Ethical dissent part 2

As stated in the last blog, I do not endorse all of that which Snyder promotes (ON TYRANNY by Timothy Snyder) but I respect his thinking process and especially his attempt to put words to the feelings I think we all have to some extent. I have a few more suggestions, actually.  And I might delete a few of his on my own list.  But the point is: there is something we can all do in an effort to limit the increasing tyranny in our lives.

“Dave!  WHAT Tyranny?  I am feeling no sense of being controlled, manipulated or lied to.  I don’t see bogeymen or tyrants around every corner.  I feel free.  I feel happy.  I do not see any reason whatsoever for getting off Facebook or NOT watching TV.  I love pizza delivery, man!  In fact, I applaud the government’s attempts at keeping me safe by monitoring and restricting some of the freedoms that are being exploited by terrorists.”

I understand.  You may be right.  Snyder doesn’t think so.  I don’t think so.  He and I think it is prudent to resist at least at a passive, civil, legal level.  But, maybe it is all OK.  Maybe the government is nothing but good and maybe they will not ever err or sweep you up in some police-action or control net. Maybe the real threat is somewhere else.

But that kind of thing has happened before.  It is happening now in the USA to people-with-foreign-sounding names or darker skin and many other countries as well. If you feel really free and safe, why not run a short test.  Get a tan, call yourself Ishmael and say Allahu Akbar as your standard greeting when dealing with the authorities.  Yell it in airports.  Leave bail money with your loved ones and buy life insurance before you do this.

Snyder further advises:

11. Investigate.  Figure things out for yourself.  Take responsibility for what you communicate.  Make the news your own (search out your own sources).  Snyder is attempting to dissuade the reader from the spoon-fed news sources and, by implication, spoon-fed, so-called education.  Learning is personal.  Make it so.

12.Make eye contact and small talk.  Lessen the emailing.  Intimate and personal is good.  It provides the fabric of real society and breaks down the fears of the unknown.

13. Practice corporeal politics.  Get your bum out of the chair.  Put yourself in unfamiliar places.  Seek out new life forms and boldly go where no one has gone before.  The corrupt power-holders prefer you to eat and sit and get fat while watching a screen.  Do the opposite.

14. Consciously create a private life.  Avoid the same institutions you otherwise support because they are used by power to KNOW you and how to find you. Minimize internet use.  Be less Facebook and more ‘personal journal’, preferably in handwriting.

15. Contribute to good causes.  Support organizations that reflect your values.

16. Learn from peers in other countries.  Keep up your friendships abroad.  Make sure you have a valid passport. Maybe get a bug-out bag?

17. Listen for dangerous words.  Be alert to the increasing use of ‘dramatic’ words like: threat, extremist, terror, restricted, security check, emergency, warning, danger, etc.).  They are the word-tools of corruption and tyranny.  Resist the treachery of dire warnings and patriotic rhetoric.  Write to BC Ferries and tell ’em to drop that stupid Mar-sec designation.  I always ask them if they ever experienced a change from Mar-sec 1 to Mar-sec 2.  The answer: “Never.”  So why have it?  When a Mar-sec (marine security) event happens, there will be no time to change the signs at the ticket counter and, even if there was, who is going to buy a ticket on a ferry sitting in a Mar-sec 5 situation?  It’s just fear mongering and providing a false sense of them providing security. Just another institutional lie.

18. Know that real threats and terrorism will be used to escalate and concentrate power.  Be calm during such events because uniformed tyranny will be present and ready to ‘control’ you!

19. BE a good patriot (presumably without resorting to rhetoric) and set a good example for your fellow citizens by exercising your Constitutional rights.  Without good patriots, patriotism will be exploited and corrupted by tyranny.

20. Be as courageous as you can be speaking truth to power and ACTING freely.

I would add to his list:

A. pay cash whenever possible.  The digital money trail will always find you.

B. Consider moving away from the city.

C. Consider having a place to go to in an emergency.  It does not have to be a better-homes-and-garden fortress in Idaho or the Rockies.  Just identify a place you can go to…..?  Why not?

D. Develop a skill.  Get in shape.  Buy some tools. Do more of your own work. Grow some food. Fill your pantry.  In small increments, become more independent.

The list could go on forever and, sadly, it would include increasingly dramatic suggestions like stockpiling, bug-out vehicles, arms and such nonsense.  I do NOT think that the threat has increased to that level and I hope it never does.  But Snyder’s list and my own four additions are NOT extreme in any way.  They are simply ‘positioning’ and ‘attitudinal’ suggestions that, at the very least, would make you a better and more powerful citizen.  No bullets or camo required.


