Archive for August, 2006

A Minor Treatise on the Nature of International Government

August 25, 2006

Seems like the world is bursting at the seams these days, so in an effort to counter that spirit, I offer this little bit of idealistic monism I scribbled down a few years ago…

A unified, universal international government has been an aspiration of a portion of every society that has ever existed. Most assume it is an unrealistic ideal, conceivable in the realm of pure thought, but a sheer impossibility in the pragmatic, “real” world. It is either a utopia or a nightmare, its champions often accused of being ignorant of material realities and context. Nationalism is our current meta-political structure, and while many may interpret the specifics of this reality in different ways, it is rare that someone questions its validity and ontological credibility.

Yet if we look beyond the ritual of electoral politics and the idols of democracy, we realize that the structural framework of our system of government is remarkably technocratic. Our lot is to live in a world where bureaucracy has evolved under the cover of democratic ideals, and it is this institutional reality that is most central. If, beyond the level of the theatrical and the cosmetic, our political reality is actually an administrative reality, then the rationale for a universal international government becomes all the more powerful. It is a simple matter of the avoidance of duplication. Why have so many separate entities perform the same task, when they could all be linked (either organically or hierarchically) to one another in one total, complete and efficient structure.

The elimination of waste could amount to a world revolution, and the distribution of resources could be carried out in an equitable, fair and logistically sound manner. A global commerce of ideas, minds, material and talent could explode forth from this change, and the unified exchange network created would make the Hanseatic League resemble some pathetic suburban lemonade stand.

In retrospect it seems like a bunch of neo-Kantian pseudo-liberal clap trap, but my anarchic heart really likes the idea of one, simple, flat-tax system. That is if there has to be a tax-system at all. Ah, government…Without all that obsessive and obdurate record keeping, where would we historians be?

7 July, 2006, Revelstoke BC

August 21, 2006

A long travel day — but really amazing. Left Courtenay early for the Nanaimo ferry. Missed the first one, but ran into two of Irina’s friends we had hung out with on Hornby. They were going shopping in Vancouver and heading home to northern Alberta. As a result, the ferry back to the mainland was a little more fun — took some funky pictures and had a quiet moment above deck to say goodbye to the island. Will surely return.

Got caught in a huge traffic jam in Vancouver for about 2 hours, and was despairing of the long trek across country already, but it finally cleared up and there was smooth sailing after that. Drove out of the Vancouver area up the river valley to Hope, and then over the Cascade Mountains along the Coquihalla Pass. These were big rises up big mountains, and Betty was definitely running hot. But she made it. After the summit you descend into the BC interior. Merritt, a decent sized town famous for its mountain music festival, is like another planet — dry, open valley, and scrub bush everywhere. Like out of an old western, but in full colour. Nicola Lake and the mountains beyond was a breathtaking view, but we were moving and didn’t even stop for a picture…

Area around Kamloops is also curious — craggy dry hillsides flowing down to a wide river floodplain. Really rich soil and lovely farmland. Shuswap Lake area also cute and somewhat resorty. The feeling that you’re getting out into the mountains starts to overtake you here. After Shuswap the Rockies begin, marked in no more interesting human way than passing the town where the last spike on the CPR line was laid. Entering the Monashee Mountains we passed a unique little hotel and reconstructed ghost town in Three Valley Gap. Yet another story of human habitation stubbornly clinging to this rugged land of mountains…

Finally arrived in Revelstoke after a momentous day-long trek. So much so that there is little visual record of the amazing swath of country we saw today. Tomorrow Irina will surely take some wonderful pictures of those mountains…

5 July, 2006, Tofino BC

August 11, 2006

Had an absolutely amazing day exploring the beaches of Tofino. Started with an early morning walk solo on Chesterman Beach, where I was chased away from a private island — only accessible because of the low tide — by angry crows. Was cloudy but beautiful — apparently there is a pattern on this western coast of cloudy mornings that burn off in the early afternoon and give way to the sun. Today would follow that pattern.

We went into Tofino to have breakfast and browse a little, since it was still a bit chilly and cloudy. Lots of cute stores and a truly friendly, simple atmosphere. Just the right amount of real and not so real.

