Strike Up the Band… A discussion of the old one that keeps playing the same old tune

As a classically trained singer, I have had quite a bit of experience following bands.

My friend Tammy, @seachange4ab inspired me as she often has since I met her at the #abparty Convention in Red Deer to write about bands tonight and bandwagons and the fact that in Alberta the tune is getting very old and the instruments are very out of tune.

My favourite elitist tool; Wikipedia, tells us the following

The bandwagon effect, closely related to opportunism, is a phenomenon — observed primarily within the fields of microeconomics, political science and behaviourism — that people often do and believe things merely because many other people do and believe the same things. The effect is often called herd instinct though strictly speaking, this effect is not a result of herd instinct. The bandwagon effect is the reason for the bandwagon fallacy’s success.

In logic, an argumentum ad populum (Latin: “appeal to the people”) is a logical fallacy that concludes a proposition to be true because many or all people believe it; it alleges: “If many believe so, it is so.” This type of argument is known by several names, including appeal to the masses, appeal to belief, appeal to the majority, appeal to the people, argument by consensus, authority of the many, and bandwagon fallacy, and in Latin by the names argumentum ad populum (“appeal to the people”), argumentum ad numerum (“appeal to the number”), and consensus gentium (“agreement of the clans”). It is also the basis of a number of social phenomena, including communal reinforcement and the bandwagon effect, the spreading of various religious beliefs, and of the Chinese proverb “three men make a tiger”.

“Three men make a tiger” (Chinese: 三人成虎 ; Pinyin: sān rén chéng hǔ) is a Chinese Proverb that refers to the idea that if an unfounded premise or urban legend is mentioned and repeated by many individuals, the premise will be erroneously accepted as the truth. This concept is analogous to communal reinforcement or the sociological concept known as argumentum ad populum (appeal to the people).

The proverb came from the story of an alleged speech by Pang Cong, an official of the state of Wei in the Warring States Period (475 BC – 221 BC) in Chinese History. According to the Warring States Records, or Zhan Guo Ce, before he left on a trip to the state of Zhao, Pang Cong asked the King of Wei whether he would hypothetically believe in one civilian’s report that a tiger was roaming the markets in the capital city, to which the King replied no. Pang Cong asked what the King thought if two people reported the same thing, and the King said he would begin to wonder. Pang Cong then asked, “what if three people all claimed to have seen a tiger?” The King replied that he would believe in it. Pang Cong reminded the King that the notion of a live tiger in a crowded market was absurd, yet when repeated by numerous people, it seemed real. As a high-ranking official, Pang Cong had more than three opponents and critics; naturally, he urged the King to pay no attention to those who would spread rumours about him while he was away. “I understand,” the King replied, and Pang Cong left for Zhao. Yet, slanderous talk took place. When Pang Cong returned to Wei, the King indeed stopped seeing him.

Why do I mention this little story? In this Province we’ve only needed “one man” saying there’s a tiger roaming the streets and that is the tiger of “liberalism, elitism and SOCIALISM” and we had better watch out, for so long; that we’ve completely deluded ourselves that as long as we have these “right” guardians in power; all will be well, everything is fine in the kingdom, no tigers are about to destroy our “way of life”. We are blessed, so why complain; don’t let “the tiger in”. Lately there’s another voice, a “woman” saying there’s a tiger, but also that the “one man” saying there’s a tiger, is less right about the tiger than they are?? Thankfully, I’m not sure any of us see a “third man” any time soon!

Strike up the band! Yes, the same old one that’s been playing for decades, with the same old guys playing in it. Like the band of old guys from one of those old Italian films, you can’t help but sort of have a pitied respect for them as they waddle through Grande Prairie or High Prairie or Pincher Creek or Rainbow Lake or Calgary or Edmonton on and on the cities and towns on their cross province parade of old chestnuts roll by. All is well. Trust us. Don’t listen to the left wing socialist academics trying to confuse you with talk of “complex issues demand a complex and intelligent response” oom pah pah oom pah pah boom bim bam all is well all is well in our beautiful land! Sadly what should be a tune played with a nice “sustained” G(rowth) followed by a lovely sustained E(conomy) with much F(uture) crescendo in a harmony of E(conomy), E(nergy), E(nvironment) and C(are) for A(ll) A(lbertans), is tossed off for the more familiar refrain of Sharp G(rowth) unsustained D(evelopment) with a Flat E(conomy) decrescendoing rapidly into a Major dissonance of E(nvironment) and E(nergy) leading to a decrescendo of Sharp C(ompetitive) D(ecline) into a Major D(eficit) building into a Major F… well you get the picture. Play on! All is well. Fa la la la la, Deck the Halls with Bows to Folly!

