|Outside-the-box Green Island Docs |
Managed or 'Real' Democracy in Canada??
- (Edward Bernays (1928) Propaganda)
"These students are in high school now,and they will do what they are told. They can start to think for themselves when they get to university.."
(G MacDonald, principal of a junior high school in PEI c1989, in a dispute with teacher Rick Morin wherein Morin lost his job for trying to show a film concerning religious fundamentalists in the USA - the CBC stories seem to be unretrievable, but the 1999 judgment against Morin can be found here)
1: Thesis: Canadians are told, and seem to generally believe, that they live in a 'democracy', that is to say, (1) they elect their government through regular and fair elections, (2) that government is responsible to the Canadian people and to them alone for the way the country is run, and (3) therefore the Canadian people, as a whole, control their country - there may be different opinions between various groups of Canadians concerning any particular policy, but in the end, the majority rules, as in any modern democracy.
Actually, although the above statement does indeed reflect the theory of government in Canada as taught in school and promoted through the media, the reality is somewhat different - as two of the statements are completely false in practice, and the third leaves out considerable important information so that, while not actually false on the surface, it conveys a meaning that is completely false in practice.
In brief, although Canadians do have regular and more or less fairly administrated elections, the pool of people they choose from is compromised and restricted in various ways and the different candidates not presented equally, rendering the actual decision of the voters something less than 'fair and free'; following the election, the people they elect are not under their control, but under the control of 'the party', which in turn is much more subject to the wishes of the wealthy elite in Canada who fund them than to the people who 'elect' them, and who in return set the policies of the Canadian government for the benefit of that elite, policies which are in virtually all such cases contrary to the best interests or wishes of Canadians. Thus Canada is not actually a 'real' democracy, run by the people, but more correctly something more like a 'managed' democracy, with the managers presenting the illusion of 'we the people' democracy whilst actually controlling the country from behind the scenes for their own best interests, rather than the interests of the people of Canada.
The 'prima facie' case for the assertion is pretty much unassailable, if one agrees that the single central tenet of 'democracy' is that 'the majority rules'. Consider a simple example:
60-70% of Canadians have consistently indicated in polls for decades that marijuana should not be illegal, yet government after government refuses to remove the often serious criminal sanctions for growing or smoking it (sanctions which were never implemented through any sort of 'democratic' demand in the first place, one might note). Quite obviously, the 'representatives' being elected by Canadians in their 'representative' democracy, election after election after election, are not representing the wishes of a solid majority of Canadians concerning the legal status of this widely used (or accepted) drug. This is a serious matter, not something trivial, as it involves the jailing of and/or saddling with criminal records tens of thousands of people yearly, with huge financial costs to them as well, and also provides a basis for much of the organized crime in Canada, which causes many related problems and also absorbs huge amounts of taxpayer money. This matter not being addressed by one government or even a couple might be explainable by various excuses, but continually over many years and governments, with the wishes of Canadians not changing and being well known to the 'representatives' in various ways, with such serious consequences, is clearly systematic and must make it evident that some other force is directing the Canadian parliament to over-ride and/or ignore the wishes of a majority of Canadians.
It is thus quite obvious that those 60-70% of Canadians who disagree with the drug laws in regard to marijuana, a consistent and solid majority, have no input into what happens in Canada - so it becomes equally obvious that someone behind the scenes is managing the 'democracy' for their own personal interests and priorities, whatever they might be, overriding the will of the majority - the 'rule by majority' being normally the benchmark of a democratic system.
The marijuana situation is, of course, far from some sort of 'exception that proves the rule' or some other rationalisation of this obvious, longterm, systematic and very undemocratic situation, and one might note many similar things over the past few years. A small sample only might include such major things as the fact that considerably more Canadians voted against both the FTA and NAFTA than supported them - yet both were signed into law; the fact that for the last 25 years a solid majority of Canadians (upwards of 80%) have expressed their desire for the health care system to be properly funded and maintained, whilst not really being concerned about reducing corporate taxes, yet government after government since the Mulroney years has done just the opposite, slashing spending on health care and other social programs most Canadians value while also slashing corporate taxes, budget after budget; or military excursions following the lead of the US, such as the bombing of Yugoslavia or the current 'occupation force' in Afghanistan, which are and have been opposed by solid majorities of Canadians, yet the government pays no attention to the wishes of the majority of citizens and follows the US along on these illegal international aggressions (some might protest that these are actually NATO missions, which they technically may be, but they have still been opposed by most Canadians and it's a separate discussion as to who is actually calling the shots - I myself feel it would be dishonest to pretend to believe the NATO fiction).
One might note two other things also. First, this 'non-representativeness' is not related to 'party', as both major parties switch sides with winning or losing elections - that is, the Mulroney Conservatives tried to implement NAFTA, but were voted out very decisively in favor of the Libs of the day, who said they opposed NAFTA as did most Canadians and promised very firmly to at least change it to something better - but as soon as the Libs were elected, they decided NAFTA was fine as it was and signed it into law and have been ever since its great champions; and in terms of, for instance, tax cutting or supporting the Afghanistan operation, most members of both major parties support such policies - leaving the majority of Canadians who oppose the whole thing where???? - and secondly, that the government undertakes various initiatives with no consultation with the people whatsoever, no mention in election campaigns, no national debate, no pretense of 'democratically driven initiatives' at all, from relatively minor but quite distasteful and cynicism-breeding things such as continually raising their own 'benefit packages' immediately after elections whilst cutting back all services for the people they supposedly work for (have you EVER heard in an election campaign "If elected, we plan to raise our salaries as we feel your MPs are terribly underpaid - if you agree, please vote for us!!!"?? - of course not), to things of considerably more substance, such as incurring the huge 'national debt', a scam of monstrous proportions, done with no consultation whatsoever with the Canadian people, actually in considerable secrecy overall, the details of which have never been revealed to Canadians (for a brief explanation see The Great Canadian National Debt Scam, or the COMER website has many related articles - check esp the ones on banks and bank bailouts in the early 1980s and 1990s; the Canadian Action Party also has some interesting info on sane financial policies).
