If polls are accurate, an irredeemable nincompoop is about to be become leader of this nation.
The above sentence might have appeared in any number of newspapers in the United States during the unfortunate autumn of 2008.
Alas, it is written in and of my beloved Canada.
Having learned nothing from the past seven years of American decline under President Barack Obama, Canada is poised to elect its own media-approved, know-nothing dilettante in the person of Justin Trudeau.
Justin’s father, Pierre, was a Castro-snuggling socialist and among the most consequential prime ministers in Canadian history. Justin evinces the worst traits of his father, without any of the senior Trudeau’s qualities; to wit, he embodies an utterly unexamined, leftist worldview, while possessing none of the intellectual heft or professional accomplishment to back it up.
One upside is that with Justin, unlike Obama, you can point out the unmistakeable truth that he is a dimwit without being called, y’know, a racist.
Relatedly, we have been spared the enforced soft bigotry of having to pretend Justin is a genius or a brilliant speaker, as was the case with Obama. As to that last, many conservative commentators consented, Stockholm Syndrome-style, with even the great Jonah Goldberg claiming Obama “constructs cathedrals with his words.”
To anyone with ears to hear and courage to bear the scarlet R, Obama was never a good speaker. From the disingenuous address to the 2004 Democratic National Convention that launched his career, to the dithering um’s and ah’s and grammarless, soul-crushing lectures we have come to know, the man is a self-important bore. Obama’s oratory is like sitar music, in that a certain segment of society supposes it looks good on them to pretend they like it, but no one really does.
His plodding, pseudo-thoughtful cadence is that of the faculty lounge – which is also where his politics originate and end.
Justin, likewise, shows no evidence of understanding, or even having contemplated, any political theory beyond precisely what you would expect from a high school drama teacher.
Case in point, when asked the first thing he would do as prime minister, Justin replied, “Call the premiers together, talk about climate change.”
Children speak this way – perhaps your children, because they hear this kind of nonsense all day long from their teachers. But in the real world, actual adults know this is nonsense.
Even if one believes the direst predictions of Al Gore, David Suzuki and noted thinker Leonardo DiCaprio, the notion that having yet another conversation about “climate change” is the first thing a newly elected head of government should do is mind-bendingly stupid.
Further to stupid, Obama is and always was a dumb guy. To cite a few examples at random: When Charlie Gibson challenged him on capital gains taxes in 2008, correctly noting that lower rates lead to higher revenues and that 100 million Americans paid that tax, Obama responded that he would raise the rate anyway, in the name of “fairness."
Setting aside your views on tax policy, or even basic arithmetic, it seemed clear from Obama’s tone that on the eve of being elected president of the United States, the concept of lower tax rates leading to higher revenue had never even occurred to him before.
In trying to sell Obamacare (and I could shorten this example to just “Obamacare”), he advanced the scenario that pediatricians, doubling as specialists, were spurred by profit-motive to misdiagnose America’s moppets into millions of unnecessary tonsillectomies.
Finally, as Commander-in-Chief of the US military, no matter how tired you might be or whether it’s written phonetically in your teleprompter, you do not repeatedly refer to a “Navy Corpse-man” if you have any brains at all.
And yet, his capacity for self-examination having been vandalized by guilt-ridden liberals telling him he’s brilliant his whole life, Obama really does think he’s smarter than you.
Justin has no such excuse (or impairment). Even so, as a man of the left, his mouth-breathing imbecility is smoothed over by compliant journalists. So when he expresses admiration for communist China, or claims that deficits are a measure of a country’s success (will this be Greece’s century, then?), or says we must reconsider such concepts as space and time, your betters in the news media give it maybe a day, if they must, before the tongue-bathing recommences.
This is how Obama got elected, and it may well work for Justin. In Obama’s case, cringe-inducing ignorance and unscrutinized socialism (not to mention, decades spent listening to a vicious, race-baiting pastor) were crowded out by silly-bears about “Hope” and “Change.”
For Justin, the subterfuges are his “energy” and “youth.”
Canada’s Conservative Party has unwittingly aided this characterization with their slogan that Justin is “Just not ready.” The misbegotten implication is that Justin will eventually become ready.
Experience is irrelevant if your foundation is faulty. If you’re wrong, being wrong for a long time is no help (Joe Biden, please call your office).
A recent caller to my radio program proclaimed that he would vote for Justin solely because he is “young.” By that logic, wouldn’t Canada be better off choosing a prime minister somewhere in that sweet spot between when Justin believes a baby is too developed to abort (when is that, anyway?) and when he goes to his first hockey practice?
Besides which, as with Obama, there was never anything new about Justin’s ideas.
Command economies, central control, and punitive tax rates have been tried in countries large and small, all over the world, and they have never worked – never mind that the totalitarian impulse and religious political fervour that animate the left have killed 100 million people in the last century.
But explaining this to leftists is like playing a game with a child (or playing golf with Bill Clinton). They always want a do-over.
Even so, one suspects that Justin, like Obama, doesn’t even know this much. He really thinks he is something new, and that there is only one acceptable ideology, having given no more thought to limited government than to chuckle at Republican caricatures on The West Wing.
But even here, assuming Justin knows nothing of the outside world, existing as an intellectual bubble boy sealed off from infectious ideas, his own policies are incoherent.
Consider his plan to increase mandatory pension payments from workers and employers. It should be immediately apparent to even the most average mind that this will reduce the take-home pay of working Canadians, while placing costs on employers and thereby hurting the job market.
It is reminiscent of do-gooder leftists who demand increases to the minimum wage, no matter how clearly you demonstrate that this reduces the number of available jobs, hurting the very people they purport to help. There is no teaching these types. Like Obama being asked about capital gains, they want “fairness” and the facts be damned.
In examining Justin’s tax policies, including his sinister, government-speak euphemism that he will “ask” high earners to pay more (try saying “no” – watch what happens), many suggest that Justin is working against his own self-interest, since he himself is rich. Here, they commit the common mistake of conflating net worth and income.
Justin is indeed rich, having inherited millions of dollars. This has insulated him from a number of things (besides heterodox ideas), including concerns over payroll taxes. At no point in his life would the mandatory increase in pension payments he proposes have affected him at all.
This is why some of the most strident leftists in public life are wealthy – from the House of Commons to the US Congress, from the Trudeaus to the Kennedys. They do not work for a living, and any income they earn is irrelevant to their returns on capital. Even if they were to reduce their own investment income through taxation, the orders of magnitude are such that they would never notice. They don’t know what it’s like to have to reduce the family budget to accommodate a tax hike, but they do know what’s best for everyone else.
Always, I prefer to light a candle than curse the darkness. As of this writing, there remains hope that Canada will come to its senses and return an imperfect, but best-available person to power in Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
But, if current trends continue and Canadians elect an obvious mooncalf to lead the country, no one can say they weren’t warned.
(Theo Caldwell is a host on Newstalk1010 Radio. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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