Friday, February 16, 2007

The iron fist in sheepskin gloves

Justin Trudeau sings David Suzuki's greatest bitch slapsAttendees of Justin Trudeau's luncheon speech at the London Convention Centre yesterday repeatedly described his message in a tossed-off ritual sentiment: "challenging." This shows a stark lack of imagination for an audience that was already completely predisposed to his unoriginal brand of populist environmental rhetoric, but it's also a fraudulent description of a particularly empty set of banalities, or "vision" as the London Free Press. "Challenging," it was not, unless referring to trying to figure out precisely what he was saying.

Capitalism is an excellent system but it must be committed differently if the planet is to survive, Justin Trudeau told a business crowd yesterday in London.

"The problem is, it is not sustainable. We need to change the way we do business … We need to change our priorities and adjust our values." Business success, he said, should no longer be measured on growth alone and must produce benefit for society and the planet.
Nobody, of course, has any idea or inclination to find out precisely what this could possibly mean in practise, but that is entirely irrelevant. Trudeau's "vision" is really a clichéd trope meant to reinforce an orthodox reverence for tight political and bureaucratic control of the economy, a reverence in which the audience, composed of media, politicians, bureaucrats, agency representatives and opportunistic businessmen, are already complicit. Trudeau's faint praise of capitalism is entirely gratuitous, since he intends exactly the opposite: managed socialism.

The other ritual aspect of the speech is the suddenly popular admonition to "listen to the younger generation," of which Trudeau is supposed to be an unfortunate representative despite his singular affluent and political upbringing.
Trudeau, a former teacher, said young people are frustrated their elders and governments fail to take steps to prevent climate change. He encouraged them to challenge traditional values.
No wonder… why should we listen to youth only for the sake that it is youth speaking? A sounder reason to listen to anyone is for the sake of their sense, but for the sake of efficiency a useful prejudice, or "traditional value," has always been to wait for youth to spend at least a few years working for themselves outside the insular embrace of institutional education before paying them much heed. The appropriation of youth for political purposes is used as a sentimental appeal for institutional devices to which few independent adults would accede for themselves.
"We need to question a lot of our assumptions," he said.
Politician, legislate thyself.

2 comments:

Jake said...

Trudeau Jr is just using his father's name to advance his career. He is basically a one trick pony at best. If he were to become PM, he would take Canada down the same road that his Papa did: high taxes, protectionist economic policy, socialist income redistribution schemes, huge deficits.

Then again, what do you expect from a kid who was brought up by a pseudo-communist father and a promiscuous drunk mother?

Anonymous said...

"Capitalism is an excellent system but ... "

What a thrill it must have been for members of the Chamber of Commerce, to be praised and buried in the same sentence by a Son of Trudeau.

Is this the same Trudeau who wrote that McLeans magazine article a couple of years back in which the existence of a few dozen winos on the streets of Moscow were presented as evidence that the country was better off back in the days of Stalin, when tens of millions were starved to death, shot and imprisoned? OK, I know, at least the trains to the slave camps ran on time!

Note however that what he's advocating in the snippet of speech quoted here is fascism, not communism, since he only wants to force businesses to their knees before the the state and not expropriate them. Lesson #1 for aspiring despots - tailor the message to your audience.