Let me, first of all, explain what I mean by the death of intellectualism. I promise I’m not being deliberately provocative as I tend to be most of the time. Okay, I’m provocative all the time but this is an exception.
Intellectualism is, by definition, the exercise of the intellect at the expense of emotions. In Philosophy, it is the theory that knowledge is wholly or mainly derived from pure reason; rationalism. (source)
This concept came to mind as I indulged in my daily worry about social issues and the problems of misinformation and disinformation. Having consumed several bottles the night before, I required inspiration, which I sought in the work of a man whose intelligence my human form has followed for years.
Now, as you know, I tend to attack human ignorance and stupidity as two of the principal causes of suffering, but neither seems present in this case. The man I looked to for intellectual motivation during my early-morning tussle with sobriety is a respected academic and a life-long defender of critical thinking. I maintain that he is a true intellectual.
Why, then, should I find what appears to be a blatant disinformation campaign shared on his Twitter feed?
Here is the Tweet he shared:
On the surface, the implication is that Justin Trudeau is speaking as a totalitarian dictator who is willing to violate Canadians’ fundamental rights and freedoms by exploiting a loophole in the Charter.
Of course, the video is edited to serve that implication directly. It’s a twenty-five-second snippet of a much longer press conference held by the Prime Minister.
A quick search about the topic discussed by Trudeau revealed a truth that my intellectual hero and the person who posted the video initially willingly ignored. And that truth, brothers and sisters, is that the Prime Minister was voicing his disagreement with the notwithstanding clause in Canada’s Charter of rights and freedoms.
He was, in fact, talking about how that clause has been used to oppress indigenous peoples in the past, and can still be used today to marginalise specific sectors of the population. He spoke about the use of said clause in Quebec against religious minorities.
Like his father before him, he doesn’t like it: Justin Trudeau shares father’s dislike of clause allowing override of charter rights.
This Clause in the Charter “gives provincial legislatures or Parliament the ability, through the passage of a law, to override certain portions of the charter for a five-year term.”
You can read more about it here: What is the notwithstanding clause? An explainer on the rarely used provision.
My inquiry into the nature of the interview was ignored by the man whose wisdom I sought and subsequently got me blocked. Granted, my typical disrespectful approach to questioning misinformation might have something to do with the blocking.
I admit that my style is sometimes undesirable and as the Devil, I take pride in that. But I do have to wonder, and you should also, if it was my tone or that he couldn’t produce a proper response to my request for context. You be the judge.
I should ad that I wasn’t calling the professor a right-wing conspiracy nut, rather I was referring to the man he retweeted. And he should be ashamed of sharing incomplete data. Moreover, he should explain why, if he’s not a conspiracy theorist, does he endorse a message from an overtly antiscience and anti-vaccine individual?
Respectful of the principles of intellectual honesty and responsibility I claim to uphold, I cannot in good conscience answer these questions, but I can promise you that I will put forth good effort to find them.
And there is more, much more. The replies my tweet received called for attacks from his defenders that show the true intellectual and moral bankruptcy of that segment of the population.
I’ll be back soon.
Thank you for reading.
— The Devil Unbound
PS: He had the time to retweet me before blocking me.