Re-Share: Muse

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

The minutes crawl, meandering mindlessly by,

as the mind mulls on myopic miseries.

Minutiae distracting—malicious in its mediocrity,

as merciless minions of misgivings muddy the waters.

But where the muse, whose music brings meaning?

When weaning from mundanity we writhe,

then written on the walls is the wonder of her witchcraft.

Who mollifies the weary and meddles with our worry.

Myriad memories are woven in her menagerie.

Where many malevolent mental blocks

are withdrawn and mended into that

magical mess of which they were wrought.

The who’s and the where’s and the why’s and the when’s,

writing we wrestle them while we still can.

It’s merely a moment, a miraculous wash

but wading unworried we’ll master the world.

-Brad OH Inc.

Re-Share: The ‘Jenga’ Analogy

The other day, I started sketching an outline for an article, but quickly realized I’d already written something terribly similar back in 2015. So in lieu of wasted effort, here is the original–I’m back to editing my book.


Earlier this week, I found myself playing a friendly game of Jenga. Well, not entirely friendly perhaps—it was naturally filled with all the taunting and tension so common to the game.

With each log I drew from the base with tremulous fingers, I breathed a sigh of relief as I watched the tower teeter and totter back and forth. But when it finally found its balance once more, the work was only halfway done.

After a brief period of respite marred only by a victorious sneer at my young opponent, it was time for me to finish my task. With the newly liberated block held delicately between my fingers, I raised it up and let it hover a moment above the top of the now lopsided and treacherous monstrosity we’d created.

Finally, I took a deep breath in and held it. The careful extraction was not my victory, for now I had to place the block on top—hoping against hope that the imbalance I had done to the tower’s base would not prove fatal.

Sadly, my hopes were dashed, and the tower came crumbling down. Wooden blocks scattered across the tabletop, and a squeal of unrestrained joy was loosed from the grandstanding lips of my tactless opponent.

‘If only I hadn’t had to put it on top’, I lamented. But that’s just the point here. It’s easy to cause imbalance. It’s far more difficult to deal with the consequences. When I’d slid the block out, I had created tension—specifically between the increasingly poor engineering of the tower, and the immutable force of gravity.

If it hadn’t been expressly forbidden by the sacrosanct rules of Jenga, I could have tossed the block lackadaisically over my shoulder and passed the buck onto the unaware child before me—forcing them to deal with the repercussions of my block choice.

“Again!” he cried, encouraged by his victory and likely reeling with a distinct sense of invulnerability.

But my mind was elsewhere, and time was not on my side. As I gathered up the blocks and began to replace them in the box, I turned to the clock on the wall to gauge my schedule. 11:00am—just enough time to get one last visit in before lunch.

Oh lunch: the vaunted reprieve from workday responsibilities. With a half-hour of stress-free liberty, my only significant choice would be where to eat. And if that’s the only conflict to resolve, things are pretty good in my books.

But as the last of the Jenga blocks was returned to its rightful place, my hunger-laden mind recalled suddenly the ongoing string of strikes and demonstrations against fast food operations around the world (Link).

Workers had taken to the streets, demanding delivery from the poverty level wages they had been faced with for far too long. The demonstrations were primarily peaceful shows of unity and hope—asking only a fair wage for a fair days work. But as is the leitmotif of any political discourse these days, the demand was mired in controversy and misgivings.

Among the myriad complaints aimed at the workers was the age-old notion of fiscal strain. The argument goes that if restaurants (and it should be noted here that the vast majority of those affected are multinational Corporations) were ‘forced’ to increase their minimum wage, the resultant loss of capital would have to come from somewhere else.

It’s a logical notion to be sure—money is finite after all, and if moved to one place, it must have come from another. The natural remedies, in the Corporate mind at least, are to lay off workers, increase prices, or decrease quality.

Of course, these options lead to long line-ups, inflated meal prices, and dangerously cheap ingredients. As images of soggy lettuce, smeared condiments, and dry, grey ‘all-beef patties’ danced before my eyes, my lunch options seemed somehow less appealing.

There is a problem with this key assumption however, and as so many problems are these days, it is tied to the fundamental structure of the Corporation. Guided by the anti-social leaning philosophies laid out in the ‘Friedman Doctrine’ (Link), a Corporation is structured with only one true responsibility—the shareholder. This means that with every decision a Corporation makes, it is obligated to ensure that the bottom line of share value is being increased.

In essence: no matter what the problem or potential solutions, the goal should be greater profit for the Corporation. Of course, this has historically led to a litany of grave injustices (Link), but just at this moment, it was my impending meal I was most concerned about.