And we might note also in a related sense - the other side of the coin, as it were - that when the behind-the-scenes managers wish something, such as 'free trade' treaties and related things, or the ongoing corporate tax cuts, the government manages to act quite expeditiously with minimal 'consultation' and delay, even though a majority of Canadians oppose such things, while with things the behind-the-scenes managers evidently do not want, such as strong environmental protection laws in Canada or proper maintenance of the health care system and other social programs, which a solid majority of Canadians say they do want, the government manages to find excuses to avoid acting more or less forever (they talk a great show, of course, in response to the obvious wishes of Canadians, but always manage to find excuses to actually avoid doing anything useful). Such behavior, ongoing over many years, through various types of governments, can be seen as little else than systematic, in that someone behind the scenes is managing the 'democracy' in the interests and wishes of someone other than the citizens of Canada.
So the question remains - if the government, that is to say the 'democratically elected representatives' of Canadian voters - are not following the wishes of a majority of Canadians, as they quite obviously are not in the above-mentioned and many other things - then under what rationale is the country called a 'democracy', whose one essential premise in every definition you care to look up is involved with 'majority' rule? (As to whose wishes they actually are following, well that would be another longish tangent in an already longish essay - perhaps if you find the arguments herein persuasive that Canadians themselves are not actually in charge of their own country, you could do a bit of your own research and thinking as to who actually is running the place - it's no great secret whose general policy wishes are being carried out by the Canadian government, really, it's just something you won't find talked about in the mainstream media - about which more later).
So it is difficult to deny that the political situation in Canada looks very much like some kind of 'managed democracy', wherein 'you the people' are given the trappings of democracy (mainly regular elections and a more-or-less universal 'franchise') - but when decisions are ultimately made on at least the more important issues of the day, they are made not according to the wishes of a majority of citizens, but according to the wishes of some other group of people. And that may be called various things, but true 'democracy' is surely not one of them.
2: Why the false beliefs?
Well, the case is, one must admit, one would think, somewhat persuasive - if the wishes of 60, 70, 80% or more Canadians are systematically being overruled by some other power, it's hard to call the country a 'democracy' alright. But on the other hand it is equally obvious that Canadians seem like a free and intelligent people in a free and prosperous country, not some dumb brutalized peasants in some terribly impoverished Dickensian mining town who tug their forelock as master demands or a bunch of mindless giggling munchkins under the spell of the wizard - so why do most Canadians falsely believe they live in a true democracy of their own making and rule then?
There are five related reasons, I think.
a) The country has the superficial appearance of a 'real' democracy, with elections and so on, as noted above, b) in most day to day activities the citizens are allowed considerable autonomy in what they do, and discuss things going on in their country with considerable freedom of opinion, giving the appearance of 'democratic freedom', c) Canada is a prosperous modern country, and most citizens live quite comfortable lives, with most modern amenities available to them, and thus have no serious reasons to complain about the way the country is being run, d) for the last 100+ years, everyone in a modern 'democracy' like Canada has been required to spend substantial and growing amounts of their most formative years in a government-controlled school system wherein they learn the things the people who control the curriculum want them to learn, and although there is considerable attention paid to factual things such as science and geography, there is also considerable attention paid to belief systems, such as the idea that Canada is a great democracy with free elections, Canadians are served and protected by a free and responsible media, justice in Canada is ensured through an honest and egalitarian justice system, there is a god, good people do not smoke but they wear seatbelts when they get in cars, etc and etc, beliefs many of which can be at the very least strongly contested as to their veracity, and e) the Power of the Media as both reinforcer of the 'central dogma' learned in school, and the primary disseminator, relying on its trusted status as taught to Canadians during their school years, of new ideas that the managers wish Canadians to believe.
Let's look at those things in a bit more detail.
2-a) The 'democratic' electoral system: I have written a longer piece about the managing of Canadian elections here - Managed Elections - Is Canada Really a Democracy? - briefly, although the actual elections are fair enough in terms of open franchise and honest ballot counting, the top-down control of political parties, the overall control of the major parties through money, and the marginalising of those who try to oppose the major parties through media gatekeeping (and also their lack of money), and the 'first past the post' electoral system in a multi-party country which ensures 'majority' governments for one of the controlled parties regularly occur with that party receiving a simple plurality of votes but much less than any real majority of votes, typically 20-30% of the support of eligible voters when those many voters are considered who do not bother voting because they understand too well their votes make no difference in such a system, make the Canadian electoral system very easy to manage in terms of placing in power a party which will act according to the wishes of the Canadian elite, whilst fulfilling the superficial appearance of 'democratic' elections.
2-b) - The freedom to talk about controversial things in the society, and believe they have influence on the governmental policies, is also regarded as some sort of 'proof' that Canada is a democracy, but it is a false proof, akin to finding presents under the Christmas tree 'proving' Santa Claus is real. It is actually something of a two-edged sword, but a fully evil sword, as BOTH edges are actually slashing at any notion of real 'democracy'. First, most issues talked about in public are relatively minor ones that have no real impact on the running of the country in important matters, but are hyped by the press as 'important national debates' or suchlike (some important issues are of course talked about in the press, but not offered as matters for discussion nor is any real discussion of them permitted - more on the media a bit later). But for the issues about which Canadians are encouraged to get interested in and talk about, which includes almost anything not essential to meeting the major longterm, underlying goals of the managers, such free-ranging talk with usually widely polarized sides instills the belief and 'confirms' that Canadians are indeed free to talk about what they want, and to believe their views on important issues do influence politicians, as polls appear to indicate from time to time, which reinforces the idea that Canada is indeed a 'democracy'. And then in a somewhat deeper sense, such 'issues' are very often quite artificial in nature, mountains made of molehills through the media constantly pushing them, things that should not be 'issues' between free and consenting adults in a society at all, if certain vested interests did not spend much time making them into 'flashpoint' sorts of issues. Such things - i.e. 'same sex marriage', or a woman's right to abortion, or the right of Quebecers to consider themselves a 'distinct society', or the right of women to equal treatment in labour conditions, getting rid of the monarchy, immigration, welfare levels for poor people - should not be issues at all in a modern, free democracy, as people living in a democracy should be allowed to do as they wish insofar as such things do not reduce the freedom of others, and most mature adults can 'agree to disagree' on most such things when they arise at all - it is usually 'leaders' of one sort or another trying to increase their own personal power who make serious efforts to get one group of people angry at another. As such, these largely manufactured issues act primarily as wedges that divide the people, and prevent them from banding together against their one true enemy, the elite, or managers, or whatever you want to call them, and retaking THEIR government from the people who have stolen it from them and are quite intentionally trying to destroy it, even as they use it against them.
