Sunday, April 23, 2006

All The Wrong Questions Period

Watching that hopelessly befuddled bird-faced hack, Craig Oliver, on this afternoon's Question Period I, as ever, was driven to coffee-spilling fury. To Ujjal Dossanjh and Russ Hiebert he blithered a thin veil of concerns about "public opinion" turning against Canadian involvement in Afghanistan. As though—I confess, I screamed at my television—public opinion was informed by anything more than a vague knowledge of the number of Canadian deaths on the mission to date. As though it was informed by even an inkling of the reasons for the mission itself.

When, I ask myself, did this smooth transition happen: public opinion of a given issue replacing the issue itself? ... I mean, what the hell do the bulk of Canadians know about Afghanistan?! Apart from the number of other Canadians who, apparently, have an opinion for or against public opinion?

Tell you what, Craig, conduct a survey of a reasonably representative cross-section of Canadians, asking specific questions about the objectives of the mission and the realities of present day Afghanistan. Most, I suspect, will tell you that the war with Afghanistan was started because George W. Bush wanted to control Middle Eastern oil interests; that the UN did not approve the invasion; that while Saddam Hussein was a very bad man, Afghanistan is no better off without him.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

In Lieu of Any Wisdom of His Own

What I want to fix your attention on is the vast, overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination of every kind of human excellence--moral, cultural, social, or intellectual. And is it not pretty to notice how Democracy (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work that was once done by the most ancient Dictatorships, and by the same methods? You remember how one of the Greek Dictators (they called them 'tyrants' then) sent an envoy to another Dictator to ask his advice about the principles of government. The second Dictator led the envoy into a field of corn, and there he snicked off with his cane the top of every stalk that rose an inch or so above the general level. The moral was plain. Allow no pre-eminence among your subjects. Let no man live who is wiser, or better, or more famous, or even handsomer than the mass. Cut them all down to a level; all slaves, all ciphers, all nobodies. All equals. Thus Tyrants could practice, in a sense, 'democracy'. But now 'democracy' can do the same work without any other tyranny than her own. No one need now go through the field with a cane. The little stalks will now of themselves bite the tops off the big ones. The big ones are beginning to bite off their own in their desire to Be Like Stalks.

-C.S. Lewis "Screwtape Proposes A Toast"