The First Law of Holes

The first law of holes, which has been around for over 100 years, is often attributed to UK Labour leader Denis Healey who popularized it in the 1980s:

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Now, I see that Toronto Sun columnist Lorrie Goldstein has resurrected it after Professor Amir Attaran made a series of post on social media …

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… followed by …

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… and then …

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… and ending (for now, anyway) with:

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Of course, I take Professor Attaran at his word when he says he is not a member of a political party and, therefore, not a Liberal. I, on the other hand, make no secret of the fact that I am a member of the Conservative party and a donor to it and I am, therefore a Conservative … and a proud one, too. (A reliable source says that Professor Attaran is “an apparent multi-year Liberal donor” …

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… but I suppose one can donate without joining so, maybe, he is not a Liberal.) As to not being part of ‘an “elite“,’ that’s a little harder to swallow, Professor Attaran is, certainly, the child of (Iranian) immigrants to the USA, but he received his degrees from Berkley (BA, Neuroscience), CalTech (MS), Oxford (PhD, Zoology) and UBC (Law). He taught at both Harvard and Yale before becoming a full professor at uOttawa. Some, even most of those institutions (but not CalTech) are as famous for their liberal-progressive social positions as they are for their academic excellence. He may not think he is a member of “an elite” but many observers would look at his record, including his activism in human rights issues, especially his attack on the Canadian handling of prisoners in Afghanistan,* as evidence that he holds views that are somewhat different from those held by most Canadians.

Anyway, his thesis amounts to saying that “smart people, like me, vote  Liberal, but stupid people vote Conservative.” The data does show something like that. In fact, Abacus Data says that the LPC will get 51% of the votes of people who have postgraduate degrees but, it suggests, the election will reflect the views of those who went to a community college.

My guess ~ it’s a WAG, a Wild-Arsed Guess,  not even a SWAG, a Scientific Wild-Arsed Guess ~ is that when he was attending all those prestigious, elite schools, Professor Attaran missed the history classes in which he might have learned that people of, say, my age are far, far less likely to have university degrees than are people of his age. When I graduated from high school one could enter into several career fields ~ including junior managerial positions in a big national bank or officer training in the Canadian Armed Forces, for example, without attending university or college. That began to change in the 1960s when corporations began to see formal (higher) education as a cheap alternative to their own “in house” staff development programmes. No one, in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, ever thought that higher education was not a “good” thing, but it was an expensive thing, back then, and many people, including governments and corporations, knew that a university education, while desirable, was not absolutely necessary to produce leaders and managers in business, government and industry and in our communities. But my Wild-Arsed Guess says that Professor Attaran, like Prime Minister Trudeau, probably believes that e.g. construction workers ~ few of whom have degrees in gender studies ~ threaten the safety of our communities.

But, I’m also guessing, that the progressive narrative that took hold in Canada, in earnest, in the Pierre Trudeau era (the late 1960s through to the mid-’80s) has convinced many, perhaps most people who attend a university that conservatismfascism. That is, of course, a blatantly untrue and unfair notion but we saw it rise, in the 1960s, in the USA, and that lie found fertile ground in Canada. We can see it, today, with organized attacks on free speech when the large, strong progressive faction in universities attempts to, and too often succeeds, in drowning out or preventing the expression of even the most moderate of dissenting opinions.

Anyway, no matter what prompted Professor Attaran’s original post in social media he made matters worse by carrying on and, in the end, he earned this bit of excellent advice from Lorrie Goldstein:

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Oh, and by the way, maybe it an age thing, I am a septuagenarian, or maybe it’s because I don’t have a full post-graduate degree, but I had to ‘google’ the term “ratioed.’


* For the record, I think Professor Attaran did Canada a service. I believe that we did not do a good job of handling prisoners in Afghanistan. I think that came to pass because we, at the national level, wanted to fight that war “on the cheap” and because our Military Police branch was more interested in becoming a force of glorified “mall cops” than in doing traffic control or the legally important and enormously complex task of handling POWs.

Published by Ted Campbell

Old, retired Canadian soldier, Conservative ~ socially moderate, but a fiscal hawk. A husband, father and grandfather. Published material is posted under the "Fair Dealing" provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act for the purposes of research, private study and education.

One thought on “The First Law of Holes

  1. Those planning on voting for the current version of the Conservative party are just making bad choices. Education matters not at all.

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