a conservative heretic commenting on hypocrisy and stupidity in a world with too much of both
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Monthly Archives: April 2012

No Respect For The People’s House

Nathan Cullen, who recently ran for the leadership of the New Democratic Party in Canada and lost, proposed tougher authority for the Speaker of Canada’s House of Commons (our version of Congress for my American friends) to clamp down on what can only be described as unruly, adolescent behaviour.
I agree with him even though I don’t support the NDP or most of its policies. Civility and professional conduct should transcend party politics. Instead, we are treated to endless foolishness. The opposition parties ask long rambling questions designed to embarrass the government while for it’s part, the government replies with obsequious responses that seldom have anything to do with the original question. The members of each party applaud when their member asks a question and shout and jeer at the person from the other party who is speaking.
It’s a goon show, not the epitome of democracy at work. Here’s a sample.

It is incredible that a sitting prime minister in this day and age would actually have the stones to accuse the leader of a political party that didn’t exist before 1961 of not supporting the war against Hitler.

To be fair, Canada’s parliamentary system unlike the American House of Representatives, is base on the British Parliament where much the same kind of approach is taken. In some ways I guess, it’s almost politically genetic. Other democracies in Europe such as France are either based on a republican model much like that in America while other countries, like Italy, tend to follow the parliamentary approach. Strangely, the parliamentary model tends to be the more disruptive and untruly.

I’ve asked Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy to provide some context on European parliaments.

Politicians worldwide don’t seem to understand that representing the people is a privilege and a responsibility. For whatever reasons, they seem to caught up in party bias and self-importance to the point where dignity, respect and civility are completely ignored.
Consider this final clip from the Taiwanese parliament. It looks more like a fracas at a soccer match than political leadership.

In the end, what it comes down to for me is that it is becoming more and more difficult to take politicians seriously, let alone have much respect for them. They have devastated our economies, lied to us at election time and in some cases even stolen from us. They conduct themselves like they are a law unto themselves with little regard or respect for the people who have elected them or the institutions in which they represent us.
Under those circumstances, it’s difficult to believe they would expect us to respect them in return and yet…..too many still do and until that changes….nothing else will.

