Tracy Tong of Metro Ottawa had a few questions she wanted answered, a desire for a pic, and a rather peculiarly-phrased word limit of four sentences per topic…
Name: Joseph Furtenbacher
Occupation: The world’s best polymathic macroethicist (moral philosopher of all disciplines, academic of none), with a solid grounding in philosophy, psychology, economics, sociology, politics, history, law, pedagogy, theology, architecture, computers and nutrition, I’ve spent the last six months creating a social networking virus that has changed the focus of human dialogue from finger pointing to solution seeking. Due to my frustration at finding my concepts and style as widely copied as my name was deeply buried, I decided to help everyone involved by running for Mayor of Ottawa, both as a means of helping Ottawans (I assumed they felt they needed any help), and letting the rest of the world know the source of the innovations they’d been bandying about so casually. I also wanted to stop the cherrypicking that has allowed my most beneficial (but unpopular) policies to languish unremarked. At the moment, with my campaign in support of ‘The Man Who Should Be Mayor’, and my blog, https://josephfurtenbacher.wordpress.com, I’m engaged in trying to convince the people of Ottawa that they themselves are worth far more than their status, money and possessions combined.
On transit: As with most of the other monomathic theories I encounter, I find our present transit rationale contains holes big enough to drive a light rail train car through. Our municipal debt stands at around $800,000,000 ($200,000,000 of it added this year), yet we cheerfully contemplate adding hundreds of millions more for the whitest elephant I’ve seen since I started looking for them twenty years ago (it’s good, however, that Mr. Haydon is conscious of the need to recycle the fill that would result from digging a tunnel a hundred feet below street level through rock located adjacent to a fault line, though I don’t know that using it to dam the Ottawa river would be my first choice; and in addition, I can’t help but feel that the eventual ongoing costs of security, cleaning, and machine maintenance will hardly help our bottom line). My plan calls for the laying of double track along the 417-174 corridors from Kanata to Orleans, and along the O-Train-Via Rail corridors from Gatineau to Barrhaven, served by feeder busses via underpass accesses, with a street level (sunken) double-track free-to-use shuttle service from an O-Train line transfer (and fare payment) station, along the Slater-Transitway corridors (Slater will become a corridor by splitting the difference with north-south overpasses), to a similar station on the Queensway line. The rolling stock will be the lightest available that is able to reliably handle our admittedly whimsical winter wonderlands.
On taxes: Tax rationale is the largest part of the competence pillar of my platform (the other three being pragmatism, ethics and vision); it’s largely why I decided to run: I’m firmly convinced that practically everyone else in the world (a notable exception being Ezra Klein) has no idea what they’re talking about; as evidence I offer the crazy-quilt disjointedness that our present ‘systems’ exhibit. My rationales, based as they are on the far more realistic model of human nature provided by evolutionary psychology, provide simpler, more effective policies – I’m not whistling in the dark like most people are, so I can address specific issues in detail while maintaining coherence with the rest of the policies I advocate. For example, to address the status and comfort addiction many people in this city suffer from, I would introduce consumption taxes and subsidies through property tax shifting, so as to benefit businesses who produce sustainable, healthy, and prosocial goods and services, while encouraging those who feel differently towards their customers (or the rest of the world) to take a good look in the mirror. And I think it’s sort of hypocritical to complain about upper levels of government downloading costs when we pay large numbers of ‘public servants’ enough to push them into the top tax bracket; I agreed to work for the median (or representative) income of $40,000 not only so as to remain mindful of the problems faced by our less fortunate residents, but also in order to be able to apply pressure to others who may, perhaps, overvalue the benefits of their services to the many people in our region who continue to wait for such basic necessities as affordable housing or daycare. To anyone who argues that such wage levels would not lead to the employment of the right sort of people, I believe that even these few paragraphs offer an effective rebuttal.
On the environment: I believe that most people in this city are dangerously deluded concerning the degree of sustainability their actions entail; having lived with the crutch of fossil fuels for so long, we have come to consider it a necessity, and therefore a right. For my part, having biked year-round for the last twelve years, I’ve seen staggering numbers of overweight drivers alone in their vehicles speeding to and from jobs which could just as easily have been performed at home, but for the absence of a water cooler. My vision calls for rezoning office buildings and gas stations and raising their rates, as well as implementing progressive residential property taxes (with reductions for those who invest in the production of on-site food or affordable housing) in order to send a message to people who feel that their status is more important other people’s (or species’) health. I will also, assuming enough people care enough about the environment to actually vote for me, spur the creation of rooftop and small-park community gardens and the planting of food trees, and subsidize composting toilets, both to reduce the amount of sewage we dump into the Ottawa river, and to increase the fertility of our region over time.
What’s the one luxury you can’t live without? The belief that someday humans will care as much about themselves as I care about them.
What was the last book you read? Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham, a favourite of long standing.