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)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Signs of division — and life — in liberal thinking?

Within the last week, retired Ontario Minister of Finance Dwight Duncan and retiring liberal champion and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg openly abandoned hard liberal pieties on the political power of public sector unions and the wisdom of public ownership of giant public utilities.

Alongside the fine-grain speculation over the feelings of mad men on the right, is it not also interesting that liberals are starting to question the validity of core liberal policy in Canada and the United States?

It’s holiday season and we’re all worn down by scandal. Still, something big is happening: after years of dining out on conservative extremism, intelligent liberals are now questioning their loftiest sound bites. Bloomberg’s concerns about “a labor-electoral complex” may not, immediately, contaminate Hillary Clinton’s meticulous campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. However, Dwight Duncan’s twitter below may seriously complicate Premier Kathleen Wynne’s plans — and prospects — in an Ontario election within the next 6 months:

“OPG [Ontario Power Generation] should be privatized. Market discipline will be much more effective at addressing the problems than political oversight.”

Brutes and nihilists are expected to complain about crown corporations. It’s news, however, when a leading liberal acknowledges aloud that these institutions will not always serve liberal ends.

Ontarians want to be interesting but never consciously vote for radicals. So, Liberals have told Ontarians for over decade that Ontario conservatives are radicals. You see: some 15 years ago, they actually tried to organize a competitive, private electricity industry. They ran out of luck — and nerve. But their intention at that time has been used to demonize them ever since.

It frays that liberal accusation — to say the least — to read that the former Liberal government’s illustrious minister of both Energy and Finance believes that OPG, one of the largest electricity generation companies in North America, should now operate and sell its power as a private company.

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