Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Radical Notion of Dissent

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A recent article by the CBC brought my attention to the fact that both CSIS and the RCMP have put it into writing that "environmental radicalism" is on the rise, without sufficient detail into what constitutes a radical.

Radicalism is a strong word, and it implies a number of things that are antithetical to the environmental cause, and to a proper sense of morality at large.

For the most part, I've been uninvolved in the latest environmental snafu's to make waves in the Canadian Media, because I've been focusing (in that regard) on my two pet projects: a sustainable alternative housing proposal for the provincial legislature, and shelling out the framework to be able to talk about Nuclear Power (and a possible proposal for the legislature in that regard as well). Some of these projects have taken years because the relevant data is industry-limited and difficult for the general public to get access to. But that's not the point.

The environmental issues Canada is facing are nothing new, even if the locations are. We've known Hydrofracking was questionable technology for years, but we employ it anyway. We've known oil pipelines have risks that border on criminal liability, but we construct them anyway.

I don't believe you have to be a radical to dissent on those points.

This all reminds me of the occupy movement, which might have been one of the most overblown protests of all time. Millions of people worldwide, stopping in their tracks and skipping shifts in order to protest corporate corruption, but able to present no tenable solution or do much more than air their grievances and lose their minds when they're removed from public property in month three of the protest.

I recall a friend of mine involved in the local occupy who was furious that he was arrested for spraypainting some graffiti on the park steps in front of two police officers. As far as I know, he still considers that to have been protected speech under the Charter. He's wrong of course, but that's not going to stop him, nor is it the point.

This generation seems to have a pretty low bar for what's considered radical. Sabotage, now that's radical. Not that I'm calling for sabotage.

This trick, of labelling opposing views as "radical", is nothing new, though the extent to which it's being deployed lately in my neck of the woods is. Seems to me like ever since the conservative party took the PMO, anything that involves a change (apart from "staying the course") is labelled as radical. We must do better, and we can do better, and we will do better.

It's one of the great things about this country; every four years we get to overthrow the government.

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