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ANDERSON: Orange popsicles and the politics of fear

Image Credit: Contributed by author
September 29, 2015 - 7:46 AM

On my way to kindergarten one day a long time ago I witnessed one of those early lessons we sometimes remember for the rest of our lives.

A welder was welding two pipes together beside a hole in the ground in the middle of a lawn, back in the days before it took three workers, two traffic controllers and a fence to weld two pipes together. He finished welding and walked a few feet away to do some other mysterious grown-up job, whereupon a group of older kids began egging on a younger girl to touch the weld, by then fading from a shimmering white to a bright fiery orange. "It's like an orange popsicle!" shouted one kid over the ear-shattering roar of the 1962-era sump pump keeping the hole dry. "Yeah, it's like an orange popsicle!" chorused the others. "Touch it, it's ok!"

She touched it, it burned, she cried, her mother arrived and yelled at the welder, the welder looked pained, and I continued on to kindergarten. What the welder should have done, of course, is chase the older kids away and warn the little girl that just because something looks yummy from afar doesn't mean it's not painful up close. Unfortunately in doing so, he would have been practising what the NDP and the Liberals refer to as "the politics of fear."

In all fairness, the Liberals aren't really coherent enough to include in this diatribe. They have no platform, they have no plan, and the Poncing Princeling of Glorious Hair's latest faux pas in a long string of galloping knee slappers was to opine, in his nasally, upper class oral affectation oddly reminiscent of nails on a blackboard: "deficits are a way of, of, uh, measuring the kind of growth and the kind of success, uh, that government is actually able to, to, uh, create." Either Justin was speaking in tongues or he was getting into the medical marijuana in a big way, because no economist this side of the Zimbabwean Ministry of Perpetual Economic Disaster could possibly understand what he was trying to say. Running your overdraft and all your credit cards to their limit may be an excellent way of measuring the speed with which the bank will foreclose on your home, but it's hardly a way of measuring what you've built.

But back to the "politics of fear." Take the other night for example. I was at a local all-candidates forum and, just because it's in my nature to cause trouble if at all possible, I asked the local NDP candidate the following question, prefaced with some facts:

"Given that numerous security agencies across Europe, including Europol, are on high alert; and that both ISIS and al Queda have promised to send operatives along with the refugees; and that according to the The UN Refugee Agency, the vast majority (69 per cent) of the migrants are males, mostly fighting age at that; and that there are already arrests being made across Europe for terrorist plots, including literally hundreds in Turkey: What screening methods will the NDP put in place when it brings tens of thousands of middle eastern migrants to Canada?"

The candidate sighed in exasperation and announced condescendingly that "just because you say there's danger doesn't mean there's danger." Afterwards, one of her henchwomen snarled that I was practicing the "politics of fear" and "should be ashamed."

If the politics of fear involves asking what measures the NDP plans to put in place to protect Canadians from a clear, present and excruciatingly documented danger, then it seems to me we should see a whole lot more of the politics of fear.

But this meme doesn't stop at the subject of terrorists. The much ballyhooed NDP "national daycare plan," modelled after the failed Quebec model, is not only economically infeasible, but it turns out it would be a bad idea in and of itself, according to half a dozen academic studies that find daycare-raised children generally unhappier and more crime prone than those raised at home.

If the politics of fear involves asking the NDP why it is pursuing a policy that means turning our kids over to CUPE at a very early age so that their mothers and fathers can become tax slaves to the NDP, lets bring on the politics of fear.

And then there's the NDP (and Liberal) notion that if we tax fossil fuel energy hard enough, people will either just stay home and reduce their "footprint," or green replacement technology will magically spring forth to replace it. No matter how many times these folks are told by serious scientists and serious engineers that there simply isn't a viable replacement technology ready yet, they just smile obliquely as if they're privy to secrets the rest of us simply don't have access to.

If the politics of fear involves asking the NDP what exact technologies they intend to use to replace the fossil fuels they plan to "keep in the ground", and how they plan to pay for them, and how well they really work, lets play fear-based politics all the way to the ballot box, and end this aberrant blip of socialist daydreaming in its tracks simply by asking hard questions about their proposed policies.

We could go on at length examining numerous NDP platform planks based on deeply flawed and hyper expensive premises, generally outlined by the NDP Socialist Caucus in the so-called "Manifesto for a Socialist Canada" and the "Leap Manifesto" put out by Naomi Klein et al, but the NDP convict themselves more eloquently than I could by their own words. These notions, ideological to the core, read like a cross between Lennon and Lenin.

A cadre of activists far to the left of even Mulcair is trying to flog $13 billion worth of red hot disaster in asbestos popsicle wrappers across the country, and if we're fooled into touching them Canada will be seared for generations, as B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and now Alberta have learned. This willful blindness, this presentation of 'ought' as if it 'is', this through-the-looking-glass world view, would be funny if it didn't involve the very real lives of very real Canadians. Because it does, it's appalling.

The NDP won't answer hard questions because they know that most Canadians won't accept their answers. Each question put to the NDP about the details of its policies is greeted with either a snarl or serene platitudes, and ultimately an accusation of "politics of fear."

The rest of us call the questions "prudence and common sense."

— Scott Anderson is a Vernon City Councillor, freelance writer, commissioned officer in the Canadian Forces Reserves and a bunch of other stuff. His academic background is in International Relations, Strategic Studies, Philosophy, and poking progressives with rhetorical sticks until they explode.

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