The Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 2, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4-THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD Wednesday, January 2. 1t74 Americans ripe for political realignment Democracy in doubt The usual optimism accompanying the advent of a new year is largely absent this time around. Most prognosticators anticipate a continuation of the kinds of trouble that characterized the year just past. One of the consequences of this climate of opinion is that there is some serious questioning of whether the democratic system of government can survive. Can it stand the pressures that are being put on it today? Serious setbacks to democracy oc- curred in 1973, notably in Uruguay and Chile. Many elections failed to provide a clear mandate from confused and cynical voters. And the world's greatest democracy, .the United States of America, is suffused with despising for the system in the aftermath of exposure of corruption relating to the Watergate case. Most anxiety about the survival of the democratic system is the result' of the mood of doubt stirred up by the revelations in Washington. Expressions of doubt by Americans about the survival of their system cast gloom elsewhere because the freedom of so many nations depends heavily on the viability of U.S. institutions. A partial answer to such concern is iound in observing that there are thoughtful people who find reason for hope, rather than despair, in what has been happening in the U.S. They insist that the system is being purged and strengthened by the experience of pursu- ing the truth about Watergate. The very fact that culprits are being brought to bay demonstrates the strength of democratic institutions, they insist. Then, too, it is well to recall Sir Winston Churchill's classic assessment that "democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." Recollecting the oppressive regimes of the past and glancing about at some of the tyrannous alternatives to democracy in the present should be a stimulus to gratitude for the survival of democracy even in weakened form and a spur to wprk for its strengthening wherever it exists. Those whose faith in democracy is flagging might do Well to ponder the aphorism of American theologian Remhold Niebuhr: "Man's capacity for- justice makes democracy possible; but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." Corporate charity Mitsubishi Canada Limited has an- nounced the establishment of two new scholarships, one for a student in the department of Asian studies at the University of Toronto and one for a stu- dent at the University of British Colum- bia. This step was taken because the company wanted to, be instrumental in a small way in fostering better under- standing between Canadian and Japanese society and culture. An interesting bit of comparative news conies out of Toronto at the same time, concerning corporation profits and charitable donations. In the decade of the 60s, corporation profits rose by 99 per cent while philanthropic contributions increased by only 77 per cent. Corporate giving, for whatever reasons, has not kept pace with corporate gains. Figures for the latest year available (1972) show that the bulk of charitable contributions from Canadian cor- porations comes from a few large businesses. They also show that U.S.- owned companies give a slightly smaller percentage of pretax profits than do Canadian firms and both are outranked by foreign-owned companies, which in 1972 contributed 1.3 per cent of their pretax profits to philanthropy. It is understandable that foreign- owned companies, in an effort to es- tablish themselves or feeling a greater public relations need, would be more concerned with donating to charity. Nevertheless, 'the trend of the 60s does not reflect well on Canadian business. Perhaps the decade of the 70s will see a rising sense of responsibility toward the general well-being of society and a rever- sal of the trend. A more likely prospect is the assumption that government is responsible for the well-being of society and should act as philanthropist. ART BUCHWALD Goodbye to 1973 WASHINGTON Grizzled old 1973 was putting the last things into his suitcase as young, bright-eyed 1974 stood nervously in the bedroom said old '73, as he stuffed a few more White House tapes into his bag, "that seems to be about it. The place is all yours. Here are the keys to the house. Oh, by the way, keep the thermostat down to 68 or you may run out of oil by March. You may run out of it anyway. I don't know what happened. When I moved in in January everything was going great, then suddenly in October the bot- tom fell out, and damned if we didn't have a worldwide energy crisis. 1972 didn't say a word to me about it." said 1974. said old '73, "here are the keys to the car. You can drive only 55 miles an hour and you're supposed to put only 10 gallons of> gas in your tank a week. I'm glad I'm getting out, because that's going to be a drag." "I'll do the best I can with what I've '74 said. Old '73 looked at '74 quizzically. "I'm sure you will. Care for a drink'" "Thank you, said '74, "but I don't drink Old '73 poured a double shot and drank'it down neat. "You will before the month is he said. "If you don't drink you'll really go off your axis. Listen, when I took this job over from '72, he didn't tell me one damn thing. He just said "It's all yours Buster, I'm getting out of here.' But I'm not that kind of a year. I'm going to level with you. You got lots of problems." By Anthony Lewis, New York Times commentator BOSTON The turn of this year is marked, for many of us, by the strange sensation of living on two quite distinct levels of consciousness. We go on about our daily business; we talk about politics, about possessions, about travel and food and football. And all the while it becomes harder to avoid awareness that the ground upon which our society rests is shifting. Physically, the industrializ- ed world has been built on the assumption of cheap and plen- tiful resources minerals, water, energy, especially energy. The idea of cheap fuel underlies both the substitution of machines for men in production and the geographical sprawl of modern populations. Psychologically, the system has been built on the expecta- tion of More. Consumption is encouraged by the stimulation