Some of the awful things that happen when a tyrant is also a jackass

If the abortion fight gets into the schools, the minister of education shall set the rules

It seems a current assumption these days that the figure of the tyrant represents the most dangerous peril to the survival of democratic government. American President Donald Trump is often thus displayed, though with far more fever than fact. In Russia we place Putin in the same guise. In Canada, the tyrant role is often ascribed to ex-prime minister Stephen Harper, again with far more passion than evidence. In any event I do not agree with the whole thesis. I think that another figure is far more dangerous than the tyrannical, notably the figure of the fool. The tyrant may be sinister, but he is at least by his own light rational. The fool is neither. In other words, I think we’re safer under the rule of a demon than under the rule of a jackass.

Only very rarely, thank goodness, do the same two qualities – tyrant and jackass — occur in the same person. Yet it can happen. In fact in Alberta it’s becoming ever more evident that it has happened. I refer, of course, to our current minister of education, David Eggen– a charming man with a warm smile, which he must preserve by practising it every morning before a mirror. It hurts me deeply to express such a horrid opinion of anybody, yet there are these disconcerting facts:

— Within a year of his appointment as minister he had begin referring to the elected school trustees of the province as “my school boards,” and he spoke of giving “instructions” to “my school boards.” Up to then, the general view was that these boards were responsible to the people who elected them, not in any sense whatever to the minister of education. The mind of the tyrant, as can be seen, was already at work.

— From the time he took office, the minister has been promising the most sweeping changes ever made in what’s taught and how in the schools of Alberta. This is ostensibly being done by an enormous committee of several hundred people, hard at work for nearly a year. Who they are, the minister determinedly refuses to disclose. Think of that. These people are fervidly

planning to radically change what and how our children are being taught and the minister keeps their identity a deep secret. The attitude is that the parents don’t need to know. Why the secrecy? We aren’t allowed to know that either.

— To force disclosure of these names, an application was made under the Access to Information Act. The minister dodged the move by declaring he would reveal names within 60 days When the 60 days were up, he simply scoffed and continued to conceal them. So much for the government’s integrity. It was such oh-so-clever manipulations that drove the Tories from office, but it took more than 40 years to do it. The NDP are managing to do it within a single term. And in this we see the other side of the ministerial character– the jackass side. How could keeping these names secret possibly be worth imperilling the integrity of the government? It makes no sense whatever.

— Then too, we haver the spectacle of the sex clubs. Here , the jackass element comes out strongly. The minister wants student-founded and directed sex clubs in every school, he declares, and already many have been opened for business? But what exactly is the business? Protection, replies the minister – protecting the children afflicted with, or rather endowed with, unusual sexual inclinations from the scorn and bigotry of the non-endowed. But what will the students actually do in these clubs? There will of course be discussions. About what? About sex naturally,(or unnaturally). More specifically, about the kind of stuff carried on “Fruit Loop,” the programming discovered by parents to have been downloaded to the school sex club network offering kids down to the age of seven instructions on sado-massochism, masturbation and “blow jobs,” things that (in the apparent government view|) every boy and girl needs to know.

— But what will the parents say? The tyrant side had already made this clear. What is taught in these clubs is none of the parents’ business, the minister had already declared. With that that he had sent his assurance to every student that intervention in these clubs by any teacher or parent will be forbidden.

— Allow me to make three prophesies here. 1. The sex clubs will swiftly develop into recruiting missions for male homosexuality with all that that implies. 2. Links will be established between the clubs and the local homosexual communities which will result in rampant paedophilia, centred in and around schools. 3. The whole school school sex club venture will turn out to be the stupidest and most dangerous policy initiative in Canadian political history.

— On it goes, week by week, but last week the tyrannical burst forth in full grandeur, and right behind it came the jackass. A Catholic school in Red Deer was caught showing the students a particularly effective anti-abortion video. entitled “The Case Against Abortion: Personhood.” Abortion in Catholic teaching is a form of murder, so that massive use the practice can arguably be likened to genocide and the Nazi Holocaust, all of which the video portrays very effectively.

But to Eggen, to liken the abortion horror in the current western world with the Holocaust horror in Nazi Germany is “hateful propaganda” and of “deep concern” to the government. “Let me be clear. There is no place in a publicly-funded school for a video comparing the horrors of the Holocaust to abortion.” The Red Deer Catholic School Board chairman was swift to follow the Eggen “instructions,” describing the video as “not an acceptable method of communication.” Neither he nor Eggen offered any basis for this dogma. But John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, did have one observation. He called Eggen’s unexpected plunge into the abortion issue “a profound intervention in parental rights and religious freedom.”

As usual, however, Eggen showed no evidence at all that he realized the issues he had raised. The jackass side was very strongly present here. If equating the Holocaust with the abortion horror is to be forbidden in Alberta schools, what about similar links to the Ukrainian famine, or Mao’s Cultural Revolution, or the 9/11 bombings? Does the minister possibly have stored in the back of his mind an agenda of other sensitive subjects that one must be careful not mention when speaking in an Alberta school? Or would a guest speaker be safer confining himself to other subjects, more common in Alberta classrooms– like blow jobs, masturbation techniques, and how to avoid mistakenly killing somebody during sado-massochism class.

In the meantime, now that Fruit Loop has been cut, who was held responsible for this stuff getting there to begin with? No answer. Was the miscreant terminated? No answer. What assurance have we that this same person hasn’t already found new Fruit Loops to enlighten the youth of Alberta? No assurance.

As I say, better a tyrant than a jackass. Best of all of course would be someone who’s neither. But we, the poor saps of Alberta who brought this on ourselves, have managed to find someone who’s both.

Ted Byfield was founder and publisher of Alberta Report news magazine, general editor of Alberta in the Twentieth Century. a 12-volume history of the province, and general editor of The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years, a 12-volume history of Christianity. His column on education appears in The Christians.com, a web journal. He has recently authored two little books on modern pedagogy: Why History Matters and The Revolution Nobody Covered. You can order both copies here.

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