Monday, March 9, 2009

The answer is yes.

Citing two recent political developments in the war in Afghanistan, over at his blog Aaron Wherry asks “Does this mean we have to do away with the basic assumption that everything Jack Layton says is ridiculous?”

The answer of course, is yes.

And as the facetiousness of Wherry’s query suggests, the cynicism against New Democrats is less than entirely justifiable, and opinion leaders know it.

Presuming that New Democrats can’t be right because Liberals, Conservatives and their cheerleading establishment say so is like not letting your otherwise accomplished sister change a light bulb on the basis of several “dumb blonde” jokes. It’s prejudice in deliberate defiace of the facts.

Consider for a moment ...

When New Democrats, then the CCF, called for extending civil liberties to Chinese Canadians, the know-it-all establishment called them traitors.

When they called for the creation of public health care, the know-it-all establishment called them communists.

When they opposed the War Measures Act, the know-it-all establishment called them cowards.

Yet one by one, each of these positions came to be the opinion of the majority of Canadians.

Does this mean that New Democrats are always right? Of course not. But neither are they always wrong. Our political discourse would be stronger and more honest if more opinion leaders gave up on their cynicism (or their agenda) and aknowledged the latter.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

You make a good point here.

Last year, I heard Allan Blakeney give a talk on the history of the Regina Manifesto.

Some voices in the right-wing media had been talking about how bizarre and out-of-date the manifesto was, but Blakeney pointed out that a number of the items in the manifesto had come to be accepted as mainstream political ideas in Canada (e.g. a Central Bank).

It's true enough that the capitalist economy hasn't been abolished (though its most zealous adherents have been doing their best, as we see from the headlines), but it remains true, as you say, that many of the points made by the CCF/NDP over the years have turned out to be quite valid , despite the braying of the critics.