Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Demagogues: What Quebec and Texas suffer in common

Christopher Hitchens is gone, leaving a mountain of unfinished work behind. Now, we’ll all have to laugh at his enemies a little harder and better contend with our own.

Quebec leader of the Parti Quebecois Pauline Marois and Texas Governor Rick Perry pretend to live in different worlds. Neither one is naturally funny. Yet, both are ridiculous bullies.

Marois organized news in Montreal last Friday to exclaim:

"What will remain of us as a nation if we let the French language decline without reacting, if we let our values be trampled upon?" she asked. She urged Quebecers "to affirm loud and clear our shared values, our identity. There is absolutely no reason to be ashamed of what we are."

"It's at the point where the niqab, the kirpan and all the religious signs are permitted everywhere by Canadian multiculturalism, but Christmas is not allowed," Ms. Marois said. "Absurdity has its limits."

Wearing a fetching fall jacket that you could wear comfortably while walking dogs in Central Park or seal-hunting off Newfoundland, Perry whispered to Republican voters the following commercial message:

“I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.
As President, I'll end Obama's war on religion. And I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.”
Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.
I'm Rick Perry and I approve this message.”

Of course, neither politician is ashamed; both are shameless. They stroke the vanities of gigantic majorities and insult tiny minorities living quietly in their midst.

In Quebec, French is the mother tongue of over 80% of the population, is the official and working language of the province, and has grown steadily for over four hundred years. Over 83% of Quebecers identify themselves as Roman Catholics. Now, what about the Muslims with their vicious jackboots and masks? They enjoy absolutely no special favors and count for only 1.5% of Quebec’s population.

80% of Texans call themselves Christians. In the state of Iowa, where Perry is running his desperate commercials, approximately 90% of the people also say they are Christians. No one knows, or likely cares, how many gays will show up in the Iowa caucuses to befriend or oppose Rick Perry.

What’s most worrying about both these brutes, however, is that they are proud professional politicians. They’re not lose-lipped amateurs. They say what they say in order to get majorities to like them. Rick Perry has been running successfully for elective office, almost non-stop, for 26 years. Pauline Marois has been working for elected politicians and running for political office in Quebec since the 1970s.

It’s too easy to say that the two of them are merely preying on “rising cultural insecurity.” Christians in Texas and Francophones in Quebec aren’t really afraid of the small religious minorities in their communities. However, majorities don’t need to be afraid to be intolerant.

The more they keep electing bullies the more we must wonderout loudwhether they are bullies as well.

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