Thursday, 10 April 2014

Answer to Warren's Last Question


Warren asked: "Would you apply your criticism to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada - and many Canadian Governments, both Liberal and Conservative, over many years?"

Hi Warren,
Yes, but perhaps even more so. It seems to me that the Great Society and the War on Poverty, whatever we see as the unintended consequences looking back, were sincere attempts to help the, ”targets,” if you like, of the programs. In other words, I believe those policies were put into place, however badly they may have turned out,  with the sincere belief they would be effective in accomplishing the idealistic goals of those who envisioned them. The cultural results as argued in West’s book, I don’t believe, were what was hoped to be accomplished.
Policies regarding our own Native Peoples, on the other hand had little if anything to do with our concern for their wellbeing. I don’t believe those who put into place those policies on residential schools, for instance, had any thought at all about the true welfare of the native children sent to them. Rather, they tried to take away their language, identity and culture.

This goes to my harping, on several occasions, about, “bandwagons.” It was about the same time as so-called, “progressives” were on the eugenics bandwagon, when Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood and others thought the way to a better society was to eliminate the weak, the infirm and the, “less fit” races . We may look back on it now, raise our noses, and sniff that WE would never be a part of such things, but I’m afraid that many who think that self-righteous way now may very well have been right onboard, back in the day. Forced sterilization continued in Alberta until quite recent memory.
These programs were nothing to do with the care and welfare of those targeted, but everything to do with an elitist view of bettering society, a view and practise that we now see as entirely unacceptable. They may have sincerely thought that this was for the betterment of society, but it was completely selfish of them, in that they thought only of bettering their own society.

Are there issues today that I see in the same light? Yes. Being the right-wing conservative that I am I see the death of freedom of conscious and the call to spend billions on, “climate change” as current issues upon which people may someday look back and see our mistakes. Gay marriage? Not really. Some claim that gay marriage will lead to the disintegration of the family, but that horse left the barn ages ago with the acceptance of common-law relationships as equivalent to marriage.
Not sure this addresses the entire issue. I got your comment in a motel in Medicine Hat. I am writing this answer in a Super 8 in Lethbridge. As far as solutions to the problems resulting from our treatment of our Native Peoples, that's another matter, and I'm afraid my ideas would be totally politically uncorrect.
Anyway, those are a few of my thoughts. Hope we're still friends.

Take Care,
John

2 comments:

Warren said...

First of all, no friendship easily threatened by some friendly banter is worth much; so no worry.

I so have a small axe to grind about Canadians regularly looking down their noses at Americans when we have plenty of raw material to work with in Canada.

I agree with your criticism of "bandwagons" and movements out to "better their own society", but believe that they can be equally applied conservatives and liberals. Although many like to think so, I don't believe that conservatives, in general, can claim the moral high ground than the liberals they criticize. The opposite is also true.

You caused me to think of a colleague that I worked with in my last job, Dr. "Biff" Baker. He wrote a small book called Tea Party Revival (interestingly, I haven't thrown out my signed copy yet):

http://usconservatives.about.com/od/gettinginvolved/fr/Tea-Party-Revival.htm

I'm sure Biff would heartily applaud your original post. But Biff had a "dark" side. Biff's adult son, who apparently wasn't looking for work very vigorously, lived at home and benefited from parental handouts. Biff could seamlessly move from scathing criticisms of government programs that "destroyed" personal responsibility to talking about his son - who he obviously loved and was quite willing to subsidize (although he was frustrated that he wasn't moving on with his life), without seeing the blatant contradiction. Biff would freely prescribe "tough love" for faceless millions, but had difficulty applying it at home.

The thing is, I liked the merciful Biff a lot more than the Biff on his high horse about justice and the need for individual responsibility. Both liberals and conservatives want justice - but of a different kind. Without balance, both can lead down an unhealthy road and, even for those (in either "camp") who claim to be believers, there is a tendency to turn a blind eye to the fact that we are all sinners, and to use Scripture selectively.

I admit that I'm in the global warming camp shared by most scientists. I would like to think, however, that I'm open to new scientific evidence. I'm sure that some in the other camp are open as well, but there are also "deniers" whose minds are made up and will not be moved by any evidence. I think this is because to do so would force them to abandon other cherished world views. I'm not putting you in this category, by the way.

John K said...

Hi Warren,
I don't necessarily even try to break down into liberal or conservative in these cases. When I use the term, "progressives" I'm thinking of the rather paternalistic attitude that these people seem to have that everyone else must be coerced into behaving, even thinking, the way they think they should.
As far as global warming is concerned, or, "climate change" as it is now more commonly called, my point is this: what can we actually do about it? And is what we are doing just a meaningless token, often costing us billions of dollar and, as a result, making some people rich in the process, or is it actually accomplishing something? I agree that we need to take the best care we can of the planet, but often, it seems to me, the people most vocal seem to have tunnel vision. Take, for instance, fracking for natural gas. This is one way of greatly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Using more natural gas and less coal would make a tremendous difference, yet some of the most vocal advocates on the climate change scene are also among the most against fracking. It makes no sense to me, other than that they are so single focused they have not thought the entire thing through.
As an aside, I don't know the whole story, but I suspect that the anti-fracking attitude in various European countries has backfired from the standpoint that it has made them more dependent on Russia for their energy. Those ramifications are being played out right now.