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Monday, February 04, 2008 

Jail Politicians Who Ignore Science: Suzuki

Environmentalist denounces economists’ obsession with GDP

"David Suzuki delivered a scathing and powerful speech to a packed house at McGill Thursday night, calling on young people and business leaders to reverse the demise of ecology at the hand of shortsighted economic theory.

[...] He urged today’s youth to speak out against politicians complicit in climate change, even suggesting they look for a legal way to throw our current political leaders in jail for ignoring science – drawing rounds of cheering and applause. Suzuki said that politicians, who never see beyond the next election, are committing a criminal act by ignoring science.

[...] He gave a scathing critique of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, chastising them for neglecting the environment in favour of economic growth and development of the tar sands.

“It is an intergenerational crime that in the face of the work of scientists over the last 20 years, they keep dithering as they are,” he said.

Suzuki also underlined the interconnectedness of humans with their natural world – a point not often made by mainstream environment critics.

“We are the environment. There is no distinction. What we do to the earth we do to ourselves,” he said.

In using DDT to kill insects, he said, we harmed the environment as well as human health before understanding effects of processes like biomagnification – where a toxin increases in concentration at each successive level in food chain – until years after DDT was introduced. He said the same thing is happening with genetically modified organisms.

“Mark my words, any scientist that tells you they are safe is either ignorant or lying to you,” he said. "

McGill Daily

Suzuki might have gotten applause for that remark, but he's doing far more damage than good. It just makes him sound arrogant, intolerant ... even fascist.

It gives those on the other side of the debate precisely the ammunition they need.

I disagree ... it is time that someone showed some passion for what is occurring. Your choice of the word fascist is inappropriate here. At best we are talking about bringing those guilty of criminal negligence before the courts. Killing the environment is a crime.

As to your inapprorpiate use of the word 'fascist' in his article, "Fascism Anyone?, Laurence Britt compared the recognized fascist regimes of Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet and identified 14 characteristics common to them all. These 14 points can be used in diagnosing an existing or developing fascist administration:

1.) Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2.) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3.) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause: The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4.) Supremacy of the Military: Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5.) Rampant Sexism: The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

6.) Controlled Mass Media: Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7.) Obsession with National Security: Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses

8.) Religion and Government are Intertwined: Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9.) Corporate Power is Protected: The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10.) Organized Labour is Suppressed: Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11.) Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts: Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

12.) Obsession with Crime and Punishment: Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations

13.) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections: Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Points 8-9-10-11 are clearly consistent with fascism of the Right - and NOT dissimilar to Bush's and Harper's administrations!

How is the word "fascist" inappropriate? He wishes to throw people in jail who do not share his views. He wants to enforce his own beliefs at the point of a gun.

The electorate vote in politicians. It's their decision as to who gets elected and who does not. If they want to vote in someone who doesn't give two hoots about the environment, that's their right.

Suzuki wants to take that right away. I guess - in Suzuki's view - the electorate can't be trusted.

I don't think jailing politicos for environmental crimes is such a bad idea, but would add that we should also jail politicos who start wars as well. If we jail common criminals why not the politicos whose crimes make the common thug look like juvenile delinquents? It is high time they were held to account. No is that fascist, but a long honored revolutionary tradition.

So Rabbit, you define 'fascist' as someone who throws people in jail who do not share the fascists views? Sort of like how Harper throws people in jail who smoke a little bit of marijuana?

We are talking about CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE here ... not a difference of views! Sheeeeeesh!

"He wishes to throw people in jail who do not share his views."

He is not talking about "views" but crimes against the environment. But then again, by your same logic I guess Clifford Olsen is in jail because we don't "share his views."

Good one Larry! These Right wingers operate only on BELIEF they have no value for facts ... here is how their simplistic world view works compared to logical scientific approaches!


"Crimes against the environment"? Cool. Just how would we define such a crime with regards to politicians?

If a politician doesn't support an environmental bill, would that constitute guilt? How about an environment minister whose policies aren't sufficiently aggressive?

And now you want to throw Jean Chretien in jail for starting the Afghanistan war? I wasn't Chretien's biggest fan, but that seems harsh.

By the way Rabbit - if you want to see how fascist practices work in government, here is what the Harper government is doing to muzzle scientists in Environment Canada - and compare to points #6 & #11 above!

Hasn't Harper forgotten one thing?

Just like Bush the 2nd, he's forgotten that a leader has to be a servant.

The greatest leader has to be the most humble of servants. That's a paradox,

Jesus was a leader and a humble servant and Harper claims to be a Christian.

I think the leadership and stewardship issues are those which he--Harper--conveniently ignores.
Because God anointed him, right?

No wonder Harper hates the Queen and all she stands for. She does her job and does so very well to much public acclaim.

Harper is sleepwalking and slouching through the halls of Parliament and the annals of history.


You're changing the subject. I'm not defending Harper - I 'm not even conservative.

I am defending the rights of the voters to decide what politicians they want, and thus what policies get implemented. Suzuki wants to force certain policies at the point of a gun.

It's funny how the left continually contradict themselves and how history repeats itself.

There was a time many years ago when a scientist named Galileo was forced to recant his heliocentric theory because the Catholic church threatened to jail him if he didn't.

As a result of this, for years, the atheist left have always declared that science and religion was incompatible.

Now, it seems the self appointed Cardinal of the Church of Ecofascism has decreed that elected officials should be jailed if they don't believe in his faith. "Don't question me" the Cardinal decries, not unlike the Catholc church did 500 years ago.

Science inevitably revealed the Galileo was indeed right, and the Church was wrong.

What will this episode look like to historians in 200 years? I suspect, much the same as Galileo's plight.

With much the same result...

How about the fact that hundreds of millions have died from malaria due to the banning of DDT. And all because some birds or fish might die because of possible bioaccumulation.

Is that not a crime worthy of jail time?

There will come a time when politicians such as Harper and Baird will claim they "didn't know" the impact of a changing climate on the planet, on the eco-system, on biodiversity. They will be lying. They have known for decades.

"It should be pointed out, however, that these projections assume that such major problems as the vast increase in the need for fresh water, the ecological effects of the vast increase in the application of fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation, and the apparent adverse trend in the global climate, are solved. At present, there are no solutions to these problems in sight."
--Henry Kissinger, 1974

Stephen Harper himself acknowledges the reality and impacts of climate change through policies that focus not on mitigating the impact of the changes but on exploiting the the impact through mining and oil exploration under Arctic waters exposed by receding ice.

Failure to act on climate change and the deepening ecological crises facing the globe will and ought properly to be considered crimes against humanity. And those who held the power to act and did not are not merely negligent, but criminally negligent in the same way as would be someone who failed to call fire at the first hint of smoke.

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