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)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Praiseworthy heckling

Fact checkers are valuable and usually paid for their work. Great hecklers often work for free. But they make the truth more engaging. Thanks to the heckler, democracy is not only better than all the alternatives—it’s more fun.

Below are two prose examples that deserve our thanks.

Commenting on a subtle blog by Ross Douthat about the tactics of Mitt Romney’s campaign, Steve Hunter of Seattle posts a zinger. Stick with it to the end. 

“If Romney's campaign feels that he has pretty much outlined his policies and positions then Romney is in bigger trouble than Douthat thinks. It may not mean much to the hard core Republican base but t will matter with swing voters. Besides we are still awaiting Romney's tax returns. Where are they, missing like his policies.

“The problem with those that consider themselves royalty is that they think they are above the fray and do not have to answer to anybody. This will be Romney's downfall that and wearing mommy jeans.”

Heckling mediocre heckling is also good for us. In the National Post this morning, Chris Selley preforms this effectively in “No ideologues in Ottawa.” Here’s what he says about a decade of ineffectual attacks on Canada’s conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper: 

“Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae denounced the Conservatives’ entire 'wrong-headed ideological agenda' — which is apparently 'hidden' in various places around Ottawa, though he and Mr. Mulcair seem to have no difficulty discerning how awful and ideological it is.

“Mr. Harper and his mates have been on a public policy magical mystery tour. Now they say whatever they need to say on Friday, contradict it completely on Monday, and think nothing of it. To call them ideological is to miss an opportunity to call them shameless hypocrites.

“You might reasonably think denying free dentistry and prescription drugs to (refugee) claimants is a bit bloody-minded; this government has had its mean streaks. But that’s not an accusation of ideology; it’s an accusation of bastardliness. It’s not good to be bastardly. Why let them off the hook with ‘ideological’?”

Follow the hecklers. Progress, even conservatives, lies ahead!

No comments:

Post a Comment