There is a very enlightening and terrifying article in the Ottawa Citizen today: A less proud country
I have written extensively about the similarities between what is happening in Canada today and what was taking place in Germany, as a man named Adolf Hitler was first entering the political scene.
So when I read the comments of a woman who lived in a Nazi death camp, it was like a bolt of lightening:
Ursula Franklin -- the celebrated physicist, pacifist, author and Companion of the Order of Canada -- recently spoke to CBC Radio's The Current. She had survived a Nazi death camp and come to Canada hoping for better. Now 88, Franklin is "profoundly worried about the absence and erosion of democracy in Canada."I can share old articles from Times Magazine, but this woman was there. And she is likening Harper's Canada to Germany under the Nazis.
A journalist by the name of Ruth Andreas-Friedrich kept a journal during the days of the Holocaust that was published after the war. Ruth spent the time helping Jews escape and after it was over and Hitler was dead, she asked a woman in the street why she did not try to do something when she knew what was going on.
And the woman shrugged.
When are Canadians going to stop shrugging?
Our democracy that was so hard fought for, is slipping away, in a methodical and coldly calculated movement called neoconservatism.
I've mentioned before of a comment made by political philosopher, and one time girlfriend of Leo Strauss (who is deemed to be the father of the neoconservative movement), Hannah Arendt, who once questioned whether Nazi Germany was in fact a full totalitarian dictatorship, since it depended so heavily on a "certain societal consensus".
Hitler's chief propagandist Joseph Goebbels mastered it, by studying the work of Gustave Le Bon, a French social psychologist, sociologist and author of A Study of the Popular Mind. Mussolini is said to have kept a copy of this book on his bedside table, and read from it every night.
This book takes mob control to a scientific level and when Le Bon wrote it in 1896, he said that he was afraid that if this information got into the wrong hands it could be dangerous. And he was right.
Leo Strauss considered controlling the populace to be essential for success. He referred to us as the "ignorant masses". Friedrich Von Hayek, another man who inspired Harper and neocons everywhere, called us "the wandering herd".
This is why Stephen Harper doesn't speak to us. This is why our media isn't allowed to ask him questions or they get beat up. We are spoon fed photographs, and videos and carefully scripted press releases. That is how we are being governed, and if we don't wake up it's only going to get worse.
The G-20 was a screeching alarm that should have awoken every Canadian citizen. And yet most slept through it. And when they did awake they were lulled back to sleep by a media that blamed the terror on the peaceful protesters.
A German reporter here to cover the G20 summit likened Toronto's walls to the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie. I was just in Berlin and the checkpoint these days comprises a few sandbags and two "soldiers" in Second World War American uniforms posing for tourists' cameras. Walls fall in one place, rise up in another. But surely not here?The Berlin Wall, Canadian style. I am so proud.
The Real Stephen Harper
There was another story in the article that we need to pay attention to, because it speaks of the real Stephen Harper, before our image consultants worked to make him look prime ministerial.
The annual gathering of the Writers' Union of Canada took place in Ottawa in June, with many former chairs on hand to offer memories of their time in office. Susan Crean remembered encountering a young, blue-eyed politico at a constitutional conference in Calgary in 1992. When the man learned that she had co-authored a certain book about American domination of Canadian and Quebec politicians, the man responded: "You should not have been allowed to write that book."There is a petition going around that includes 150 organizations, that begins - "Since 2006 the Government of Canada has systematically undermined democratic institutions and practices, and has eroded the protection of free speech, and other fundamental human rights. It has deliberately set out to silence the voices of organizations or individuals who raise concerns about government policies or disagree with government positions. ... Organizations that disagree with the Government's positions and/or engage in advocacy have had their mandates criticized and their funding threatened, reduced or discontinued."
The man: Stephen Harper. Crean never forgot his words, but especially the word allowed. The room full of writers in Ottawa issued a gasp. Crean later elaborated on the encounter. "Harper spoke to me first and asked if I had written 'that book.' I asked which one, and he mentioned Two Nations, which I wrote with Quebec activist/sociologist and well known independentiste Marcel Rioux. ... Harper was clearly still angry about having had to read it at university. In his view, I took it, the book was treasonous. I was so shaken by his words, and his open hostility, that I immediately left the dining room."
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. At the G-20 journalists and advocacy groups were specifically targeted. That is a very dangerous thing. We have got to start paying attention, because that angry young man who believed that books should be censored, is now an angry older man with far to much power, and it's more than books that are being censored.
It is us.