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  1. Slaughtering a few hundred million of the wealthiest people would do more to reduce over-consumption of finite resources than slaughtering three or four billion of the poorest people. But that is not my argument. You are avoiding my argument by portraying atrocities committed by communist dictatorships as inevitable results of attempts at wealth redistribution. I don't think we have to slaughter anybody. My argument is simply that people who have a reasonable amount of social security are likely to voluntarily choose to have less children. The correlation between family income and number of children seems to corroborate that. I also think your portrayal of what is happening in Venezuela is very skewed. There are many countries integrated into the global free marketplace in which people are starving and dumpster diving. There are many in our own country dumpster diving. I don't think there are many Venezuelans starving. Admittedly there are scarcities in Venezuela, but the reason s for these scarcities are many. Venezuela subsidizes gasoline and some other basic necessities like rice for its citizens. Much of these subsidized goods are smuggled out and sold in Colombia and Ecuador, undermining Venezuelan government attempts to make them both available and affordable to citizens. The fall in oil prices --Venezuela's primary export-- greatly reduced government revenues needed to maintain social services. And capital flight. Rich Venezuelans took their money and ran. And then there are the sanctions by the US, the EU and UK and now Canada. And attempts at a US -backed military coup. There are indeed many Venezuelans that are discontent with the present state of affairs, but there are many factors, including external meddling, that have made the transition to a more equitable society impossible. It will fail because powerful economic and political interests will not allow it to succeed. As always, the fear a domino effect, and want to retain unfettered access to Latin America's and the world's resources and consumer markets. None of these things are inherent flaws of socialism, but rather externalities of the dominant global economic development model that will tolerate no other gods before it.
  2. I don't see a lot being done. The little that is being done has not even slowed emissions, which are cumulative. Despite the shuffling of deck chairs on the Titanic every year there are a lot more greenhouse gases up there than there were the year before. Wealthier families and those living in wealthier countries tend to have less children. Canada, for instance, has a negative growth rate of 1.8 children per family. It would seem that when children are no longer seen as an asset, but rather a liability, people choose to have less children. Families whose only old age security is living with their adult children, families who rely on the labour of their children to make ends meet, etc., would be worse off without them. Wealthier middle class families have high expectations for their children. No child is expected to die before adulthood, and parents want them to have a good education, participate in sports and extra-curricular activities, etc. These children also have high expectations --an I phone, Nikes, their own bedroom, being driven to the hockey game or music lessons, etc. For the middle-class having children is extremely expensive. Estimates put the cost at close to one million dollars per child. (See McLean's article "Million Dollar Babies". ) For the better-off the choice is often between having a third child or putting the ones you already have through university. Buying a cottage or putting in a swimming pool might be more appealing and affordable than having a third child. Wealthier people have a great incentive to keep their family size low so that they can afford other things they need or think they want. I also think the "million dollar babies" consume about a million times as much of the word's resources as the less-than-a-dollar-a-day babies. All this to say that when poor people no longer have to worry about high infant mortality rates, low incomes, and who will look after them in their old age or if they get sick, etc. they will likely also choose to have fewer children. So the best thing to reduce population growth, in my opinion, is to redistribute the world's wealth. According to a 2017 Oxfam report "eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity.". I think that redistributing that wealth would go a longs way toward reducing population growth.
