Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Travers Outs Harper's Ideological Myopia

At times L'il Stevie Harper can be wilfully blind to reality, especially when it contradicts his doctrinaire mentality. The Toronto Star's Jim Travers takes a peek inside the creature we have running our country:

Not much frustrates official Ottawa more than the Prime Minister’s dim view of experts. On one memorable occasion Harper advised party loyalists to dismiss statistics measuring falling crime rates. Instead they should trust their instincts in supporting his law-and-order agenda. Intuition is a priceless sense. But knowledge and science, facts and figures, still warrant preferential consideration when public policies are being designed.

That’s not normal practice in Harper’s capital. More often than not, Conservatives begin with a conclusion and end with a campaign slogan.

Keeping more criminals in jails longer is a case in point. There’s no proof that long sentences improve public safety. There is overwhelming evidence that it will cost taxpayer a fortune.
Kevin Page, the federal budget officer, forecast last week that changing just that single piece of legislation would add some $5 billion to annual prisons costs.

Conservatives say Page is wrong. After originally forecasting relatively modest increases, the Harper government now admits that longer sentences will add about $2 billion to public spending.

...Other examples are in ready supply. Canada’s climate change foot-dragging owes more to regional economics and national politics than to accepted research. Ottawa is refusing to fund safe abortions as part of the maternal health initiative in developing countries not because they aren’t desperately and demonstrably needed but because they offend Conservative sensibilities.

That same dumbed-downed pattern is replicated across this government. Charities that constructively criticize government policies feel a financial pinch. Social programs thrive or die on ideology, not merit or performance.

What Travers omits is that this type of irrational behaviour - operating on instinct in defiance of fact - makes perfect sense in a theocrat like our Born Again Furious Leader. If you can actually believe the world is 6,000 years old there's no amount of crap you can't willingly swallow if it coincides with your social and religious delusions.

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