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Michael Hardner

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Everything posted by Michael Hardner

  1. Auguste, some comments: Quote 1: Thanks for being more specific. I think your viewpoint would be easier to understand if you use this level of specificity. We clearly have had some 'good' level of government intervention between 1987 until now. Let's not turn to the 'strong man' as you pointed out, but have a rational examination of what went wrong. The situation, to me, is analogous to looking at causes for engineering failures, such as the sinking of the Titanic. Quote 2: If we have a discussion along these lines, then that would be a good thing. Quote 3: Actually, the advent of markets (by way of barter) had a far less significant impact than that of central banking. From my readings in history, I remember that the invention of a centrally managed accounting system for trade had such an impact giant cities of 100,000 people were born almost overnight. ( Ancient Sumaria. ) Surpluses were given to a central office that equated goods with a value, and recorded trade on clay tablets. And the attendant corruption began almost immediately, with a new court of high priests and accountants required for 'managing' the central banking office.
  2. Yet, Canada seems to have done quite well since 1867. Maybe those who do vote see the relationship between government and the general welfare of the people.
  3. It strikes me that this discussion is about the nature of 'progress'. We use the word to describe forward motion, but also the changes (technological, social) that have happened to 'western' society over time. As such, the Europeans believed that they were more progressed - they themselves to be superior to the native cultures and that arrogance stays with us today. But we have seen that 'progress' doesn't mean that EVERY aspect of an industrial society is better than that of a hunter gather society. And, in fact, there may be elements of post-industrial society (such as is emerging now) that are more similar to tribal society than industrial society. So 'progress' doesn't mean that we move away from the past - sometimes it means re-adopting old ways. But it does mean that there's no turning back the clock I think if we recognize these facts, and realize that we're all born into a world that was created by our ancestors then it will help our cultures come to terms with our current situations, and will promote dialogue that makes our collective progress easier.
  4. Yes, definitely the same type of person. It's a cottage industry with a clientele of misfits. I listen to the show for a laugh from time to time. Somebody called in once to say he "owned a bigfoot". "Where'd you get it ?" "I'd rather not say." "Will you give us a hint ?" Pause. "I built it. Out of... spare parts." He has one of those guys on pretty much every night. It's like a reverse musical chairs game for wingnuts: when the music stops, the last guy who was on the show predicting disaster is a genius.
  5. I think we need to "right size" our democracy so that we get as many people voting as we have citizens paying attention to issues. While the drop-off in voting is concerning, it's really just a symptom of citizenship and community falling out of our lives.
  6. It was not long ago that Canada Post was a government service. It's now a Crown Corporation. Why can't EI go the same way ? In fact, why shouldn't all insurance be run by one agency ? And why do we have such duplication of services provincially, locally and federally. What purpose does it serve ?
  7. There's a lot of discussion around issues such as voter turnaround, voter responsibilities and the like: Capricorn summarizes one line of thinking here: While Capricorn is correct, there is another responsibility that is encapsulated within that of 'voting', and that is 'informing oneself'. I believe that government has grown in its size, complexity, and scope over our lives - to the point that the average citizen can't be expected to spend the time required to gather the information they require. Using myself as an example - I spend dozens of hours per week discussing politics and reading about government policy online. I do this because like many of you I enjoy it. However, I don't consider myself an expert on government matters, and during election time, I still have to do extra research on several topics in order to make my choice. It's unrealistic to expect every citizen to put in the work necessary to make an informed choice. The problem, I believe, could be somewhat rectified if we took some of the responsibilities of government away - those of managing social services, mainly - and gave them to institutions that would be better suited to managing government operations. We would leave the federal government to discuss only the "big questions". These "big questions" are far fewer in number, and require more attention. They include such things as: - Canada's role in world affairs - Questions of military involvement - The environment - The global economy Western democracy was never designed to require the huge government apparatus (and the resulting demands on the electorate in keeping tabs on it) that we have today. If we want government to run all forms of social insurance and licensing then so be it, but it doesn't need to come up during question period.
  8. No one could deny Buckley's intelligence, even if you disagreed with his world view. There used to be a show on Global called 'The Great Debate' http://www.tvarchive.ca/database/17153/gre...e,_the/details/ The topics were usually tame, but nonetheless there was an air of intellectualism in that show, that was available to anyone with an inquiring mind and a television set. My hope for the internet is that sites that MapleLeafWeb will eventually become centres for those who respectfully disagree. I fully believe that a handful of posters here across political stripes could produce ideas that would outclass any politicians'.
  9. Good point. This report doesn't talk about education overall, but the top achievers - education wise.
  10. I have to say, BC, you have validated my interest in your posts with that one. You really had me scratching my head on that. I realized that you're correct - that violence and culture wars rule actually produced the US of A that was so successful. But it seems counter-intuitive that order could come from such chaos. I guess the other big problem I have for the way things are run now is that there are solutions to our problems that are never aired. There's a dearth of new ideas. I still would like to see a higher quality of debate, but you have convinced me that there was no golden age, and it's possible that a good system may have ugly roots.
