Archive for the ‘Political Philosophy’ Category

by Richard Martin

Modernity is inherently individualistic. It stems from the desire to elevate the individual above biological and other attachments that are imposed from without: family, clan, tribe, trade, class, etc.

Post-modernism and Leftism in general are reactionary against the inherent liberalization and individualization of modernity. 

Modernity is characterized above all by differentiation of roles and identities. One can be an employee, a parent, a sibling, child, or member of any particular group without necessarily adhering totally to that category.

We need to go back to the basics of modernity, and celebrate one-dimensionality, particularly in institutions and organizations.

Post-modernism attempts to undermine the differentiation and one-dimensionality of different fields of action and identification by merging them or undermining the different fields and identities.

This is why post-modernism and Leftism are inherently totalitarian and totalizing. This is the reaction against the fundamental differentiation and individuality/individualism of modernity.

Modernity allows the individual to dissociate and differentiate themselves from the totalizing grip of pre-existing or imposed identities and categorizations.

Par Richard Martin

Un « rapporteur spécial » n’est nullement nécessaire pour enquêter sur l’ingérence chinoise dans la politique canadienne.

Les élus de la Chambre des Communes disposent des outils nécessaires pour faire leur travail par le biais des commissions parlementaires. La loi prévoit également des dispositions pour les commissions d’enquête, les enquêtes publiques, les enquêtes judiciaires, ainsi que les commissions royales. Elles peuvent citer des témoins à comparaître, les obliger à témoigner sous serment, organiser des séances à huis clos pour obtenir des preuves et des témoignages confidentiels.

Trudeau invente tout cela au fur et à mesure. Même l’idée d’appeler la mission “rapporteur” pue la maskirovka, la mauvaise direction et la désinformation. Si le Premier ministre n’a rien à cacher, il ne devrait pas avoir à s’inquiéter, n’est-ce pas ?

Le Parlement approuve actuellement sans discussion les directives de M. Trudeau et du cabinet du Premier ministre, sans procédure régulière ni examen public. Nous devons nous rappeler que le gouvernement, c’est-à-dire le Premier ministre et le cabinet, est responsable devant le Parlement, et non l’inverse. Ce principe est inscrit dans notre constitution depuis l’avènement du gouvernement responsable dans le Canada d’avant la Confédération.

Malheureusement, le caucus libéral, aidé et encouragé par le NPD, est rempli de flagorneurs sans envergure. Ils ne s’intéressent qu’au maintien de l’illusion de la suprématie parlementaire, et non à la substance.

Il suffit de voir les tactiques de blocage et d’obscurcissement que les membres libéraux de la commission ont utilisées ces derniers jours et ces dernières semaines pour empêcher le CEM de Trudeau, Mme Telford, de témoigner devant la commission parlementaire tentant d’élucider la question d’ingérence du gouvernement de la République populaire de Chine et le Parti Communiste chinois dans les affaires électorales et et gouvernementales du Canada.

C’est là le vrai problème, et non pas de savoir si David Johnston est suffisamment “honorable” pour accepter la mission de « Raconteur spécieux » !

By Richard Martin

There is no need for a “special rapporteur.” Parliament has the tools to do their job through committees. There also exist provisions in the law for commissions of inquiry, public inquiries, judicial inquiries, up to and including royal commissions. They can sub poena witnesses, compel testimony under oath, conduct in camera sessions for classified evidence and testimony.

Trudeau is making it all up as he goes along. Even the idea of calling the assignment “rapporteur” reeks of maskirovka, misdirection, and disinformation. If the PM has nothing to hide, then he shouldn’t have to worry, should he?

Parliament is rubber stamping Trudeau and PMO directives without due process and public scrutiny. We need to remember that the government, meaning the PM and cabinet, are responsible to Parliament, not vice versa. That has been established in our constitution since the winning of responsible government in pre-Confederation Canada.

Unfortunately, the Liberal caucus, aided and abetted by the NDP, is full of spineless sycophants. They are only interested in maintaining the illusion of Parliamentary supremacy, not the substance.

