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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Know Your Enemy



WAR ROOM PRO TIP: Don't call Trump "president." Call him Trump, Mr., etc. But don't ever bestow legitimacy on opponent.  


Here's the problem with this.

In a democracy, other parties aren't your enemy.  They are representatives of differing perspectives. There will be points sides agree or disagree on, as has always been the case in Canada - in fact, the three main parties tend to agree on way more issues than they disagree.

Winning is about beating an opponent, though, and politics is about power - not policy, but the ability to be the one who implements it, to the exclusion of others.  

So, the war room.

Politics in this country has always been pugilistic, but in my experience it's only gotten militaristic in the past 20 years or so.  In that time, steadily growing teams of opposition research and such has been employed and deployed to disrupt other parties.  Messaging has gone way over the top, presenting foes not as dumb or "not up to the job" but as existential threats.

This kind of "don't legitimise your opponents, even if they've been legitimised by the electorate" stuff is all part of that.

It's putting down the opponent, creating and trying to push your own version of reality.  That pisses people off.  It's pissed people off so much, in fact, that more than a few people are willing to back guys who say fuck you to the "established players" and their increasingly removed-from-reality games.

Which reminds me of the scenario below.

Who do you want to delegitimze Trump to?  Anyone who likes him is going to feel even more justified in doing so, and in ignoring you, if you play these sorts of games.  Everyone else already agrees.

Don't focus on what you call the guy - focus on the people who don't trust you.

Because they aren't your enemy, but you've sure given them cause to view you as theirs.

Image result for locke and jaime lannister

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

You Can't Be a Christian and a Traditionalist at the Same Time


At least, Traditionalism in the way Julius Evola meant it:


Brotherly contamination?  Purge oneself of feeling united with others?

That's not true to any religion - in fact, all the world's major religions, including Christianity and Islam, preach the opposite.

The Golden Rule is universal, not individual or national isolationism or superiority.

The story of religion - of faith, and of humanity - has moved in the opposite direction.

The notion of the superhuma n ancestor, of whatever ethnicity, is a myth.  Even the concept of a set, unevolving "race" is pure fabrication.

Diversity is strength.  That which adapts, survives; that which grows in symbiosis with other organisms grows stronger through the process, whether it's genes in a body, individuals in a society, or plants in a garden.  Ecosystems, the meta, are not bred from competition, but co-dependency, the whole that becomes more than the sum of its parts.

Trump, like so many others before him, have sought power by dividing and conquering, by building walls, demonizing specific ethnic, religious or other groups.  Bannon does the same thing, but less from a selfish desire for power than a tribal sense of power that is his tribe's by right.  Like he's being nudged on by a little voice on his shoulder.

Neither Trump, who could care less, nor Bannon, who has gone deep into the "alt-right" land of divide and conquer/tribal superiority and nativism have thought much about the "traditional" origins of such notions.  Nor whom they are attributed to.

If they did, they might find themselves puzzled by the nature of his game.

He's pleased to meet them, though - and hopes they guess his name.



Monday, 6 February 2017

So how do these things connect?


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PMO’s new Canada-U.S. relations ‘war room’ unit seen as ‘smart,’ considered unprecedented


Ottawa’s anti-radicalization centre to look at all forms of hate including alt-right: Goodale


CSIS Highlights White Supremacist Threat Ahead Of Radical Islam


Canada has a natural constituency for Trump to tap into - not many, but enough Canadians buy into pieces of is narrative, anyway.  And ultra-right media are ready and willing to fan the flames.

Yes, there's the trade front, and other areas of trans-national engagement that will be impacted by this.  
We equally have to be consequences of what potential reactions will be here at home.

This doesn't mean standing up to Trump is worth the effort; doing the right thing always is.

Even more important, especially now, is not wavering from what we stand for.


Monday, 28 November 2016

Hate isn't a Purifying Force - It's a Poison




Is it that bad?  Is that really what the alt-white fear?


Maybe it's just rhetoric, a line to draw attention.

“My strong suspicion is that it’s really not about the policy. It’s about controlling the conversation. What is everybody talking about?”

Just business; hit the button that gets the result you want, even if it means hurting someone else in the process.


It's like a boxing match, right?  When the bell tolls, the match is done, the competitors shake hands and go out for drinks.

Politics is a blood sport, they say.

Except it isn't.  It's not an arena, it's not entertainment - and winning isn't the end of the match.


That was the basic ideology behind Apartheid.  Apartheid, like any oppressive regime, isn't about sport, friendly competition, aggressive play.  It's about dominance, which is about suppression.

The political platform is part of the problem.  

It has fed the fears, stoked the angers, ignored some voices, picked fights.

Yes, there are latent issues, historical contexts, all the rest of it.  But we ended up where we are because we lacked leadership to see the path ahead and head in a different direction.

This is where winning has brought us.


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

New Playbook



I admire your resolve but I think you (pl.) could do with a new playbook.



On this, I agree.

Look at the basic framework - there is "us", and we're right, and there's them, not so much.  Why is that?  Why are they not as intuitive, fact-oriented, educated, etc. as we are?  Except for the ones we know are smart and educated and like as people, but you know - they're the exceptions.  They're playing the game, or - like a drunk uncle - they're good folk, but there's just that one thing about them that's problematic.

You can't get mad at someone like Trump for calling all Muslims terrorists or all Mexicans rapists without questioning that frame.  Except people do.  So what does that say about them?

From the other side of the equation, there is a similar thing happening - the other guys seem to be short-sighted, too caught up in their emotional rhetoric.  How can they possibly ignore the real danger to the masses of their policies and positions?  Ignoring A, embracing B, actively encouraging C which can't but lead to catastrophe.

A = the threat of immigrants, or the threat of climate change.
B = green tech or traditional fossil fuel
C = abuse of workers or crippling social programs

Lots of other options available, but you get the picture.

But we have facts, you say.  They don't have facts, they have rhetoric.  

Let's be honest - do we have the facts?  All the facts?  Who does an in-depth, academic-like study of anything to get the good and the bad?  The convenient or inconvenient facts?

Who tries to prove the other guy's argument, see it through their eyes, before responding?

We don't communicate - we message.  Facts are not seen as starting points, but as arrows in our quivers.


Society can't function if it's questioning everything, all the time - no more than it can by moving forward with nothing but untested ideas, nor relying on the status quo in a dynamic world.

But - if we question our assumptions, uproot and look at the evidence we hold to be indisputable, but know that there are risk and harm in the positioning of the other side, then who is right?  Where's the answer?

That's where we need to be right now.  Uncertainty, but not with fear, but a sense of the possible.