  3. When looking at issues like racism, and privilege, and white pride, I am not surprised that those who identify as white feel that there is less tolerance for white pride. I think that this may be explained in part by the things that many of the “proud” whites take pride in. And is perhaps better attributed to culture and politics than it is to colour or race. What i call the dominant culture –the culture that considers itself to be on the top rung of some imagined Darwinian chain of social evolution. It even claims a moral duty to reshape every other “backward, primitive, underdeveloped “ country and culture on the planet in its own image, for their own good and progress mind you. This dominant culture is basically setting the rules in the global marketplace, and has pretty much comodified the resources of every country and defines the terms of trade, and value of goods or services. For the most part its members don't attribute their privilege and power to skin colour or genetics, but rather their own ingenuity, hard work, and technical know-how. They are self-made men, living in self-made countries, and willing to share and impose their superior economic development model on all and sundry. Historical reasons for their privileged positions are ignored: Colonialism, empire, slavery, genocide,cultural genocide, and the like. In the era of colonialism this was often justified on religious grounds: The Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny, saving the souls of the pagans, etc. It continues today. Neo-colonialism, or corporate colonialism is justified because it brings investment and development to the underdeveloped. Governments do more to protect and promote corporate access to corporations than they do to protect the sovereignty of their own citizens over the resources under their own feet. Those who resist are considered to be obstructing progress. Even their own progress. Those who lose their cultural identity when they lose their land-base are accused of failing to adapt. The resulting loss of culture and cultural values –alternative answers to the question of what it means to be human and integrated to life on this planet-- are not considered to be the victims of cultural damage. The loss of cultural is merely collateral damage of progress. I could go on. But much of the intolerance to white pride is best attributed to white arrogance. The assumption that everyone wants to play football, and that everyone has equal opportunity according to the rules of the game. They cannot opt out. they cannot suggest a different game. Its the only game on the planet. The end of history. A game that, as is becoming increasing clear, poses a lethal threat to pretty much every life-form on the planet. (I have written on this elsewhere. I will put in a link. The Question and Answer part in the middle may be of particular interest .) The Dominant Culture as an Invasive Species: The end of History?
  4. Truth be told I really don't think victims suing offenders is likely to result in significant change. 1.) It would be difficult to prove that a specific climate phenomenon was due to the historical cumulative emissions of the worst countries, and 2.) those most impacted wouldn't have deep enough pockets to litigate, and 3.) even the leadership of the poorest countries don't want to risk losing the privilege conferred on them in exchange for collaborating with the world's richest and most powerful decision-makers. My primary objective was to point out that some countries bear much more responsibility for causing climate change than others, and therefore have a moral obligation to do more to curtail their own emissions, as well as provide incentives and compensation to poorer countries less able to afford meeting emission targets. Countries like Canada are among the worst offenders in terms of per capita emissions, total yearly emissions, and have been a major contributor to cumulative emissions over the last couple of centuries. Canadians who insist that we do nothing until other worse offending countries do their part have no moral justification for their position. They should re-examine some of their assumptions and come up with a more equitable way of meeting global emission targets. I am not naive enough to think that anyone will enforce it. Too many people are so invested in the jobs, economic growth, and privilege conferred on them by the status quo that they will insist on competing for increasingly scarce resources rather than collaborate to protect them. They will fight to retain their privileges come hell or high water or cyclones or droughts or forest fires or floods or boat-loads of climate refugees. Much like the reality of climate change, climate refugees will be denied entry. Bigger storm sewers and higher walls around our borders as part of "climate change preparedness" is the most we can realistically expect. Governments will limit their response to presenting consumers with alternatives without jeopardizing economic growth. Consumers wishing to alleviate guilt or absolve themselves of responsibility will content themselves with electric cars, bio fuel., solar panels, LED light-bulbs, and wind turbines and the like.
