Ottawa

Making sausages

Andrew Potter questions our stated distaste for politics.

These may be descriptions of actual experiences, but they are also threadbare cultural clichés. This is what Orwell denounced as the corruption of thought by language, “gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else.” Is it possible that when it comes to political engagement, most Canadians are in a position somewhat similar to Schrödinger’s cat: they are neither alienated nor engaged until they are asked by a social scientist, at which point they just fall back on the default public vocabulary of a broken machinery of government manipulated by knavish politicians … Everyone loves justice, but everyone hates lawyers. Or how about lamb chops versus abattoirs? Politics is the process of democracy, law is the process of justice, and the abattoir is the process of getting to lamb chops. It isn’t clear that any big conclusions can or should be drawn from this, apart from a variation on Bismarck’s famous line: democracy is like sausages. It’s better not to see it being made.