Carpay again

Well, back on August 20, 2021, I wrote about Alberta lawyer, John Carpay, and the way he wiped his ass with the very concept of integrity.

Basically, he hired a private detective to stalk a Manitoba Judge on a case that he’d brought to Court.

You can go back and look, I wrote about it and it’s well documented, but essentially, a bunch of  churches had decided that trying to fight a worldwide pandemic in Manitoba was interfering with their freedoms, or possibly with their cash flow, so they chugged out some conspiracy theories and recruited a ‘charity’ the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms, run by Carpay, known for ‘asshole lawsuits’ on behalf of people wanting questionable license plates like ‘grabher’ or ‘assimil8.’

So the case is over, the good guys won. The Churches lost their lawsuit on behalf of a pandemic. They had their day in Court, they lead their evidence, it was unpersuasive and unconvincing. I suppose there’ll be an appeal, because they have a shitload of money. So it goes.

John Carpay was fired from the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms. Or as it turns out, he was just suspended. Or on a leave of absence.

It turns out he’s been quietly reinstated after seven weeks.  Good for him.

Because apparently dogs like to lick their own vomit.

Jesus H. Christ. An ethical breach the size of the iceberg that sunk the Titanic, and they reinstated him. I have trouble getting my head around that.

Carpay is a piece of work.

“How do we defeat today’s totalitarianism? You’ve got to think about the common characteristics. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a hammer and sickle for communism, or whether it’s the swastika for Nazi Germany or whether it’s a rainbow flag, the underlying thing is a hostility to individual freedoms,“Carpay said back in November 10, 2018.

Jesus H. Christ. I taught the WWII and the Holocaust in high school. I have a friend whose father, alone of his family, survived Dachau. The Nazis burned Europe to the ground, they created death camps, they and their allies pioneered a dozen different kinds of mass murder, invaded and assaulted dozens of countries, they founded an ideology of sheer hatred. They’re as close to pure distilled human evil as we’ve ever gotten. And here is Carpay comparing gays and gay rights to the Nazis?

We are both of the same generation where it used to be socially acceptable to beat up homosexuals. For making passes, dressing up, simply for existing. People used to brag about it, outright violence and assault. We both lived in the era where gays could be arrested. Where gays could be arrested, where gay sex was illegal, and where police could juice up their arrest stats now and then by going on the hunt for homosexuals. We’ve all had to struggle and work to recognize innate humanity, to respect each other. Apparently this was Carpay’s world and he seems to have been fine with it, because as far as he’s concerned a Rainbow flag is equivalent to the goddammed Nazis.

It is to vomit.

To be fair, he apologized for that, when it blew up in his face.

Then when the heat was off, in February, 2019.  So, what did I say at the Rebel speech on November the 10th? I’m going to say it again this morning. That the attacks against our fundamental freedoms can come from any source, any direction, any banner, any flag, any colour, any political symbol can be the banner under which our fundamental freedoms are attacked.”

It is to vomit.

What a classy guy. Did you know that Alberta Premier Jason Kenney  compared this guy to Rosa Parks? Not making this up.

It reveals the mindset of these guys. Absolute amoral selfishness. The notion that gays shouldn’t be beaten up? That gay people should have a flag? That they should have self worth? That they should have a goddammed voice and say things that people like Carpay don’t like? That they might call people like Carpay out on their bullshit? That’s Nazism. That’s just verging on a Holocaust. The Swastika and the Rainbow Flag are the same. Yowza! Start the self pity party! People like Carpay and his friends, they’re the real victims.

Let me be completely fair. I don’t believe that Carpay has ever called for gays to be beaten up. I would bet you dollars to donuts that he would be absolutely against assaulting someone just because they were a homosexual.

But then again, I used to know a lot of of people who were completely against violence, people who were polite and genteel and totally against horrible things, but somehow, when something horrible happened, there’d be an excuse, or an explanation, or mitigating factors. Horrible things would happen, and they’d be appalled, ‘fag beating is so trailer trash.’ They’d never do it themselves. But they’d create or tolerate or just look the other way for conditions where it would happen. I’ve gotten very tired of their sort of sincerity.

Or maybe I’m giving him too much credit. He is the sort of person who hired a private detective to spy on a Judge on a case he was fighting. I honestly don’t know what his moral floor is, or whether he has one, or what he is or isn’t capable of.

The problem of human evil is complicated, and it’s in all of of us to struggle with on a daily basis. Almost no one ever thinks that they’re evil. No one ever intentionally does things that they think are evil. They make easy choices, yes. They make selfish choices, yes. They can avoid doing the right thing, because it’s difficult or painful or inconvenient. People work hard at rationalizing what they do, casting themselves as virtuous, telling themselves that they’re doing something heroic.

I’m very sure that Carpay and Kenney, believe in themselves, they believe in what they’re doing. They’re not villains in their minds. They’re fighting for a better world. Maybe their better world isn’t really anything more than one that’s kissing their ass, one with them on top. Maybe they genuinely have an idealistic belief in a better world. Maybe Carpay sees himself as a true Rosa Parks fighting for the true shining principles of freedom and individual liberty, defending it from attack on both right, left, or wherever.