And herein lies the problem. While it’s difficult to argue that workers aren’t entitled to a living wage—particularly in a world where an ever growing number of jobs are being pushed into the minimum wage bracket by increased automation and other factors—I still want a good meal.

But these desires are incompatible in the Corporate mind. You can’t have fair pay, good food, AND reasonable prices…at least not if stock prices are to continue rising.

And so it goes: as each year passes, Corporations continue to take money away from the bottom, while ensuring it also stays at the top. Increase the wages—lay off employees. Respect environmental regulations—decrease the quality of the product. Comply with fair tax regulations—jack up the prices.

You take a block from the bottom, and you put it on top.

The easy answer of course, is that Corporations should, and must, accept that as society changes and technology grows, sometimes they may see a decrease in overall profits. But this should be felt at the top—the shareholders and the CEO’s who are in dire need of learning that just as they claim that ‘a person doing a minimum-skill job deserves only a minimum salary’, so too must the directors of a decreasingly relevant franchise ultimately see a stall in their (still exorbitant) profit margins.

Of course, this isn’t what happens. While many of these fast-food franchises likely started out as very solid businesses offering a decent meal at a competitive price, they have long since grown unwieldy. As the towers of their Corporate offices rose higher into the skyline, their bases grew increasingly unsteady. And we’ve all seen the end result many times before. Eventually, the whole operation comes crumbling down. After all, no one wants to pay $14 for a shitty burger just so the CEO can afford to take a private jet to his island resort.

And this, better than anything else, illustrates the fundamental failing which has occurred in our conception of capitalism. Namely, the transfer of implicit company responsibility away from its customers—who rely on a strong and reliable base—to its shareholders—who care only for how high it can reach before they sell their shares and watch it all crumble from the vantage point of the next opportunity they make ready to despoil.

It’s a depressing thought to say the least. And so, as I slid the Jenga box into my bag and made off to my next visit, I made a decision. Today, maybe I could pass on lunch. I was hungry no doubt, but as I thought about the implications behind which barely-edible meal I’d buy, I found that my appetite was gone.

Fuck it, I’d just go hungry. After all, if the Corporations had it their way, that would be the fate of the lot of us.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Curse of the Uncouth

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampAs the pandemic passes all too swiftly into memory and businesses start to run at full capacity once more, there are many long-lost amenities to appreciate with fresh eyes. Open air markets, dusty record stores, convenient shopping experiences, dine-in restaurants, and of course, the beloved local bar.

Returning to a closer approximation to normal at the local watering hole is a welcome relief to the cultured barfly—and the uncultured one to boot. In this wave of excitement however, there has long lingered an unspoken fear—perhaps the final curse of the dreaded Covid virus.

After more than two years of closed or limited bar service, this return to normal will debut not one, but almost three years worth of first timers to a busy bar scene. The Uncouth—they will have no experience to guide them, and no friends near in age to teach them. A stretch of clueless newbies from eighteen to twenty (CDN) will be plowing their way through crowded bar fronts, bumping into tray-laden servers, and forming lines where absolutely no line is needed.

Cologne-covered and cocky, they’ll stand with their backs pressing against the chair behind them, unheeding the discomfort of the sitting person who would much rather just be left alone.

Like spooked buffalo (or bison, for you locals) they’ll trample wild-eyed over the accumulated goodwill of crusty drunkards everywhere. Whining their way to the front of lines. Scrounging for cigarettes on the ground. Or worse yet, stealing quick hits from vape cartridges, leaving the discarded cigarettes to pile up on the ground unchecked. They’ll throw the whole damned eco-system off kilter!

They’ll request all the wrong songs, and dance far from the designated dance-floor. They’ll sing Top 40 lyrics in your general direction, and expect you to respond with enthusiasm!

This is the final sting, the lasting poison of a sickness which has already asked far too much.

Or maybe they’ll turn out ok.

Shit, I’m probably just getting old.

-Brad OH Inc.

Re-Share: A Call for Corporate Suffrage

It’s still coming…

Despite this article being satirical in nature–and eight years old to boot–it remains terrifyingly relevant as corporations continue to make headway into the few remaining avenues of freedom people have left to them.

Sadly, there are plenty who would cheer this on. Whether to line their own pockets, to spite the other side of the aisle, to buffer against their innate fear of government, or simply through sheer ignorance, the endless march into corporate servitude is led by the voices of the greedy, the desperate, and the foolish.

Don’t be one of them.


On September 11th, 2014, a piece of legislation passed through the United States Senate in an attempt to overturn the ruling of the Citizens United (2010) case. This proposed amendment, dubbed SJ RES 19, would grant authority to congress to regulate money raised and spent on political campaigns. The legislation failed however, being unable to garner sufficient support to come to a vote (Source).

Thank goodness!

