The Western Path

The Western Path

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The History of Happiness

On a cold spring afternoon when I was twelve years old, I climbed up onto a large rock on a New Hampshire beach and stared out at the gray Atlantic Ocean. At that moment I realized that happiness is, roughly speaking, a state of mind in which the pleasures are greater than the pains, and that pleasure consists in the satisfaction of what are vaguely called instincts, from avoiding physical injury and staying out of the cold, to satisfying hunger and sexual desire, and so on.

Happiness is the most important thing in human life, perhaps the only important thing, yet there are very few books on the topic that are not mindless trash. In fact, people rarely talk about happiness, even though it is not exactly a taboo subject. Tracing happiness to its roots is a difficult task.

I still believe that my childhood theory was generally correct. Yet other matters seem to be entangled with it, and these other matters can both complement and negate the "instinct theory."

To pick the strangest of all the alternate theories: it is not merely a witty remark to say that our moods depend on the weather. If I go for a walk on a warm and sunny day, with a steady breeze blowing and a few perfect clouds in the sky, I can see that the wild animals seem to be in the same playful mood as myself. It seems rather silly to say that happiness depends on the weather. After all, the topic of weather is one that is chosen only when there is nothing else to talk about. On the other hand, long ago, when people lived as hunters and gatherers, and in the later centuries of Neolithic agriculture, the topic of weather was one of great importance. So who knows? Maybe human brains and nerves are highly respondent to sun and rain, wind and clouds.

But there are greater candidates than weather as the locus of happiness. I began to suspect that, although my theory of instincts was correct, I needed to pay more attention to what might be called "secondary needs." Most of these have been summed up quite neatly by Maslow in the second chapter of his Motivation and Personality. Happiness, in his view, consists in satisfying various needs, arranged in a hierarchy. The lower needs must be satisfied before the higher needs can be met -- in fact, the higher needs sometimes do not even exist until the lower needs have been satisfied. At the bottom are the more-physical needs such as avoidance of pain, the need for food, the need for sleep, and so on. Perhaps slightly higher would be the need for sex, although Maslow is rather vague about this topic. But for most people the higher needs seem to dominate. For example, people have a need for safety, for security, a need to avoid uncertainty and danger, to be free from worrying about tomorrow. A second need, almost contradicting the first, is the need to be free, to be independent, to live one's own life, not to be under someone else's thumb.

There are other needs. Of great importance is the need to be loved, to be cared for, to be cherished; there are so many people who exhibit what I call the Marilyn Monroe syndrome; such people have everything, but they die because in childhood they did not have what was needed. Then there is curiosity, the need to know what is over the next hill, what is behind the next tree; that curiosity can also take more-inward forms, such as wanting to know the structure of the human mind, or the structure of a computer. (To judge especially from other mammals, however, I would be inclined to list curiosity as an "instinct," a primary need, at least in the sense that most mammals seem to gravitate toward novelty, complexity, and intensity.)

Above all these other needs is one that is hard to comprehend: the need for self-actualization, the need "to be all that one can be," as is often said. But that need is so hard to define, and even to understand its existence requires a leap of intuition, an epiphany. Perhaps it can be said that all people need to be creative, all people need to use their minds one-hundred percent, rather than the five percent to which mentality is so often (so sadly) restricted. That creativity can take any form -- to be an artist, to be a musician, to write a novel, to build a house -- it all sounds a little stupid, as if the ultimate goal were to indulge in some sort of occupational therapy. But it is more than that, and I have certainly known that self-actualization once or twice in my own life, particularly when achieving some intellectual goal, when I have felt overtaken by a kind of shamanic spirit, but a spirit that is really my true self.

All these secondary needs seem to be derived from the instincts, the primary needs, perhaps in the sense that they serve to ensure the fulfillment of the primary needs, but the secondary needs soon take on a life of their own, they become autonomous, they overwhelm the primary needs. Again, Maslow is not terribly clear on this matter, and I am partly inserting my own ideas about the connection between innate drives and conditioned ones.

