GOD OR MAMMON?
by Donald J. Auchterlonie
Originally presented at Albury, NSW, October 2008
A man we shall call Mr. Socred happened to read in the Gospel of John, 'That you can 't love GOD and mammon. Being of an enquiring mind Mr. Socred had some understanding of what it meant to love GOD. So he asked someone what mammon meant. He was told the dictionary said mammon was the GOD of riches - the GOD of money.
Mr. Socred reasoned that if mammon was a GOD he must have worshippers or followers. He then wondered how this worship was carried out and how did it work in practice. Being a Christian man himself, Mr. Socred knew that in worshipping his GOD he always tried to live in a way that pleases his GOD. So he decided to find out how the worshippers of mammon did what they did.
Mr. Socred was driving up a windy hill one morning and suddenly his rear vision mirror was filled with a car which had raced up behind him. At the first passing lane it whipped around him and disappeared around the next corner in a matter of seconds.
Stopping to post a letter in the next small town he mentioned this to a man. The man said people drive fast, because you see, time means money! Oh said Mr. Socred that driver was in a hurry to make some money! He did quietly wonder to himself if time means money - what does money mean?
Mr. Socred noticed that this little town had seen better days. There was a closed supermarket, a closed bakery, a closed butcher shop, and a closed service station and there was no petrol for sale. There was a post office, a newsagent shop and a hotel with a small door on one side with a faded sign 'ANZ Bank '; the bakery was now a private house, as was the butcher shop and the service station now sold agricultural chemicals.
Wondering if mammon had caused any of the changes he inquired of some of the locals. He was told the service station closed because the profit margin on petrol was not enough to be profitable under a certain volume of sales. And when the locals had to drive out of town to get petrol they got their cars fixed as well. It was a similar story with the baker shop, the butcher shop, and the supermarket.
He could see that it was a farming area and the soil looked very good, but he was told that for the last 30/40 years it had been very difficult for the small farms of former days to stay profitable. So, as a result, in one type of production where there had once been 100 growers there were now only 30 and they had got bigger.
A big tractor was pulling a spray machine which made the pasture turn brown. Mr. Socred was told this was a chemical called 'Round-up and its task was to kill the grass so as the ground could be ploughed more quickly for a crop of potatoes.
A retired farmer told Mr. Socred that 50 years ago the farmers ploughed the ground three months before planting time and let it break down naturally; but that was the time when a small farm could support a family.
It appeared to Mr. Socred that mammon had certain rules for those who worshipped him and one was, they must get bigger all the time. Someone explained to him that if a business did not increase its turnover every year it did not survive. This idea hit Mr. Socred like a bolt of lighting. He marvelled at the power of mammon.
He took some time to understand that mammon was such a powerful force. It seemed to be compulsory to 'bow to mammon ', whereas it was entirely voluntary to 'bow to GOD! '
Mr. Socred made further enquires about the fate of other, small towns around the State. He found that all of them had the same experience, and that some of them had ceased to exist altogether. He was informed that the local government areas had still got bigger, allegedly so that people 's costs could be lowered.
He found that people 's local government rates had still got bigger each year and that with the bigger areas people had less chance to speak to their local government representatives. Then, to his surprise, he found that in their meetings the representatives had less say over the policies of the local government. Again he marvelled - was this the worship of mammon once more?
On a train journey of some 120km to the Capital City, Mr. Socred was amazed that it took three and a quarter hours. 'That is an average of 40km per hour, he thought, noting the city began 40km from its centre. On this particular day, everyone had to change trains 40km from its centre to a 'city train '. From there onwards the ground was covered with houses, and again he wondered, 'Was this where all those people from the little towns had settled? 'Was it mammon again? he pondered and marvelled what power mammon had to shift masses of people into a central place.
The first part of his journey was in a new type of train capable of speeds up to 160km/h, but on arrival at the outskirts of the city boundaries, it was forced to travel behind the suburban trains travelling at 40 km/h. To put in a dedicated train line for the new train was apparently too hard for mammon.
One passenger told Mr. Socred that the big 'freeway became a 'car park in peak times each day.
Another passenger was saying when he had to purchase a new printer for his computer, the salesman said it was better to buy a certain model and put it in the bin when the ink runs out as ink was less expensive than the printer. What a waste thought Mr. Socred.
Then another passenger said the same thing is happening with computers, which have to be replaced every three years. Another, who had left his car at home, said he had been advised to change his car every three years. When Mr. Socred asked why things had to be replaced so often, he was told it is called planned obsolescence, and it keeps people working, so that, in turn, they have money to live on.
Then a man in overalls said that his last wage rise had been eaten up in higher prices for food, petrol, water charges, shire rates, and alcopops. Another man, sitting in the corner of the carriage, lifted his head out of his book and said, 'When money loses its value like that, it is called inflation '.
On the return journey Mr. Socred got out at his station and thought very carefully about all the things he had seen and heard. He concluded that this God called mammon must be a bit dumb to be producing results like this and he wondered if his God could do any better if He was given the chance.
No sooner was he home than Mr. Socred 's brother phoned to say one of his nieces was expecting a baby in a few months time and, unbelievably, the hospital in her town only delivered babies every second week!
This is too much thought Mr. Socred; can mammon say when babies can be born?
Human Rights Commission Now Attacks Politician's Right
To Communicate with His Constituents
Is Paul Fromm Director, Canadian Association for Free Expression warning of things to come for Australians?
He writes: If you needed further proof that the Canadian Human Rights Commission is utterly out of control and has become a police state hammer for the politically correct, here it is in the form of their witch-hunt against former MP James Pankiw. Mr. Pankiw, in a mailer to his constituents, made some critical comments about crime among native Indians and the so-called 'native discount of racist sweetheart lesser sentences for natives.
This should have been privileged communications between an MP and his constituents. Nevertheless, there were complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Although he claims not to have investigated free speech cases, the investigator assigned to the Pankiw case was none other than Richard Warman. He has since moved on to the Department of National Defence and Mr. Pankiw now faces a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which, apparently, will decide what an MP may and may not say to his constituents. And we still believe Parliament is supreme?
The Western Standard reported:
Canada's Human Rights Commission goes after Jim Pankiw. After more than four years, former MP Jim Pankiw now faces a human rights hearing over material he sent to his Saskatchewan constituents about Aboriginal justice issues. Western Standard columnist Terry O'Neill reports on this important freedom of expression case that could be a dangerous precedent to silence elected officials who hold
politically incorrect views.
November 3, 2008: In the spring of 2004, Derek Smith, a Harvard-educated sociology and anthropology professor from Carleton University, handed in a report to a Canadian Human Rights Commission investigator that provided exactly the sort of ammunition needed by the commission to launch an unprecedented attack on the speech rights of a sitting member of Parliament.
Last week, after four-and-a-half excruciating years' worth of legal wrangling, a commission tribunal finally began hearing the case against now-former MP Jim Pankiw of Saskatchewan, whose bombastic mailings to constituents in 2002 and 2003 generated several public complaints that he had discriminated against aboriginals.
The case is important because it once again raises the sort of free-speech issues that have been enunciated so often this past year in relation to the myriad (and, so-far, unsuccessful) prosecutions of Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn. But it goes one worse because, for the first time, the commission's prosecution of the case means it is intent on imposing a speech code not merely on a journalist's scribblings, but on an MP's communications with his constituents.
Moreover, if successful, such a restrictive code could, at least as suggested by Professor Smith's remarkable report, go so far as to limit the colours an MP is permitted to use in his circulars. Red and black are most definitely out, according to Smith, especially when printed against a stark white background. Unfortunately for those among us who look to oppressive government bureaucracies for guidance, Smith did not stipulate which less-harsh colours 'sage green? Tangerine
orange? Sea-breeze blue? 'he would find acceptable.
Principles at stake are of highest order
Elected as a Reformer in 1997, Pankiw ended his parliamentary career sitting as an independent MP and then lost his seat in the 2003 general election. Pankiw's prickly personality, unrefined opinions, blunt rhetoric and undistinguished parliamentary record have not won him many supporters as he faces down the country's human-rights machinery, but it is clear the principles at stake in his case are of the highest order.
At issue are leaflets he mailed to constituents in November 2002 and May 2003. The earlier one's opening page featured a graphic of a red stop sign atop the words "Indian Crime" printed in red capital letters. Inside, Pankiw made note of the aboriginal community's high crime rate, and criticized the Criminal Code provision that allows judges to impose lighter sentences on aboriginal criminals. The second leaflet greets readers with the words, "It's clear who the racists
are," and argues that government policies favouring aboriginals are racist themselves.
The RCMP decided the missives did not constitute hate speech, as defined by the Criminal Code of Canada. Whether the communiqu 's breached the more-easily offended Canadian Human Rights Act was, however, another matter. Upon receiving nine complaints, the CHRC handed the case to investigator Richard Warman who, in turn, asked for a professional opinion from Smith, whose on-line biography notes an expertise in "cultural analysis of public policy and colonial relations," but not of human rights or hate-speech laws. Nevertheless, the professor did not disappoint.
In a 19-page report, Smith opined that, not only were Pankiw's words discriminatory and, thereby, in breach of Section 12 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, but the very colours Pankiw used to print his leaflets had the effect of adding fuel to the discriminatory fire.
A few quotations from the report are in order
Regarding the "stop sign" leaflet, Smith found that, "the cumulative effect of the red stop sign and the words in red capital letters are clearly calculated to express several connotations at once." Specifically, the professor asserted that, "the referents of red in our symbolic language include such things as 'danger,' 'stop,' 'alarm,' 'anger,' 'fury,' 'fear,' 'fire,' 'blood,' 'emergency,' 'urgent,' and may even contain a subtextual reference in this case to 'redskins' or 'red Indians.'"
He continued with his semiotic analysis: "One notes that the colours of the pamphlet (white of the paper, red and black inks) wittingly or unwittingly utilize colours very much associated with aboriginal people, for whom four colours have come to be associated with the four cardinal directors and have great spiritual significance. These colours, yellow, red, black, and white, are to be found in much of the aboriginal ritual contexts and are frequently found in regalia and clothing." Clearly, he concluded, "one can hardly claim that the symbolism in this pamphlet is not inflammatory."
Actually, Pankiw said shortly after Smith's report became public that his printer told him that red and black were the only ink colours available to him. And white, of course, is paper's most common colour. Pankiw's case is coming to a head just weeks before the CHRC is scheduled to make public, on Nov. 7, a report it commissioned last spring from another professor, Richard Moon of the University of Windsor. Moon examined a related censorious provision of the Act, Section 13, which bans discriminatory speech on the Internet.
One hopes there's something to all this 'that the critical mass is now being reached which will impel a heretofore quiescent Conservative government to reign in the Commission and restore truer free speech. Prime Minister Stephen Harper might consider the benefits of acting sooner rather than later, if only to forestall some future investigator's discovery of the disturbingly discriminatory nature of "Tory blue."
Books for further reading;
Here We Go Again" by Bill Collins.