25 thoughts on “Ethical dissent part 2

  1. You are correct that civil discourse is responsible discourse. Sadly frustrated persons sometimes lash out against democratically elected governments. Recently democratically elected governments in Paraguay (I think) and Turkey have sought to concentrated power in the president. Citizens in both countries objected for sound reasons. Sadly many political parties in countries with a long history of democracy in dulge in inane criticisms that play to their base. Mean venil comments serve only the goals of those who say them.


    • I think there is good reason to lash out at democratically elected governments when 30% of the vote (or less) can win 100% of the control. Admittedly, apathy of the electorate is partly to blame but when the voters have only a choice between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, apathy is to be expected. It is TIME for proportional representation. Long overdue, actually.
      Would I be happy then? I think so. I like minority governments because we are ourselves a society of minorities. No ethnic or religious group constitutes 50% or more in Canada anymore. If there BE minorities, then let ’em rule in a minority government. THAT’s democracy. In fact, why should the Conservatives ever rule again? They are NOT an inclusive party. At least the Liberals, NDP and Greens claim to be all-inclusive.


        • I don’t agree with Snyder entirely either. I think corporations and institutions should ‘die’ and distribute their ashes/assets like corporeal beings for example. Maximum corporate lifespan: 100 years. But, overall, his message seems to be: do NOT go meekly. Resistance is NOT futile. And I agree with that. I like his attitude.


          • They all get to stay if they can…but, as they approach their 90th year they have to divest themselves of their assets. I have not thought this out but they made AT&T do that. Look what happened to the telephone industry. And, anyway, whoever is running things now is gonna die…so…why not takes an entrenched institution at the same time?


  2. If necessary but not over some chicken salad stuff. Make Constructive comments or refer the supposed outrageous actions to the Auditor General or a non-partisan independent body of review with actual power. Not this you have sinned now go and sin no more.


    • Are you saying, ‘This is all petty stuff you see and I do not have to adjust my comfortable life over such minor intrusions?’
      Further, are you saying, ‘You, Dave, are suggesting we would be making a mistake (sin) if we did not follow your sinful advice?’
      Is that what you mean?
      Is it?
      For the record, such a counter-comment (if that is what you said) is perfectly valid. My counter-to-your-counter is simply that nothing is lost by taking those steps. In fact, something is gained.
      Maybe I misunderstood….?


      • Not what I mean at all. My comments in a generic way are directed towards political parties that stand in the house with the full protection of the house and make statements in the house that they would never make outside the house. The other day a member referred to the comments of the Liberal house leader as a “word salad.” Or the MP who used unparliamentary language in the house and refused to withdraw her words. Her words were lacking in civility, or decorum and many members were bewildered by her remarks. Debate is valuable, obviously parliament has a diversity of views but how is debate furthered by resorting to unparliamentary language. See MP Rempel’s remarks. I think you have asserted the need for civility and I agree with you.


        • I agree with the requirement for civility in dialogue even when dissenting (i.e. ethical dissent) but sadly, I am NOT a particularly good practitioner. I was ssoooooo close to yelling out loud, punching someone in the face and setting my hair on fire some time ago at a doofusy store clerk and purse-challenged customer ahead of me for taking FOREVER to do a simple transaction that I almost burst a blood vessel. So, I purposefully left that civility section out. Can’t always do it myself.


          • Civility in all walks of life is an ideal, an aspiration “more honoured in the breach than in the observance.” I get a slow burn in certain situations where people are riding the fast lane and obstructing the flow of rush hour. I mean this figuratively and literally. In my career I swore an oath to avoid conduct unbecoming or face an ethics charge. Keep a job or pay a price. I understand the frustration of glacial actions whatever the situation.


  3. The USA dropped a MOAB piece of ordinance delivering 11 tons of TNT. Thirty-six people were killed and according to USA propaganda sources none of them were civilians! Snyder in his book about tyranny suggests that we watch out for being “spoon fed” the news. This bomb changed the channel briefly but now there are more unanswered questions.