And thirdly, in this analysis of happiness, I might mention the Buddhist doctrine of the Four Noble Truths. Life, according to the Buddha, is largely suffering. Suffering is caused by tanha -- desire, craving, attachment. There is a way to end suffering, and that way is the Eightfold Path, the Buddhist code of morality, of daily discipline, of meditation -- but in essence, the Buddhist way is to withdraw from desire, to retreat from the torment of longing. "I want, I want, I want" is the song not only of every child, but of every adult. It is the animal nature in all of us, giving us no peace if we succumb to it. To be happy, in the Buddhist view, is to step back from one's animality, to say no to the great Darwinian struggle.

I have a lot of sympathy for the Buddhist view, and yet I am often worried by its similarity to Christian asceticism. Is that similarity only superficial? The puritanical Christian view is that one must withdraw from the desires of the flesh, that one must renounce lust and gluttony, that one must remove oneself from the fires of the mind, from anger and envy, pride and avarice -- in short, that one must be free from desire. How is this different from the Buddhist doctrine? Well, certainly there are a few differences. The Buddhists, for one thing, are not saying that desire is a sin, they are simply saying that it is a nuisance. Yet I have mixed feelings about the Buddhist retreat from desire. In some ways it seems to be a giving-up on life, a "chickening out," a kind of cowardice. 

It is true that if I say no to that woman I will never suffer from the pains of jealousy, of lust, of frustration, I will never know the pangs of a broken heart -- and yet I have always in my heart the memory of a certain smile, of soft slender arms around my neck, of her dark eyes and of the forest of her hair -- do I really want to find happiness by casting out all that from my past and my future? Do I really want to say that I have never been burned because I have never been warm? So I want to be a Buddhist, but perhaps only once a year.

But all that is not the end of the theories. Perhaps human moods are a genetic trait, in the same way that temperament can be bred into dogs. Or perhaps the first few years of life are critical, putting an indelible stamp on the future. Each of the above two theories has a rather fatalistic overtone, but for one there is a pharmaceutical answer, to the other a psychological one. No doubt some people have advantages, genetic or developmental, while some have disadvantages. These two theories complement the "instinct theory," and yet they are only tangential to it. They explain how some people have a better or worse starting point, yet they do not explain why an advantaged person may one day be sad, or how a disadvantaged person may one day be happy.

The same kind of thing would be true of good health, proper exercise, good sleep, adequate rest from daily labors, a high-fiber diet -- yes, absolutely essential. Theories about the Apocalypse can often be shattered by a good brisk walk. But I can't find much cosmological significance in all that. Again, it's tangential -- or rather, I would say that care of the body is merely part of our instinctive requirements, our primary needs.

At the age of twelve, and at the very beginning of the eighteenth century, Alexander Pope wrote his "Ode on Solitude": 

Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground. . . . 

Pope's thoughts at age twelve, like my own thoughts upon that wave-encircled stone, were probably as good an answer as one is likely to find. But of course the human mind at age twelve is about as close to crystalline as it will ever be.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Growth of Cultural Marxism

The moral and intellectual fabric of Western society has been disintegrating for some time. To a large extent the destruction can be blamed on a form of Marxism, socialism, left-wing thinking, “underdog” mentality, which has encouraged the nanny state, with people living in perpetual imbecility and irresponsibility. In the middle of the last century, Marxism never had much luck in intellectual contests among Westerners, so it had to burrow underground, eroding the foundations of modern society and leaving people in a state of perpetual self-doubt and abnegation. This is what is called “cultural Marxism.” Not much of the reality of cultural Marxism is clearly evident: most of it is experienced as a mere premonition, like that of a coming change in the weather, and its existence can easily be denied.

Cultural Marxism began in the early twentieth century, when Marxism in the usual sense (i.e. economic Marxism) was a failure in western Europe -- in the First World War, for example, most people were far more interested in defending their country than in overthrowing their government. Cultural Marxism arose because, in order to win in the West, Marxists realized they would have to go underground, working on the “culture” rather than openly advocating revolution. The movement began roughly with Georg Lukács and Antonio Gramsci, who claimed that in order for Marxism to succeed in the West, it was vital to destroy the existing culture by sowing the seeds of doubt regarding all traditional Western moral values.

Hence the formation of the Institute for Social Research at the Goethe University Frankfurt, and its offspring, some of whom (at various times) were Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Leo Lowenthal, Jurgen Habermas, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, and Erich Fromm. Following Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, the Institute left Germany, finally moving to New York City, where it was affiliated with Columbia University.

