Friday, June 30, 2006

LSS News: Lindy

Hello everyone -

There's a reason people have dubbed the Liberty Summer Seminar "LibertyStock." It isn't just because the event is hosted outdoors, with people pitching tents and having conversations around a campfire (although this is a good reason to call it that too). It's because of the Saturday night concert.

For the past three years, we have booked a musical act to accompany all of the speeches and other activities at the annual event. (Which, as you are probably by now aware, will be held on the July 29, 30 weekend in Orono, Ontario. It is hosted on a beautiful 40-acre property with a swimming pond, horseshoes, walking trails, and acres of forest. This year marks our sixth year.)

Last year we featured DJ Dad and MC Mom, an Iowa three piece.

This year we are once again thrilled to be hosting none other than Lindy (click here for his Orange Record Label website, and follow this link to get to his MySpace site). Lindy was featured on our stage two years ago. Back then, we gave him a few Bureaucrash t-shirts to wear at concerts and anywhere else he'd like. He liked the shirts so much, he wore one for a Major Maker video (that's a separate musical project he's working on). You can see that video and the shirt (which reads "Capitalism Heals" on the front, and "Socialism Kills" on the back) by following this link.

Lindy started singing on stage at the age of four, with folk-singer parents who took him on tour with them across Canada in a yellow school bus. Back then, Lindy was singing Icelandic folk songs with his family. Maybe he was 3 or 4 feet tall then, now he's grown to a towering 6'7"! It's amazing that a man that tall would compose such beautiful music.

But don't take my word for it, here's a review of his newest album, "Suspension of Disbelief":
"Lindy's latest album, "The Suspension of Disbelief" is a complete work - a rare thing in a world where a "good" CD requires only three or four decent songs. Each track on the album was as carefully worked as a chapter in a book, and all are as essential in forming the whole. Perhaps the most defining quality in Lindy's music is its beauty in simplicity."
Here, meanwhile, is NOW magazine's review:
"Let us first distinguish between Lindy the man and Lindy the musician. The one is a gleeful oversized gnome with a penchant for random streetside hugging; the second, judging from his beautifully melancholic new disc, is a fragile fellow inspired by the brutal twinges of unrequited love and fragmented relationships. Suspension Of Disbelief is a set of epic Britrock-inflected ballads and tremulous bits of indie pop, overflowing with Lindy's unabashed sincerity and lush production. It's less folksy and grassroots than you might expect, and the radio-friendly vibe sometimes veers into bombastic U2 territory. But the bouncy singer's melodies are freakin' gorgeous, and his voice often recalls Creep-era Thom Yorke (particularly on the head-nodding Beautifully Undone), which is well suited to Suspension's navel-gazing turf."
You can come see for yourself why his "Beautifully Undone" (which you can listen to on the myspace website) made regular rotation on 104.5 CHUM-FM.

If you haven't registered for the Seminar yet, do so now (it's easy). Be quick about it, the early-bird registration fee will expire by July 1st (that's tomorrow!).

Meanwhile, if you have questions, suggestions, or comments, you can hit "reply" and send me an email. If you have friends who you think might be interested in attending or knowing about this Seminar, please forward this email to them and let them know you plan on coming.


Liberty Summer Seminar Committee.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Nicholls blogs the Seminar

Gerry Nicholls, executive vice-president of the National Citizens Coaltion, blogs about the Seminar today. He was a speaker at last year's Seminar, talking about the gag law and how it stomps all over our freedom of speech. You can check out his blog and read for yourself.

Here's an excerpt:
"...the seminars take place in the wilderness. Well not really. Actually they are held on a beautiful 40-acre farmland property near Orono, Ontario, a property that includes a swimming pond, walking trails and tons and tons of trees.

And if you’re not a fan of trees don’t worry ---the real attraction isn’t the bucolic splendor; it’s the fact that Peter brings together prominent libertarian/conservative speakers with an energetic, enthusiastic audience.

The result: everybody has a great time."

That's right! Register for the Seminar, and join us.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Love and Reciprocation

Help us out. Post one of these banners up on your blog. Make sure it links to (I have no idea how to make the .swf thing at the top link to that website. Anybody out there got a clue?)

Mike is responsible for the nifty flash one you see at the very top of my blog.

And for this non-flashy one:

Jason made this smaller button one:

Paul made this one:

Janet Neilson loves liberty. She loves it so much, she titles her blog "Liberty is Good" with as the url. Check out her blog to get her thoughts on, uhm, liberty. In Canada!

Stephen Taylor helped found the Blogging Tories (take a look at the banner ad up on that site). That site gets an amazing array of hits and visitors, with plenty of people signed up with the aggregator. Taylor attended the Seminar last year, and he was such a good attendee, we've decided to ask him to speak at this year's Seminar! And he agreed. (Taylor loves liberty. And we love Taylor).

