‘There’s too much at stake to be silent’

by Aaron Wherry

Allan Gregg reflects on his “assault on reason” cri de coeur.

History shows us that, over time, science’s authority always undermines dogma’s legitimacy; and the persuasive power of reason will always trump ideology’s emotion. The best defence against dogma and ideology continues to be reason and science. History has also shown that tyrants can have a truncated shelf life if the citizenry enters the public forum and, armed with facts, reasoned arguments, and thoughtful ideas, engages in a loud debate. In the case of those who would stand against reason, our silence will be perceived as consent. There’s too much at stake to be silent.

If it feels lame to suggest that the solution about what to do next is to talk to each other more, I invite you to review history and ask yourselves what role public discourse has had in the toppling of dictators and despots. Right now, there seems to be a very one-sided conversation going on and the powers that be are leading it. We have our hands on the easiest levers the world has ever known by which to spread an idea and lead our own conversation. Let’s use them.

See also, Alice Funke’s conversation with Gregg and Don Lenihan’s response to Gregg’s lecture.




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‘There’s too much at stake to be silent’

  1. Yes, there is. The west is at a crossroads, one of those turning points in history.

    Our choice is absolutely vital.

    • Yes, if we don’t stop Harper, all the gains made via the enlightenment and the scientific revolution will be utterly lost. We’ll end up living in caves, wearing rags and battling roving bands of zombies in a post-apocalyptic dystopia. Be very very afraid.

      • I’m glad you agree with me.

      • You’re absolutely prescient!

      • hey that’s only the 47 per cent who would never vote for Romney.

    • That’s why I choose Harper over all the other leaders in the western world. It is my choice.

      • You didn’t have a choice of ‘all the other leaders in the western world’…..but if you want to live in the Dark Ages, remember that the ROC does not.

        • We do have choices and I choose to live in Canada. If you don’t like the Harper government, there are other countries one could move to. So many countries to choose from. Where would you like to live, EmilyOne?

          • 7 generations in this country boyo, and I have no intentions of moving elsewhere because of some two-bit tin-pot dictator like Harper and his brain-dead followers.

          • Yup, you would be a Gregg follower; you know, the ones who use reason above all else. Now, repeat after……

          • You’re a Con….it’s a given you’d be anti-reason.

          • Yes, conservatives are bad and stupid and hate reason.
            Progressives like Emily are paragons of reason, logic and fairness.
            Stop Harper!

          • Ya know Bean….I think you’re finally old enough to take the training wheels off your posts and type your own original stuff, instead of constantly riffing off mine.

          • Yes, Harper is a dictator. That is posted constantly on here by the progressive Wherryites, so it must be true.

  2. I wish you left wing types wouldn’t encourage Gregg, he now thinks he’s Thomas Paine. Maybe Harper Cons can’t be bothered with msm because so many journos are pillocks who think Canada is a dictatorship. Everyone believes they are informed by reason and science – no one goes around thinking their beliefs are ignorant and crazy but they will continue to believe them anyway.

    Also, I would like to see some proof that bureaucrats ever use reason or science when they concoct policies.

    • I thought the political parties concocted the policies, the bureaucrats just carried them out.
      And we know political parties can be trusted to concoct policies that serve the political party, such as a reduction of the GST rate, which even the political party that implemented that one admits is bad policy as far as reason and science (if economics is a science) goes.

      • I guess that means the Liberal Party of Canada is REALLY REALLY anti-reason, given that they campaigned on a promise to eliminate the GST altogether. Right, 2Jenn?

        • Absolutely bang on, OrsonBean, at least at the time. Which is why I wasn’t a Liberal then.

  3. What an ignoramus …. no wonder Emily baby likes him and his superficial blather … Most “science” is ‘dogma’ of one kind or another …. ask any scientist who threatens the belief and/or profit system of the so-called “science” establishment.

  4. On and on it goes: everyone is capable of using reason except the Harper government members and Conservative voters, that is, of course, until the very same voters vote for another party – then they are capable of reason……..and so forth.
    And this man, Gregg, gets public “airtime”. Unbelievable.

    • I thought Gregg’s piece in the Toronto Star was one of the best I’ve read in the last year. Imagine that, from a pollster yet.

      Can you provide a link to a counter-point that says it so eloquently? I suggest somebody other than Dean DelMastro or Vic Toews.

    • Gregg is actually a conservative, if not a Conservative by today’s measure. Look up his history and prepare to have your mind blown.

      • Gregg was an old Mulroney-era federal PC. His old polling firm Decima Research was the leading Tory polling firm back in the 1980s and early 1990s. He was heavily involved in federal Tory election campaigns then, both successful and unsuccessful (see Kim Campbell, 1993). If my memory serves me correctly, his involvement fell off significantly after that, and I don’t think he’s had much to do with the party since it merged with the CA to form the CPC. In fact he’s been very critical of Harper and the CPC, as this article demonstrates.
        He’s hardly the first Mulroney-era PC to be bitterly critical of Harper & Company (see, e.g., Joe Clark, Sinclair Stevens etc.).

        • The point being, he’s no Liberal, and certainly not speaking on behalf of the official opposition, as some knee-jerkers might think.

  5. What is a scientific fact? Something which states that 2+2=4? Ah, yes. Then there is the other scientific fact which states that 3+1=4. Oh, and what about 4+0=4. Many roads lead to Rome.

    • These computations must be like particle physics in the Con world. Fer gawd sake, don’t post such complicated numbers on one of their sites. You’ll confuse the readership.

      • Yes, all conservatives are stupid and contemptible.

        • Absolutely, with the obvious exception of yourself. For one of them, you seem remarkably candid and perceptive ;)

  6. It is just plain silly for Gregg to mention Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense. That pamphlet was written just before the American Independence when the mother country ruled over a ‘coming of age” America.
    Now, if Gregg would suggest we do the same, namely to break from Brittain completely, I’d say he made a valid point. But Mr.Gregg is not that brave.

    • Anyway, the suggestion to “break from Brittain [sic] completely” would fly in the face of Harper’s foreign policy. He’s busy returning us to colonial status in the embrace of the mother country.

      Shortly, as part of his re-alignment of Canadian diplomatic relations, “Rule Britannia” will be Canada’s national anthem.

      • You miss my point completely; my posting is about Gregg and his comparisson to the Common Sense pamphlet. Reasonable people, thinking people could understand that much. :)

        • Actually, I didn’t miss the point. I was offering an aside, because your
          seemingly logical extension of Gregg’s argument is so completely antithetical to Harper’s idiotic decision to graft our diplomatic foreign presence
          onto Britain..

  7. One of the requirements of this proposed golden age of reason will be understanding on which issues reasonable people can disagree (virtually all of them) and why. Allan Gregg does not seem willing to contemplate that. I mean, according to the new Thomas Paine, scrapping the gun registry is an assault on reason because police chiefs want it. The very concept of reason itself depends on giving police chiefs whatever tools they ask for, apparently. I think Vic Toews would make that trade.

  8. There used to be a time in history, when the Macleans Blogophere offered a real chance to debate topics in a reasonable manner. Those times are gone. Now we find EmilyOne and her ilk spewing nonesense non-stop. The Macleans bloggers must be content with that.

  9. There used to be a time, in history, when Macleans Blog site gave readers a chance to debate the issues. Now such debates are hijacked by the likes of the one-liners who think it reasonable to post nonesense non stop. Macleans bloggers must be content with that, yes?

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