Ideas

  • Pearls of Wisdom on (Disabled) Daily Life

    Reviewer Taylor Hyatt finds Larry McCloskey’s latest book the kind of irritating that opens readers to touchstone stories able to articulate the almost inexpressible.

    The latest work by Ottawa author Larry McCloskey, Inarticulate Speech of the Heart, reminds me of a thread with many strands. In roughly 200 pages, the author begins to explore questions of spirituality, the heart, disability, postsecondary educati...

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  • COVID and the Fearful State

    In her review of a 2021 book by British journalist Laura Dodsworth, Anna Farrow highlights disturbing evidence of governments using our primal panic response to push pandemic policies.

    Long before David Attenborough brought his soothing voice to the explication of animal behaviour for the BBC Life series, the North American television public had been introduced to the majesty and oddities of the natural world through Mutual of Om...

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  • Playing the Media Percentage Game

    Peter Stockland flags an institutional shift in journalism that seems to be causing media outlets to follow the State line rather than inquire and clarify in the public interest.

    Warning lights should always flash before our eyes whenever journalists mix raw numbers and percolating percentages in the same paragraph.

    Numbers clearly state actuality. Percentages are the ups and downs of context. Regardless of the axiom attribut...

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  • Cancelling Wisdom’s Colour

    Daniel Dorman argues that the phenomenon of cancel culture emerges from a black and white vision of the world that forgets the vivid hues moral struggle brings to life.

    “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscilla...

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  • Standing Up for Vaccine Skeptics

    Though a vaccination supporter himself, Peter Stockland cautions against the campaign to denigrate those honestly questioning it in a world of abounding COVID absurdities.

    In a recently re-opened Ottawa restaurant this week, a member of our party of five was forbidden from using a chair.

    He wasn’t sitting in it standing on his head showing off some exotic yoga pose or, more pedestrianly, engaged in man-spreading to a d...

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  • Yes, We Can Understand Each Other

    Restoring trust in language goes beyond improving the sad state of our political debates. It’s vital to our common humanity, Daniel Dorman writes.

    Our political discourse is a demoralizing spectacle. In most public forums, and particularly in the House of Commons, we generally listen to what can’t (in any serious sense) be called ‘debate.’ Most of it is mere partisan verbiage.

    Character assault...

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  • Rebuking Canada’s African Colonialism

    In conversation with Convivium contributor Jonathon Van Maren, former career diplomat David Mulroney says Canada’s residential school past should curb its neocolonialist urges in Africa.

    “[The Trudeau government] is using foreign policy as an exotic stage from which to tell stories to its supporters back in Canada. This is a really cynical political move.”

    It is rare for a former Canadian diplomat to speak out against a sitting gover...

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  • Our COVID Reality Check

    Western “realities” of freedom, prosperity and individualism have been shattered by the pandemic, clearing the way for a profound spiritual opening of hearts, Tara Vreugdenhil writes.

    The year just behind us was one of shaken realities. The news from Wuhan, China was of an unknown virus claiming lives in unprecedented numbers. But China is across the world so the West continued the reality of our usual daily tasks of work, school, activi...

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  • Coping With Covid’s Confusion

    In these days of pandemic disorientation and fatigue, uncertainty over the right thing is all right but failure to be good neighbours will be more toxic than the disease itself, Travis Smith writes.

    Trust withers in an environment where anyone who does not dutifully repeat the orthodox refrain by rote hazards condemnation as a rumourmonger spreading disinformation. The ubiquity of mask-wearing in public has become an apt metaphor for a situation in whi...

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  • How COVID Leaves Trust In the Dust

    A severe social side effect of the pandemic is the disconnection between those in authority we must trust and our personal experiences that contradict what we’re told, Travis Smith writes.

    As justifiably proud as Canadians are about their health care system, carping about our experiences with medicine is a national pastime, too. Presented with a novel technology under today’s unusual conditions, it is unsurprising that some of the same old fr...

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  • Trusting COVID’s Novel Vaccines

    In the third of Convivium’s essays on the politics of the pandemic, Travis Smith argues reassurances about vaccine safety will convince only some of the people some of the time.

    The history of technological progress is littered with innovations that seemed monstrous at first but proved marvelous instead. Soon enough, people lose their scruples, realize how silly their misgivings were, and take these new technologies for granted. Of...

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  • The Spiritual Connection of Violence

    Robert Joustra writes that last week’s violence at the U.S. Capitol isn’t a phenomenon of lone nutters but the toxicity of radicalized communities persistent even among religious faithful.

    In 2015 I spent my summer months hosted by St. Ignatius University in the central Belgian city of Antwerp. We were studying religious radicalization, and Antwerp was an auspicious setting. 

    At the time, the number of European Muslims leaving to join ...

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