A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Orwellian Musings

As we end the year that could perhaps be called 'annus horribilis' to use the Queens description of 1992 I find it hard to be optimistic about our future here across the other side of the ocean, or indeed for the rest of the world.

I cannot find the words to effectively put whats in my mind to print but fortunately there are others more effective writers from whom I can steal a few words. A Collingwood writers recent article drew my attention to a piece in the NewYorker which highlights how little things have changed sine Orwell wrote '1984' and 'Animal Farm' both of which should be as much of a warning to us now as they were back in the 1940s.

Ian Chadwick writes:- Pick pretty much any dictatorship or personality-cult government and someone has written about the similarities between it and Trump’s America. With little effort, you can lay out parallels between current and historical events (there are even disturbingly close parallels drawn between it and Orwell’s 1984). It’s a popular trope among political commentators, but it doesn’t solve the problems or address the real issue: greed. ….......

A story on Global News this year was titled, “Canada’s richest families own as much wealth as 3 provinces combined.” It noted:
The country’s most affluent families are worth $3 billion on average, while the median net worth in Canada is just under $300,000, meaning that half of families own more and half less than that. And while wealth at the top grew by $800 million per family between 2012 and 2016, a rate of 37 per cent, Canada’s median net worth grew by only $37,000, an increase of 15 per cent.
A study on Canada’s wealth gap by the Broadbent Institute found that, “Canadians underestimate the breadth and depth of wealth inequality… the distribution of wealth in Canada is different from what Canadians think it is, and a far cry from what they think it should be.”
The NewYorker article, whilst mostly about comparing Trumps actions with Orwells words could easily be taken to be about our new want-to-be dictator here in Ontario, the parrellels between Fords actions and the theme of the two book mentioned above is startling. Some extracts follow.

“There is nothing subtle about Trump’s behavior. He lies, he repeats the lie, and his listeners either cower in fear, stammer in disbelief, or try to see how they can turn the lie to their own benefit. Every continental wiseguy, from Žižek to Baudrillard, insisted that when they pulled the full totalitarian wool over our eyes next time, we wouldn’t even know it was happening. Not a bit of it. Trump’s lies, and his urge to tell them, are pure Big Brother crude, however oafish their articulation. They are not postmodern traps and temptations; they are primitive schoolyard taunts and threats.
The blind, blatant disregard for truth is offered without even the sugar-façade of sweetness of temper or equableness or entertainment—offered not with a sheen of condescending consensus but in an ancient tone of rage, vanity, and vengeance. Trump is pure raging authoritarian id.”

“ Caligula, the mad Roman emperor, infamously appointed his horse Incitatus to the Roman Senate, and that has been for millennia a byword for cracked authoritarian action. But we now know what would happen if Caligula appointed his horse to the Senate if the modern Republican Party happened to be in the majority there: first the Republicans would say that they didn’t want to get into disputes about the Emperor’s personnel choices, and then they’d quickly see how the presence of the horse could help justify dismantling regulations in the horse-chariot industry. “

The fable of 'The Emperor has no clothes' comes to mind for we seem to have a number of our supposed leaders strutting around thinking they are much better clothed than they actualy are!

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