Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Constitutional Pedantry Justified*

* Now with "What He Said" and "Support Our Troops" updates!

Anyone who wondered how badly we need to restore dignity, authority and competence to the office of Governor General and beg of it to take ultimate executive authority away from the giggling psych-ward outpatients who now pretend to national leadership needs to understand that our current prime minister thinks democracy is dangerous. No, really.

Just when you were starting to bow under the apparently persuasive weight of the endlessly reiterated insistence that Stephen Harper has changed—that he is not the state-hating, anarcho-libertarian, free-market fundamentalist he used to be—the man himself proclaims that, since the "games" (he means "debates") that go on in Parliament are so frightening to international finance, the House is better off kept empty.

Disappointingly, Harper failed to pursue his train of thought to its logical conclusion and announce the indefinite suspension of Parliament and the immediate proscription of all political parties (except his own) in order to ensure that Canada remains attractive to the sharks that ply the world's capital markets. Perhaps he’s just waiting for his blue sweater to come back from the dry cleaner’s, as he would wish, of course, to sport his “harmless eunuch” look when promulgating that particular edict.



What He Said:

I just came across this week-old editorial by noted constitutional scholar Errol Mendes (of my dear old University of Ottawa) and thought I would share it with you. It’s so close to the spirit of my last post that it might have served as its contextual preface. I was quite surprised to read Mendes explicitly argue that Harper’s prorogation was undeniably unconstitutional (as in illegal).


"Support Our Troops":

On a lighter (though, also, darker) note, I thought I would pass along a clip of Noam Chomsky deploying his rarely used stand-up skills. Here, he talks about what asinine, bumper-sticker-ready slogans like “Support Our Troops” are designed to accomplish on behalf of √©lite objectives.

Given that the latest Parliamentary suspension might go down in history as the “Support-Our-Troops” Interlude (as it barred the evil Opposition from doing the Taliban’s work in their subversive House committees) and given that Chomsky’s guild syndicalism is the closest thing to Romantic-Jacobean Toryism of which modern Americans appear capable, I believe the clip to be more than glancingly apropos.

Noam Chomsky, ladies and gentlemen. Well into his eighties, and still really, really angry. Now that’s my kind of guy.


8 comments:

Dylan said...

Bravo, Sir Francis!

Since the King/Byng affair, the GG has been cautious to do anything that is outside the opinion of the PMO. And rightfully so since the Parliamentary Crisis of 2008 proved how easily swayed the Canadian public can be when arguments of "democracy" are employed - albeit misdirected.

It's odd how Canadians would want to elect their Senators and Governor Generals as opposed to having them appointed by the Prime Minister - yet, voter turnout is in a constant downward spiral. Canadians like the idea of being able to have a say in what happens in Ottawa, yet, given the current political climate (Prorogation Part II excluded) will probably fall short of taking up the tasks of civic duty (which goes beyond election day and being critically and actively engaged in our political system).

To be honest, I envy those who find Harper appealing. I wish I couldn't see past that piano and his sweater. However, I am energized that people are catching on. I refuse to believe that Canadians will continue to be duped by the Rovian style of Harper's politics. Hopefully on January 23, my energy will not be in vain and we see admirable attendances at NoProrogue Rallies across the country.

Peter Burnet said...

If you are collecting vapid slogans, here is one from an MSN story yesterday on Obama's request for increased funding for Iraq and Afghanistan:

The administration also plans to tell Congress next month that its central military objectives for the next four years will include winning the current wars while preventing new ones...

Now, that's what I call an exit strategy!

Ti-Guy said...

The administration also plans to tell Congress next month that its central military objectives for the next four years will include winning the current wars while preventing new ones...

Yes, that's exactly the same as "support the troops" which, if I'm not mistaken, is a meaningless slogan that has been promoted domestically.

What anyone sees in this tiresome, distracting, cross-border partisan bore is beyond me. I suppose, for Tories, it's refreshing to dialogue with a soi-disant conservative who at least bothers to feign erudition and intellectual depth, but over the years, I don't see what it has accomplished, especially when we Canadians are dealing with substantive threats to national sovereignty and our civic values, which are the only things we have in common.

I know, it's uncivil. But this is serious business and requires focus, not distraction.

On topic: I actually had my fill of constitutional deliberations last year and am now only concerned about what happens next. It could be thrilling, it could be demoralising, it could be completely surprising. I'm so hesitant to make any predictions because I honestly don't know where we're headed anymore. Back in the early 90's, I assumed the creation of the World Wide Web would put an end to the sophisticated propaganda that elites are required to use to manipulate and control free people, but I didn't count on the elites being so forthright about just how little use they have for democracy and never believed that the people themselves would come to see it as an impediment to their freedom, which I believe the Chinese have figured out.

Maybe it's time to start learning Mandarin so when I'm accused of being dogmatically anti-Chinese, I'll be able to challenge that with some degree of credibility.

Tomm said...

Sir Francis,

Entertaining, as always. Keep up the good work.

Chomsky is a bit of a side bar. He is spouting American socialist boiler plate and yet you are somehow linking this with Harper's prorogation. Have I got that right?

You don't think your reaching? Even just a little? Come on, you can fess up.

Ti-Guy said...

He is spouting American socialist boiler plate...

I see you're as toxically stupid as ever.

Why do you even bother? You can't enjoy being an asshole that much, can you?

In this particular clip, Chomsky's talking about propaganda. Why is that so hard for you to appreciate?

Tomm said...

Ti,

Thank you for those kind words.

The link isn't just tenuous, it is the product of such a tortured bit of logic that only Sir Francis could have managed it.

Harper ~ democracy is dangerous ~ prorogation is "illegal" ~ indefinite suspension of Parliament ~ Support our Troops ~ American jingoism explained by Chomsky

It is like a rug weaved by Scott Reid.

The reason my stupidity is "toxic" is because I am the only one saying "stop the insanity"

Sir Francis said...

He is spouting American socialist boiler plate and yet you are somehow linking this with Harper's prorogation.

No. I'm linking Chomsky's hilarious excoriation of idiotic slogans like "Support Our Troops" with Harper and Co.'s routine use of such slogans.

The ridicule of idiocy is not "socialist boiler-plate", by the way. It's something smart people to do, instinctively.

...it is the product of such a tortured bit of logic that only Sir Francis could have managed it.

"Tortured" is my logic, eh? How odd, then, that it always has enough strength (after hours on the rack, presumably) to withstand your attempts to controvert it.

Ti-Guy said...

The reason my stupidity is "toxic" is because I am the only one saying "stop the insanity"

What motivates your stupidity is an issue worth considering, but at least you agree it's toxic.