THE DOWNWARD SOCIO-ECONOMIC SPIRAL OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION THREATENS THE WELL-BEING OF PLANETARY CIVILIZATION’S ABILITY TO REPLENISH ITSELF FROM A CORE-PERIPHERY VIEWPOINT AS THE COURSE OF DEVELOPMENT OF CIVILIZATION FROM ITS ORIGINS IN THE EAST AND ITS PROPAGATION TO THE WEST HATH GROUND TO A HALT IN A STATE OF MORAL AND SPIRITUAL EXHAUSTION IN THE MORASS OF NORTH AMERICAN SOCIO-ECONOMIC, SOCIO-POLITICAL, AND SOCIO-CULTURAL COLLAPSE IN THE WAKE OF THE NEO-CONSERVATIVE ASCENDANCY FROM 1981 ONWARDS TO THE COLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION IN 1991 AND THE SUBSEQUENT RENASCENT PROPAGATION OF OUR NOW MORALLY, SPIRITUALLY AND ECONOMICALLY BANKRUPT CIVILIZATION’S PENETRATION INTO THE FARTHEST REACHES OF THE EAST AND THE SOUTH OF OUR PLANET, THEREBY GIVING DUBIOUS CREDENCE TO THE VALIDITY OF COLUMBIA, THE JUNK FOOD AND JAUNDICED BLOATED FAT HARLOT HANGING FROM THE ARM OF AN INCREASINGLY DECREPIT AND LEERING UNCLE SAM AS HE PUTATIVELY SIZES UP THE KID OF CATHAY FOR THE IMMINENT CONQUEST, WHICH, IN THE FINAL SUMMATION, MAY BE THE DOWNFALL OF US ALL AS A FELLOWSHIP OF HUMANITY.
I was thinking this afternoon, as my friend worked on my computer, and I was forced to put pen to paper to write this opus, that we are truly living through a period of downward socio-economic mobility here in North America. At least in the Quebec/Windsor corridor and the American North East and Midwest, which traditionally have been the industrial heartland of our two nations up until the early 1980s. This is when Ronald ‘Ray Gun’ and ‘Brillant Mal Runné’, (Mr. Brilliant but badly run, as French-Canadians so eloquently called our then Conservative Prime Minister Mr. Brian Mulroney), essentially arranged at their ‘Shamrock Summit’ in Quebec City in the mid-1980s, to lay what was to become the ground work for the eventual deconstruction of Canada’s longest period of uninterrupted social and economic prosperity since the enacting of, ironically enough, another Conservative Prime Minister’s trade policy back in 1879. This was Prime Minister Sir John A. McDonald’s National Policy, which was essentially responsible for guaranteeing the consolidation of Canada as a transcontinental geo-political entity by virtue of the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the institution of a protectionist tariff policy which essentially guaranteed that import substitution manufacturing industry would locate itself in Quebec and Ontario. This would be done by hopping over the tariff wall and establishing a branch plant in either Quebec or Ontario so as to ship goods westward or eastward and to receive agricultural commodities such as grain and livestock to be processed in eastern slaughterhouses, thus ensuring over 100 years of prosperity for our country and giving the Americans access to the British Imperial market through the back door, which at the time was the world’s biggest market.
Canada and the U.S. began to industrialize in the 1840s, especially the U.S. in New England with its textile mills, which attracted a lot of French-Canadian people since there had been an armed insurrection against British rule in 1837-38 in both the French and English speaking parts of Canada (what are today Quebec and Ontario), with the one in the French-speaking part being particularly violent and taking on a notably English vs. French and Protestant vs. Catholic and haves vs have nots and city vs country type of dynamic to it.
