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Saudi Arabia weapons deal: Will work for souls

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No issue has more efficiently exposed the hypocrisy of government rhetoric about human rights than the $15-billion weapons contract with Saudi Arabia. Clearly our government has nothing against religious fanatics who behead people in principle.

The Liberals have defended it by emphasizing it's a legally binding contract. Sure, Saudi Arabia regularly slaughters its own citizens, and the weapons we're selling them are described by the company that makes them as providing "effective firepower to defeat soft targets." i.e. protestors. But it's a contract! Our hands are tied, much like those of a Saudi Arabian about to be beheaded for insulting the prophet.

Even more pathetic than the attempt to frame ripping up a contract as the ultimate moral crime is the attempt to frame it as crucial for the economy and job creation. If ethics don't enter into job creation, why stop at Saudi Arabia? Let's start a summer jobs program for students and get them to run guns for the Russian mafia.

Some economists and commentators describe the economy as an ecosystem. I think this has the effect of sacralizing it, because if the market is sacred, if it's a divine web of infinite complexity, than we can only diminish it if we lay our mere mortal hands on its invisible one.

But in reality, the economy is simply a series of choices made by people. And if prices and profits lead to immoral choices, then it’s up to a government of the people, people with a conscience, to go ahead and bite the invisible hand that feeds it.

This video originally appeared in The Toronto Star

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