There is predictable opposition to the erection of a new seven-storey, 78-unit condo tower on Roslyn Rd. As usual with almost any development proposal, the opposition comes mostly from local residents offended at the idea of any change, with a smattering of know-it-alls who assume that their personal opinions constitute sound urban planning polic
Point: You should vote You should vote. Often when people tell you that, they argue it’s a sacred responsibility and the best way for you…
There is nothing inherently wrong with the phrase “old stock Canadian” used by federal Conservative leader Stephen Harper in the recent leaders’ debate to defend…
There was a time when you could call something evil and people knew what you meant. They understood that you were not speaking in hyperbole. They understood that evil is one of the central players in the human drama, a thing that will not perish from the earth. Nowadays, to call something evil is to invite scorn and a sniggering assumption of provincialism. To be labelled as “religious” or “spiritual,” words which have of late gained a patina of ironic contempt.
The slow-motion disaster that has been our culture’s embrace of post-modernism, in which no viewpoint enjoys special privilege or validity, has robbed us of the language needed to discuss even the concept of evil, which presumes certain immutable truths. What we do not discuss, we are prone to forget exists. Men who do not believe in evil cannot believe that they (or anyone) serve it. They are perhaps the most likely to do evil.
Like any regular rider of buses in this city, I’ve come to hold a constant low level of loathing for the form of transit that I’m dependent on. The perennial lateness, overcrowding, and poor service to many areas of the city is just a fact of life that I’ve made my peace with.
When I heard that service was going to be reduced on several routes due to maintenance issues with the bus fleet my reaction was a study in indifference. It’s still nice out (warmest year on record, folks!), and I can still avoid buses by biking or walking. Come winter all bets for anything resembling regular service are off in a normal year, so I figured this year couldn’t possibly be worse.
But then I read that our mayor had said of the reduction in service that “The service level expectation needs to be more realistic than they were,” and my reaction was considerably more colourful than indifference.
The Syrian civil war has been raging for four years. Hundreds of thousands of people have died, surely including many toddlers. Certainly no shortage of refugees meeting tragic ends. But we weren’t confronted with the image of their lifeless bodies; the thought of these innocent deaths was not in our collective mind.
It seems to be something of a trend with people my age to confuse their own interests with the common good. The idea that it is somehow unfair for us to not have all our desires (and a lot of what we call needs are really just desires) met is not a healthy mindset, though it is increasingly widespread. Seeing unfairness as a state of discontent is a big part of why we live in such an unjust society: we are willing to put up with a lot, so long as things seem “fair” for number one.
It’s not just young people, of course – though I think that as digital technology permeates more and more of our lives, we are more likely to be susceptible to it. The social media we use is designed to show us the things we like to see; algorithms track what we click on and deliver more of the same. We get a false idea of how much the world agrees with us and of how important we are in the grand scheme of things.
In heeding our conscience – and what, other than that, is the purpose of having consciousness – we will find a path clear before us. This is the path of protest, of differentiation form the norm. Not of calling out, but of turning away. True protest, the kind that seeks change, must be more affirmation than negation. It is focused on the actions we can ourselves take, not the actions not taken by others.
It goes without saying that British Columbia is rotten with hippies. Especially in summer, when the gentle people travel from many provinces and countries to…
We are all entitled to support whom we choose and to give voice to that choice. To listen to our conscience and act upon the things it tells us about the world. If we do so without violence, there can be no case for the use of government force against us. In a free and just society, the use of government power to punish individuals for speaking their beliefs, no matter how unpopular, is oppression.