I was walking along the Welland Canal this morning for my early morning walk on a fine day in early May in 2014 when I began having an imaginary conversation with some imaginary young lads in my head who were discussing with me about the option of perhaps urinating along the canal somewhere because they needed to relieve themselves and there was no public washroom in sight. This was brought on by the fact that I myself needed to urinate something fierce and briefly thought back to my earlier days, when, as a young lad, especially at night time after imbibing prodigious quantities of beer, I had a tendency to sometimes urinate in public places. (Shame on me, I know, but I digress).


I immediately remonstrated with my imaginary interlocutrices and informed them that we were on federal land, and as such, this waterway was crucial to the national security of both Canada and the United States of America, in that it transports vast amounts of bulk cargo such as grain, petroleum, and minerals to market both here and abroad and if subject to a domestic or foreign terrorist attack, could spell disaster for our economic and political security in that we might not be able to feed ourselves or keep ourselves supplied with the goods and services we all take for granted in our day and age.


So therefore I informed my imaginary young male charges that there were probably security cameras all over the place and that Big Brother was likely watching them so that it wasn’t advisable to take a whiz at this particular juncture in space and time. Same goes for me, by the way. So of course I waited the 15 minutes before I got home to relieve myself. Patience is definitely one of the cardinal virtues.


The imaginary conversation then morphed, as I got closer to home, to one with my former Parish Priest, whom I’d spoken to only the day before, so his presence was still fresh in my mind. As I got closer to the corner where I turned to go back to my place, I looked up so as to try and spot the security cameras and bingo I saw them halfway up the lamp posts, one pointing in each direction. I said to my priest friend in my head that this was all part of the emerging new world order and that such sacrifices of our personal and individual freedoms and privacy were likely a necessary evil which we will have to endure so as to continue to protect and promote our way of life both at home and abroad.


I mentioned that well before terrorist attacks began in earnest by Muslim fundamentalists on North American soil, the western security apparatus knew of this emerging threat but still had bigger fish to fry in that we first had to vanquish the Russian Bear before taking on any other opponents such as radical Islam and the Chinese. I mentioned that from the point of view of security and surveillance coverage worldwide and domestically, that Canada was part of a listening and surveillance system called Echelon, which the USA, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand put into place as far back as the 1970s, which can, simply put, tap into virtually any telephone conversation, both residential and cellular and listen in on what we are saying and that Canada’s Echelon listening center is just outside Ottawa in a wide open area in the countryside, which I read about in MacLean’s magazine.


So basically, the new ‘Privacy Policy’ is that there is little or no privacy anymore. We let the Trojan Horses of Islamic Jihadists into our countries, perhaps unwittingly at first, but since the 1993 World Trade Center and 2001 9/11 attacks, we’ve been much more aware of the fact that Islamic fundamentalists are penetrating our borders, but that we cannot keep them all out because, after all, we are democracies and we believe in free circulation of goods, services, people, information, knowledge and ideas, so the best we can do is to keep tabs on these potential Trojan Horses both at home and abroad and to make sure they don’t become a threat to us, whether they are Muslims coming to North America who are already radicalized, or those like the Boston Bombers from Chechnya, who arrived in America and who struggled to adapt to the highly commercialized and secular popular culture which exists in America and as a result, turned to radical Islam as a sort of ‘rebound reaction’ to secular America.


We are a civilization here in the west which believes in the rule of law, due process of law, judicial independence and equality of gender and of economic and social opportunity and mobility. Many countries with whom we are at odds do not espouse these ideas. The political system which we have edified, based on the British Westminster style of bicameral parliamentary democracy, which all western liberal democracies have adopted in one way or another, is, as Karl Marx himself put it, and I paraphrase, ‘an instrument of the bourgeoisie’, meaning that the ‘House of Commons’ or of ‘Representatives’, or ‘National Assembly’ is a forum to represent the interests of common men and women of property as opposed to the hereditary peerage, who were originally the fiercest warriors of the Middle Ages who arrogated to themselves and in doing so ennobled themselves in the process, the lion’s share of the land in Britain and other European lands and who became allied with the King or Queen and as such, were the ‘Business class’ or ‘wealth creators’ of their day. In due course, new wealth began to be created by virtue of city-based trade and commerce both domestically and overseas through the development of colonies and the development of new markets for existing or new commodities such as sugar, rum, beaver skins, slaves, gold, silver, tobacco and industrially-produced goods and so on, which garnered this new citified wealth-creating class new power and the ability to challenge the hereditary peerage’s and Monarchy’s grip on power.


Eventually, after much blood-letting in various countries, including a Civil War in Britain, a Revolution in France and in Britain’s American Colonies, a new secular, liberal-democratic world order began emerging out of the ashes of Christendom and its focus on absolute monarchy and theocracy and the feudal system. We are very proud of what we have built and have sacrificed tens of millions of lives at the altars of Liberty, Freedom, Justice, Democracy and God to arrive at where we are today in the west. Let not the forces of religious fanaticism, political and economic totalitarianism, fascism, communism, atheism, secularism, agnosticism, and economic, religious and socially fundamentalist neo-conservatism destroy what we have laboured so hard to edify together, often despite ourselves and often whilst at each other’s throats.


So protecting a private-public mode of ownership of property and economic and social development is definitely a worthy goal, because as U2 said in their song ‘New Year’s Day’: ‘So they say this is the golden age, and gold is the reason for the wars we wage…’ In other words, private-public ownership and development of property and resources is the key to supporting our liberal democratic way of life, as Marx said himself, despite his criticism of the 1840s pitfalls of the system, I think it has evolved quite well and needs to be kept up and improved upon and not left to wither on the vine or be deconstructed, as many neo-conservatives wish to see.


If the rule of market forces is the key to spreading liberal democracy with its mixed market modes of private-public ownership and management of resources and administration, then this is also the gateway to the propagation of western languages, cultures and Christianity because where goes western-style economic development of resources, goes westerners who bring with them mostly the English language, American, Canadian, British, Australian, New Zealand, as well as French and German languages and cultures, and political styles of management and Christian faith as well as secularism.


So it’s understandable that many both here and abroad are opposed to this and will fight us in our attempts to bring our way of life to the ends of the earth and to protect it here at home and therefore we must take all necessary measures to secure our borders and guarantee our liberty and freedoms against the scourges of both internal dissent and external threats both foreign and domestic. The supreme irony of this is that in protecting and promoting our fundamental freedoms and liberties both here and abroad, we may, yea we shall be compelled to at times restrict those very freedoms and liberties that we all enjoy and take for granted so as to better guarantee their safety for future generations down the road.


The price of freedom, as the expression goes, is never free. Never thought that havin’ an imaginary conversation in my head with some imaginary lads and my former padre from back home while havin’ the urge to take a whiz on federal land would have ever spurred me to such flights of eloquence! Just goes to show ya, patience is a virtue!!!

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