  5. Personally I see little difference between religion and politics. Perhaps politics is more monotheistic. Blind unquestioning faith in the invisible hand of free market economics goes unchallenged. That algorithm is the be all and end all; the end of history. It alone knows the true value of goods and services; of water and air and land; of childcare for your children, and Medicare for your grandmother. It knows that competition results in efficiency, and that international collaboration on climate change or anything else is simply not economically viable, come hell or high water or drought or cyclones or what have you. Rachel Notely understands this. All governments understand this. The free market economic system is a jealous God, and will tolerate no other gods before it. Only environmentalists and green party members and people who think of the future of their grandchildren and/or the present realities of climate refugees refuse to accept this. Many Christians think governments are in the hands of Satan, and have a lot of vitriol for institutions like the UN. Some see secular humanism as a great threat to "proper" Christian outlooks. Many vehemently oppose governments positions on abortion or gay marriage for example. Few, however, see a conflict with a Christian lifestyle and fully participating and competing in the global marketplace. On the contrary, many Christians interpret and attribute their success in the global marketplace as rewards and blessings from God. (This attitude pre-dates liberal democracies. In the days of empire it was called "The Doctrine of Discovery" or "Manifest Destiny", and led to colonization and genocide, and residential schools, etc. Christianity is of course not the only religion to predicate their politics on theology. My comments are directed at both the religious (people of faith) and agnostics and atheists: To the former I say regardless of whether they favour theocracy or the separation of Church and State, blind acceptance of the marketplace values is elevating an algorithm –the mechanism by which the equilibrium between supply and demands articulated in $$ is achieved-- to the status of a god. It is, in fact, the worshiping of Mammon. If that is what they're doing critics of other religions, of agnosticism, atheism, secular humanism and governments, etc. are being hypocritical. To the atheists and agnostics I say blaming all the worlds problems and conflict on religion while ignoring the even more influential and destructive nihilistic dictates of the marketplace is equally misguided. Of course not all people of either group fall into this category. But I fear that too many from both groups are so busy blaming each other that no collaboration on issues like global warming or carbon emissions is possible. On the contrary. A major component of our "climate change preparedness" will be "othering" victims, tightening our borders, competing for and hoarding whatever is left of the planet, instead of the essential global collaboration required to reduce emissions. Sadly it is already happening. Look around. Again, the problem is our fanatical blind adherence to and faith in an ideology --an algorithm that computes the values of things and thereby prescribes our actions as we compete in the global marketplace to create and acquire "wealth" by supplying and/or creating demands articulated in $$. It is the blind faith in a free market ideology by religious and non-religious alike that poses the greatest obstacle to saving most life-forms on this planet. And governments, decision-makers, corporations, investors, the middle class as well as the uber-rich are all acutely aware of the privilege conferred on them by this system, and don't want to jeopardize that privilege by divesting in a system that has worked so well for them in the past. And that, of course, requires maintaining the predominant global economic development model of the free marketplace. No alternative system is on the radar screen. No one is even looking for one. At present only solutions within this paradigm will be contemplated --new markets for green consumer items such as LED light bulbs, solar panels, wind turbines, bio-fuels, Telsa and other electric cars, etc. Some of those who can afford them will alleviate their guilt and deny their complicity by buying them. The majority will insist that whatever is done, it must be done while retaining privilege –while retaining the jobs and economic growth they've been banking/borrowing on. If that means more pipelines, more climate change, and the shipping of raw materials to the other side of the planet for cheaper processing, and then shipping them back again for consumption, so be it. That way it will be the countries processing the materials, not those who consume them, that are to blame for the sacrificing our grandchildren and the climate refugees on the alter of sustainable economic growth.
  6. Given that the current climate change crisis was caused by the accumulative build up of green house gases over centuries, and that very few countries are responsible for most of the gases now up there; and given that most of those same countries have a much higher than average per capita carbon footprint; these countries clearly bear much more responsibility for the current crisis than do less industrialized and/or very recently industrialized countries. Ironically the citizens of those countries least responsible for climate change seem to be those most adversely affected by it. Meanwhile, those most responsible seem to be more focused on retaining their own privilege, economic growth, and tightening their boarders to prevent climate and economic refugees from entering their countries instead of taking steps to reduce their own carbon footprint. Wouldn't the primary victims suing the worst offenders for damages give them a strong economic incentive to curtail their remissions?
  7. A toxic, bee-killing mega-corp has just been proposed. Say no to @Bayer @MonsantoCo merger https://t.co/7miUW9GaOj

  8. No, they haven't. They are invited and hosted by Palestinians, and trying to make sure that that side of the story gets out.
