Monday, October 26, 2015

Back to Reality, People, and Put Your Shoulder Into It.

It's magical thinking, belief-based opinion making that can be completely detached from fact, reality.

It was the thought process that guided our outgoing prime minister. The world and everyone and thing in it were what he believed them to be. His was a mind not heavily burdened with the pursuit of fact. The fight against climate change was a socialist plot, that sort of thing. That's not to say he wasn't also a duplicitous, secretive, manipulative swine. He was all that and more.

I regularly indulge in belief-based constructs. It happens throughout the night as I sleep. We call it dreaming. Sometimes I imagine I can do the most amazing things as though I had never endured the toll exacted by six decades of life. Then I wake up and the switch is flipped back to consciousness and reality.

My point is that nap time is over. Back to reality. Facts in, fantasy out. Evidence in, belief out. Rationality in, ideology out. There'll still be plenty of speculation, opinion but it has to be informed opinion - expert opinion - and measured speculation, not gut instinct faith.

The embrace of magical thinking by our former prime minister and his dutiful minions has left us in a bad place - economically, politically, environmentally and even socially. This has given rise to any number of failures - on climate change; inequality in all its guises (wealth, income, opportunity); the rise of corporatism, neoliberalism and illiberal democracy; futile militarism in lieu of peacekeeping; unsustainable exponential growth; energy policy; Canada's now sullied international reputation - on and on and on.

We have to begin to halt the slide on all of these issues/threats.  That's a truly Herculean chore beyond any prime minister. Trudeau cannot set all these things right. He has neither the resources nor the time. What he can do, however, is struggle to slow them down as much as possible. He can buy us time so that perhaps we can find solutions, new approaches to some, perhaps even most of them.

When you explore these looming threats it's amazing how you'll find most of them are rooted in ideology. Not only are they conceived out of ideology but that same ideology nurtures and defends them by encouraging denialism. As a nation, a people, we can't live like this any more.

Justin's father had a motto: Reason over Passion. We could use a return to that now.


Anonymous said...

Lorne said...

Perhaps one of the hardest things to break will be the wishful notion that we can accomplish everything that needs to be done with no additional costs to us, Mound. That has been one of the most insidiously successful pieces of fantasy that the neoliberal agenda has promoted over the years.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Anon. Interesting. Thanks for the link.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Lorne - you're absolutely right. We have been living a life of comfort and plenty that has been conjured up at the expense of future generations.

One of the most powerful arguments used to thwart any meaningful action on climate change is "why should we sacrifice today when the benefits of what we forego will accrue only to future generations? What's in it for us?"

When you frame the argument that way it's easy to conjure up images of destroyed economies and economic catastrophe all for some vague promise for the future.

We rarely hear the counter. It goes something like this, "Look we know, just based on the atmospheric carbon levels we have today, that our kids, certainly our grandkids, will inherit a world that is far more dangerous, far more difficult than what we enjoy today. That is a matter of scientific certainty. The question then is by what right do we proceed with business as usual knowing that will only ensure those future generations have a more dangerous, difficult time of it than need be? Does our prosperity entitle us to inflict greater suffering on them?

Obviously only the most monstrously selfish could argue with that proposition. That's the only way we can reclaim that essential narrative. Without doing that, we're screwed.

LeDaro said...

Mound, it is going to be very hard for Trudeau to overcome all the problems which Harper caused at home and through his foreign policy. So far Trudeau comes across that he understands monumental job ahead of him to undo the harm caused by Harper. We will have to wait and see how it unfolds. I believe that Trudeau will do better. His thoughts on foreign policy sound good. How would he deal with problems at home is yet to be seen especially big oil companies, pipelines and global warming.

The Mound of Sound said...

I agree, LD. We have to expect some stumbles. What matters is that he gets up and keeps trying.

latte swilling West Coaster said...

We have to hope that Mr Trudeau will have some strong advisors to help him sort out this crap fest Harrper created. We have to expect he is not going to fix everything that is broken right away. It is going to take years to unravel the disasterous rats nest of bad governance and flawed foreign policy, disasterous environmental policy, as for domestic policy the only one Harper had was fear, racism, and intolerance and that is where he wanted every Canadian, because if you lived in his version of fear as the reality then he knew there would be no accountability and he could do as he wished and he was in control .

i hope Mr Trudeau can rebuild our Nation's standing in the international community and provide good foreign policy. As a country we need to collectively work on making the future brighter for generations to come, that is what democracy does. We have been very poor caretakers of our country over the last few years and if we don't get our collective Canadian crap together there will be nothing left and no future for anyone living here.

As a latte swilling west coaster I want to know that in future elections won't be decided before our polls close, it is more than a little disheartening. One of the biggest things we need to look at is electoral and senate reform. I want to see better representation reflected country wide, and I dont want the sole purpose of my vote to be a strategic vote used throw an idiot out of office. I want my vote to reflect in the candidate that I think will hold it as the treasure it is. Somewhere along the way I think politicans have forgotten how hard Canadians have for fought for freedom, equality and justice, and think if someone aspires to be a politician they better keep in mind who employs them, the Canadian people.

For the first time in 33 years of voting I stood staring at my ballot for minutes wondering what the hell I was going to do and how to mark the X that would make a difference and bring change. I thought about spoiling my ballot, but then thought of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are fighting for this precious gift - the right to vote.

Mr Trudeau needs to get in there and see how bad things really are before he can really do any big things to repair the country and in my estmation it is going to take a lot of hard work and collaboration in the liberal party and with other Canadian parties. Then you have to figure out how a primarily conservative senate is going to cooperate or NOT and the impact of they will have on his ability to get work done, Personally I think we should throw all the buggers out and elect the senate & limit terms. We are in for some very interesting times, buckle up kids its going to be a bumpy ride.

It is going to be a tough row to hoe, but in the end if we all work at it we may leave future generations a sustainable viable Canada.