Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Distemper Of Our Times

For one who naturally inclines toward dark brooding, these are not good times. But then, if people follow the news and keep themselves reasonably well-informed about our headlong plunge toward environmental and climate disaster, I cannot imagine too many being in a celebratory mood. Except perhaps in Ontario, where the populace turned its back on anything resembling responsible and mature government by electing Doug Ford and his 'Progressive' Conservatives.

Now they are starting to get what they paid for, although the long-term cost may ultimately lead them to buyer's regret. As Martin Regg Cohn reports,
The premier-in-waiting has declared an end to carbon pricing in Ontario — no cap and trade, no carbon tax, no fuss, no muss, no nothing. No matter.

Never mind Earth’s rising temperatures. Ontario’s gas prices are coming down, and that’s a Ford promise (forget rising world oil prices).

Ford vowed in the campaign that he is “for the people.” His victory surely proves his grasp of the political environment — if not the planetary one.
Populist that he is, he seems quite happy for citizens to pay upwards of $30 million in a Supreme Court battle against a federally-imposed carbon tax:
Win or lose, he triumphs either way. If the federal carbon tax is upheld and imposed in Ontario, Ford will earnestly claim that the devil (the Supreme Court) made him impose the carbon tax dreamed up by that other devil (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau). The Thirty Million Dollar Man will cast himself as the Thirty Million Dollar Martyr.
And what about the money from the cap-and-trade that was used to combat climate change? Gone.
The program’s website was been reduced to one page Tuesday. Under the headline “The following programs are closed,” the site now lists everything from residential solar, window and insulation rebates to smart thermostats and programs for businesses.
Also about to be terminated are the rebates for buying electric vehicles, which paid out as much as $14,000 to defray consumer costs and encourage non-polluting transportation.

Of course, some might argue that Ford Nation and the other quislings who voted for Dougie and his brood are simply taking their inspiration from the United States, which shows no signs of retreating from its own madness under Trump. The Hill reports the following:
President Trump is repealing a controversial executive order drafted by former President Obama that was meant to protect the Great Lakes and the oceans bordering the United States.

In his own executive order signed late Tuesday, Trump put a new emphasis on industries that use the oceans, particularly oil and natural gas drilling, while also mentioning environmental stewardship.

The order encourages more drilling and other industrial uses of the oceans and Great Lakes.

The order stands in contrast to Obama’s policy, which focused heavily on conservation and climate change. His policy was written in 2010, shortly after the deadly BP Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling explosion and 87-day oil spill.
As my literary hero Hamlet said, "The time is out of joint." Too bad so many are busy worshiping the golden calf to notice.


  1. Stupidity has gone viral, Lorne. We seem intent on doing ourselves in.

    1. Perhaps, when all is said and done, Owen, we are a world of masochists.

  2. Jared Diamond, in "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed," discusses how societies can take very "rational" short-term decisions knowing that the long term consequences will not be survivable. If I figure that the consequences will befall some future generation but not mine, I can employ any number of denialist devices to assuage my conscience. Look at the level of cognitive dissonance in our federal government's approach to bitumen exports. 'Oh, they'll think of something by then' or 'it can't be nearly as bad as they claim, they're crazy' or how about 'our green future will be assured by pushing as much of this high-carbon crud onto world markets as we possibly can.'

    I read an item recently noting that, to the commercial sector, grandchildren don't exist. The next generation or the one after that, they're irrelevant.

    The political caste is supposed to take us beyond this commercial sector myopia but the neoliberal order instead embraces it by putting factors such as GDP growth at or near the top of its priorities. The future won't be voting in the next election. And yet, in the next election, those turning out will probably vote by a margin approaching 80% for either Trudeau or Scheer. In this we don't merely condone, we utterly legitimate their short term focus. That, of course, brings us to the theory that all intelligent life is ultimately self-extinguishing.

    1. All the cards appear to be stacked against future generations, Mound. Our refusal to think of them, on both an individual and a collective basis, is reprehensible and probably ultimately fatal.

  3. Its becoming increasing hard to not become depressed when one 'keeps up' with the news Lorne. I admire your fortitude in bringing the collective decent into a dark future to our attention, I find myself wishing I could avoid such news but than is not possible for those of us taking any notice at all !

    1. Some days I feel like giving up doing this, Rural, but then I seem to recover my spirit sufficiently to post once more.

      BTW, I left a comment on your Sunday post, but I wonder if you didn't see it. The only way I now see comments on my blog posts is by going to the dashboard and looking under "comments awaiting moderation." I am no longer receiving notification via email, and I wonder if you might be having the same problem.