Yeah sorry, I have trouble reconciling the idea of principles with hiring a detective to spy on the Judge on a case you’re fighting. I just have trouble with that. Or drawing an equivalency between Swastika’s and Rainbow flags. I have trouble with that too.

But who knows? Carpay reconciles it apparently. And Kenny reconciles it. And the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms reconciles it. And a bunch of people who think like them have no problem.

For them, at worst, Carpay’s sin is trivial, a minor misjudgment, an exuberance. It’s forgivable.

I think that what it may come down to is a very different world view. Now, admittedly, I don’t know Carpay personally. I know he did something I consider an obscene and unforgivable thing, and to me that invalidates any credibility he has with me. He can publicly or privately say whatever he wants, do whatever. But as far as believing him, as far as respecting, or assessing his decency or trustworthiness… I’m always going o come back to that.

But let me address the world view I think that I believe he represents, the world view that people I believe are like him represent.

They believe in freedom, and integrity, and apple pie. All those good things. But beneath it, they believe and want an orderly world. A world that reflects a kind of Norman Rockwell picture of the past. A world where equality lives side by side with hierarchy, where freedom is allotted like pieces of a pie, to the deserving who have earned it. A world of morality and virtue, a narrow path, with judgment for those not on it.

I suppose it’s alluring.  If you’re at the top of the hierarchy, or you like your place in it. If you are deserving and served up your freedom. As long as you are sitting on the path of virtue. It’s a pretty wonderful world. It’s a world where no one calls you out on your bullshit. It’s a world where the sins and transgressions of the right people are forgiven and can be overlooked.  It’s a world where the undeserving get the full treatment. I can see why it’s compelling. It’s full of contradictions, but it feels so good, you wouldn’t want to look at the contradictions. It appeals to the atavistic.

But here’s the thing with that world,  that world view. There’s a brutality to it. The thing with hierarchy, is that some people get assigned to the bottom. Life isn’t fun when you have a boot on your face. And that world view is all about boots on faces.  It’s a world that promises freedom and equality to women, to poor people, black people, indigenous people, gay people etc. – as long as they are in their assigned place, as long as they know and accept their assigned place. Fundamentally, their idea of freedom is people doing as they’re told. Some people have deservedly more freedom, some people have deservedly less. But everyone has freedom, as long as they make the right choices and know their roles.

If someone doesn’t follow their role, if they assert their rights, if they even get lippy, that’s transgressive. That’s literally an infringement on the rights of those further up in the hierarchy not to have to hear that bullshit. On their right and freedom not to hear things they don’t want to hear, not to be held to account by those below, not to have to deal with all that shit.

Everyone has rights, and it’s all about how all these competing rights are negotiated and arranged. It’s a world view that pays lip service to ‘equality,’ but really believes in an arbitrary notion of ‘quality.’ It’s just that some people are more equal than others. The right of Churches to spread a deadly virus is supersedes the right of the rest of us not to be infected. The right of some asshole to have an offensive license plate like ‘grabher’ or ‘assimil8’ trumps the right of motor vehicles department to decide on license plates, or women not to feel threatened. The right of ‘good citizens’ not to have to put up with gay people having a flag trumps the right to have a flag. Gay people can say anything they want, they just can’t call out ‘decent’ people’ on hypocrisy or say anything that makes ‘decent’ people uncomfortable, their freedom is to simply say things acceptable to their superiors. Some peoples rights just have limits, depending on where they stand in the hierarchy. Or perhaps their rights just don’t extend to their stepping out of the place assigned to them. Freedom is knowing your place and staying in it. This is the mentality that draws a line between Nazism and Gay rights, that sees them as the same kind of fundamental threat.

I suppose that in its less extreme manifestations, it’s a part of reasonable discourse. We all have to struggle, in a world of individuals with rights, the boundaries between our rights and others. We have to struggle with what we owe to others, and what we need for ourselves. We have to endlessly negotiate the borders between ourselves and the rest of society. It’s not easy. And I think that there’s room for dialogue.

But it seems to me that when you’re out there drawing a connection between the swastika and the rainbow flag, when you’re fighting for the right to infect people with a lethal virus…  well then, they’ve vanished down the rabbit hole, turned the corner to crazy town, gone full Nazi. They’ve disappeared so deeply into a crazed toxic world view that morality and ethics have broken down.

In the end it all passes the point of no return. It’s evil. That’s how people get there, one step and then another, for any kind of reason, for every kind of reason, without realizing it, we end up down the rabbit hole.

I don’t think I’ll get past Carpay’s transgression, or overlook it or forgive it. To me it’s point of no return. I’ve talked about that in my previous blog post.

But I think it’s significant that he can do what he did, and apparently just get welcomed back into the tribe, into the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms, or whatever they’re calling themselves.

His ‘fall’ really amounted to something we saw before in his career.  He did something awful, then he had to lay low until the outrage died down, then back to business as usual.

It tells us everything we need to know about the organization he heads, it tells us everything we know about the people, the company, the network, the ideology he espouses.  Venal, evil and hypocritical.

I stand for humanity, for decency, for empathy and compassion. I stand for justice and fairness and trying to make the world better.  A guy like Carpay may well say he stands for those things too. But I don’t believe he does. I believe he and his ilk stand against it all. Good or Evil. You make the world better, or you make it worse. As far as I’m concerned, he picked the wrong side.