Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 18, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Tueiduy, April 18, 1972 THE ItTHBRIOOl HERAIO _ 5 S, Manor Predicting the end of the world again Ml'I IE Cabal with its Mes- sianic predictions m a y contain an explanation of the chiliiistic pessimism over tho end of the world that, at tho approach of the one thousand mark, has gripped the world for the second time in its history. Last time it hap- pened towards the end of tli9 10th century, and now, as the. year 2000 looms, it has re- emerged with undimmcd vigor. U impresses ilself upon us as an i n e 1 u c t able phenomenon, and it is impossible to deter- mine whether it stems Iroin the morphology of politics dis- cerned by the laie Sir Lewis Namicr, the one-time doyen of British historians who argued that recurrent situations in his- lorv reproduced analogous forms, or whether it is an un- conscious imitation of the past, an ineradicable human trait that has rendered mankind's history so repetitively monot- onous. Whatever the causes, less than 30 years before the ad- vent of the second millennium mankind is given over to a mood of despair, and is behav- ing in a manner not dis- similar to that of its forbears of a thousand years ago. To- wards the end of 1000, after centuries of wars, invasions, break-ups of empires and a break-down of law and order, the conviction grew thai the end of the world was immi- nent. Indeed, a number of rev- olutionary movements rose in anticipation of the forthcoming final reckoning to advance the Lord's work and do some reckoning ot their own. The social disintegration that bad then been going on for five centuries had begun, according to Gibbon, with the decline of Home, "where taxes were mul- tiplied with the public distress" and "economy was neglected in proportion as it became ne- cessary" two startlingly familiar phenomena. The name- of Roman citizen continues Gibbon which had formerly excited the ambition of man- kind, was abjured by defectors, who preferred to join the barbarians and adopt their own ways. With the disintegration of the once-stable Iloman structure came the barbarian invasions so reminiscent of the preach- ings of Chairman Mao in his pre-Kissingcr days, that is when he used to incite the peo- ples of the "world villages" to attack the "cities." The Huns, the Slavs and the Magyars had done exactly that until another empire rose to dca! with them, The erosion of British symbols By Christopher Young, editor oE The Ottawa Citizen JF there is one phrase in the current political argot that I find increasingly irritat- ing it is "the erosion of our symbols." Perhaps only in Canada would Hie use of the word "our" in such a context actually mean "their." The phrase translates in English-speaking Canada as erosion of Brit- ish symbols1' surely a nat- ural and inevitable process in a country that ceased long since to be a colony and (hat has been moving steadily away from the post-colonial status symbolized by the word "do- minion." The desirability of gradual- ness is obvious in an area which is not of very great prac- tical importance but where psy- chological and emotional fac- tors impinge on politics. The changes are analogous to ttiat process by which, in a normal family, a child passes imper- ceptibly into adulthood with a gradual relaxation and ulti- mate severing of the apron- strings. Canada has been grownup for quite a while now, though some are slow to recognize it. Less than 30 years ago a front- rank Britist" politician, Lord Halifax, seriously proposed a common post-war foreign pol- icy for the British Common- wealth and Empire, as it was then known. Sixteen years ago the Conservative opposition in Canada took the position in the Suez crisis that the duty of this country was to rally Britain without asking cheeky questions, regardless of the motives and methods that had led the Eden government into its policy of folly. Today it is doubtful that im- portant politicians in either country would speak in tlle same terms. On neither Rho- desia nor Ireland, to take tv.o current areas of British diffi- culty, have we heard serious proposals that Canada should be lining up with Mum. Yet filill they quack on in Parliament about "the erosion of our symbols." Still they mount the platforms of such duality named organizations as uie Empire Club to fight a bat- tle that was really decided m Victorian times. More seriously and more di- visively, the ultra-Brits among us try to spread the poisonous idea that the erosion of Brit- ish and royal symbols is a French plot, devised hy a French Canadian prime min- ister and his republican hench- men. History, of course, demon- strates otherwise. Those sturdy WASPs, Borden and King, per- formed the decisive surgery on the apron-strings; Pearson dis- pensed with the Union Jack. But the Tory royalists are not much interested in histor- ical evidence. They are inter- ested in stirring up hostility against a Liberal government, and if that can best be done hy rousing ancestral animosities of race, language or religion, they praise the Queen and pass the gasoline. That is why it may be impor- tant for those of us who are WASPs by ancestry, but who think as Canadians rather than as exiled Britons, to stand up on the issue. We "speak the tongue that Shakespeare spake" (in a kind of "the faith atid morals hold which Milton held" (more or honor the tremen- dous value and relevance of the British heritage in many fields, notably politics, law and literature. But we are not for those