June 24, 2017 (Saturday)

by Yule Heibel on June 23, 2018

I just realized, writing the date, that tonight there will be St. Jean-Baptiste festivities on Mount Royal in Montreal. At least there were the summer I lived there. And on a Saturday evening, too. I hope they have a great party.

Everything feels unsettled. The theories, the facts, the lies, the certainties, the illusions, the relations, the structures, the glues, everything feels unsettled. It’s not pleasant. It’s not that I would want “settlement” or “settling” – in fact, on a personal level, that’s even more “unsettling” than its opposite. When you realize that, on a personal level, you have settled, it’s a bit like surrender or even death. But at the personal level, the opposite of “settled” might be “struggle” or “struggling,” which sounds negative but isn’t really. It just means you’re not completely giving in to entropy. You’ve still got ideas and plans, you’ll wash your hair and try to wear nice clothes, etc.

…Or maybe do the opposite, but on purpose.

And here we have that word, purpose. A personal sense of purpose is important, and I feel too often that this is precisely what’s escaping me. Ambition, purpose-seeking: all these things are (can be) good. They have to play out, perhaps, in a “settled” or at least recognizable framework. Like a game, there should be identifiable rules. And that’s the “game-changing” thing today, in our unsettled world. All the rules are unsettled, I guess. Except, you will die. So chew on that.

I’ve had a couple of email exchanges with J.-F. and C. (well, with her, but she speaks for J.-F. …non-stop), and a recent missive, in which these two aging hippy eccentrics describe social disorder in Victoria, was really disturbing. The city’s mayor (L. Helps) has seriously floated a plan – voluntary for now, but who knows – that retirees or empty nesters in “large” houses should take in homeless people. As in, let them move in. Never mind that A) this is a “solution” reminiscent of the post-World War II housing shortage created by aerial bombing campaigns which destroyed housing stock (and was exacerbated by a refugee crisis coming from Eastern Europe), yet we are not in a state of war or a post-bombardment, postwar state, so what gives?, do we not have builders and developers who could build housing?; and B) many of the people who are homeless – many, maybe the majority – are mentally ill and/or drug addicted, as well as (as C. points out in her email) conduits and mules for “mafias” of drug dealers and cartels. (C., born in South America, does embellish, but she’s not stupid and is very observant.) And this is what the mayor wants to ask people to let into their homes? Really? Even if they were “vetted,” the potential for shenanigans is huge.

Plus, and this is the part that rankles me, this is another example of government off-loading (or down-loading), something I’ve written about before. The Federal government, crying poor, off-loads on the Provinces (or States), which in turn also cry poor and off-load to Municipalities. (They never stop collecting our taxes, of course.) Once the munis are incapable of handling the burden, an inevitable result (because, crying poor), they try to off-load to Jack and Joan Citizen Taxpayer directly. Actually, not even taxpayer. Could be renter, whatever. Everyone is off-loaded onto and impacted by the resulting social bankruptcy – even as all levels of government continue to metastasize their bureaucratic growth.


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