This bill was a direct attack on the human sovereignty of Corporations—and subsequently an affront to social justice.

The ruling in the Citizens United case made several key distinctions to the American public—distinctions which should be held in high esteem by any citizen who values the founding principles of freedom and personal dignity.

Firstly, for all intents and purposes, a Corporation is a human. That much at least should be beyond debate. Following from that, because a Corporation is a human, and as such a citizen, it would be a violation of our First Amendment rights to limit our freedom of speech.

Of course, ‘freedom of speech’ is a bit of a loose term; blame our unincorporated founding fathers for that one folks. To understand it better, let’s break it down a little. ‘Speech’ is a means of communicating, and communication is usually centered around wants and needs. There are, of course, different ways to express ourselves. Infants cry—it’s incredibly annoying for everyone around them, but it’s their way of telling the world what they need (usually milk, or shelter, or some other selfish thing like that). Body language is also an important form of communication. Who amongst us has never managed to read more into a wry smile than words could ever express? Mind you, the message there may have been more to do with the needs of the reader than of the person smiling, but that’s beside the point.

Corporations express themselves in different ways; although no less relevant than any other form. Specifically, we tend to speak with our pocket-books—funneling tremendous amounts of money into the coffers of politicians open to a little bit of honest advice. It’s as legitimate as any other form of communication, and to suggest otherwise would be painfully unpatriotic.

And yet that’s just what SJ RES 19 attempted to do. By limiting Corporate spending on political campaigns, it sought to silence the voice of Corporate Personhoods in a democratic government meant to represent the people.

How else can Corporations express themselves? If a law currently in place is obstructing our access to valuable natural resources, or if we need to ‘crack open’ a new market in an as-of-yet non-destabilized foreign government, we are limited by our very nature to using money to achieve those ends.

This proposed amendment was a direct attempt to thwart that—and it simply will not stand.

It’s time to make a change. If we are to continue as a free nation, a nation ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’, we need to be unflinchingly certain that humongous financial institutions bent only on expanding their own power base are represented within that definition of ‘people’.

Yes, it’s finally time to talk about Corporate Suffrage.

Throughout history, Suffrage has been granted again and again to interest groups seeking to have better representation in government. Starting with removing the requirement of property ownership, then allowing freed slaves the right to vote, and finally expanding to women, the concept of Universal Suffrage (Link) states that the right to vote is not restricted by race, sex, belief, wealth, or social status.

How can it be denied? That’s a pretty noble goal. And there’s one word in there that we at Brad OH Inc. think is especially important: wealth.

SJ RES 19 was a blatant and unforgivable attempt to discriminate against the Corporate Person based on our wealth—our most effective tool for harnessing our right to free expression. This is a travesty to be sure, and here at Brad OH Inc., we will not abide such a miscarriage of justice.

As persons, we must rise up and demand our inclusion within the inarguably just definitions of Universal Suffrage. Corporations are, as a matter of fact, the most productive and valuable citizens any nation could hope to have. We do the building, create the jobs, manage the infrastructure, and like it or not, we make the decisions. Corporations are tenacious, and we’ve proven time and again that we will take our rights one way or another. The failure of SJ RES 19 was quite simply not enough. In order to move towards a more equitable relationship with the country, we must stop being forced to use our hard earned money to have a voice in the political machinations of this country, and be allowed to do so directly through the electoral process.

It won’t be an easy process of course, but here at Brad OH Inc., we’ve taken the liberty of working out some of the kinks in advance—after all, we’re here to fix problems, not create them.

Clearly, a single vote for a single Corporation would be ludicrous—and far less enfranchising than the situation we currently have. Under an arrangement like that, our voice would be treated as merely equal to that of any other citizen, and we’ve already established that isn’t the case. Moving from complete control of the government and national direction via unlimited campaign financing to a single vote would be an unabashed attack on our sovereignty.

Instead, we suggest a system of representational voting—those liberals have been begging for it forever, so we could silence that infernal racket as well. Everybody wins!

Yes, in place of the ongoing and expensive persecution that continues to plague Corporate existence, let’s move towards a system of voting which fairly recognizes the national contributions of all citizens. By embracing a system which weighs each vote against the percentage of GDP a citizen creates—Corporate or not—we can finally give credit to the hard working efforts of honest citizens; and maybe even encourage a few slackers to pick up the pace a little. Raise your productivity, and raise your electoral voice. What could be more fair than that?

It certainly is a revolutionary idea to chew on, and we can accept that it will take a while to mull over for those of you without a team of highly paid advisors, but you can trust in one thing—Corporations will not be denied our rights. Not the right to free expression, not the right to vote, and not the right to mould this nation into the sort of tax free, unregulated paradise we need for the ongoing inflation of our profit margins. This is the land of the free after all, promising justice for all… with discounts available on bulk purchases.