In “The Origins of Political Correctness,” William S. Lind breaks cultural Marxism down into four parts:

“Where does all this stuff that you’ve heard about . . . the victim feminism, the gay rights movement, the invented statistics, the rewritten history, the lies, the demands, all the rest of it -- where does it come from? For the first time in our history, Americans have to be fearful of what they say. . . .

“We call it ‘Political Correctness. . . .’

“Political Correctness is cultural Marxism. It is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms. . . . If we compare the basic tenets of Political Correctness with classical Marxism the parallels are very obvious. . . .

“First of all, both are totalitarian ideologies. The totalitarian nature of Political Correctness is revealed nowhere more clearly than on college campuses. . . .

“Indeed, all ideologies are totalitarian because the essence of an ideology . . . is to take some philosophy and say . . . certain things must be true. . . . That is why ideology invariably creates a totalitarian state.

“Second, the cultural Marxism of Political Correctness, like economic Marxism, has a single factor explanation of history. Cultural Marxism . . . says that all history is determined by . . . which groups . . . have power over which other groups. . . .

“Third, certain groups . . . are a priori good, and other groups . . . are evil. . . . regardless of what any of them do. . . .

“Fourth, both economic and cultural Marxism rely on expropriation. . . . [W]hen the cultural Marxists take over a university campus, they expropriate through things like quotas for admissions. . . .”

The attack -- by Westerners -- on Western beliefs and values never slows down. The “Hippie Revolution,” damaging the lives of so many Baby Boomers, was largely due to the machinations of Benjamin Spock, Noam Chomsky, and Timothy Leary. The Church has reduced itself to infantilism. Ph.D.’s are handed out to students who can only be described as illiterate. Electronic devices destroy our attention span, reduce direct contact among humans, and turn everything into “virtual reality.”

Sorry -- maybe some of this can’t be laid at the feet of poor Karl Marx. Perhaps some of this is just a matter of “lifestyle choice,” to use modern jargon. But is there really a difference?

A related problem that makes cultural Marxism so hard to analyze is that to some extent it’s a group of overlapping activities, not just one, and that’s especially true nowadays. Multiculturalism, sexual deviancy, mass immigration, “sanctuary cities,” aggressive religions, dumbing down, “liberalism” that is not at all liberal, and so on -- the modern world has become somewhat shapeless and formless. The trail of Marxism is so long, and goes cold so often.

At times the trail becomes quite ludicrous, with “multiculturalism” as an example of that absurdity. The early cultural Marxists hoped to destroy traditional Western culture by flooding it with other cultures. Yet nowadays the photographs in advertising largely portray largely non-white (non-European, non-Western) people, in spite of the fact that the US and Canada are demographically still mostly white -- Canada is still about 80 percent white, even if this is not true for Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, or some other large cities. Yet every posh bank in Canada advertises its services very largely with photographs of happy non-white or multi-racial couples.

But the inclusion of non-whites is good for business, since such people compose a new and possibly lucrative customer base -- “diversity is our strength” is the new chant. So what began in the 1930s as a Marxist tactic has become, many decades later, a marketing ploy by capitalist bankers who would rather die than be regarded as Marxists!

But what does the term “left wing” itself really mean? In France long ago, the terms “left” and “right” had precise meanings, based on where one was actually sitting in the Estates General, indicating one’s attitude toward the Revolution. Now perhaps “left wing” means big government, and big spending by that government, but above all it means supporting the “poor” rather than the “rich.” By the “poor” I mean the voters, of course, not the people leading such flocks.

As soon as “guilt” has become established as “fact,” every relevant piece of paper that appears in public must emphasize “multiculturalism” at all costs. Although the terms are used misleadingly, everything must also “fairness,” “democracy,” and “equal rights.” The punishment for breaches of “multiculturalism” is swift and merciless, unless one is attacking Christians; Easter seems always ready to disappear from the free calendars handed out by politicians.

There are corollaries to all the above. Leftists must believe in prohibiting the ownership of guns, for example. If people believe they are underdogs, they must also believe they have no right to defend themselves. Only grown-ups should have guns, and leftists know they are not grown-ups.

