The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “democratic decline

Societies Can Fail

Posted on December 21, 2017

We are well aware of the key characters involved in the ancient Christmas story – shepherds, wise men, angels, Joseph, Mary and Jesus. It’s all so quaint and moving that we forget the oppressiveness of that era. Few would have believed in those times that the mighty Roman Empire was about to crumble. And they would have been incredulous to learn that within 70 years, the temple, Jerusalem and the Jewish homeland itself would be gone. This is ever the problem with societal decay: the seriousness of the situation is hardly obvious at the time. Yet Aristotle warned that a growing inequality would only bring instability and chaos. Plato wrote that tyrants utilize the premise of free speech and public angst to claim absolute…

“Long in the Tooth” – Community Engagement Podcast (14)

Posted on July 19, 2013

It sounds counterintuitive, but our governments are banking on decline.  Running low on resources, they inwardly know the future will be something less than what Canadians would have hoped for.  The Baby Boomers, flush with the policy privileges supported and financed by their parents following World War Two, now want to maintain those same benefits while at the same time sapping the resources of government.  The gig is up, as Boomers now are coming to terms with the reality that their kids and grandkids will likely never enjoy the benefits they possessed. Just click on the audio player below to listen to the five-minute podcast.

A Crisis of Power

Posted on April 29, 2013

It’s a voice increasingly coming from the economic periphery and gaining more traction the longer it takes for global economies to get up off the mat.  While not exactly the voice of doom, as in apocalyptic, it nevertheless speaks of a coming world where limited choices will lead to a reprioritization of how we spend and how governments will behave in a time of diminishing returns. Gwynn Dyer, for example, in a syndicated article in the London Free Press this past weekend, speaks of the “lethal consequences for a large part of the human race,” if we don’t reign in our fossil fuel consumption. There’s no predetermined path out there, no clock-like scheme, hovering over us and leading to an increasingly risky future, merely…

Identity – Sleeping Through History

Posted on March 7, 2013

  There’s a revolution going on but most of us appear not to notice.  Or, as Aldous Huxley put it, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”  We all realize we are living in times of great change and transition, but we are failing in our belief that we can change any of it.  One of the vital aspects of any individual or corporate identity is that it can often just be the imprint of the times we live in, as opposed to affecting our world through who we truly are and what we believe.  In other words, to just observe is to be diminished. Most of us know the story of Rip Van Winkle, the American villager who ventured into…

A Time For “Honest Abes”

Posted on November 22, 2012

Jane and I came out of the movie “Lincoln” deeply moved. I had written a book on perhaps America’s favourite president 15 years ago, with research that took me to Kentucky, Springfield, Illinois, and of course Washington D.C. That preliminary work and our struggle against slavery in Sudan prepared us well for the movie and we weren’t disappointed. But in leaving, we encountered someone in their thirties, I think, who felt let down by what he had witnessed on the screen. “It was all this boring legislative stuff. With Stephen Spielberg I expected a lot more special effects,” he offered as we exited. If only he knew, I thought to myself. My experience in Ottawa had taught me that political life is largely made…