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Penner chokes GuiteI guess I should link to my Post column from Tuesday, even though I wasn't totally happy with it; I started it late, intended to devote a great deal of it to the revived NHL Fighting Question, and lost heart somewhat because I have very little to say that is new, per se, and was somewhat intimidated by Chris Selley's column taking the meta angle on the debate (while at the same time fearing that I might provoke myself into a violation of his orderliness rules).

Selley rightly asks why we should polemicize, and descend so easily to ad hominem, in the absence of genuinely compelling evidence concerning what effect the abolition of fighting would have on the regular-season game. Of course, this raises the political question whether social experimentation is wise where its consequences are unforeseeable, and conservatives and (modern) liberals are defined by canned answers to that question. The conservative says "The consequences are always unforeseeable, and where the existing order or way of life is a contingent achievement built on the wisdom of many generations, experimentation is inherently more likely to inflict more harm than benefit." The liberal says "Progress is impossible without experimentation: defending the status quo means, precisely, defending the results of past experiments, so why should we feel hesitant to perform them in our time?" And both are quite right.

The reason I'm not a liberal, in this sense of the word, is not that the liberal premise is wrong. The reason is that experimentation cannot be justified on the liberal premise if we are not willing to abandon failed experiments, and liberals never do abandon them. Even where the failure is quite palpable, as with cookie-cutter no-fault divorce or monopolistic public schools, their only answer is to shriek "SO YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO THE BAD OLD DAYS, DO YOU?" This is the clue that they are not really liberals, but utopians smitten with the romance of revolution.

The parallel conservative failing is, of course, to defend the indefensible. I do not mind much when conservatives do this—but you will notice if you observe me closely that it does raise my hackles when they defend order by the liberal means of introducing preposterous novelties, such as "creation science" in the classroom, or the notion that any therapeutic abortion is ipso facto murder. To me, this makes them worst of all: dangerous utopians without the flimsy excuse of good intentions.

Anyway, there's not too much left about fighting in that column. And, really, the most important point I made was the one about the CFM's dubious grocery list of "shovel-ready" projects. What's the earliest that ground could possibly be broken on the LRT NAIT extension—about the year 2012? We could have cold fusion and personal jetpacks by then, you horseshitters.


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Comments (10)

George Skinner:

I'm with you on social experimentation. I wish we could take a scientific approach to these programs: test the theory with a pilot project for a defined period, set clear standards on what constitutes success or failures, and then use the data generated to decide how to proceed. I used to think that part of the problem is that politicians are predominantly lawyers and businessmen of the car dealership variety, but I've come to realize that even many scientists who I know to be brilliant in their fields are blinded by ideological biases when it comes to social policy.

Nathan Muhly:

Unfortunately, hockey isn't some controllable lab experiment where you can easily determine cause and effect. On the other hand, if fighting in hockey really prevents ugly on ice cheap shots then Steve Moore would still have a career.

Lord Bob:

And if seat belts really prevented auto fatalities then we'd be able to drive as fast as we wanted.

Nathan Muhly:

And if Ray Emery were more amenable to wearing hats he wouldn't have punched that trainer in the face.


That Emery video is spectacular. It's like watching a small child throwing rocks at a dog that then mauls him.

Oh jeez. Seriously, Ray? You're looking for trouble with a Russian guy? I don't like where this is heading. I hope someone explained to him in English, very slowly, that he's living in a mob-dominated country that turns soldiers psychotic as a matter of bottom-line basic training and basically considers black people to be an urban form of wild game.

Nathan Muhly:

It think it's safe to say that's the last we'll see of ol' Ray, or at least until a construction crew uncovers his frozen body on the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

I'm way too late to the game here, but I was going to make the point that historically speaking, isn't the AHL the research lab for NHL rule changes? I'm pretty sure they experimented with the 2-line pass and the goaltender trapezoid.

whoa, I usually skip your hockey posts, but that little section about liberalism vs. conservatism was spot on.


Fighting in Canadian Hockey is part of the game, always has been and in my opinion always should be. Those that oppose it the loudest seem to be great fans of another game, called Euro Hockey or they're not fans of hockey at all.

Fighting is a part of the game, and so it should remain.

Now smacking a Russian trainer, in Russia because the trainer is trying to force him to wear a certain sponsors hat, probably as mandated by contract, is not the smartest of moves, but then it's hard to say what kind of BS had been going on before this. Probably lots judgeing by the reaction.


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