After the insurrection in French Canada was put down by British troops (it was called ‘Lower Canada’ back then by virtue of being ‘down river’, as opposed to ‘Upper Canada’ being ‘upstream’), and the leaders either banished to the Australian penal colony or hanged in 1839 (guys like Delormier who died for his republican beliefs from the end of a noose in downtown Montreal), a lot of the French Canadians either hunkered down onto their land after being told by their Roman Catholic clerics to obey their King and country and stop dreaming of Republican glory, or they buggered off and went to New England to work in the factories because there really wasn’t much hope for them left in French Canada since there wasn’t enough land to go around since the birth rate was pretty high back then, and there was not enough land to go around for every Father to dole out his ‘trente arpent’ (thirty acres) to every male heir, who would then do so to every one of his male heirs and so on. So there was a massive exodus from French-Canada from 1840 onwards which continued well into the 20th century and was only stemmed somewhat by virtue of the fact that Canada became an independent country in 1867.
In doing so this consolidated our trade along the east-west axis by virtue of the afore-mentioned protectionist tariff and by opening up the four western provinces to development to be supplied with goods manufactured in Quebec and Ontario, thus guaranteeing that there would be ample work for French-Canadians for at least one hundred years, making Montreal the metropolis of a pan-Canadian system of east-west trade, and thus attenuating the attraction of New England as a viable option for French-Canadians to pursue their fortunes for prosperity and the promise of a better life, thus ensuring that French Canada remained French and part of Canada, essentially ensuring the perennial position of the Province of Quebec as the ‘swing vote’ province in Canadian elections, essentially ensuring the entrenchment of a near one hundred year reign of nearly uninterrupted Liberal rule in our country, the Province of Quebec essentially voting Liberal for the better part of the period from 1896 to 1984.
This period of supremacy was entrenched after the Conservatives initially welded together our country with its ribbon of steel rails in 1885 with the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, but at the price of essentially entrenching an almost now perpetual state of east/west, French/English antagonism based on the fact that to get this job done and to finish the story of ‘how the west was won’ from a Canadian perspective, that essentially the rights of native Canadians, mixed blood peoples (Metis), who were mostly French-speaking at the time and Catholic, and French Canadian Catholics living in western Canada were essentially sacrificed at the altar of expediency in physically bringing our country together as one coast to coast entity, at the cost of perpetrating the perpetuation of an ethno-linguistic, socio-cultural, socio-religious, and geo-political cleavage, which endures to this day.
After this happened, it resulted in the mixed blood leader’s execution in 1885 by hanging in present day Regina Saskatchewan, as the result of a show trial which most people today now agree was not fair and that the leader in question, Mr. Louis Riel, got convicted on what would be considered by today’s standards to be trumped up charges. As a result of this, the first serious burgeoning of proto-secessionist rumblings began to be felt in the Province of Quebec with the election of an essentially proto-secessionist Premier by the name of Honoré Mercier, subsequent to Mr. Riel’s execution in 1885. There were massive nationalist public gatherings in Quebec City which assembled thousands of people in the public square outdoors in the downtown core to hear Mr. Mercier speak on the topic of the Province of Quebec’s right to self-determination during a time when our fledgling country was so young and so fragile and needed a strong hand at the tiller to shore up its fortunes.
Eventually such a person came to the fore in the person of Sir Wilfrid Laurier who, after his Liberal Party made peace with its traditional rival and enemy the Catholic Church, rose to govern almost uninterruptedly for the better part of the 1896-1984 period, with only brief periods of interregnum when the inevitable accumulation of scandal and public perception of discontent over perceived or real acts of wrongdoing, led to an awkward accommodation between western and Ontario Tories and Quebec Nationalists, when essentially they have never had any real ideological affinity for one another, apart from their commonly-held antipathy towards the longstanding uninterrupted reign of Liberal hegemony, to band together to defeat the incumbent Liberals, only to summarily self-destruct around their leader within six to eight years, as the ideological fault lines of incompatibility which were built into this awkward alliance of convenience, rent it asunder from within.
So essentially, Liberals have governed Canada for much of its history and have presided over its longest standing period of uninterrupted social and economic as well as cultural growth, stability and prosperity, precisely because, as a Party, and an ideology, our Party has always seen fit to skillfully shift towards the middle ground, and has been able to ride the rising tide of social and economic progress from the early 20th century onwards, with its tendency towards left of centre social progressivism, combined with economic progress and growth in our population and our cities and the continual expansion of our industrial capacity.
