Sunday, 28 February 2010

Inertia, Hope, and Intellectual Dishonesty

The topics above are not written in any particular order. On the second one, my hope, like everyone, is that the boys can bring home the gold today. Other than that, a perusing of the political calendar lately has led me to witness a lot of subjects one and three, and that, my friends, is cause for anything but hope.

It really is a shame, but the hard lesson I am taking in as I get older is that when there is no moral impetus to act, you cannot get people to consider things outside of their narrow self interests. Let me rephrase that: without visible moral impetus that directly affects the majority of people's livelihoods here and now, because of course there has always been a moral impetus. Right now, people are being given the choices and justification needed to keep their heads in the sand. And it's infuriating.

When I saw a page comparing the various declared position of Toronto mayoral candidates, I was not surprised to see the wannabe non-entity Rocco Rossi make a shameless oppurtunist plea to suburban middle class voters by firmly declaring himself on the side of the car, a moribund and outdated mode around which to organize the society. Not that I would expect anything less from a career businessman and fundraiser than to throw principles and scruples to the wind and go after the low hanging fruit. Status Quo is so much easier, so much more comfortable, than ambition and vision. No wonder. You talk to boomers about the numbered days of cars and the blank expression and dismissal that you get is palpable. "What...me? Live without car? You are insane, you know that." Yes, I am insane. Insane for thinking that you will do anything other than drive your damn cars until every last drop of petroleum on earth is used up, while calling me "crazy" and "irresponsible" in the process. Not that they don't get it. They're all for admiring China and Europe's cities' transit infrastucture - well-functioning, fast trains, walkability, cyclability, but for some reason here we can't build a shitty subway extension to Yorl University without a thirty year and counting stomachache. Then again, when you're running against a guy who has proposed a red light district and using the Canadian Army against Toronto street gangs, maybe its just best to look away from the spectacle entirely.

Similarly, everyone knows our nations finances are absolutely f-----, and there are hard choices to be made, but its like we willfully acknowledge the reality that all of our politicians have to be oppurtunist by definition and no tough choices will be made. We are choosing to drink the kool aid, which this and other newspapers continue to report on in their opinion pages. "We will not raise taxes, cut spending, or increase the deficit." Given the state of the nation's finances right now, that's like saying I'm going to quit my job, go buy a bunch of stuff on credit, and get my finances back on track. Most people aren't this irresponsible. Yet we allow politicians to play this stupid game with us on a grand scale

Two examples. You'll always find many. Einstein was right, we can't solve tomorrow's problems with yesterday's thinking. But I have a confession, this blog was written before and after the Gold medal game. I feel pretty good, I'm gonna go chill out.

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