Word has it that Stephen Harper wants to clamp down on individual liberties on the pretext that national security demands such a clamp down. Murray Dobbins writes that Harper should -- but won't -- answer some very inconvenient questions:
The bigger questions remain to be asked and so they won't likely be answered. Mr. Harper, who eagerly adheres to the (simplistic) idea that jihadists "hate our freedoms," might reasonably be asked to explain why he is so eager to destroy those freedoms in response to the jihadists' "war" against the West. Isn't that exactly what they want -- or does Harper want to rid us of freedoms so the jihadists won't hate us so much? Wouldn't a genuine response be to celebrate and enhance our freedoms even more (perhaps by ending the auditing of groups critical of the government)?
There is another question the government seems decidedly uninterested in: What is it about our Western societies -- supposedly the model for the entire world, morally, culturally and socially superior -- that alienates some young people so much that they can suddenly decide it's all right to kill innocents and it's worth dying for a cause so remote and alien to their lived experience that it is scarcely possible to believe they can understand it let alone truly embrace it? Could it possibly have anything to do with 35 years of neoliberal assault on community and consumer capitalism's failure to provide meaning to their lives beyond purchasing the next electronic gadget?
No one seems to wonder whether or not Harper's foreign policy has anything to do with what has happened:
The other question not being asked is what would a rational, enlightened (we are enlightened, right?), effective response to so-called "radical" Islam look like? The "this changes everything" gang certainly don't intend to change Canada's foreign policy or recommend a change to its allies. Yet it is key to any long-term solution.
But arriving at long term solutions means "committing sociology." And the Harperian vision has always been short term. It stretches no further than winning the next election. One can only hope that Canadians -- who may not be as cynical as their prime minister -- are at least smarter than he is.