A veteran journalist's take on such diverse subjects as religion and religious violence, democracy, freedom of expression, sociology, journalism, criticism, travel, philosophy, Southeast Asia, politics,economics, and even parenthood, the supernatural, film criticism, and cooking. Please don't hesitate to participate by starting a comment thread if you have an interest in any of these subjects...or anything else, for that matter...

This is civilisation….not a corporate board

A society is judged b y how it treats its members….not its deficit

VANCOUVER ISLAND CANADA – The following can be taken as a large, thought-out and extended FUCK YOU to those of a conservative bent who insist that government is fuck youintrinsically wrong. You already know that I and most thoughtful people think you’re ignorant, narrow minded, unthinking and, frankly hypocritical, if you’re not hopelessly stupid. Government is what separates us from a state of nature; and before you start romanticising that condition, remember, were not talking about some Arcadian or even some well-articulated but equally mythical Jean Jacques Rousseau masturbatory fantasy, but rather about that very real condition that would exist without the institution of government; that condition of human beings so clearly expressed by Thomas Hobbes some four hundred and fifty years ago: solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

We need government. Government is civilisation. So let’s stop the bullshit and stop arguing with the moronic Ted Cruz, Grover Norquist, and Fred Flintstone and their ilk about whether government ought to exist and discuss a real issue: the form that government should take.fuck-you

For the purposes of this FUCK YOU, I’m not even going to go into the macro detail: republic or parliament? Dictatorship or monarchy? Instead I’m going straight to the kind of issue that makes the less intelligent question the need for government at all: the efficacy with which its necessary services are delivered.

A case in point is the Canadian model; or in this case, specifically the British Columbian provincial government model. It ain’t great, but it is unquestionably better than most despite the tireless attempts of the elected people and the permanent employees to undermine it and make it less representative of and responsive to the people, the fact is that it at least pays lip service to its function of serving the needs of the citizens.

We do have a social safety net and it even works after a fashion. And contrary to those who have it made, the social safety net is the primary purpose for the existence of government. In its simplest explanation, the purpose of government is to harness the purchasing power of the total number of citizens to provide for all with an efficiency that can’t be matched by all individuals.

That’s it. Whether it’s building a bridge or providing medical care, civilised people have decided to pool their resources and ensure that all their neighbours enjoy the benefits of civilisation.

So if you are among those imbeciles who somehow has ferreted away enough money to cover your immediate and likely future needs and therefore sees anyone who actually still has needs that exceed yours as “takers” or parasites…..FUCK YOU. The rest of us are better than that. We’re better than YOU.

Where government fails is in the tricky little details of the provision of those services…..not in whether they ought to be provided at all. Of FUCKING COURSE THEY SHOULD! That is the very function of civilisation.

Are there ways to improve the fairness of the distribution of society’s goods and services? Certainly! The first thing that comes to mind is to eliminate redundancy and that can be accomplished to some extent by making efforts to ensure that departments share information. Do we eliminate compassion and caring programmes completely? To save money?



I have cancer. Life threatening and possibly fatal cancer. As a result, I am entitled to a raft of government benefits. But a cynical person might make the assumption that those benefits are managed in such a way as to make them difficult to obtain. Just as an example, because I have been unable to work for months due to my condition, I am entitled to stay at no cost in a residential lodge in Victoria while I undergo six weeks of radiation treatment. Before I can do that, I have to show that I have been drawing employment insurance or show my termination papers from my employer that I ought to have received when I was no longer able to work.

As writer, I have no employer, hence no termination papers. And since I lived on my savings, I never drew employment insurance; it seems that because I chose not to access one of my benefits (employment insurance) I may not be able to access another (lodging during treatment). As I am disabled at the moment, my son’s preschool is subsidised; a letter from my doctor certifying my inability to work was apparently sufficient to access some of my benefits but the same criteria for one benefit seem to be insufficient for me to access another benefit that is required for the same reason and as a result of the same cause. For each of the benefits to which I am entitled. I am required to jump through a different set of hoops to demonstrate my eligibility; a redundant exercise, since the disability is the same, the requirements are the same, and the information each department collects is the same.

Minor griping, of course, since the benefits are there, they are real, and they are generous in this society’s compassion. They are simply in need of some radical administrative revamping. Occasionally, though, during the labyrinthine exercise in acquiring those benefits upon which one has always known they can rely and for which one has paid taxes their entire lives, one encounters a Cro-Magnon asshole who makes it clear that in his or her view we need to cut these programmes as they encourage people to rely upon them rather than being self-reliant. It almost makes one want to wish a fatal disease on that person; at the very least it encourages one to kick that insensitive schmuck in the genitals.Give a fuck These people are rarely civil servants; there are some, of course, who resent those citizens whom they are paid to serve, but by and large that attitude is encountered in letters to the editor, Internet news forum commentators, conservative voters, right wing politicians, and cops. Police officers, although civil servants and paid by the public tend to see themselves as a superior life form and generally despise those whom they are paid to protect and serve. Go figure.

Despite the difficulty in accessing some of the services available to Canadian citizens, I’m constantly being surprised at some of the benefits available. We are indeed a society of compassionate and caring people. As long as one doesn’t make the mistake (as I have) that the brain damaged hate-ridden simpletons who spend their time commenting on Yahoo News stories are representative of the average Canadian, one can’t help but be aware of the decency and generosity of Canadians.

We have to fight for it; we can’t let the reactionaries force us to backslide from our progressive lifestyle; we need to ensure that the programmes remain viable and effective. It will be a struggle against the forces of backwardness and greed; it will require constant tinkering and improvement, but the notion and the reality that Canada is a country that cares about people is a precious commodity, and one well worth struggling for.



Hire Patrick

Want to hire Patrick for a speaking engagement, as a teacher or for a writing project? Send him a message here:



Your Message


Speak Your Mind