Wednesday, November 08, 2023

We’re going to need some rope,
pt. 1 

Upon crossing the Don River via the Queen Street Bridge, I happened upon a plaque with a brief history of how The Don River went from a popular recreational spot to an industrial resource. I succumbed to the mantra, “Always read the plaque.", and discovered in 1890 that The Don River was “improved” by straightening it, to prevent flooding (it worsened it) but also, and more importantly, to be a resource for industry to exploit. To be clear, the government paid to change the course of a river on behalf of local industry.

It reminds me how the current Ontario government wanted to release about 3000 hectares of protected greenbelt land so developers could build housing on it. The government said we need more affordable housing. We do. Yet houses built on formerly protected land wouldn't be high-density, affordable housing but low-density, expensive housing. Over 130 years after The Don River was straightened, the government was again changing the landscape on behalf of local industry.

“The Official Opposition NDP issued a statement criticizing the Premier’s Greenbelt comments, including his assertion that his government has “one of the best environmental records in the history of Ontario.” The statement pointed to his moves to curtail the powers of local conservation authorities, cancel 700 renewable energy projects, and weaken protections for endangered species, and said: “Um, okay Doug.”

Eventually, the plan to develop the Greenbelt was rejected by everybody, even the government's "base", which forced them to cancel their plans and even bring in legislation blocking anyone from doing anything that stupid again.

It's been said that if we ever decided to hang all the capitalists, the last one we hang would sell us the rope. It has always been thus and always will be. I accept the system wherein my labour (be it my time, my intellect, my blood or plasma or what have you) has value, which is compensated by some agreed upon credit system (be it gold, Canadian currency, Bitcoin, Canadian Tire money, bits of lint etc.) that I can exchange for other goods and services. I'm not against "capitalism" as an economic model, I'm against it as an ethos.

I'm not really against conservatism either. I can see an argument for smaller government, fewer taxes, less regulation, or keeping the government at arm's length from my rural compound and armoury, but those tenets of conservatism don't seem to be the kind of things Conservatives are interested in anymore. They are interested in power, and the ability to monetize everything. Some conservatives won't stop until every last thing has been monetized. The land. The air. The sea. The seagulls over the sea. Islands made of seagull guano from the seagulls over the sea. Even the very words you are reading have been published on this platform that feeds data into a machine that eats data to improve search queries that drive ad revenues so why not everything in between?

Take this example of the former 45th president of the United States:
“…whose attitude toward everything — including the United States of America — is quite the opposite. His mantra is: How can I control it, how can I keep it for myself, how can I prevent others from profiting from it and how can I turn a buck off it?”

That became clear yet again with the recent report of the House Jan. 6 committee, which unearthed an email from Trump-era White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino showing that the then-president had sought to obtain a trademark for the phrase “rigged election.”

— Nicholas Goldberg
Los Angeles Times
Feb. 2, 2023

That particular conservative even wanted to monetize his crimes. Conservatives don’t care about people or how the government they form serves those people. They don't care about healthcare, helping people, building better, more sustainable industries. All they care about is enrichment and power, and the power to enrich. Sure they want roads built, so trucks can deliver goods. Of course, they want cheap energy, so factories are powered affordably. Certainly they want people employed, they need people, just enough people, the right kind of people and maybe some people small and young enough to clean the gears of their machines without too much trouble (yes, Conservatives are all for child labour). Looking at the world through this lens, you can see why conservative governments wouldn't support education or the arts but right-wingers aren’t interested in any other lens. In what you might call the current discourse, people’s respect for one another is eroding. This is what conservatives are doing to me. They are eroding my respect for them. Weathering it down to dust.

I don't expect to convert someone from being a far-right Conservative to becoming a centrist or a progressive, I just want them to understand why I'll never see the world that way. Far right-wing Conservatives don't want what is best for us (plural), they want what is best for them (singular) and if you can't see the selfishness in that, then I guess you never will. Now, I'd like to make you an offer on that bit of rope of yours.



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