Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dec. 11, 2010: Arrogance, Self-interest and Contempt for Democracy

It's all on p. 9, the op ed page of The Moncton Times. It's a column by Mr. Irving (call me Jim) of J.D.Irving Limited.

Arrogance? Just tead it. See what you would call it. Government is quite wrong in all its policies. Don't listen to it. Listen to a businessman like Mr. Jim Irving. This is a part of the arrogance of Mr. Irving. We ordinary people are too stupid to elect the right people to represent us. We have chosen all wrong; all these years. He supplies example of our misguidedness. So listen up. Mr. Irving will tell us what we should do. (As if that weren't what the Mr. Irvings, other corporate leaders, and their cheerleading  press have been doing throughout the history of this province.)

Self-interest? The mesage is quite clear. We're in fiancncial trouble; but we mustn't  raise taxes or rates on important things - which means anything that might make big business pay more for, oh, things  like natural gas, electricity or lumbering.

Oddly, he doesn't share his wisdom on how we're going to pay down a debt if we don't tax the areas where wealth is. But if we don't go there, we have only two, other choices. One - tax the poor and the middle class. (We can also  used disguised taxation against them -  lotteries and school fees, for example.)  Two -  we can cut social services like public schools, hospitals. Just don't raise taxes on people with money in this province which has one of the greatest gaps between rich and poor in Canada.

Contempt for democracy? See my paragraph on arrogance. Add this to it. He speaks approvingly of the Economic Summit. He speaks of it as a coalition of government, community groups, and academia. (He doesn't mention big business - which shows a rare streak of modesty since the idea seems to have begun with big business, of which, I have heard, Mr. Irving is a part.

Anyway, this interest-group approach to government is not new. It attained a certain popularity in Italy in the 1920s, where it was symbolized by an axe encircled by rods, all bound together in a symbol called  "fasces". That was the emblem of Il Duce, Mussolini and the fascist movement in Italy. The basic idea was that democratic politics won't work because the voters are too stupid. (Read the column again with this in mind.)

As I look at New Brunswick governments, I can understand someone holding such a view.. The trouble is, though, that democracy, for all its faults, has worked a hell of a lot better than fascism. (Oh, I don't accuse Mr. Irving of fascism. I doubt whether he even knows what it means. I accuse him of self-interest to the neglect of showing any significant concern for the people of New Brunswick.He has stumbled into fascist ideas, but probably because he doesn't know any better.)

Readers may detect in the column a writing style one would expect of a hack writer of propaganda. That requires a certain amount of skill. In fairness, I have to say I am impressed that Mr. Irving can write in that style.

What will the Alward government do? It will kiss up, of course. You can call the Liberals and Conservatives any names you like - just so long as you're rich enough.

By the way, Mr. Irving makes no mention of whether he has ever received any help from government and those oh-so-stupid taspaers of this province. Watch to see whether a Moncton TandT editorial appears on this subject to remind Mr. Irving of what he owes us. Better make a sandwich and ice a few cases of beer first, though. . It may be quite a wait.

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