Your Guides to Forward Progress,

-Brad OH Inc.

Re-Share: A Fool Not Just in April

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green Desklamp

This may seem like it’s coming a month late, but the truth is, this was never about April Fools…


There’s a funny thing that happens right around this time of year. On the first of April each year, we observe a weird little day called ‘April Fools’’. This glorious day is a long-time favourite for pranksters and mischief-makers the world over—as jokes are played, tricks enacted, and terrible deceptions perpetrated by one friend upon another all in the righteous pursuit of naming another as a fool.

The possibilities are endless! Saran-wrap over the toilet seat? Check! Sardine Paste in the toothpaste tube? Check! Brutal lies about the health or general well-being of distant loved-ones? Yeah, even that might pass. But recently, one phenomenon has illustrated an especially troublesome habit of humanity—and shown us perhaps that the day of fools is a boon for the few wise people among us.

See, one irresistible opportunity for news pundits and bloggers alike is to post semi-believable yet entirely unreal stories for public consumption on April Fools’ Day. The writer will let the speculation and doubts run roughshod until noon, then coolly—and doubtless with an air of overplayed coyness—reveal the truth: namely, that it was all a ruse.

This all seems harmless enough. The thing is, it’s been going on for a significant enough stretch of time that anyone with half a clue and access to the internet for more than a year knows just what to expect, and rises each April 1st donning the armour of suspicion, and brandishing their sword of rational-inquiry. Each article they see is taken in with a discerning eye. Facts are weighed against probabilities, and anything doubtful is cross-referenced against other articles.

Dates are checked, names researched, local obituaries are pored over for accuracy, and for one day, all sources of information are taken in with a critical eye, hell-bent on sussing out the truth from the trash.

All things considered, it’s a pretty wonderful day!

But then something unfortunate happens. The sun rises on the second of April, the bathroom floors are disinfected, toothpaste tubes replaced, and loved ones are given a brief check-in call with a pre-arranged excuse to hang up after a few minutes small-talk. Then, everything returns to normal. People eat their breakfast, kiss their spouses and children, go to their jobs, and then sit slack-jawed and dumb-founded at the torrents of bullshit flashing across their screens in the name of ‘news’.

‘You won’t believe what…’

‘What happened next will leave you speechless…’

‘Local mom makes $900,000,000 in one hour, when you learn how you’ll…’

‘THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!!!’

They sit with eyes glazed over as they work their fingers along their mouse, taking it all in, following the currents of their newsfeed like Job waiting on fairer winds. It’s all accepted, all welcome, and none of it is ever second-guessed.

It’s a sorry fact that when not actively warned by our calendars that the news just might not be as accurate as it’s purported to be, people forget the concept entirely. But rational thought is not a novelty to be toyed with once a year, only to be dusted off and returned in mint-condition to its little glass case marked ‘Open April 1st’. Rather, it is a tool to utilize daily, to ward off the perils of misinformation—deliberate or not—and exercise the full potential of our humanity. As rational creatures living in an often irrational world, the onus of critical consideration of news media is on us as consumers. It is a matter of education, of self-protection, and more importantly, of intellectual integrity.

So let us not forget, good people, that there may be but one day a year where we are free to name each other as fools, but that leaves 364 days each year where the names do not fly so readily, and we are left simply with an opportunity to prove the fact for ourselves.

-Brad OH Inc.

Lost in the Lands Between

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampSpoiler Warning: This review is light on spoilers, but is written after 100+ hours in Elden Ring, and will contain some mild spoilers on events, locations, and/ or boss names or details.

I chose the wretch. Of course I did.  It’s been my preferred route since I started playing From Software’s ‘Souls series’ back in 2009 with the mind-blowing and spirit crushing Demon’s Souls, and one that I was even more excited to set forth on in 2022’s Elden Ring.

Hyped up as the culmination of the 13-year road between Demon’s Souls and now, Elden Ring promised to take the ground-breaking and genre defining combat and level design the series was known for, and bring it into a truly open-world format.

The claim was a bold one. Changing the formula from tightly designed, primarily linear albeit Metroidvania-esque perfection of Miyazaki’s masterpieces into a sprawling open world meant risking the design aesthetic and ubiquitous attention to detail that was so important to the franchise.

As a long-time devotee of the series, I knew that it was my solemn duty to try it out, and report back to you—my dear readers—on how Elden Ring pulled off this momentous task.

I wish that duty wasn’t mine.

I wish I had no duties.

To be honest, I just wish I was playing Elden Ring.

Right now.

Always.

