Quebecois, he is. Author's translation, this is.
René Marcel Sauve
Free forum Vigil
Sunday, November 11, 2012
The State’s force of inertia.
Concerning the imminent economic and political catastrophe awaiting the United States, I tend to agree with most statements produced so far. However, allow me to express this case with a different language, using the terminology of geopolitics.
Not being different from all other big States of History, one can say that the United States suffer from what is referred to in geopolitics as the force of inertia affecting all States and large powers in the World.
Already, small States are entangled in the web of their bureaucracies and institutions. They are carried forward by the force of habits. For example, as an army officer, I served two years on the Staff and soon found out that it was working mainly out of the force of its inertia. Nevertheless, I succeeded to change rules and regulations in the Army Corps directed by that staff and furthermore, I managed to influence the Canadian Ministry of Defense to change four article in the Manual of Military Law, an impossible task I was told, but my written intervention worked. Why did I change those articles was on account of the way they were formulated and interpreted so as to cause prejudice and injustice to members of the Armed Forces who were involved in incidents or accidents. How I succeeded could be related to my formation as a geographer specialized in geopolitics, which is the systematic study of statehood as such, added to the fact that when I ended on the Staff, I had a long experience with military administration and logistics
Armed forces and the States are not the only institutions suffering from the force of inertia largely caused by the weight of bureaucracy. Religious congregations are also very affected by the same evil, often being dragged downward by the force of their own inertia. These congregations must he lead by exceptional individuals who can introduce successful reforms when necessary. Among the exceptions are the Jesuits. This Congregation imposes upon each future Jesuit to acquire both a religious and layman’s formation before being ordained, which generally happens when the candidate reaches 36 years of age and even later. In addition to religious sciences, the future Jesuit must take courses and pass degrees in such profane subjects as economics, political sciences, laws, social sciences. Furthermore, when despatched on a mission, the Jesuit is required to write a relevant journal of his missionary activities and submit it to the Congregation, for the education of all interested members. These reports are published in a magazine called The Relations of the Jesuits, (In French: Relations des Jésuites) to be seen and studied by a large and interested public for the sake of making others learn from someone else’s experience. In North America, the Relations des Jésuites are among the most competent and relevant documents ever published about New France. This compulsory procedure aims at keeping each Jesuit on his toes about what goes on around him and protect the Congregation against the evils of inertia, which awaits all institutions on earth, civil, military and religious.
Inertia is dangerous and can make an institution inept and incompetent when faced with new challenges. Examples of such ineptitude are frequent. One of the better known is the case of the Soviet Nomenklatura, reputed for its crass ignorance. The Nomenklatura did not even know who Karl Marx was. This I learned In Russia when travelling around this vast empire during the so-called communist regime, which was nothing but a crushing inept bureaucracy. Another example was that of Yugoslavia under similar circumstances. Ðetails concerning the Yugoslav bureaucracy were transmitted by Milovan Djilas in his masterpiece called The new class.
In Canada, we suffered something similar during the Trudeau years, when his government suspended civil liberties to deal with a small group of so-called revolutionaries, a group which needed no more than one police station to be dealt with. This unwarranted military intervention was so ridiculous Canadians are embarrassed to talk about it today. Ŧhe Quebec government under Premier Jean Charest was also inert and after its downfall on September the fourth this year and its replacement by Sovereignist Parti Québécois led by Mrs Pauline Marois, a public inquiry was called and the corruption revealed from the previous government’s inertia is unbelievable. With the public inquiry commission, called Commission Charbonneau, we are stunned to learn what can result from inertia at the government level. And neither Quebec nor Canada are big States. Quebec has only 8,000,000 inhabitants, because the climate is too cold and Canada totals 32,000,000 only, for similar reasons and because it lacks flat spaces.
Imagine what can happen to a State the size of the United States of America with a population exceeding 300,000,000 people. Like Ottawa, Washington tends to be centralistic but the inertia of such large centralised bureaucracies must be such that policies adopted by these governments can hardly translate themselves into acts reaching the common people. Understandably, the States in the United States and the Provinces in Canada are gradually taking over public affairs, being closer to the people and less exposed to the force of inertia of large and anonymous bureaucracies.
I wonder how President Obama will ever translate his best intentions into Acts. He could not even close Guantanamo and cannot move the American Forces as too much bureaucracy and therefore inertia are on his way. How will he be able to stop another major economic crisis?
Speaking of macro-economics and politics, which we know nothing about north of the US-Quebec and Canada borders, I am tempted to compare US administration to China’s one billion three hundred million inhabitants. How can China be governed so effectively as it seems to be? Like the Jesuits, the Chinese have a system of Annals, which have been kept from time immemorial and serve to educate the present generation. Keeping a record of past experiences within context is the only way I know as a geographer specialized in geopolitics to fight the pernicious effects of inertia, creeping within each generation of State politicians and public servants.
I am now working hard to convince Quebeckers to adopt this system, which is useful in all circumstances and can serve as a critical instrument to evaluate policies, in effect and proposed.
René Marcel Sauvé, geographer.
Phi Beta Iota: The conventional literature speaks of launching life boats and the spike theory of change. The bottom line is that when something is “beyond repair” it is best to close it down completely and start over with fresh minds and new methods.