rea- sons bound to follow the Brit- ish flag through all future rec- orded time, nor to wear forever the hand-me-down trappings of the English court. The English tongue is a pri- mary means of, communication in Tipperary and Bar es 'Crazy Capers' They didnTrealize your shoes were put out for thrown in the trash can! Salaam, in Kuala Lumpur and Johannesburg, in Accra, Auck- land, Brisbane, Chicago, Ma- dras, Port of Spain, Sarawak and Singapore. The people who live, in those places spring from a myriad complexity of racial stocks and cultural traditions. Naturally, they make their own symbols and follow their own stars. Why then must we Cana- dians continue to listen to this silly argument against home- made symbols, against the need for clothing designed to he worn in this place and time, in this climate and cultural at- mosphere? Bearing in mind that more than 55 per cent of the Cana- dian population is not of Brit- ish racial origin, it is a ter- rible arrogance on the part of the. minority to insist that Brit- ish symbols must have pre- eminence for aU time to come because the country evolved from a British colonial back- ground. I give those who bewail "the erosion of our symbols" credit on one point: their metaphor is accurate. It is a gradual wear- ing away of symbols that were once important. As the usefulness of these old symbols disappears, it i.s prop- er, natural, appropriate and even necessary that they should slowly disappear as well. On the whole, I think wo could afford to make the ero- sion go forward som e wh at more rapidly than in the re- cent past. Written by a WASP, in Shakespeare's tongue. A new way to really get your mail moving: Postal Codes. If you haven't already received it, in the next few days you'll be getting your new Postal Code in the mail. It's not very exciting to look at. But it is very necessary. And it's really not as complicated as it looks. After two years of studying die systems of most of the countries of the world, here's how we developed Postal Codes for Canada. The map sequence on the right shows just how accurate Postal Codes really arc. To uncomplicate your Postal Code, you will be receiving a Postal Code Pack- age. It contains your code, instructions on how to use it, a handy address book, special Postal Code stickers for :your envelopes, and postage paid address I cards that you should j send to your friends. If you don't have enough, s you can get as many as you need at your nearest v Post Office. Because, after all, your Code doesn't v move your mail unless your friends use it And if you haven't received your Code by April 17th, please call your Post Office. We'll mail it to you immediately. For furtticrPoital Code lofonnatLODi Call Calgary 261-5660 Get the habit Canada ivai full divided into r.ich designated by a teller. K2: By a tiding a numhri ivc narrow that cxainr'c, a city. K2P: ByaJtliniTanollier indicate. a specific Kclion cftlutcily. K2P OP4: Canada Postes Post Canada And hy adding ifiree men cSariictcn thai section cf ihccity is further narrowed to one of street brhvccn Ino inierjcctions. C'txlescan at'rticpre 10 or mote tompjnicK. or a company that receive! large volumci of an apartment building wilhovtr 50 populated a code will TeprtKntlhe wholi town. the CiOrman .lation. It is one oC the quirks of history that after the German Emperor Otto I had defeated, at Lech in 955, the marauding Hungarians, lie hanged their leaders as war criminals, which (hey were, No wonder then lhat, as the millennium approached, people became convinced (hat all (he prophecies of the Hook of Re- velation had already come true, and that the end of the would occur at the stroke of midnight Qti Decem- ber 31, 1000. There are some surviving I'inmmients to this fear, (he most poignant being the Tor- cello cathedral, on nn island near Venice, an island that was a mighty city-slate ami four centuries later would equip three galleys In the Chioggia when rival Genoa al- most captured Venice. This, of course, came much later. Around the year 1000 Ihe peo- ple of Torcello were frantically completing the magnificent, al- lieit stark, cathedral whose tall, beautiful campanile, defiantly reaching towards the heavens that were to crash about it, was built to withstand the cat- aclysm, and toll the world's fu- neral bell. Inside the cathedral is a splendid concept of the Day of Judgment that the artist was as certain he would witness as arc the ecologisls, economists and ah the other contempo- rary prophets who expect to witness in 30 years' time the end of our own world. However, the most lasting impression of the gloom that permeated the medieval spirit, a spirit that hart every reason for its despondence, is the mag- nificent Madonna Teotoca, in- finitely sad and infinitely know- ing, her cheeks stained with mosaic tears as her hands are raised to bless, her tropic countenance the expression of boundless sorrow. One can speculate lor days on end, as one sits in the gaunt cathedral that has been de- scribed as the most moving church in Christendom, on tho spirit cf the men who imbued the Madonna w i t li their own sorrow, the sorrow of the com- ing end of the world that, de- spite its bruitishness, had re- tained in their eyes its intrinsic beauty. Indeed, it should have been a rejoicing Madonna, in that the end of the world was to be followed by the reign of her son. Instead, she was por- trayed by the anonymous art- ist, a Fnulan or Lombard in- carnating the ancient Mediter- ranean culture, as a woman great beauty exhibiting the no- blest of human