Tag Archives: democracy

The Threat To Democracy – A Canada Day/ Independence Day Concern

By Dr David Laing Dawson

The other night on the Bill Maher show Adam Gopnik warned of the threat to liberal democracy that Donald Trump presents. He also said that the democratic candidates arguing about what are usually the important issues (health care e.g.) normalizes Trump’s behaviour. If they don’t focus on that they are saying it is just politics.

We all recently saw Trump make a joke about telling Putin to not interfere in American Elections. We all saw him legitimize the cruel dictatorship of Kim Jong Un and suggest in conversation with Putin and by his friendship with The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia that killing off journalists is not such a bad thing.

But a small exchange between Trump and another journalist was perhaps the most chilling of all. The journalist asked Mr. Trump what he was going to discuss with Putin. And Donald Trump answered, “None of your business.”

And that small exchange embodied the threat to democracy Trump poses. For clearly Donald Trump does not see himself as an elected representative of the people with a four to eight year appointment to that position. He is, in his mind, a potentate, a king, a ruler, a despot, a chosen one, a single being more important than the populace, the populace that is allowing him to temporarily represent them. He does not understand democracy.

And then in Canada I see a cartoonist was fired, presumably for a cartoon depicting Donald golfing by the edge of the Rio Grande and coming across the bodies of Oscar Ramirez and his daughter Angie. The caption read, “Do you mind if I play through?”

Gopnik rightly suggests America is at a turning point; the only issue for 2020 is defeating Donald Trump before they lose their democracy. And the democratic candidates need to focus all energy on this.

And I mention the cartoonist because I think, I believe, that of all the freedoms we have in a democracy, the most important, and the freedom that provides the strongest bulwark against tyranny is not just the freedom of speech, good journalism, the fourth estate, but the freedom to complain, criticize, and most importantly, make fun of our leaders and deities.

A Belated Happy Canada Day.

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Rat Brains, Youth, and Jihadists.

David Laing Dawson

By Dr David Laing Dawson

There is something wonderfully insightful about our parliamentary form of government. We have a queen. We could have a king. She lives in luxury surrounded by symbols of history and power. She, or her representative, is visible at all major ceremonies. Her representative delivers the throne speech. She can be honorary leader of our soldiers, open libraries, commission battleships. And she has absolutely no power. It is even considered bad form should she express an opinion on anything save motherhood and endangered species.

Because of this we can give some power to our prime minister. We limit his term in office. We can challenge him publicly. Because we have a Queen, we can think of our prime minister as just another self-serving politician. He is not us. He has no divine right. He may fall from grace without damaging either the institution of Parliament or our self-esteem. His office is far more important than the current occupier. And he occupies this office entirely at our whim. And because we have a Queen, we need not project unto our prime minister all those two million year-old impulses, fantasies, wishes and hungers that we might otherwise project unto our leader.

I was thinking of this, oddly, because of ISIS and the recent videos and pictures of all those young mislead men. They have bought the insanity and delusions of ancient documents and a charismatic psychopath.

Slick videos and a bearded all-powerful leader with a simple formula have tapped into a hunger deep within the rat brains of these young men. Brotherhood, purpose, an unleashing of all that masculine aggression – clearly the best first person shooter video game on the planet. The only other ingredient these young men need is a sense of immortality, invulnerability, which they might have until age 22 or so, and after that, well, a promise of life everlasting as a revered martyr.

I am sure it is too late to save them. That level of primitive tyranny will provoke competing tyrannies, unleash other hatreds, and ultimately, self-destruct.

But, back to our parliamentary democracy. How wonderful it is that for all but a few of us, we have managed to develop a form of governance that does not allow, would never allow, a single man with an ancient text under his arm to command our loyalty, our fealty, our love and our sacrifice. How creative and insightful we humans have been to create a system of governance that does not, will not, allow the blossoming of those primitive needs and impulses.

Editor’s Note – Dr Dawson is the author of The Adolescent Owner’s Manual where he discusses how a parent’s goal should be to get your adolescent child into adulthood, alive, healthy, preferably educated and skilled, without a major drug problem or criminal record or pregnancy. Anything more is icing and a pleasure to behold.