We have only to look at the stalling and obfuscation tactics the Liberal committee members have used over recent days and weeks to prevent Trudeau’s COS Telford from testifying in committee.

That’s the real issue, not whether David Johnston is “honourable” enough to take on the assignment of Specious Raconteur!

By Richard Martin

I now consider it a high-probability, high-impact risk that China has conducted and continues to conduct influence and subversion operations against Canadians, the Canadian government, politicians and perhaps key officials. I will develop my reasoning in a blog post, but the following can be considered the tl;dr version for now.

From a Bayesian perspective, as new evidence emerges, we must revise our estimate of probability. In addition, we must also consider our background knowledge from the historical behavior of the CCP and other evidence.

For example, if we assume that we have no prior knowledge of CCP’s capabilities and intentions, the initial evidence is only about potential interference. Let’s say 50/50. If we add other evidence, and each is also 50/50, or even slightly more likely under the assumption of CCP intent, the odds in favor of CCP’s harmful behavior and intent are still not overwhelming.

But if we now add our general knowledge of Communist China, the CCP’s capabilities and past behavior, and stated goals, the prior probability of the Chinese subversion, elite capture, and coercion hypothesis increases substantially. Additional evidence in support of this hypothesis would add little to our overall assessment of probability.

The question then becomes what evidence would disprove the hypothesis, and the null hypothesis of non-hostile Chinese intent can be dismissed. It is now up to those who claim that there is nothing to see here or that it remains below a threshold of concern to provide the evidence and arguments for this claim. In other words, it is time to prove that China is not hostile, rather than the other way around.


Posted: January 12, 2023 in Political Philosophy
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By Richard Martin

Populism is used as a term of abuse and derision by too many people who should know better. They associate it with the political right, especially the extreme right as they see it.

But if we examine its etymology, it comes from Latin, “of/for the people.” Note that “democracy” comes from the Greek, and means “rule by the people.” So, if you’re against populism and populists, does that make you anti-democratic? Just asking.

According to, it refers to “political movements that sought to rally ordinary people who see their concerns as being disregarded by established parties and elites, but it also is used pejoratively for irrational or simplistic demagoguery.”

If your concern is with irrationalism and demagoguery, then maybe the vituperation should be aimed at those who practise those. And “populists” are no more guilty of such tactics than anyone else.

In addition, gives the following definition for “populist”:

1892 (n.) “an adherent of populism,” also (with capital P-), “a member of the Populist Party;” 1893 (adj.); American English, from Latin populus “people” (see people (n.)) + -ist. Originally in reference to the U.S. Populist Party (or People’s Party), organized February 1892 to promote certain issues important to farmers and workers (expansion of the currency, state control of railways, and restriction on the ownership of land). The term outlasted the party, and by 1920s came to mean “representing the views of the masses” in a general way, and from the 1950s as “anti-establishment” on either the left or the right.

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by Richard Martin

The far (alt) right and the far (radical) left are pretty much identical in worldview, strategy, and tactics. The main distinction is ideological. The far left is internationalist and anti nationalist, while the far right is nationalistic and anti internationalist. Other than that, they are mostly twins.

They are both authoritarian.

They both reject or manipulate electoral politics.

They both use propaganda as a weapon and view truth as relative.

They are both cynical and nihilistic.

They both believe vehemently that the world as it is is profoundly disturbed or off kilter.

They are both anticapitalist.

They are both anti élitist.

They demonize their opponents and enemies, especially each other.

They accuse their opponents and critics of being insane, irrational, and/or inhuman(e).

They are against traditional religion.

They are against traditional hierarchies.

They are personalist ideologies that elevate their leaders to heroic or divine status.

They both elevate favoured groups/classes in society while attacking and victimizing those they hate.

They both rely heavily on mob action and direct, violent action.

They are both totalitarian and authoritarian.

I could go on, but I hope you get the picture.

© Richard Martin

By Richard Martin

Leftism is the idea that you can remake society whole according to some centralized, collective understanding. The only real difference between the far left and the so-called far right or alt-right lies in which groups are favoured and which are demonized.

