Sunday, 22 April 2012

What Gandhi Said

In Canada, we have a facist government in power. "Oh. It's not so bad," Canadians say, "once you get to know them." But this is a form of denial wrought by political apathy and cultivated ignorance of history and human nature. It is a sign of decay: the crumbling infrastructure and human capacity, economic hardship, diplomatic indifference... the irresistible forces of history repeat themselves because human nature is bred to lazy optimism even in the face of grave danger because success and hard-work of our ancestors lulls us into thinking we are entitled to the same (without the heavy lifting and the cuts and dirt of work, mind).

Every once in a while, rays of divine light shine through. If we would just recognize that our personal imperfections (perceived and real) are no excuse for denial, inaction and paralysis, we'd see that optimism and love are not just campy concepts but real possibilities of cultivable, learned characteristics of the best we can be.

One of the most inspiring lights of human history laid out a workable road-map with warning signs for human thriving (but one that requires our active engagement and conscious awareness to be actualized) which he wrote on a piece of paper and gave to his grandson shortly before his assassination. He called it, The Seven Blunders of the World:

Wealth without work;
Pleasure without conscience;
Knowledge without character;
Commerce without morality;
Science without humanity;
Worship without sacrifice;
Politics without principles.

Wealth without work:
Peter Mackay are not "one of us". MacKay is descended from aristocracy (the third earl of Caledon and the first earl of Verulam). The way he carries himself is bred into his character. His "entitlements" to helicopters and f-35s are part and parcel of who he is;

Pleasure without conscience:
"You're either with us or the child pornographers": Toews is said to have carried on a seven year affair with his baby-sitter [who would have been 10 years old when they started]... Toews' ex-wife's allegations of his lavish spending habits on meals and housing, paid for by the public purse, and details on how he's stiffed his ex-wife on support payments. ...contrasted Toews' behaviour with his past statements on the importance of marriage back when he was being wheeled out to prop up the Conservatives' family values (anti-gay-marriage) platform.

Knowledge without character:
The sorry state of affairs that is the governments-aboriginal relations. Aboriginals have the unfortunate distinction of being a poor, disenfranchised group of Canadians with land rights. It has always been the federal and provincial governments' interest to keep the Anishinabe (ie, first peoples) ignorant and dependent on the state; real knowledge is anathema to the state so it is denied us. Mainstream Canadians are also kept ignorant of Canada's history in this respect because knowledge means conscience and demands action;

Commerce without morality:
Deregulation of environmental and market safeguards; the demonization of labour movements.

Science without humanity:
When you have technical and technological know-how that is potentially lucrative but destructive to public and environmental well-being and you carry through anyway, your humanity is lost. Cherry-picking then becomes a pathetic attempt to regain what cannot be recovered easily (without hard-work and reform);

Worship without sacrifice:
The Conservatives' family and religious (as opposed to "spiritual") values demand that you only conform publicly ( as Toews' shameful personal life and blatant hypocrisy shows) - the better if you come from the "right" stock and protestant "faith" - else your ethnicity/religion has electorial value every four years though it doesn't hurt trying to become "Canadian";

Politics without principles:
"Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it", "if you're like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians", and "the NDP [New Democratic Party] is kind of proof that the Devil lives and interferes in the affairs of men." -Stephan Harper. He is not only extremely arrogant but does not believe in Canada as a democratic, humane and tolerant society.

These are dark days; moderate, thoughtful persons would be told that moderation and decorum are passe; that only the strong and willing deserve a place in the public discourse. The Liberal Party may be dead in their eyes but that doesn't mean that there aren't people left with liberal, humanist values.


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