Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The New Solitudes

Gerry Nicholls writes that there are two Canadas. Not the two solitudes Hugh Maclennan described seventy years ago -- although reaction in Quebec to the recently passed omnibus crime bill suggests that we may revisit history. The New Solitudes -- according to Nicholls -- are best described as Political Junkie Land and Regular Canadian Land. The latter category sounds suspiciously like what Sarah Palin calls "Real Americans:"

Political Junkie Land, for instance, is populated with party partisans, political hacks, journalists, activists, and politicians.

It's a land where politics is the national sport. Political Junkie Landers love to discuss and debate policy and political process; they are fascinated with the "politics of politics;" for fun they read political opinion polls and watch public affairs programs. And they love to passionately debate each other over the minutest of political issues.

Regular Canadian Land, on the other hand, is a nation that's composed of average non-ideological, non-partisan Canadians. And they care about stuff that affects their daily lives.

They worry about paying for their kids' education; they are concerned about keeping their jobs and paying for their mortgages. They are not concerned with the inner workings of public policy and politics. They care more about NHL standings than they do about standings of political opinion polls.

Yet Political Junkie Landers erroneously believe that what matters to them must also matter to the residents of Regular Canadian Land.

Sheer political sophistry -- something that Mr. Nicholls and Stephen Harper have practised throughout their careers. In the end, Nicholls writes, roboscam will amount to nothing. We shall see.


karen said...

"Yet Political Junkie Landers erroneously believe that what matters to them must also matter to the residents of Regular Canadian Land."

I'm sorry- what? I don't know anyone who follows politics in a vaccuum. I guess I would inhabit political junkie land (if I thought we could be categorized that way), but the things that I discuss with others have real consequences for all of us.
Sure, the whole pipeline debate is political, but whichever side you're on, the outcome will affect people- it might cost a few people a whack of short term profits, or it might do catastrophic damage to a coastline and ecosystem, but neither of those consequences are only going to happen to the political people who are debating it. We are all in this together.
I am not sure if Nicholls' position is just stupid or stupid and dangerous.

BTW, I really enjoy your blog and your comments at other blogs always make me think.

Owen Gray said...

If you go to Nicholls' blog, Karen, you'll note that someone has referred to him as a "brilliant strategist."

Certainly, your comment calls that judgment into question. And you're absolutely correct. In spite of Nicholls' and Harper's attempts to divide us into the "worthy" and the "unworthy," the truth is that we are all in this together.

thwap said...

Sophistry indeed!

How does politics not have anything to do with paying for somebody's education???

How does politics not have anything to do with paying for your mortgage?

The only thing I could agree with was that sometimes NHL standings are of middling more importance than a stupid opinion poll.

But blissful ignorance about politics is actually a hindrance to understanding your life and your prospects. That's why we fight.

Owen Gray said...

Nicholls thinks that he's an ordinary guy speaking for ordinary people, thwap.

The man who Nicholls praises grew up in considerable comfort. He has never really spent time with ordinary people -- and he certainly does not support their interests.

ChrisJ said...

I guess if they spin it, deny it, project the "correct" view of it, and otherwise explain away roboscam, we - the aw shucks just gimme my beer - folks will be appropriately wowed and forget about it. Wishful thinking (and insulting to boot).

Owen Gray said...

It's really insulting when these people claim they have their collective thumb on the pulse of ordinary folks, Chris.

It's part and parcel of the general contempt they feel for their opponents, for government and for the citizens of this country.