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Jackson Doughart

Jackson Doughart joined the Prince Arthur Herald staff in June 2013, and now serves as Editor of the English section. He holds a master's degree in political studies from Queen's University and formerly interned at the National Post. By day, he is Research Coordinator at the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, a public policy think tank in Halifax.

A failed Trump presidency might be the only thing to disabuse his movement

The concerning feature of Donald Trump’s rise to frontrunner in the Republican presidential race is not Donald Trump himself, but the movement that he is riding. His opponents do not understand this. For instance, it is surely a feature of awesome ignorance and obsession that the liberal media seems to prefer a hard-line Evangelical social conservative like Ted Cruz to Mister Trump, who notwithstanding his musings last week on abortion, is an almost stereotypical New York business type with a lifetime of nonchalance to the culture wars. And yet the man is less danger unto himself than is the faction of angries who’ve gotten their taste of influence. Trump supporters gather to rallies, phone in to talk radio, and type furiously on social media to denounce “the establishment.” There is something more to this slander than hating a bipartisan consensus that has outlasted its best-before date. It descends to a conspiracy theory about Washington cocktail party-goers, ethnic organizations like La Raza, the Jewish capitalists and Israel shills, the conniving gay lobby, or whichever imaginary cabal strikes one’s fancy, which the Trumpites imagine themselves to be overturning. Most significantly, theirs is also a frustration with the American system of government itself. Jamie Kirchik has detailed how the intellectual wing of the Trump movement identifies its distinction from “establishment” conservatives in an irreverence for the constitution. Those crusty, boring Republicans are “parchment worshippers” who fail to understand that the whole process, enumerated in the founding document, is broken and needs to be blown to bits. We’ve seen this movie before, though the genre was never so gory. The surge to prominence of Barack Obama eight years ago was premised on his status as an imagined generational figure — one who promised to “fundamentally transform America.” The Tea Party movement was a rebellion… Read More

Say no to newspaper subsidies

With this year's staffing cuts by Postmedia and the closing of a longstanding local newspaper in Guelph, Ontario, the media have been conducting a lot of soul searching regarding their future. Of course, these events are hardly the apex in a decade-plus decline of print media as a venue for journalism, with many wondering if this traditional form of news consumption may soon go extinct. One certain non-solution to journalism’s business problem is state subsidy, a plan which found a book-length apology in The People’s Platform by Astra Taylor two years ago. She has now been joined by depression-weary scribblers the country over. The minor rumblings on the topic over the past couple of weeks will not likely go away; if more print establishments face closure, their ability to resist handouts will vanish. But resist them they still should. Yes, we know that in the broadcast medium, the tradition of the CBC will give some the idea that a similar funding base could be given to the format of written journalism. And the coming generation of people who have the talent and ambition to join the journalist ranks will surely see the opportunity for a stable state-funded paycheque as a relief from industrial decline. Just imagine if this model had been implemented two decades ago, before the take-off of the internet and the public expectation for costless information. For one, the problems at hand would doubtless have taken far longer to recognize. Furthermore, the financial losses would have been simply subsumed into state budgets, and there would have been little motivation to meet the demands of today’s wired-in consumers. Insulation from market forces would also prevent the rude awakening in the media industry’s revolution that anyone can presently see. Again, the problem is not a lack of readers, or for… Read More

Immigration only part of the answer to “birth dearth”

Discussions of political topics related to immigration — such as the current controversy over the Liberal Party’s scrapping of the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act — almost never address two much-needed foundational questions about immigration: Do we really need, or want, more immigrants? And what social problem is our immigration system intended to solve? In the case of the Strengthening ... Act de-promulgation, opponents of stripping dual-passport holding terrorism and treason convicts of their citizenship worry of the effect that a “slippery slope” might have in enticing more migrants to Canada. This may well be true, but it presupposes that attracting more migrants — including the associated risk of a small percentage of them one day plotting against their adopted country — is ultimately a good thing. Of course, the Liberal Government does not want terrorists to come to Canada any more than the previous Conservative Government did. But they, like their predecessor, have a blind spot which prevents them from considering sensible scepticism on the subject. First there is the multiculturalism-inspired movement to diversify the country through mass immigration, in which the diluting of the majority is seen as an end in itself. Across the pond in Britain, the plunge into mass immigration policy beginning in the late 1990s was partisan in nature; as has been later admitted by Labour apparatchiks, the Blairite Left hoped that by welcoming as many immigrants as possible, its political opponents would be forced to accept its governing ideology as permanent even when Labour was voted out of office. This has largely been accomplished. In Canada, however, the full embrace of immigration is largely bipartisan. The Left wants mass immigration because it believes in the diversity program without reservation, on principle, and for its own sake. But the Right has also adopted analogous policies during… Read More

No tears for Germany

At the close of the 2100s, when the 16 centuries of conflict between Christian and Islamic civilizations in Europe culminates in the latter’s ultimate victory, one wonders how the commentators of the time will sum it up. I doubt that I’ll be alive then, but like most of you I’ll doubtless have lived through much of the coming transformation: a product of slow suicide for Europe, comprised in a forfeiture of its own values along with the societal ethic of low birthrates. For a religion that has gone toe to toe with the more confident systems of Hinduism and Confucianism, Christian Europe will be easy pickings. What’s more, the seeds have been sown by the Europeans themselves, as institutions of integration like the European Union will continue to perform the role of a catalyst for defeat, rather than a celebrated fortification of continental peace. But while those commentators may look back with sorrow at the loss of great European cultures, I hope that they won’t shed too many tears for Germany. It is, after all, largely Germany’s fault that things have already gotten so bad. The economic stability of the continent has been jeopardized by the fantastical EU and Eurozone projects, always cheered along by Germany as a means of furthering its national ambitions without having to acknowledge them as such. And as much of the rest of the continent — certainly the poor and irrecoverably-indebted parts — now have to play by Germany’s rules for monetary policy, they now have to play by its directives on migrants as well, which have initiated a full-blown crisis with no seeable end. If some of its fellow Union countries are less able to cope with the present surge of immigrants and refugees — not only from Syria, of course, but also Central… Read More

The futile effort to end bullying

Last summer, researchers at Simon Fraser University published a study about bullying, which supports the view that most schoolyard tormenters are acting upon a genetic predisposition. According to media coverage at the time, anti-bullying organizations dismissed the findings as a “step backwards”, chiefly on the (rather unscientific) ground it might be interpreted as a justification for such behaviour, or an excuse not to remedy it. Whether that is true or not, the study’s findings accord perfectly well with my memory of what bullies in school were like, in marked contrast to the common “personal insecurities” explanation. I don’t know much about genetics, so I’ll leave that debate to the scientists. But it was always obvious to me that the archetypal bullies, who according to the study comprise 80 to 90 percent of teenagers who behave this way toward their peers, had particular personality types, rather than some unifying social problem which, if solved, would make bullying a thing of the past. There was no apparent correlation between how they acted and other circumstances. I knew bullies who were good students and bad students, from broken homes and nuclear families, who did “popular” things and who did not, who had many friends and who kept to themselves, who were bright and who were dumb, and so forth. What set them apart was always their intimidating effect upon their targets, which needless to say they enjoyed and did anything they could to perpetuate. When I see a group of teenagers even now, I can still discern in little time the ones who are apt to bully others, as a matter of instinct, and obviously I know nothing about their own backgrounds or circumstances. Of course, the usual line about how bullies have personal issues, which motivates their abuse and rage toward others,… Read More
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