* Humanist Perspectives: issue 167, Winter 2009

Humanist Perspectives: issue 167, Winter 2009

Issue 167, Winter 2009

cover of issue 167


The Obama Factor by Henry Beissel
Beissel's argument is best summarized in his claim that "the election of Barack Obama . . . has ushered in a new era of politics in which the [American] nation, if he has his way, will return to live by the just and righteous values which the Founding Fathers proclaimed and enshrined in its Constitution." The mixed white and black background, and the complex paths of his life have made Barack the ideal president for our time. But Beissel warns us not to underestimate the formidable forces gathered against him, determined to prevent him from turning America into a land of true social justice and freedom.

Read editorial online | Download as PDF


Rain Dances Won't Save us by Sheila Ayala
The burden of Ayala's argument is the hypocrisy and brutality of religious institutions, and their interference in the lives of people who don't share their superstitions. She presents the case against Ontario Municipal Councils that continue to open their official meetings with the "Lord's Prayer", though the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that the practice is illegal. She demonstrates that religious authorities not only trample on people's rights, but, at the other extreme, they do not shy away from murdering those who transgress against their superstitions, as is the case with Islam and Sharia "law".

Read article online | Download as PDF
The Idea of Progress and the First Nations by Clive Doucet
This is Chpt. 10 of Doucet's Urban Meltdown: Cities, Climate Change and Politics as Usual. (New Society, 2007), a lucid and hard-hitting look at the dilemma of our cities in the age of Global Warming and a creative proposition for their future. Here Doucet shows that for First Nations "the land, animals, plants, water and minerals are not consumer commodities" but gifts to be cared for and shared among all people, and that if we don't take that route we will end up with "nothing but the wrecks of communities, peoples and ecosystems, all extinguished in the service of relentless, carnivorous, consumer competition".

Download as PDF
Canada's Policy of Mass Immigration by Madeline Weld
Weld is president of the Population Institute of Canada, and her concern is that over-population will eventually destroy our way of life, result in perpetual famine and lead to horrendous wars of survival. She argues that Canada's immigration policy is in part based on the fallacy that "we're a big country" and need immigrants. The fact is that much of Canada is uninhabitable and the current levels of immigration have far outstripped the infrastructure of our cities and has adversely affected our standard of living. "Per capita, Canada takes in more immigrants than any other Western country", and this development is largely driven, under a variety of pretexts, by political parties ravenous for "the ethnic vote".

Download as PDF
A Poet's Voice by Ronnie R. Brown
Five poems by the 2008 winner of British Columbia Lt. Governor's Award for Literary Excellence, Gary Geddes. They were inspired by an ancient Chinese scroll painting Geddes acquired by the Yangtse River on a research trip for his fascinating book, Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things. The scroll depicts daily life in the ancient city of Bialing. Geddes recreates the ordinary life of long-ago times in these stunningly imagined poems which may become part of a new collection, Ginger Swimmer.

Download as PDF
film Review
Telling the Truth about Torturel by Shirley Goldberg
Goldberg is a veteran film columnist who won the Western Magazine Award for 2008. Her review article focuses on "five of the best and most important 'War on Terror' exposés: Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, Standard Operating Procedure, Taxi to the Dark Side", Rendition, and Waltz With Bashir. She discusses with great insight the techniques and the perspectives of the different film makers in their efforts to expose the often brutal human rights abuses, and the disturbing implications these films present the audience with. The Israeli film maker Ari Folman goes so far as to draw "chilling" parallels "between "the Nazi/Jewish and Israeli/Palestinian narrative." Goldberg agrees with the position all these film makers urge on us, namely that "every member of a society engaged in a war of aggression bears some responsibility" for the inhumanities committed.

Download as PDF
book Review
Understanding and Challenging the New World Order by Peter R. Smith
Peter R. Smith reviews Corporate rule: Understanding and Challenging the New World Order by David Model. Smith spells out Model's argument about the undemocratic nature of any government, such as our own, that is financed by millions of dollars of corporate money and the fact that the Canadian people have lost control over theirs.

Download as PDF
In addition, Humanist Perspectives, offers a lively "Letters-to-the-Editor" section as wells as news from "Humanism Around the World" compiled by Paul Pfalzner.

Download as PDF