But the opposite to Marxism is not Nazism. The two are actually quite similar. They both say, “You are the oppressed. We shall raise you up.” Whereas Marxism emphasizes the “oppressed” in the first sentence, Nazism emphasizes the “raise you up” in the second. They both conclude with, “Stop thinking, and let us do the thinking for you.” Any country with a two-party system offers a highly diluted but essentially similar display of Tweedledum and Tweedledee. But it takes very little to turn most people into the sort that Eric Hoffer describes in The True Believer, and whether they follow Marxism or Nazism or any other “ism” is a rather arbitrary matter. Anything is better than the headache of having an original thought. The dichotomy between one party and another is not the same as a genuine struggle against industrial slavery, which most “isms” perpetuate, no matter how dissimilar they may appear on the surface. Jean-Paul Sartre, a self-proclaimed Marxist, had no trouble living in Occupied France; why should he, since he was almost single-handedly training French academics not to think?

As mentioned above, the trail is a long one: all of Existentialism and Postmodernism, for example. Jean-Paul Sartre and Claude Lévi-Strauss wrote the two greatest works of academic dementia, Being and Nothingness and The Savage Mind. What those two savants failed to accomplish was completed by Herbert Marcuse and Noam Chomsky. How many graduate students in the West have phoned home to say, “Mom, they’re making me read stuff that makes absolutely no sense”? Well, there wasn’t much Mom could do about it.

But most leftists believe all cultures are, in some inexplicable way, equal. In their naivety, they cannot believe that many cultures are cruel and intolerant, locked in the pre-literate mentality of a thousand years ago. In reality, even in most cultures of the present day the average person can barely read or write, contrary to the official figures on literacy. There are, at the same time, many petty tribes each of which regards itself as “God’s chosen people.” Westerners today cannot understand that there can be such vast differences between the mentality of one culture and another. The mainstream news-media foster this misunderstanding by failing to report the shocking statistics of rape, mutilation, murder, and other barbarisms that go on in this world.

Most people have little sense of history, yet cruelty has long been a part of that history. Beginning about 5,000 years ago in the Near East, various civilizations arose in Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, and so on. After a war between city-states, it was customary for all the male inhabitants of the losing city to be put to death, and impalement was one of the most common forms of killing. That ancient mentality has not entirely passed away. Yet Westerners like to fool themselves into believing that the entire world consists of people who read glossy magazines and keep up with all the intellectual trends. The reality is that, even in modern times, the counterpart to an act of “tolerance” in one country would just as surely result in a death sentence in another.

Leftists fail to understand that the world is starting to run out of fossil fuels, and out of a hundred other non-renewable natural resources from aluminum to zirconium. Leftists believe we just need to share the existing resources more equitably. Besides, leftists think we have no reason to worry about fossil fuels because we will all be saved by some sort of “alternative energy,” in spite of the fact that many long years of searching for this mysterious “energy” have resulted in nothing impressive.

We must understand the fact of global overpopulation. We must understand the fact of the gradual depletion of everything that civilization is based on. We should not be satisfied with “standing room only.” To the extent that there is still any time left for making a difference, we must support family-planning programs, and we must support rational controls on immigration levels. And we must accept the fact that the cultures of this world do not easily mix. We're all very different from one another. That’s just how it goes.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Loneliness as a Political Weapon

People today are loners, yes, but it’s not entirely a matter of choice. It’s easier for a governments to control and manipulate people when they’ve been isolated from one another. Most people no longer live where they were born. Quite likely they’ve moved many times over the years. Their relatives live all over the planet. Most people work at jobs where they have to act as robots if they don’t want to get fired. Then they come home, and their “family” quite likely consists of a TV set or a computer, or both.

So they have no real communication, and certainly not on the heart-to-heart level. They have no one with whom they can communicate their questions, their doubts, their suspicions. Each person lives in a glass bowl, like a solitary goldfish. Most people are either stupid enough to believe the brainwashing that they receive through television, or they let the silly chatter and pictures drift through their heads as mind-numbing “entertainment.” And since silence is forbidden on TV, the viewers end up with severe attention-span deficiency. Everything is flash, flash, flash, until it’s time to go to bed and hope to sleep.

So I’m not even sure if it should be said that people are loners. They’re not loners in the Wild West, Clint Eastwood manner, or in the style of Daniel Boone and those other real men and women who were content to travel in the silence and emptiness of the wilderness. What we have, in fact, is widespread sheer loneliness, like bubonic plague, the Black Death.

