*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Friday 24 October 2014

"You know, there is no such thing as society."

There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations, because there is no such thing as an entitlement unless someone has first met an obligation.
At the time though, there was society, but conservatives like her hoped there wouldn't be, so they wouldn't have to pay into the obligations of having one.  Now they've won the battles and the war, and there isn't society.  Nobody even talks of one.

My childhood corresponded with peak of income equity in Canada, and much of the rest of the 'developed world'.  When I was ten, Canada's conservative government accepted tens of thousands of SE Asian refugees from a war a previous government had refused to follow its ally into.  Bracketing my birth year, Canadian governments brought in universal health care and legalized homosexuality.  A decade later, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  What remains of this legacy doesn't because voters are their 'brother's keeper' but because no government would stand that repealed them, losing a few points off the balance of power: otherwise they would.  Homosexual tolerance?  Do not confuse tolerance with inertia.  And do not forget a homosexual lost the Toronto election to Rob Ford.  The loss of reproductive rights?  Give it time and a government an excuse: like habeas corpus to security-theatre.

I was on a bus the other day and a young woman said to her friend,
I told him to get lost because I'm brown and I only date brown.
I don't know where to begin.  But I'll gloss over the universality of idiocy and racial thinking, and the irony of racism from a visible minority, and go straight to saying that the best reason not to tell her she shouldn't say that in Canada is because she shouldn't say it wherever her ancestors are from: she had no discernible accent.  And the tribalism...

Canada's had ethnic-Chinese longer than we've had railways, and many of their children since the nineties resented the 'investor class' wealthy from HK or the mainland, because they were wise enough to realize what kind of people get wealthy in those countries, and that your average Canadian would conflate them all.  My HK-born coworker came at ten, and without prompting spoke up for assimilation over multiculturalism, because are you immigrating to a new environment that welcomes you or wouldn't you be better staying home?

I'm not against immigration: father was and wife is, I have lived abroad, I find immigrants more interesting and their women comelier.  I am against cynical governments using it to atomize a society, use wedge-issues to get ethnic-communities to vote en bloc (which the Liberals started before the Conservatives) and aspirational thinking to destroy the social-welfare state, though voting against one's true class interests only decreases social mobility.

The geographic, social and economic ghettoization of ethnicity in the Toronto GTA's just a symptom, as 'race' and 'ethnicity' are hateful heuristics for status.  Rome had slaves of every available 'colour'; America found colour-coding convenient.  People, and the systems they serve, will change the details but support status, because humans.  Once we imagined ameliorating that, because we were 'in it together'.