusively for men. In fact, as Freya India for Evie Magazine writes, “in a world where women are told never to change, and that everything that happens to [them] is out of [their] control, it’s refreshing to hear someone say that [women] possess the power to improve.”
Why would any of this be a problem? The most obvious answer is that it is unfashionable. Right now, we live in a time where we are encouraged to casually denigrate our society as racist, patriarchal, and irredeemably corrupt; to utter phrases such as “defund the police” without any imagination for the horrific consequences; to write-off great literature as “colonial”; and to judge historical figures by the shapeshifting standards of the present. In other words, our culture privileges the opinions of those who do not read over those who do, and it privileges the criticism of our ancestors from those who know nothing about our ancestors. Peterson, on the other hand, dares to suggest we should be humble in what we know; to seek out what we do not know; to recognize that we are standing on the shoulders of giants; and to understand that it is far more difficult to build than it is to tear down. But most importantly, Peterson suggests that the best way to fix the world is by fixing ourselves. And it is far more difficult to look in the mirror than it is to be dishonest about the great society we have ungratefully inherited.
The New Canadian Ministry of Truth
The Nitty Gritty
Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault is tip toeing around the idea of criminalizing “online hate” with ever vague definitions of what “hate” is.
A slippery slope?
Amidst all of the time-wasting debates in the culture wars, it is critical that we pay closer attention to what is going on behind the scenes. Recently, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has been working away on some new legislation that no one is talking about: a bill to criminalize “online hate.” What is online hate? Well, it could be anything, because the definition of hate is entirely subjective and dependent upon a myriad of variables including, but not limited to, past experience, personality, culture, political ideology, religiosity, and so on. So, brace yourselves for some vague legislation that will likely be used to censor opposition and freedom of expression.
But how do we know that this legislation will be dishonest, and that Minister Guilbeault and the Trudeau “Liberals” are not just trying to make Canada a nice, loving place, where everyone gets along and says “please and thank you” as they gather outside of the Hockey rink, wearing their toques and drinking Tim Hortons? Well, the answer is easy. According to the La Presse article that published the story, Guilbeault felt compelled to push this legislation through after the January 6 riot at Capitol Hill. Guilbeault, knowing perfectly well how subjective “hate” can be, will also be using the definition of hate speech from the Whatcott Supreme Court decision. Here is an excerpt from that decision:
“I agree with the argument that the quest for truth is an essential component of the “marketplace of ideas” which is, itself, central to a strong democracy. The search for truth is also an important part of self-fulfillment. However, I do not think it is inconsistent with these views to find that not all truthful statements must be free from restriction. Truthful statements can be interacted with harmful ones or otherwise presented in a manner that would meet the definition of hate speech.”
In other words, if a statement is true, but it also happens to cause hurt feelings, then it can be classified as hate speech and therefore subject to legal punishment. Do you see the problem here? Do you see how easy it is for something like this to be used as a tool for censoring opposition? It would be dangerously naive to dismiss this as something that could never happen in Canada because we are already seeing rapidly expanding censorship efforts in the United States. To reiterate what we said several weeks ago, legislation should never be vague. Look no further than Article 58 in the Soviet Union to see what happens when legislation is used to clamp down on freedom of expression. But once again, what if restricting freedom of expression is the point?
Hate speech is impossible to define and no government should ever be trusted to define it. Instead, as we have argued before, freedom of expression is the only tool we have that not only helps us determine when we are right, but also to recognize when we are wrong. As Jordan Peterson stated about the issue, “important truths invariably hurt, but not so much as refusing to admit their existence.” We let issues like this go unaddressed at our peril.
It would not be unwise to call or write to your local MPs to voice your concerns, if you have them. But if not, you probably need not worry, because government abuse of power and authoritarianism is only something that happens in other countries… right?
| PUBLIC HEALTH
Hotel COVID: Not as luxurious as advertised
The Nitty Gritty
Last week, we talked about the Canadian government imposing new restrictions on people entering the country
This week, the Toronto Sun interviewed a man who was lucky enough to experience Hotel COVID…
Recently, the Ontario government has been quite pleased with itself after spending $42 million on COVID-19 isolation centres. The Ontario government website has been marketing them as a “strategy to help some people in some of the hardest hit neighborhoods self-isolate and keep their families and communities safe.” That sounds reasonable enough, right? Who could possibly find a problem with this? Well, that is what we are here for. ;)
It turns out that some of those who have been forced to stay at these isolation centres have not been treated with the luxurious experience that is being advertised. Take, for example, the story of Steve Duesing. When he arrived at Pearson International Airport, he was told by authorities that it was “three days in quarantine or go to jail.” Obviously wanting to avoid jail time, Duesing agreed to the quarantine. He was then escorted to the nearby Radisson Hotel and forced to stay in a room for no fewer than three days while his test results were processed (what happened to the so-called “rapid testing”?). Duesing also described a security detail that was checking vehicles coming in and out of the property, while a guard was stationed at the end of his hallway to ensure that no one left their rooms. Duesing said that although he was fine, he was concerned for others on the escort bus who were reduced to weeping. “Some cried and said they would lose their jobs and didn’t have babysitters,” he said.
Question time. Is this for safety, or punishment? Why did the Ontario government advertise this as a friendly, cooperative living situation for the disenfranchised, while the story in question reads more like that of a detention centre? It would be irresponsible for us to suggest that Duesing’s experience was universal for everyone required to stay in an isolation centre, but it does beg the following question: how many others have had this experience? Furthermore, will Duesing be required to pay in excess of $2,000 for this lovely hotel getaway? According to the new Canadan travel restrictions that we described last week, it is likely that he will. But what if he refuses to pay? What if he does not have the money to pay? These are not unimportant or insignificant questions.
If nothing else, this story is yet another example of the creepy lack of transparency that has characterized the response to the pandemic in recent months. Even more chilling is how underreported the issue is. No government should ever have the power to dictate to citizens, who are not guilty of an offence and who have committed no crimes, where they must stay and what they must spend their money on (believe science? 🔬). Visits to isolation hotels should be entirely voluntary, otherwise they are nothing less than a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Fortunately, there is a class-action lawsuit forming against the Canadian government for this unconstitutional abuse of power. We will watch carefully as the story continues to unfold.
Sorry America 🦅🇺🇸🗽
To our American audience, we have not forgotten about you. This week, our focus was on Canada because we wanted to bring attention to the underreported issues that we covered. But fear not, we will be sure to cover the fun times happening south of the border in the coming weeks.
Next Week 🎙️
Stay tuned for next week. Instead of our usual article, we will be bringing you a podcast conversation between the two co-founders of Bright Morning. We think it will be a nice change of pace for the audience to get a deeper look into how we choose our stories, where we agree and disagree, and how we view Bright Morning in relation to our broader value of speaking according to principle.
Further Listening 🎞️
Since we spoke about him this week, it seems fitting to recommend Jordan Peterson. Watch here as he speaks with Mark Manson, author of the best-sellers The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck and Everything is Fucked: A Book About Hope, about choosing proper values, commitment, parenthood, and responsibility. It is a refreshing palate cleanser from the nonsensical issues of the day.
Until next week, thank you all for your time. Take care, everyone.