As my miserable, naked wretch—named Baurgon the Lost—heaved open the massive stone door to the cavern he’d bludgeoned his way through, and stepped out into the brilliant landscape of the Lands Between, I could already tell that From Software had pulled it off.

Those crazy sons of bitches. They really did it!

And how!

As the grandeur of the physical geography held me in awe, my gaze settled upon one distant object, then the next. I knew I would be to each of them soon enough. It was—ironically enough—the lands in between these mesmerizing landmarks that really sucked me in. The forests I’d need to navigate, the mountains in the way. The huge golden knight riding across the path in front of me.

I shouldn’t have challenged him so soon. Lesson learned.

Wherever I looked, there was something amazing I wanted to do. Sometimes, I’d pick some distant object and try to hurry over to see it. Inevitably, hours would pass as I followed one lead and another, constantly tempted off my path by the overwhelming richness of the environment around me.

When I’d finally got my bearings and began to gain some semblance of confidence, I found myself exploring a cave just south of my starting location. No longer naked and equipped with a club, I now had a sword, and a fine pair of boots. With my skill with the series, I was certain nothing could stop me. I carved through bandits, out-maneuvered savage dogs, and slew several hideous monsters as I fought deeper into the ruins.

Finally, I stood before the object I hadn’t even known I was seeking—a glowing treasure chest at the bottom of these ruins I’d randomly encountered and sworn to best.

I’d been playing these games for 13 years after all, and I was no rank amateur.

When, therefore, a blue-grey mist seeped out of the chest as I cracked it, quickly transporting me to what by all appearances may have actually been hell, I should not have been surprised.

I fought my way out of a crystal mine guarded by magic-wielding golems, then sped across a lake of what could only be blood as pterodactyl-dogs chased me past dilapidated castles, glowing caves, sleeping dragons, and impassable peaks.

By the time I’d made it back to the starting location, I was no longer the fresh-eyed scamp who had set out from those heavy stone gates hours before. I was weathered, beaten, and hungry.

Hungry not for any sustenance found beyond. No, my appetite could only be whet by diving deeper into the incredible world of Elden Ring.

And I have gorged.

Since those early days, I’ve traversed all the sprawling lands I’d seen that day, and trawled the depths of every great ruin and castle. Beyond them, I have found more sights unimagined and unlooked for. Some were beautiful, others shocking. All were terrifying in their own ways.

I’ve felled the Fell Omen, slew the Queen of the moon, and joined a tournament to take down the great war General Radahn, known as the Starscourge. I’ve watched allies fall as I continued on.

I met a particularly nasty mage in a tower, and spent the next several days honing my character into the blade that would be his undoing.

At this, I was successful.

I have experienced magnificent triumphs, and heart-breaking failures. I have won battles that I’ve wished I’d never started, and watched the consequences—ever subtle—play out before my weary eyes.

I don’t know how far in I am, or how much is left. It’s about how far I’ve come—and how far the gaming industry has come, at least in some areas.

Already, I have my next few builds picked out, and can hardly imagine what could pull me away from Elden Ring. It is an emphatic victory for the comparably small From Software, and a rude wakeup call to so many of the AAA Studios pushing out unfinished, uninspired crap with pay-to-win design and missing features.

It’s the same message Elden Ring sends to its players—do better, and learn from your mistakes… or get left behind.

-Brad OH Inc.

A Flag in Peril

I’m driving along an asphalt road, lousy with potholes. It doesn’t matter where I’m going. In Alberta, most destinations are similar enough. It’s not the sites on the side of the road, or the gloomy clouds ahead that get my attention—it’s the flag on the truck blowing by me.

For most of my life, the red bars and maple leaf of the Canadian flag has held a uniform meaning to most anyone likely to encounter it. It stood for pride, equality, and promise. Not the ill-defined promise of freedom so often associated with the stars and bars, but a more grounded, introspective promise that assured us we were working together, and supporting one another. Certainly, the country has never been perfect, but for a long while, it felt like we were on the same path—one helping the other down it as required.

That’s all in the past now. As the flag—torn and weather worn—flutters by above a brand new, lifted pickup truck, a new set of feelings arise in my heart. Where before there may have been pride, now there is resentment, judgement, and anger.

…The flag has been co-opted, and it’s meaning is no longer consistent.

In late January, 2022, the country witnessed an unparalleled level of unrest and division. Dubbing itself the ‘Freedom Convoy’, a sizeable group of Canadians jumped into their over-sized, high-end vehicles in an effort to show the world how hard-done-by they were.

While it may be understandable for people to tire of mandates, and few could argue against the notion that civil protest is a fundamental right to any free society, the convoy quickly took a turn for the worse when it reached Ottawa, and other Canadian cities.

