The Fords vs libraries

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Accessibility to knowledge is the font of a vibrant democracy and as Mark Twain once opined “the person who will not read is no better than the person who cannot read.” But serious reading takes time and effort, in short supply in the carnival under advanced capitalism. Too many people either do not have the time or are caught up in the diversions which surround us—like the Stupor Bowl and the low calorie fare we can get plugged into on regular basis.  The easily manipulated are cannon fodder for the hucksters. Good people can easily be propagandized by the cheap slogan or as Goebbels said, the repeated lie.

Democracy can easily be hijacked by big money as it has been in the States. The brilliant US jurist Arthur Brandeis phrased this well when he said, “we can have democracy or great wealth in the hands of the few, but we cannot have both.”

Great wealth has suborned electoral politics in the US with rabid right wingers like the Koch brothers and Adelson pouring their coin into disinformation campaigns and lies—which are consumed by the poorly informed. You can easily make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Which brings us to the Ford brothers the deadly duo who have so embarrassed the city of Toronto.

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Nothing shows their  terrible ignorance as the fact that they were the only two city officials who voted against an increase in funding for our libraries. And why not? It is obvious that they do not use  them!

Councillor Doug Ford gained notoriety  when he stated that his Etobicoke  ward has more libraries than Tim Hortons and added this piece about library activist Margaret Atwood “Well good luck to Margaret Atwood. I don’t even know her. If she walked by me, I wouldn’t have a clue who she is,” and let’s not forget  his reference to “liberries” on a radio show.

Maureen O’Reilly of OurPublicLibrary sent this email out

We did it!

Late last night, Toronto City Council gave a huge vote of support for our public library!

Council voted to increase the budget for our public library in 2014 and to launch a study to explore opportunities to re-invest in our library!

It was almost unanimous – only the Ford brothers voted against.

Thanks to you and thousands of vocal library supporters, our public library can move forward with confidence and stability and hope for the future.

I am humbled by your support for our public library and delighted with last night’s result!

Thanks to you, we stood up to those who would diminish our public library and we won!

Best regards,

Maureen O’Reilly

OurPublicLibrary.to

OurPublicLibrary.to is a network of people dedicated to preserving the integrity of one of the world’s greatest public library systems, the Toronto Public Library and is sponsored by the Toronto Public Library Workers Union.

 
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1 Comment »

  1. 1

    Accessibility to knowledge is the font of a vibrant democracy and as Mark Twain once opined “the person who will not read is no better than the person who cannot read.” But serious reading takes time and effort, in short supply in the carnival under advanced capitalism.

    Gosh, you were doing so well there for a while, but you always end on a discordant note. You know, Ted, you are in many ways a tragic hero. You could be a good writer. You can be compared to a man who is talented and has a great deal to offer, but who just can’t shake the racism that he was brought up on while growing up in the deep South. He just hates blacks, and no one can get him past it, not matter what they tell him (not every black person is a criminal; not every black person is illiterate; not every black person is violent, etc). It’s such a waste of talent. Accessibility to knowledge is indeed the font of a vibrant democracy, and the problem with people is that they really don’t take time to read, or, like you, only read certain things, like Democracy Now and left wing sources that just keep parroting the same old outdated and worn out ideas that have never worked. You say “serious reading takes time and effort, in short supply in the carnival under advanced capitalism”. Are you serious? Have you ever studied history? Do you not see that prosperity has provided people in the Western world with far more leisure time? Have you ever heard of Chapters? Borders? Barnes and Noble? Amazon.com? Kobo and Kindle eReaders? What planet are you living on? Were people reading in the former Soviet Union? Are they reading in North Korea? How about China?

    It is true that as life becomes more busy and people have to work longer hours, there is less time to read. But why is that happening? Why is it so difficult to run a business here in Ontario? Why is it becoming increasingly difficult? And yet the evidence is overwhelming that the greater economic freedom there is, the more leisure time people have. But there is less and less economic freedom today in Ontario. The problem is that you just don’t understand the financial details and every day facts of running a business, because you’ve never had to run one. The tax payers paid your salary, with all your great benefits, and your great pension. You never had to worry, so you never really acquired any genuine knowledge from within the world of business, where there is risk, uncertainty, etc. Which is why you speak in generalities, on a highly generalized ideological level.

    It’s really sad. You really are living in an ideological bubble, and you are comfortable staying there. Gosh, how would it feel to have that bubble popped, at your age? You’d have to look bad and entertain the possibility that you “f****d up for a great many years, that what you thought you knew and what you thought was knowledge turned out not to be knowledge at all, but ideological assumptions that crystallized into what appears to be authentic knowledge.

    Too many people either do not have the time or are caught up in the diversions which surround us—like the Stupor Bowl and the low calorie fare we can get plugged into on regular basis. The easily manipulated are cannon fodder for the hucksters. Good people can easily be propagandized by the cheap slogan or as Goebbels said, the repeated lie.

    Great stuff! So true.

    Democracy can easily be hijacked by big money as it has been in the States. The brilliant US jurist Arthur Brandeis phrased this well when he said, “we can have democracy or great wealth in the hands of the few, but we cannot have both.”

    Oh, brother! You were doing so well there. Ted, the problem is not freedom. The problem is human sinfulness. You describe the symptoms well, but you misdiagnose. If you were a doctor, you’d be sued for medical malpractice.

    Do you think if people were under state control, life would become a paradise? Is that what you are proposing? Money is a means of exchange. Are you suggesting that we somehow get rid of it? Are you suggesting price ceilings and floors?

    Economic freedom is a good thing. It’s human beings and their tendency to sin that is the big problem. But since you misdiagnose, your solution is ineffective. Instead of preaching Christ, who alone is the doctor, as he said, you preach a political system, as if a system is going to solve these problems. Evil is not in the system, it is in human beings. You are afraid to proclaim Christ, and so he gets reduced to a political revolutionary.

    Nothing shows their terrible ignorance as the fact that they were the only two city officials who voted against an increase in funding for our libraries. And why not? It is obvious that they do not use them!

    No, it’s not obvious. And I don’t use them–I have my own library. But why should I and everyone else pay for other people’s leisure? I’m paying enough in taxes. You don’t have to worry, an increase in taxes is not going to knock you over the edge. But what about a couple that is struggling to make ends meet, they can barely afford to put gas in their car, barely pay the Hydro bill? Why is it so hard to consider these trade offs from their point of view? Is it that you don’t have the time to read about these things? The statistics are available. The expertise is readily available. How come you don’t avail yourself of all this evidence?


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