15 Minutes to Tyranny


Everywhere we look, we are told what to think, what to say, what to do, what to watch, even what to buy.  We are enslaved as never before in this country, and more than half of us want to cede what freedoms we still have in the name of security; to have the government protect and care for us.


What does it mean to be enslaved? Essentially, it means that we surrender our freedom to choose, and with it, any responsibility for the consequences flowing from exercise of our God given freewill.  At the core of freedom is independent thought.  To think independently, we must ignore the mass media, even the ones we follow and agree with.  We must be fiercely self-reliant but also respect each other’s independence. Nothing is more refreshing than meeting another free-thinking mind whose beliefs arise from independent thought and actual concern for their fellow humans.  Such ideation is free of partisan politics or ideology, but is intrinsically conservative.  It is conservatives—not progressives—who think deeply about choice consequences, personal sovereignty, and prosperity.  


Leftist progressives are incapable of thinking in this vein.  The Utopia for progressives is global tyranny under a world government  built upon the ruins of nation states and human liberty.  The best living example of this new world order is North Korea. The populace there are not forced to support Kim Jong-un; they instead worship him because they long ago bartered their freedom of thought and human rights for the promised security of roughly 2,000 calories per day in noodles and vegetables.  When the God Kim speaks, there is silent acquiescence to each syllable, and not just for fear of open dissent.  Within a totalitarian state, most people want to agree.  That is what is so puzzling and horrifying.  EachApril 15th, the Day of the Sun (anniversary of the birth of North Korea’s founder and eternal president, Kim Ill-sung), massive crowds gather.  They are not just bussed in or gathered from nearby apartment blocks.  They worshipKim Ill-sung and his heirs, not because they are afraid to think freely; but because they have lost the innate ability to think for themselves.  And this is precisely what the TrudeauLiberals want for Canada: total control over our very thoughts.


Hannah Arendt’s “Origins of Totalitarianism” isthe definitive work on the subject and is an essential component of any study of20th century political history.  Arendt beings with the rise of anti-Semitism in central and western Europe in the1800s and continues with an examination of European colonial imperialism from1884 until the outbreak of WWI.  She explores the institution and operations of totalitarian movements, focusing on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government of her time:  Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia.  Arendt adroitly recognizes that these regimes were two sides of the same coin, rather then opposing philosophies of the right and left.  From this vantage point, she discusses the evolution of classes into masses, the role of propaganda in dealing with the free world, the weaponization of terror, and the nature of isolation and loneliness as preconditions for total domination.  Arendt is then able to explain the precise sort of person who is prepared to choose enslavement under a despot over the responsibility for individual freedom and the natural consequences of own own decisions and corresponding actions:

These threads laid bare by Arendt are woven into complex tapestry in Mattias Desmet’s controversial recent book, “ThePsychology of Totalitarianism.” According to Desmet, we bear witness to loneliness, free-floating anxiety, and fear giving way to censorship, loss of privacy, and surrendered freedoms.  It is all spurred by a singular, focused crisis narrative that forbids dissident views and relies on destructive groupthink. Totalitarianism is not a coincidence and does not form in a vacuum.  it arises from a collective psychosis that has followed a predictable script throughout history, its formation gaining strength and speed with each generation. From Jabobins to the Nazis, to Stalinists, as technology advances.  Government, mass media, and other mechanized forces use fear, loneliness, and isolation to demoralize populations and exert control, persuading large groups of people to act against their own interests, always with destructive results.  Desmet, a clinical psychologist, deconstructs the societal conditions allowing this collective psychosis to take hold.  By looking at our current global situation and identifying the phenomenon of ‘massformation’, a type of collective hypnosis not unlike what has occurred in NorthKorea, Desmet clearly illustrates how close we now are to surrendering fully to totalitarianism.