Paul Synnott runs a lovely blog. The Blue Blogging Soapbox. Check out his posts, on various political topics. In fact, Paul was kind enough to put together one of the banners you see above.

Ah, Liam O'Brien... that man writes more in the emails sent out over the Conservative Youth List-serve than anyone else. Intricate emails. About very minute policy points. Small wonder he calls his blog the Responsible Government League. But Liam is consistent about his love of economic liberty, and he presses the rest of us on that list every time we stray off the full-fledged, free market line. Good for you, Liam. You rock.

Peter Thurley may not be a libertarian, but he is a philosopher, and he is interested in the philosophy that motivates people like me and Jan Narveson. Check out his blog to read his thoughts on most things philosophical, and some things political. His blog is called Dinner Table Donts (you know, I always read that as "Dinner table Donuts"... don't ask me why).

Ian Hugh Clary likes to ruminate by the lake. I met this man at the Windsor Liberty Seminar. He was in my discussion group. I was impressed by him then, and am impressed with his postings now. Hopefully he'll be at the Seminar, but you can always read his blogs to get his thoughts.

Post a banner ad, let us know, and I'll reciprocate some lovin' in return! Oh, and do come to the Seminar, it's going to be a blast!

Monday, June 26, 2006

LSS News: A Pair of Professors

The Liberty Summer Seminar "...was a serious refresher on the basic principles of liberty for me, and a great chance to reconnect with other journalists and activists from across the country (including loyal readers of the magazine). But what I liked best about it was the fact that [they are] building an institution that is helping to promote the ideas of liberty through a fun annual event--really, a two-day picnic (the food was delicious, by the way). I'd encourage anyone to attend next year.."
- Ezra Levant

Hello everyone -

Ezra Levant wrote about the Liberty Summer Seminar in last year's Western Standard newsmagazine. Ezra is the publisher of that magazine, a columnist, and the author of several books, including his newest, The War on Fun, a daring expose of the politically correct busybodies that have declared war on all things, well, fun. He had plenty of warm things to say about the annual event. You can see and read the full story by following this link. Ezra has attended the Seminar twice now, and we are expecting him this year as well (yes, yes we are).

The Liberty Summer Seminar, held this year on the July 29, 30 weekend in Orono, Ontario, seeks to bring together Canada's best pro-liberty speakers with a bright and energetic audience. Hosted on a beautiful 40-acre property with a swimming pond, horseshoes, walking trails, and acres of forest, the Liberty Summer Seminar is now in its sixth year.

We have always been proud to host some very distinguished academics, and this year is no exception. One is a Member in the Order of Canada, and the other is a young Assistant Professor with several awards under his belt already. The former has never missed a Liberty Summer Seminar! Since it's very first year, Jan has given talks and mingled with the crowd at the LSS. The latter, meanwhile, has attended the Seminar in the past, but is giving his first talk this year. We're excited about both, and you should be too. Here's why:

Receiving the Order of Canada is the highest distinction that can be conferred on a Canadian. While not having been born here (Jan is Minnesota-born), Dr. Jan Narveson once confided to us that he considers himself a Canadian moreso than an American (you've lost out on this one, my American friends).

Jan is the author of several books, including the widely-respected The Libertarian Idea, and the more recent collection of his essays entitled Respecting Persons in Theory and Practice. His articles have been published in just about every philosophy journal of note, and a handful of non-philosophy journals of note. Jan is incredibly prolific, having published so many articles as to be considered Canada's most published philosopher.

Jan is now (technically) retired as Professor of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo. He is "technically" retired since he hasn't stopped teaching courses on ethics and political philosophy at the University and a few other places besides.

Also at this year's Seminar will be the up-and-coming young academic Dr. Pierre Desrochers. Currently an Assitant Professor of Geography at the University of Toronto, Pierre has already published numerous articles, and received several academic awards. Most recently, for instance, Pierre received the Faculty Excellence Award from the University of Toronto. He has also been the recipient of the Humane Studies Fellowship, was recognized by the Emerald Management Reviews Independent Review Board for top environmental management paper in 2002, and was the winner of the 2003 Young Scholars Award from the Fund for the Study of Spontaneous Orders.

Pierre received his Ph.D. at the Universite de Montreal, and was a post-doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University. He was, from 2001 to 2003, Research Director for one of our favourite think-tanks, the Montreal Economic Institute. His areas of research interest include economic development, technological innovation, as well as business-environment interactions.

We're pretty excited to have both of these outstanding academics join this year's spectacular line-up of speakers and attendees. You can be there too! Share our excitement and register for this year's Seminar. If you can help us put scholarship money together for students, let us know. And if you need a scholarship to attend the Seminar, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us to let us know. We really love to help.