We Are Drowning In Stupidity

There are two kinds of people in the world; stupid people and the rest of us and I think the rest of us are slowly being outnumbered.
One of my most-read posts is the satire I wrote on what government would do if it legalized marijuana. The article did not take a position on whether legalization was good or a bad thing, in fact it really wasn’t about marijuana at all. It was about how government bureaucracies overwhelm things with rules, regulations, taxes and fees until it all becomes so complicated and expensive, it’s hardly worth engaging in anymore.
Most people got it and enjoyed the humor behind it. Some didn’t. They either agreed with me that marijuana is a gateway drug even though I didn’t state that is what I believe or they attacked me for being against legalization which is also not a position taken in the article. Some contacted me with an opinion based on having only read the first couple of paragraphs which is kind of like deciding whether or not you agree with the values articulated in the Bible after having only read the first page of Genesis.
 It’s not surprising considering that these days many people actually tend to get their news and information from Twitter or something posted on their wall on Facebook. 
It’s not easy to encapsulate complex ideas in 140 characters but that doesn’t prevent many from basing their opinions on those quick and dirty notes.
But stupidity isn’t reserved for the Twitterverse; government is awash in it and it never ceases to amaze me that so many who are elected to public office can utter such complete absurdities with a straight face. Some think it is because they lack respect for the people the electorate and there is a fair degree of both a lack of respect for the electorate and for themselves but it goes beyond that. The stupidity of government, particularly politicians, is palpable.
Nancy Pelosi
This week, for example, Nancy Pelosi led the congressional democrats in hysterical accusations that Republicans were at war with women. Why? It is because the Republicans, who actually supported the Democratic motion to freeze interest rates on student loans had the temerity to vote the funds to pay for this out of the Preventative Health Care budget. Apparently, despite the $15 trillion dollar debt, the Democrats have not caught up to the fact that the money has to come from somewhere other than more borrowing.
What made this attack all the more ridiculous is that only two tenths of one percent of this budget has anything to do exclusively with women  and both Ms Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic caucus voted to take funds from the same budget in January to maintain the freeze on the payroll tax.
Nonetheless the ladies went with straight face and bent ethics before the cameras to tell the world about the Republican perfidity. We see the same thing up here in the Great White North.
Former Prime Minister
Paul Martin
The Liberal Government put Canada into Afghanistan and were criticized for it by the Conservatives. When the Conservatives were elected to form the government, the Liberals immediately began criticizing the Conservatives for being involved in the war and demanding the government bring home the troops that the Liberals originally sent there. The Conservatives, for their part, defended the war initiated by the Liberals. 
Eventually, bowing to public and parliamentary pressure,  PM Harper announced a firm withdrawal date which caused the Liberals to immediately support staying in Afghanistan until the mission was completed.
Don’t try and understand it, just pretend you do and let’s move on. 
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
and the F-35. For $25 million
each, I thought they would
be bigger.
Lately the arguing has been over the acquisition of F-35 fighter jets. This was a development procurement process started by the Liberals who signed the original agreement with a consortium of democratic nations. Once the Conservatives, who had been critical of the acquisition, were elected, both parties switched positions. The Liberals now attack the acquisition of the jets while the Conservatives now defend it.
I used to think politicians were hypocritical because of things like this but even hypocrites would be embarrassed to act this stupidly so I now believe that it is nothing but short attention spans and a complete lack of anything remotely resembling common sense. Only the intellectually lazy or challenged can stand up and publicly state something so completely opposite to what they said previously without embarrassment or the realization of just how stupid they are!
This week the prime minister stood in the House Of Commons and actually accused the Official Opposition of refusing to support the war against Hitler. Aside from the fact that WWII has been over for 60 odd years, the simple fact is that the opposition NDP party did not support the war because they didn’t exist. The party was formed in 1961. Clearly the PM needs better script writers because his ability to ad lib is sadly lacking.
Vic Toews, the Minister of Public Safety, went on a national news program where he berated the opposition for not reading his proposed bill to regulate the Internet. Later, the Right Honourable Vic Toews was forced to admit that he hadn’t actually read the bill either. It makes you wonder who in the hell actually drafted the proposed legislation.
Stupidity is everywhere folks. 
Whether it’s the guy in the car beside you picking his nose because he thinks you can’t see him through the window of his car or the woman trying to put on her makeup while she’s driving, stupidity abounds.
In Canada, where unions do not pay taxes on their membership or investment income, they demand that corporations and the wealthy pay their ‘fair’ share. Their understanding of the word fair seems somewhat limited.
Students protesting tuition increases
in Montreal, Quebec
University students in Quebec riot in the streets to protest an increase in tuition spread out over five years which will see their tuition in 2017 still subsidized by the government to the tune of 83%. Apparently math is not taught to those with self-absorbed adolescent values.
Occupy stands in solidarity with inmates at San Quentin, vandalizes cities, demands free public transportation as a human right and decries any kind of leadership and then wonders why its movement fell out of favour so quickly. With all the time they spend planning their next failed enterprise, it’s a wonder they had the ability to even notice.
Anonymous hacks government and financial computers, steals credit cards, posts anti-Semitic and racist hate material while the enlightened online applaud them as heroes.
All across the web people expose themselves to fraud, the theft of their private data, bullying and being manipulated by the very web sites they use but they protest their government’s attempts to bring some sense of order and protection to the web. These will be the same people who will demand the government do something once they have been victimized.
A provincial government takes the most economically powerful province in the country from a have to a have-not province in just eight years, hires one of the nation’s most respected economists to examine and make recommendations on how to fix things but after publicly thanking him for his efforts and cutting him a handsome check, they promptly shelved his report and ignored its findings.
Ontario Premier McGuinty
leading his province to bankruptcy
Instead they introduced an ‘austerity’ budget designed to bring the province’s finances under control by freezing social assistance payments, public sector salaries and cutting doctors’ incomes. They cut equipment budgets for computers in the classrooms while budgeting $1.5 billion for full-day pre-kindergarten. 
And when all was said and done and the figures added up, spending in the austerity budget will actually increase over last year. The budget has a deficit of $15 billion including $10 billion for interest on the debt they created. The government will be forced to borrow money to pay that interest. Only people so bereft of any level of intelligence could come before the public and call this fiscal prudence with a straight face.
I think I have come to the realization that stupidity is founded more on an unwillingness to become informed more than anything else. How else can you explain the absurd opinions shrieked across social media these days? There is an incredible refusal to consider anyone else’s opinion but their own and it is too often predicated on the fact that people don’t listen to anyone but those who agree with them. I’ve heard so many respond adamantly to something that wasn’t actually said that it makes you sit back and wonder with whom they are actually arguing.
It reminds me of something an old boss of mine told me once in reference to a client that rejected a better deal than the one he originally wanted. “Some people just don’t have the brains to know when to say yes.”
And that too is its own form of stupidity. So many are so busy expressing their point of view, they don’t actually hear those who may have a valid point worth considering or who might even be agreeing with them.
I think what offends me most is that these days though is that too many stupid people have their hands on the levers of power and they treat us like we are as stupid as they are. They’re wrong and I miss the days when stupid people were not able to do so much damage to anyone else but themselves.
RELATED

