Friday, February 10, 2012


(MCFD is the acronym for Ministry of Children and Family Development.)

Aristotle proposed three fundamental logical laws- the law of identity, the law of non-contradiction and the law of the excluded middle. The law of identity means anything is the same as itself. Therefore, if A is a thing, then A is the same as itself. If MCFD is an agency that prioritizes the best interests of children then that’s what it is. The best interests of the child are synonymous with MCFD.

However, what about the law of non-contradiction? Nothing can possess contradictory characteristics. Therefore, the same thing cannot be both A and not A. A cat for example cannot be white and not white. Nor can MCFD be both consistently for children’s best interests and inconsistently for children’s best interests.

What about the law of the excluded middle? It means either A is true or not A is true. For example, either ‘it is raining’ is true or ‘it is not raining’ is true. There is no middle ground between the two. Either ‘MCFD is 100% Effective’ is true or ‘MCFD is not 100% Effective’ is true.

The points and stories and illustrations to which this blog has written for three years have dramatized and contended that contradictory characteristics of a consistently altruistic and effective ministry directed to deliver all that is in children’s best interests, exist without question and abound beyond imagination. Some choices and the decisions that some (not all) employees and supervisors and directors predictably construct (but which affect all) defy understanding and demand accountability that should categorically release social service people from their jobs. The choices to which I refer are those which too frequently violate human rights and conscience and decency.

I cannot see any logical grounds for maintaining that the Ministry of Children under its present mandate visa vis the Child, Family and Community Services Act should continue to exist.

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  1. I think it is a dangerous comparison saying that child protection is either effective of ineffective. Most things are not black and white like your comparisons (cat is either white or not white, or it is either raining or not raining). One could make the same comparison that open heart surgery is either 100% effective or not 100% effective and since it is not 100% effective it should no longer be a treatment option. If we take this line of thought we could essentially make a claim to discontinue all health care treatments. I think that if something is 80% effective it is something we continue to do. To state that 100% effective is the only way we keep a program is a very odd statement. We could use that rationale to rid the need for school. As School is not 100% effective for everyone.

  2. For ANON 8:30 AM
    You have given me reason to review my syllogisms and process. I appreciate your time and your comment.

  3. I will do a rewrite tomorrow.

  4. Ron; I could not resist reacting to this one. I would not want to tackle the inconsistencies in the logic of the old Greek philosophers. I think the late philosopher Bertrand Russell did that adequately. I would simply like to say that Aristotle was just a human being and his laws were very much a matter of opinion. His opinion. They are not the same sort of reliable laws like Boyle's law, or those of other ancient Greeks like Euclid and Pythagoras. Of course Aristotle was a clever fellow and the function of philosophers is not to be infallible in their deductions, but to get other people thinking.
    However, you too are a clever fellow and I give you full marks for finding an inventive way to make your point. The more I think about "the best interests", the more I find it to be a useless concept. Best interests are simply a matter of opinion and are thus of little value. If somebody says that they are acting in the best interests of the children, I respond "Oh yeah, that is just your opinion. Tell me all the facts on which your opinion is based and I will form my own opinion about the best interests.
    I will have a little something on Monday.

  5. As usual Ray, you feed my mind.


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