Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Canada Attacked by Skate Boarders

People have to learn that it's OK to piss on the Veterans' War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada. They have to learn it. It doesn't come naturally. A monument, just because it is one, makes strangers stand back in some kind of respectful silence. I've seen countless monuments to any number of things I know nothing about, and because they are monumental, regardless of what they represent, I know they mean something to people. If I were to piss on one I'd have to know that I hate the thing it represents. It's not a passive activity. Some young men in Canada pissed on the War Veterans' Memorial in Ottawa. Somehow they came to learn that it's OK to do so. Someone taught them.


Three young men were photographed urinating on the memorial on Canada Day. Police were looking for the three on Tuesday and asked them to come forward.

The ensuing outcry has spurred public officials to consider new security measures for the site even though police say similar incidents around the capital are virtually unheard of.


"When they brought him — the unknown soldier — back from France in 2000, this site changed from a war memorial to a grave site, so there should always be an attendant, at least during the day," Mr. Dawson said.

RCMP spokesperson Martin Blais said the force keeps no statistics on vandalism and desecration of memorial statues, but as far as he could tell, the incident was an isolated one.

Ms. Price said a few years ago, a plaque was erected to keep skateboarders off the site.

But Cliff Chadderton, chairman of the National Council of Veteran Associations, says that although he can't recall other acts of desecration at this or other memorials in Canada, skateboarders continue to be a problem at the national monument. Mr. Chadderton also believes Governor General's Foot Guards are needed.

"Members of our organization patrolled the site five years ago for about six weeks to keep skateboarders away, but we received too much ridicule and abuse," Mr. Chadderton said.

"We thought it wasn't a safe thing to do and that instead it was a task for the government. We are just asking for something simple, done nicely with few people and a small budget. We aren't asking for a whole regiment to be assigned."

People died for this? I shake my head.


Always On Watch said...

Some young men in Canada pissed on the War Veterans' Memorial in Ottawa. Somehow they came to learn that it's OK to do so. Someone taught them.

So, who taught them?

truepeers said...

I'm not sure you have to learn to do this; it is more I think that you have to learn not to do such things (in earlier times, desecrating your own people's holy sites would have brought such a violent response, the lesson would have been self-evident and no would have dared to do such a thing, though the resentful might have imagined it...). Some acts of desecration (like violating an enemy corpse) are so obviously ritualistic acts that they don't have to be taught; after a certain age, the imagination recognizes them for what they are, since every time we are taught an act of respect, we imply the opposite possibility. What is perhaps the question to pose, is why wasn't respect more forcefully drilled into these young peoples' minds, not why they found the "courage" to desecrate when most resentful young people wouldn't dare. And we all know why respect is lacking: it isn't widely taught, because disrespect is no longer seen to have great consequences and is in fact in many situations lauded (how much rap music does a kid have to hear to believe that getting for oneself means dissing everyone else in some nasty zero-sum game?). So, I blame the parents and the teachers, and the resentful victimary culture at large.

truepeers said...

I saw a report that some people saw the kids pissing and cheered them on. What kind of person does that? Only someone who has inculcated the message that they are victims of authority, of any sign of authority, even a sign of a great self-sacrifice that was committed in defense of national sovereignty. You have to be completely uneducated in the meaning of nationhood and educated to believe that every act of cultural assertion is one that depends on victimizing someone else (which is exactly what is taught today in our universities by those who have all the degrees and credentials). Come to think of it, I also blame the Liberal Party, in part, for its history of desecrating signs of Canadian nationhood... in favor of Gnostic constructions of multiculturalism

dag said...

Yes, AoW, there's the rub.

Culture generally teaches people that the codes are right, and that we needn't think about them because they are codes themselves. It's not a matter of details of this or that but of codes themselves, shorthand and universal codes of life.