2-c) Comfortable lives: Most people are not inclined to go looking for trouble, and if things are well in their personal lives, they are content. And so it is in Canada. In terms of the 'managed' democracy, we must remember that the fight for democracy in much of the world has been going on for probably almost as long as humans have gathered together in societies, as people try to make lives for themselves without being under the sway of some ruler with complete powers of life and death over everyone and all they own - the advantage has ebbed and flowed between the two sides over the centuries, but those fighting for democracy have slowly been advancing and increasing their share of the overall influence in the governance of their societies - but never without great resistance from those who would be and have been kings. In the current historical period, in Canada, during the last 100 years or so, those fighting for more power to the people made many good advances, and the elite, the 'natural' rulers (in their own minds, that is to say, based on history and the existing power structure at any given time and the powers of wealth and simple physical dominance), were forced to allow the people to have certain things in their lives and communities in the more advanced western democracies such as Canada, a certain physically comfortable and achievable standard of living for those who work hard, better working conditions and pay than are found in less developed countries, a certain freedom of movement and thought, a quite high standard of consumer products available for most people, a certain level of social programs to help the citizens when they require help, and things of that nature. And many people confuse this relatively comfortable lifestyle, and their freedom to talk freely amongst themselves about pretty much anything, even if their voices are not heeded in the halls of governance, with 'democracy' (and are certainly encouraged to do so). But, as the examples mentioned at the beginning make evident, the true power, in the hands of the managers, the elite, has not changed at all, they have simply retreated a bit, regrouped a bit, implemented this new 'management' strategy that has allowed the people of Canada some small advances in creature comforts formerly known only to the wealthy, whilst keeping a firm grip on the true levers of power behind the wizard's 'curtain of democracy' and the ability to set the important policies of the country according to their desires. Talking freely and color tvs do not equal democracy. Farmer Jones might treat his cows a lot better than many farmers - but that does not make his cows 'free'.
2-d) Aside from the appearances of 'democracy', there are a couple of deeper reasons Canadians believe their country is 'democratic', in the face of the quite convincing evidence already presented that in important ways it is anything but.
The first is that a major part of the reasonably comfortable lives that most Canadians enjoy begins with several years of what might be called 'social indoctrination', more commonly known as 'going to school' or 'getting an education'. As a major part of this program, the people of Canada are conditioned, or indoctrinated, to believe their country is a 'democracy' through a deep indoctrination process that begins almost the day they are born, and continues throughout their lives. The indoctrination is subtle and not normally violent for most people who do not resist, a Soma rather than an iron fist approach, connected to positive things as described in points 2 and 3 before, thus there is no overt reason to either suspect it or thus resist it - and good enough reason to deny it out-of-hand when others try to explore such ideas. (When people think of 'brainwashing', the more common fictional portrayal of indoctrination, they have been conditioned through movies and other popular media to think of dark stone cells and thugs with implements of torture and terrible chemicals doing terrible painful things to a person who eventually succumbs to the pain and terror, things that certainly do not happen to normal law-abiding citizens in Canada - a general sort of belief that, in itself, would tend to make people unaware of much more subtle forms of brainwashing or indoctrination such as the full spectrum propaganda Canadians are subject to through their media and other means (which is, of course, part of the indoctrination, steering the subjects away from any kind of thought that might expose the indoctrination or create dissonances that might lead to such exposure - as many readers are undoubtedly resisting every word in this short article - crazy talk, conspiracy theories, of course we aren't indoctrinated what nonsense!! etc and etc)) (and one of the most important and useful tools of the managers is the almost complete refusal of most people to even consider that such a process might have been performed on them - A broader question to consider as you read on: What would perhaps the single most important outcome of a successful indoctrination program be? Perhaps - The indoctrinated person has no idea they are indoctrinated, and will vehemently deny it, and they give no overt signs of being indoctrinated. And of course such individuals then become themselves a central part of the ongoing indoctrination program - people who teach and confirm the idea, for instance, that Canada is a democracy, not because they are engaged in some nefarious indoctrination program, but because they actually believe it themselves. After several generations of increasingly sophisticated indoctrination, this type of person is the norm.)
So the important component of the early indoctrination (insofar as we are examining Canadian 'democracy') is simply to make the citizen uninterested in, or resistant to thinking clearly about, the many irregularities and indications of elite rule in the Canadian pseudo-democratic process, encouraging them to simply, and rather thoughtlessly, accept the system itself as evidence of 'democracy', and the endless imprecations from the politicians and media spokespeople and other manager employees of what a great democracy they live in, even though any examination of the results of that process, such as briefly outlined above, indicates quite strongly that the Canadian system should not be termed 'democratic' at all, insofar as that word is commonly understood.
Again, as with the idea of 'democracy', if you see the truth of what has been said above, but are still uncertain as to what is or has been happening, an examination of your beliefs about 'but I don't feel indoctrinated!!' with the guidance of a few pertinent questions might prove of interest - ideas, you will note, that you have never been exposed to in your previous life by the education system or media which you rely on for your information.
You believe you live in a democracy - but as I have demonstrated quite conclusively above, actually you do not. How did a free-thinking person, or a country full of free-thinking people, as you believe yourself and your fellow citizens to be, arrive at such an erroneous conclusion, a conclusion so unsupported by all the facts, facts which have been freely available to you? How can you look at a simple set of facts that prove Canada is not a democracy, and yet repeat by rote that "Of course Canada is a democracy!" as needed, as you and most citizens have done all of your lives, when this is so obviously a false statement? Is it simply that most people are not too bright, or has everyone been led to this belief in some way, and further 'educated' in such a way that they somehow can not see that they believe in something that is so obviously false?
To understand this, you need to think a bit about how and where from exactly you get your beliefs, most especially those things that are so deeply ingrained in your brain you do not think to even question them - things like your insistence that Canada is a 'democracy', no matter what the evidence indicates.
