Jump to content

Michael Hardner

Senior Member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Michael Hardner

  1. Are these married men ? Men with families ? In this case, don't these assets qualify as belonging to both ? Well, they can CHOOSE to dress the same way. Just as men can CHOOSE to not pay for dinner, drinks, dates and so forth... If cultural customs are flawed, then talking about them - raising consciousness - is the best way to deflate them. It has worked in the past.
  2. Some very interesting points made here... Having spent less time around here lately, I'm heartened by the amount of substance in this thread. If I may comment on some points... Sweal: You go to right up to the point of recognizing the pointlessness of nationalism, but stop short at the provincial border. Let's go all the way, Sweal. I won't tell anyone. I agree that these identities equate to meaningless, imaginary tribalism but I would include national identities of almost every sort. Taking us almost all the way, Auguste points out that: Good point. And... just because something is meaningless and imaginary, it doesn't mean that it isn't important to us as human beings. We're biologically programmed to take pride in the success of the tribe, I suppose. I think this is what you meant here... A bunch of quotes from Kimmy: I agree that our current national identity is weak, and I actually don't think that national identity is necessary. But... If there is to be a national identity, wouldn't it make sense for somebody to articulate it ? Perhaps a political party might take a chance on something like this. It would require something a little more concrete than platitudes, though, I think. Something that articulates what we believe our rights and our responsibilities should be as Canadians. Our latent tribalism is always there for politicians to tap into for their own gains, but some kind of agreed-upon idea of what it means to be Canadian might be a starting point. It would be something we could use as reference when considering policy, for example. I know there's no point in trying to legislate an idea, or a concept of Canada but since we already have a document that describes the basis of our laws, couldn't someone present one that documents our goals ? Our hopes for the future ? The Bay (HBC) has a mission statement: "our management team has a vision for growth and is committed to bringing Canadians the products and services they want. " Shouldn't Canada have one ? I wouldn't expect anything less than the purest ideology from Hugo, and I agree with you. I read in McLuhan that nations only really came into being after the printing press standardized national languages in Europe. Though the idea of nations seem very natural to us, it's really the tribe that is the elemental building block of human organization. Being a proud ****ian seems to ring truest in individuals who see a long lineage of ancestors tying them to that spot. Is that really pride in where you live, or pride in your lineage ? If I move to Alberta tomorrow, can I be a proud Albertan too ? National identities are, in my opinion, a deterrant to growth and human progress. These ideas are too easily exploited by politicians in order to manipulate people into accepting policies that are bad for the world as a whole. Of course, we still have national governments and they still are ostensibly our representatives in working for the interest of the country as a whole, although less so. If we're still going to have a country, we might as well put some kind of intelligent reason to it existing rather than relying on our bio-programmed pride in the clan.
  3. I have a problem with trying to constrict the function of the market in this way. Pricing is a very nebulous thing. Who is to say that prices are gender-based, race-based, age-based and what's fair ? The fairness of the price is judged by the consumer that buys these goods. And managing a law like this would be a nightmare. Would there be some kind of judicial body or enforcement group assigned to this area ? Men and women are different, and they happen to value different things so it makes sense that there would be a price difference for different genders based on how that good is valued. If there are situations that are blatantly unfair, it would be better for people to raise the consciousness of consumers to highlight the problem, in my opinion.
  4. My point is that it's not necessary. The chief function of nationhood right now seems to be identity, with few exceptions. I'm sure you'd have trouble getting Vermont and New Hampshire to join up too, but why bother trying ? And if it did happen how different would things be ? Not much. Canamerica is basically one country now anyway.
  5. I agree, BD, but that list in your article above had some more devious examples.
  6. I suppose that would be a form of driver's ed (to motor along with the same analogy) but actual use is something else. It might also be the case that government needs to be simplified to accomodate the general understanding of those who run it, ie. us, we, the public...
  7. BlackDog and ProckRock, I agree with you. In a way, the multiplicity of television news sources today gives us the luxury of actually having bias in our news, IMO. How much did you hear accusations of 'bias' 10,20,30 years ago ? But I don't agree with the author of the linked article that the individual is capable of detecting bias in the news. The fact that most Americans voting in the last election believed that Iraq had WMDs speaks to that. ( For the righties, feel free to supply an example of the Liberals in Canada as I'm sure there are many. ) I believe that we need a more nuanced model of the individual citizen in society: one that acknowledges the common susceptability to propaganda, but also puts faith in the individual to vote for the party that he/she thinks best represents her/him. An analogy would be the way the government designs roads: they create guardrails, and roadsigns to guide us down the road, often making worst-case-scenario judgements about the vision, intelligence and reaction times of drivers. But they do assume that drivers want to drive in a safe and considerate manner to reach their destination. We haven't yet come up with a template for information flow that achieves similar goals.
