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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

ADAM OLSEN -- The notion that the most important contribution a citizen makes to society, is the cash governments collect each pay period, is cringeworthy

Over the past year, I have woven into my blog posts, strands of my personal pursuit for physical, emotional and spiritual well-being together with political philosophy, governance and stories of partisan games-playing.

The content here is heavily influenced by my work as a Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly, random articles and my podcast library.

Has government distilled the value
of each of us into an economic unit?
One of the podcasts that has inspired me is Philosophize This! from Stephen West. Each episode makes for a fine soundtrack to my morning walk. I recently listened to an episode summarizing the political theory of Hannah Arendt.

West's podcast is a brilliant introduction to a range of philosophers and their perspectives. He skillfully distills thousands of pages of philosophical discourse into a 30-minute sound bite. It's always a gentle reminder of how much more reading I could be doing.

These episodes usually offer up a juicy morsel of food for thought and insight into the evolution of modern politics and governance.

The episode featuring Arendt's work shines a light on what can happen if the public at large disengages from active political life. One such consequence is government distilling the value of each of us into an economic unit - making cash the highest value offering an individual makes to their society.

It reminds me of my discomfort when the politicians rhetoric reduces people to "taxpayers". The notion that the most important contribution a citizen makes to society, is the cash that government bureaucracies collect at the end of each pay period, is cringe-worthy.

A political culture has evolved that, as long as people keep worrying about paying their taxes, the government will take care of the rest. In fact, you don't even have to bother thinking about government too often; once every four years is good enough and you need not worry because government is looking after all the details.

When people stop participating in their governance it creates bigger problems than just being reduced to an economic unit.

It creates the political environment for the rise of totalitarian regimes powered by simple repeatable messages. It is also on this landscape, one void of people actively participating in the political discourse, that the administration of the decisions of government grind on without enough necessary scrutiny.

Great danger arises when we are all just working toward our next promotion.

This was an important reminder for me as we head into a new decade. I will redouble my efforts to create new ways for all people to actively participating and thus making a more robust democracy.

I invite you to join me.

CLICK HERE to listen to the episode 

Adam Olsen (SȾHENEP) loves his job as a provincial MLA for Saanich North and the Islands; he was first elected in May 2017. As of tomorrow, January 6th, he will become the interim leader of the BC Green Party

Born in Victoria, BC in 1976, Adam has lived, worked and played his entire life on the Saanich Peninsula. He is a member of Tsartlip First Nation (W
̱JOȽEȽP), where he and his wife, Emily, are raising their two children, Silas and Ella.


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