Now all that seems to have changed. The middle ground based on the middle class of the industrial unionized working person seems to have evaporated. I get the impression that we were deemed to be ‘too big for our britches’, that management no longer wanted to deal with unionized labour (if they had ever really WANTED to deal with them to begin with), and wanted to close down all of the unionized facilities. So they did! I’m not invoking any sort of conspiracy theory here folks. I’m just making a statement of fact. I’ve read Ronald Reagan’s biography from when he was Governor of California in the 1960s. He states quite clearly that when, not if, he made a run for the White House, that he would immediately dismantle most if not all of the public policy structures of the Welfare State that were in the process of being erected at the time the book was published. And so he did. Mr. Reagan acted as a vehicle, a cheerleader for his corporate buddies on Wall Street to basically dismantle America as we knew it then and Brian Mulroney essentially hopped along for the ride.
So essentially what we are faced with now, 35 years after Reagan and Mulroney, is a continent where there are fewer and fewer well-paying middle class jobs than ever, with fewer benefits, fewer pensions, fewer paid vacations, more poverty, more mass shootings, more spousal abuse, more people living on food stamps, more food banks, yet more abundance than ever of cheap, nutritionally deficient food to make poor people fat, more people living in debt, more bankrupt cities, and so on.
Yet this is the model of civilization that we are, as a result of this process of deconstructionism and devolution, exporting aggressively to the rest of the world through our foreign policy via our military interventions in the eastern and southern parts of the planet. This, I feel, threatens the planet’s ability to continue to replenish itself from a core/periphery viewpoint since civilization essentially originated in the east and propagated itself from a core/periphery point of view towards the west. However, upon arriving on our shores, it seems to have exhausted its wellspring of moral and spiritual as well as socio-economic, socio-cultural, socio-political, and socio-religious fortitude in a morass of gridlocked ‘culture kampf’ clashes over ideology, money, power, property, prestige and personalities.
This has caused our civilization to, ironically, for lack of its ability to continue to grow domestically, to export itself in all its morally decaying and decadent fervour, to the rest of the world, and expecting the world to receive us with open arms, and being overtly hostile to our ‘hosts’ when they do not. No wonder, what the emerging world sees of America is not America the beautiful, but rather Columbia, the bloated fat junk food harlot hanging from the arm of an increasingly decrepit and leering Uncle Sam as he putatively sizes up the kid of Cathay for the imminent conquest which in the final summation may be the downfall of us all as a fellowship of humanity.
I say this hoping that it is not so but increasingly I see the writing on the wall and it looks like some pretty ugly graffiti rising up and out into the light of day to scream blue bloody murder. I’m only hoping that somebody in the Canadian Liberal Party and the American Democratic Party can think of a policy or come up with a leader who can ‘lead us away from here’, as Styx sang in their song ‘Suite Madam Blue’ from their 1974 opus ‘Equinox’ which was released on the eve of America’s pullout from Vietnam in 1975 and which called for a better, more enlightened form of American leadership on the world stage, which could lead to a timely, peaceful form of development of our planet, without the seemingly never-ending cycle of wars and continual breeding of emerging world autocratic and totalitarian dictators.
There must be a better way of obtaining resources for our civilization than to sell armaments to emerging world dictators who have no respect for human rights and who are not interested in the development of the human potential of their country. Wither humanity. Surely there must be a better way than the path we are now treading. Will our downward spiral lead to the emergence of a new world order or to the utter downfall of all humanity? Maybe both? It’s too early to tell. Like the late Robin Williams said in his monologue at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. ‘It’s a crap shoot.’
Personally, I don’t put much faith in craps. I think they’re kind of crappy myself. Better trust G.O.D. Good Orderly Direction. Never has failed me yet. Is anybody out there listening?