Do not be alarmed by simplification, complexity is often a device for claiming sophistication, or for evading simple truths.
― John Kenneth Galbraith
- Chinatown (1974 film)
As individuals I like almost 100% of everyone I have met that currently resides in Midhurst.
The NIMBY (not-in-my-back-yard) and “gated-community” vibe is problematic for me.
Racial NIMBYism: my eyes narrow lots.
No individual or corporate interest has a right to kill the land, food, and water capacity of that which is not theirs. I write to the province based on first-hand family residency since 1960.
I leave others to defend their own “whys” of their behaviour.
The modern conservative [neo-con] is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. John Kenneth Galbraith
Speculation buys up, in a very practical way, the intelligence of those involved.
Environmental Defence asked me to write an article about my take on what’s happening in the Village of Midhurst lately. It was posted yesterday.
I start off Midhurst Secondary Plan: Village to grow 10 times? with:
Midhurst has been a favoured spot to live for several thousands of years. There are 54 documented first nations’ settlement sites within south Springwater Township.
The Midhurst Secondary Plan, MSP, calls for the irreversible, greenfield growth of 10,000 new homes and 28,000 people (currently 1,100 homes, and 3,500 people), the loss of up to 1,300 acres of farmland, and 6 million gallons of wastewater going into Minesing Swamp per day. These changes can happen as quickly or slowly as the developer wants.
I highlighted 7 concerns I hear repeatedly from my neighbours:
- Stealth Mode
- Public non-Notice
- Wastewater worries
- Farmland loss
- Who works for whom?
Dr. Paul Fleming and David Strachan of the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association (www.FriendsofMidhurst.ca) are also mentioned.
Chapter 1: The Speculative Episode
Anyone taken as an individual is tolerably sensible and reasonable – as a member of a crowd, he at once becomes a blockhead. Friedrich von Schiller
The more obvious features of the speculative episode are manifestly clear to anyone open to understanding, Some artifact or some development, seemingly new and desirable – tulips in Holland, gold in Louisiana, real estate in Florida, the superb economic designs of Ronald Reagan – captures the financial mind, or perhaps more accurately, what so passes. The price of the object of speculation goes up. The price of the object of speculation goes up. Securities, land, objets d’art, and other property, when bought today, are worth more tomorrow. This increase and the prospect attract new buyers; the new buyers assure a further increase. Yet more are attracted; yet more buy; the increase continues. The speculation building on itself provides its own momentum.
This process, once it is recognized, is a clearly evident, and especially so after he fact. So also, if more subjectively, are the basic attitudes of the participants. These take two forms. There are those who are persuaded that some new price-enhancing circumstance is in control, and they expect the market to stay up and go up, perhaps indefinitely. It is adjusting to a new situation, a new world of greatly, even infinitely increasing returns and resulting values. Then there are those, superficially more astute and generally fewer in number, who perceive or believe themselves to perceive the speculative mood of the moment. They are in to ride the upward wave; their particular genius, they are convinced, will allow them to get out before the speculation runs its course. They will get the maximum reward from the increase as it continues; they will be out before the eventual fall.
For built into this situation is the eventual and inevitable fall. Built in also is the circumstance that it cannot come gently or gradually. When it comes, it bears the grim face of disaster. That is because both of the groups of participants in the speculative situation are programmed for sudden efforts at escape. Something, it matters little what – although it will always be much debated – triggers the ultimate reversal. Those who had been riding the upward wave decide now is the time to get out. Those who thought the increase would be forever find their illusion destroyed abruptly, and they, also, respond to the newly revealed reality by selling or trying to sell. Thus the collapse. And thus the rule, supported by the experience of centuries: the speculative episode always ends not with a whimper but with a bang. There will be occasion to see the operation of this rule frequently repeated.
— A Short History of Financial Euphoria, John Kenneth Galbraith, Viking, 1990, p. 2-4.
Chapter 2: The Common Denominators
Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone. John Maynard Keynes
…built into the speculative episode is the euphoria, the mass escape from reality, that excludes any serious contemplation of the true nature of what is taking place.
Contributing to and supporting this euphoria are two further factors little noted in our time or in past times. The first is the extreme brevity of the financial memory. In consequence, financial disaster is quickly forgotten. In further consequence, when the same or closely similar circumstances occur again, sometimes in only la few years, they are hailed by a new, often youthful, and always supremely self-confident generation as a brilliantly innovative discovery in the financial and larger economic world. There can be few fields of human endeavor in which history counts for so little as in the world of finance. Past experience, to the extent that it is part of memory at all, is dismissed as the primitive refuge of those who do not have the insight to appreciate the incredible wonders of the present.
