Friday, February 13, 2009

Barbara Bear

On the subject of his recent appearance at Queen's Park, Mark Steyn observes:
The default assumption of my all-white liberal-left interrogators was that, if it weren't for Ontario's "human rights" regime, the citizenry would revert to their ugliest knuckledragging inclinations. At one level, this is perplexing. If the natural condition of an Ontarian is to be a racist sexist hatemonger, how have all these nice progressive members of parliament somehow managed to rise above such genetic predispositions? Why are they so uniquely equipped to keep the rest of the citizenry in check?

Well, of course, they're not. But a contempt for the citizenry at large is necessary to justify their and Commissar Hall's sinecures.
Now, I don't doubt that this is basically the case, but I think Steyn is overlooking something of equal importance here. Namely: the inscrutably earnest belief that Barbara Hall et al have, that theirs is a righteous cause. Sorry, that theirs is the righteous cause. No doubt Steyn avoids any lengthy discussion of this precisely because of its inscrutability, but it seems to me that a point of some importance is lost by reducing the matter to mere contempt for the public and bureaucratic self-seeking.

For, while Barbara Hall may be many things--dumb, dumb, and dumb, to name but three--cynical she is not. (Indeed, you get a strong impression that if she were asked what cynicism meant, she'd give the definition for pessimism ... the definition being: Grumpy.) Nor, I am convinced, does she have any ambitions towards some kind of moral dictatorship. Not in her own reckoning, anyway. When Babs says, in effect, that she is serving the cause of free speech by limiting free speech, there isn't a doubt in my mind that she wholeheartedly believes it, and that she believes herself to be humbly providing for the good of her fellow men by so advocating.

Wholeheartedly, note. As distinct from whole-brainedly.

The thing about Barbara Hall is that she's just too much a product of the deadening ideology she so clunkily promotes to be palmed off as some kind of ruthless power seeker. Hell, she's so much a product of it that I don't think she could even qualify as an amateur enthusiast. She's more like a Care Bear. A Care Bear, that is, who forgot the way to Care-A-Lot, decided to make a go of it in Toronto, and, on the advice of a passing U of T Women's Studies student, adjusted the face of her Caring Metre to read "Hate" where it used to have the little rain cloud.

'Skinda cute, you know? ... Weird too, obviously, but the best-of-intentions kind of weird. You know?

My point being that the whole "Commissar Hall" shtick isn't useful to the sort of person who knows that Barbara Hall is really just a Care Bear. She's silly, she's vapid, she's for kids. OK, they say, so she's the Care Bear with the thousand yard Care Bear Stare--what did you expect after they showed her Schindler's List?--but she couldn't possibly do anyone any real harm. She's a fuckin' Care Bear, for Christ's sake! 'Sjust a stupid TV show!

Suggest to this sort of person that Barbara Hall thinks him/her on the brink of reverting to their ugliest knuckledragging inclinations and they'll ask you how you were so easily baited by an idiot. They know just as well as anyone else that well-meaning fools can't be tyrants.

They're a little fuzzier on why it is that fools have the habit of preceding tyrants, of course.

But you take my point.

(Tune in next week for a further discussion of Barbara-Hall-as-symptom-rather-than-cause-of-Canada's-woes, in a piece I shall very cleverly entitle The Rise of the Mittelmensch.)