politics and plagiarism

At the end of 2004, the National Post fired me for plagiarism. I copied without attribution four sentences on celebrity mischief from Jonah Goldberg, the conservative columnist for National Review.  Needless to say, it wasn’t deliberate, it was sheer unadulterated sloppiness, for which I have no excuse.  That said, being fired was a great relief.  In fact, relief lifted off me in waves for months afterwards, leaving pleasure rolling along my nerves and running through my veins.  I had a Mona Lisa smile fixed on my face for about a year.  I made no effort to a) explain myself or b) get my job back, except for a brief note of apology to readers.

Since then I have published a major book (Eco-Fascists) at Harper Collins in New York, edited by Adam Bellow, Saul Bellow’s son, wrote a handful of columns for the Globe and Mail and a few other papers, including the National Post, and four policy papers for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, on the policy behind the book.  I’ve done dozens of radio shows, in massive, big and small markets, and gave a handful of speeches in California, Ontario, and Alberta.  The book I wrote identified the reason for the Trump victory in 2016, since I outlined in it, the reasons that rural and small city men and women were in such astonishing distress.  Both the Democratic party, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times stated the reason Clinton lost was that the Dems ignored rural voters.

After I was fired I received distressed reader mail, including one from a just-retired CEO of the Royal Trust, a major bank here in Canada, saying that I had had over a million readers who would miss me.  Here’s what a million readers did to me: it made me crazy.  There was way too much heat around me.  People really hated me or really loved me.  And, it brought out the crazies.  At the time I was fired I had five stalkers.  One of them had sold his seats on the Toronto Stock Exchange, moved to my island and proceeded to issue hundreds of drunken protestations of love, to be immediately followed by death threats.  The RCMP had to get involved, he was thrown in jail for uttering threats many times, and at one juncture, the head of the detachment called me to say that he could not guarantee my safety if I stayed on the island.  The Crown took this poor man to court on my behalf twice, and eventually, he died of pneumonia brought on by a lifetime of drug and alcohol abuse. And bad karma for very nearly destroying my life.

I still don’t know why I was hated so much.  I guess I dropped into the political discussion of the time on the wrong side. Or perhaps any side will do?  Perhaps it was the betrayal?  I came from the left, two red-diaper babies got me my first jobs in journalism – their parents were proud Communists.  I had a child out of wedlock, a million gay friends, worked in the arts to put myself through school.  I built a hyper-green house in a forest, I placed under a permanent no-touch covenant. I even have a salmon-enhancement pond, and my house is carbon neutral. What’s conservative about that?  But I love Christians, am a fiscal conservative, think less regulation spurs more human creativity, and I believe in the utter freedom and self-determination of the individual.  I also believe in service.  I am going to leave the topic right here.  I am so sick of it, I cannot emphasize that more.