Like the Nazis and SPD in Weimar Germany, it’s the “narcissism of small differences.” The idea that fascism/nazism is far right is an invention of Stalinist Russia and Marxists. They are both on the far left, meaning aiming at a revolutionary overthrow of traditional morality and social structures.

By Richard Martin

Many people seem to assume that democratization of Russia will solve the main problem, which is Russian imperialism and expansionism. The immediate aim is to support Ukraine in its struggle to free itself from Russian occupation and agression through military action by supplying the physical means and resources to do so. Whether Russia becomes democratic as an outcome or through the workings of these actions is irrelevant from the standpoint of the grand strategic aim of winning the war.

I don’t think there is necessarily a need for an “internal drive” toward democracy. The current mindset of the majority of Ukrainians proves the point. Ukrainians have pretty consistently sought national self-determination throughout their history, regardless of the form of government or constitution. They were resigned to live under Russian hegemony since at least the early 19th century. The turnabout started in 1991, before which there was no more a history or tradition of Ukrainian democracy than in Russia or any of the other Soviet satrapies.

If the Ukrainian people can change their mindset in the space of 30 years then, so can the Russians. But that should give us an idea of the time that is needed to effect the transition.

The Japanese, Germans and Italians adopted democracy after WWII as a result of total defeat and humiliation. The likelihood that Russia will be in such abject straights at the end of the current war is, for all intents and purposes, nil.

Russia is currently deterred from further escalation by NATO and, especially, the US nuclear umbrella and material support to Ukraine. The Ukrainians are training and preparing for a long-term struggle and, even more significant, the need to continue deterring Russia post-liberation of their country.

We in the West and NATO must accept that whatever the immediate outcome in Ukraine, Russia (and its dubious allies) will have to be contained and deterred for the foreseeable future. And that’s regardless of what happens to Putin and his henchmen.

© Richard Martin


Richard Martin, Président, Académie canadienne de leadership et développement du capital humain

La situation

Dans nos sociétés, les individus consacrent beaucoup de temps et de ressources à regarder ou à lire des médias et des contenus en ligne. Nous ne reviendrons pas à l’époque où les choix télévisuels étaient limités et où il n’existait que quelques sources d’information (inter)nationales. Chez les jeunes générations, l’ampleur de la participation en ligne est stupéfiante par rapport aux générations plus âgées. Cela s’explique par le fait que les jeunes ne se fient pas aux sources d’information traditionnelles, “grand public”. Ils vivent dans le monde éphémère et évanescent des médias sociaux et des plateformes de contenu d’origine collective, dont la provenance et l’intention sont souvent douteuses.

Il en résulte que les jeunes sont inondés d’idées, d’idéologies et d’influences concurrentes ou contradictoires par le biais des médias sociaux, amplifiées par des influenceurs à l’association et aux intentions douteuses, des ouï-dire, des établissements d’enseignement, des organisations de la société civile, de la publicité et des différents modes de vie. Ces messages ne sont pas nécessairement (bien que beaucoup le soient) négatifs ou corrosifs pour les valeurs civiques fondamentales, bien qu’une partie importante d’entre eux offrent un récit qui ne soutient pas ou remet en question nos démocraties stables, sûres, libérales et prospères. Certains canaux et sources d’information favorisent le désordre social et la subversion dans le but de saper la résilience, la défense, les valeurs et les objectifs de l’Occident.

Les principales plateformes de médias sociaux sont les principaux (mais non les seuls) canaux permettant la promotion d’idées et de concepts qui peuvent éroder l’engagement à créer et à maintenir des sociétés pacifiques et sûres qui valorisent la liberté individuelle, la démocratie, les droits de l’homme et l’État de droit et qui sous-tendent les sociétés les plus prospères de toute l’histoire. Je crois que ces valeurs méritent d’être soutenues, entretenues et, au besoin, défendues. Cela dit, la censure et le contrôle centralisé de l’information, qu’elle soit publique ou privée, ne sont pas la solution, car ils vont à l’encontre des valeurs fondamentales de l’ordre libre, démocratique, fondé sur les règles et les droits.

