Long ago, in student days, I read a couple of plays by Albert Camus, Caligula and Le malentendu, each of which dealt with some fairly weighty questions that get left out of most of the day-to-day conversation. With thoughts of a couple of other Camus pieces (Noces and L’été) that had shown me a side of the author not generally acknowledged (reflections of sun-drenched vistas and the general beauty offered by nature, however indifferent or absurd that nature might be), I plunked down some serious coin for a Pleïade edition of the man’s complete works and invest some time in broadening that horizon while keeping some language skills activated.
As is often the case with works read in the deep past, the reader’s perspective will have morphed through piled up time and experience, and such is the case with Caligula, a ruler who has forsaken the conventions for his own individual struggle with a lack of limits, something that rings true with a number of authoritarian administrations, yet only partially in the case of our own Mr. Trump (he is a product of a confused and twisted world, and therefore belongs to all of us). The big difference between Trump and his Roman analog is that Caligula is fully conscious of who he is, what he is doing, and the nature of his relationship to those he rules. As devastating as Caligula’s rule might have seemed at the time, the threats to civilization posed by Trump and his associates are, if you’ll pardon a smarmy Camusian observation, existential.
And I’m sure it’s an utter coincidence that I arrived at this particular spot in Camus’ oeuvre at this juncture in the Trump narrative (impeachment, assassination of the top Iranian military figure).
So, as Huffpost opines, Justin Trudeau and a new star candidate for the fall election: Terry Lake, former minister of Health in the BC government of Christy Clark.
Lots of folks used to insist that Clark’s idea of a Liberal was different from the Federal Party, but the lat three-and-a-bit years of Trudeau’s reign will have solidly put paid to that notion. In fact, there are pictures of CC and PMSH seated side-by-side where it seems it would be easy to substitute the the-PM for our current cardboard cutout. While Lake seemed to be less aggressive in his pursuit of the bent dealings that characterize most of what happened during the Campbell/Clark years, he was still a willing participant in the shenanigans and is unlikely to be terribly constructive in the context of a Federal government. This reminds me a little of the revolving door between Federal appointees and Industry, both here and south of the border. Anyone exercising a modicum of neural networks will know that it doesn’t much matter who the Libs and Cons throw up in front of us as a candidate because policy isn’t formulated in cabinet: it comes from the board rooms of Bay Street and Oil Alley in Calgary (also SNC, Irving, Davie, various Pharma and Ag giants…). So Sad.
Another dead giveaway that we’re seeing an opportunist supporting other opportunists? In the above link, it states that it was Trudeau’s Climate Plan that brought him to filing for candidacy, and we’ve had ample opportunity to discern that said Climate Plan is full of lovely rhetoric, and no action, or actions that no sane person would include in a plan to scale back the destruction of the planet’s life systems. Interesting how groups of the like-minded mendacious find each other and connect.
BC Ferries is quoted this morning, in the Times-Colonist, as having said that he’d love to build the billion-dollar-plus fleet expansion locally, but that it would force a 25% rise in fares. In his chat with the Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Collins used the appropriate corporate language to detail how it is much more expensive to build in BC without ever mentioning what it is that forces the extra expenditure. Take a guess: might it be labour costs? Do Polish shipyard workers have the same benefits as those in Canada?
This puts Collins and BC Ferries squarely in the camp of those willing to shop away and live on benefits locally, altogether typical of our current globalized business system, and with Collins’ way of doing business, anyone who uses the ferries, anyone who pays taxes in BC, becomes complicit in this scheme where costs are reduced on the backs of others and benefits accrue to the few, including Mr. Collins himself, who feasts at the public trough. There is a cost to run a just and equitable society, and the globalist routine glosses over that cost, inciting citizens to consume ever larger quantities of shoddy imported goods whose primary purpose is to generate profit margins on externalized costs rather than providing goods and services of proven and durable utility.
BC Ferries is a utility, despite whatever the “corporation” might do to mold itself into a cruise line and vacation package provider. Its core business is transport of people and vehicles across stretches of local waters as an extension of the highway system, a definition that seems to apply to ferries in the Interior of the province, but that seems to have been forgotten when it gets to the Coast.
It’s interesting to note that there is a company working partly out of Richmond, BC, that is helping to produce battery-operated vessels for cruise outfits in Norway (they also have an office in Oslo, it seems): Corvus. In addition, we also have considerable shipbuilding and maintenance facilities and the skills to run them in both Vancouver and Victoria areas, although the principals in question declined to comment on Collins’ remarks, per the Times-Colonist piece. It would be interesting to see a triple-bottom-line audit on BC Ferries’ projects with both the costs and benefits of building locally in a chart side-by-side with the globalist procurement chain, and please, let’s include the federal taxes that the previous government forgot to include in some of their overseas purchases.
I’m feeling snowed under. Aside from some recreational reading (C.J. Sansom at the moment), some long-time head-scratching (Les oeuvres complètes de Camus, Éditions de la Pléïade) and the usual daily read-around on the Net, there are particular bits of interest that keep popping up and fighting for time in the midst of family considerations, gardening (indoors, thus far, mostly) and playing a little music on the side.
