Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Season of Anarchy

The Season of Anarchy
We’ve gotten used to the anarchy that has swept over the Middle East and North Africa by now. The killing and property damage occurring daily is nothing more than a statistic. It’s a means of keeping score, that’s how inured we are to it. We root for the underdog as though it were a game with little regard for the destruction of human life. It is after all, so far away. It’s so impersonal that we aren’t affected by it.
There was a slight stirring of concern last year when anarchistic protests began to spring up in the Western world, particularly in the European countries, upset with the burden of the economy being placed on the backs of working people. Somehow it wasn’t the same though. The governments weren’t killing people so it wasn’t taken seriously. It was just seen as a grumbling on the part of the protestors at having the will of governments imposed on them. Had there been killings, it might have been different. Mind you, there was one fellow, a former pharmacist who, having exhausted all his means of survival with any degree of dignity, committed suicide in public and caused quite a stir.
But the Europeans are civilized. They don’t kill people en masse. They just call in the cops – all kinds of them to put down these protests, and so far it’s worked. Mind you, this all adds to the cost of running a government and cuts further into the economic status of any given country, running it further into debt. So the whole exercise is a saw-off, a whole lot of trouble for nothing.
Things started to get a little uncomfortable for the Americans and Canadians last year when all of a sudden people began to occupy Wall Street and it spread from there. But ultimately the cops prevailed and it seems to have simmered down. But nothing was solved.
Then out of the blue, university students in Quebec struck fear into the hearts of the establishment in Quebec. They said they were protesting the raising of tuition fees and took to the streets by the thousands. They stayed there too and their size grew by the day. And these buggers are militant too. They don’t mess around. At first they were protesting tuition fees. Now they’re protesting the restrictions and consequences of their protests. Who knows where it will go from here? They’re even barring students who want to attend class from doing so. Vandalism and property damage are quite acceptable to the protestors.
The government in the meantime has met with the ringleaders time after time and all their overtures have so far been dismissed. By now it’s not really clear what the protestors want. So in the meantime they pulled an all nighter and began putting restrictions on protests and laying out fines etc., all of which are met with impunity and distain. It seems they are now protesting just for the sake of being a pain in the ass.
Quite frankly, the students have the right idea. It’s just that they don’t seem to be sophisticated enough to express it. And the government has absolutely no idea of how to deal with it.
Never one to bitch about a problem without having a solution, here’s a couple of good suggestions:
Except for the foreign students who are a cash infusion for the universities, who benefits from all this post-secondary education? Well of course the students who are then able to get better jobs. But who are the beneficiaries of these highly educated young people if not business and industry? So how come they get a free ride? Why are they not involved in the education, training and shaping of these careers? Of course, it would never occur to them to offer assistance, nor would it occur to governments to demand it. How do you think Japan rose up out of the ashes to become the dynamic nation it has. It’s just in the last few years that it has become an old boys club again and look at the consequences. A system like this certainly makes education more industry specific, all to the benefit of industry (and governments). I really think the students (and their parents) across the country should put the boots to the authorities having jurisdiction under threat of going on social assistance at the age of sixteen or continue being dependents of their parents forever. Let the buggers pay for that and outsource all their manufacturing, or import all their labor.
But who would think of such a thing? The government would more likely close all the universities completely and tell the students to go study somewhere else. All those buildings and all that green space could be turned into housing, much like many of the churches in Quebec. That would create a positive cash flow, and what after all are a few thousand students as opposed to the positive cash flow developers could generate?
The short sightedness of combatants in these situations is both predictable and disappointing. I guess they don’t have a university of common sense up there in Quebec. At least, that’s how it looks to me from up here on the top shelf.
Just sayin’.

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