  9. The point I was trying to make was simply that one reason it might be less likely that anti-Semitism in Canada will give rise in terrorist acts committed by radicalized Jews is that Canada is not part of a global coalition that has declared a global war on Jewish terrorists. To illustrate my point I created a hypothesis in which there was such a global war declared on hypothetical Jewish terrorists for hypothetical reasons. I thought that much would be clear from the part that said "if there were simultaneously, let's say for the sake of argument a Western coalition bombing illegal Zionist settler cells in the West Bank... " etc. My point was simply that anti-Semitism is probably experienced differently by Jew living in Canada than Islamophobia is by Muslims because Jewish people are not the primary suspects in a GWOT, while Muslim people are. If they were (they obviously are not), things might be different. Your Monty Python references are lost on my because either I have not seen, or don't remember that particular sketch. I am also having trouble deciphering your analogies with reference to parrots, voles, wombats and womb-bats, and other rodents. I'm sure there's a key that might help make sense out of the whole thing. The Palestinians are the wombats. I, and presumably others are titmouses nfor some reason. Voles are what? Squatters? Original inhabitants? Settlers? Or is all that Monty Pythons stuff too, as I presume the cheeses to be? You are right, I have never personally spent time in the West Bank. I am, however, part of a rather small international organization that has had a permanent presence in the West Bank for over twenty-five years. Some of its members, past and present, are/were Muslim and Christian Palestinians. The organization has documented dozens of attacks on Palestinians by settlers, and its members have themselves been the victims of such attacks. (BTW, Are my references to attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians in my hypothetical scenario part of of the reason for all the condescension and vitriol in your response?) I want you to know that not all of my admitted limited knowledge about the Palestinian Israeli conflict comes to me via the internet. And I do know, for instance, that there is a variety of opinion amongst Palestinians, and not all of them are Muslim; and that there is a variety of opinion amongst both conservative and orthodox Jews (as you yourself have pointed out on various occasions). Some of Iraqi friends, for instance, were astounded to learn that some Jews help Palestinians rebuild their bulldozed houses. I am certainly no expert on Palestine or Palestinian/Israeli relations and all its nuances. I repeat, I have spent no time there, and only a couple of years in the ME --specifically Iraq. I have spent more time in Central America, and spend most of the last ten years in South America, with periodic visits to Canada, which is where I am now. Although much of your response is lost on me, I am curious about some of the things you said: Are you taking the position that the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply and that the continuation of the building of settlements is legal and complies with international law? And are you saying that Palestinians have a viable option of getting their land back or seeking compensation for lost property in Israeli courts? The courts of the same country that provides settlers with protection of the IDF, but does not mandate or allow the IDF to protect Palestinians from settler violence? As for rats in my ancestry I doubtlessly have several, although I know very little. I am a Canadian-born child of Friesian immigrants who moved to and settled in Canada from Holland in 1952. I don't know what role the Friesians played in all of that, but Holland sure has played its role in the colonization of and 'illegal' settlements in South Africa, Indonesia, etc. and got rich from the slave trade of Africans. P.S. Please refrain from making reference to parrots, camels, yaks and rodents in your response.
  10. ISIL's narrative to all Muslims is that the West is intolerant of and poses a threat to all of Islam. Most Muslims whose experiences cause them to agree with ISIS on that particular point will probably not decide that joining ISIS is the best way do defend themselves. But some --=a very small number-- have left Al Qaeda to join ISIS because Al Qaeda wasn't doing enough. Certain actions by the Western countries belie ISIL's narrative --the taking in of Syrian refugees for example. Other actions --the banning of the niqab for example, or declaring Islam to be a criminal organization like the Hell Angels-- strengthen ISIS narrative. It would stand to reason, therefore, that ISIS would like the West to take more actions that strengthen their narrative, and take less actions that belie their narrative. The paradox here is that ISIS, insofar as it is able, will take actions to convince countries who welcome, accommodate and respect Muslims that they shouldn't, because such accommodation weakens the credibility of their narrative in the eyes of Muslims. The Paris attacks might have been one attempt at making France less welcoming. The irony here is that the countries most welcoming of Muslims may also be the most likely targets of ISIS, while less welcoming countries who give ISIS narrative more credibility will notbe targeted. It is in ISIS interests to convince all Muslims living abroad that they are not, and will never be welcomed or accepted. It is in ISIS interests to make Westerners fearful of all Muslims. Moderate Muslims residing abrad may be fearful of speaking out for fear of reprisals from ISIS cells in their host or adapted countries. Thoughts?