The Drummond Report – The Liberal Gravy Train Exposed As An Economic Train Wreck
http://bearsrant.blogspot.ca/2012/02/drummond-report-dalton-mcguiintys.html

Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get More Stupid
http://bearsrant.blogspot.ca/2012/03/just-when-you-thought-it-couldnt-get.html

Layin’ Pipe – President Obama Expedites “Part” Of Keystone
http://bearsrant.blogspot.ca/2012/03/president-obama-to-speed-approval-of.html

For Outstanding Achievement In Government Waste & Stupidity – The 2011 Teddy Awards
http://bearsrant.blogspot.ca/2012/03/for-outstanding-achievement-in.html

© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
all rights reserved
The content of this article is the sole property of Maggie’s Bear but a link to it may be shared by those who think it may be of interest to others

With Their Pants Around Their Ankles

What is it with government officials and sex? Is there something in the water or are there aphrodisiacs in the food they serve in government cafeterias? It seems like there is always some politician or official diddling someone somewhere.

Quite honestly, I’m surprised they have time for it considering how much time both politicians and bureaucrats spend screwing their respective countries but somehow they do find the time……and apparently the stamina as well.

It was revealed today that there is yet another alleged incident involving Secret Service Agents and a few hand-picked ladies of the boulevard.

According to Janet Napolitano, this is not indicative of a systemic problem but then, isn’t it politicians and their appointees who also believe that a $15 trillion deficit isn’t a sign of poor economic management either?

Politicians, bureaucrats and other officials all agree that the behaviour isn’t acceptable and want to assure us that they are taking this situation seriously….hopefully more seriously than they take the budget deficit. They all would like us to believe that this kind of thing is an isolated incident but I wasn’t so sure.

I decided that there was a need to dig deeper into the situation and took it upon myself to do a little research on government and sexual peccadilloes.I don’t mind admitting that I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about it. It’s raining today and I’m feeling kind of lethargic but fortunately, it didn’t take much research to find some information which leads me to believe that I may not be the only one who has noticed government’s propensity for illicit dalliance.

It isn’t something new either. Apparently there is something in being sworn-in to office that is quite arousing because the sexual misadventures date as far back as 1796. I won’t list them here although I have provided a link to the list at the bottom of the page for those of you with more salacious curiosity.

It isn’t just our American friends who are led and served by randy government rakes, Canada has had its share of racy moments in politics as well. My particular favourite was Cabinet Minister Maxine Bernier showing up at his swearing-in with his girlfriend, Julie Couillard, in a dress so low cut, it almost received a standing ovation from the RCMP in attendance.

Fortunately there were no American Secret Service agents present or who knows what  might have happened.

Unfortunately, Ms Couillard, had been associated with organized crime figures and a Quebec biker gang something Mr. Bernier overlooked in his race to remove his trousers. He also forgot his briefcase full of classified documents, leaving them at her home after he got dressed. Considering that it cost him his cabinet post, Mr. Bernier might have done better to forget his briefs but remember his brief case.

