Not long ago I was accused of being brainwashed because I follow politics. I tried to get more information about my alleged brainwashing from my interlocutor and was bluntly told that I never used to follow politics, so why now?
This person also reads (or at least used to read), TCL, so really would’ve been fairly familiar with how long I’d been following politics; and when I look back through my old posts I realize it’s been for a lot longer than I’d been “brainwashed” for. In fact, the only real thing that’s changed is that I’ve become critical, begun to dig a lot deeper, and think about things a lot more thoroughly.
In other words, I’m “brainwashed” because I now think and express myself a lot more freely.
I have regular discussions about politics with this person and am often confronted with their obstinate support of the Harper government. This, at least in part, is one of the reasons I’ve been so vocal (if the word can be applied to writing), about my criticisms of the numerous ways that he and his gang are trying to destroy freedom in Canada.
By “freedom” I’m not alluding to some vague notions of self-expression (though that is certainly true), I’m talking about simple physical freedoms like being able to walk down the street without fear of arbitrary arrest, or being free to express simple opinions and truths without having the government crack down on you, harass you, or spy on you secretly.
This same person, the one who accused me of being brainwashed, came from a repressive communist country where such things were a regular thing, so I assumed that this kind of thing wouldn’t sit well with them. Yet when faced with stark evidence like Bill C-38 or Bill C-11, and expecting at least a modicum of thought, some skepticism, maybe a willingness to dig a bit deeper, even if just to prove me wrong, I instead got derision.
The best retort they can muster is to call me dumb (and brainwashed), and to demand to know why such things concern me.
The real question is, why don’t they concern you?! (And I’m brainwashed)
It’s not tough to imagine, then, with people willing to live with their eyes and ears covered like this, that Harper continues on his merry way to making Canada a massive repressive regime within which citizens are expected to cower in fear and dare not speak ill of the government lest they be “disappeared” into some dark dungeon, indefinitely, with no trial, judge, or jury. The same citizens are actually fully supporting such moves, and they sure don’t want to hear how such things could possibly be bad (even if they’ve lived through such terrors themselves). Heck, why would you even need evidence at that point?
If you’re still paying attention, though, there is still some hope.
In the US, the NDAA (innocuously disguised as a recurring military funding bill), includes a variety of passages that allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens (in fact, anyone at all), without trial, in military Gulags not unlike Guantanamo Bay. With Bill C-38, Harper has allowed the US to legally waltz across the border with complete impunity and “remove” people at any time they wish.
Not to be outdone, of course, the Harper government is introducing Bill S-7, the “Combating Terrorism Act” (the catch-all term for everything and anything designed to separate you from your rights and freedoms these days), which has many of the same features as the NDAA. Here are some highlights to expect should this thing make it through:
- People may be put under “preventive arrest” for up to three days.
- The “preventive arrest” may be due to an alleged association with a “terrorist” (which may include everything from environmentalists to anyone critical of the government), alleged knowledge of a “terrorist” or their dealings, or — my favourite — being suspected of future involvement with terrorists.
- As with all good Kafkaesque schemes, those arrested are not allowed to know the details of their arrest or know any of the evidence against them.
- Those arrested must stand before an “investigative hearing”.
- A judge can jail those arrested for up to year if they don’t enter into recognizance, which is a fancy term for a conditional release — you have to appear regularly before a court, may have to wear a tracking device, etc.
- Such arrests can occur without any charges being laid. In other words, they don’t really even need a good reason, just that something didn’t seem right about the person.
- Any evidence that is used against the arrested person (which, of course, they are not allowed to know anything about), can be obtained from foreign sources or through torture.
- These changes would become part of the Criminal Code of Canada — everyone would be subject to them.
It’s interesting to see how the October 23rd vote on this bill went down: unanimously voted in by both Conservatives and Liberals. I’m sure I’ve stated my belief more than once that they’re now essentially one and the same apparatus (McGuinty’s latest escapades also illustrate this quite well). Literally anyone outside of these two parties voted against it.
It’s also worthwhile to read the discussion at the second reading of the bill, even just to get a sense of the basically blasé, done-deal rhetoric that proponents could muster (when they could be bothered to speak on such trivial matters at all) — oh, and don’t forget 9/11!
To me it seems self-evident that anyone and everyone should be at least slightly concerned about such laws and, moreover, the types of government that would be continuously bringing them forward. The only way to avoid concern is to be completely oblivious to everything when presented with it, to deny reality when it’s staring you in the face, and to sing the praises of our glorious leader even as he’s setting up mega-prisons and the means to fill them with anyone who doesn’t toe the line.
But I guess I’m just brainwashed.