  11. I honestly don't know, but there are other factors to take into consideration. There is no GW on Jewish terrorists, although there are certainly Palestinians being terrorized by Jews. (I don't mean to imply that there are not Jews being terrorized by Palestinians). Perhaps if there were simultaneously, let's say for the sake of argument a Western coalition bombing illegal Zionist settler cells in the West Bank for chopping down Palestinian olive trees, harassing Palestinian shepherds or bulldozing down Palestinian houses etc., and if the Jewish terrorists lacked access to more sophisticated weapons needed to launch a more conventional threat, and/or if the West stopped turning a blind eye to Israeli war crimes, and/or if the West began arming Palestinians; then perhaps we might also begin to see Jewish terrorists carrying out similar acts of terrorism in Canada. Who knows? Its hard to say.
  12. So is it just a matter of time before Islam evolves? And are more evolved Judeo-Christians slowing the development of Islam by propping up corrupt regimes? Your work seems to be producing results. You haven't pissed on my head for several days now!
  13. Thank you for your post. And thank you for sharing some of your experiences and your motivation for repeatedly volunteering to return to Afghanistan. I can totally relate to your story of the Afghani little girl. It brought to mind a little shoe-shine guy I met in Iraq, and kids that I met in El Salvador, Colombia and other places. Apology accepted! In the fall of 2003 I once shared a podium with a military reservist while doing a presentation on Iraq. He talked about what motivates a soldier, and one of his comments really struck a chord with me. It sounded absolutely true and was pretty consistent with what I had heard and observed in all my interactions with soldiers. He said a soldier is primarily motivated by loyalty. Not to his country; not to a cause; not to a mission. Not even to the military he serves under. But to his fellow soldiers who serve in the same unit. While there is some evidence of that in your post, I see that you also had the opportunity to develop close relations with the victims of violence that profoundly motivated you. I have no doubt that not a day passes without you thinking of that little girl and what will become of her now. She symbolizes what really matters. And then you come 'home' --if there really is such a place anymore-- and all your friends and neighbours can talk about is the hockey game or whatever. They just don't get it and continue with their game of trivial pursuit that is their lives and wonder why you no longer want to participate. And then there are the armchair pundits... I understand and sympathize with your frustration and lack of patience because I remember my own. Part of the reason I continue to work as a human rights defender abroad is because I just can't do Canada anymore. I don't think its PTSD. Or is it? I also agree that we are all pretty much pawns in the game when it comes to decisions about if, when, why and where Canada will to go to war. Or if, when and why Canada decides to withdraw from a war for that matter. We can write our letters to the editor, call our MPs, march in the streets or whatever, but public opinion is generally only a consideration when it can no longer be managed by propaganda and corporate media. You are also right that Afghanistan has no resources to fight over. I have looked for reasons control over the country might further geopolitical interests, and found none, unless it has to to with oil pipeline routes from Uzbekistan or something. Whatever the real reason for the mission was, it has now been deemed accomplished by the powers that be. Any thoughts? I continue to believe Canada and the coalition's interventions in Afghanistan and elsewhere have increased rather than diminished acts of terrorism, especially in the middle east. While I applaud and endorse the nation-building you and your brothers and sisters in arms were doing over there, I think the context in which it was done did more harm than good in terms of lasting improvements to the safety and quality of life of those who live there. It may have been better not to go there at all, but as you have learned, there are very real people with very real problems that really need help and support. I don't know if you have come across a book called "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace - One School at a Time", but that is one initiative that promotes the kind of work you found most gratifying in Afghanistan. It is doubtlessly underfunded work, and at best make only a marginal difference, and doing that work is lightly to incur the wrath of the Taliban and subject you and Afghanis to the same risks you were exposed to as a soldier, but without armoured vehicles and air support to protect you. Nor, as was the case with your nation-building as part of the military, is there any guarantee that the Taliban or someone won't come behind you and destroy everything you've built. But it may do more to undermine terrorists ability to recruit civilians and do more to win over the hearts and minds of the primary victims of terrorism, which you correctly point out are people from Muslim countries. And you have already indicated that you are not particularly concerned about remuneration...And you would meet and fall in love with more little Afghani children. And you would continue to be honouring what your friends who sacrificed his life really stood for. Your work and time in Afghanistan may not have resulted in profound and lasting changes in the lives of Afghanis, but I see that it has made profound and lasting changes in you! Changes for the better I might add!
