Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Pox On All Their Houses

With some regret I concluded before the last election that there was not a national party or national party leader even remotely worth supporting.  They were all, including the polished turd who now camps out in Stornoway, a bunch of dead-enders unwilling to come to grips with the real issues of the day, fixed in 20th century politics and thereby left with no vision whatever for the 21st.

A reader of this blog recently drew my attention to an article chronicling how today's governorship has become incapable of leading, preferring to simply ignore the pressing problems of the day.  How true.   There's no courageous vision to be had on Parliament Hill.

My post yesterday noted that 17 Nobel Laureates, constituting the Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability, warned that "unsustainable patterns of production, consumption and population growth" were imperiling mankind and most other life on our planet.   They emphasized that man absolutely must stop the growth of carbon emissions by no later than 2015 - just four years hence.  Reading their injunctions and then looking at the leadership of our Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats - it was simply too much.

Warnings abound.   Even the World Bank is sounding the alarm.  It reported that, worldwide, major flooding events have tripled over the past three decades.  A threefold increase in just three decades.  And the bank didn't pull any punches on what was causing this either - "human caused climate change."

If you still don't get it, throw on your chest waders and head to Manitoba.  Go a day's drive West and help put out wildfires in Alberta.   Or take a meandering drive through central British Columbia and marvel at how our rich, green forests have turned a lovely shade of rust.

So, how does any of this resonate on Parliament Hill?  Who is sounding the call to arms?  No one.  They can't and for good reason.   They're all stuck in the "growth and jobs" paradigm.   They still view the world through scratchy old 20th century glasses.  They can't meet challenges they prefer not to see.  They're comfortable enough with chicken scratch politics.  They're content to meander the farmyard, scratching the surface in the hunt for an overlooked bit of grain or seed.

20th century politics holds no answers for us in the 21st.  Even the brightest minds at the Pentagon understand this.  Check out this paper, from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, "A National Strategic Narrative."

The assumptions of the 20th century, of the U.S. as a bulwark first against fascism and then against communism, make little sense in a world in which World War II and its aftermath is as distant to young generations today as the War of 1870 was to the men who designed the United Nations and the international order in the late 1940s.

Consider the description of the U.S. president as “the leader of the free world,” a phrase that encapsulated U.S. power and the structure of the global order for decades. Yet anyone under thirty today, a majority of the world’s population, likely has no idea what it means.

The authors explain that the world has passed from the closed system of the 20th century into an open system for the 21st.

[The] strategy of containment was designed for a closed system, in which we
assumed that we could control events through deterrence, defense, and dominance of the international system. The 21st century is an open system, in which unpredictable external events/phenomena are constantly disturbing and disrupting the system. In this world control is impossible; the best we can do is to build credible influence – the ability to shape and guide global trends in the direction that serves our values and interests (prosperity and security) within
an interdependent strategic ecosystem. In other words, the U.S. should stop trying to dominate and direct global events. The best we can do is to build our capital so that we can influence events as they arise.

It's a good read if only to show that 20th century strategies and pursuits will avail us little in the 21st.  That holds true for security, geopolitics, economics and environmental challenges.

What does the "vision" that I find so lacking in Canadian political leadership look like?  That's easy.  It looks like the honest, open and forthright policies introduced by Labour and reinforced by Britain's current Conservative government.  Our leaders, the lot of them, instead shirk their responsibility to do at least as much for Canadians as British governments are doing for their citizens.

If the Liberal Party sincerely wishes to rebuild, to redeem its credibility, this is where they can do it.  Take up this challenge, make it their own.  Shape a vision of government for Canada in the 21st century.  Leave these putzes to wallow in the last century.  The crises and challenges are building.   They're not going away.  Canada won't be immune to them either.  If you accept those truths, you're well on the way to charting a path for a Liberal renaissance.  If not, you deserve your demise.


Anonymous said...

Maybe you should take a look at the Green Party.

Uncommoner said...

On the topic of Human Potential and the Political Process in Canada I am long past optimism and fast approaching that peculiar tipping point between apathy and nihilism.

Can we fix all our problems? Absolutely, we are a wealthy nation with a reasonably intelligent population. Will we? Hell no, that would harm the bottom line and impact profits for the top 1%.

The true bottom line, I think, is that sometime very soon we will either revolt violently against what is being done to us... or we'll wake up and find that it's too late and everything we've managed to build is going to be lost.

The Mound of Sound said...

Anon, I do follow the Green Party. It is clearly unmatched on environmental matters but remains, like the others, saddled with obsolete views on most other things.

@ Unc. Some have already called the 21st the "Century of Revolution" but I think that's too optimistic. Century of Revolution and Violent CounterRevolution may be more appropriate. As we're seeing in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, the as yet unconsolidated uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt may have fueled wishful thinking.

Anonymous said...

As long as we have a fool such as Harper, leading this country, count on more greenhouse gas emissions. Harper supports, the dirtiest energy on the face of this earth, the Alberta dirty tar sands. The eco damage the dirty tar sands is causing, is horrendous. From space, the dirty tar sands, are an abomination of the face of Canada.

Our idiot ex premier Campbell, signed in favor of the filthy grunge, to be picked up by China's dirty tankers, at the Port of Kitimat. The seas there, are the most dangerous seas in the world. The winds can knock you right off your feet. The waves are so high, and the channel is very narrow, with under the sea rock shelves. The Enbridge pipeline, will go over, thousands of rivers, streams and land. Enbridge has the worst reputation for pipe bursts, in the world.

The people of BC are going to support, the First Nations people, to stop this atrocity. Harper and Campbell can take the grunge in individual jam cans, for all we care. Just keep that filthy crap, out of BC.

The Mound of Sound said...

I agree, Anon. While I don't dismiss Harper as a "fool" I think he's quite dangerous.

So far I've met nary a BC'er who truly understands what is intended to be shipped in these tankers. People think of it as simple crude oil, the stuff of the Exxon Valdez accident. They don't know that is a highly corrosive, toxic sludge laden with heavy metals. This is genuinely lethal stuff and it will cause irreparable ruin if a tanker tuns into trouble.

Few BC'ers I've spoken to are aware of the navigational hazards of the Kitimat site - rocks, currents, tides, narrows, fog and storms. They also have a poor understanding of the record of tanker accidents and their causes.

The more you learn about this supertanker port venture the more reprehensibly reckless it appears.

I believe you're right. This will generate widespread civil disobedience and quite probably violence.