Of course, most people would rather die than admit they’re lonely. That’s curious -- we become victims of a political system that initiates “divide and conquer,” but instead of fighting the enemy we fall back into self-recrimination. It’s even hard to say what crime we seem to be committing. Being lonely means you’re a “bad person,” yes, but in what sense? We’re guilty of some unnameable evil, a kind of original sin? Or we’re misdirections of evolution, mutations who know they have a moral duty to subscribe to the state’s euthanasia program, allowing more food, more land, more fun to those who follow the arrow of historical necessity? Hard to say.

All that’s certain is that in the Pepsi ads, everyone is mid-20s, well tanned, smiling, and off for a day of catching the big waves. Each of these surfers is a supra-normal stimulus, like a pornographic model -- too plastic to fool the intellect but dazzling enough to awaken some deeper part of the human brain.

Or perhaps we remember the lessons of Judaeo-Christianity, Buddhism, and Stoicism, and we refuse to respond blindly to these machinations. Perhaps we sometimes just stand on a street corner and look at the crowds going by, merely watching for the special face that might be there. Or might not. But either way, it doesn’t really matter, because there’s not the slightest evidence that loneliness is a moral failing.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Canada Is Not Vacant Land

It is a common misconception that Canada has vast amounts of land that could support large numbers of immigrants. Much of this belief is due to a failure to understand Canada's unique but rather daunting geography. About half of the country is bare (or, at best, spruce-covered), uninhabitable rock, namely the famous Canadian Shield. But bare rock is never "underpopulated." It is the border strip, 150 km wide, which is demographically the most significant part of the country: 80 percent of the population lives in this area. In contrast, Canada's largely uninhabited 5 million km2 of bare rock, the enormous area north of that border strip, has winters of unearthly cold stretching out over the better part of the year, with snow reaching to the rooftops, and the remainder of the year is characterized by dense clouds of mosquitoes and blackflies. The general impression is that Canada is an "empty" land, just waiting to get filled up. In reality, at 36 million the population is now nearly three times greater than in 1950.

Because only a certain amount of the country is livable, Canada is already well populated. There is simply no need to continue our mad rush to fill the country. Thanks to dishonest politicians over the years, Canada is tied only with Australia in having the highest immigration rate of all major industrialized countries. Canada also has many economic problems and is unable to provide adequate employment or other support for the people who already live here. A large increase in population is not a solution. In fact, in a world that now has a total population of over 7 billion, an increase in population is never a solution to anything. Yet, unlike many other countries, Canada has no political party that will take a firm stand against excessive immigration.

Canadian multiculturalism, designed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1971, is harmful partly because it fails to include strategies for integration, such as a requirement of proficiency in an official language before citizenship is granted. Multiculturalism as we see it today -- measured in terms of the quantity of bodies -- simply results in enclaves, ghettos, gang warfare. Each culture fights every other one. About 85 percent of recent immigrants have neither English nor French as their first language.

Multiculturalism also leads to cultural relativism. Canadians of European extraction are now taught to believe that there is no such thing as barbarism, only "cultural differences." We forget that there was actually a point to the long centuries of struggle in the West that fostered democracy, civil liberties, and human rights. Yet we bow to medieval mentality on the assumption that we are otherwise "racists."

Immigrants displace Canadian citizens in the job market, even though unemployment these days is already very high. They also add greatly to the costs of "free" medicine, education, legal advice, and all the other perquisites of the welfare state. In part this is because the immigrants of modern times often lack both language and education.

Pierre Trudeau's invention is destroying the country, and to speak against it is regarded as sheer heresy. The Chinese are by far the biggest immigrant group, and Vancouver is now an Asian city. But it is not only numbers of people that matter, because there are other ways of changing the country. Money from Saudi Arabia has insidious effects, and Muslim obsessions with "sharia" (Muslim law) corrode basic Canadian values. According to the highly respected journalist Robert Fisk ("The Crimewave That Shames the World"), about 20,000 Muslim women every year are the victims of "honor killings" by their own families, but when Canadians hear such accounts they fail to believe them: if such a story did not appear on last night's television it cannot be true. Yet I spent three years living in the Middle East, and I know that much of the world is far uglier than is imagined by most Westerners.