La menace

Des puissances et des forces hostiles se livrent sans relâche à des opérations d’information pour saper le moral, la résilience et la détermination des nations occidentales et de leurs populations. La sensibilisation du public à cette menace et à ses effets s’est accrue depuis l’invasion de l’Ukraine le 24 février 2022, mais l’accent est mis sur la Russie, laissant d’autres acteurs étatiques et parrainés par l’État opérer relativement sans entrave sous le radar du public, des politiciens et des entreprises. D’autre part, cette prise de conscience est floue, limitée et non spécifique. Les individus et les organisations comprennent mal les intentions hostiles, les stratégies, les approches opérationnelles et les techniques, tactiques et procédures spécifiques utilisées pour atteindre des objectifs hostiles.

La menace va bien au-delà des cyberattaques, de la désinformation et de la mauvaise orientation. En fait, je prétends que nous sommes entrés dans une nouvelle phase de la guerre de l’information que j’appelle “guerre épistémologique”. L’objectif de la guerre épistémologique n’est pas seulement d’attaquer les nations et leurs populations avec des fausses informations et de la propagande trompeuses ou déroutantes qui obscurcissent plus qu’elles n’éclairent. Elle va beaucoup plus loin en lançant un assaut à grande échelle contre les facultés critiques et le jugement des nations, des populations et des dirigeants.

Les techniques sont nombreuses, mais elles visent principalement à éroder l’esprit critique en submergeant la sphère publique, en particulier par le biais des canaux et des plateformes des médias sociaux, d’informations fausses, douteuses ou contradictoires présentées sous forme d’extraits sonores, d’images, de clips vidéo et de “mèmes” Internet qui exploitent et renforcent les biais et les paralogismes cognitifs bien connus. Il s’agit notamment des sophismes non sequitur et tu quoque, des heuristiques psychologiques telles que l’effet de primauté, l’effet d’entraînement et d’autres trop nombreux pour être énumérés. L’objectif apparent est d’éroder la capacité des individus à juger ce qui est vrai et faux, qui et quoi croire, et qui soutenir. Il en résulte une attitude cynique et nihiliste à l’égard des faits, des intentions et des objectifs présentés par et pour les puissances et les forces en présence, et cela sape le soutien à une défense forte contre les intentions et les activités hostiles.

La stratégie

Les efforts visant à renforcer la résilience de la société, en particulier pour les générations futures, dépendent de la capacité à fournir des outils concrets pouvant être utilisés rapidement et efficacement pour résister, contrer et évaluer les affirmations, les preuves, les déclarations et les arguments qui constituent la base de la désinformation, de la propagande et d’autres activités d’information hostiles. Cela exige une approche rationnelle et systématique du problème, fondée sur des résultats, des produits et des méthodes clairs.

La clé d’un succès durable et à long terme dans la construction de la résistance sociétale est de se concentrer sur la génération montante de leaders actuels et potentiels qui deviendront des influenceurs, des formateurs d’opinion et des décideurs dans les domaines de la politique et de l’administration publiques, de la diplomatie, des communications, des affaires, de la finance, de la sécurité publique et de la profession des armes.

Le centre de gravité de cet effort est de développer et de diffuser une boîte à outils intellectuelle et psychologique à l’intention des jeunes leaders actuels et futurs, afin d’étayer les analyses et évaluations individuelles et collectives concernant la solidité logique et la validité des diverses affirmations, preuves, propositions, rhétorique et arguments qui sont insérés et diffusés dans le domaine public.

La meilleure façon d’équiper nos jeunes pour qu’ils résistent aux attaques féroces de la guerre de l’information et de la guerre épistémologique est de les aider à reconnaître les différents types d’activités, en vue de les reformuler selon des principes logiques pour évaluer leur probabilité et leur validité globale. De cette manière, les leaders de la génération montante seront mieux équipés pour appliquer leur propre jugement par le biais de processus et de méthodes de raisonnement éprouvés, résilients et invariants dans tous les domaines, sujets, plateformes et contenus.

