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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Tools, Terrorism and Totalitarianism

Make no mistake: preventing terror is a good thing.  A populace that lives in fear is not a healthy one - whether that fear is of seas of troubles lapping at national shores or domestic terror-mongers. 
This is, however, dangerous ground.  As social service budgets are shrunk, charities are being de-listed and government becomes both more opaque and obtuse, there are a lot of people who are understandably unhappy with the decisions being made by the current government.  They are swelling the ranks of those who are already underserved by government and have found community outside of the commons - through gangs for extremist groups.
The security apparatus has the advantage and perhaps desire to press home the point of clear and present dangers, which justify the strengthening of their budgets and mandates, but also give them cause to suggest they need more free reign to do what must be done.
Remember the G20?  Remember Ferguson? 
This is why it's so critical to spend time committing sociology, ie understanding the whole context and not just sticking to a pat ideology.
There is a simmering stew of civic discontent and mistrust in both law makers and law enforcers out there - much of it is justified, but not all.  As always, though, we look for that which validates our fears more than we seek common ground to build upon.
More "tools" in the hands of the intelligence/security apparatus must not come at the expense of the individual freedoms this government likes to tout themselves as champions of.  Political parties and law enforcement must not seek to mitigate their risk so severely that all risk ends up on the side of the public.
Really think about this.  In Canada, control is increasingly being consolidated in the hands of a few; debate is being stifled and rhetoric is being amped up.  This is a variant on the same theme we're seeing play out in the Middle East, only we're relying on character assassination instead of beheadings.
Our democracy is being eroded by those who find it too cumbersome or too onerous to participate in.
Democracy is the system being rejected by ISIS.  They want us to give up on democracy.  When we cease to believe in the basic idea of Canada - that diversity is a strength to be harnessed, not an evil to be vanquished, they've won.  When we place safety and strength above freedom and engagement, they have won.
The price of freedom is high; it always has been.
If we can't see the ROI in democracy, then we've lost.
Now, more than ever, we need leaders who reject the tools of oppression and willingly take on risk themselves.  There job is not to pander, preach or oppress - that's totalitarianism.  That's what breeds terror.
It's not the government's job to stand on guard for the people - it's our job to do it ourselves.
The leaders we need today aren't going to come from the top, they're going to emerge from the grassroots.  And we need them, now.

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