The indoctrination of the average citizen starts in a systematic way when you start school, although the background is being laid before then, by the adults around you, who have similar beliefs and received them in the same way as you did, and also your very earliest days of television watching which began the process; although a lot of what the child sees on television they do not really understand, it is like slowly loading the cannon, laying the background, part of the full spectrum propaganda (in many important ways, the medium is the message, as Marshall McLuhan observed many years ago - the passive, blank face staring at a screen absorbing information passively, throughout their lives - there are those who create the 'message', and those who 'consume' it .... - managers and managed, in every aspect of the modern citizen's life). And remember, at this time in the child's life, those first few years after birth, most of the brain really is a tabula rasa, a blank slate, or, in more modern terms, a huge computer, completely unprogrammed beyond a primitive BIOS that craves food, and the things that are written therein, the early programming, the belief systems, etc and etc, are things the child has no control over, as they are too young to question things or analyze anything critically - satisfy the pleasure centers in these completely defenseless subjects, and add whatever programming you like over, around and under that satisfaction, until people react instinctively to stimuli as Pavlov's dogs reacted to the bell.
Children at this age are also under the instinctive compulsion to please those who provide them with life's necessities and protect them to ensure that supply and protection continues, so absorbing the things these protector-providers seem to believe will be a very natural thing to do. This pleasing instinct, we might note, is very encouraged by the managers of the society - the child who recites things perfectly back to the teacher gets many signs of approval (which young creatures crave), while the child who is less able (or willing) to behave as the teacher wishes gets less approval, and strong signals that such behavior is not wanted in society. As well as simply learning their way around their society during these formative years, the child is also internalizing the notion (as they are continually told through their schooling and television) that their authority figures are to be trusted and believed.
The child is also being ingrained with more subtle things, such as the lifestyle pattern of going somewhere every day and taking orders from some authority figure, and generally having various authority figures in one's life, that there is a supreme god in the universe, that people regularly eat morning noon and evening and sleep at night, that we must wear clothes and not talk about sexual things or bodily elimination things, that there are good people and evil people in the world (and we are always good, of course), and many, many other similar things that become ingrained at a very deep level, and thus almost impossible to change in later years - when the bell rings, there is no control over the salivation. When someone asks "Is Canada a democracy?" it is almost impossible to say anything other than "Of course!". This indoctrination is a common pattern everywhere, it is how young creatures of almost every sort learn, and can hardly be denied - the only questions are about who is doing the indoctrinating, and whether their goals are benign or otherwise. We always want to assume our closest superior people as we are growing up, our parents, are only interested in doing good things for us, and no doubt they are in most cases - but what if they themselves have been programmed to pass on certain things that are maybe not quite so good, but they do so with all the best intentions? In terms at the very least of instilling false beliefs about exactly how 'democratic' Canadian society is, one would have to say the goals of the Canadian managers would qualify as 'otherwise'.
Did anyone ever during your schooling days come and talk to you about the things I have mentioned above, that rather prove you do not live in a democracy? Or was every message you ever received during your schooling days based on the idea that you lived in a democracy - and not only 'a' democracy, but 'one of the greatest democracies' in the world? - for that is surely the mythology that most Canadians believe (actually the belief may not be exactly false, strictly speaking, as comparatively speaking Canada may be one of the better 'democracies' in the world, but since most other 'democracies' are equally managed and not actually democratic at all, that is not an especially high or notable bar to be bragging about - unless, of course, for some reason you think it is a somewhat higher bar than it actually is ....).
Did anyone ever attempt to engage you in a discussion of the way YOUR society should operate, and solicit YOUR opinion on what you might want in a society and a discussion among those of your age group about changes you might want to make as you become adults in your society? Did anyone ever explain to you why it was that you were being expected to start working as soon as you left school, and pay taxes, a good portion of which, for instance, would be used to pay off a debt that you had nothing to do with incurring, or to send soldiers off to fight in foreign countries that you knew nothing about? Did you ever have discussions whilst you were in school, or of school age in other places, about how it was time for you to start considering how YOUR society was organized, and what you thought of it, with various speakers presenting various points of view and initiating various discussions amongst you and your friends? - or was every discussion predicated on the idea that your society was already a very good society, and all you needed to do was decide how you could fit into that pre-existing structure as a good citizen, the best sort of pre-existing job you should strive for in order to earn the most money because that's what everyone wants is a lot of money, etc and etc? Do you think there was anything in that sort of situation (or is for those young people going through it now) that might be called 'indoctrinating the new citizen into the ways of the society that are good for those who already manage or rule the society'??
After many years of being taught these and many, many other such things, and having the ideas repeated in the television shows and movies you watch, the civic leaders you listen to, everyone in your peer group if the topic ever comes up, continual reinforcement in the print media you read once you are old enough to do so, etc and etc, with NO attempt to present you with other perspectives - well, the idea of questioning the belief that 'Canada is a great democracy', or that there might be other ways of organizing a society rather than having you competing for the best job in the machine after 'getting your education' and then working the rest of your life as part of the machine, simply never arises in the minds of most people - false though these ideas quite obviously are, and not very democratic at all, as is evident when the beliefs are examined as I have done briefly above.
And then also, of course, insofar as 'indoctrinating with desirable and acceptable beliefs' goes, everyone wants to believe they are good people in a good situation, and free people in a great democracy is certainly what most modern people want to be, so it is a belief that people do not naturally resist, but naturally embrace.
And if that process, that feeding to everyone of one-sided and false information, beginning during the most formative period of their lives when such things are accepted virtually without question, while never providing contrary or alternative points of view that might actually be closer to the truth, is not conditioning or indoctrination - what would you call it?
2-e. Managing Democracy day-to-day: the central role of the Mainstream Media (MSM)
The final major reason that Canadians believe they live in a 'democracy' when rather obviously they do not is the Canadian media, which continually promotes that idea, and simply will not print or broadcast any contrary ideas - as with any major indoctrination point that actual examination of might expose as the lie it is, discussion is simply verboten, and the central dogma is accepted without question in any related discussion. Think, for instance, of times in the past. When the rulers want to do something that a solid majority of Canadians oppose, what is the strategy? In a true democracy, of course, there would be no problem, the issue would be largely dropped - certainly anyone is free to speak and to try to change minds about any given issue, but in a true democracy, there would be no suggestion that the desires of a minority, and often as far as such issues goes a quite small minority, should be allowed to lead the country places most people do not want to go. But what happens in Canada? The complete reverse - the managers undertake a massive propaganda campaign to 'sell' the issue to Canadians - and how do they undertake this campaign? Through the mainstream media, of course.