Another crucial aspect of such enslavement is that it is meant to be perpetual.  We cannot be captivated only momentarily; rather, we must be controlled constantly.  Those who are WOKE refuse to think in terms other than race, class, and sex, and so they think only in these myopic terms and insist that others do also. In this way, progressives are willing, obsessive thralls.  WOKE ideology offers them a socially accepted, safe way of thinking.  Once an individual becomes woke, i.e. fully supports privileging certain intersectional victim groups over white heterosexual males, then they can think no other way and by definition are fully captured.  In her book, “The Diversity Delusion”, Heather MacDonald argues that the West is in crisis, from the university to the workplace.  Toxic ideas first spread by higher education have undermined humanistic values, fuelled intolerance, and widened divisions in our larger culture.  Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton are all considered oppressive and imperialistic.  Western history and culture are terrifying tales of tyranny.  Professors who correct grammar or spelling or employers who hire based upon merit are branded racist and sexist.  Students emerge into the working world believing themselves defined by their skin colour, gender, and sexual preference, and that oppression based upon such traits is their lived experience—their “truth”.  Speech that challenges these campus orthodoxies is silenced by brute force.  

MacDonald argues that the root of the problem is the belief in endemic racism and sexism, which engenders metastasizing diversity bureaucracy in society and academia. Diversity commissars denounce meritocratic standards as discriminatory, enforce hiring quotas, and teach students and adults alike to cast themselves as perpetual victims.  From #MeToo mania that conflates flirtations with criminal actions, to implicit bias and diversity compliance training that sees racism in every interaction, MacDonald argues that we are creating a society of narrowed minds, primed for grievance, and as such are enthralled.  This can only be opposed through a renaissance of classically liberal, open-minded, free inquiry and expression, by which everyone can discover a shared humanity based in objective reality.


In place of government control, freedom implies self-control.  Food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and medical care are necessities, and we must pay for them and choose what we think we need out of what we can both earn and afford.  Obviously, different levels of earnings will offer disparate standards of living, and government must not seek to equalize them.  Once government begins to provide for necessities, the incentive to work, and to work hard, is lost.  Society as a whole suffers from the resulting stagnation, inflation and shortages that we are now experiencing.  Not only will the inspiration to work be lost, but rational choices regarding capital allocation and spending become misguided.  Many billions of dollars have already been appropriated for green energy or proxy wars, and many hundreds of billions more will be squandered through foolhardy initiatives or outright graft.  History shows that when we are free to allocate our own capital, we are much more thrifty, just as we are more attentive to maintaining our own houses or other property.


Freedom is the basis of human flourishing, but millions of Canadians seem eager to cash in their liberty for censorship, a false sense of security, and paltry handouts from a centrally planned economy.  Increasingly, we are told what to believe, what to say, what to do, and we face fines or imprisonment for daring to defy state diktats.  The consequences for uttering what the left considers “hate speech” are very real.  In many cases, this entails loss of employment and ostracism from society. Yet so-called hate speech might simply mean a statement that there are fewer female engineers than male ones (currently a 1:6 ratio), or a denial thatIndian Residential Schools were genocidal death camps.  These statements are factual, not hateful, but the left considers them improper and even criminal.


Essentially, freedom means the right to decide for oneself.  Canada has become an enslaved society in which, via media, schools, and government, we are subjected to relentless propaganda.  We can extricate ourselves from such control by imposing a blackout on woke media and government propaganda.  We must be prepared to walk alone, to pray and to meditate, to read the best books(especially the Good Book), and to tune out television, social media, and especially, rampant government propaganda. With discipline and self-sufficiency, it remains possible to live a relatively free existence, though that is changing, since we are now judged based upon our use of pronouns and willingness to affirm WOKE fantasies of race, gay, and transgendered privilege. There may be no end before millions of Canadians are imprisoned for our refusal to accept progressive lies.  At that point, even for those who attempt to maintain their personal sovereignty, freedom will have lost most of its meaning, and only a scant few will survive to know the true meaning of freedom.


One of the ways in which globalist governments seek to limit our freedom is through reformation of how we organize ourselves into communities.  An emerging argument against single family zoning is that separating housing from other uses forces people to drive to shops, work, and other destinations.  WOKE urban planners want to redesign neighbourhoods so that people must walk to most of these destinations, thereby reducing our CO2 footprint.  They even have a name for it:  “the 15 minute city”, meaning that everyone can reach all of their primary destinations within a 15 minute walking radius.


Edmonton recently announced that it will pursue neighbourhood development plans aimed at creating a “community of communities”or, “small towns in our big city,” where residents can access everything they need within a short distance from home. But the idea is not one of passive development.  It would involve city development plans—zoning, bike lanes, multi-use paths, etc.—reflecting the desire to have modestly self-sufficient enclaves within cities and green-friendly transport options between parts of the city.