The second factor contributing to speculative euphoria and programmed collapse is the specious association of money and intelligence. Mention of this is not a formula for eliciting reputable applause, but, alas, it must be accepted, for acceptance is also highly useful, a major protection against personal or institutional disaster.
— A Short History of Financial Euphoria, John Kenneth Galbraith, Viking, 1990, p. 12-3.
Gogol once said there are many faces in the world where nature has taken no great pains to sculpt.
Our Scotch neighbors might be tall or short, stocky or lean, although most of them were remarkably in between. But it was evident at a glance that they were made to last.
Their faces and hands were covered not with a pink or white film but a heavy red parchment designed to give protection to extremes of climate for a lifetime. It had the appearance of leather, and appearances were not deceptive.
This excellent material was stretched over a firm bony structure on which the nose, often retaining its axemarks, was by all odds the prominent feature. Additional protection, though it may not have been absolutely essential, was provided for most of the week by a stiff-bristled beard. The story was told in my youth of a stranger who, in a moment of aberration, poked one of the McKillop boys on the jaw. He would not have been more damaged, it was said, if he had driven his fist into a roll of barbed wire. In any case, he was badly wounded. Our older neighbors wore a mustache. This was no clipped nailbrush, but a full-flowering piece of foliage which grew and straggled and sagged at the ends as nature had obviously intended.
In natural shades it might be black, red or gray. However, on many of our neighbors, as a result of an informal rinse, it came out a rich tobacco brown.
— The Scotch, John Kenneth Galbraith, 1964, p. 13-4. Image: back book cover.
Colonel Thomas Talbot much preferred English immigrant farmers but they were scarce.
And since he hated all other races more, Talbot settled the Highlanders in dense communities where they could communicate with each other in Gaelic, and hoped for the best.
Excerpt: In the month of May of the year 1803, Thomas Talbot, lately of His Majesty’s forces in Canada and Holland, arrived on the north shore of Lake Erie to take title to a magnificent tract of forest land on which he hoped to establish a feudal fief. He did not care for Scotchmen, as settlers but Englishmen were unavailable, and he liked other races even less. So he took the highly available clansmen, and to this day concentration of Scotch names in the area is rivaled only by that in the Western Isles.
John Kenneth Galbraith was born in this community a hundred-odd years after the arrival of Colonel Talbot. This book tell of the clansmen and their countryside as it was in the author’s youth. It was an earthy and practical Eden and the humor which he brings to the account is dry, laconic and Caledonian. Even spring came with a slightly satiric smile. It was a time of life revival and retuning warmth, of pastel green in the woods, and “jack-in-the-pulpits and forget-me-nots and wild leeks which were delicious and left everyone with a hideous breath.”
The Scotch – they were never called Scots – had a more durable aroma which in some cases was based on a conservative attitude toward personal sanitation and in others an extremely forthright approach to whiskey. “The Scotch were divided into two groups, those who drank and those who didn’t. If a man drank like a gentlemen, it would not hurt his position in the community. Unfortunately it was not on record than anyone every had.”
Mr. Galbraith tells of the McIntyre House, the scene of some of the most uproarious violence ever produced by ardent spirits and of Hannah, the wife of the village storekeeper, whose specialty was personal misfortune and disaster and who told of other people’s tragedies “with all the joy she really felt.” There was also Old Tommy who would have been counted a man of remarkable ignorance in any profession but who, as an educator, excelled. Old Tommy was permanently the high school principal. It was one of the McKillops who learned by putting dead moths and mouse-droppings into the maple syrup how much flavor we owe to soundly conceived contamination.
But the author tells also of hardworking men and women following he cycle of planting and harvesting, selecting their leaders, nurturing the loyalties of clan and community an winning the favor of God by according Him respect while refusing to make a nuisance of themselves with pointless ritual and purely ceremonial petitions. Many of them also believed “that a preacher was inspired by his Maker. Accordingly, it was impious and also very poor economics to pay him for gifts he received gratis from God.”
The story of the Scotch in Canada is, with variation, the story of English, Irish, German, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and numerous other ethnic settlements from which rural American was made. As such, it is the story of nearly everyone’s childhood or that of a parent or grandparent. Along with the expert description and the deft and penetrating humor, this, we think, explains its interest and appeal.
— The Scotch, John Kenneth Galbraith, 1964. book cover.