of desire. A family with less than the norm defined by television believes that it will in due' course have a larger slice of a growing economic pie. And now, suddenly, those assumptions are thrown into question. Resources are not so plentiful as we thought, and certainly they are not going to be cheap. The consequences will be fundamental. When some scientists began forecasting an energy problem a few yean ago, economists dismissed the warning by saying that it was all a matter of price. The price of oil, say, would go up a few dollars, and the system would automatically adjust. But the reality we are now ex- periencing is far banner. In a year, the price of Mid- dle East oil has more than quadrupled. Consider the financial implications. Western Europe, which paid til-billion for imported fuel in 1972, will have to pay 150- billion for the same amount in 1974 unless the price goes up again. By 1980 the Persian Gulf countries would hold nearly three-fourths of the world's monetary reserves. wonder whether the international monetary system can survive. And there are more im- mediate realities than the im- pact on the world financial structure. India and other pop- ulous underdeveloped lands without valuable resources of their own face calamity from the new oil prices. For Europe and Japan the threat is not such mass privation but the destruction of confidence in sophisticated economies. Nor are Americans magically immune from the process that has begun. We are already losing the race with inflation: in the last year the average worker's real "I'm certain I can handle '74 said. "After all, I graduated from Harvard." Old '73 poured himself another double shot. "Yeh. Well anyhow you can expect a lot of shortages. It's going to be hard to get plastics, steel, paper, glass and even plywood. There'll be worldwide unemploy- ment and an unreal inflation. And to top it off, they'll probably impeach the President of the United States." "If things were perfect there would be no challenge, would '74 replied. "You really are old '73 said as he took a swig from the bottle. "Well, suppose I told you I'm leaving you a little ole war in the Middle East to solve, and if you don't it could mean high noon for the Russkies and the Americanskis." "I'm certain sane minds will '74 said. Old '73 opened another bottle. "Boy, I must say you're a cool one. Anyway, I'm all burned out. It's time for me to be getting along. You're a nice kid. I like your style. Maybe we can get together sometime and you can let me know how you did." "I'd like that, '74 said. "Can I help you with your "That would be mighty nice of you. I'm just going down to the bus station by myself." "Okay, sir. Just hold on to my arm." As they walked outside they saw a cheering crowd, and a band began playing "For He's a Jolly Good followed by "Auld Lane Syne." Tears welled in old '73's eyes. "I'll be he said, all choked up, "I didn't think anyone cared." World leadership rocked in 1973 By Joseph Kraft, syndicated commentator "How the mighty have fallen" is the motto for the year now ending. Men riding high were everywhere check- ed and baffled. Similarly with the restric- tive power combinations they tried to put together. So much so that, as 1973 fades away, it is hard not to wonder about future sources of authority and cohesion. President Nixon, of course, is the horrible example par excellence. His sweeping vic- tory in the 1972 election delivered unto him old foes in the Democratic party, the Congress and the patrician elite. As 1973 started he held the country in his hand, and be was making the most of the opportunity to govern virtual- ly alone. Watergate canceled that with a vengeance. A serious Letters to the impeachment investigation of Mr. Nixon is now underway in the Congress. The odds here in Washington are about 50-50 that the President will not serve out his term. Even if he does, he will be limping all the way, and already power is be- ing diffused from the White House among the Congress and the different departments of government. In Moscow, Soviet party leader Leonid Brezhnev has not fared all that well either. Efforts to bring down the oldest timers in the Politburo, Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin and party secretary Mikhail Suslov, have been stalled. The security and agricultural bureaucracies have fortified their positions. So Mr. Brezhnev has not been able to achieve the primacy he sought. Marijuana defended Millions of Canadians do or have enjoyed the kick from various preparations of Can- nabis Sativa without even one reported case of insanity to date. It's estimated that there are roughly one million can- nabis users in Canada. With all those psyches hammered out on T.H.C. one would ex- pect a slender percentage to be adversely affected if can- nabis was in the least bit dangerous. Step forward those of you whose lives have been sadly shattered and have had their minds irrepairably diseased from moderate use of can- nabis. Show me the wastelands of humanity who die in gross misery with a reefer clutched in their hands. Make known the families who suffer intolerable grief as lov- ed ones murder and rob honest citizens in order to obtain staggering amounts of money needed daily by pot smokers. Well Where are they? Thanks to the work of skill- ed researchers Cannabis has been proven less hazardous to your health than the number one intoxicant, namely alcohol. Cannabis is a taboo plant for many bizarre reasons but mainly because a minority of fanatics put up a better fight against its use than Cannabis users fought back defending its use. Thanks to these fanatics innocent oc- casional pot smokers are busted and treated like criminals when in reality, they are advising a substance not even as bad as alcohol. I think the government should look into Cannabis and make it easier on us established pot smokers. RON FLOOD Lethbridge. Thank-you from CAKE "Jnt hatf a happy Uwvgki...iicxt month's of livhig can't hdp hwt On behalf of CARE Canada, we would like to thank all those who sent in donations to CARE during the year just concluded. Their support dur- ing has enabled to con- tinue assisting the needy and to help those in M countries of the developing world help A themselves. CARE'S on-fohig food, self- help development and metiical -aid-and-trateim programs assist