Monday, February 02, 2015

No Great Man

Stephen Harper is a champion of disaster democracy. Michael Harris writes:

Disaster democracy needs just three things; an atrocious event, a political leader sufficiently cynical not to let any catastrophe go to waste, and a public mindset willing to exchange liberties for the illusion of safety.

The great benefit of disaster democracy is that draws away public attention from matters of the government’s record and redirects it to a more emotional plane. It’s weakness is its limited appeal; disaster democracy only works with frightened populations.

His record is now clear for all to see. But he's doing everything in his power to divert public attention from that record. And he has seized upon the shootings at Charlie Hebdo to create that diversion. The problem, however, is that:

Wise leaders don’t build public policy on single events or facile solutions. The Liberals learned that in Canada when they brought in a wildly ill-considered gun registry in reaction to the massacre of 14 women at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989.

After the biggest mass murder in its history, the shooting of 77 people by right-wing extremist Anders Breivick, the Norwegian government didn’t think it was worth changing their society in the name of a deranged criminal. Not one new law was proclaimed. Somehow Norway has survived. A billion dollars later, the gun registry didn’t.

Small men hide from the world. They call forth the worst in us and play upon our fears. In the midst of a crisis, great men appeal to our better angels. Franklin Roosevelt firmly declared:

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.

Roosevelt was a great man. Stephen Harper fans the flames of nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror. He seeks to transform Canada into a disaster democracy. He is no great man.


Lorne said...

The Great Demagogue has much to answer for, Owen. in actively working against the traditions and national character that make Canada unique in the world, Harper has debased all of us and, sadly, dragged far too many people down to his level.

Owen Gray said...

His unique talent -- if you can call it that -- has been to drag us all down into the muck, Lorne.

By the way, my wife and I spent our honeymoon in Cuba. We understand why it appeals to you.

Scotian said...

No, he is a cowering little man, hence why he is now known as Captain Cowered.

This is yet again where having lived the full Cassandra curse sucks so much. I not only saw but warned of exactly this sort of danger about Harper, and that allowing him to succeed would mean letting his approach to politics also gain credibility to the detriment of us all. This is alas only the latest chapter ion that long deep descent into the festering pile of waste and excrement that he along with is brethren in the far right wing NA conservative moment have brought us. These days Harper is making Lee Atwater seem tame and reasonable by comparison, no small feat!

Owen Gray said...

Lee Atwater is an interesting comparison, Scotian. Unfortunately, his brethren have found a home north of the border.

Scotian said...

I could have gone with his more contemporary student, ol' Turd Blossom hisself (got to love the nicknames GWB gave his closest friend/ally), but I thought I'd go back to the true original...LOL. I expected you would catch the reference, I'm not so sure that many Canadians would recognize the name, even among we political types. I've been watching his brethren further infect our discourse for a couple of decades prior to the rise of the Harperium, and I knew with Harper and the CPC they had finally found the vehicle they were looking for to rise to power. I always paid attention to American politics because being the hyper-power they are whenever they sneeze we if lucky catch only a cold and more unlucky get pneumonia. So I've watched the rise of the religious right in the American conservative movement and come to power within the GOP, and seen how they corrupted the GOP from a rational if conservative party into the party of ignorance, dogma, and religiousity that it is today, and I wanted no repetition of that in this country, which was also a reason I was so adamant against Harper, because I knew he was allied with the crazies within the powers that be of the modern GOP.

Part of how I was able to be the Cassandra I was is due to having watched the rise of the moral majority and the way the GOP morphed and then hijacked from the late 70s into the mid to late 90s with the rise of the Gingrich revolution and people like Tom "The Hammer" DeLay in the House of Representatives. Harper was so clearly marked by the same, shall we call them markers, which made understanding just how bad he could be in terms of political operations being bad enough. When I combined that with understanding the nature of Straussians as illustrated by Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, et al, well the fusion of those two elements told me more than enough that Harper should never be allowed anywhere near real power, as the last decade has shown all too clearly for those of us that can see what he has done (to the extent we can given the amount of secrecy, cones of silence, and destruction of information sources and access to information that his government has blocked/destroyed).

Owen Gray said...

I've always found it ironic, Scotian, that Atwater died of brain cancer.

What goes around comes around.

mogs moglio said...

I hope millions are listening to Michael Harris...

mogs moglio said...

The rats are jumping ship:

Owen Gray said...

Perhaps Baird has been reading Party of One, Mogs.

Scotian said...


Repenting of his sins and evil right before he died too. Amazing how the fear for the next life suddenly made him aware of just how wrong his professional life had been on the ol' good-evil scale according the the faith he claimed as his own now isn't it.

As to what goes around, well I've always found it does so with momentum, just not always or even mostly in the ways you might expect too, and that is true for all aspects of that from my life's observations. Although the idea that the man who created such ugly brain eating memes and ads should die from brain cancer is certainly ironic alright. Positively Gilbert and Sullivanish at that.

Owen Gray said...

I'll leave the final judgment on Atwater to heaven, Scotian, assuming that what Mark Twain said about heaven -- that it operates on the principle of favor, not merit -- is right.

But, in the temporal world, Atwater seems to have merited his end.