Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bad Faith

Kirby Cairo describes the impossibility of honest disagreement with dishonest political hacks:
The problem is, however, that not all disagreements are rooted in honest differences of opinion. This is where the rightwing ideology of a man like Harper comes in. If Harper honestly believed that his political approach would bring about a better and more prosperous society, then our differences of opinion would be just that - differences of opinion. The problem is that all the evidence (both contemporary and historical) suggest that this is just not the case. In other words that are other, unstated, goals behind contemporary rightwing rhetoric that make honest discourse impossible, to say nothing of unfruitful.
The problem is, of course, obvious. We cannot have honest disagreements with people who are not being honest. Even under the best of conditions, disagreements can be problematic. Some people have better access to information, a larger platform for making their opinions known, or are simply better equipped to debate a particular issue. This is one of the many reasons that people on the left seek greater equality of opportunity, to remove as much as possible the relations of power that continually haunt our differences. But when those opposing you are not only richer and more powerful, but are simply not being honest about their actual goals, then the very notion of discourse becomes meaningless.
Right. "Bad Faith." This was described elsewhere in a book about how Canada's Parliament was built to accommodate good faith debating. Where some minimal standards of decency and etiquette were taken as a given. A place not designed for deliberate liars and anti-parliamentarian despots like harper.
Canada's time-honoured system of responsible government is failing us. This principle, by which the executive must be accountable to the people's elected representatives, was fought for and won over 160 years ago, but we now see that achievement slipping away. Our constitution and its unwritten conventions no longer provide effective constraints on a prime minister's power. The result: a dysfunctional system, in which the Canadian constitution has degenerated into whatever the prime minister decides it is, and a Parliament that is effectively controlled by the prime minister, instead of the other way around.
Obviously, stephen harper isn't the first Canadian politician who lied and "conservatives" don't have a monopoly on deceit. I will say though, that no prime minister has been so obviously full of shit stephen harper and no group of Canadians has been so blatantly dishonest as present-day "conservatives." The way to understand the paranoid levels of secrecy of the harpercons is that, as stupid and vile as they are, these clowns are aware that when they speak their inner thoughts out loud, they sound ridiculous.

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