traits, her com- passion and understanding of a doomed humanity's sorrows. New Year's Day of the year 1001 passed like any other day and the world continued to stand. I do not wish to argue here that because the prophe- cies failed to be fulfilled in the year 1000 they may prove equally fallible GO years hence, What I am trying to do is to point to the.se startling sim- ilarities, disparate though at first sight they may appear. Our ancestors believed that UTS catastrophe would como through a celestial agency over which they had no con- trol. In the thousand years that have elapsed we have become more egocentric and attribute the imminent end of the world to our own follies and depreda- tions. Yet on second thought the differences fire net. all that great. The sinful world was to be destroyed by the wrath of the Lord as our sinful world is to he destroyed by the wrath of nature. Or perhaps ona should spell it Nature. If, by our own foolishness we don't blast cnch oilier to smither- eens, we shall pollute the air and the water, exhaust all our resources and render the earth unlivable. The visionaries of 1000 and of 20RQ thus have much in common, including the social revolutions that, around the year iOOO, further convulsed an already disturbed society, I .shall desist from drawing any more historical parallels, an exercise lhat begins as an amusement and soon becomes one of great dreariness. How- ever, f cannot but express my own sorrow that those, who so firmly believe in (he end of the thus Ear have failed to emulate the men of Torcello, vviio imposed the stamp ot (heir ancient civilization on those days of murder, rape, wars, looting and perpetual dis- aster, and transformed their tragedy into a monument of .snhiimn bounty. We do nol know whether they Imagined that the Madonna Teotoca would remain behind them ;s.s a mute witness lo their spirit, or would follow them to the heller world that was to rise from (he ashes of the "dies have lost fhpir spirit and their faith and Fiiall leave nothing behind to tell our heirs or survivors of our own millennial anguish. (The Froc I'ress) w Labor code changes The Winnipeg I''rce Press rpIIE government at Ottawa appears to have gone a HUlc way to respond to objections of employers to some of the more distasteful chanpos but were proposed for the Canada Labor Code; particularly that which would have nulificd a collec- tive agreement if, during the time it was in force, a company introduced technoloRi- cal changes affecting workers. Whether the now amendments are, in fact, significant, Oi whether they only give the illusion of reasonableness, remains to be seen. When (he original changes were proposed by then Labor Minister Brycc Mackascy, employers' groups objected to them be- cause they would have given a union tiie right not merely to delay any technological change that a" company might wish to bring in for greater efficiency and pio- duc'Jvily, but to hold it up indefinitely. !n effect, a union could tear up a collective bargaining agreement any time nn em- ployer wished to make a technological change. This could have led to a union injecting other demands it might have, and presenting them as its price for permitting the change to lie introduced. Such a situation could still arise even under the new proposals introduced by Labor Minister Martin O'Connell. The new bill, now before Parliament, retains the general basic provisions governing condi- tions in winch an agreement could be re- opened for negotiation, if technological changes were proposed by the employer. Exempt, however, are agreements now in existence. The provisions will apply only to contracts entered into alter tha legislative amendments have been approved and pro- claimed. New agreements will be able to get around the provisions that is, a union will not be able to tear up an agreement on tho grounds of technological certain sterns are agreed on. More example, an agreement will be excluded from the pro- visions if it contains a clause saying that employer and workers shall agree on a binding settlement of problems arising from any changes; or if the company, wliilo ths ncv, contract is still open for renewal, Tiles in writing with the union the substance of any planned technological change (with- out necessarily going into the size or impact nf the planned On the face of it, (hose sound like sensi- ble nml welcome changes. Rut do they really change anything? They are all de- pendent on one factor on the agreement of the employer and the union. What hap- pens if, when a contract is being negoti- ated, the union does not agree to include a clause exempting the agreement from the legislation? Or does r.ot like manage- ment's proposals to soften the impact of a technological change? Or does not want to agree in advance to any binding settle- ment? Or, if management files its planned changes, the. union digs In its heels and re- fuses to work toward a settlement? Mat- ters will then be back to square one and any technological changes planned will be as far distant as ever. 