The concept owes its origins to Carlos Moreno, a Colombian urbanist and professor at Pantheon Sorbonne University.  Ostensibly, the idea is meant as an alternative to continued urban sprawl which strains infrastructure from roads to sewers to schools, and necessitates a car to get around the city.   It is also linked to urban proposals for building better public transit and reducing dependency upon cars as the main mode of transit for city dwellers.  The idea accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic, when our lives shrank and cities experimented with new ways of moving people around.  For example, a paper published by Moreno and several other authors, notes the increased use of bicycles for transit inBerlin, New York, Beijing, and Paris, which led to calls for more permanent cycling infrastructure.


It has thus far only been seriously attempted in Paris, France.  Anne Hidalgo, that city’s progressive Mayor for nearly a decade, made transforming Paris into a15-minute city a key platform commitment during the 2020 city elections.  During the pandemic, Paris created a series of “corona pistes”—bike lanes—and Hidalgo vowed to make them permanent.  She also told Parisians that they need to get over the idea that they can continue to get around the city via automobile:


“We must forget the crossing of Paris east to west by car…the city needs to evolve.”


European cities are already quite walkable, particularly compared to North American ones. This is because their construction largely predates invention of the automobile or motorways.  In the U.K.,the cities of Canterbury and Oxford are both experimenting with the idea, but are being met with considerable public resistance.  More on this later.  From the perspective of urban planners, there are many steps to take that would reshape cities.  Edmonton Mayor Amerjeet Sohi, in his campaign documents from the 2021 election, pointed to several of these.  The first would be changes to zoning rules restricting businesses within a community. A 15 minute city would require zoning and development changes, such as better walking and cycling infrastructure to facilitate 15 minute journeys.  


According to a U.S. study, Americans make only12 per cent of their daily trips within 15 minutes of their homes, according to data collected from 40 million mobile devices. Such data is more limited in Canada. Ottawa, for example, is a sprawling city, whereas in Vancouver 75% of residents live within a 15 minute walk to a grocery store, and 99% are within a15 minute bike ride, according to a recent Simon Fraser University study.  Supporters of the 15 minute city naturally include the World Economic Forum.  They say that it would be more convenient if we did not need to drive across town to pick up an item or get your kids from daycare. They point to all sorts of metrics: it would be a more social city with community nodes and parks; it would also be a more active city and thus healthier, and of course—with lower carbon emissions.


In a paper published last month, urban analystAlain Bertaud has demolished this leftist fantasy.  Noting that Mayor Hidalgo made the 15 minute city part of her 2020 re-election campaign and continues to promote it while in office, Bertaud looks at the city to see what it would take to achieve this objective.  Bertaud begins by calculating that a person can reach about 740 acres in a 15 minute walk on city streets.  Based upon the average population of the municipality of Paris (as opposed to the urban area), an average of 77,000people live in any given 740 acre zone. Within that, there are an average of 59 bakeries and 197 food stores.  There are also enough elementary schools to be within 15 minutes of every part of the city.  Thus, there is no need to “create”a 15 minute city, since Paris effectively is one already.


So why then does anyone drive in Paris? Bertaud notes that Paris has 1.6 jobs for every worker, with more than 51,000 jobs within a 15-minute walk of typical residents. Yet many dwellers drive to work and more than half take at least 30minutes to arrive at their chosen destination. Only 12% take 15 minutes or less to get to work.  The problem this presents is that although there may be 51,000 jobs within walking distance of one’s home, that does not mean that your particular job is within that 15 minute proximity.  Commuting comprises less than 20 per cent of trips in the United States, and it is probably similar in France.  This means that when people decide where tolive, their work location is not necessarily a controlling or even a contributing factor.  The same logic no doubt applies to other possible destinations. For example, there might be 197 food stores within 15 minutes of where we live, but they may also be expensive and so we would prefer to save money byshopping at a supermarket that is several miles away.


