Saturday, June 28, 2008

You should have seen the one that got away!

It was THIS BIG!!!!

So might the Canadian Human Rights Commission recount their aborted investigation of Maclean's and Mark Steyn. I agree with the prevailing opinion in the blogosphere: Maclean's and Steyn were just too big to reel in without a lot of sweating and broken rods, so they opted to toss them back. David Warren predicts in today's Ottawa Citizen
It is against this background the CHRC decided that the better part of valour is discretion, and that it truly did not need to be prosecuting such high-profile targets as the bestselling author Mark Steyn and the mainstream newsweekly Maclean's, at the present time. The CHRC can retrench, and return to its bread-and-butter business of destroying little people who command no publicity -- biding their time until circumstances are propitious to "extend their mandate" again.

I agree with him that these revolutionary tribunals were set up by zealots while Canadians were sleeping. I just don't have that much optimism that Canadians are now waking up, or even wish to. There's a certain strain of passivity and fatalistic submissiveness that Canadians have always had, a feeling that the government must have good reasons for what it's doing, and it's unseemly to object. It's certainly upsetting to actually thrash about and fight back - we have an innate prejudice in favour of the authority figure who wields the big stick, and are embarrassed by someone else's active opposition. Wouldn't it just be easier to yield the point for the sake of a quiet life? Surely that's the reasonable thing to do! Unfortunately, we're no longer living in a reasonable country, or dealing with reasonable people. We are dealing with megalomaniacs, who have an endless list of "quiet life" activities that they want to punish us for.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may not be much comfort, but you're still a democracy aren't you?
Someone recently said, 'we voted ourselves into this mess, we can vote ourselves out of it.'

Even if Canadians are passive, surely there must be something, such as high taxes, that would motivate citizens to take an interest in exactly what the government is doing.

1:18 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Yes, we're a democracy, and that's part of the problem. People are not really that upset about losing their freedoms; they voted for these politicians, and they'd vote for them again. They've got a wooly, hazy instinct that nothing really bad has happened to them yet, so nothing very serious is going on, and they're not the least bit inclined to look more deeply into it than that. It's mostly indolence, but it's also part shiftiness - as C.S. Lewis described it, that lurking fear that if they DO look into it, endless trouble might result, and they might actually be expected to do something. Much better just to drift by and pretend not to have noticed.

I'm no great truster in democracy to solve all ills, anyway. It works as well as the people who are operating it, and if they deteriorate into lazy, ignorant cowards, nothing will get better. It won't be the first time this has happened.

9:15 am  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

Protest is to a Canadian as free speech is to Dean Steacy - an american concept to which they ascibe no value.

9:35 pm  
Blogger Craig Goodrich said...

[Deep sad sigh ...] Whatever happened to the lovely Canada I remember from my adolescence in the '50s -- well-tended flower patches on every spare square foot of public property, Players, at least one Chinese restaurant in every block downtown, and real beer?

(I began my life of crime smuggling LaBatt's IPA from Gananoque, Ontario to an island on the NY side. I do hope there's a Statute of Limitations, especially since LaBatt's has apparently Budweisered itself and the crime would now be pointless. Sigh again ...)

At any rate, this Yank commiserates with you. We're probably the ones who invented identity politics, but it seems to have taken even solider root up there, like the Japanese kudzu down south. Or like what the Japanese did with German cameras...

* * *

Dr. M, there's an old Libertarian aphorism to the effect that the reason the politicians always win is that they're professionals, while the voters are at best talented amateurs. Perhaps that, rather than citizen indolence, provides an explanation of the gradual rotting of democracy.

Another possible explanation -- now dated, but the underlying principle remains -- is presented here.

12:17 pm  

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