Friday, May 08, 2009

tolerance n. Fluffy euphemism for nihilism

It was predictable, I know, but the speed with which Michael Ignatieff went from public intellectual to sinisterly vacuous Canadian politician really came as a shock to me. You'll agree, though, that the thoroughness of his transformation is remarkable even by Canadian standards. I mean, while Paul Martin's leap from statesman-ish Minister of Finance to bug-eyed, Tourette's-afflicted Prime Minister was something to behold--in an unfortunate, fat-kid-with-asthma-on-track-and-field-day kind of way-- Ignatieff's seems positively Olympian by comparison. Indeed (and if you'll allow me to switch the metaphor ... again), it seems to me that at this point it's less a case of his having sold-out, as it is of his having sold his soul.

Mark Steyn is well-worth the read on this:
[T]he sedating pretentiousness of Mr. Ignatieff’s prose style shouldn’t disguise the fact that this may be the most morally contemptible statement by a Canadian party leader since Confederation ... When Michael Ignatieff insists that a 'father' 'trying' to take 'two sick little girls to his parents' is 'a story of us,' he is inviting Canadians to collude in a lie as obvious as it is wicked.
And if you haven't already done so, see Robert Fulford on some other of Ignatieff's meta-political fact-tweaking:
[Ignatieff] tells us that William Grant’s son, the philosopher George Grant [i.e. Ignatieff's uncle], respected William’s [i.e. Ignatieff's grandfather's] judgment: “George knew his father was a liberal, both small L and big L, who sometimes voted for the socialist CCF from sheer exasperation.” Perhaps Ignatieff wants his grandfather to have been that sort of liberal but he confuses the wish with the fact. The CCF (precursor of the NDP) was founded in 1932 and didn’t contest a federal election till the autumn of 1935, some months after William Grant’s death.
(Image shamelessly stolen from Darcey.)