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Edition 63-February 1, 2010
Technology and the lack of social cohesion
One vote every four years does not guarantee liberty
By Thomas Terrio

The one thing people take for granted these days in Western democracies is the idea of freedom and democracy itself. Today more than ever before, thanks to social networking and the Internet, there is an enormous lack of social cohesion in society.

This lack of social cohesion threatens our democracy to its very core. For example, most people today would rather converse with their iPhone on Facebook or their Blackberry on Twitter about issues not directly related to their well-being, rather then communicate candidly with someone sitting next to them on a bus or at the dinner table. Indeed, it appears most people love their cell phones more than they love their neighbours.

This false, impersonal, and technological approach to human relations does not do justice to the idea we need to communicate with each other face to face about our common interests close to where we live. More often than not, people are more concerned about what happens in a country halfway around the globe, before they concern themselves with what is really happening in their local neighbourhoods.

The idea the Internet has opened up global communications is true, but the downside is people have forgotten to communicate with each other on a personal level, and this is where democracy lives. More and more, people in the West are becoming disenchanted and disengaged with all three levels of government and the policies they propagate. In the last Canadian federal election, close to ten million registered voters did not cast their ballots, why?

In my view, because of this lack of social cohesion, the former Bush administration was able to invade Iraq under the false pretenses of weapons of mass destruction. The previous government of Jean Chretien in Canada was able to sign the Kyoto Accord, circumventing the Canadian parliament.

Recently, the left leaning political peacenicks in the West have revealed themselves. They would rather pay the Taliban to stop fighting NATO and ISAF, instead of pursuing them into the South West Autonomous Territories of Pakistan known as SWAT, to destroy them.

How ridiculous, attempting to buy security with Western taxpayer dollars from a fanatical religious group whose single most prominent goal is to convert the world to Islam; in turn, setting the global community up for perpetual blackmail. Definitely not a bright idea—but a quick political solution.

People may not realize it, but our democracy is in constant threat from the very governments we elect. Government lack of judgment in approving unaffordable stimulus packages and allowing the national debt to reach critical levels, or by spending billions on security alone for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, is a clear indication freedom and economic security is in danger in the community. All this to cover their own malpractice.

Unless people in their communities begin to use the democratic tools at their disposal, freedom and democracy will be lost one law at a time; and the so-called economic stimulus packages, once forced upon us as a last resort, will be taken away as some banker’s bonus one tax at a time. Ultimately, one vote every four years does not guarantee liberty, and those who rest comfortably in their democracy are most definitely not exercising it.

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