The most disturbing expression of this government’s relativism is what one might call its relativization of knowledge. That it could casually dismiss the unanimous expert opposition to the bill, without bothering to offer a rebuttal, shows contempt not just for those involved but for the whole concept of expertise. Experts can sometimes get it wrong, of course, even where they are agreed. But the insinuation here is that they are wrong because they are experts, of which their very unanimity is further proof.
That way lies madness, as we saw in the long-form census “debate.” It takes us into a partisan Bizarro World, where the more indefensible the policy is, the more it must be correct — for the more universal the expert dissent it arouses, the more this is taken as evidence, not that the policy is crazy, but of a kind of academic class hatred of the Harper government.
That’s one possible explanation, certainly. The other is that it’s crazy.
And so I have some questions about how the chief and the force have performed in this investigation. These are mostly overshadowed in the public debate by my concerns about how the mayor and his brother have performed, in their jobs and otherwise. But the way in which we’ve come to know so much about the mayor may be unsettling to me.
Ed Keenan pinpoints one of the most uncomfortable dynamics underlying this whole Blair-vs.-Ford shitshow: is our disgust with the brothers so profound, and so complete, that we’re prepared to sign off on getting rid of them By Any Means Necessary? Whatever It Takes? That’s an express ride to End-Justifies-The-Meansville.
Rather than “reaching out” to Canadians, political parties have been busy dividing the population into likely and unlikely voters; lists of friends and enemies. They now have the technology and the databases to do that sorting in an extremely sophisticated way.
It’s resulted in a world of absolutes, where you’re either 100 per cent right or 100 per cent wrong. The conversation, if it can be called that, consists of people yelling past each other and drive-by insults to the intelligence of anyone who doesn’t agree entirely with the team.
Who wants to live that way? Are we surprised that so few Canadians want to join political parties — or even listen to them?
Damn good question from Susan Delacourt, and succinct anaylsis of how and why public discourse has gotten so debased. And the attendant civic disengagement.
This is why Mr Obama calling inequality the “defining issue of our time” has moral resonance. It has nothing to do with the rabble envying Sub-Zero refrigerators. It is not about the iPhone/cheapo-cell phone gap. Inequality is problematic not because it makes some people jealous of others but because it effectively locks millions of people out of opportunities to improve their lives. Ms Anderson put it well: “To live in a low-crime, orderly, unpolluted neighborhood, free of run-down and abandoned property, graffiti-marred buildings, open drug dealing, prostitution, and gangs; to have access to public parks where one’s children can safely play, to well-maintained sidewalks and roads, to schools that offer an education good enough to qualify one for more than menial, dead-end jobs: how many cell phones and athletic shoes is that worth?”
In The Economist. Go figure.
There’s also that immutable problem known as “human nature.” It has a name now: it’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect, which says, in sum, that the dumber you are, the more confident you are that you’re not actually dumb. And when you get invested in being aggressively dumb…well, the last thing you want to encounter are experts who disagree with you, and so you dismiss them in order to maintain your unreasonably high opinion of yourself. (There’s a lot of that loose on social media, especially.)
… Rob Fordism, the idea, endures. It’s an ideology of resentment, bitterness and negativity. It is politics by dumb slogans rather than considered principles.
The role of the self-hating state is to deliver itself to big business. In doing so it creates a tollbooth economy: a system of corporate turnpikes, operated by companies with effective monopolies.
Video: Russell Brand on environmental destruction, income disparity, and why voting isn’t helping.
<strikethrough>He kicks ass.</strikethrough>
Update: My bad for not following celebrity shenanigans more closely, but evidently Russell Brand is a bit of a dick. This complicates things. Being a dick doesn’t invalidate his argument, but by the same token, the validity of his argument doesn’t excuse him being a dick.
And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.
Almost epic. The context is some pissy dweeb complaining about online gaming, but the dynamics of privilege and power are almost universal. Well done, BioWare.
Just ran across this. More on cycling and winning the door prize.
- Via @yvonnebambrick, working to eliminate the door prize | #TOpoli #bikeTO
- Cycling in Toronto and the toxic effect of consistent anti-bike rhetoric | #TOpoli #BikeTO
- the penalties for motorists who door cyclists …
- It’s not a War on the Car, it’s a war by cars on everyone else | #TOpoli #TOcouncil #bikeTO