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What Orwell foretold


 

Allan Gregg considers the Harper government’s approach to evidence, reasoning and language in policy and our current political culture.

The thing that is disconcerting and unsettling about all this is not just the substance of these Bills, but why a government would want to disguise that substance. Maybe dismantling the Wheat Board; or pre-emptively squashing collective bargaining; or sending more potheads to jail is a good thing. But before we make those decisions, let’s look at all the facts; have a fulsome and rational debate; and make a reasoned decision of what is in the best interests of all the parties involved. For voters to determine whether these are measures they support or oppose requires that they know what is at stake and what the government is actually doing. Moreover, for the rule of law to work, the public must have respect for the law. By obfuscating the true purpose of laws under the gobbledy-gook of double speak, governments are admitting that their intentions probably lack both support and respect. Again, the lesson here is Orwellian … in the same way that reason requires consciousness, tyranny demands ignorance.

As evidence of the Harper government’s success in controlling the conversation, consider that it seems to have convinced Allan that the census that was eliminated two years ago asked about toilet ownership. It didn’t. The last census to ask about toilet ownership was the 1961 census.


 

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