- - Sunday, August 1, 2010

Back in time

“Burkas are rare in Canada. But less rare is the niqab, which leaves a slit open for the eyes. More common still is the hijab, which covers the head and neck like a scarf. Get to know those words, as you’ll be seeing more of them in the years ahead. Others are planning to teach your daughters about them. Last fall, Mattel sponsored an exhibition featuring Barbie in a burka.

“Canada’s misguided experiment with multiculturalism pretends that all cultural ideas are equal, and Canadian values, such as the equality of men and women, are no better than foreign values like the subjugation of women.

“Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, enacted in 1982 when our Muslim population was tiny, is contradictory. Section 27 of the Charter calls for ‘the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians.’ But Section 28 says that rights ‘are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.’ Well, which is it? ‘Enhancing’ Saudi values? Or guaranteeing women’s equality? Because you can’t have both.”

Ezra Levant, writing on “Time to face facts on burkas” on Aug. 1 at the Toronto Sun

Stuck with him

“Every passing week brings a new reason to hope that Her Majesty the Queen will equal or exceed the life span of Jeanne Calment, the French housewife taken from us in 1997 at the age of 122. Let me draw your attention to an incredibly worrying interview the Prince of Wales has given to an American documentary entitled ‘Harmony’: ‘I can only somehow imagine that I find myself being born into this position for a purpose,’ says Charles. And that purpose is? To save the planet and the whole of humanity. …

“He believes that it has fallen to him to restore to mankind ‘that understanding of the whole of nature and the universe as a living entity.’ Indeed, he suggests in the NBC film, scheduled for November, that he doesn’t want his and our grandchildren coming to him and asking: ‘Why the hell didn’t you come and do something about this?’ …

“Charles is due to come into a kingdom — ours — and that’s what worries me. Because there’s typically an inflation of delusional doctrines, and if he’s like other self-appointed saviors he will make more and more extravagant claims for his universal wisdom, possibly throwing in prophecies of the end of the world along with bucketloads of pseudoscience, while retreating ever further into geographical isolation. How long before Highgrove turns into Waco with organic biscuits?”

Damian Thompson, writing on “Prince Charles’s messianic delusions are beginning to worry me,” on Aug. 1 at his Daily Telegraph blog

We want a new drug

“But it’s not extreme anecdotes that make the specter of Internet addiction so threatening; it’s the fact that Internet overuse has the potential to scale in a way that few other addictions do. Even if Steve Jobs designed a really cool-looking syringe and started distributing free heroin on street corners, not everyone would try it. But who among us doesn’t already check his e-mail more often than necessary? As the Internet weaves itself more and more tightly into our lives, only the Amish are completely safe.

“As early as 1996, Kimberly Young was promoting the idea that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) should add Internet addiction disorder to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). … If the APA does add excessive Internet use to the DSM, the consequences will be wide-ranging … which means that what started as a parody in 1995 could eventually turn more darkly comic than ever imagined. Picture a world where the health care system goes bankrupt because insurers have to pay for millions of people determined to kick their Twitter addictions once and for all. Where employees who view porn at work are legally protected from termination. Where killing elves in cyberspace could help absolve you for killing people in real life.”

Greg Beato, writing on “Internet Addiction” in the August-September issue of Reason

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