over 90 million peopte in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the MHMte Bast, both sw- ing lives and building better, more self-sufficient futures. While expressing our appreciation to all CARE contributors, we would also encourage them to continue their generosity toward CARE'S on-going programs in the future. THOMAS KINES, CARE Ottawa, "SSft The result of developments in Washington and Moscow is a vitiating of arrangements for Big Two policing of the world. The agreement to hold down trouble in the Middle East was virtually shattered by the attack of the Arab states on Israel in October. Trade hopes have been set back by congressional in- sistence that Russia loosen up on emigration. The second round of the strategic arms limitation talks has run athwart a con- tinuing push for superiority by both the Russian and American military. For all of Henry Kissinger's high- sounding talk, in other words, detente a still largely a gleam in his eye. Not that the chief opponents of detente have done so well either. The leadership of Communist China has been unable to consolidate power completely witness the con- tinued inability to call the People's National Congress. As an international force, China has sunk to almost nothing. It is a mark of Peking's vanishing act that China abstained in the big UN talks on the war in the Near East, which was such a hot item for China's friends in the underdeveloped world. Among powers of the mid- dle rank, the most spectacular falling off has come in Japan. Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka began 1973 with a big, new mandate and some good ideas for decentralizing in- dustry and population. But the scheme for decentralization set in motion a runaway land boom in the remote corners of Japan. Inflation was then given a further snot in the arm by the energy crisis. Mr. Tanaka was obliged to yield control of the finance ministry to his archrival, Takeo Fukuda, and it remains a question whether the prime minister can serve out his term. For reasons connected with inflation, labor unrest and the energy crisis, the political leaders of the major Euro- pean countries have also land- ed in grave difficulties. No one can be confident that Prime Minister Edward Heath, Chancellor Willy Brandt and President Georges PompMou art going to last out their electoral mandates. Far from betaf an assertion of tMr sjptcial i ComnMHity, or Common jdaitet toote lifct it is gTiiMMHf to a halt As final evidence for the direction of'events in 1973, there is the new-found influence of the states rich in commodities, especially oil. The emergence of the Arab countries on the world scene announces that the worm has indeed turned. It figures that the special club of the Latins, Asians and Africans the United Nations would enjoy at least a partial comeback. The rationale for what has happened in 1973 and even the fairness of it is not in doubt. Ambition overleapt itself in most of the advanced countries. It was case of the gods destroying those they first made drunk with pride. But if there is little reason to look back in sorrow, it is hard to look forward with high confidence. The coming leaders are not revealed, nor the means by which they can assert mastery over the ram- pant forces of nihilism. BERRY'S WORLD spendable earnings have been cut more than 3 per cent. That trend is likely to get worse with rising resource costs and .shortages. So is un- employment. The angry reac- tions of the truck drivers and the airline pilots are portents of things to come. The economic frustrations that lie ahead will feed an ex- isting political resentment. Recent surveys show what we all know anyway: Americans have lost respect for their political leaders. The reason is no secret. People do not think politicians tell them the truth. The feeling of having been misled by false promises is already intense; it will get worse. The mix of frustration and resentment could have ex- plosive effects on American politics over the next few years. One person who thinks so is Prof. Walter Dean Burnham of the Massachusetts Institute' of Technology. He has felt for some time that the pressures in our society, if "detonated" by some new factor, could produce a political realignment. That factor could be the crisis of resources and the resulting economic dislocation. "Americans can put up with a remarkable amount of in- competence and malevolence from both business and Burnham says. "They are resiliant. It is hard to move them to revolution. "uut there are limits beyond which you cannot push people. We are fooling around with those limits now because of incompetence and greed. There is a risk of people look- ing for drastic solutions." The risk is hardly a revolu- tion of the Left. It is a move- ment of the Right a Pou- jadist affair, a non-ideological expression of economic frustration. Burnham thinks there is a larger reservoir of discontent in Europe and America, waiting to be tapped, than there has been since the 1930s. If there is to be a man on horseback here, the most ob- vious candidate is George Wallace. His stock in trade is the little man's resentment. He mixes a suggestion of extra-legal protest; Sf violence, with demands for a return to order; and in the next few years Americans may well be nostalgic for order. At the least George Wallace will be a formidable political factor. The spectre at our New Year's table is a revolution of thwarted expectations. We ought to be able to dispel that spectre. We are a country still rich in resources and in healthy institutions. We need some vision and some truth from our leaders to begin making the necessary adjust- ments. But there, alas, is the danger. We enter this tur- bulent period with a president whose natural instinct is to ex- ploit resentments, not calm them a president crippled by his administration's wrongdoing and no longer believed by his people. t 1973 by NEA, Ine "Of course I like bow ties, dear, but..." The Lethbridge Herald S04 7th St S Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO LTD, Proprietors and Publishers Second Class Mail Registration No 0012 CLEO W MOWERS. Editor and Publisher DONM PILLING ROYF MILES WALKER Editor DONALD R DC-RAM General Manager RODERTM F6NTON KENNETH E BAftNETT Business Manager KlPMf "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"