After lunch it was Mackenzie Beach to play in the tidal pools. The way land and sea meet here is unique and thoroughly dramatic — little rocky islands and coves with windswept trees mixed with wide sandy beaches. Stunning. The sun started coming out, casting a brighter light on all the washed-up sea creatures. Bright orange and green starfish, anemonae, and under the rocks, whole hosts of little hermit crabs. Life seems to be hiding in every crevice and around every corner. As we investigated the pools, a big bald eagle came in for a landing on a nearby tree, and perched there quite majestically looking out at the Pacific. He couldn’t have been more regal if he tried.

Later in the afternoon we walked to Schooner Cove — a nice trek through the forest along a path made of wooden boardwalks. Must be really wet here in the rainy season. The forest was primordial, like a fairy forest out of some unimaginably cute dreamscape. I kept seeing fairies here and there out of the corner of my eye…Schooner Cove itself was beautiful, and had more interesting tidal pools. A totally memorable walk there and back.

Came back to our little home — “The Studio” — for a brief rest and then out again to Chesterman Beach to watch the sunset. Not an ideal spot, so we decided to head to Tonquin Beach instead. Just on the edge of Tofino proper, Tonquin was the perfect spot. Much better — watching the sunset surrounded by a couple of hippy beach parties. One of the most amazing I’ve ever seen. Picked up some incredible fish and chips for a late dinner, headed back to “The Studio” to chill, and slept like a rock…

After today, I realize that life near a beach is where it’s at…And I need to make that a part of my reality soon…

The Wreck of the Florencia

August 8, 2006

Found this quaint little maritime tale at Florencia Bay, a beautiful spot we visited in Pacific Rim National Park…

“January 1860, the brigantine Florencia homeward bound to Peru with lumber from Victoria, became unmanageable and drifted helplessly to the Nootka area where H.M.S. Forward finally took her in tow. But Forward developed engine trouble and the luckless Florencia, cut adrift, shattered on the islet in the bay. Until 1930, Florencia Bay was known as Wreck Bay, a name still in common usage.”

4 July (Independence Day), 2006, Tofino BC

August 2, 2006

Tofino. The word will always evoke an indelible image in my mind — the perfect unspoiled beaches, the way land and sea meet like nowhere else, the simple charm of a little resort town. I’m still not sure that the whole place wasn’t out of some dream.

Yesterday we headed out in Betty in the afternoon, after a bit of rest, for Tofino. This involved a fairly long drive across the spine of the island to the west coast. We took the island highway south towards Nanaimo and then on to BC highway #4. Our first stop was Cameron Lake, where the water is crystal clear and the mountains seem to grow up out of the lake. As you wind your way up into those mountains, you enter a very different world. Here, the trees are like skyscrapers…

Entering Cathedral Grove is truly a religious experience. It’s one of the last remaining bits of old growth forest anywhere. There are stands of 350 year old trees — mostly Douglass Firs and some Cedars. One of the largest trees in the area is 800 years old. It was a sapling during the Crusades, and a big solid tree when the first Europeans were stumbling around on the other side of the continent. Amazing. Irina says that the grove is her church; after seeing it, I’d now gladly become a disciple and convert. It is a sacred place.

We continued our drive through the mountains, witness to a host of breathtaking vistas along the way. Truly stunning views. Valleys that just tumble away from the road into the depths and craggy peaks that seem to touch the clouds. Your eyes and mind hardly have time to process what you are seeing before you are astounded once again…

When you finally get to Tofino, it is as if you’ve arrived somewhere else, a part of the world too beautiful to be real. After settling in, we had dinner at “The Schooner” in a fantastic spot to watch the sunset over the harbour. Afterwards, we went to this very resorty place — The Wickaninnish Inn — for a few drinks. We were almost the only people in there, but out of the blue, from around a quiet corner, came two very familiar faces. It was Danny De Vito and Rhea Pearlman, who I guess were staying at the inn. We sat there and overheard their conversation with the staff. Quite amusing.

Went and smoked a j on the dark beach listening to the Pacific — and feeling it too. The ocean seems to surround you in this place. Can’t wait to see it in the daytime…


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