  14. Army guy --sorry for not responding to you sooner. First of all, let me say that I admire your commitment and do not question the sincerity of your motivation, nor Canada's reasons for wanting to participate in efforts to prevent terrorism by debilitating terrorist cells in Afghanistan. I have had no first-hand experience of Afghanistan, and what little I know comes from secondary sources, and inferences from what I have learned from spending time in other battlefields elsewhere, including Iraq. I am a pacifist, but, contrary to what you may think, I am not an armchair pacifist. I have spent many years in war zones in different countries, and I too have lost friends in wars, including the Iraq war, and had another close friend taken hostage in Iraq. I know that this does not compare to what you have witnessed and experienced while serving in Afghanistan, but know that my opinions, like yours, were formed by personal on-the-ground experience as well as media and alternative media. And you are absolutely right, the vast majority of civilian deaths in both Afghanistan and Iraq were caused, not by coalition military operations, bombing campaigns or drone strikes, but by terrorist acts committed by fellow Muslims, mostly using IEDs, car bombs, and the like. Since the invasion of Iraq the number of jihadist terrorist attacks around the world rose by 267 percent. Eighty percent of those took place in Afghanistan and Iraq (Source) --both of them countries that were invaded and had their governments toppled as part of the GWOT. Admittedly both countries were run by despicable tyrants who ruled with an iron fist, but when they were removed all hell broke loose, much like the former Yugoslavia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. And despite temporay gains for women and school girls in Afghanistan and a breath of freedom for Shiites in Iraq, both countries are far worse off now than they were before they were invaded. But the liberation of the local population had little or nothing to do with the reasons for invading either country. Nevertheless, from my point of view a successful GWOT strategy would have resulted in fewer terrorist attacks, not a 267 % increase! Your inference that I don't care about Muslim victims of violence is unwarranted, unfounded.and disrespectful. I have spent a lot of time with civilian victims of violence in Iraq and elsewhere, trying to help them locate their disappeared loved ones (detainees), documenting accounts of abuse from released detainees, etc. More time with civilians than most soldiers did, who had little opportunity to interact with them. In Iraq most soldiers mistrusted and feared all civilians, because they never knew when or by whom they might be targeted by IEDs etc. Even I felt ill at ease if a humvee stopped in the street, because if they stayed there too long there was an increased chance that an IED would go off. They spent their R&R in the Green Zone fortress (formerly Saddam's palace), inside of five perimeters, the two outside ones manned by Iraqi soldiers (whom they didn't trust either, by would not be sent home to the US in body bags if a bomb went off), and three inner ones manned by coalition forces. The palace also housed the coalition governing body, as well as Mc Donalds restaurants and Pizza huts to help the coalition feel more at home. It was easier for me as a foreigner to gain entry and make inquiries about detained prisoners than it was for "liberated" Iraqis, so I went there with some frequency. Your experience in Afghanistan may have been totally different, I don't know. I'd be interested in hearing about it! In the early days after the invasion when the bombing had stopped and Saddam was removed from power there was a great deal of euphoria and relief, certainly amongst most of the majority Shiite population. The Sunnis not so much, and the Christians and Palestinians soon found themselves threatened by sectarian violence and became fearful. Within a year even the Shiite found that they were not immune from mass arrests, and soon there were as many Shiites as there were Sunnis amongst the tens of thousand of detainees. Anyone in close proximity was picked up if an IED went off, or after a house raid, or some such thing. Pretty much every detainee complained of abuse somewhere along the line, but pretty much everyone also had a story about someone who had treated them with kindness and dignity as well. I share all this in case you have not had similar opportunities to interact and share with detainees and victims of violence in Afghanistan. I also share it to help you understand that the GWOT has not increased Muslim support for the US and her allies. I will provide you with some before and after numbers for that too: These are some of the reasons I hold the opinions that I do. I did not come by them easily while smoking a joint around a campfire (although that idea does sound a bit appealing). I don't expect you to share my opinion, but if you're not going to ingnore them I would like you to provide better reasons for dismissing them. And again, I think your intentions and those of the Canadian military you served under were noble and laudable, and you acted with courage. My condolences for the loss of your friend there. I hope you can continue to honour his memory and his intentions in a noble endeavour that, in my humble opinion, turned out to be counter productive. The fact that I don't share your opinion does not mean I don't honour your intentions or your willingness to put your life on the line for them. I do!
