- Sean Illing writes about the utterly misplaced view of the privileged few that they can or should be treated as immune from the environmental realities facing everybody:
I see the decadence of the people in Rancho Santa Fe as a microcosm of America today, particularly corporate America. What these people exhibit, apart from their smugness, is a complete absence of any sense of collective responsibility. They can’t see and aren’t interested in the consequences of their actions. And they can’t muster a modicum of moderation in the face of enormous scarcity. Every resource, every privilege, is theirs to pilfer with impunity. These people are prepared to endanger an entire ecosystem simply to avoid the indignity of brown golf courses; this is what true entitlement looks like.- Meanwhile, Jan Zalasiewizc reports on new research showing that even without accounting for the effects of climate change, humanity has managed to cause mass extinctions on a planetary scale.
The wealthiest Americans – and their apostles in government – tell us that it’s the poor people who are entitled, who take and exploit and keep more than they deserve. But that’s a half-truth, and a dangerous one at that. Entitlement has many faces, the most destructive of which is on display in Rancho Santa Fe. These adolescent upper-crusters are entitled because they believe they have a right to everything they can get hold of – regardless of the costs. They believe living with others carries no obligations. Anyone who places their right to pristine golf courses above their responsibility to respect communal resources is a social toxin, a privileged parasite eating away at the foundations of society. It’s important that their actions be seen in this context.
There’s a lesson in Rancho Santa Fe and in California more generally. What’s happening there foreshadows our future. We’re confronted with crises on a number of fronts. From climate change to economic inequality, our institutions – and the people controlling them – are failing us. Changes are necessary, but a segment of society (the 1 percent, we’ll call them) is unwilling to sacrifice; they’re too invested in power, in comfort. Whether it’s oil profiteers distorting climate science or Wall Street banks undermining efforts to regulate the financial industry, entrenched interests are doing everything possible to preserve the status quo, even when so doing threatens to upend the whole system – just like the people of Rancho Santa Fe.
- Cathy Crowe makes the case for a national housing program as a necessary step toward a healthier and more secure society, while the Star backs a plan to provide housing to 20,000 homeless Canadians over the next three years. And Marco Chown Oved reports on the types of abuses private landlords can carry out by imposing arbitrary fees while evicting a tenant, then permanently trashing the tenant's credit rating if that blackmail doesn't succeed.
- Paul Seesequasis writes that the Cons' terror bill is a serious obstacle to reconciliation as it stands to prevent aboriginal people from seeking both sovereignty and respect. And Fram Dinshaw reports that Canada's Muslim community - which figures to be one of the first targets of covert attacks - has already been intimidated into silence about the dangers of C-51.
- Finally, Elizabeth Renzetti interviews Harry Leslie Smith about his fight to build on the hard-won social gains people have made over the course of his life.