'Let the man die in peace' Hamilton Spectator AN American doctor has suggested a new specially for the medical profes- sion. Dr. William Poo, professor of commu- nity medicine at Duke University, has in- vented Hie term "marantology" (from Ihe Greek marantos, meaning withered o r wasted) to apply to the care ot those who are incurable through age or sickness. Dr. Foe maintains thai Ihe medical pro- fession regards death as an enemy against whom war is waged and from whom vic- tory must he won. His "marantologists" would accept the fact cf death in cases where it was inevitable and so allow their patients to die with dignity. A doctor is bound by his oath to do all in his power to heal the sick. For cen- turies this M'as understood in the simplest terms as the basis of the relationship be- tween patient and doctor. But does this ex- tend to heart and kidney transplants, or to the warding off of death, day by day. with drugs or instruments when to permit its victory would, in old fashioned terms, be "a Astonishing developments in medical sci- ence in recent decades have either pro- duced changes in social attitudes or have marched alongside them. A decline in religion, accompanied by the view that life in tliis world of material abundance is well worth living and preserving, has helped to make death an event to ward off at any cost, in spite of its ultimate inevitability. This is in marked contrast to the altitudes of our forefathers who re- garded this world as the ante room to the next. The physician deals wilh death as F. physical function, though In the con- sciousness of everyone it is inseparable from the metaphysical. Birth, youth ,age and death are Die inescapable cycle, why try to prolong life when nature is declar- ing lhat it is over? This is making what should he dignity into a pathetic mock- ery. Not all lives are lived with dignity, but at least they should be allowed to end with it. While no purpose can be served by deliberately prolonging the life of a human being suffering from senility or a terminal disease, the time must not come when man arrogates to himself the right to end hu- man life by medical means. Dr. Poe is op- posed to euthanasia. One wonders whether he is entirely Eerious in presenting his marantology and is not, In fact, deliberate- ly proviking thoughts that have been slumbering too long. Human beings cannot be expected to gather in one place to await death, even under the care of a marantologist, for this, too, is without dig- nity. Nov.1 most people are bom in hospitals and many of them die in them. Years ago, they were born in their homes and died there. This is progress, but it is denatured. What Dr. Poe seems to ba suggesting U that what is left of dignity, in the In- dividual sense, should be granted the hu- man being at the end. One Ls reminded of the doctor In Arthur Schnitzler's compelling story, stand- ing at the door of hi.s patient's room, de- claring to those who would enter: "Let tho man die in j We're twelve years early TF it can be done without starting an argument about the merits of printed as against electronically produced news, I'd like to observe that one of the minor advantages of a newspaper is that you can first skim through the whole thing, glean- ing a bit of an impression of those mat- ters where your concern is minimal, then go back and spend a little lime on the things that really interest you. That's pretty hard to do with radio or TV news- costs, wliere the broadcaster decides not only what to air but also the emphasis cnch item should receive. Be thf.t as it may, during the above men- tioned skimming process, a day or so ago, I ran into a positively fascinating head- ing which read, Chamber muzzles city news media. Isn't that a dandy? Natural- ly, it was one of the items to wliich I re- turned for a longer look. Well, it seems the local chamber of com- merce has decided it must go along with the current trend towards openness, Irec- riom of speech, and so forth, so from now on, while members of the press will be al- lowed to attend meetings of the chamber directors, they must agree to report only what the directors want reported. (The minutes may not read just thai way, but that's how this "commillcc-of-lhe-wholc'1 thing will work; whenever something juicy the word is 'sensitive' seems likely to come up, you go into committee, so it isn't an "open" meeting any more. Neat, Now I entirely agree with the chnmhcr people lhat there are some mailers it's best to thresh out in private. T know about openness of meetings, TV in the legislature and all that, but I'm not so naive and neither are you, my friend as to be- lieve that nothing goes on in the back room any more. Every business or institu- tion or organization that does anything sig- nificant has items of business it must re- gard as confidential, and there is no rea- son to make an exception of the chamber of commerce. No, what disturbs me is the allusion to freedom of speech, whether the phrase or the thought was expressed by the cham- ber, or added gratuitously by whoever wrote the article. However it found a prom- inent place in the pages o( a responsible newspaper, there's a serious implication to the notion that somehow hy controlling what the public hears and reads, the pub- lic's right to know and perhaps to judge be better served. I'm afraid I see this as just another example, among far too many nowadays, of that oddly twisted mental process we calmly accept the idea of four years of almost continuous bombing raids during whnt Ls routinely colled a bombing halt, we apparently take seriously the cha- rade of NATO and Warsaw Pact countries pleading agonizingly for disarmament while each strives and manoeuvres for larger military budgets, we view with ap- parent acceptance American and Viet- namese representatives refusing even to talk peace that they both say they are desperately pursuing. Orwell, I believe it was, called this pro- cess and suggested it would be in vogue by 1934. That's still twelve years away, so I suppose we're just prac- tising.