We see it over and over again, from 'free trade' to privatising the health care system to joining the United States in invading other countries - a massive propaganda campaign (you cannot call it anything else if you look at it honestly, although of course the word is complete anathema to the Canadian mainstream media, at least in connection with their own activities) is undertaken by the managers through the media - and this propaganda campaign has one goal, to sway Canadians to accepting the desired goals of the real rulers. There is never any real debate about such issues, nor the role of the media in promoting one particular point of view to the almost total exclusion of others - although the majority position held by most Canadians is acknowledged from time to time, it is only done so in the context of an endless stream of 'stories' and commentaries explaining to Canadians why their position is wrong, and endlessly exhorting them to accept the point of view of the rulers - very much a 'do-as-you-are-told-by-your-betters!' monologue rather than a democratic dialogue. And then when the rulers finally go ahead and do what they want, as they invariably do no matter how many Canadians oppose the idea, there is some kind of perception in the Canadian mind (always encouraged by the media, of course in refusing to allow questions or commentary that might expose the non-democratic action for what it actually is) that 'democracy' has been exercised during the debate, and democracy is ruling in Canada - when, of course, if you actually examine what is happening, it becomes clear that 'democracy' is nowhere to be found, as the will of the majority is, once again, NOT being carried out by those who are managing the Canadian pseudo-democracy.
The media is of course central, both in the indoctrination and maintenance of these false beliefs - this is one of the handful of essential lies we are indoctrinated to accept in our early years, along with 'democracy' and 'never even think about indoctrination you are being educated to be a good citizen', this myth that the Canadian media is one of the best in the world, free and responsible, and fighting for the right of Canadians to full information about everything the government is up to, so Canadians can be good citizens - when something closer to the complete reverse is actually what is happening.
That the Canadian MSM functions as a propaganda arm for the managers rather than a reliable source of information for Canadian citizens can be demonstrated virtually on a daily basis (Green Island Veritas points out some of the more egregious examples every week - only a few, it would be impossible to note every instance as it is, as I have noted elsewhere, a 'full spectrum approach' they use).
A couple of examples would be:
For instance, something that has been in the 'news' a lot the last few years - Canadians have been subjected to an endless stream of 'terrorism' stories for the last five years, almost never going beyond the comic book level of 'They hate us because of our freedoms!! - we are being threatened by a bunch of mindless villains (like we see in the movies all the time!!) who just love violence and want to cause destruction to 'free democracies' like Canada so they can take over the world and create some kind of islamofascist hellhole over the entire earth!' - total unmitigated nonsense as any thinking person understands - yet that is the gist of most of the 'terrorism' coverage we have seen in the media day after day after month after month after year after weary year, with regular 'new' horrific things like the recent 'story' in August/06, since shown to be basically completely impossible (but never reported as such in the mainstream media after their initial DUCK DUCK DUCK OHMYGOD THE TERRORISTS THE TERRORISTS TRIED TO KILL US ALL AGAIN!!!!!! bout of screaming - it really has been that shrill in tone if not actual words a great deal of the time, quite pathetic actually from a 'responsible professional' media) that a gang of evil terrorists were going to create mass murder by bombing a whole fleet of planes with evil-scientist-comicbook-like powerful explosives mixed from ordinary household liquids!!! they would 'sneak' onto planes in ordinary liquid containers and make the bombs in plane restrooms!!! This was quite quickly shown to be utter nonsense (although these reports were never carried in the MSM), and the police even had to admit the entire story was wildly exaggerated in every way - but such stories got little or no coverage in the mainstream press, nor was there ever any examination of what the press was doing making serious mistakes like this - if, that is, they were actually mistakes, of course.
Ramp up the anxiety - and then forget about it - 'news' is not the point, simply ramping up anxiety levels in general at all times, as every study of mass psychology shows that people who are afraid are easier to control. Never in the mainstream Canadian media do we see stories such as this recent one from an alternative publication, Green Left Weekly, Myths and realities of media Islamophobia, or The Mysterious Disappearing Terrorist Plots, or any of hundreds of others that have been published on the internet or other places not controlled by the managers that can afford print versions of alternative magazines trying to talk about the overall history of the reason some Muslims are unhappy with the imperialistic actions of the west over the last 100+ years - the mainstream media intentionally cultivates the idea that history began on Sept 11 2001 - and the well-indoctrinated citizen sees no reason to question this, apparently.
Or we can consider the current Canadian military presence in Afghanistan - the Canadian MSM has essentially one perspective on this, trumpeted day after day, the 'humanitarian' mission we are on, humanizing our troops so we feel a personal loss when they die, but portraying those Afghanis who fight in their own country as faceless robotic killers, as every demonization program in history has done (with the occasional comment from one or two political leaders who are slightly less jingoistic) - but there are virtually no stories (one or two honorable exceptions buried in the back pages) talking about the history of Afghanistan or trying to give Canadians some actual perspective on the situation in order to help them make reasoned decisions about the role of Canada there, or in other conflicts around the world - articles such as (such as Afghanistan - Wrong Mission for Canada, or James Laxer - Why Canada should pull its troops out of Afghanistan or Canada/NATO Invasion of Afghanistan Sows Destruction and Misery - or dozens of other articles about the actual situation and offering good background and commentary on what is happening, not only about 'terrorism' or Afghanistan, but about every other issue in the country and world, big or small - commentary and perspectives simply not available in the Canadian MSM.
