Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Vote please — your right and duty

This Magazine Staff

I’m cool with not blogging on Canadian politics on this important day. Rule of law and all that.
Hey, speaking of the rule of law, if you haven’t read the transcript of Al Gore’s recent speech on American constitutional issues, you really should. I shook my head a bit last Friday as the Beltway Boys — two ‘political analysts’ on Fox News Channel — ridiculed Gore for this speech. My favorite part was when one of the ‘boys’, speaking of the NSA warrantless wiretapping scandal now happening in the States, said “What I think is that Congress should check out whether or not Bush actually had the authority to do this, and if it finds that he didn’t have the authority, it should give it to him.” An open call to ignore Presidential law-breaking and to dilute American democracy, on the record, on national television. Wow.
Here’s the link to Gore’s speech, and here’s a highlight:
In the words of George Orwell, “We are all capable,” he said, “of believing things which we know to be untrue and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right.”
Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time. The only check on it is that, sooner or later, a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.
Two thousand two hundred American soldiers have lost their lives as this false belief bumped into a solid reality. And indeed, whenever power is unchecked and unaccountable, it almost inevitably leads to gross mistakes and abuses.
That is part of human nature. In the absence of rigorous accountability, incompetence flourishes, dishonesty is encouraged and rewarded.

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