Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Well, I am back again. Now settled in, I can resume blogging. Thanks to all of you who cheered on my retirement.

I previously wrote (May 03 05) about intellectual decadence in the US, as exemplified by the spread of irrationalism and superstition. But this is not the only form of decadence, nor is this just an American problem. Where the need to control populations takes precedence over everything else, decadence will always arise.

Political Decadence
With political decadence, all political parties become essentially the same. Today, all mainstream parties - even the Greens - indulge in forms of neoconnery. Gone is any pretense of challenging the corporate system. The elimination of different viewpoints shuts off debate and represses alternative policies. Political health is indicated by multiple parties with different views, which attract and involve the overwhelming majority of the population. Today you have a rapid decline in party memberships, and a fall-off in voting. The channels that would allow gradual change are blocked. A society in a state of political decadence will either collapse, become a dictatorship, or have a revolution.

With political decadence, only inferior individuals decide on a political career. Crusading lawyers, social gospel clergy, academics and statesmen once filled the Commons. (1) These have been replaced by carpetbaggers, hate cultists and semi-literate nobodies. While egotism and graft were always part of politics, now these seem the only reasons for a political career. The old politicians would lie to cover themselves, now they lie as a matter of principle. In the past, even Conservatives were motivated by a desire to help the average person, think only of John Diefenbaker and the Old Age Pension and the Charter of Rights. Today the political game is to harm as many people as you can and then gloat to the media about your crimes.
Media Decadence

Part of the problem of political decadence is rooted in media decadence. Any party which deviates from the party-line that all parties must follow is shouted down and marginalized by the media. Imagine if the NDP actually decided to take on the corporations. They would be inundated with slanderous propaganda.

While the mass media of the 1950's and '60's was also hostile to labour, minorities, the peace and student movements, most of the important writers and commentators were not. In fact, people like Pierre Berton, June Caldwell, Peter Gzoski, Barbara Frum and Alan Fotheringham were progressive and sympathetic. The odd right-wing moon bat was kept around for entertainment purposes only, as ex-MacLeans Magazine editor, Peter Newman claimed of Barbara Amiel, er, rather Lady Black of Crossbarhotel.

Good progressive writers and commentators have not disappeared - think only of Avi Lewis and Naomi Cline . But they are marginalized. The place of Berton, Caldwell etc., has been filled with pudgy nonentities churning out Neocon boilerplate.

Mass media decadence leads people to develop alternative media. But the most of the population is not aware of the alternative sources and relies upon the totalitarian mass media. This leads to a dumbing-down of the population, and the creation of a vicious circle of ignorance and right-wing reaction.

1. John Diefenbaker, the crusading prairie lawyer, Tommy Douglas, the social gospel Baptist minister, Pierre Trudeau, the academic, and Mike Pearson, the statesman.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Sorrows of Retirement

My last day of work was this Friday. I am at once overjoyed to be free at last from wage slavery, yet a bit sad at the same time. No, I will not miss working, it has nothing to do with that. What makes me sad is the thought that my generation might be the last to end a life of slavery with ten or twenty good years left to enjoy living. The corruption our society has undergone in the last 25 years is such, that the rulers in their sociopathic greed are trying to force people to work longer. We have seen pensionable age extended in Italy and the UK and there is much noise in the media about the so-called upcoming social security crisis in the US. Private pensions have disappeared, more correctly stolen by the companies that were once obliged to provide these services to their loyal slaves.
The propaganda that "we cannot afford to pension the boomers" is total rubbish. At most it would cost another couple of percentage points of GDP, and this from a system that has been happy in the past to squander 40% of the GDP on murdering people, oops, sorry, I mean in wars.
Yes, there are jobs from which one would not wish to retire. These are the jobs that integrate life and work. Think of being a professional musician who is paid to play the music he or she likes, or an archeologist. But not much work is like that. Most work is shit work and we do it only to survive. Even if it isn’t shit work, having to do it for 40 hours a week makes it a drag. Hence, the majority of us look forward to our pension cheques and the free time to do what we really want to do.
A foolish person might well ask me, "Why do you care, you got your pension!" I can answer right now, that such a person ignores the fundamental reality that everything is interconnected with everything else. If the younger generation are bullied into working till the last ounce of labor is squeezed out of them, for sure, the society that would do such a thing is going to be unpleasant in other ways. Such greed and inhumanity might mean cutting my pension or the services offered to the elderly. Such amorality might mean the end of medicare. Minimally, the level of suffering would increase and this would have a negative effect upon society as a whole – a society I remain part of. Even if I did not suffer materially, at the very least, it is no pleasure to see others suffer. The suffering of others I consider a degradation of my personal environment.
My sadness has been tempered by the massive demonstrations and strikes in France. The people are revolting against the bloodsuckers who seek to degrade their living standards and working conditions. If this is the beginning of a trend, then future generations will not have to worry about their retirement.
Blogging Change
BCBloggers Code: Progressive Bloggers Site Meter