Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ignorance is Bliss, Canadian Edition

There is so much silliness in Canada's party politics, but the latest has the Prime Minister doubling down on ignorance.  Really.

Ok, the context is this: the newly selected Liberal leader, Justin Trudreau reacted to the events in Boston by saying something like, we need to take seriously the root causes. Well, it might have been poorly timed since the focus should have been on the investigation and on condolences.  So,  Prime Minister Stephen Harper, always eager to attack even on a relatively minor point, jumped on Trudeau, saying that this utterance represented an immaturity that makes Trudeau unfit to be PM.  To be sure, Trudeau does not exactly reek of maturity and preparedness, but then again, Harper came off sounding just a bit unreasonably strident.

Having made that first move that we should not be talking about root causes last week, Harper continued this week by saying this is not time to "commit sociology."  Actually, the "committing of sociology" never stopped.  There is much social science being applied to the question of the causes of terrorism, the causes of radicalization, testing theories about why dissent becomes violent, the recourse to and the effects of indiscriminate violence and so on.  Indeed, the Government of Canada (perhaps I should not say it ...) is funding the study of the root causes of terrorism both through the Social Science Humanities Research Council and via the Kanishka project, which is a fund that was created in the aftermath of the Air India disaster. 

It is perhaps typical of this government and this Prime Minister to portray the systematic pursuit of knowledge to be akin to a crime--when else does one commit x?  Making sociology seem like crime is, well, pretty criminal if fomenting ignorance is a crime.  Perhaps fomenting ignorance is not against Canadian laws but it is a crime against against common sense

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