  15. 'You can't change a paradigm with a soundbite" --Noam Chomsky Okay, I think I'm beginning to understand where you're coming from on the Multiculturalism thing. I think you're saying it confers special privileges on some cultures or ethnic groups which will evolve into them acting in ways that exclude and detract from the freedom and well-being of others. A sort of 'chosen people' who think and act in their own self-interest which will inevitably adversely affect outsiders, albeit without malice. Have I got it? For me using the "chosen people" term helps me get my head around it --an us and them dichotomy. Jews and Gentiles, or, as I discovered rather late in life, my own Calvinist indoctrination made me one of God's chosen under some new covenant that replaced the one God allegedly made with Abraham. And the Catholic justification for colonizations --the Doctrine of Discovery, or its Protestant counterpart --Manifest Destiny. In the past kings and queens considered themselves to be ordained by God, as did most colonial powers, I would argue, as have others before me, that America and many Americans consider themselves to be tasked with defending and policing the world, and recreating it in their own image. If not commissioned to do so by God, then because of their top position on as imagined Darwinian chain of social evolution. but more often some combination of both. Now I realize that I have gone far beyond cultures and ethnicity in my definition of chosen peoples, but I share your concern that there is a danger on conferring privilege on a subgroup because they could use that unearned privilege in a way that harms outsiders. Quite frankly I see no point in refraining from conferring unearned privilege on cultural or ethnic groups if we remain disposed to confer unearned privilege on other sub-groups. One could argue that white people of Europeans decent control more wealth and exercise more decision-making power than people who aren't. Certainly many many powerful global institutions and world governing bodies were the creation of Europeans and people of European decent: The UN, The World Bank, The IMF, NATO, the G 8, the International Court in the Hague, to name but a few. Not to mention that a lot of national borders of countries were drawn up by European nations. These institutions confer insubordinate power on a privileged sub-set of the global population, although people of other cultures and ethnicities can and sometimes do very well if they agree to play by the terms and conditions set out by this privileged sub-set. Those who thus acquire honorary membership in the club usually have to subordinate the wants and needs of their own tribal, ethnic or national group to those of the global dominant culture and place any resources they control up for grabs in the global marketplace. That is the group that I consider to have acquired too much privilege and power, who acting in their own interests pose a great and often lethal threat to non-members. Furthermore, wealth and power is becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few corporations and banks and money lenders. The country which can produce goods the most cheaply gets the investment dollars, so countries with the most oppressed under-paid labour force, working in unsafe conditions, has a comparative advantage over those with less oppressed labour forces. Many of us who once shopped in Eatons or Sears now do our shopping at Walmart or Dollar stores. The vast majority of us are all in a race to the bottom, and the political, economic and climate refugees are winning. It is in this context that I see recognizing and protecting native rights, not only here in Canada, but all over the world. As form of affirmative action perhaps. I think they are due reparation for past damages, and it is not enough to tell them "Welcome to the rat race. It started 500 years ago, and the starting line is back that way somewhere". It is not much of an offer really, and contrary to everything I believe in and hope for, but if their traditional knowledge and values truly cannot be part of our solution, we should at the very least take steps that would allow them to be equal participants in our problem!
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