Fed by misinformation and fuelled by paranoia, their demands became more and more outrageous, and their behaviour followed suit. While the more reasonable members of the protest focussed on lifting mandates and returning to ‘normal’, extremist elements sought to impose their will on the country through any means necessary.

The stated intentions of the convoy ranged from an end to vaccine mandates for truckers crossing the border—a policy reflected by the country sharing said border—to an end to all mandates, to the surrender of the government and the instatement of their own appointed officials. These latter intentions were outlined in a shocking manifesto delivered—and later retracted by—convoy leaders. For more information on that, see Here, and Here.

Soon enough, it was a protest no longer. The capital city of Canada was experiencing a full-on occupation. With trucks blocking major through-ways, protesters used horns to torture the residents of Ottawa day and night, for three weeks straight. They hurled insults at anyone wearing a mask, defaced public property, and damaged businesses who didn’t immediately cave to their wildly varied demands.

While provincial police and politicians sat on their hands—likely trying to decide which response was most likely to curry them the greatest favor from voters—innocent people living in cities across Canada grew increasingly incensed at the notion that this small minority could run roughshod over the fabric of society, and seemingly get away with it.

When Prime Minister Trudeau activated emergency powers to end the occupation, the country held its collective breath. Supporters of the convoy railed against perceived tyranny, while victims of the convoy cried for delivery from the occupiers. Everyone feared the precedent set, and the potential damage to our international reputation if the powers were misused.

To the shock of very few, the occupiers caved quickly when faced with actual consequences for what may have been the first time in their lives. Despite the hysteria, the application of the emergency powers was well-restrained. It specifically targeted the funding of occupation leaders, aiming to end their supply chain. In ongoing investigations that have surprised absolutely no one, it has been revealed that the majority of this funding came from foreign sources.

Police seized vehicles only after several written warnings, and convoy leaders who refused to move on were arrested. Once the crisis was over and the people of Ottawa were again secure to live their lives, the powers were promptly rescinded. While by all accounts this use of emergency powers was limited and practical, the country remains on edge.

To some, the occupation was a legitimate expression of discontent—the culmination of frustrations with COVID-19 mandates that were shared by most everyone. To the majority however, its execution was like the colicky wailings of a dying sense of masculinity—an entitlement so deeply rooted that harassing others and forcing your minority view on a nation seemed like justice.

Now the nation watches as the Right Wing of provincial politics seeks to gut our Universal Healthcare—claiming it had failed to get the nation through the pandemic. They miss the irony of course, as they were the very ones dodging public health efforts, and under-funding it at every turn. If the passengers of the Titanic had cheered on the iceberg, haranguing that ‘at least it’s not the one sinking’, the level of cognitive-dissonance could scarcely be greater.

Things have quieted down now. At least, that’s the case if you can ignore the desperate posts of those still married to their own victim-complexes.

The streets are quiet, and traffic can move again. The COVID mandates are lifting—as they were set to all along.

In the end, this occupation’s only real impact was likely the damage it did to the comfort and contentment of many Canadians. No minds were changed, and no policies were impacted to any significant degree.

Still, as the flag trails off into the distance in my rear-view mirror, I can’t ignore the adverse feeling in my gut. It’s been degraded, and I wonder what the rest of the world sees these days when the Canadian flag waves.

There’s another flag in windows these days. The Blue and Yellow of the Ukrainian standard flies high and proud around my city—supporting those fighting against real oppression, and facing legitimate danger.

It stirs something inside of me. A memory of a time not too long ago, yet far too distant. It was a time when people remembered that a society means that we are in this together—and that only by embracing that can we ever affect lasting change.

I hope that soon, our nation can remember that, and our flag can once more fly so high.

-Brad OH Inc.

Re-Share: Libertarians are Starry-Eyed Idealists

Over the past week, Canada has watched as a minority group has terrorized cities and blocked critical infrastructure. They have demanded special freedoms, while denying freedom to those that live there.

It’s a sad situation all around, and has reminded me of a confusion I still come across all too often. When people talk about freedom, they often focus only on their own insular view of freedom, and seldom the freedoms of society at large.

Call it the ‘Inverted Wallace Equation’: The louder someone screams about freedom, the less likely they are to be standing on its side.

The article below–a re-share from 2016–covers this issue in greater depth.

What do you think?

*********************************************************************************

Freedom is often lauded as the most integral value of any developed nation. In fact, the notion of the ‘free world’ does much to inform us of the fundamental value that we place on personal liberty, and well it should. Freedom is among the key human rights, but it must be pointed out that at times, people get a little bit carried away with their interpretation of what exactly ‘freedom’ entails.

