Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Canadian consciousness and Stockholm Syndrome

You think you know someone.

Then they turn around and shock you with an outrageous statement that, at first, you take as a poorly executed joke, but then you realize the person is serious. And you look at them -- the longer you've known them, the worse it is -- and wonder Who the hell are you?

This is how I feel about Canada.

There's a strong and active Canadian presence on the Web site Reddit.com. More and more, I'm astounded and bewildered by views put forward by my fellow Canadians. Not all of them; there still appears to be a few reasonable people in Canada, but a troubling number of people posting in Comments sections of stories have belief systems that are virtually alien to me.

Well, sounds like to me you just can't handle people thinking differently than you do, I hear a harrumpher harrumph from the back benches. Sounds like you believe anyone who doesn't agree with your opinions is wrong! That's very narrow minded in my judgment!

No, I actually learn from people who don't think as I do. I find opposing opinions educational.

The belief system I find so alien, yet so pervasive in Canadian life is Canadians' embrace of their abusers, their tormentors; their compassion for wrongdoers and dispassion for the wronged. It's like a our national consciousness is gripped by some type of Stockholm Syndrome -- enough to make our electorate a lame, naked entity that inspires fear in no politician.

A few examples:

"I will not forget what they have done to me" 20 people arrested at the G20 tell of "inhumane" treatment at the hands of police.

Response:
To be honest most of them are hilarious.
She was seething after a 19-hour detention. “I’m vegan. I haven’t had anything to eat until three hours ago.”
This is inhumane treatment?
Enns was strip-searched at the detention centre. He couldn’t sleep with the fluorescent lights.
Seriously, I have to side against the press and the protesters on that one. Building such a fucking hype out of nothing, making us and the rest of the world believe we live in a police state... for what? Selling copies. This is bullshit.
Another:
Duh. The "protesters" are REALLY agitators. I mean what are they actually protesting? World government? Peace? ...

It's a big hullalaboo and these "protestors" just want have a chance to get "wronged" so they can blog about it.

Here's a tip, even if you're not throwing rocks at the cops, don't be on the side that is. And if you are, you deserve to get rushed by riot cops.
Then, some voice of reason:
That's right! Because arresting innocent people and detaining them in improper facilities for arbitrary amounts of time is Hilarious, and cause no real harm to anyone. Nevermind our rights, this is all a gas!

Did you find the several cases of outright police brutality as hilarious? The young man who had to have stitches to the forehead? the mayoral candidate thrown to the ground and kicked repeatedly? The people attacked and detained with no reason? Naw naw, that shit is all Hilarious.

Just because you aren't impressed with how brutal the police were in Every case doesn't mean this isn't a significant and deeply worrying attack on citizen's rights.

You're disdain for your fellow citizen's and their rights disgusts me.
Or, how about the mind-blowing comments under this article: Woman dies after staff allows battery to run down.

Response:
Mistakes happen. I think the usage of the word "allows" to be somewhat misleading; a staffer forgot to transfer the patient back to a bed ventilator and the alarm system in place was too quiet to be heard even by the visiting husband. This is very unfortunate, but I don't believe her 61 year old grandmother was a "guinea pig," which implies intent, and Melissa Jarabek seems pretty bent on getting some money out of this.

There's a more thorough article here; http://www.vancouversun.com/news/woman+dies+after+workers+allow+ventilator+battery+down/3183099/story.html

I don't want to live in a Canada where doctors, nurses, and staffers are going to be held fiscally accountable for these kinds of errors; it discourages people from entering the profession and encourages those that are in it to inflate their wages drastically to compensate for the inherent risk.

It's worth note that Fraser Health Authority is just a publicly funded region. If they were to be found liable, it would come from the budgets they normally allocate to patient care and equipment, or from the taxpayers themselves. It's not like they're going to deliver the bad news to their shareholders.
My reply:
What you're expressing here is horrifying, farcically insensitive and naive as hell.

"Mistakes happen"??? The medical staff here weren't changing a bicycle tire. A person's life was in their hands.

You're very laissez faire about the whole thing when it's someone else's family member.
Another:
Humans make mistakes. It happens. It will always happen. No one is perfect.
Really? This is how some Canadians think?

Canadians have a terrible tendency to feel compassion for the perpetrators of a wrong, and not for the wronged party. Maybe that's what accounts for our dismal treatment of aboriginal Canadians.

Could this explain why our judges routinely hand out egregiously light sentences for violent crimes?

Does this explain how our politicians can blithely shove aside Canada's Auditor General when she moves to audit MPs' use of public funds?

Sure, Canadians grumble -- grumble under our breaths like kids at the back of a classroom.

But at heart, we embrace our abusers, we re-elect our tormentors. We give lavish pensions to our national miscreants, scoundrels and wastrels.

We have provincial human rights tribunals in place to prosecute and persecute anyone whose opinion we don't like -- because disagreeing with someone else's opinion is viewed by these skewed, illegitimate bodies as violating someone's human rights. [Note: I'll allow that this is definitely a reach, but it appalls me to no end that it's not a terribly far reach.]

From the atrocious bungling of the 1985 Air India disaster, to the desperate sins of Brian Mulroney, to thuggish misanthropy of Jean Chr├ętien, to the daily brutality of Canadian bureaucrats, Canadians embrace their abusers and curse their fellow sufferers.

It's one thing to be the passive grumbler, but it's shameful and ignoble to embrace one's abusers. It's wrong to have compassion for wrongdoers at the expense of the wronged.

Let the downvotes begin.

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