Table manners, for example, are a social code. Once we learn the rudimentary code, we become attune to it and pick up the rest more or less by osmosis, not having to learn each thing by constant study. I for example, can pick up on how to dine with strangers by picking up the cues from scowls and gestures at the community gathering. Sometimes I make mistakes, so I watch how adults treat children, and I do what children do because in a foreign place I know less than they. It's not hard, though I have many tales of where I went wrong. But some things are universal from the start, such as a monument being communal and in some sense sacred regardless of what it represents. Anything so big as a monument required lot of people dedicated to it's raising, and that alone tells us it's important.

To piss on a monument is against our natures, I think, simply because we defile something many others obviously cared a great deal about, and to piss on it is to offend deeply the whole spirit of a people. I wouldn't do it, and I'm quite a beast at times.

This event, such as it is, is no different from smashing headstones in a Jewish cemetery or spray painting hate slogans on an Armenia memorial in Paris or flying aeroplanes into buildings. It is so intuitively and so universally wrong that it takes years of training to overcome the innate sense of awe one has in the presence of a monument that to hurt it is to place oneself outside the reality of Humanness as the majority of us live it.

It's not just ignorance of the monument's significance that got those guys to piss on it. No one would do that regardless of how drunk he is. It offends the spirit of Man to defile great things.

Who can and does teach others to defile the universal greatness of the spirit of Man? There are names and addresses, to be sure, but the point is that it is our culture that teaches this vileness toward our own existence. A constant hammering of the chisels against the code of decency that most of us learn in our earliest childhoods has chipped and broken and threatens to utterly destroy our meaning as citizens and as Humans.

If I may, I suggest that the breaking of the Ten Commandments as a code is a step toward destroying the whole of our culture. Destroy one code and go on to destroy the next one, and soon the code of honour and simple manners is shattered, and there we have yoots pissing on war memorials because they just don't care about anything at all but showing off.

We see it in the simplest of things, like the dress code. Look for example, at the men lined up at soup kitchens in the 1930s, men without food who wore suits and ties and white shirts because they were men and part of the nation and cared about looking as good as they could in spite of hunger. They had some dignity. Now the richest of the rich look like bums without a dime for a meal.

We see the breaking of the code when we see Presbyterians flocking to the terrorist killers of HAMAS to proclaim them as freedom fighters. We see it in union leaders doing the same, and in the world's most famous newspaper proclaiming our president is a criminal.

AoW, we see it in our school teachers claiming that those men who wrote the Constitution are slavers, thieves, murderers who stole the land we call our home. And then we see kids pissing on things they cannot begin to understand the greatness of.

We see our culture falling apart because those who teach it hate it. And worse, we see those who might love it standing on the periphery saying they don't want much but perhaps only a few people to stand quietly to object if no one minds.

Muslims sometimes taunt us with the slogan: "Your grandchildren will be Muslims."

I don't think so. I do think that our grandchildren will hate us for what we are today. But I like to think our grandchildren might also thank us for giving them the chance to start over to build a culture from nothing but rubbish and to make it their own and to make it good. I hope they are so generous in spirit, but I have to doubt it in reality.

We do our part to give our grandchildren a start on remaking the future. We have to teach those we can that there is greatness innate in our world, and that they do not have a right to piss on it just because they learned that our culture and the West is evil. I argue again that we might have to teach while soldiers stand guard to protect the children from their parents.

I don't know who teaches this hatred of goodness and Human decency. I do know that we can teach differently. I know we can do good in doing so, and that in time our grandchildren will build monuments to themselves, homes and schools and businesses and roads and sewer systems and the stuff of life, and that they will be happier for it than are those among us now who simply piss on everything just because they think we did something wrong as they they learned it in school or on television or from the NYT.

If we don't teach our children the good, and if we teach them hatred of it, then Nature will teach them a lesson they won't live to regret.

We, on the other hand, can teach the entire world and all of its people lessons they will learn to love. We can teach the world the America of the mind. We can teach the world's people liberty and decency, if we so choose. Not the Marine Corp on the beach, but school teachers in the village, starting with our own.

