The irreality of Canadian influence

Raphael Alexander is right on the money:

…Canadians believe strongly in symbolism. It isn’t good enough that Canada doesn’t have the power to influence either the United States or Israel, because we should at least go through the motions of voicing our disdain. Strangely enough, just like recycling or carbon emission programs, it isn’t results we’re aiming for, but placating our own sense of “doing the right thing”. Even if recycling is more energy inefficient and creates more pollution than simply burying waste, it makes us “feel better” about ourselves. Even if carbon emission controls cannot be scientifically linked to a global warming, and even if it could, we couldn’t seriously believe a reduction of one one-thousandth of global emissions would mean a thing, at least it makes us believe we’ve done something [more on our fervent need to “do something” here – MC]. The placebo effect of such conditions is strong within our psyche…

We’ve just got to feel good about ourselves. Talk about building self-esteem. How self-indulgent.
More from Mr. Alexander:

Because London, Ontario, Can Easily Stop The Conflict In Gaza

Mark C.

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14 thoughts on “The irreality of Canadian influence

  1. If having and expressing opinions that won’t change anything is so useless, then this and almost all other blogs should certainly shut down, yes? Right?
    In the end, the point of this article is — like those of many conservative articles — “everyone who doesn’t agree with me should just shut up.” Note that Raphael Alexander doesn’t write articles telling people he *does* agree with that their opinions don’t matter so just be quiet. It’s only those he doesn’t like. _Those_ opinions are self-indulgent. Thus, this article ens up being just more of the same “Canadians don’t think like me, therefore Canadians are stupid” line of reasoning that has been quoted extensively in the past on this blog.
    Of course Canadians want to act so that they can feel like they’re doing the right thing. Which is to say, they want to do the right thing. Why on Earth is that bad? Who the hell wants to sit around knowing they’re doing the wrong thing?
    (The recycling thing is just a stupid red herring, of course. Of course it costs less to bury a gram of something than to recycle the same gram — but if you recycle, then you’ve already got ingredients for the next gram of the same thing. Recycling is about conserving resources, and yes that has an energy cost. It’s a trade-off, and an intelligent and cost effective one for many materials. Which is why there is a market for recyclables.)
    Voicing your sincerely held political opinions isn’t self-indulgent; it is an absolute *requirement* for a democracy. That remains true even if in the short term there are no policy options which would result in the stated short-term goal; you can’t always have what you want right away, and sometimes you have to work towards things in the long term. That’s ok, and it’s allowed, and yes, even people who don’t agree with Raphael Alexander should say, loud and strong and proud, what they believe to be true.

  2. What i find amazing about the Liberals is that many of the MP’s are now boasting about how they will do anyting to be in the house when Obamas visits .
    Are these the same Liberals that had a 75% attendance record for Votes so the NDP couldn’t topple the Government?
    Is this that same Pro-Israel/Pro-Afghanistan president as Bush was but when he was President we had the NDP and Liberals calling Americans morons and slacked-jawed idiots .
    Is this the same Liberals party that has yet to Elect a Female Leader and may never Elect a Afro-canadian leader to be Prime Minister?
    Oh the irony and hypocrisy by the left and Liberals.
    maybe they heard about Obama wanting to save UAW Jobs by demanding GM and FORD pull out of canada first before cutting off US Citizens employed in America.
    Remember, the CAW jobs are US jobs to assemble America cars at a cheaper cost and Obama has every Right to tell the Smug Eltie canadians to go to hell for allowing Chretien to say that the USA deserved 9/11 from its wealth and waste.
    This was the same Chretien that let the AdScam happen to rob millions from the mouths of children who were promised day care and a end to child poverty by 2000.
    CUPE is now Pro-hamas even though Hamas murders gays in public back in Gaza , and CUPE abhors GITMO while it is actually owned by Cuba where the CAW/CUPE memeber vacation with OUR tax dollars.
    Fire the whole lot of thieves and liars , let them take-in Omar Khadr in their home if they want him back so badly .
    Let Syed Ryan get his Union pensions from the Saudis and Iran that happen to back Hamas.
    Truly a ugly charade for free-speech and Human Rights by the Leftists that want to control what you can say and when.