  8. You seem to be putting your emotional cart before your cerebral donkey here. It doesn't matter if 110% of callers say anything. Those call in shows are designed to vent emotion and attract angry listeners and callers. Ontarians tend to worry about the stability of the country and the economy if Quebec should leave. This is why no political party except the Bloc is suggesting that option.
  9. Are you speaking of Albertans and Vermonters here ? The big news flash here is that the two countries are almost identical. In fact, some provinces and states are more similar to each other than other provinces and states. I can't think of any other two sovereign nations in the world that are more similar. While there are some major differences (national health care in Canada, not in the US, bilingualism, etc) the two countries are practically one country now.
  10. Auguste: While I sympathize with some of your points, you need only to browse for a better forum to realize there are none - in Canada anyway. These forums are not democracies, they're benevolant dictatorships with one person having all the power and responsibility. You would do well to find one as impartial as Greg.... I have been one and no matter how fair you think you're being, there will always be people who suspect you of acting unfairly. The forums with no moderation at all are working models for social anarchy - toll-ridden trash pits with roaming gans of fringe personality types.
  11. eury: Not so much as what happens right now on editorial pages, and to a lesser degree in bars and coffee shops all over the country. But the feedback loop for government, has too many relays and gatekeepers at present. One can watch a 'Town Hall' on CBC, where the public is paraded in like war prisoners and allowed to quiz a well-prepared politician in a quavering voice, but it's really just a show trial. Public policy is being developed according to a marketing model that virtually guarantees the dominance of the mushy middle at the expense of new ideas.
  12. TechWack Article Just as Iraq is moving towards the design of a new political system, the pervasive force of technology is redesigning our own systems as we post here. We are just starting to see the effects of satellite cable news on our political systems (more divergence of views, and the attendant clashes of adjustment that fall out) but the next information revolution may be even more startling. Will political parties fracture into factions ? Will new centrist parties emerge to challenge the status quo or will extremist parties gain power ? I believe the future in this area is promising. Although the article states that weblogs are still not a significant focus for those seeking information, if the direction of online political enlightenment moves further towards weblogs and forums such as MapleLeafWeb, then our political system will have come full circle to the political topology from which it emerged. That is, issues and ideas will emerge from one-on-one discussion and debate rather than be broadcast from a small number of authorities to the masses. I would like to see MapleLeafWeb's type of incarnation of the discussion forum (strictly moderated, serious and focussed) eventually move towards an incarnation that includes direction not just moderation. I think a directed group that reflects the political views and ideas of the full spectrum would produce some fascination '3rd way' solutions to problems. My hope is that eventually the online discussion forum could eventually take its place as an instrument of democracy rather than a curiousity. What do you think ? If you agree with me, what timeline do you see for online forums to actually have an impact on policy ?
  13. RB: Most of what you say in this thread hinges upon the ideal that people get their "ideals" from television and magazine. I'm not disputing that that may be true, but if so isn't THAT the problem ? And if it is, it's a problem that's very much tied to our place and time in history. Television until very recently had to market to the broadest market as possible, so their "ideal" of beauty as shown in ads was very generally applicable. As the diversification of electronic media continues, you'll see more diverse images as well. As for the idea that men prefer thin women - it's a myth. Straight men prefer healthy looking women, and women who are curvier and rounder. My experience is that men actually prefer fat women to thin women, and are only now starting to admit that fact. Thin, pixie-like women are a product of the fashion industry which has no interest in the opinions of straight men.
  14. Because our physical biology gives us the instinct to help others, because helping others makes the clan stronger. Why should we not help ? Because our biology gives us the instinct to be selfish, because taking care of ourselves makes us stronger as individuals. It's all in the biology. That was easy.
  15. Yes, Newfie. In fact our western democracy was built on the idea that people would debate openly to come up with the best compromises. But our consumer society caters to people, and allows them to insulate themselves and surround themselves with their own kind. These forums are a great leap forward in terms of forcing people to face the reality that there are other people identical to them, except for their political leanings. ...FOX news ? It's not a question of right or left, its a question of polarization, balkanization, isolationism by both sides. People wear their politics like fashion today.
