Monday, May 27, 2013

Dr. Freud Would Be Fascinated



When historians sit down and -- with the advantage of hindsight -- evaluate the Harper years, they will certainly mention the Wright-Duffy Affair. They may conclude that it was the beginning of the end for Stephen Harper. But they will also point out, as does Lawrence Martin, that Wright-Duffy was only one of the prime minister's serial abuses of power -- the Afghan prisoners episode, the F35 debacle, and Harper's two prorogations of Parliament.

When they put these incidents in context, they may conclude that prorogation was Harper's prime directive. Paul Wells wrote in Maclean's last week that Stephen Harper's legacy really is the number of government agencies he has shut down:

Since the 2011 election, Harper has shut down the Health Council of Canada, the National Council of Welfare, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, Rights and Democracy, the First Nations Statistical Institute and the National Council of Visible Minorities. The Millennium Scholarship Foundation, the Council for Canadian Unity and the Canadian Council on Learning were shut down a little earlier. The end of the mandatory long-form census was only the beginning of sharp cuts at Statistics Canada.

But Harper has preferred not to announce most of that. His goal is to last long enough in power to durably limit the federal government’s ability to intervene in Canadian public life. The only part of the job that seems to interest him is the part that involves wandering around Ottawa, boarding up old government offices. And it’s work he’s reluctant to admit to.

Harper has moved beyond policy into the murky realm of pathology. He came to Ottawa to get even with a lot of people. First on his list was Pierre Elliott Trudeau.  But there are darker demons which drive the man.

He would fascinate Dr. Freud.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

"He would fascinate Dr. Freud."

I doubt that Freud would be interested in Harper. He's just another run-of-the-mill vile, vindictive psychopath who happened to gain political power. Other than that, there is nothing in Harper's character or intellect which would interest anyone.

Owen Gray said...

I'll grant you that Harper is the latest in a long line of men and women who seek power to make up for something that's missing, Anon.

Freud encountered many such personalities. And it's precisely what he taught us about them which should have made us wary of Harper from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Owen. More Canadians should be aware of the psychology of their politicians before they vote. Maybe we should include the teachings of Freud, Jung, Adler etcetera in our high schools.

George Kahar said...

You've nailed it! Bravo!

Owen Gray said...

We touch on Freud and Jung in senior English classes, Anon.

But a more thorough knowledge of both -- and Adler, too -- might lead us to make wiser decisions.

Owen Gray said...

When it comes to Harper, George, here's hoping more Canadians -- including those who voted for him last time -- agree with you.

Kirby Evans said...

In the first decade of the 1800s Coleridge wrote a remarkable essay on William PItt which a lot of people have said foreshadows much of Freud. It is a difficult essay to get a hold of but is essentially analyzes Pitt's from the point of view of his childhood and his various pathological problems. It suggests that it was Pitt's lack of love in childhood that gave rise to a man who lacked empathy and couldn't love others that led to his terrible attacks on others as a politician.

I have no doubt that Harper is a similarly scarred man whose entire political career is a spewing of hatred at others. Though, as anonymous says, he is probably too far gone to be redeemed and is, at best, a case study in pathology.

Owen Gray said...

A commenter at The Disaffected Lib claimed that Harper was bullied and suffered from health problems, Kirby. He or she offered no sources.

If that information is true, it would offer some insight into the man. It wouldn't excuse his behaviour. But it would -- at least partially -- explain it.

Kim said...

His grandfather was the same way, vindictive and spiteful, reportedly. A combination of nature and nurture? I would hate to be Laureen and his children, it must be aweful at home.

Sociopaths tend to rise to the top in our economy. Gordon Campbell. Christy Clark. BC leads the way in corruption, even as the media points exclusively at Quebec as the sole source of corruption in this country.

Owen Gray said...

No one owns the store when it comes to corruption, Kim. Toronto The Good is trying to make sense of Rob Ford.

Some Old Guy said...

I, too, have struggled to make sense. This helped.

Owen Gray said...

The problem is, Old Guy, that proving your case doesn't matter to these folks.

Fightfordemocracy said...

Most populations have a few psychopaths. I doubt that why, if ever known, matters politically.

What matters is having a healthy political system that will control such psychopaths and not enable and advance them, as ours does. What we have is a thin veneer of pretend democracy with an out-of-date and thoroughly undemocratic system underneath. Most people`s votes have no effect as you are not represented unless you vote for the winner. There is no way to get rid of leaders, no matter how criminal they are.

Owen Gray said...

There will be another Harper, Fighting, unless we manage to put in place some kind of proportional representation.

And that will take some doing.

e.a.f. said...

Harper may be of interest to Dr. Freud, if he were still alive. what maybe more of interest to Freud would be the Canadian voter who kept electing Harper. For that matter Freud might be interested in the media and their unwillingness to engage Harper. For that matter Freud might be interested in why the opposition didn't do its job. Today, watching Mulcair, was the first time the opposition actually did their job. That hasn't happened since Broadbent was an M.P.

Harper came to office, with an agenda. He has accomplished it. He was clear we would not recognize our country and he has accomplished that.

Living in B.C. and having just seen the voters return the B.C. lieberals, I don't hold out much hope for a national change of heart.

Owen Gray said...

I admit that it's pretty depressing, e.a.f. And some of my fellow bloggers seem to be taking a rest because they, too, feel frustrated.

I agree. Today was the first day the opposition asked short focused questions which required factual answers. It's the only way to deal with a government which is allergic to facts. If nothing else, it makes clear how morally bankrupt the Harperites are.