As an English teacher, I would sometimes have to advise immigrant students against infractions of Canadian laws, including those regarding assault, but my students' rationale for any moral or legal infractions was always the phrase "in my culture" (or "in my country"). Who, specifically, is teaching newcomers such expressions? Politicians are quite aware that "culture" is not a valid catch-all term, but they don't seem to care. After all, a higher rate of immigration means more votes, and more customers, and more sweatshops.

Until the creation of multiculturalism, freedom of speech and the press was an age-old right. Now, however, it is a crime to say anything that offends any group of people, because one is said to be attacking "human rights." A charge of this sort is a a circular argument: what is offensive is defined in terms of the claim of the other party to feel offended. It's like a charge of witchcraft: whatever you say, your statement can be turned around to "prove" you are guilty. The similarity between the twisted logic of Trudeauism and that of Stalinism (not to mention the Patriot Act and subsequent American legislation) is curious, but Orwell described such "thought crimes" long ago in 1984.

It's easy to understand why the inhabitants of the less-pleasant parts of the world have their eyes on Canada. The most significant result of Communist policy in China was famine, and the worst famine in all of world history was that of Mao Zedong's "Great Leap Forward," 1958-61, when about 30 million people died. Now hunger is again looming in that country. China's arable land is in decline, and about 600 km2 of land in China turns to desert each year. China has once more outgrown its food supply: the ratio of people to arable land in China is more than twice that of the world average, which is already too high to prevent hunger.

China is the world's leader in the mining or processing of quite a number of natural resources: aluminum, coal, gold, iron, magnesium, phosphate, zinc, and rare-earth minerals, for example. Yet basic energy reserves are in short supply. Although China has about 20 percent of the world's population, it produces only about 5 percent of the world's oil, it uses up coal so quickly that its reserves will not last beyond 2030, and the country's pollution problems are terrible. And China's "booming economy" is based on devalued currency, counterfeiting, and what is virtually slave labor.

The "fossil" (deep) aquifer of the North China Plain is being depleted, although fossil aquifers cannot be renewed. Yet this aquifer maintains half of China's wheat production and a third of its corn. As a result of the depletion of water, annual grain production has been in decline since 1998.

China now imports most of its soybeans, and conversely most of the world's soybean exports go to China. But China may soon need to import most of its grain as well. How will that amount compare with their soybean imports? No one knows for sure, but if China were to import only 20 percent of its grain it would be about the same amount that the US now exports to all countries.

Immigrants from Muslim countries are another large group entering Canada. According to the "Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life," the global Muslim population is expected to rise from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030, twice the rate of the non-Muslim population. The Muslim population in Canada itself is expected to rise from about 940,000 in 2010 to nearly 2.7 million in 2030.

Saudi Arabia pours money into the West for the purpose of "education," and many Western academic institutions receive grants from Saudi Arabia, or programs are set up with Saudi funding. At the same time, the numerous mosques in the West serve as training grounds for young Muslims who live in those countries. Mosques are springing up everywhere in the West, yet in Saudi Arabia the building of a Christian church incurs an automatic death sentence. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as "moderate Islam" versus "radical Islam": Islam comes in only one form, the one that was invented in the seventh century.

The misunderstanding of the vast difference between Muslims and Christians might be due to the fact that the debate is assumed merely to involve the respective merits of two religions. Yet this assumption is wrong on two counts. In the first place, Muslims regard it as self-evident that Allah spoke first to Moses, then to Jesus, and finally and most clearly to Mohammed: for Muslims, therefore, there is no possibility of a "dialog" among various religions. The second and more important reason why it may not be entirely logical to compare Islam and Christianity is that the former is, in some ways, more like a political movement than a religion. Every major religion has at times done some proselytizing "at the point of a sword," but that has always been more true of Islam. The term "jihad" ("religious warfare") is not a metaphor.

The general public in Canada has become accustomed to submission and therefore remains mute. Unlike other people, most Canadians are never satisfied until they are feeling guilty about something. There is a constant undertone of "moral inferiority" being applied in Canada to people of a Western heritage. One must never mention Christmas, although one must portray a false joy toward the festivities of any other culture. One must constantly mumble and fumble in an attempt to find correct terms for various ethnic groups. Even the terms "B.C." and "A.D." must be rewritten as "BCE" and "CE." All of this is absolute nonsense. To be convinced of one's own inferiority is nothing more than to accept that some other person is superior -- which is exactly what manipulative politicians are planning. It is time to wake up. Those who do not respect themselves will not be respected by others.