Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stephen Harper - Trying to Convert Canada Into "Idiocracy"?

Great story over at Far and Wide about Harper and his "economic genius".

It's kinda stupid (okay, completely stupid) how someone who's never worked in the role, and dropped out of his first university where he was studying the subject, can claim to be any kind of "expert" on the subject. At what time - between being a Parliamentary "hack" in the Mulroney government, to a "hack" working for Preston Manning, to a "hack" for the National Citizen's Coaltion - did Harper have time to be "an economist"?

The post at Far and Wide thanks Harper for his "great time to buy stock" advice, and it so completely highlights Harper's idiocy. It also highlights the ignorance of the public who were duped into voting for him - a life-long "back-room hack". Note how he constantly attacks what he calls "ivory tower elitists"? Is there pent-up animosity against the academics who called his bluff and forced him out of the U of T (one of the top universities in the world)? Is he angry about not being accepted into the fraternity of economists? At not ever being accorded employment in his chosen field?

There is more to Harper's dissection of all things "academic". There is the required (for Conservative success) "dumbing down" of the debate. Lower the level of discourse. Make everything an "angry" "I'm not gonna take it anymore" shouting match. The angry individual speaks. Make the debate about nothing. Make it about issues that frighten people. Lowest common denominator issues. Get people more worried about their donut or six-pack, or the hockey game score - or the next episode of reality TV, than about issues that matter. Make them fear the scapegoat (foreigners, terror, crime - even though it's the lowest it's been in decades).

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When an issue that matters comes up, get back into the angry debate mode. Turn it into a shouting match. If you are on the proven wrong side, and 99% of experts are against you, get the 1% of experts, arm them with lots of money and media exposure, and then tirade about how "both sides should be heard equally"...Eventually the media feels guilty about "not giving both sides equal coverage" (even though one side is 90% of the population). We have seen this in the "climate change" debate.

The dumbing down of the debate is part of a larger "lulling to sleep" of the population. Let people be excited about their baubles and "little shiny objects". Sell them on a constant diet of perceived personal freedom (while constantly creating the police state). Sell them on a consumerist mindset - because that is what our "corporate overlords", ad agencies, government members who sit on corporate boards, and shareholders want. Let rampant consumerism rule, then let people spend their lives in the "rat-race" finding ways to get a better job to afford the latest Bimmer, or LCD TV. Then, dismantle the government and all it's services. Give this all to private industry, so your business buddies can profit. Maybe you will too, if you sit on the board of the corporations, or are a shareholder. In the meantime, you can watch the national infrastructure collapse.

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The other factor is the creation of the "Joe the Plumber" mentality. Find people so ill-informed that they will support a party of anger and mis-placed machismo. Create a society where no-one questions the almighty dollar - even if that dollar goes right over your head, and directly into the hands of the "corporate class". There is a fast growing class in this country that suffers from lower education, poorer socio-economic backgrounds, and a desire for self-flagellation. This group of people are convinced by populist and "lowest-common-denominator" politics to support the party least likely to help them in their daily lives. People who should most likely be voting left seek out the angry (but macho) extreme right wing and plant themselves there.

I had the fortune of running across one of these folks in Regina a few years ago, while door-knocking. The young gentleman was a slightly mentally-challenged, unemployed (on welfare) youth (all according to his info), who had 3 Reform Party signs (on his lawn, his front door, and an upstairs window) on his property. The home turned out to be his mother's. We decided to knock the door anyway - because I recognized the name, and because this individual rode the same bus I did to school a few years before. That, and I enjoy a challenge. This young man was adamant about supporting the Reformers. Even after we talked about his special needs, and that Preston Manning (and Harper's old party) were bent upon removing the safety net that supported him, he insisted he would vote Reform. It wasn't a candidate issue - he didn't even know who the guy was. Why was he voting Reform? Because the candidate had told him he didn't have a job because "some immigrant took his job". He was also told that the Liberals were taking his dad's guns away. He figured he would support a party that would keep out the foreigners who kept him from working, and let them keep their guns.

Politics dumbed down? You bet. This poor fellow could not weigh out the benefits to him of voting for someone else, versus a party that would see his conditions worsen. I even implored him to consider the NDP, when he refused to consider us. No dice. He would choose a party that may put him out on the street without any food or shelter, versus considering a party that would (supposedly) take away his "right" to sport hunt. Wow. Give up your daily bed and board for a sport. If someone told me I had a choice between not skating anymore, or having a bed, a home, and 3 squares, I'd certainly choose the latter.

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There is more afoot here than incompetence in the highest office of the land. Harper the brooding "genius". Sometimes "cerebral-looking people" are simply grasping for an answer, and are actually just plain stupid. Sometimes they are planning a war on common sense, and the dismantling of a just society.

A war has been mounted in this land, and in the US, against "intelligence". It's about time the intelligent strike back.


1 comment:

The Mound of Sound said...

Unfortunately (and I am being serious about this), Steve Harper is a man for the ages, so long as it's the 80's. His economics and his politics are embedded in an age that has passed by.

Read the latest US intelligence estimates, prepared for Obama, that forecast the world we'll be dealing with from here on in. You can get a precis of them in The Times of London website.

If we've ever needed a generational shift in leadership, this is it. We need people of vision, those, for example, who see global warming as just one of several challenges we have to address.

Harper is mired in the past. I hope the LPC can find a leader who can grasp what lies ahead, the issues Canada and Candians must confront.