Bertaud rightly fears that, when cities achieve the dream (nightmare?) of putting everything within 15 minutes of each resident but we continue driving anyway, cities will impose draconian regulations to penalize driving.  Mayor Hidalgo, for instance, plans to make it illegal to drive through central Paris.  France has also forbidden large booksellers from selling at a discount, so as to preserve the viability of small bookshops within walking distance of everyone’s homes. That is anathema to freedom and also capitalism, which tends to work in favour of consumers.  This is totalitarianism brought down to the constituent community level, restricting the choices that we as consumers can make about where we can go, where we can shop, and how we get there.  It presumes the right of government to restrict our individual freedoms for the sake of securing what is deemed to be best for the broader community.  Here again is the great trade-off:  surrendering freedom for security that only the state can provide.


The 15 minute policy would seem to be much more difficult to implement in North American cities.  Other than Manhattan, no other city inAmerica has Parisian densities of more than 66,000 per square mile.  American urban densities averaged under 2,400per square mile in 2010, which is not nearly dense enough to put all services people need within 15 minutes walking distance. Even if half of the supermarkets were perfectly distributed across the urban landscape, more than 50% of the population would still not be within a quarter hour of one of them.  This is one of the reasons why urban planners have such a mania for increasing urban densities.  No matter how hard we try, we are not going to double urban densities, especially when doing so will fail to eliminate driving anyway.  As urban economist Edward Glaeser has aptly stated how this entire concept destroys opportunity by restricting freedom:


“The 15 minute city should be recognized as a dead-end which would stop cities from fulfilling their true role as engines of opportunity.”


And there are other problems with the concept, one of which is ghettoization such that towns within cities would limit interactions between various communities, producing slums.  Another is the risk that it hollows out parts of the city; the downtown core of many cities are quite dependent upon commuters for their vibrancy.  As the pandemic vividly illustrated, a whole host of problems arise when people are not visiting a part of a town (see Portland, Oregon).  Some of the critiques however go beyond the merely practical once we envision mandates prohibiting residents from leaving their neighbourhood.  In Edmonton, critics have expressed justifiable concern that such a proposal would bar people from travelling to certain parts of the city and that they would be forced to spend 90% of their lives within their own district, all the while being closely monitored and socially graded for carbon emissions.  There can be little doubt that measures such as fines and fees for travelling between zones are designed to make it cost prohibitive to drive and to leave your neighbourhood.  For example, in Oxford, U.K., there are fines for driving cars between neighbourhood zones, and the Paris driving ban will go into effect next year.  


Jordan Peterson recently tweeted that while the notion of a walkable city is “lovely”, it is a perversion if taken too far:


“The idea that idiot tyrannical bureaucrats can decide by fiat where you’re allowed to drive is perhaps the worst imaginable perversion of that idea.”


In Alberta, the furor over 15 minute cities has become so great that politicians in small-towns, where the Trudeau Liberals are actively promoting the concept, have had to come out and say that towns likeOlds (population 9k) will not be broken up into districts with a transit scheme like Paris.


The best argument to utterly reject the entire concept of the 15 minute city is that its main support emanates from the hothouse of evil anti-humanity known as the World Economic Forum.  In a December 2022 paper entitled “How Europe can reshape its cities to boost vibrancy, resilience and climate action”, the real purpose of the 15 minute city is revealed:

The deranged authors then go on state that efficient and balanced spatial re-designs enable shorter commutes and the use of active transport, significantly reducing the 23% of Europe’s emissions caused by urban mobility of its residents. The reduced dependency on parking and roads also frees up land for green spaces which can alleviate extreme summer temperatures by between 2.5-6 degreesCelsius, reducing heat island effects of dark sealed surfaces (roads) common in ‘unbalanced’ cities.  They even claim that this “will literally save lives”.


As usual, there is no scientific support for any of this climate scare bugaboo, anymore than there is data showing a nexus between human CO2 emissions and climate change. But that will not stop the global elites from using the sun monster to confine us to our homes, restrict us to our zones, take away our automobiles, and fines us for non-compliance.  We will own nothing, we will no longer be free, but we will be saving the planet.  That is agenda 2030 in a nutshell.


Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau and his ilk will continue to fly to Davos each year on private jets for the annual WEFConference, at which the globalist elites will devise new ways to enslave and depopulate our allegedly dying planet. Only the individual and collective exercise of our God given free will can extricate us from being enslaved by such Godless tyranny.

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