Meanwhile, if you have questions, suggestions, or comments, you can hit "reply" and send me an email. If you have friends who you think might be interested in attending or knowing about this Seminar, please forward this email to them and let them know you plan on coming.


Liberty Summer Seminar Committee.
P.S. Don't forget about our early-bird registration fee!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Freedom: My Anti-Gov

This is BEAUTIFUL. (h/t to the amazing people at Bureaucrash)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Toddlers, aboriginals and gays. All yucky.

Dust my Broom (h/t) links to an interesting Spiked magazine article about tolerance and young kids. The author worries that a little knowledge is dangerous, and that it might lead to intolerance, rather than tolerance. Case in point, her young daughter said "aboriginals are yucky" because she found out, in a class no doubt intended to instill respect and tolerance, that aboriginals eat grubs. To a three-year-old who eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on white bread, that's gross.

Similarly with homosexuality. In teaching kids about gays, the teachers either will show pictures of two dads or moms kissing, or they won't, but the kids will figure it out for themselves at the jungle gym. Kissing is gross to a three-year-old.

The article's conclusion:
Thus, far from an increase in tolerance the inappropriate mixing of information
about varying sexual practices [, cultural eating habits] with lack of cognitive
readiness has led to intolerance.

I'm ready to concede that there are problems here. We need to be aware of how a three-year-old will interpret new information into their own little prism or schema for world-understanding. You can't tell a three-year-old, for instance, that people go around kissing one another or eating sushi. I'm certain they will think this the height of impropriety and/or grossness. To their early medical knowledge, these things are as surely causes of the spread of cooties (which is to be avoided) as being touched by a known carrier of the cooties.

But does thinking some group of people to be gross or yucky mean that the kids are intolerant? Better, does it even matter?

Of course it matters, at least a little. If it's true that kids go on to believe things they believed as kids, then we've got a case for continuing intolerance. But kids grow out of these things. Boys (rightly) think girls are gross. Girls (incorrectly) believe boys to be gross. (Take that, ladies!). There are certain sets of beliefs that relate to yuckiness which should rightly be matters of indifference. It is not important that the children not think a group of people who do things or are different from themselves to be yucky, but that they don't hold the adult version of "those guys are yucky."

We don't think girls are sexist for thinking boys to be yucky at the age of three. We think this is normal and fine and something we all grow out of and probably something important to our upbringing. So why fret so much over the supposed intolerance of three-year-olds?

Perhaps the reason is a problem of exposure. Girls and boys are around each other all the time, and they eventually discover that, contrary to their earlier scientific discoveries, not all of the other gender is yucky. Some do not discover this. We call them "radical feminists." But radical feminism is rare. Most of us, most of the time, see the absolute idiocy in overly-simple categories by the time we're, say, 13. I suspect this is because we see instances of "boys" and "girls" all the time that do not meet our criteria for being in that category. The category begins to change (or we say things that we really don't believe--like "she's not really a girl"). The same, however, is not true when it comes to gays, aboriginals, or other groups like that. Although we are around gays all the time, few self-identify, and you can't tell just by looking.

This lack of exposure might make the early categories resistent to change. (Or exposure of the "wrong sort." You don't "expose" children to a gay lifestyle by waltzing into a bathhouse, or a gay bar at 2 a.m. That's a strategy people who don't like gays make use of. We call these people "radical heterosexualists." Actually we don't call them that. I call them that. I think the label is a good one.)

The worry about what a three-year-old says or thinks is probably largely a matter of indifference, unless it is coupled with something like a predicted lack of exposure, or something else. So don't fret so much when your infant calls a whole group of people "yucky." The world she inhabits is so chock-full of yuckiness that it is hard to believe that it really matters. Worry, instead, that she has the opportunity to play with, be around, or otherwise hang out with, people of all different sorts and kinds, preferences and beliefs.

Ignatieff goes to pot

I hate to spread rumours, but it looks to me like Ignatieff's "renewal commission" is brandishing an interesting leaf as a symbol of "renewal," I guess. Take a look at this:

That leaf looks an awful lot like this one:

The top one is the banner used on Ignatieff's site. The bottom one is an image of a marijuana leaf. Notice the striking similarities?

There are plenty of puns to use here. I used one in the title to this post. But others could have just as easily been used. Like:

Ignatieff high on renewal.
What is Ignatieff smoking?
Ignatieff plucking out the weed.
Ignatieff is your bud.
Jonesin' for Ignatieff.

And so on...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

LSS News: Danielle and John

Here's the email I just sent out about the Seminar:
"I deeply believe that Canadians need the vision of those dedicated to
the principle of individual freedom. I invite everyone to attend
and to support the Liberty Summer Seminar."

- Dr. Jacques Chaoulli

Hello everyone -

That's a nice quote from Dr. Jacques Chaoulli, the famous doctor who challenged Canada's health care system all the way to the Supreme Court--and won! And he speaks from experience. Dr. Chaoulli was a speaker at the 2004 Liberty Summer Seminar.