The point is not that such alternative commentaries may or may not be true (although generally in contentious issues such as those mentioned above, and others, the alternative media are a great deal more credible than the mainstream media, which, as always in key issues, acts above all in its function of facilitating the management of 'democracies' through promoting and propagandizing the message the managers want and gatekeeping to keep perspectives that might undermine the manager's message away from Canadians), but that if you really lived in a democracy, with a media that was truly free and responsible and served the people rather than the managers, and if you were a free and independent-thinking citizen aware of the way things were in your country and world with some understanding of world history (which most people do not get in their 12 long years of enforced education - part of the indoctrination is instilling intentional ignorance about many things people really ought to know about), you would be reading things like this every day in the mainstream media, as information you needed to be aware of to make intelligent decisions about what was happening in your country. The stories of those who wanted to manipulate and rule you through fear and lies and disinformation and half-truths would be balanced by stories about the same issues from those who had other ideas. A truly responsible and independent media would understand that they should, of course, report what politicians say, and the arms-dealers and others who profit from conflict who support them - but they would also understand that they also have an obligation to report stories from people who feel the politicians are talking nonsense and their motives are quite questionable when they support policies such as this, and leave it up to the citizens themselves to decide who is telling the truth, who is more credible. Quite obviously, of course, in a 'managed' democracy, it is very much contrary to the interests of the managers for you to have such information, as you might then understand better some of the things that were being done in your name, and be more inclined, along with many of your fellow citizens, to protest, to not accept the dictates of the managers when they so obviously went against the wishes of a solid majority of citizens. And given that - if the media choose to report one side of such stories and not another, in virtually every major issue that has faced Canadians over the last 20+ years - it is quite difficult to avoid the conclusion that they are quite in collusion with the managers, working to instill a certain set of beliefs about the way the world is working in the citizens, beliefs that benefit those who would be king, and which work very much against the interests of the average citizen.
Simple gatekeeping of information is not enough on its own to reliably push people in a certain direction, as people are intelligent and curious and do like to use their brains sometimes if an opportunity presents itself, and to take care of any such opportunities, on top of people's busy lives as worker bees fueling the capitalist growgrowgrowGROW!!! economy, in the bit of time that is left each week to consider what is happening in the country and world, the media also serves to provide a full basket of distractions, something for almost everyone, keeping people from thinking about and discussing the more fundamental and important issues they ought to be watching in society, such as the question of whether or not the country is indeed a democracy in terms of major government policies. Keeping people focused on these less important issues, such things as the 'debate' over same sex marriage and other sexual issues, the 'constitution' questions such as getting rid of the senate or the current entirely manufactured and completely meaningless tempest-in-a-teapot issue of 'fixed election dates', hockey and baseball scores, the most important new television show this new tv season, who is the father of the famous unmarried actress's baby and the endless discussions in our sadly repressed society of who is sleeping with whom, police crackdowns on those darn scofflaws not wearing seatbelts, scarestories about 'terrorists', etc and etc, is a central 'democracy management' technique. Especially when the issue of 'Is Canada a real or managed democracy' is not even on the horizon as something Canadians should be talking about, since everyone is raised KNOWING that Canada is a great democracy, and not something that needs to be talked about at all.
3: But So What????
Well, finally then, not admitting for a second that any of that conspiracy-sounding stuff is true, but even if it was, so what? What's the point? I mean, we certainly seem to function like a democracy, regular elections and all that, we're good citizens here, trying to create a good society for Canadians and do good stuff around the world as well - even IF we aren't the most democratic democracy in the world or your imagination, which we do not for a second acknowledge - well so what anyway? What's the point of all that stuff you accuse us of???
There are many problems with the current situation. I'll only mention what I consider to be the major ones.
** Look at what has been happening to Canada the last 20+ years - the managers are taking the country away from you. Your parents and their parents and maybe you and many other people of their generations fought like hell over a long period of time to make a good, progressive, prosperous country, a country with things like good rights for citizens and workers, and good programs for We the People who produce the wealth of the country (a good education system, good media to keep us informed of the way things were in our country and the world, a good health care system to keep all of us healthy and well-looked after, pensions for our old age, good unemployment insurance for people who lost their jobs, etc and etc and etc) and by the 1960s they were on the verge of realizing the dream of making Canada one of the truly best and most progressive countries in the world, with one of the brightest futures. However, this was not in the game plan of We Who Would Be King Over All The Peasants, and the Canadian elite, those who controlled the major businesses in the country and were wealthy enough to afford education and health care and etc on their own and saw no good reason to pay taxes to help others achieve such things, began their counter offensive, in secret of course, and they have not looked back since, and We the People have gone nowhere but backwards - as Paul Martin bragged a few years ago, social services have been regressed to a level something like they were at in the early 50s, and corporate profits continue to soar (see a short version of this history here, The Corporate Reactionary Revolution). Two working adults are now required to maintain a lifestyle comparable to what one working adult could manage in the 50s or 60s or 70s, and the stress level for all workers and families is high and growing, and their job security precarious and satisfaction falling, and their debt-to-savings ratio higher than ever. These things are not just some kind of natural progression of human society - they are things that have been planned and implemented by the people managing your democracy - certainly they are not things that anyone concerned with the true welfare of most Canadians would plan. The current managers are not good people, and their goal is quite simply to reverse all of those gains made by those of our ancestors who went before, to take away this prosperous and progressive society you live in and create a new feudalism in Canada and, with their co-managers around the world, a globalised, feudal society - the same rollbacks are underway in all other western democracies that once considered themselves progressive. It is a pretty immutable rule that for there to be a few obscenely wealthy people, as we see today, there have to be a lot of poor people producing the wealth the wealthy people steal for themselves - the pie that is baked by the working people of the world, the real wealth, is only so big, and the more that gets sucked up to the top, the less there is for the rest of the people - the rest who actually make the pie. Canada is going backwards, as a progressive, modern, democratic country - and as long as you are under the rule of a 'managed' democracy rather than participating in a real one, that's the way your managers want to go and there isn't really anything you can do about it, even if you come to understand the true situation and decide you want to. The country is on a slippery slope - and as a Canadian used to Canadian winters, you should know how much easier it is to get to the bottom of an icy hill than to get back up. Now imagine someone at the top of that hill with some barricades and baton-wielding 'security' people, and think about it all. Please.