An e-mail from the Post Carbon Institute sent me off to this (you’ll need to leave a name and valid e-mail address) on an emerging aspect of the transformation that will be necessary for humanity to progress and thrive. Bring it on!
A regular read-around site is the Blog Borg Collective who posted a piece by Robin Matthews, a veteran of the Bas, Bas and Virk BC Rail slog. And now I see they’ve added a bit about Andrew Wilkinson and his wacky period of renting. OK, I can do that.
Then Facebook, I think via the South Africa Food Tank group, coughs up something like this, a likely way to kill off another hour or so, at least. Hmmm.
Let’s add this to the pile, via a friend and further to a discussion relating to Transitions Health Check.
I get notes from Corey Robin about interesting discussions around and about intellectuals in places somewhat more steeped in intellectual activity than my present abode. So this appeared this morning. I’m not sure I want to spend the morning with Friedrich Hayek, but the perspective is important.
There were a couple of articles on The Tyee this morning more than worthy of reading in depth (my call).
And then there are volumes of Youtube video discussions along these lines to add to the heap.
Have you ever felt like a gum-chewing teen standing on the threshold of an outlet mall?
Is a pattern emerging? The bad news is that there is so much commentary because there is such a litany of misdeeds and malfeasance in all levels of society and in almost all areas of endeavour. The good news is that there are so many people concerned enough for the welfare of other people and that of society in general to run down the stories and to put them in front of those who will listen.
Sadly, there just isn’t time to do it all. Please consider taking up the task and supporting those already hard at work correcting what ails us.
While it is deemed that economic impacts may not be considered in the implementation of a DPA, it seems we can always find a way around any roadblocks inhibiting special treatment of our special friends in business.
The above is from the paper of record (for a lot of folks) and hints neatly at how the PMO can do it’s due obeisance to SNC so as to preserve votes in Québec. The law doesn’t do what we want it to do? The law, slack as it is, might cut SNC off the public trough? Wait, we can change the law, and deem it retroactive to the time of Methuselah, just, y’know, to be sure.
(with the gracious permission of the author: (http://deadder.net/)
To no one’s great surprise, the NEB put its stamp of approval on the “revised” application for the construction of the TransMountain Pipeline, even the ‘new-and-improved’ model looks an awful lot like the original shabby sham of an oil-lobby grease job. This represents an utter failure of governance in Canada (not to mention the effect this will have on our atmosphere, oceans, storms, wildfires, sea-level rise and the rest of the disruption catalogue). None of these parties seems to get that, for our society to continue to exist, we have to leave this gunk safely buried in the ground, and, while the time to begin the process of weaning ourselves off our present addiction was several decades ago, we didn’t do that, so that makes now the next best option.
Justin Trudeau, campaigning in the last general election, deployed the full-spectrum Liberal strategy of saying most anything to get elected, particularly at the expense of Tom Mulcair, knowing that many were just so tired of the Conservative wet blanket of the previous decade that they would go to great lengths to unseat the Harper crowd. All those glowing campaign promises and the soaring rhetoric that filled the earliest of the sunny days disappeared into a morass of same-old, same-old once the rubber hit the road. Meanwhile, the Conservative Party settled on a brand new face for the same blood-sport capital sell-out that characterized the Harper years, but with dimples and a complete lack of either gravitas of intellect. The New Democrats turfed Mulcair and replaced him with Singh, a seemingly decent guy who seems to need to check the weathervane before making a policy pronouncement, and even then, doesn’t necessarily stick to it.
These three stooges have taken centre stage in Canadian governance against the backdrop of an economy that serves only a relative few, a frayed social fabric, simmering internal divisions, and an environment that threatens to become entirely inhospitable to life in general, and specifically a teetering technological human society. All three major national leaders continue to play in the sandbox of Canadian politics as though it’s 1950 and a new era of prosperity and progress awaits us, rather than recognizing the crises into which we’ve already entered and educating us as citizens as to the necessary steps in mitigation, adaptation and revamping that will be necessary to ensure that the numerous offspring of the Trudeau and Scheer households have a shot at a decent life. Instead of mining more goop from the tar sands, why not put those yellow vests to work doing something constructive, building renewable energy infrastructure, reforestation and agricultural rejigging to ensure that we all get fed and that more people can work the land in a regenerative fashion?
This isn’t happening because none of our leaders has the courage to say what many of us know and then to take the steps necessary to throw off the ties that bind them to their handlers and the people whose interests the handlers represent: banking, pharma, Big Ag, the arms dealers, tech companies and, above all, fossil fuel concerns. Those whose good gigs are suffering because so much wealth has already left the country and even the slightest steps toward sanity feel like persecution. No one has been able to decouple a good living from the insanity of the oilfields, and it’s unlikely at this point that people are going to lend much credence to anything that comes from the mouths of our most august leaders.
