Sunday, November 23, 2014



It's too soon for a full-throated defence of Christ-mass.
Let's hope it's not necessary.
It's to be hoped that all the idiots who think there is something awful about an open glorious celebration of the day and the season will mind their mouths more this year since when they speak they betray their ignorance about the wonderful message of peace and goodwill that permeates Christmas and also ignore its important position in the histories of our families and the country.
What triggers this is a page in the National Post titled "Perils of Perception." It's based on an Ipsos Reid global survey. I'm a fan of that polling outfit since the days when John Wright, a grand Pooh-bah of Ipsos Global Public Affairs, and I used to sum up each year in  long broadcasts on CFRB when it was still the giant and respected radio station.
Thanks to perceptive conversations with Wright, Larry Zolf and Jay Del Mah of the CBC, I was remarkably accurate in predicting elections and public moods.  They knew how to cut through the politically correct BS to what people really were thinking.
Wright sifted these latest polling results and said they meant "Canadians are flying blind in a cloud of misperception."
Misperceptions? By other Canadians, but not you? Bet you get them wrong too.
Canada was one of 14 countries where the publics were asked about their neighbours in such areas as religion and age.
We were almost as bad as those in France and Belgium about estimating the percentage of Muslims in our population. Canadians said it was 20%. It's actually 2%. An over-estimate mistake of 18%.
Only Americans were worse than us when it came to estimating the numbers of Christians. Canadians said the Christian population in Canada was 48.5%  It's actually 69%. An under-estimate mistake of 20.5%.
Only Italy and Poland goofed more in estimating their numbers over 65 years of age. Canadians said 39% of the country was over 65 when it's actually 14% due to all the immigration of younger people. That over-estimate mistake is 25%.
Several messages flow out of these figures that should influence how our politicians should act.
Let's start with Christmas. We have renamed the concerts in our schools, the celebration trees in our squares, our greetings and cards, and banned manger depictions. We have shoved Jewish and Muslim language and customs into our celebrations and accepted Kwanzaa, a "black" celebration dreamed up by a minor American prof several decades ago.
Yet consider the figures. On the side of an unabashed Christmas celebration, we have 69% of the country. The opposition is rooted, perhaps, in the 2% of Canadian Muslims and the 1.1% saying they are Jewish in religion or ethnicity.
The reason I added "perhaps" is because of all my Jewish friends who have adopted some of the customs of Christmas and are a little baffled and even embarrassed about the elevation of Hanukkah which they regarded as a minor celebration.
(Then there was my friend who burned down his mansion when he lit the candle central to the tradition. The joke is that now his friends who think about moving phone to ask if he can come over to celebrate Hanukkah with them.)
By the time we add in all the atheists, agnostics and people who really don't give a damn, and remember that Kwanzaa was supposedly an addition to a centuries-old season and wasn't intended to replace it, it seems we have about 80% for Christmas, perhaps 3% against, and the rest too busy shopping and drinking and partying to care much either way.
Oh shit, I forgot the shrivelled principals and trustees, gutless politicians and the activists who are never happier than when they are making us wear a barbed-wire T-shirt of their principles. There may be only a thousand or so of them at the worst of times but they figure they're more important than the millions.
Let me remind you that I have never believed in religious schools. I think our taxes should support only one secular school system but that Jews, Catholics, Muslims or Baal-worshippers should be given time in public facilities to teach whatever religious views they desire.
I have no desire to force religion on anyone but surely the major religious celebration of most of the country need not be harassed and be allowed to speak its name. It should be made easy for minorities to opt out but the majority, remember, have rights too.
Let's not forget that figure that too many Canadians think that 39% of the country are pensioners. Yikes! No wonder I have read and heard recently of the rather militant philosophy that the elderly in this country are doing just fine, thank you very much, and there is no need to help them in taxation.
What BS! Obviously the fear is that there are now so many old farts around, the country will go bankrupt if they get even a feeble increase in benefits. So help the young and let the oldies wither, you know those who built the country and made it possible for the young to exist.
Wright may have it wrong when he says Canadians are "flying blind in a cloud of misperception." I think such groups as unionists, activists, socialists, and bankers know damn well what the real demographic figures are and ignore or misrepresent them to suit their selfish purposes.
Maybe they should watch Scrooge again.
And the rest of us should stop feeling so smug about how smart and worldly we are - especially compared to the U.S. - when it comes to demographics.
Turns out there is much we don't know about ourselves, even thinking, for example that 39% of us are immigrants when it's actually 21%.
Generous compared to the world, but substantially lower than our mental picture. We really are flying blind. Bring on the guide dogs, the real stats, not the ones made up by the liars who figure and the figures who lie.

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