This is a page of generalizations. So, if something you see here upsets you, I'd ask you to think about it for a bit before you dismiss it out of hand or send me a nasty e-mail. May be, just may be, it contains some truth, and isn't just the mad ravings of a cynical, grouchy, old (well, not really for another twenty-five years) man.



Neo-Conservative: A person whose braincells have been co-opted by our leading corporate "thinkers" who've remembered that at the dawn of the industrial revolution, when ordinary people had no protection from the powerful, profits were much higher than today, and who are determined to take us back there. (For details of life during the early nineteenth century, see the writings of Charles Dickens).

Canada's neo-conservative governments, whether federal or provincial (or the Republican U.S. government, for that matter), are much like the 1996 Hollywood blockbuster "Independence Day". You remember "Independence Day", don't you? It's a thoroughly mediocre, very loud movie with spectacular special effects. The aliens arrive with much hoopla, wreak havoc in the land, particularly in the big cities, and generally cause a lot of grief. In the end, though, they get what they deserve. Naturally! - This is Hollywood, after all! Everybody cheers!

What's the difference between this movie and the above-mentioned governments? After two hours, you can forget the movie - the damage done by the neo-conservatives will last a long time, long after they're gone!

And then, there's the Conservative Party (formerly the Canadian Alliance, formerly the Reform Party), our very own right-wing American Fifth Column!



 "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully 
 as when they do it from religious conviction."  
Blaise Pascal 

Especially fundamentalists of all kinds - christian, jewish, hindu, and muslim. They're all, without exception, joyless, superstitious, narrow-minded, hate-filled bigots! Have I missed anything, or anyone?

But seriously, folks, ... Actually, I'm being serious, not sarcastic.

Religion - well, let's see. The beginnings, 50-100,000 years ago, were very serious of course. It was primitive man trying to explain things he didn't understand. It's nothing if not natural, that under those circumstances supernatural powers should be ascribed to all sorts of things. But that was at the beginning of the reasoning process. Soon, mankind evolved to the point where scientific investigative processes outgrew the mystical. But, of course, many, if not most, people were left behind in the dark, as they always are where progress is concerned. It's so much more comfortable to cling to the old!

And soon, the people who controlled society, whether it was the mediaeval village or, shamefully, the 21st century state, realized that religion, superstition, fear of the unknown, was a powerful tool of control. Control the people's mind, and you control the state!

Remember Karl Marx' best-known saying - Religion is the opiate of the people. (No, I'm not a communist, nor have I ever been one; nor was Karl Marx, for that matter!) But, it's true, nevertheless - religion is a drug which keeps people under control, keeps them quiet, easy to manipulate! The very thing the Conrad Blacks of the world ask for. Have you ever noticed how close religious potentates always are to the rich and politically powerful? Almost without exception, the religiously powerful side with the political right, often ARE the political right.

How does that square with the universal message of the god they claim to speak for?


  The U.S. System of Government   

Democracy for the rich and powerful...

There's no doubt about it, Americans as individuals, are among the nicest, most generous people on this planet. We can all take lessons from them.

The same can't be said of their system of government though, the "greatest democracy the world has ever seen"! It's based on a Frenchman's (Montesquieu) understanding of the British monarchy of the 18th Century. At that time, the British were about halfway between "the divine right of kings" and "parliamentary democracy" - (or closer to the facts, "parliamentary oligarchy").

With that as a starting point, no wonder the U.S. version of "democratic government" became a strange animal indeed. Americans are told by their politicians they are the only really democratic country in the world. Yet, if looked at dispassionately, the U.S. has a system of government where all decisions are made by a few powerful men, a system that only benefits the rich and powerful, where corruption is rampant, and no one in power is held responsible for his/her actions. That's the very definition of oligarchy!

And we Canadians, the closest and "best" neighbour, are in danger of being swallowed up because too many of us can't wait to imitate everything from "down south". Ah well, ignorance is bliss - until the elephant starts to roll over.

The main problem, as I see it, is that the U.S. is refusing to live up to its historic ideals (as expressed in the constitution) and to apply these around the world. As long as American politicians continue to act as though American money owns the world, the U.S. and, by extension, its allies will remain potential targets of any dissatisfied group manipulated to see terror as a solution to real or imagined wrong.

Seen on a banner carried by demonstrators during G.W. Bush's May 2002 visit to Berlin:


(Who says Germans have no sense of humour...?)


  Brian Mulroney  

Even now! Enough said! (Also, Ben!)



  What else?  

Isn't that enough? Relax, things are so sad, they're almost funny! To get away from it all (well, almost), you have to resettle to a South-Pacific Island - more on that later - not even Vancouver Island is far enough away.