Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Ben Parker Principle and Jason Kenney

With great power comes great responsibility.  While the Spider-Man comics and movies make this a central point, it is also something that is basic to democracies--that those with significant influence need to be aware of their power and use it wisely.

Alas, this is not always the case.  Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta, committed two mistakes when trying to dismiss Melanee Thomas's arguments about his actions (dismissing those who investigate election malfeasance):
  1. Kenney made a dumb argument
  2. Kenney picked on an individual.
First, arguing that Melanee Thomas is biased because she ran for office long ago, before she got her PhD, is a dumb argument.  I believe this counts as ad hominen.  Rather than addressing the complaint--that Kenney is seeking to avoid accountability by firing those investigating his party--he says that Thomas is biased because of something she did a long time ago.  Since that time, Melanee went to McGill, earned a PhD, studying Canadian politics (I knew her there but she didn't study with/under me since Canadian politics ain't my field), has written articles and more about stuff, so she has become an expert on Canadian elections. 

The second mistake made by Kenney and then his staff is to pick on an individual.  As a politician, Kenney has followers, so anytime he mentions a person by name, he is essentially sending his followers at a target.  This is the world we live in now.  So, before punching down, any politician should think twice.  That Kenney did not is not surprising--he does not exactly exude responsibility.

One more note on dumb: it is dumb to tell a professor to shut up--kind of like telling a blogger to shut up--it just encourages such folks to keep on  speaking.

So, Kenney's moves here are dumb and irresponsible.  We should expect more from our leaders.

No comments: