Failed strategy connects Afghan fields, city streets

David EavesI really don’t give my good friend David Eaves nearly enough link-love. I’m making a conscientious effort to correct that, and now is a good time to start. He and Taylor Owen have co-written an Op Ed in the Toronto Star I recommend, “Failed strategy connects Afghan fields, city streets”:

In the coming months, under the leadership of the former U.S. ambassador to Colombia, U.S. private contractors will likely attempt to fumigate poppies in Afghanistan. Around the same time, the Canadian government will decide whether to shut down the Insite supervised injection site in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

The two policies are inextricably linked and unambiguously bad.

What’s really sad in both cases is how evidence is ignored because of ideological blinders. Fumigation in Colombia failed to achieve its goal (coca production actually increased) and introduced many dangerous and immoral externalities including damaging the health and legitimate livelihoods of local people. Supervised injection sites have proven effective at harm reduction and increased access to appropriate care for addicts.

Ideologies make me sad. They often create blinders to perception, creating more heat than light. At a time when we need better perceptive capacity in an environment of accelerating change, I’d like to believe we are evolving beyond ideology. I believe that part of the disengagement of mainstream people from politics has been the failure of both left-wing and right-wing ideologies to engage their imaginations and address the realities of modern life.

But apparently, humans need ideologies to make sense of their world and their place in it. Maybe we just need new ideologies. We’re accepting nominations for emerging and relevant 21st century ideologies in the comments section. Leave a link to the relevant Wikipedia page!

2 thoughts on “Failed strategy connects Afghan fields, city streets”

  1. I saw an interesting definition of non-authority (as opposed to anti-authority) in this article at WorldChanging.

    I’m with you on the ideology bit. Some of what I’ve been reading for my research has been very enlightening in this regard. It basically says that whatever comes next must necessarily model a pluralism that is inclusive of all forms of political participation.

  2. My political motto is “Right-wing means for left-wing ends”. For instance, if you want there to be food for all, don’t interfere with free markets in agriculture; instead just ensure that everyone has enough money to buy food.

    Unfortunately the established “wing” terminology lumps things together that aren’t necessarily linked, e.g. left-wing governments are assumed to be fiscally irresponsible, but in western Canadian provincial politics it’s often been the NDP (socialist) parties that were the fiscally responsible ones, while their opponents were all too willing to put the government into heavy debt.

    So there is no relevant Wikipedia page for my ideology (if that’s what it is) — but you can see the Energy Probe Research Foundation’s The 10 principles that guide us. It’s written with an environmentalist orientation, but applies much more broadly than that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *