Nota in Brevis, December 15th: Trudeau, Trump and Refugees

*trudeau welcomingThe photo op of Justin Trudeau and Kathleen Wynne welcoming Syrian refugees at Pearson airport warmed the cockles of many hearts.  There was Prime Minister Trudeau, offering a parka to one poor soul stepping off the plane, stating the obvious that ‘it gets cold in Canada’.  No kidding, eh?  And the current refugees are being spared the worst of it, with this bizarrely, but welcome, warm winter, due, one may suppose, to El Nino.  But who could have predicted that?  Not the climatologists, pray tell?  I have this notion that when January hits, some of the more restless refugees may make a run for the border.  I may join them.  California looks pretty good when its minus 40.

*And, while we’re on the topic of shelter, the headline reported this morning that by March the hotel bill for the refugees will top $80 million, and that is just the beginning of the boondoggle that will ensue, for what happens to them after that? Subsidized housing?  Government jobs?  Free education?  Now, before someone calls me a hard-hearted Republican, or worse, I agree whole-, but not soft-, heartedly that we have to help those in need, but that is a complex question, especially in the current circumstances.  And my point here, worth emphasizing, is that it is not ‘almsgiving’, nor is it ‘charity’, if you give with other people’s money and resources, for your are not giving of yourself, are you?  And for Trudeau and Wynne to take the credit is crass opportunism, if not outright theft of the public purse.

*I personally think the government should get out of the business of ‘charitable giving’, and leave that to the individuals and groups who choose, voluntarily (and, hence, with true charity) to give and to welcome.  This is the principle of subsidiarity, where a larger authority leaves to a smaller authority its rightful tasks, so that it may flourish and fulfill its role, and fulfill it more effectively.  The task of government is to ensure the country runs well, according to its sphere of authority, to keep the laws, maintain peace and the infrastructure.  Since when did it receive the mandate to spend untold millions, now billions (all on debt, by the way) on various overseas ‘charitable’ aid projects?  This, prescinding from the fact that much of that aid is grossly immoral (under the euphemism of ‘reproductive health’, abortion, contraception, and the spreading of the ‘gay agenda’).   Even the ‘good’ side of the government’s ‘charitable’ work is driven by governmental policy and operated by a swathe of highly-recompensed bureaucrats (par example, Montreal’s ‘Syrian Refugee Coordinator’ makes $1800 per day), is just driving us ever-deeper into our already deep bankruptcy.  Leave the charity to us, Mr. Trudeau, and get on with your own.

*This article in the American Thinker does indeed make one think.  I was especially struck by the comparison of early Mormons to Muslims.  The former were asked, in particular, no, they were forced, to abandon any practice of polygamy (destructive of any society).  Whatever happened to the need for immigrants to assimilate, in some fundamental (but not fundamentalist!) ways, to their host country?  I would not mind getting our new-found Muslim neighbours’ views on polygamy, forced conversion, dhimmitude, the infidel, the rights of women, ‘honour’ killings, the immoral behaviour of their much-revered founder, Mohammad, and whether one can draw or criticize him, the literal meaning of the Qur’an, especially ‘jihad’, Church-State relations, Sharia law.  And those questions just for starters.  I recall becoming a Canadian citizen at 16 years old, and having to swear allegiance to the Queen and the laws of the land.  But then, what is the Islamic view of lying to the infidel?  How would we ever find out?

*As I have mentioned before, and will not tire of repeating, one must always live according to reason, which is a ray of the divine light itself, a ‘participation in the eternal law of God’, Saint Thomas puts it.  That is why, as the title of Pope Benedict’s 2008 encyclical make clear, Caritas in Veritate, charity can never be divorced from truth.  That is something to keep firmly in mind as we begin this Jubilee Year of Mercy:  mercy, which may be defined in one way as ‘charity in action’, must always be grounded in objective truth and virtue, leading ‘the other’, upon whom we have mercy (patience, tolerance, kindness) to become a ‘better self’.  And we must not worsen ourselves, to say nothing of outright sin, in bestowing mercy.  It is no mercy to condone evil.  As Our Lord often ended His own acts of mercy:  “Go, and sin no more”.

*Nor is it a mercy to ignore the rightful duty to protect one’s own society.  A headline on Fox News revealed today that border agents were forbidden by law to check out the social media of incoming visa applicants, which even your local McDonald’s can look over when applying to be the resident burger-flipper.  This allowed the entrance of the San Bernardino killers, who had apparently been posting various hot-for-jihad sentiments since 2012.  So much for fortress America.  All the weaponry and technology in the world cannot protect one from stupidity and imprudence, and may in fact be a liability.  (As I write, the headline just declared that schools in Los Angeles are closed due to a terror threat, which law officials claim to be a hoax, but closed they are.  You don’t need technology to shut down a city; well, maybe a cell phone, but you can always just borrow one, or use the ever-more-rare payphones).

*But where was I?  Oh yes, Ian Hunter in today’s National Post wonders out loud whether France could  in fact become Muslim, all with little or no technology.  Just demographics, which is rather natural.  Interesting thought, that just a few years ago may have seemed future-dystopic fiction.  But is that Islamophobic?

*trumpTonight, Donald Trump joins his fellow Republican presidential hopefuls in debate.  Trump gets the centre podium, since he is the front runner and, one may presume, will be the preferred target of the debaters.  I wonder if they wonder why he is in front?  Has he tapped into a huge demographic of America that feels disenfranchised?  That seems a no-brainer.  He also says what he thinks, instead of calculating every word for its vote-potential or, worse, its political correctness quotient.  People are fed up with cronyism and opportunism, political obfuscation, and, yes, are hungry for the truth. Whether Donald Trump can offer it, is indeed a matter of debate, but he seems on the whole more grounded in reality than the others who, like Sam Gamgee, fear even one little footstep outside the boundary of the politically-safe precincts of the shire. Even Trump’s more whopping comments have a ring of truth that one does not see much in other political leaders, would-be or current.

*Alas, we may never know much about the deeper thoughts Trump or any of the others prospective presidents, for these televised babble-fests are not really debates, but soundbite echo chambers.  How far away the days seem when Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas could calmly and reasonably discuss serious issues for two solid hours, all to a packed and listening house.  Technology, alas, has not made us more intelligent.  See my comments on ‘reason’ above.