England, France, and of course, Italy, indeed, most major democracies have all had their share of uh oh incidents. In fact, it seems to be almost de rigour for some politicians and those associated with them. John Edwards is now on trial as the result of a sex scandal involving alleged misuse of campaign funds to cover up a sexual misadventure and, of course, Italy’s former Prime Minister Berlusconi was such a randy fellow that he could have taught the Secret Service how to really party with hookers.

And that is the problem when many of these folks get caught with their pants down. They often end up doing things that are even more inappropriate, often unethical and sometimes illegal in order to try and cover up the original slap and tickle moment.

That only results in damage to the reputation and credibility of the service, the government and the nation. You can’t be taken seriously when people are either offended by your lack of professional character or are laughing at you or both.

I’m no prude and quite frankly don’t care what goes on between consenting adults but to be honest, I get tired of being lectured by politicians and government officials who say one thing but do another. There is very much a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude and while I don’t think sexual misconduct is all that serious, it is indicative of the same attitude they bring to everything else.

They see themselves as separate and apart from the rest of us and I believe it is because they become intoxicated by their own self-importance. It causes them to believe that the rules don’t actually apply to them.

They’re wrong. The rules do apply and they are set out in simple but extremely profound documents called constitutions.

Most nations have one, even Canada now and they all say pretty much the same thing, ‘government by the people, for the people’. What they don’t say is “government by ‘us’ for you guys.”

Being elected or appointed to government office isn’t an opportunity to live above the law or to gain added privilege. It is a responsibility to respect the principles set out in the oaths that were taken and the constitutions those offices are meant to serve.

People who cannot rise to that responsibility should definitely seek a career path adjustment. We are not well-served by those who lack both the morality and the integrity to lead by example.

When your pants and your thinking are around your ankles it is fairly difficult to protect a president but as Bill Clinton and Silvio Berlusconi discovered, it is impossible to reflect the dignity of a nation.

 

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© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
all rights reserved
The content of this article is the sole property of Maggie’s Bear but a link to it may be shared by those who think it may be of interest to others

Follow The Bear on Twitter: @maggsbear or connect with a friend request on Facebook: Maggie’s Bear

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Greed!

There is a lot of talk about greed these days. It’s all over social media and in our streets. Typically the fingers are always pointed at two main culprits: the wealthy and corporations. To be sure, there is greed in those high-flying realms but is it unique to them alone? I don’t believe so. In fact, I believe that greed is far more universal than we want to admit and it comes in many shapes and sizes.

Since starting this blog, I’ve devoted a fair amount of time to trying to learn about things like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), HTML, online advertising and promotion. I have managed to learn a few things but it’s tough sledding sometimes and made all the more difficult by the overwhelming number of people out there offering to teach people like me how to turn my web site in to a mega-cash generator.
Forget email scams, the Great Cloud is littered with a proliferation of sites offering instant financial wealth, immediate cash, overwhelming traffic and site visitors, daily payouts and free money all for no effort, no knowledge or experience. They all share one thing in common. They all offer something for nothing in their attempt to make money for themselves.

I’ve actually seen promotions offering to increase your traffic, and thereby your sales income, and you don’t even have to have a web site. Just stretch out on the couch with your Dell notebook or iPad, start clicking and the money will roll in faster than you can count it.

These offers do make money….for the people behind them…..because the world is full of people looking for something for nothing or next to nothing.  It is the secret behind the success of those email scams from Nigeria.

“Free money? You betcha, where do I sign up?”

Some sites have the secret to winning the lottery and they will share it with you for only a small one-time fee. It never seems to occur to the people who pay for the instant-riches system that if the system really worked, the seller wouldn’t be online offering it for sale. He or she would be too busy cashing in winning lottery tickets. Why would anyone who had a ‘secret’ system that consistently won money in the lottery want to share it?
But many people buy-in because they want to make easy money, lots of money and that is its own form of greed.
You encounter it everywhere now. Students are demanding others subsidize or even pay for their university education because they don’t feel it’s fair that they should have to shoulder the burden of earning the degree they are pursuing. Expecting others to pay your way is just another form of greed.

Hundreds of thousands audition for programs like American Idol, not so that they can advance their art but to feed a form of greed to be famous, to become a celebrity.

Unions have priced some jobs right out of the country with their continuous demands for higher wages and more benefits for their workers. Corporate executives demand and receive obscene levels of income and kids who can develop a social media web site become billionaires and start playing Monopoly with real money.