I didn’t blog for a while. It hasn’t been an easy couple of weeks in the world of Junior O&G, and we’ve moved offices as many of you know, right above #pcaa HQ in Calgary, and my whole little volley back and forth with my good pal @ppilarski wherein he chose to completely and deliberately misread, misguide and misinform readers about the “tiger” roaming around devouring “simple Albertans” like himself with my academic elitism has left me a little bit ponderous. However, tonight the “tune kept playing” over and over in my head and I had to write it down. Folks, this old Conservative refrain, it’s a “paper tiger”.

First of all, let me say I truly believe that Albertans are a diverse, complex, intelligent and highly passionate group of people, I never called them simple. Just the opposite, I believe that our politicians have treated us as a simple bunch that can be easily swayed onto the bandwagon to listen to their F(lat) tune. Lately a lot of Albertans aren’t sure this is actually music to their ears anymore. They are looking for a new band and a wagon that doesn’t have tires that are continually going flat. I write in a very sarcastic, Monty Pythonesque style, black humour. I think the vast majority of Albertans are smart enough to get the message, if they want to listen. If not, I’m not going to apologize for the tune I’m playing and I’m not going to stop playing it. Harmony of Energy, Economy, Environment, Competitiveness and Quality care at all levels for All Albertans is not a tune I think that those same Albertans don’t want to listen to, but they have to turn their ears away from the old familiar ditties and realize that we must make changes, complex changes. We need a new tune, played by a new band. We must enhance and expand our dialogue and collaboration so that we might have an intelligent, thoughtful, provocative and challenging discussion about the tune that Albertans want to hear. Just throwing a couple new bows and ribbons on the old uniforms and changing up one or two of the tunes isn’t “new”, #wap, as in The Wildrose Drum & Bugle Corp. ( I intended to spell it Corp.). We need a new band filled with a fresh intelligence and SKILLS to handle the complex tune that is Alberta. Oh it is a beautiful piece of music this place we call home, but its hardly “row row row your boat gently down the tailings pond, throw the lefties overboard and listen to them scream”. How ironic that a quiet little chorus came out of “the Septet of Leftist Oilsands Operators” this past week, as it is becoming apparent that there is no true regulatory framework and plan that is coming out of Edmonton. It is a start. It is the kind of discussion that needs to happen, and it needs to happen now.

I am very proud to have donned the fresh, new, crisp blue and gold of the #abparty, Alberta Party. The challenge for us will be to keep the uniforms that way. To continue to bring a fresh, intelligent and dynamic new tune to Albertans. Some will scoff and PRETEND that the new tune is irrelevant. Some will shout “tiger tiger” everyone run! They’re really socialist Green extremists. Right, I tell myself everyday when I analyze well production how lucky I am to be a left wing, socialist, elitist academic environmentalist living and working and contributing to the economy in Alberta.

No, we are a moderate group of individuals as diverse and complex as this amazing Province we call home. We are bound together by a passionate response to changing the tune that Albertans are hearing and have listened to for so long. It may be really new, we might play a few notes wrong here and there, but if you truly listen I believe that you will hear a truly remarkable and talented band beginning to play some pretty great stuff. I invite you to listen to a truly NEW BAND WITH A NEW AND TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED, MADE IN ALBERTA WAGON. I and my fellow bandmembers are marching through a town near you. Come out and listen Alberta, I believe that you will enjoy the music you’ll hear www.albertaparty.ca

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~ by lotsofenergy aka Chris D. Tesarski on December 16, 2010.

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