  11. MikeDavid notwithstanding, they didn't indicate how the study was conducted. If MD posted something supporting one of his arguments, a study with this amount of background information then I would honestly reject it. Fair's fair.
  12. Cyber, I feel you could be right. The way these things tend to go is as a focus group or phone survey question first, followed by a press leak to test the waters. That is, after all, how they do it with Pop Tarts so why shouldn't it work with policy ? That last statement, by the way, was sarcastic.
  13. Drea, Thanks for posting this - I can't believe it has been lost the middle of a Federal election. My take on this is that it would be great news for Canada. I believe that the EU shuts out foreign agriculture with stiff tariffs, so this would create new markets for our products. Our labour is generally cheaper, so there would be opportunities for services as well. European goods would drop in price as well, presumably including items that have been previously considered luxury items such as cars or wine. I believe that the general public is fearful of trade pacts, and that is why this hasn't been brought out yet by the government. The opposition parties may want to see how this plays out before they react as well. If this is new, then taking a position on the issue this early in the game may be too risky.
  14. If you don't know what "better" would look like can you imagine worse ? I can. Think about perpetual culture war, inability to create common ground maybe even violence. From what I can see culture wars look pretty much like religious wars. If the entire system is retooled, then we can restart from zero.
  15. I do think that things are better now than people realize - and that the low quality of debate is one of the reasons we don't realize that. I also think that elections are marketing campaigns, and that serious problems are being ignored more than they were in the past, just because it's not politically convenient to fix them. The people who don't show up at the polls have made the right decision. The fewer lazy uniformed voters we have, the better. And I also lament the major parties in the US and to a lesser degree Canada - they're both victim to the same disease, which you don't seem to think exists.
  16. For the Americans. It seems to me that the quality of debate was better. Maybe the difference was that there WAS a debate. I don't know. Well, I'm obviously not trying to say that Clinton's campaign would be better than anything in the past. Ok, then you think the level of debate is the same as it ever was. Do you think the apparatus of government is managed as well as it ever was ? Maybe you think everything is a cycle and nothing ever really changes. I think that culture wars and personality-based discussions are pervasive and worse than ever. I also think that these things detract from any strong leader - Republican or Democrat - fixing the system.
  17. Of course there are always mistakes, and hindsight is 20/20 etc. Generally, though, the successes have outweighed the failures. Why ? In my mind it's because there was a better level of debate, and more of an inclination to allow intellectuals and experts of every political stripe to drive policy, rather than political operatives. Do you think that the level of debate today is actually comparable to the past ? The "Daisy" commercial was seen as fluff, but today I think it would be regarded as a solid and serious campaign. But what is different ? I ask you.
  18. Start from FDR and go to... Nixon even. I don't know about 'oratory' and 'statesmanship' but these were administrations that were run more effectively don't you think ? Not if there are no barriers to participation. If people don't wish to participate in democracy because they're too lazy or bored to follow the issues, then we probably don't want them to participate. Well, yes, as with your assertion that the 'message is the same', the purpose of policy is the same - to improve life for Americans. Yes, America acted unilaterally in the mid 20th century, and more so as their power increased. But it was done more intelligently. If that wasn't because there was a better machine of democracy in place, better debate, and more focus on issues and facts, then I'm interested to hear why it was ?
  19. Agreed. It's incorrect to say things were perfect before 1964. But it was better. Smaller audience ? A small audience is better, in my opinion. You don't think that the US had better policy in the mid-20th century than today ? I do.
  20. Yes, "Daisy Girl" is very familiar to me, and to my mind the beginning of the end - the union of Madison Avenue to the political process from which the US hasn't yet recovered. Better for Americans, yes. When a better system is produced, then others are forced to imitate it and they all get better. The message may be the same, in that they're saying "vote for me" but the quality of the debate does matter.
  21. I completely disagree. And if the attention span of the audience has presumably narrowed, how can the quality of debate not change ? There's a 24 news station in my town that shows 25 year old news broadcasts at 3 am. If I happen to catch one, I'm usually surprised with the depth of reporting on stories. Of course, but the success of the American experiment arose from where ? I would say from a government that produced a better system than anywhere else in the world.
  22. Because the debate is almost never about facts, but about personalities and cultures. Compromise and hybrid solutions don't seem to come out of the type of dialogue that goes on now. The US system produced better results in the early mid 20th century, I believe because there was a better quality of debate. If it's about culture wars and personalities, then we will never elect leaders who will provide solutions to our problems.
  23. Comparing Obama to Fidel Castro ? Pretty worthless. The US needs to find a way to improve the quality of debate very quickly. Large institutions are now being revamped without the public's full understanding of what is happening and comic-book-level discussion will only hasten a full collapse.
  24. Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario seem to lead in hours worked, with Alberta 12% or so above Ontario: Stats Canada
  25. 'Right and left' should be tossed out.... it's like playing 'cowboys and indians'.... the important right/left struggles have been fought... we need to align along different parameters now. Leading me to myata: We have this internet thing now... which has arrived (like many technologies) right at the time it's needed. It's binding us together and tracking what we're all doing without us even asking it to.
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