Black Friday is the ultimate expression of greed as hundreds of thousands of consumers line up and then push  and shove each other out of the way to grab ‘deals’. This past year, one woman went so far as to pepper spray other shoppers in her greed to get what she wanted while another woman was robbed of her purchases before she made it to her car.

Even politicians are willing to sacrifice principle and integrity to get what they want as we have just seen in Ontario, where the premier reversed his election promise not to add a surtax on the rich to avoid having his government defeated. In the United States, President Obama has all but turned class warfare into an election strategy.
It is just another form of greed where power is the currency rather than cash.
Some blame capitalism but I believe they’re wrong. Capitalism is merely a system of free enterprise which is based on the assumption that hard work will bring its own rewards and that everyone should be free to experience that opportunity.
What interferes with successful capitalism is the all too frequent greed in human nature. Too many feel they don’t have the opportunity so they either attack the freedom of capitalism or pursue countless get-rich quick schemes that seldom work for anyone but the people selling them.
Greed drives people looking for an edge and who are willing to bend or break the rules as we saw recently with the Wal-mart bribery scandal in Mexico. It drives others who are only too willing to nickel and dime even the poor as we saw in the recent Ontario budget that froze social assistance payments in order to reduce the deficit rather than cut discretionary and unnecessary program spending. It was interesting to me that that the minority NDP which held the balance of power and which could have defeated the government by voting against the budget, chose not to speak up for the poor.
Instead they demanded, and got, a surtax on those making more than $500,000 (one of their convenient and favourite targets) and they left the poor to fend for themselves. Making the reversal of the social assistance freeze a non-negotiable demand they knew was something to which  the Liberals would never have agreed and that would have triggered an election; an election the NDP cannot afford or win.
Putting your own self-interest ahead of what’s right in order to protect or gain something is yet another form of greed.
Small business, big corporations, online get rich quick schemes, students, unions, politicians, email scams, Ponzi schemes, continuous tax increases, ludicrous credit card rates and ridiculous fees for everything from receiving bank statements to using your debit card are all driven by greed.
I have no issue with people earning a living. In fact, I have no issue with people becoming fabulously wealthy. Power to you if you can pull it off! It gives the rest of us hope that it is possible. But when that success, great or modest, comes at the expense of others, then it is immoral and nothing less than the worst side of human nature. It is profiteering and that is nothing but greed.
Contrary to what Gordon Gheko preached, greed is not good. It blurs the lines between right and wrong, moral and immoral. It undermines the success of many for the benefit of a few and it weakens the productivity and creativity of societies.
Greed is not the same as the pursuit of success which is based on a desire to achieve nor is greed the sole province of the so-called 1%. It is a human trait that cuts across all strata of society and not one of which we should be proud. It is a desire, even a need to get something for nothing regardless of the cost to others. It is self-serving even selfish and a part of human nature to which none of us are immune.

RELATED

I’m Tired Of Student Hissy-Fits Over Tuition And The Greed Behind Them!
http://bearsrant.blogspot.ca/2012/04/there-is-greed-in-more-places-than-just.html

Taxed
http://bearsrant.blogspot.ca/2012/04/taxed.html

Entitlement Addiction
http://bearsrant.blogspot.ca/2012/04/entitlement-addiction.html

© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
all rights reserved
The content of this article is the sole property of Maggie’s Bear but a link to it may be shared by those who think it may be of interest to others

