Essay: against the arrogance of the rich

Essay: Against the Arrogance of the Rich


For Dahlia Namian, the author of this indictment, the arrogance of the rich has no limits. Among their most outrageous and grotesque whims, Namian highlights some of them, such as that of Elon Musk, the richest man on the planet whose fortune is estimated at more than $200 billion: he started, a little before “Earth Overshoot Day”, an electric car in space. “The Tesla Roadster will thus sail in a loop in space, for thousands, even millions of years.” Nobody seems to have been scandalized by such a fad that only billionaires in search of fame can afford, without worrying about squandering the resources of the planet. These people are often seen as geniuses, visionaries, great innovators, she laments. 

The numbers don't lie. The gap between rich and poor has grown steadily while the fortunes of billionaires have grown “as much in 24 months of the pandemic as they have in 23 years”. 

These billionaires have become so powerful that no government can control them. They mainly made their fortunes in the energy, pharmaceutical and agri-food sectors. And Canada is no exception. “The wealth of Canada's 64 billionaires has even increased by 57.1% since 2020.” 

In his novel White Dogwhere he denounces the racism of American society following the assassination of Martin Luther King, the writer Romain Gary speaks, for the first time, of a “provocative society” about these rich people who indulge in a kind of exhibitionism ashamed of their wealth. 

“The provocative society glorifies, in other words, the lewd prowess and lifestyle of the wealthy, while blinding itself to destitution and poverty. resentment they cause.” 

And despite everything, we admire them and we hoist them on a pedestal, she notes. 

“Think big!”

One need only remember Pierre Falardeau's film, Le temps des bouffons, where the Canadian aristocracy in this that she has most grotesque meets annually at the Beaver Club to strut and show off proudly proclaiming herself “magnificent“. 

We also think of the banquets organized for the swearing-in of governors general. We got some idea of ​​that with the release of former Governor General Julie Payette's expense report: half a million dollars was spent on that swearing-in ceremony, not including $32,000 for the open bar and $18,000 for curtains, flowers and other decorations. 

However, according to the UN's World Food Program, “nearly 50 million people are currently on the brink of starvation and 800 million live daily tormented by hunger”. Figures that should alert us.

On the side of the well-off, we wash our hands of it. “Think big!” they shout. If you are poor, it's your fault, you just have to “will” to get out of it and we never hesitate to set an example. However, while business leaders in Silicone Valley, California, pay themselves annual salaries of between $20 and $90 million, their employees are struggling to make ends meet. Yet, “it would cost only six billion dollars to feed the hungriest on the planet. Six billion, a paltry amount for the 1% club…”

Camouflage strategies

Namian cites as an example, among others, the foundation of Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecommunications magnate. This “philantrocapitalist” opened a private museum in honor of his late wife. 

“You can admire his own art collection there, made up of around 70,000 pieces. Van Gogh, Matisse, Rodin, Degas and Picasso stand alongside works by some of the most famous Latin American artists.” 

Or billionaire Bill Gates, who says he fights, through his foundation, against climate change, but has a $145 million palace built with precious wood from 500-year-old trees.

Or Mark Zuckerberg who has pledged, through his foundation, not to redistribute his phenomenal profits to the 99%, but to devote 99% of his shares in Facebook to “advance human potential and promote equality”. Nothing less. One strategy among others to camouflage the indecency of wealth gaps, she concludes.

An implacable indictment against “visionary” billionaires. 


A revolution for nothing – Religious permanence in the history of modern Quebec

The author, Francis Denis, university professor, puts forward in his recent work the idea that at the beginning of the 1960s, when Quebec was in the midst of the Quiet Revolution, the clergy, who saw themselves dispossessed of their strongholds, like the education, health care and social assistance, would have collaborated in its own downfall in order to better remain in place and pursue its mission. Rather than a rupture, the author sees in it a continuity between clerical Quebec and post-1960 Quebec. So could it be that we were fighting for nothing, if this transfer of power was programmed in high places and was only “the continuation of the clerical regime under another name”? This seems big, since it is generally accepted in all circles and among the society of historians that this period was one of revolution, of great changes and upheavals. But when the author attributes the failure of the 1995 referendum to the fear of Quebec civil society in the face of the “utopian rantings of the social-democratic left”, there I arrive.

IPCC Climate emergency — The indisputable report explained to all

This book explains, in clear terms, what the sixth summary report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is all about. Why should we care about it? “Simply because it concerns humanity’s main problem in the 21st century: the major threat that climate change poses to human societies. A brutal and rapid change, caused by our massive use of fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – which calls into question our ways of life, production, consumption, our social organizations. Arguments, shared by the entire global scientific community, to convince climate skeptics that it is high time to act. The question now is no longer: “Is the climate changing?” nor “Is it because of our greenhouse gas emissions?” But well: “Do we have the political will to voluntarily deprive ourselves of available fossil fuels?”