  3. Roger:
    “hat i find amazing about the Liberals is that many of the MP’s are now boasting about how they will do anyting to be in the house when Obamas visits .
    Are these the same Liberals that had a 75% attendance record for Votes so the NDP couldn’t topple the Government?”
    Stephen should schedule a non-confidence vote for when BO is in the house

  4. What he misses with respect to recycling is that if we have a recycling system set up then we can benefit from advances in recycling processes. If somebody comes up with a process that makes recycled plastic valuable, we already have the collection system in place so their business model doesn’t have to include the cost of sifting through landfills to locate raw material. It’s a work in progress and the system as it is opens up the opportunity of doing something worthwhile with the recycled waste.
    As far as carbon emissions, the idea isn’t to whittle away at our present emissions, it is to encourage a move towards different energy sources. As with anything, the price of these presently expensive alternative energies will fall over time due to innovation and efficiencies.
    Since carbon emissions are directly proportional to the amount of fuel that you have to ship in and then burn, these alternative energies have the potential to end up being cheaper. When those are ready for mass consumption then a difference can be made (and a lot of money for the people who come up with it).
    But yeah, protests about Gaza are generally a waste of everybody’s time. Neither side seems to care about dead Palestinians, let alone a bunch of people half a world away complaining about it.

  5. “What he misses with respect to recycling is that if we have a recycling system set up then we can benefit from advances in recycling processes. If somebody comes up with a process that makes recycled plastic valuable, we already have the collection system in place…”
    That’s just plain silly.

  6. Canadian arrogance, so abundant these past few years, would be acceptable if more Canadians believed in universal human rights and individual freedoms. Until then, many of my fellow Canadians can piss off with their self righteous bullshit, they’re not better than anybody.

  7. Dan (and maybe Ray),
    When the recycling programs started up, there wasn’t a good process available to turn the plastic bottles into anything that anyone wanted.
    The best use that’s been come up with so far is in hardy, but coarse, outdoor equipment, like in your link. The fact that plastic is mostly indifferent to its environment is a benefit here.
    The businesses making this type of product benefit mightily from the relative availability of cheap raw material from recycling programs. I can’t think of anyone making solid plastic pieces of that size (and price!) from a petroleum start. Up until recently, plastic furniture was generally hollow and made for kids to play on. I’d link this back to having the recycling programs in effect.
    It’s a win for the manufacturer, consumer, and environment and it sprung from classifying waste as a raw material and collecting it. If someone can perfect a reclaimed plastic with a smooth durable finish, they’re in a position to make millions.
    I’m hard pressed to see why that’s a bad thing, or even silly.

  8. It is no less silly than me claiming the reason I don’t pick up the dog crap in the backyard during the winter is because I’m hoping someone will discover a way to use it as motor fuel before spring.
    The only real difference is that not picking up dog crap in my backyard doesn’t cost taxpayers anything.

  9. Ray; why is picking and sorting recycled material any different than financing the pickup and disposal of garbage? Or sewage?
    What an offal waste of money…;)

  10. “It is no less silly than me claiming the reason I don’t pick up the dog crap in the backyard during the winter is because I’m hoping someone will discover a way to use it as motor fuel before spring. ”
    Well first, the dog poo eventually becomes grass, whereas plastic just sits there.
    Further to that, why does it have to be motor oil? That’s just silly.
    You could, however, process it a bit by adding some compost from your trash can and spreading it around in the spring. You could have a fairway lawn without having to pay for fertilizer if you got your proportions right.
    Then the neighbors might start asking and you could start an enterprise:
    1. Collect dog poo
    2. …
    3. Profit.

  11. DV:
    The only difference is one is more expensive and labour intensive than the other. In one case we pretend something else is going on but really in both cases we are paying someone to take away our garbage.
    Dara:
    You’re right – I guess collecting dog crap is of more value than recycling household garbage.

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