Bev Oda or Roy Orbison? You Be The Judge

“Come on baby let the good times roll – roll all night long.” 
– Roy Orbison
Bev Oda, Canada’s Minister For International Aid has once again come under fire for livin’ high on the taxpayers’ dime…..well…..dollars actually. Diamond Bev is no piker when it comes to spending other people’s money.
Cabinet Minister, Diamond Bev Oda – makes you proud
to be Canadian doesn’t it?
Photograph by: Screengrab , Google Image
She was in London last year to attend a conference on Vaccines for Developing countries, Diamond Bev cancelled reservations made for her at the five-star Grange St. Paul’s Hotel. Instead she had staff book her into the swanky-danky Savoy, you know that hotel where royalty and folks like that enjoy paying $16.00 for a glass of orange juice.  Of course, not staying at the St. Paul where the conference was being held meant that Bev had to rent limousines at an additional cost of $1,000 a day or so, but who’s counting? Clearly not Diamond Bev.
She has, after it was brought to light, reimbursed taxpayers for the orange juice and the difference between what a room at the St. Paul costs versus a room at the Savoy palace. A grateful nation is picking up the tab for the unnecessary limousines.
This isn’t the first time Diamond Bev has been criticized for her lavish lifestyle at taxpayer expense. There was a bit of an uproar after she dropped a few thousand to attend the Juno Awards in Halifax and that’s when it hit me.
I believe Bev Oda is actually Roy Orbison. 
Which is Bev and which is Roy…or are they
the same person?
Now I understand all those limousines and swanky hotels. It’s the rock star lifestyle. Compare the two pictures. Clearly they are the same person. They both have died black hair, wear heavily tinted sunglasses and are never more comfortable than when they are being driven around in a limousine.

I know you’re thinking, “Wait a minute, Roy Orbison has been dead for many years”, but if you think about it, you never saw Diamond Bev and Roy Orbison together at the same time when he was still performing. Coincidence? How do we know that he didn’t actually give up his rock and roll celebrity to become a politician in Canada?

The  plot thickens!

I could never understand why Prime Minister Stephen Harper kept Diamond Bev around after all the mistakes she’s made and the money she’s squandered on her expense account. For all his faults, Stephen Harper is personally squeaky clean and usually that kind of stuff really upsets him. It only took the inference of impropriety for him to all but have former cabinet Minister Helena Geurges publicly flogged and then executed on Parliament Hill right after the changing of the guard ceremony.
PM Harper performing at NAC
photo: Canadian Press
But I get it now.

Our prime  minister has a soft spot for classic rock. He even showed up, unannounced at the National Arts Centre during one benefit to do an impromptu version of The Beatles, “With A Little Help From My Friends.”

And that is what keeps saving Diamond Bev. Stephen Harper, like me, thinks she’s Roy Orbison and for that, Stephen Harper can forgive anything. 
Rock on Bev…errr I mean Roy. We haven’t quite run out of taxpayer money yet, despite your best efforts.

Song and video by “ethanjacobs” on YouTube

RELATED

Can The Government Do More? Yes – But Pray It Doesn’t!
http://bearsrant.blogspot.ca/2012/04/can-government-do-more-yes-but-pray-it.html

For Outstanding Achievement In Government Waste & Stupidity – The 2011 Teddy Awards
http://bearsrant.blogspot.ca/2012/03/for-outstanding-achievement-in.html

The Drummond Report – The Liberal Gravy Train Exposed As An Economic Train Wreck
http://bearsrant.blogspot.ca/2012/02/drummond-report-dalton-mcguiintys.html

© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
all rights reserved
The content of this article is the sole property of Maggie’s Bear but a link to it may be shared by those who think it may be of interest to others

Crossing The Line -Surfer Killed By Sharks & Reality TV

A few days ago, a young man in South Africa was attacked and killed by a Great White Shark. His name was David Lilienfeld and he was a champion body surfer with his life stretched out before him. He was only 20 years old and his death was the unnecessary result of the carelessness of others who crossed the line.

There is an old saying about crossing the line which refers to having gone too far in doing something. It means that a person has gone beyond what is acceptable and done something wrong. Robbery, for example, crosses the line from legal to illegal behaviour.

It used to be relatively easy to identify when someone crossed a line because the lines were pretty well-drawn and were fairly-well established. If not universal, they were boundaries agreed to by the majority of people in a society and which basically defined the values of that society.

Those days are gone.

Whatever values our societies have these days, they are no longer universal and they are no long clearly defined by bottom lines which we have mutually agreed are not acceptable to cross. Today, morality and integrity are defined by individuals and often are based on expediency rather than any specific universal moral code.

“Some people cross that line but I think as film makers you have to make that moral decision for yourself.” 
Bill Wallauer – Wildlife photographer

We all face moral decisions at various times in our lives but the decision to chum waters close to the shore near Capetown, South Africa; to attract sharks for the a reality tv program was not a moral decision. It was a reckless decision made for the benefit of the filmmaker without regard for the safety of others. The decision to try to attract sharks to an area known to be frequently used by body surfers crossed the line.

