Sunday, May 17, 2009

Seeing the world

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is setting his attack dogs on Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff for the unforgivable crime of actually having lived and worked somewhere else in the world besides Canada.

Harper, like George W. Bush, had hardly traveled outside the boundaries of his country before assuming the minority leadership - and it shows.

Arrogance, ignorance of other cultures, speaking and understanding only one language, and entrenched provincialism have suddenly been raised to the status of virtues.

Thus we have the spectacle of such narrow minded people attacking civilizations thousands of years old and telling them how things should be done.

Canada is only 142 years old, the U.S. only 233 and yet they trumpet their superiority wherever they go as if it was divinely granted and sanctioned by providence as a beacon to the rest of the world.

What fools they make us look and how these other people must snigger to watch these little puffed-up dictators strut around the world leaving disaster wherever they go.

Scott Horton, a constitutional lawyer based in Washington DC has been watching successive administrations in the U.S. destroy the basis of their society. Canada is no better. Harper's neo-Cons ignore laws they don't like, spread misinformation about legally acceptable procedures (e.g. formation of a coalition government), and hide themselves behind a wall of secrecy. Their hypocrisy in the last few years has been breathtaking.

From Scott Horton's blog at Harper's (what an unfortunate coincidence with the name), a quote from John Stuart Mill about learning from the unfamiliar.

"It is hardly possible to overstate the value, in the present low state of human improvement, of placing human beings in contact with persons dissimilar to themselves, and with modes of thought and action dissimilar to themselves, and with modes of thought and action unlike those with which they are familiar…. Such communication has always been, and is particularly in the present age, one of the primary sources of progress."

–John Stuart Mill, The Principles of Political Economy: With Some of Their Applications to Social Philosophy, bk v, ch xvii, sec 3 (1848) in: The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, vol 3, p. 594.

Meanwhile, Jeff Huber's latest post about the disaster that is Afghanistan is up on his blog today.

Sounds like there are lots of "desirable outcomes" but no plans how to get there.

Try that tactic on your next road trip.

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