Joe Campbell

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A crucial distinction

Light is Right Joe Campbell "Don’t call it sin,” he declared, and proposed that, to describe someone’s immoral behaviour, I write objectively disordered. Preserve us from word-watchers, I thought. His lecture was a reminder of how much verbal clutter irritates me. Oh, I understand why he complained. I just don’t understand why he thought it necessary. It wouldn’t bother him if I wrote that certain acts are wrong. ... (Continue reading)

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Animal rights and human reason

When I was a boy, I heard nothing about animal rights. I guess that’s not surprising, as I also heard nothing about animal duties. In those days, the adults I associated with took for granted that duties and rights go together. As no one I heard of promoted animal duties, it would have seemed peculiar if someone had promoted animal rights. I mention this because as a youngster I both approved and abetted the killing of animals and birds. Whenever my ... (Continue reading)

How wrong can they be?

Light is Right Joe Campbell Pity the poor legislators. Increasingly, Big Brother watches their every move. Well, not just Big Brother, Big Sister, too. Being constantly watched is intimidating. Having what you painstakingly put together repeatedly taken apart is demeaning. But that’s the fate of legislators under a judicial dictatorship. From time to time, I’ve called Big Brother/Sister, also known as the Supreme Court, the judicial magisterium. Not ... (Continue reading)

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Killers as caregivers

Light is Right Joe Campbell "Well, they’ve done it,” Dingwall said. “Done what?” I asked. “Removed the stigma from suicide,” he replied. “By letting doctors help patients kill themselves, the Supreme Court transformed a calamity into a cure.” “Some think the ruling is very restrictive,” I said, “requiring intolerable suffering, among other conditions.” “Maybe for now,” he said. “However, the learned judges stated that in prohibiting doctor-assisted suicide, the Criminal ... (Continue reading)

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Light is Right Joe Campbell Disloyalty spoils everything. Look what it’s done to professional sports. I’m not talking about things like fixing games or using performance-enhancing chemicals. I’m talking about shredding bonds between players and fans. I don’t know about you, but when I get interested in a sport, I commit seriously to particular teams and players. Because of roster turnovers, I find it increasingly difficult to ... (Continue reading)

Risky raiment

Light is Right Joe Campbell We were talking about the Ontario Human Rights Commission and how it appears to have betrayed its politically correct roots. We suspected that in warning about female dress in the workplace, the Commission violated a basic precept of feminism. “Oh, the shame of it!” my friend Dingwall said. “Not of the immodesty, let alone the unchastity, but of the admission that revealing ... (Continue reading)

Broken Laws (Part Two)

Light is Right Joe Campbell I used to think that obscenity and pornography were much the same. Apparently, they’re not. In Canada, adult pornography is legal unless it’s obscene, whereas child pornography is illegal even if it’s not obscene. Although it defines and prohibits obscenity and child pornography, the Criminal Code doesn’t even mention the adult variety. Maybe our lawmakers don’t know what it is. Oh well, they ... (Continue reading)

Broken Laws

Light is Right Joe Campbell I grew up under the protection of the Hicklin rule. That’s the test for obscenity that England’s Lord Chief Justice Sir Alexander Cockburn formulated in 1868. I don’t mean that I grew up in 1868. I mean, rather, that I safely completed my formative years before Canada abandoned the rule. Chief Justice Cockburn defined published material obscene if it tended to deprave and ... (Continue reading)


Light is Right Joe Campbell He told me that we shouldn’t discuss politics because I’m on the right and he’s on the left. “I don’t enjoy talking with someone who’s on the wrong side of history,” he explained. “The wrong side?” I declared, taken aback. “You just acknowledged that I’m on the right.” “I’m on the right,” he replied, “because I’m on the left.” Since I first heard it, ... (Continue reading)

Put them all together they spell trouble

Light is Right Joe Campbell Yes, I’ve heard the arguments against re-defining marriage to include same-sex couples. I know that, legally, it eliminates the only civil institution that unites children with their biological parents. I’m aware that it reduces marriage to the level of liaisons that lack procreative potential. I recognize that it views families as socially constructed units based on choice, rather than natural communities ... (Continue reading)

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All creatures great and small

Light is Right Joe Campbell Church attendance of Britons has been falling for decades. The news is not all negative, however. Church attendance of bats is rising. Bats, it seems, are more committed to Christian churches than Britons are faithful to Christianity. Bats go to church because modernization has reduced their natural habitats. Britons don’t go because modernism has undermined their supernatural beliefs. Conservationists work hard to ... (Continue reading)

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Death of dignity

Light is Right Joe Campbell I get the impression that the phrase “doctor-assisted dying” is becoming a media favourite. Don’t journalists know that we’ve been dying unassisted since time immemorial? We don’t need help dying. It comes natural to us. If anything, we need help living. I thought that’s what doctors were for. Doctor-assisted living, I understand. Doctors routinely help us stay alive when, left to our own ... (Continue reading)

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I didn’t really mean it. Honest I didn’t. I was only fooling when I suggested that Canada make aboriginal languages official. I never dreamt that anyone would take seriously what I wrote in The Great Canadian Comedy, a 2008 collection of essays. If not the book, I thought that at least the title betrayed a humorous intent. Nevertheless, seven years later, Perry Bellegarde, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, called for ... (Continue reading)

On the Pill

Light is Right Joe Campbell The pill – you know the one – may be better at preventing conception in fish than in people. What’s more, the fish don’t need a prescription. They get the pill’s synthetic estrogen from sewage that municipalities discharge into rivers and lakes. By feminizing males, the synthetic hormone can limit fish reproduction to the point of collapse. Now that’s performance. It vastly ... (Continue reading)

Digital darkness

Light is Right Joe Campbell My latest laptop, the snooty MacBook Pro that distains communicating with its elders, had a nervous breakdown recently. “Well,” I said, when I took it to the Apple store for repairs, “it serves you right. You treated my beloved Macintosh SE despicably. Now it’s your turn to suffer.” I haven’t yet got over the shock of discovering that the new computer refused to ... (Continue reading)

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