Most of our societies were founded on values expressed through religious faiths like the Judeo-Christian code, or other faiths. Some codes have evolved to become purely secular but have retained the basic moral tenets of many of those religious-based codes.

Regardless of whether a society is based on faith, is purely secular or is a blend of both, it is usually only successful when it has an agreed-to set of moral values and principles. Once that is lost and people either redefine the boundaries for themselves without regard for others within the same society or simply ignore the existing boundaries, a kind of moral anarchy takes hold which begins to undermine that society’s values. It is happening now in most major democracies around the world.

While many still hold to their faith or to some other set of principles, collectively we have cut our moral anchors loose and are drifting.

People seem able to justify just about anything now, even the manipulation of nature in order to save it.

“We have to understand the life of the white shark if we’re going to protect it’s future. If we don’t handle a few of these sharks and we don’t know anything. About their lives, we could accidentally wipe them off the face of the planet.”
Chris Fischer – Shark Men

Mr. Fischer misses the point completely. What happened here is not about saving sharks, it is about a careless disregard for the safety of others so that he and his film crew could make a television show. It is how they make their living. They put all other considerations aside and crossed a line that resulted in the death of a young man. Rationalizing the decisions that were made in this case does not validate those decisions. It exemplifies the moral decay our societies are experiencing.

It is the same attitude that many who supported the Occupy Movement brought to their attempt to rationalize the self-indulgent behaviour, the vandalism of our cities and the crime in Occupy camps. For them, it was a small price to pay for what they considered a greater good. For most of us, it was simply one more example of rationalizing the lack of real values attached to the movement.

It’s not all that surprising because we have become societies that put our individual opinions and feelings ahead of the common good and which revere celebrity status rather than moral leadership. We are societies that give more support to American Idol than to religious observance or respect for the founding principles of our nations.

John Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you but rather what you can do for your country.” Today, the only question that usually gets asked is, “What’s in it for me”.

It is how organizations like PETA, which kills more animals than SPCA and The Humane Society combined, rationalize their actions in the name of treating animals ethically. It’s how politicians, who’s morality is so flexible, they are able to rationalize to themselves the fact that they do not personally or professionally live the values they represent to the people during elections.

It is how places like Guantanamo are built and a nation’s own constitution is violated and how people can ignore the rule of law when our personal prejudices and opinions are offended.

Whether we are religious or atheist, we are part of democratic nations built on core principles and moral values. The documents where our nations’ principles were set down are noble and revered documents. Many believe in them but while we may wave those documents around as defining who we are, we have lost sight of their true meaning and no longer honour their intent.

We have replaced our morality and values with trite, bumper-sticker slogans. We have replaced our need to learn with speaking endlessly on things about which we know next to nothing but have cribbed from some web site or another. We form instant opinions based on whatever is currently trending on social media rather than on what we should believe in because many of us believe in nothing beyond the moment.

We are quick to take offense and slow to forgive.

In our attempt to be more inclusive, we have so watered-down what we collectively stand for that as nations, we stand consistently for very little.

We fill that void with mindless entertainment from reality tv, causes that are poorly thought out but which seem important and which we allow to delude us into believing we are living meaningful lives. We play computer games and watch twenty-four hour news reports that are less about the transmission of information than turning life into a circus for the masses. We need to be entertained rather than informed and we indulge ourselves in the mindless violence of extreme professional sports.

We text, tweet and ‘like’ all over social media with friends we’ve never met while ignoring the real people who live down the street.

We have become like every previous civilization that was in its final decline. Like the ancient Romans and others who came and went before us, we are too busy watching gladiators in the arena to notice our own declining civilization.

We are spiritually and morally bankrupt and we have not only crossed the lines that once defined us but have blurred them until we no longer see them.

Collectively, we no longer have a collective moral compass to guide us. We no longer understand or know which lines should not be crossed because we no longer believe in anything beyond  this morning’s news,  last night’s vote on American Idol or own personal interpretation of what is or isn’t moral .

We have become societies filled with individuals and governments that can justify almost anything.

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