Reason before passion.
Pierre Trudeau became famous for this. Some scholars claim that Trudeau actually said “reason before passion,” but that doesn’t matter. The mood is clear.
Namely that we should always be rational. Not emotional.
It was a nice feeling that people liked back then. But it described a far away world that we all would like to live in. And not, you know, the world we actually live in.
Because down here on earth, people still make many important political decisions out of passion and their gut feeling. Not reason and certainly not intellect.
The most successful politicians understand this best. Prime Minister Doug Ford is one of them.
When asked earlier this week about the provably insane decision to transfer convicted child killer Paul Bernardo to a medium-security prison, Ford said: “He’s nothing but a scumbag. This son of a bitch has to be in jail 23 hours a day. In fact, I would go one step further – if he’s out for an hour, he should be part of the general population. That should happen with this sob.”
In fact, Ford probably requested the assassination of Bernardo. This often happens when “skins” – sex offenders – are housed with other inmates. You will be killed.
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“Instinctive and abusive”, that Toronto StarThe editors snorted alliteratively. Ford “roared” that star tut-tutted.
Elsewhere on the pages of Toronto Starsaid someone from the John Howard Society – an organization that advocates for prisoners – that “public hatred of a prisoner should not justify harsher imprisonment”.
Similarly, a bureaucrat who formerly oversaw the federal prison system said star that such prison transfers “should not be based on revenge…we as a country gave up torture long ago.”
Do you see that? If you’re upset that a man who raped and tortured children is being sent to an “open campus” prison, then you’re a vengeful, instinctive, and revengeful monster who favors torture.
So you’re probably against Bernardo getting “stress management training” in his new home. That’s what they offer there. (More family visits and also “rest and leisure.”)
So the Toronto Star Editors and some special interest guys agree that Bernardo gets a nicer place to rest at night. But I bet most Canadians aren’t. When it comes down to it, most of them are likely to side with Ford.
That’s because politicians like Ford have a better command of what policy advisors call the “value proposition.” That said, when it comes to values—hopes, fears, the untold stuff of life and death—conservative-minded politicians are better off. Progressive politicians are speechless.
A few years ago for my book Fight the rightI predicted that the Tea Party movement would take over the Republican Party. And that former Tea Party leader Donald Trump would become much more powerful as a result.
Ironically, some thinkers in the Democratic Party agreed with me.
Stanley B. Greenberg, an American pollster who was married to a Democratic Party congressman, noted that “Voters generally lean toward conservative and right-wing political parties, particularly in Europe and Canada.” Why?
Because, he said, voters believe “government operates under the wrong values and rules for the wrong people and purposes.” The people I’ve interviewed believe that the government does its best to help the irresponsible and little to the responsible does.”
Another notable American progressive, Geoffrey Nunberg, agreed. He said, “The right is better and more appreciative.” The right has a natural advantage in the modern context because a lot of the issues it promotes are emotional issues.” Canadian progressives are like American progressives, Nunberg told me, basically “ignorant” about values.
Because of this, Ford has faced little backlash over his comments about Bernardo’s fate. Because progressives know in their beating (and bleeding) hearts that anyone who rapes, tortures and murders children on video has lost their life. Period.
I’m sorry, Mr. Trudeau. Reason instead of passion is fine.
But Bernardo still earned an hour in the general population.
And most of us would be there to cheer. Passionate.
https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/kinsella-premier-shows-emotions-matter-in-politics-by-blasting-bernardo-decision Doug Ford, like the rest of us, was critical of Paul Bernardo’s decision