One need not wade too far into the depths of social-media to find the rants and raves of disenfranchised citizens so bitter about a parking ticket, or a sales-tax, or perhaps a pesky ‘no-loitering’ sign, that they’re ready to hoist the black flags and hop aboard the good ship ‘Anarchy’.

‘Freedom’, they will argue, is the birthright of man—the inalienable and righteous destiny of all people brave enough to seek it! But there are sorry few building their own boats to follow this urge, and fewer still running off to the lonely mountains to live a ‘free’ life. I suppose it’s an easy thing to moan about the comfortable confines of society as you daydream about weening yourself off its teat, but it does beg the question of what exactly true ‘freedom’ is, and if it can exist at all.

I would argue that perfect freedom is an illusion—a starry-eyed dream more befitting whatever afterlife you prefer than the life you live. In fact, I believe that power and control are unavoidable, and there is no conceivable ‘system of naught’ sufficient to maintain the vacuous void left if all authority is stripped away.

Perfect freedom would mean no laws, no control, no taxes—but it would accordingly mean no safety, no opportunity, and no infrastructure. In our article ‘On the Concept of Society’ (Link) we discussed how a society is the product of all its members, past and present. That remains entirely true. Society has never been about freedom—if anything that is the antithesis of society. In truth, ‘society’ is meant to be a foundation of cooperation among its citizens.

In the societal sense then, total freedom—much like anarchy—is a myth. It may perhaps exist for a single person, but once a second person enters the picture, the illusion will die. Power hierarchies will be formed, and one’s wishes will ultimately infringe upon the freedom of the other. We are not free to kill for the very reason that we do not wish to be freely killed. The same applies to property rights, safety issues, and so on. While loitering laws may perhaps be a hard concept to defend (Black Flags ahoy!), the need for a significant proportion of civil laws can be most easily discerned by asking oneself not ‘do I wish to follow this’ but ‘do I wish for others to follow this’.

Those who support total anarchy then, are either misunderstanding the basic tenets of life, suffering from a sadomasochistic urge to regress back to the days of pre-tribal man, or simply mad.

Libertarians, on the other hand, may accept some laws, while rejecting the notion of many others. This rejection most often applies to rules around the free-market. However, as we have already established that a power-void cannot remain unfilled, we should have little trouble applying this observation to the marketplace as well.

If you wander into the woods, claim them as your own, and insist on living a lawless life, it may prove less glamourous than you imagine—especially when the next lawless rogue shows up to strangle you in your sleep and make off with your supplies. So much for freedom!

The marketplace is little different. Without control, corporations are wont to seize public goods and resources, create monopolies, underpay workers, and wreak general havoc however they please. People will starve, or toil like slaves—yet this will be defended and redefined as the justly exercised freedom of those very corporations. In truth, this notion of marketplace-freedom is no better than economic anarchy—and its supposed virtue quickly diminishes as the strongest take control and run our system like a tyrannical oligarchy. Meanwhile, the citizens cheer blindly about the merits of freedom.

To claim to be an anarchist or full-on libertarian is naïve, and the ultimate result is little different from the sort of systemic madness we have now. Freedom has been given out too freely—sadly, only to the corporations at the head of the markets, and rarely to the citizens. The powerful will always feed upon the less powerful, and this is a demonstrable loss of freedom for the latter.

In order to have liberty for ourselves, there must at the very least be laws restricting others from infringing on that liberty. Anything less would be Mad Max-style anarchy. Control is needed, and must be imposed justly. As discussed in our article ‘On the Fear of Big Government’ (Link), the ultimate purpose of government is to ensure that the power which inevitably arises is a fair and just one.

This must not be taken to mean that I believe the current governments of the world are doing much to uphold these standards—indeed there is a great need for improvement on nearly all fronts. Simply put however, the raging masses squalling for ‘total liberty’—or its ugly cousin ‘anarchy’—are naïve at best. The line between liberty and domination is a difficult one to draw. If drawn too close to total freedom, a void arises, and we end up dominated. It’s circular in a sense, and requires an insightful and informed balance. This is the purpose of society and the governments which it employs, and we must pay heed to avoid being so brash as to throw the baby of equal opportunity out with the bathwater of social order.

-Brad OH Inc.

Re-Share: Bullying in the Supermarket

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampHere at Brad OH Inc., we’re still working hard putting the finishing touches on our newest novel. We’ll have more info about that in the coming weeks, but for now, we’re re-sharing one of our oldest articles.

We hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.’ It’s an adage we’ve all heard. Whether from animated rabbits, or our own dear parents, the majority of children are taught explicitly that being unkind is not the way to act in our society.

I was at a conference a while back discussing bullying in middle school, with a particular focus on cyber-bullying. The attendees were often shocked at the examples of childhood cruelty being perpetrated by and against youth these days.