Elizabeth May stands out as the only leader to do the right thing: she went and got herself arrested protesting TMX, and so need say little else. It would be too much to hope for a minority government next October with May and several colleagues holding the balance of power. Ephemeral though it might be, it would at least have a chance at airing some serious concerns in the kabuki theatre that is the Commons.
It seems a matter of routine that Frederich Hayek and his crowd get cited when some economist of another wants to echo the championing of what we wishfully call the Free Market. Hayek built some of the foundation for the Friedman/Buchanan/Thatcher/Reagan/Etc/Etc philosophy of the golden shower trickle down theory of economics used so frequently to stock the Kochs’ larders and kiss DJT’s posterior.
Hayek had an evil twin, Karl Polanyi, who, along with Hayek, was graced with a “Nobel” in economics, but whose book, The Great Transformation, has been mouldering away in corners of libraries, collecting dust, when not being used as fire starter, bird cage liner and more ignominious uses by the victims of Hayek’s triumphant selfishness. Simply, Polyani posited that collective action was more likely to produce general prosperity than rugged individualism. I read this twenty years ago following up on some things I had read in Linda McQuaig’s works, and I had to read it in French because that was the only copy available on inter-library loan.
This all comes up because Manny Mac over in the Elysée Palace is having to come to grips with some economic/social, hence political. conundrum, and imagine my surprise when I saw this as a head on the front page of Libération:
My concern, of course, is that the whole planet could spiral down the crapper even in the infinitesimal amount of time that the sharpest of French minds would consume in reading the Polanyi treatise. Too bad, so sad, but we could perish knowing that help might have been headed our way.
Long time follower of French politics (long story). Nicolas Hulot quit yesterday as minister of the environment. He came out of EELV and has a rep as a serious enviro. His appointment was obviously part of the window-dressing by Manny Mac as an enticement to elect his fledgling Les Républicains En Marche as an alternative to the failed Socialists (he worked for a spell as minister of the economy under Hollande) and their failed Sarko counterparts. Surprise! As with Horgan, Trudeau and so many others, Macron has turned out to be more of the same crowd that kisses the toes of the rich and demands sacrifices for the serfs. Watching the rationale of pretty much all government agencies reminds me of watching post-game conferences with athletes: you can almost cite the page from the Book of Excuses, Lauds and Other Clichés.
You’re correct that no one wanting power will tell the increasingly awful truth, sacrifiicng the future on the altar of power now, and making the requisite sacrifices unbidden is like resigning from society, besides which I have to furnish my own tin hats.
I saw part of the interview in the course of which Hulot announced his resignation, apparently without letting anyone (wife, president of the republic) know, and the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was the presence of an uninvited lobbyist at a meeting at the Élysée Palace, and a subsequent announcement in favour of the group represented by the lobbyist. He finds it repugnant that lobbyists can be so close to the centre of decision making, and that they can wield the sort of influence that seems unavailable to the voters.
Methinks Dame Cathy and her Court have missed the lectures on climate disruption, but are still willing to attempt to score political points trying to wrap themselves in a cloak of the greenest of fig-leafery. In this race, the Crudeau crowd wants to win by taking six giant steps backward before the opening gun goes off. Sadly for them, and well and good for the rest of the planet, there are others who have been tortising along for a couple of decades and have splendid results to show for it. But, hey, we’ve got a crud oil pipeline and fossil fuel subsidies and Alberta has found the magic spell that’s keeping Canada working, or at least those in the advertising industry who are best at half-truths and outright fabrications. It’s a good thing that Scheer’s goose steppers are going to start talking about abortions again so that Justin can get re-elected on a raft of recycled and new promises that he can then break. So sad.
End note: It’s good that we now know (via the Lancet) that we can commit slow and blissful suicide by single malt.
Many sources have indicated that Maxime Bernier is quitting the caucus of the Conservative Party of Canada, likely because it isn’t a true libertarian paradise. The trigger irritant seems to have been the idea that our own JT is practicing extreme multiculturalism, and that too much diversity will destroy Canada. He says, or one of his spokespeople said, that he wants to create a party based on free market principles, along the lines of the Wild Rose Party in Alberta, and yada yada. He doesn’t like supply management, unions, public anything and definitely not the idea of The Commons in any form. Let the market decide.
The problem with the market is that it already exists and is a creation of capital controlled by a small and very entitled group of people. So when we start this free market, there’s never a reset where everyone starts out with the same resources and the same opportunities, but we carry on the fiction of a free market, even though our executive, legislative and judicial apparatus uses a set of scales with a heavy thumb on the side of those already most well-off. It would be laughable that Bernier finds the current CPC to be morally corrupt, given that his major objection is that they don’t stand for a vision based on a pure enough version of greed. As John Kenneth Galbraith quipped:
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
Bernier’s Free Market Party would strive to take us to greater depths of economic and social disparity. My sense is that we’re already teetering on the edge of the abyss as it is without having someone like Mad Max pouring further combustible on the flames.