I referred to this earlier as the narcissism of fake fury. I'll continue with that theme and a few others over the course of the next three weeks. I welcome any comments, as always, and though I might be slow to respond I will make an effort to do so as soon as possible and to the best of my ability.

truepeers said...

Dag, this incident has me angry and I want to pursue this quesiton, i hope you don't mind. Earlier, I think I should have said that both respect and disrespect have to be taught. Logically, respect must exist before the possibility of disrespect. So we can take respect for our shared symbols as normative, something without which humanity could not exist and communicate as we do.

So, if respect should be taken for granted, the question truly is who teaches disrespect? and if we are living in a perilous time when respect cannot be assumed, then why are we living with such danger of chaos and renewed war?

The answer to the first question would be that everyone who justifies our sense of resentment, whether on rational or irrational grounds, is responsible for disrespect. However, we should note that resentment is an inevitable part of the human condition to some degree, and so respect cannot necessarily be taken for granted and must also be taught.

The paradox is that in teaching respect, we teach an ideal of community and we become sensitive to anyone breaking this ideal. But rationally, sacriligious acts must sometimes be considered, if humans are to be free and not frozen in time (which is not to excuse the irrational acts).

If we teach respect, as soon as we sense someone breaking the original form of sacred respect, or as soon as we sense any injustice in the world, our attitude can move out of respect and into disrespect towards whoever breaks the pact. And, in the name of justice, we imagine that we must now become disrespectful towards someone out of respect for a lost ideal. This is how so many teachers become leftists.

Now if that ideal originally implied, as I think it did, that all men in the community must stand up equally (and hence as equals) in defense of what the community holds sacred, then it is easy to blame the big guys, i.e. the leaders of the state, the productive and hence rich, etc. - who have since evolved out of the original equality for whatever rational and pragmatic reasons - to blame them for breaking the original bonds of brotherhood.

And then we find it easy to show disrespect to "their" symbols because we think we are doing so in defense of some greater lost symbol. At this point, we risk becoming Gnostics, i.e. those who claim to possess some secret, lost knowledge in contrast to the pragmatic knowledge of the supposed sinners of this present world.

So it comes down to a choice. 1) to rationally justify our nation as good, or at least as the best of our choices, in a world where social and economic differences must exist for pragmatic reasons; and hence, to defend the memory of those who have defended the nation, warts and all. 2) to defend our former enemies as somehow a better choice than us. 3) to give in to the urge to feel a victim of the sinful and/or powerful and to see the world in Gnostic terms, favoring neither our nation nor our enemies, but rather proposing some "third way" ("third way" talk usually turns out to be unrealistic and Gnostic, e.g. pacificism). or 4) you choose to be a nihilist who believes in nothing good.

Those who pissed were probably not neo-nazis or something like that, so I imagine they were Gnostics or nihilists. Who taught them that? Who didn't teach them to choose and respect the nation, whatever its necessary limits to some idea of perfect equality, to the idea which is the antithesis of freedom? The Gnostic and nihilist cult of victimhood, the enemies of freedom, that's who.

Brandon_T_Stanley said...

This is an act of nihlism to be sre. I blame Nietzche.

Man, as an individual in this world, is certainly an impermanent thing. Men, culture and nations die. Man strives still for place in the world. He does this by doing great things, or bulding monuments. Thus man studies history, knowing that his world of today is a product of yesterday and attempt to come to an understanding of things by it.

To piss on a monument is an act of disrespect for the past, for the striving for meaning present in every life, for all values, ethics and codes. It shows a contempt for the meaning of life and for life itself. But it is what I would expect from societies ignorant of their own history, and willingly blind to the practical consequences of their beliefs. The only question left is: has the Leftist movement adopted the Islamic concept of the "Time of Ignorance"? There are sure acting like it.

Maybe this is a product of egalitarianism. After all, if all are equal, or should be in principle, such an act of greatness and bravery such as defending your country should deserve no extra respect than spending your days in a drunken stupor.