The Social Contract

Loading

How shall we be governed? Philosophers have debated that issue since Plato and the question is more important today than ever, given the rise of right-wing extremism everywhere, especially in liberal democracies where there is an ongoing, concerted effort by several current political parties and non-government organizations (NGOs) like the IDU to subvert or overthrow Western democracies and replace them with authoritarian dictatorships; American Repugnicans and Canadian CONservatives among them*. Let’s look at the history, first. It was Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) who first tried to … click below for more ↓

The Death of Local Democracy?

Loading

Thirty nine per cent. That was the risible turnout of voters for the local municipal election here in Collingwood. Significantly fewer than half of our eligible voters made the effort to participate in our democracy, even though they could vote in person or on the internet for three weeks. It was never easier to cast a ballot, never been more convenient, never took less time, yet 61% of local voters chose not to. Why? That’s a question that keeps me awake at night. It’s as … click below for more ↓

What Happened to Trebor?

Loading

Back in late 2020, local media was singing the praises of a new company called Trebor RX at 395 Raglan Street in Collingwood. Its entrepreneurial owner, George Irwin, promised great things for the new plant and its innovative products, including creating up to 100 new jobs.* The idea sprouted in spring, 2020, when Irwin got the idea to start making masks in Collingwood, and when offered masks by a colleague, he got an order for 40,000 from the Collingwood General & Marine Hospital’s CEO. As … click below for more ↓

How to Win an Election

Loading

Anyone running for office should consider reading How to Win an Election, by Quintus Tullius Cicero, translated by Philip Freeman. It’s a short, small book subtitled An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians (Princeton University Press, 2012). It contains both the Latin and the English translation of Quintus’ letter to his more famous brother, the orator Marcus Cicero. Quintus penned it in 64 BCE when Marcus decided to run for the position of Consul, the highest office in the Roman Republic. No, it won’t give you … click below for more ↓

Hobbesian vs Benthamite Politics

Loading

Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) was not an optimist about human behaviour. Writing more than a century after Niccolo Machiavelli, the English political philosopher argued in his masterwork, Leviathan (1651), that the quest for power was the main motivation for humans. And that our quest to acquire more would never cease until we were dead. He wrote: …in the first place, I put for a general inclination of all mankind a perpetual and restless desire of Power after power, that ceaseth only in Death. And the cause … click below for more ↓

Ancient Election Wisdom

Loading

I recently came across this piece by Marcus Tullius Cicero (one of my favourite classical authors) on the Sententiae Antiquae website (a good source of classical Latin and Greek translations), taken from Cicero’s oration Pro Murena (35-36). Lucius Licinius Murena was elected as his election as consul in 62 BCE but was subsequently accused of bribery. He was defended by  Cicero, who recorded his speech for posterity. Here’s what Cicero said about elections in general: What strait or what channel do you imagine has as … click below for more ↓

Biblical Commandments the Pseudo-Christians Avoid

Loading

The Talibangelists (aka the Christofascists) like those on the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) or in the anti-abortion movement like to pretend they base their decisions, their politics, their morality, their education, their lives on their bible. But as we’ve seen so many times; they don’t like to follow everything in their bible. Christofascists only quote very selective passages that confirm their existing beliefs and can be used to promote their totalitarian ideology. There are too many inconvenient biblical commandments that would get in … click below for more ↓

Berman Flails Over Jurisdictions

Loading

Sure, most Canadians are appalled at the recent decisions by the Talibangelists on the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS), and the loss of rights and freedoms their overturning Roe v. Wade represents to women. But aside from never voting for Conservatives to avoid the same thing happening here, what can Canadians do? After all, it’s an American legal decision and legal problem, not ours. Abortion rights in Canada were unaffected by the decision.* Well, according to CollingwoodToday, our own councillor, Steve “Mr. Mediocrity” Berman leapt into … click below for more ↓

The Talibangelists Are Winning

Loading

I imagine what I’m feeling now about the rise of the extremist, pseudo-Christian right (aka the Talibangelists, aka Christofascists) in the USA, Canada, and in other democracies is what my English father must have felt watching the events in Germany from 1934 on. He would have seen photographs and newsreels showing the brownshirts, the SS, the rallies of eager followers raising their arms in salute, the adoring crowds lining the streets to wave as their fuhrer drove by. My father would have read with a … click below for more ↓

Ontario, I Am Ashamed and Embarrassed

Loading

This morning, Ontario, I am ashamed of you. Ontario, you had an opportunity to do the right thing, and chose — deliberately chose — not to. I am ashamed and embarrassed by your choice. And that includes your choice not to vote. At stake was the future of this province; its education, healthcare, environment, libraries, long-term care; at stake were our seniors, and our children. None of that mattered to Ontario. Instead of voting for a better future, Ontario voted for Doug Ford. Well, not … click below for more ↓

No, Brian Hasn’t Done Any of That!

Loading

You probably got one of these disinformation campaign cards in your mail this week. It says that Brian Saunderson and Doug “Jabba the Hutt” Ford are “putting money in your pocket.” And then it lists three things Ford did by himself without Brian’s help. Or input. Or even vote because, after all, he’s been the MIA mayor of Collingwood, not an MPP. So how did the unelected (and, I hope, unelectable) Brian do anything like this? He didn’t. Are these claims disingenuous? Or disinformation? Or … click below for more ↓

Right v. Left in Modern Politics

Loading

There’s a lot of palaver on social media about right v. left (or left v. right if you are so inclined), with webs of comments about the differences between these opposing political wings. And, at least among the comments I’ve read from Americans, there’s also a lot of misinformation and disinformation in play, especially about what constitutes the left (usually coupled with invectives and name-calling from the right). While many Canadians and Europeans (as socialist and culturally pluralist states) have a fair appreciation of what … click below for more ↓

Saunderson’s Your Guy

Loading

With the provincial election only a few days away, I thought I should remind you why you might want to vote for Collingwood’s much-disliked, hypocritical, bullying, and inept mayor, Brian Saunderson. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve likely read the dozens and dozens of posts I’ve written over the years about his failure to act in even a vague pretense of a leadership role, his hypocrisy, his mismanagement, his personal vendetta, and the constant conflicts of interest he ignores. But just as … click below for more ↓

The Book of Knowledge: 3

Loading

Back in the Mesozoic of my life, I came across a quotation from Giacomo Casanova that, as far as I can remember these days, went “No man can know everything, but every man should attempt to.” For many decades, I didn’t know the source, or whether it was misquoted, misattributed, or simply a fake as we experience so often on most internet quote sites (aka clickbait sites). But it stuck with me. I recently found a more fulsome translation of his words from Chapter V … click below for more ↓

Back to Top