Justin Trudeau is a feel-good politician.
He's a former drama teacher, a strident feminist, and has already gone viral as the “sexiest Prime Minister in the world.” It's almost as if he was made for a BuzzFeed article.
With youthful looks, an effeminate voice, and a fondness for purple beads, Trudeau embodies a newly progressive Canada. He attended college amid the first wave of identity politics and political correctness in Canadian society, and he takes office amid the second. His rhetoric would not be out of place among the advocates of safe spaces and trigger warnings on campus. But he isn't running a student union – he's running the country.
Trudeau's image often seems to be a calculated attempt to channel the feel-good vibe of the worst elements of millennial hipsterdom. He spent his campaign attending pride parades, taking selfies with topless hippies (yes, that actually happened), and making youth-friendly pledges like his promise to legalise marijuana.
One might say that Trudeau is just trying to show his tolerance. But as a libertarian, I'm not so sure. If he truly believed in freedom, he wouldn't have pledged his party's support for Bill C-51, which enables the warrantless surveillance of Canadian citizens. Nor would he endorse the smiling authoritarianism of modern feminists.
The problem with wearing the clothes of my generation's maddest social justice warriors is that to do it properly, you can't just repeat their feel-good messages. Their authoritarian streak, concealed beneath welcoming messages of tolerance and diversity, will eventually rub off on you too.
Take his interview with the Toronto Star, where he stated that he was “proud to be a feminist” and promised to tackle “video game misogyny” as well as “misogyny in certain types of music.” Like many before him, Trudeau gullibly swallowed progressives' spiel about tolerance, and ended up calling for the censorship of pop culture. Widespread ridicule was the inevitable result.
Even more embarrassingly, Trudeau felt the need to comment on GamerGate, the push for more ethics and less progressive-led censorship in the world of video games. It's certainly an important controversy, but I'm not sure a world leader should involve themselves in hashtag wars. Even more so if they don't understand them – and Trudeau, who ended up accusing thousands of innocent gamers of being misogynists, clearly doesn't.
Now that the Prime Minister from Tumblr has been elected, we have to wonder how long it'll be before he decides he decides it's hip to bring back 1950s-style censorship of entertainment. Or maybe he'll establish “safe spaces” on Parliament Hill first? Or say we need to be more considerate about the feelings of Islamic extremists? Oh wait, that already happened.
Trudeau can't keep pandering to authoritarian progressives without eventually following through with policy. I suspect that if Trudeau takes Canada into a new era of censorship and control-freakery, it'll happen by accident, following the deceptively welcoming messages of social justice warriors. Trudeau will stumble into tyranny with a big grin on his face, an indecipherable soundbite about inclusion and diversity, and a thousand retweets on his smartphone.
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