Sunday, May 23, 2010

A great quote

This "disposition to admire, almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition... is... the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral setiments."

- Adam Smith, economist and author

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Is this about torture or accountability?

After reading David Eaves post on Miliken's ruling on the release of detainee documents, I am left wondering what is this all about? Consider the vast coverage and evidence that has surfaced since February 2007, when the Globe and Mail first published allegations of abuse. Despite attempts by the government to suppress testimony and evidence during military investigation, there has been a sort of consensus amongst those in the field (Graeme Smith, Richard Colvin and General Walter Natynczyk) that torture and abuse in Afghan jails and prisons are practiced but not spoken about freely, at least not in Canada. So, is this whole debacle over the release of sensitive information about the existence of torture? Not really, as I pointed out, its happening. Or is it about the simply a matter of who knew what and when? Apparently. I don't think that there is a great deal of information that is particularly advantageous for the opposition parties. Ok, you proved that the Government had credible information about detainee torture. End result, Canada's international reputation is tarnished and opposition parties enjoy feeling superior for a news cycle. If there were any real benefit to this battle between Parliament and the Government, it is ' access to information' for making reasonable decisions on matters of foreign policy. In exercising their legitimate power over the current Government, Parliament is ensuring future that MPs can be adequately informed about what is going on-the-ground in Afghanistan. Much like the purpose of Parliamentary Budget Office, gaining access to confidential documents provides MPs important baseline information.

A Shift in the Common Understanding of Manliness

Edward Keenan wrote a fantastic article on 'dude culture' and how manliness used to mean something more than 'babes, beer and obscenity.'
"The male refusal to grow up is an accepted enough fact that it’s the basis for almost all our romantic comedies and television sitcoms and both chick-lit and the emerging field of dick-lit. And I’d suggest this is a crisis of a kind. A crisis of manliness." 
"It’s not as if men have dropped many of the old annoying characteristics of manhood. They are as competitive as ever, they are as lustful as ever, they still shun emotionalism and embrace codes and statistics and structures. It’s just that all the socially redeeming things that used to accompany those easy-to-spot external characteristics — things like a sense of honour and a feeling of responsibility to something greater than oneself, be it family or society at large — have been shrugged off like so much paternalistic baggage. To some large degree, Dude Culture has embraced all the entertainingly offensive trappings of the old idea of manliness (some of these increasingly appear to be inherent rather than socially constructed, which might explain their persistence) but has thrown out the few good qualities that came with it — the social imperatives to contribute." (Author - Edward Keenan)
 So gentlemen, embrace adulthood. To quote Russell Peters, "BE A MAN."