  16. Okay, I read that thread and aged about twenty years. For better or worse, this forum is starting to elevate itself above the level where it can be understood by the average person. Hugo, you are at once a nightmare and a dream come true. You seem to have a well thought out complex theory that is espoused by no one else. It is aggravating yet fascinating to walk through it. I think that any good theory has to be internally consistent and logical at a minimum. But even theories that meet this test will [sometimes] fail in the real world. While I still don't understand completely what you're talking about, I find it significant that you imply that private healthcare could possibly be supplied at roughly a cost of $9 per family. Is this correct ? Because if that's what you're saying, it's plainly preposterous. I think you're intellectually honest, but you may have some blinders as to the practicality of some of these things. I'd still like to hear more about this polycentric legal society you're talking about. Where do these theories come from ? Is it von Mises ? How would such a society come into being ? What role would the state have ? What would prevent the rise of organized crime/government ?
  17. Well, I agree that the 5 states with veto power need to lead a reform, but I don't see the new organization being any more palatable to the US somehow. And... Many nations with strong state presence, mixed with capitalism still survive and are strong. Are you including these as part of the 'basic US model' ?
  18. From the top of my head, FDR won in 1932,1936, 1940, and (I think) 1944. The two term limit was passed AFTER his presidency, I believe.
  19. Some comments have been made in this thread as to what business people have in commenting on the relationship between WAL MART and it's competitors, employees, customers and so on... From Auguste and Hugo: While I don't think that gay marriage has any negative effect on non-gays (or society in general), I wouldn't ask anybody opposed to gay marriage to refrain from commenting on it. Why ? Because I believe that those who comment on these large issues does so out of a care for the community, whether I agree with them or not. I'd like to hear more between Eureka and Hugo on the economic argument. But the potshots don't ring true - you're both expressing opinions that have been held by well known economists. I'd be interested to hear from Hugo if he thinks any government control of the market is worthwhile. Hugo's comment: Watching the Godfather Part II, you can get an appreciation for why businesses paid protection money, and why the Mafia took root in the community. The film makes a case for the idea that the Mafia was needed, in the absence of a real authority that was respected and patronized by the community. If such organizations rise up from communities in chaos, is the idea of government so unnatural ? A natural economy gives more wealth to some than to others, it's true, but technology multiplies this effect millions of times over today. Isn't it 'natural' that the majority demand payback from those members of the community that gain the most from its existence ?
  20. IMT: Actually, it is very relevant. People have been protected from being forced to do things that contradict their religious beliefs in the past. A notable example was the Sikh headdress/RCMP issue of a few years back. There is more to this issue than just that, however. But I thought I'd point out that there are limits to what an employer can make you do if it infringes upon your religious freedom.
  21. THelonious: I can't tell from this whether you agree with Gabler or not.
  22. RB: Your intentions are good, but unfortunately trying to quash small mindedness in that way will only sensationalize it. There are other more positive ways to change minds. Who would think of seriously showing a 70s Aunt Jemima figure today ? No censorship is required, because the idea is just ridiculous. Changing minds takes time if you want to do it permanently and do it right.
  23. Well, you could argue that when there was less competition on television, and when newspapers had more clout, there was a lot less of a drive to make news entertaining. You can certainly tell the difference if you watch a news telecast from 20 years ago - it looks like a PBS documentary in comparison. I saw a Russian news telecast 10 years ago and it was staggering how dry and informative it was. As television evolves, news becomes more and more entertaining and the real life that it reflects also morphs to become more entertaining. This is the main thesis of LIFE: THE MOVIE By Neal Gabler - that life itself is becoming more movie-like. It's pointless to pine for an earlier time when this wasn't the case. What we need to do is adjust our institutions to the new reality.
  24. Hyperbole ! I think Canada does very well in the news department, considering how much smaller we are than other countries. The problem with television news is it's all driven from emotional flash-points, and there's never any resolution to the problems and conflict. It just keeps going on and on... Like a soap opera...
  25. This is what I find so odd about this (mostly American) talk of UN reform. Would the US, England, France, Russia and China still hold veto power after any reform ? If this is really about reform and not dissolution, then do the proponents think that the US should hold sole veto power ?
  • Create New...