Thursday, 26 March 2015

Idiocy

Earlier this week, Thomas Mulcair more or less called Prime Minister Stephen Harper an idiot. That's an exaggeration to be sure. If we were to be more specific he called the argument idiotic.

Surely, it's not the most idiotic thing to happen in the house this year but it certainly doesn't raise the level of discourse. Truth be told, Aaron Wherry got there first on hitting back at this line of dismissive thinking, so I won't bother going down that road.

Instead let's play a quick game. I'm going to outline a situation, and you playing the role of the NDP, will explain to me where you stand on it?

K?

Let's go:

There's some really bad stuff going down. 
We would like to do something about it. 
The something we're doing may break the law. 

Alright, NDP, are you for or against taking action here? 

...

..

.

I guess I'm going to need to be more specific because if we're talking about a pipeline protest, it's entirely probable you support it. In fact, quite a lot of your opposition to C-51 (the "Totally not a Canadian Patriot act" bill) seems to be concern around civil disobedience being labelled as terrorism. Essentially noting that sometimes doing the right thing requires breaking the law. 

K, let's try this again then:

There's some really bad stuff going down. 
We would like to do something about it. 
The something we're doing may break international law. 

Oh well this is clearly just a bridge too far. A local environmental protest needs pay no attention to laws or rulings. International terrorist organizations that have been kidnapping and murdering on religious grounds? Sorry, kiddo. We gotta respect the law. 

Ultimately, I'm no cheerleader for the military action in Syria and Iraq. While there's no shortage of regional nuance, it's ultimately a moral judgement. Essentially, I keep coming back to these questions and can't get past them: 

"When was the last time the west got involved in the middle east and it made anything better?" 
"What do you do in the 21st century where you can communicate any idea with ease, with a religiously motivated uprising of violence and general douchebaggery?" 

Here's a bonus question if you're like me and you've completely given up on getting a restful sleep:

"Are there dangerous ideas, or only dangerous people and actions?"

That last one relates back to C-51 as well. The government has made it pretty clear there is, in their view, dangerous ideas. I know slippery slope is a fallacy, but a Minority Report future doesn't seem that far off. 

These are questions for debate and discussion. I hope that there will come a day where these debates and discussions are far more civilized than the idiocy we saw in the house this week. 

Really, though. If I told you 4 years ago that the "War on Terror" would become the Canadian topic de jour - you probably could have guessed where the CPC, NDP, and LPC would end up on their policies. So as much as I'd enjoy a thoughtful and nuanced debate around these issues - we voted CPC in with a majority and they can do what they want because of it. Maybe if Canadians were to lose their irrational fear of coalitions, we could try persuasion over bludgeoning again.

One thing I do know about this "war" is that the goals are entirely unrealistic. You can, perhaps, "degrade" a terrorist organization. To suggest that you can "destroy" it is really just idiocy. 

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