Criminals And Rude People

March 15th, 2024 2 comments


Deserved or not, populations of different countries have reputations that are generally accepted as being true. Scots are dour, the French are snooty, Americans are simple and the Germans are orderly.  Canadians have historically been renowned for an admirable trait; they’re known as being tolerant and nice.

With immigration and travel, populations lose some of their traditional characteristics and stereotypes are harder to maintain.

As existing native populations are proportionally reduced and as old traditions and values get watered down, a certain homogeneity appears across all nations.

One such universal aspect of a watered down culture is crime.  No one can claim that any society is without its share of criminal activity of course, but no one can deny the growing level of crime in all western nations.  Were this not the case, budgets for policing would be falling, whereas just the opposite is true. According to, in American cities, 65 of the 300 largest cities in America spend 40 percent of their general budgets on policing.  I won’t go into discussion of how to parse the statistics, that’s fodder for party conversations.

What is interesting is the uniquely Canadian solution to some criminal activity recently proposed by the Toronto police department.  In response to the relentless crime wave of stolen cars, many of which were stolen by taking the keys right from people’s homes, the brave constabulary have proposed placing car keys right at the front door of the house to make it easier for the thieves. He may have also advised placing some cookies at the door, but we don’t know.  Clearly, this preserves the reputation of niceness on the part of Canadians.

To be fair, the police may have borrowed the idea from the strategy used in New York city in the eighties when cars were left unlocked with a sign on the window stating “no radio”. The idea is the same: crime is going to happen anyway; why make it difficult? While some may think there’s an elegant logic to this way of thinking, it leads us down a road to an undeniable conclusion:  Why have any police at all?  As a matter of fact, if you keep pulling on that thread of logic, why have any justice apparatus including judges and especially lawyers?  If you’re in the locksmith business, you may want to learn to code.

As we have seen in major urban cities, theft, often brazen daylight theft by gangs of ‘youts’ are commonplace, especially in the US.  Employees are instructed not to impede the thieves and thus they ransack retail stores with fearless abandon. Any day can be black Friday at the Nike store or the nearest Best Buy or CVS. Actually, it’s better than Black Friday, because you don’t even have to be inconvenienced by paying.

Responses to this have varied from enclosing display cases with plastic or mesh to just closing down retail stores altogether. Flagship stores of big retail chains have completely closed down in cities such as New York, San Francisco and Chicago.

As in Canada, the logic behind the acceptance of a bit of petty crime here and there is so that the citizens can be ‘safe’.  The mayor of Britain’s London, Sadiq Khan, has stated that violent crime is just something to accept when living in a big city; but without explaining Tokyo or Shanghai.  We hear this word invoked a lot these days as a pretext of not doing anything or to follow policies so inane as to be idiotic.  As we’ve seen from the very recent Covid debacle, being safe meant policies that were enacted even if they harmed or even killed you.

The idea of a safe society has been severely perverted from its original intent. It’s not supposed to be safe for those who make others unsafe. This is almost the entire point of paying for a police force and a justice apparatus.  However, if nations such as Canada determine that they don’t want their citizens to inconvenience criminal behaviour, they should at least change the semantics.  Let’s just call them faux pas.  If by chance, these perps are caught in the act, the ‘police’ can take them aside, wag a finger and tsk tsk them.  Perhaps some will require a scolding.  In the most extreme cases, a strongly worded letter would be sent to their address.

This can free up a lot of manpower and resources for other more serious breaches of society’s rules;  such as posting rude comments on-line.

The Joe Izuzu Political Model

February 22nd, 2024 No comments


If you look at recent news headlines on any given day, there is always reportage of events that are so astoundingly bizarre, that it makes one wonder about the people who are the subjects of the stories.  We’re not talking about bearded lady circus stuff; the strangeness of that passed long ago.  We’re referring to stories and narratives that are so at odds with logic and objective observation that you’d accept that something has seriously gone awry with humans as a species.

The absurdities in the political space dominate all headlines because they are not even subtle; there exist characters that spew demonstrable falsehoods with unabashed straight faces, daring anyone to deny the veracity of their utterances.  Not that politicians exaggerating is novel, but the scale of their fibs is so large that it’s also necessary for the public to meekly accept them.

Which brings up the discussion of why the public tolerates such blatant untruths from their ‘representatives’.  Many years ago, there was a fictional character in car commercials named Joe Izuzu.  As the prototypical car salesman, he would make outrageous and preposterous claims for cars which were clearly exaggerations and lies. No rational person would have taken these ads for anything other than humorous marketing.

Who could have known that today’s politicians used Joe Izuzu as an operations model?

As examples, the political administrations of both the United States and Canada recently declared that the economies of their respective countries were growing with little to no inflation and that their citizens were prospering.  Clearly, these are utterances from their speechwriters from their Monty Python political consultants.

Why these obvious knee slappers aren’t met with guffaws and derision from the media and public alike is for another piece, but suffice to say, lack of consequences for these blatant fibs only encourages them to continue.  The truly frightening part is that there is a contingent of people out there who actually believe the rhetoric.  Like the most recent Covid 19 scam, no amount of empirical data will convince some that the utterances from those in charge aren’t on the up and up.  The pronouncements remind us of the infamous Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, better known as Baghdad Bob, the Iraqi information minister during the first Gulf War.  Recall that he assured everyone that things were all fine in the country even as you could see the explosions behind him on live TV.

In a paper entitled, “How Gullible Are We? A Review Of The Evidence From Psychology And Social Science”, Hugo Mercier explorers the root causes of people’s natural gullibility.  From the abstract, he writes: “…it is also argued that most cases of acceptance of misguided communicated information do not stem from undue deference, but from a fit between the communicated information and the audience’s pre-existing beliefs…”  The italics emphasis is mine.

This is interesting, because whence do people’s pre-existing beliefs come? Most people’s belief systems can come from only a few places; Family, friends, church and school.  The implication from Mercier’s paper is that once beliefs are rooted from any of these sources, it is difficult to sway someone from these beliefs regardless of empirical evidence.  Not impossible but very difficult.

The frightening take away from his conclusion is that messaging needs to target and resonate with those core beliefs of that segment of the population that are pre-disposed to the message; actual content is irrelevant.  It could also be said that if something is repeated often enough, it becomes truth.

This could explain the continued adherents to Covid vaccines despite glaring evidence of their danger and damage.  It could explain TDS, Trump Derangement Syndrome.  It could explain the lingering belief that by simply voting for candidate X, good things will happen. It could explain the belief that two planes took down 3 buildings.  It could explain the belief that by riding bicycles, driving electric cars and using paper straws as well as paying more taxes, that the world can be saved.  It could explain the belief that the world is overcrowded. It could explain the belief that a person’s sex is a mental and societal construct.

What is ground zero for formation of ‘core beliefs’?  Schools and media.  Joe Izuzu was ahead of his time.