The Liberty Summer Seminar, held this year on the July 29, 30 weekend in Orono, Ontario, seeks to bring together Canada's best pro-liberty speakers with a bright and energetic audience. Hosted on a beautiful 40-acre property with a swimming pond, horseshoes, walking trails, and acres of forest, the Liberty Summer Seminar is now in its sixth year.

While the 2004 LSS focused on health care freedom, this year's theme is private property. And who better to speak at the Seminar than two prominent defenders of private property rights? The Campaign Director of the Alberta Property Rights Initiative (APRI), and the Executive Director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF)?

That's right, both Danielle Smith and John Carpay will be speaking at this year's Liberty Summer Seminar!

Apart from her work with the APRI, Danielle Smith is the host of Standing Ground and Health Frontiers, two radio shows that can be heard on CKMX 1060 AM in Calgary. Standing Ground is a talk show dedicated to promoting and discussing property issues in Canada (you can listen online, or download past shows on the APRI website). Meanwhile, she writes a weekly column for the Calgary Herald that appears every Tuesday.

For three years (2002 to 2005), she was the host of Canada's number one current affairs television talk show, Global Sunday. Prior to entering the media, Danielle served as the Director of the Calgary-based Canadian Property Rights Research Institute, tried her hand at elected office as a trustee for the Calgary Board of Education and was a researcher at the Fraser Institute.

When you consider everything she has been up to, it is no surprise that Calgary Inc. Magazine named her as one of the Top 40 under 40 in 2004.

You also won't be surprised to learn that John Carpay was chosen by Alberta Venture Magazine as one of Alberta's 50 most influential people, and described as Alberta's unofficial leader of the opposition by the Edmonton Sun. Why won't you be surprised? Read this:

Apart from being the first Executive Director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, John is a lawyer, columnist, and is an advocate for individual freedom and limited government. Like all "through-and-through" Canadians, he is, uhm, trilingual. Fluent, that is, in English, French, and Dutch.

John has served as Special Assitant to a federal cabinet minister and was an Executive Assistant to an M.P. After receiving his law degree from the University of Calgary, he practiced civil litigation in Calgary.

He was the Alberta Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation from 2001 to 2005. He wrote a regular column, Let's Talk Taxes, which was published in more than 40 papers across Alberta, with frequent guest columns in the National Post, Calgary Herald, and Calgary Sun newspapers.

We've announced Danielle Smith, John Carpay, and Michael Walker as speakers. That's just the tip of the iceberg! In the next few weeks, we will roll out the entire line-up, including our musical act. If you haven't registered for the Seminar yet, do so now. If you can help us put scholarship money together for students, let us know.

Meanwhile, if you have questions, suggestions, or comments, you can hit "reply" and send me an email. And if you have a blog, please consider helping us advertise by posting a button for the Seminar. People like Janet who blogs at Liberty is Good, Paul who runs Blue Blogging Soapbox, Liam with the Responsible Government League, Ian who likes to ruminate by the lake, and Peter, a fellow philosopher who runs afoul of Dinner Table Donts, have posted about this year's Seminar (thanks to all of you!) Consider doing the same, and letting us know so we can post it in the next LSS News.


Liberty Summer Seminar Committee.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Happy Chaoulli Anniversary


The fifth of June marked the one-year anniversary of the Chaoulli Supreme Court decision that rocked this country's health care establishment. The National Post is on the ball with a health care feature running through the next few weeks. But other news sources are creating stories to mark the anniversary as well.

So, one year later, and what has changed?

Not much. In fact, Quebec went ahead and got a stay of the decision to come up with a policy strategy just after the decision. Now they propose... private insurance on three procedures. Three procedures. As for other procedures? No plans to change anything as of yet.

Of course, this is making Chaoulli angry, just as it should make all of us angry. The point of the decision wasn't to put one or two or three procedures on a more private track, it was to loosen the restrictions on plenty of them. That's was the spirit of the ruling. But the Quebec government knows that they needn't go through with the spirit of the decision. They can put forward a half-hearted effort and wait until they are sued again to fully comply. Since another round of court rulings will take several years (possibly ten), they are probably content thinking that no one is going to manage getting the money together for the costly court cases.

Will they still be so smug when the Canadian Constitution Foundation gets its feet under them? This is a set of court cases they really ought to pursue, as soon as they have sufficient funds. After all, a slim majority of Canadians agree that they should have the right to private care, and this is prior to the establishment of a general private system. As soon as we try a little private care, the camel's nose will be in the tent. I predict we'll have greater majorities supporting private care just as soon as we get a chance to try it out.

UPDATE: Interestingly, the Tommy Douglas series (Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story) is being put on hold by the CBC. Complaints about historical innacuracies are the reason.