** It's not only ideas and progressive programs and security and good jobs they are stealing from Canadians - they are also outright stealing a great deal of cold hard cash. As noted in The Great Canadian National Debt Scam article I referred to above, they have stolen over a trillion dollars from Canadian workers and taxpayers over the last couple of decades (probably double that if you add in provincial and other debts incurred in the name of 'we the people' at whatever level of government), and continue to steal to the tune of $50 billion or more a year in the form of the 'service' charges on the accumulated debt - for of course they say you still owe them half a billion dollars. This is not only for their simple pecuniary needs, as most of them are very rich already, but it also has a much more practical aspect. People with secure and comfortable lives have time to think about things like democracy and improving their society for everyone, and even looking outward to try to make the world a better place, all things the elite very much do not want the people doing or thinking about - but people who are scrambling to keep ahead of the bill collector and are stressed in other ways from lack of time in a busy life with two people working and long commutes etc and etc are usually more concerned with putting food on the table, with not much time left to think about things like 'democracy', as long as things seem to be going ok according to their media. But just imagine what all of that money, all of it Canadian taxpayers' money, could have been used for over the last 20 years - think of Walkerton and the recent Quebec overpass collapse, canary-in-the-mine signs that the Canadian infrastructure, neglected so long, is a disaster waiting to happen, for instance - that should have been maintained with some of that money. Think of people dying in emergency rooms because medical funding has been slashed the last 20 years, there are not enough doctors being graduated, hospitals foolishly closed, and etc - while 'investors' have waltzed off with a couple of trillion dollars to their Caribbean hideaways. And etc and etc. They steal, we all lose.
** The influence of the managers of the Canadian pseudo-democracy reaches far outside of the Canadian borders, and they are also helping to keep the poor countries of the world poor and suffering and stealing from them too, both 'legally' through 'free trade' treaties and international organizations like the WTO which enforce 'trade' policies that only benefit the powerful countries at the expense of the weaker, and also, more and more, through involvement in American-led military actions that actually go around killing people and bombing infrastructure to install governments that favor the imperialistic policies of the west and destroy governments which are trying to lift their people out of the poverty imposed by the western invaders. You will not, of course, read about this in the Canadian media, for reasons that should be clear enough in the light of what is written above, and it is a central part of the de-indoctrination process that you need to expand your reading considerably to learn about such things, and learn to treat the Canadian media for what it is, or has become under the corporate managership that has taken over Canada the last 30 years - primarily a propaganda organ for the managers of the Canadian pseudo-democracy. Canada's managers have been making Canada a strong supporter of the New World Order, a world run by and for corporations and pushing citizens' rights and needs lower and lower, in the race to the bottom we have been talking about (not in the mainstream media, of course) for the last 20 years, which you can see happening in Canada with the tuition fee increases in universities closing them to poorer students and people waiting months for necessary medical procedures because the social infrastructure is being dismantled in favor of ever increasing corporate profits and power. This means that there is a steady trickle UP effect everywhere, with less and less money for citizens everywhere. And the new world order is very militant, with the US military the face of the future all over the world. The world does not need to be this way - most people want peace, but peace is not good for those who would be king. I don't think most Canadians want a world forever in a state of war - yet your managers are leading you there. You can let them do this - or you can resist.
** You have no security. If you accept the power of others to manage your society in regards to the things that matter, and do not care that your 'democracy' is illusional, since things seem to be working quite well now and/or you maybe see things seeming to get worse but you believe the lies of the managers as they rationalize everything and tell you it is actually your own fault. If you do not act now while you still have some freedom left, you will have no recourse once the managers decide to start doing things that begin to upset you seriously - as Canadians are seeing with the slow strangulation of their health care system against their wishes, the increasing following of the US as it marauds around the world which most Canadians want no part of, the increasing clampdown on citizen freedoms in the name of the phony war on terror which again most Canadians want no part of. This is a slippery slope which is much easier to allow yourself to be herded down than it is to recover from. As they are doing in the US, the Canadian government is fighting in the courts to establish their 'right' to declare you or anyone else a 'terrorist' on the basis of 'secret' evidence and hold you indefinitely without bail or lawyer or any rights whatsoever - with no 'democratic' approval whatsoever for these restrictive measures (did any major party mention these things in the election held a few months ago? Of course not...).
As the Rev Neimuller found out, if you do not protest when things happen that you understand are not very good, but do nothing because they don't really have much impact on you - once things do begin that you do not like and want to protest - it has become too late, and there is no one left to help you.
Ok - you seem to have a point. What Can I do?
Well, for those few who have managed to get this far, and have managed to step away from the years of social indoctrination for whatever reason and are wondering what to do if, as it may well be, all that stuff is true, I can only offer the following.
Turn off the tv until you are sure you have developed some immunity to the propaganda feed and understand that almost everything you see on that television is related to social conditioning and those doing the conditioning are NOT your friends - if you look at it all with open eyes it can be instructive, but you need to be very careful about it all, it's a dangerous, brain-deadening addiction in large, regular doses. Start reading outside the box and getting educated. It takes a while, but it is time well spent - it is growth time. Time spent making money for the capitalists is wasted time, as not only are you wasting your own life, every day you give them makes them that much stronger - most of us have to do something to make money given the society we find ourselves living in, but don't let them take your soul along with your time.
A few places to start - and don't worry that not everyone you read agrees with everyone else - the idea is to get a lot of opinions, and put them all together with what you see around you, and just learn to make up your own mind about what is going on, and who is telling the truth, who is lying outright, and who is just asking questions that seem to indicate the official story is somewhat lacking but aren't really sure what the answers are. Big George is not, ultimately, the 'decider' - you are. Every citizen must decide for him or herself.
**A few good Canadian sites, all of which carry commentary about the way things are in Canada that you almost never see in the mainstream media - the kind of information people need to help them see through the lies and spin of the government and mainstream media:
Some other places you might check out, related to the above or not:
- whatever you read, it's all just ways of understanding that the people who have been running your life have been lying about a whole lot of things, and if you want to get to a place where you can call your society democratic and yourself a truly free person in that democracy, living by rules you have participated in formulating, you and a lot of others have to start telling them that the lies are no longer acceptable, you are no longer a kid who can be kept a kid with Santa Claus stories, but you want to be there at midnight when the toys are put under the tree. Get together with other people, expose the managers for what they are, the farce of Canadian 'democracy' for what it is, and become a demander of democracy - don't accept the 'right' of some 'representative' to speak for you, when all they speak are lies and all they do is contrary to what you and most Canadians actually want - if that is the result of the Canadian 'democratic' system, then the system needs to be changed if you want to call yourselves a democracy. There is more about how a real democracy operates here, How Democracy Works on Green Island - use it as a guideline if you like, do something else if you like, but it is imperative that if things are going to get better, the decisions made in Canada become the decisions of the Canadian people, not the backroom elite currently pulling the strings of the major political parties against the wishes of most Canadians in most undemocratic fashion.
