By the time you read this article, we may be plunged into a 78-day federal election. That’s two and a half months where we will inhabit a reality that will effectively be constantly shaped and reshaped by overzealous campaign strategists.
So, before the laws of science and reason give way, I want to talk about a basic human truth, one that exists in all possible realities (including and especially that of a 78-day federal election campaign). Simply stated: People have a powerful need to hit something, or someone, really, really hard to make themselves feel better.
When you view this Cecil The Lion story as a safe opportunity for people to let off steam, its sticking power makes a lot more sense. A rich white dentist ends a magnificent animal’s life, and everyone else bands together to destroy the dentist’s life- as an act of revenge. And it’s totally socially acceptable.
Nobody’s going to stick up for the guy who effectively killed Mufasa. You can be a completely rotten person yourself, and your life might be a mess, but when you call Dr. Walter Palmer a heartless monster on Facebook suddenly you’re getting 20 likes. This isn’t clickbait- it’s a bonding exercise.
Then consider a new study out of Simon Fraser University which makes the “provocative” claim that schoolyard bullies actually feel pretty great about themselves, and the key to good self-esteem is a healthy supply of weaker victims. These kids are, effectively, lions themselves - apex predators on the hunt.
You’d have to be nuts to question a lion’s right to kill and eat an antelope. Other kids targeted by the apex predators pick on those lower down on the food chain, but that’s only because they aren’t lions themselves. A sort of Great Chain Of Being, if you will, except with cruelty and abuse. Kind of like that movie Mean Girls.
Indeed, everything from pick-up artistry to reality TV makes sense if you view humans as being born with a need to dominate others. But as you may well imagine, the left isn’t too thrilled about the notion of bullying and aggression as being natural. They like to tell lovely stories about big-eyed kids rolling out of their mothers’ wombs, happily playing with one another, ignorant of hate. Bullying is just another side effect of capitalism, they moan, and they are quick to decry the increasingly aggressive (which they naturally identify as increasingly American) tone of our politics.
And do these hectoring progressives lead by example? Do they take the high road? It will come as a surprise to none of you that they do not - and since Canadians took a pass on Michael Ignatieff and Stephane Dion, I can hardly blame them for doing so. Why did the Liberals pick Trudeau over Garneau? Because at the time, Trudeau was seen at as the guy who could beat Harper.
The NDP is scarcely better, as their leader is a bearded, grizzled character nicknamed “Angry Tom”. Then you’ve got the array of public sector groups taking out visceral anti-Harper attack ads. Their vague, scattershot, Anybody-But-Conservative approach isn’t what you’d call refined or anything, but I’m sure they feel great when they see that maple leaf slowly being bled and knowing that it’s causing the capitalists some discomfort.
Anyway, I hope, for all our sakes, that this election is the brutal, bloody donnybrook it’s been hyped up to be, with lots of embarrassing gaffes and reputations being ruined. Not because I want it that way, you understand, but because I’m worried about the murder rate spiking if it isn’t that way.
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