Dan’s Notes

This is a section for stray thoughts, comments, observations, answers to readers' questions, whatever. Consider it a blog without the obligation to post five times a day. For those who want more, please take note of the little blue bird below: one click and you, too, can be subjected to an incessant barrage of Gardnerian thoughtlets.

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Worst. Email. Ever.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012 19:35

Incredible as it may seem, the following email is a response to this column.


Mr Gardner:

You cite marijuana second in your list of  causes of mayhem in America?  Unbelievably preposterous, and I am not even a smoker.

Where did you get that?  You talk about empty noise? I suspect you are a proponent of the 40-plus-year drug war, the futility of which boggles the mind (witness Mexico).

But do keep on defending the status quo, where a person cannot smoke marijuana in the privacy of their own home on pain of prosecution, while a pregnant woman can visit a liquor store and load up on tequila.

Idiotic, but typical of Postmedia editorial policy..

The Partisan Mind

Monday, 09 July 2012 08:44

Here's a revealing email exchange. (It was prompted by this column.)


Emailer: "Every time I read some of your leftist hogwash I think to myself... he has finally reached the nexus of assholery ...but then I realize ... you are still evolving"


Me: "The argument I make about excessive centralization is exactly the same argument conservatives, including Stephen Harper, made about the Chretien government. Except now it's "leftist hogwash." Strange, isn't it?"


Emailer: "If what you say is true...where is your article from back then condemning  Chretien when he was enacting excessive centralization ...you were around ...odds are you didn't object to the Liberal policies ..prove me wrong...strange isn't it."


Me: "Actually, no. It's not strange. Here's me making exactly the same criticism of Jean Chretien: http://www.dangardner.ca/index.php/articles/item/148-letat-cest-jean
And here's an up-dated reference: http://www.dangardner.ca/index.php/articles/item/151-stephen-harper-condemns-stephen-harper I have been consistent. Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have not. Period."


Emailer: "The only thing consistent in your articles is chronic Harper bashing...I am sure Stevie Wicary will be pleased to put you up in Havana after Harper wins his next majority and your boy Mulclair is sent packing."


So this person set a precise test to determine whether I am impartial. When I showed clear evidence that I met the test, he ignored the test and evidence -- a good demonstration of how fierce partisans use reason and evidence only as tools in the service of partisan or ideological conclusions which can be overturned by neither reason nor evidence.

From the mailbag

Thursday, 05 July 2012 22:09
A not-altogether-unusual email from a fan:
"Boy do you piss me off! You will tell all the lies you can fabricate in order to make The Right Honorable Stephen Harper look bad to the people of Canada. He is the best Prime Minister that this country has had in at least 100 years. He has kept this country on an even keel despite the fact that the rest of the world is tettering over the brink. Would you prefer the volatile Mulcair with his carbon taxes and shutting down the oil sands ? Where the hell do you think that Quebec the begger child of Canada will get all their precious money from if that happens??? I am sooo sick of the attitude of eastern Canada to Prime Minister Harper . I want out of this thing called confederation .Try to live without the rape of western Canada. You do not have any clue as to what you are in for.The Right Honorable Prime Minister Stephen Harper is NOT a control freak, that is something that you have conjured up to make all you eastern beggers feel good. Look after your own economy , if you had not elected a brain dead spend everything you have premier in mcguilty then you would have a few bucks to look after yourselves. You twist and spin everything that the Prime Minister says because you have been so brainwashed by lefty thinking that you cannot see any other way. Please go and live in China or Russia or maybe Cuba is more to your thinking, you like the far left way apparently. Myself I was born in Canada and I do like to be able to speak freely and think freely and also do like the fact that my dollar is good.  I am pissed because you cannot see a good thing when it is in your face. Maybe you should try to take the "hate " mask off your face for a while.
Oh, I know you are pissed because this Prime Minister will not kowtow before you and beg for YOUR approval. Well sucks to be you!"


Saturday, 19 May 2012 08:58
I was interviewed by David Aaronovitch for this BBC radio documentary on "declinism." Excellent stuff. Well worth your time. (Just skip the parts where I'm talking or this will look like self-promotion or something.)

The Partisan Mind

Sunday, 08 April 2012 07:44

How does the committed partisan handle compelling evidence of, at a minimum, incompetent administration, such as the AG report on the mishandling of the F-35 file? Not by modifying the core belief. That belief is the central organizing principle of his perceptions and thoughts. It must be right. Hence, the evidence is misleading or unpersuasive or ... something. Human ingenuity being as wonderfully dexterous as it is, there are always rationalizations and evasions. The following is an email sent to me, in response to this column, which demonstrates the point nicely:

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