In the end, of course, it is up to you. You can continue to believe all of your years of social conditioning and reinforcement, and disregard everything I have written above, and think "I don't really care about all that stuff - Canada is a great country and a great democracy, and anyone who says otherwise is just a stupid hippie or terrorist or something!" - and that is your decision. Or you can read the stuff, and start wondering about why so many people have been telling you things that are quite obviously not true - and wonder what else they are all lying about, and why.
ADDENDUM: Some Caveats:
Caveat 1: The argument will be made - "It's nonsense to say that Canada is not ruled by a majority - most Canadian governments are majorities, with minorities happening occasionally. That the majority of seats does not always represent a majority of votes is irrelevant - this is the nature of representative government, and majority governments are much stronger and able to deal with important issues as they arise." - to which one can only reply, that is one of the arguments commonly used to justify the current political non-democratic situation, and changes nothing of what I have written above, and actually confirms a fair amount of it. If you choose to believe that you can dodge around the issue of a minority of Canadians supporting major policies that a majority of Canadians oppose by referring to the 'positive' aspects of a 'majority' government which justifies gerrymandering the electoral system in various ways to provide such governments, then nothing else I can write is likely to change your mind. But try to be honest - you are really saying that, in your opinion, there are times a minority knows what is best because they are better educated or more intelligent or whatever, and the peasants should just shut up and follow their masters. And you should then give us a definition of 'democracy' that you agree with, that specifically includes somewhere that 'democracy' does not actually mean 'majority' rule, because ....??? - well, you'll have to fill that part in, my imagination doesn't go that high (I have taken sort of a personal oath to not lie, and the only things I could put in there would be lies).
Caveat 2: It's not indoctrination if it's the truth, is it? Are scientists 'indoctrinating' us when they tell us E=MC2 or something? Of course not - but I think I have ably demonstrated above that you cannot simply argue that you were being educated with 'the truth' about the many things involved with 'social conditioning' - quite the contrary, actually, you were being fed lies and being taught not to question those lies or the fact you were being so taught, which is what makes the whole process 'indoctrination' rather than 'education'.
Caveat 3: There's good rulers and there's bad rulers, that's why we see some things in the paper that seem to go against the idea of 'them vs us' - some rulers want to be sort of good and benevolent to we the people, other rulers just despise us and don't care what misery we live in - and this dichotomy of rulers is what is played out in modern 'democratic' politics in a country like Canada. It's not that serious of a fight, most of the time (although the politicians often put on a good show for the citizens) - the rulers all believe that there is a ruling class and a worker class (that is how they are raised, that is their indoctrination, if they believed elsewise they wouldn't be rulers), and that's fine (for them), the universe is unfolding as it should, they are used to living lives of relative ease and luxury and not working, and they want to keep it that way - and most of them seem to believe they are doing the right thing, looking after the simple folk from their exalted position, noblesse oblige and all that. They just have some small disagreements about how to treat us peasants, overall - just like you have some people who treat pets or children well and have a generally benign attitude towards the world around them, and others who have a much harsher way of treating people or pets or the world - just different ideas of how to live in the world. You have some farmers who have nice barns and treat the animals well and some farmers who figure any old leaky cold hovel is fine they're only animals after all! - but you don't have any farmers getting into the fields and producing the milk or walking into the slaughter houses to donate their bodies for food for the other farmers, and you don't see any cows running the farms.
Caveat 4: This 'indoctrinated person' is not a 'catch-22' situation, wherein the reader is damned no matter how they answer, with both the indoctrinated person and the unindoctrinated person denying indoctrination, so impossible to distinguish, although one is and one is not. If you can honestly acknowledge the various facts I mentioned above concerning how Canada does not function as a democracy at all, and have thought about such things, and believe you have valid, truly considered responses that you find satisfactory to those questions rather than a knee-jerk sort of automatic denial - then obviously you have not been conditioned, so there is no 'have you stopped beating your wife' trick question here. Many people do, for various reasons, escape the conditioning or much of it and thus understand and question such things as 'democracy' - but they are very much a minority and marginalised by the managers through various means. But most citizens (according to all appearances, judging by their behaviour) seem to have simply never considered such questions in any honest way - the indoctrination process has quite intentionally and successfully turned them away (and continues to turn them away) from such critical examination. Such people have, of course, never been exposed to critical questioning of such things in the Canadian mainstream media or education system, and, as they have been trained to do for so many years, simply fall back on the mantra that 'Of course Canada is a democracy - everybody knows that!!!' - and leave it it at that, not confronting in any way the quite unavoidable evidence that the country is not a democracy at all. Much, one supposes, as the citizenry in an earlier time followed their leaders and mocked out-of-hand anyone who dared suggest the earth was round and revolved around the sun.
Caveat 5- But the obvious enmity between the major parties and leaders would indicate that there really is a choice there, not some 'tweedledee-dum' situation - their policies are obviously different as well... - well, there is certainly some real competition between the parties - why wouldn't there be? - note point 2 above that there are many things about which the managers do not really care and which they encourage distracting debate, and the political parties can do their bit to promote this distraction as well. The life of an MP is one of the better jobs in Canada, all pretentious whinging about 'long hours' etc aside, and many people also aspire to the power and perks, and even if the power is somewhat limited in any real sense for most backbench MPs, the prestige is still there, and the perks for those who do as the leaders wish, and the chance to work one's way higher in the hierarchy and maybe even break through to the 'elite' circle someday for the chosen few. So the fight between the parties at election time is real enough, as there will be real losers and real winners - but again, it is a mirage in terms of indicating any real democracy. All you have to do is look, as I have (briefly!) above, at the agreement of the major parties on the major issues when it actually comes time to walk some walk instead of only talking sound bites for the tv news - as Chretien and the Libs suddenly reversed their stand on NAFTA for instance the second they were elected, or how all parties push tax cuts and just can't manage to do anything serious about fixing the health care system, or how they all obey the bankers and pretend the 'national debt' must be a top priority and never make any noise about a sane financial system, and the handful of major issues like that. That they disagree on same sex marriage and might pass different laws about this makes absolutely no difference to the managers of the country, as noted above, such things are primarily useful in turning any national discussion away from more important issues and keeping the citizens from getting together to seriously engage the real battle of We the People vs the Oligarchy.