Photos—often explicit—are shared around, and entire websites are dedicated to insulting one another, spreading rumours, and generally making life miserable. There’s no doubt about it, it’s a hard world for a child to grow up in.

This is especially true when we are constantly telling them that the expectations of life are otherwise—that adult society functions on the basis of good social graces, of respecting your fellow man and avoiding hurtful language. If this is how people are expected to act, it comes as a special shock to find that your peers are so steadfastly determined to undermine such ideals.

It was these thoughts which weighed on my mind as I stood in line at the supermarket after the conference ended. How can children be so cruel, and how can we teach them to act better?

The question didn’t linger very long. It was rather rudely chased from my tired brain by the glossy magazine covers flanking me on both sides as I worked my way slowly toward the register.

‘Guess whose cellulite this is’, a headline would read, and a zoomed in box drawn from a woman on the beach would reveal the unsightly lumps on her bikini-clad ass. Some celebrity had the audacity to appear in public, without the assistance of airbrushes and digital photo editing to help her. The nerve!

A man was accused of cheating. A context free photo of him hand in hand with a woman rested above a headline bemoaning his lack of values, and lamenting the inevitable ruin of his marriage.

The headlines were legion, each one attacking some vice or speculating on some perceived flaw. Entire front page spreads were dedicated to the attempted outing of supposedly gay singers, surgeries gone awry, and teens who could not afford to have yet another child.

It’s no wonder, I thought, placing my items on the scarred rubber conveyor belt. How can we tell children to be nice to each other when the clear and undeniable truth is that we cannot manage it ourselves?

It’s a savage hypocrisy. A society so feral and filled with hatred that even political debates eschew all relevant discourse in favor of painting one another as sexual deviants and money-grubbing lechers.

So what are we left to glean from the broad disconnect between expectations and practice? Do we assume that our children are stupid? That they will somehow fail to notice the overt double standard? Will they just ignore that swindling and deceit are the clear pathways to success in the job market, and that even our leaders have no qualms about saying mean things if their PR managers tell them it will get their ratings up?

Perhaps it’s not the kids who are to blame. In a society that worships the rich, adores the callous, fetishizes fallen idols and encourages its people to hack their way through friends and neighbours to climb a rung higher on the ladder, maybe such horrid indecency in children isn’t the aberration we treat it as. If these are the values we truly hold, perhaps such kids are just prototypes of the new age.

It’s a necessary survival strategy—a natural evolution.

But if our hope is for such cruelty to cease—for kids to go to school and enjoy the company of their peers, to feel safe and supported by those around them—we may consider starting the change with ourselves.

-Brad OH Inc.

Re-Share: It is Good

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampIt is good to think of ourselves as guests in this world. For that is surely what we are. We come, and we go. What we leave behind is for the next guests to live with…for a while.

I write a lot about fundamental virtues, and the dignity which is shared by all people and all creeds. For those few who would actively deny that basic human decency, this article is not for you.

To skirt all tangential esoteric questioning, we are here for a while, and then we die. The world goes on.

The situation we are born into is a geographic lottery, and we spend our short time dealing with the choices of thousands of generations of guests before us.

Our actions will affect all those to come.

As such, the assumptions we make and the expectations we hold should hardly be different from our attitude towards being a guest in the house of a friend or colleague.

A guest should not take more than they need, and never without asking. A guest should help out in any way they can. A guest should not cause any undo harm or damage, and a guest should leave things exactly as they find them.

It’s all just good sense, social intelligence, and common respect in the small-scale scenario of visiting the home of a friend or colleague, and the grander stage of global interdependency should not obscure this view.

Just as we would not pillage the pantries of our hosts and leave them in want, neither can we allow our society to deny the potential of our skills and resources to nations or people with less. Likewise, just as it would be obscene to deface or destroy a home we are welcomed into, so too is it beneath us to take any action that might ruin this planet we enjoy so briefly, leaving it barren for the generations to come.

To do either would be violence most bestial, with or without gunfire.

It is an easy enough philosophy to nod your head to, but we must now explore the implications. To take no more than what we need, and leave things as they are, many would find themselves no longer the fortunate inheritors of land, wealth, and privilege which the circumstances of their birth have so far afforded. All would need an equal share—and none could be so bold as to demand more. Food, shelter, healthcare, and freedom would be the inherent birthright of all humanity, and the bettering of this shared condition—and its sustainability for future generations—would be the ambition and passion of all.

It’s good to show respect for our host. Our time, our place, and our ability to contribute are irreplaceable commodities which we cannot afford to squander on vanity and entitlement. For a thankless guest soon finds herself with nowhere else to go.

It is good to know these things.

-Brad OH Inc.