© Richard Martin


By Richard Martin, President, Canadian Academy of Leadership and Development of Human Capital

The Situation

Individuals in our societies spend significant time and resources watching or reading online media and content. We are not going back to the days of limited television options and a few (inter)national news sources. In younger generations, the scale of online participation is staggering as compared to older ones. This is because younger people do not rely on traditional, “mainstream” sources of information. They live in the ephemeral, evanescent world of social media and crowd-sourced content platforms, much of which is of doubtful provenance and intent.

The result is that younger people are flooded with competing or contradictory ideas, ideologies, and influences through social media, amplified by influencers of questionable association and intent; word of mouth; educational institutions; civil society organizations; advertising; and variant lifestyles. These messages are not necessarily (though many are) negative or corrosive of core civic values though an important portion do offer a narrative unsupportive or questioning of our stable, secure, liberal, prosperous democracies. Some channels and sources of information favour social disorder and subversion with the goal of undermining Western resilience, defence, values, and objectives.

Prominent social media platforms are the principal (though not exclusive) channels enabling the promotion of ideas and concepts that can erode the commitment to creating and sustaining peaceful and secure societies that value individual liberty, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law and which underlie the most prosperous societies in history. I believe these values are worth upholding, sustaining, and as required, defending. With that said, censorship and centralized control of information, whether public or private, are not the solution, as these go against the core values of the free, democratic, rules and rights-based order.

The Threat

Hostile powers and forces are relentlessly engaged in information operations to undermine the morale, resilience, and resolve of Western nations and their populations. Public awareness of this threat and its effects has increased since the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, but the focus is on Russia, leaving other state-based and state-sponsored actors to operate relatively unhindered below the radar of the public, politicians, and businesses. On the other hand, this awareness is hazy, limited, and non-specific. Individuals and organizations have little understanding of hostile intentions, strategies, operational approaches, and the specific techniques, tactics, and procedures that are used to achieve hostile ends.

The threat goes well beyond cyberattacks, disinformation, and misdirection. In fact, we believe that we have entered a new phase of information warfare which I call “epistemological warfare.” The aim of epistemological warfare isn’t just to attack nations and their populations with false, misleading, obfuscating, or confusing information and propaganda. It goes much further by launching a full-scale assault on the critical faculties and judgment of friendly nations, populations, and leaders.

The techniques are many but focus mainly on eroding critical thinking by overwhelming the public sphere, especially through social media channels and platforms, with false, doubtful, or contradictory information presented in sound bites, images, video clips, and Internet “memes” that exploit and reinforce well-known cognitive biases and fallacies. These include everything from non sequitur and tu quoque fallacies, to psychological heuristics such as the primacy effect, the bandwagon effect, and others too numerous to list. The apparent goal is to erode the ability of individuals to judge what is true and false, whom and what to believe, and whom to support. This results in a cynical and nihilistic attitude toward the facts, intentions, and objectives presented by and for contending powers and forces and undermines support for a strong defence against hostile intent and activities.

The Strategy

The effort to build societal resilience, especially in succeeding generations, depends on the ability to provide concrete tools that can be used quickly and effectively to resist, counter, and evaluate the claims, evidence, statements, and arguments that form the basis for disinformation, propaganda, and other hostile information activities. This requires a rational, systematic approach to the problem, one based on clear outcomes, deliverables, and methods.

The key to long-term, enduring success in building societal resistance is to focus on the succeeding generation of current and potential leaders who will become influencers, opinion formers and decision makers in the areas of public policy and administration, diplomacy, communications, business, finance and banking, public safety, and the profession of arms.

The centre of gravity in this effort is to develop and disseminate an intellectual and psychological toolkit to current and future young leaders to undergird individual and collective analyses and evaluations concerning the logical soundness and validity of the various claims, evidence, propositions, rhetoric, and arguments that are inserted and disseminated in the public domain.

The best way to equip our youth for resilience in the face of withering attacks of information and epistemological warfare is to help them recognize the different types of activities, with a view to reformulating them according to logical principles to evaluate their probability and overall validity. By this means, leaders of the successor generation will be better equipped to apply their own judgment through proven processes and methods of reasoning that are resilient and invariant across domains, topics, platforms, and content.

© Richard Martin