      • The MOAB is described as an “air explosion” type of ordinance. It was developed during the second gulf war due to the excellent (german built) bunkers that Saddam Hussein was hiding in.
        Apparently the bomb is designed to explode above the target and suck ALL the air out of a bunker or cave thus suffocating the inhabitants.
        The US developed similar , smaller versions during the Vietnam War, first gulf war, etc. but as bunkers became better, deeper, etc. They decided something “bigger and more powerful” (amateur Freudian analyists take note) was required.
        That bomb ( and probably others) was delivered to Afghanistan during the Obama Presidency. And believe it or not. It probably requires expensive storage ( one doesnt want 11 tons of high explosive to become “unstable” in storage).
        I wouldnt be surprised if they just decided to use it rather than spend the money to ship it back to the States. Expect more to follow.
        Apparently there were American and Afghani Special Forces on site to observe the “delivery”( and probably to lazer the target).
        I’d expect a YouTube video in the next few weeks to be released.
        Propaganda has its uses when big “kabooms” are involved


      • The way I see it is this: the Taliban/Isis group live in tunnels in Afghanistan. The US does not like them. The North Koreans have a network of mountain bunker-tunnels in which they place their nuclear weapons. If the US decides to obliterate the North Korean threat, they will have to blow up all the tunnels in one fell swoop. Problem: they are NOT sure their bunker-busters and MOABs will do the job. If they do NOT make it a quick kill, North Korea will retaliate and China, South Korea and Japan will pay the price and be ticked. “Hey! I know! Let’s test the bomb on the Taliban. In that way we show all the bastards we mean business but also we get to test the ordinance. Win win!”


        • Does the USA has an organized foreign policy? If so the policy appears to be like the flip flop of a fish on the line. First China is a currency manipulator now it is not. NATO is washed but now it is useful. Putin is a great leader but not now. The generals are inept, “I know more than the generals” now miraclously they are doing a “good job.’ Drop a weapon of terror on the Afghans and North Korea gets a message. What is the message, war in Korean Peninsula?


        • Playing the Devil’s advocate, what is the evidence presented by Western Powers? In one case some grainy black and white footage and an impact flash. Where was that tape recorded? The media talks about transparency but no reporters were there. Ironically few in the west have a “… sense of being controlled, manipulated or lied to.” Propaganda is insidious for that reason.


          • Good points. Possible. Afghan leaders have spoken out, US military have made statements and there has been a body count but really, who was there that I or even WE trust? The Gulf of Tonkin attack never happened and it was the excuse for starting the Vietnam War. WMDs were never found and yet the war on Iraq was saved. Once trust is even eroded by a little doubt, it is over. And I do not trust what any government says. So: good point.


      • Currently file footage is running from a high altitude perspective and the targets on the ground are indistinguishable but no matter show a blast from military testing range and the unequivocal picture comes into view. Now who is it has terrorist weapons of mass destruction?


  4. @ JDC “I was ssoooooo close to yelling out loud, punching someone in the face and setting my hair on fire some time ago at a doofusy store clerk and purse-challenged customer ahead of me for taking FOREVER to do a simple transaction that I almost burst a blood vessel…..”
    And here I though I was the only one that goes through Cash Register implosion!
    Where do I start?
    The 50 something cashier at London Drugs that decided to explain her Carpal Tunnel Injury in excruciating 5 minute detail to an old lady at the cash register while TEN customers waited? I finally said, “Can we hurry this up? I think I’m going to die of boredom” Which earned me a scowl from the cashier and laughs from the lineup.
    The 50 something McDonalds cashier in a small town in Prince Edward Island that spent TEN minutes working her way through a lineup of 3 customers that she knew, ” Oh! Howw’s it going hun? Hows yer dad? Hows yer Ma? Are ya catchin many fish? On and on and on and on it went until I was ready to explode.
    There were now 10 people behind me equally seething.
    When it was my turn I stood there with my $5 bill in my hand and when she looked at me and said smiling, ” I’m ready for your order now”.
    I said loudy, ” I was ready to GIVE you and order 10 minutes ago!” and I walked out to her plaintively saying ” Sir? Sir?” .
    The younger manager was watching…….

    Canadian customer service………..
    I expect nothing more from minimum wage earners, typically older, and forced to work due to lack of preparation for retirement. Forced to work at a McJob they care nothing about.
    I keep praying for a Star Trek type “Replicator” that will render slothful ignoramuses out of the equation but, unfortunately, I dont see it happening in my lifetime……


    • I share your frustrations and mostly agree but, in the old doofus’ defense, they don’t wanna work. They want to retire. They hate doing McJobs and are simply trying to make it tolerable and pleasant. I have sympathy even tho I wanna punch them. What makes them extra stupid is that they CAN retire if they get out of the expensive city. And, I admit, I am actually more patient with small town clerks because of that. They came here to be on country time…..and so have I. I am better behaved here than in Victoria or Vancouver. I was losing it at a slow Costco. More justified, I think. I hope.


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