The corrosion of social norms puts us all at risk

Insisting on righteous victory at any cost is the greasy slope to violence

The corrosion of social norms puts us all at riskOn the afternoon of May 22, 1856, Preston Brooks, a plantation owner and pro-slavery congressman from South Carolina, strode into the nearly deserted U.S. Senate chamber. There he accosted Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, who had been making a series of fiery abolitionist speeches. Brooks announced that Sumner had used insulting language toward his relative and…

The same truths are part of every religious and philosophical tradition

Each of us needs to be true to our mission if we’re to be effective agents of universal change

The same truths are part of every religious and philosophical traditionReligion can provide guiding principles for a meaningful life, yet few concepts have been more divisive in human history. Seeing the tensions of the first half of the 20th century, Mohandas K. Gandhi, a deeply spiritual man, came to the following conclusion: “One should accept the faith into which one was born, but seek always…

The abysmal scorecard of socialist revolutions

Real communism has failed repeatedly to provide better living conditions. Why do countries like Venezuela persist?

The abysmal scorecard of socialist revolutionsNineteen years ago, ex-general Hugo Chavez came into power in Venezuela, vowing that a “Bolivarian revolution” based on communist principles would improve the lives of his people. Today, millions of Venezuelans are fleeing their homes looking for food, medicine or employment in neighbouring countries. Inflation is out of control. In a country with perhaps the…

Discovering the Basque roots of the American dream

Why visiting small museums can expand your knowledge of the broader world

Discovering the Basque roots of the American dreamThe Untzi Museoa is a modest naval museum in San Sebastian, an important Basque community on the eastern verge of Spain’s northern coast. San Sabastian’s relationship with the sea goes back to the early 1200s, when its prominent Mount Urgull was first fortified to ward off French attacks on its diverse community of traders, merchant…

Canada needs fair but robust immigration policies

We must insist that immigrants don’t become a burden on the public purse, while finding a way to process them all expeditiously

Canada needs fair but robust immigration policiesEurope is tearing itself apart over immigration. There are just too many applicants for too few spots. Many of the people seeking to come to Europe are from war torn countries like Syria, or from failed states in Africa like Somalia and Libya. Some are genuine asylum seekers, who would be in great danger if…

America’s plan to wage war on Canada in the 1930s

U.S. tactics included troop invasions, use of poison gas and aerial bombings of major Canadian cities 

America’s plan to wage war on Canada in the 1930sThe current U.S. president’s bullying of Canada over trade issues is causing some Canadians to question just how close our relationship is with our neighbour to the south. Peter Bailey tells the tale of a time not so long ago when hawkish voices in the U.S. were plotting the ultimate hostile act – a full-scale…

John McCain’s legacy of public service and sacrifice

In the selfish era of Donald Trump, McCain’s life offered a shining example of how to serve with distinction

John McCain’s legacy of public service and sacrificeIt’s hard for Canadian citizens to take the full measure of an American politician like John McCain, whose route to public service glory began in the combat of the Vietnam War. Our country doesn’t particularly valourize the military and those who serve, unless perhaps they do peacekeeping missions with the United Nations overseas. McCain’s career…

What if Bobby Kennedy had lived?

It’s still a stretch to believe he could have become president in 1972 or later, given his beliefs and the circumstances of the time

What if Bobby Kennedy had lived?Coincident with the 50th anniversary of U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s murder, I wrote a column several weeks ago wondering whether he’d have otherwise been elected president in 1968. My sense was negative. In fact, I didn’t think he’d have won the Democratic nomination that year. However, that doesn’t mean that his presidential prospects were…

What happens if America stops underwriting world order?

Because there are bad guys and bullies out there, a muscular cop – however imperfect – brings a degree of reassurance

What happens if America stops underwriting world order?Pax Americana is the Latin term for the idea that American power underwrites the post-1945 world order. If there’s a major international problem, the underlying assumption is that the United States needs to take the lead in resolving or containing it. Other countries may play a supporting role but the Americans need to do the…

Emerging from a world of suffering with hope

We can’t wallow in despair. We need to look at what we and others are doing right and emulate what works

Emerging from a world of suffering with hopeDespite what we see in our daily newsfeeds, life on Earth is actually improving. On a global level, we see significant drops in child mortality and increases in life expectancy. According to the World Health Organization, more than one billion people have gained access to safer drinking water since 1990. We also see amazing innovations…

U.S. air strikes in Syria are unlawful, irresponsible and unjustified

Canada needs to speak up for peace and stability before the situation escalates into a wider conflict

U.S. air strikes in Syria are unlawful, irresponsible and unjustifiedThe recent U.S. air strikes in Syria show that a grave risk of wider war, including nuclear war, is upon us. Canada's government, and indeed everyone, should do whatever possible to avoid such a calamity. The federal government should not support any military action in Syria. The recent armed attacks, although fortunately limited in scale,…

Vasili Arkhipov kept his head and saved us from nuclear destruction

We owe so much to Vasili Arkhipov, yet he’s not well known. He kept his cool while those around him were losing it during the Cuban Missile Crisis

Vasili Arkhipov kept his head and saved us from nuclear destructionWhere would we be without Vasili Arkhipov? Would we be here at all? Who is Vasili Arkhipov? Before I get to that, let’s talk about the dangerous world we live in. North Korea is bristling with nuclear bombs. The rogue nation is completely unpredictable. South Korea, Japan – and, apparently, North America – are all…

China using its monetary policy as a weapon of war

China is conquering the world by creating money when it needs it and simply absorbing debt. Perhaps we should be copying them

China using its monetary policy as a weapon of warThe United States military believes we're losing the Third World War to China. According to U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer, not only has that war started, but it’s unlike any conflict in history. “When it comes to China, the bottom line there is the chequebook,” he says. According to military leaders, this…

Heroes and villains: how history picks the winners

The Second World War movie Darkest Hour raises questions about perspective and reality

Heroes and villains: how history picks the winnersGary Oldman’s riveting portrayal of Winston Churchill leaves no doubt as to who is the hero of the new film Darkest Hour. But apart from the off-screen Adolf Hitler, does the movie really have a villain? Thanks to the way the narrative unfolds and the carefully-chosen camera shots, casual viewers might be tempted to ascribe…

How to bring peace to Palestine

If we want peace and a better future for Palestinians, we must hold Palestinian officials accountable for their anti-peace actions

How to bring peace to PalestineThe Canadian government is sending $25 million of taxpayers’ money to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is uniquely dedicated to supporting Palestine refugees. But does Canada’s financial aid advance the cause of peace or impede it? Some observers say that UNRWA actively supports Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood movement dedicated to the destruction…