The sin of Canadian politicians

(Note: In a later entry, I discuss the Canadian election seriously.)

On CSPAN there was an announcement of a program about the Canadian election, with several photos of those staggeringly bland Canadian politicians. I thought to myself, “Who could possibly care?”, and a paraphrase of a Bob Dylan line came into my mind:

Their sin is their lifelessness.

The original verse being:

To her, death is quite romantic
She wears an iron vest
Her profession’s her religion
Her sin is her lifelessness.

The line, “Her profession’s her religion,” also fits with the idea of politicians who are lifeless by profession.

- end of initial entry -

Mencius Moldbug writes:

Carlyle, Latter-Day Pamphlets #4:

What the meaning of a Governor, if he is not to overhaul and control such things, may be, I cannot conjecture. A Canadian Lumber-log may as well be made Governor. He might have some cast-metal hand or shoulder-crank (a thing easily contrivable in Birmingham) for signing his name to Acts of the Colonial Parliament; he would be a “native of the country” too, with popularity on that score if on no other;——-he is your man, if you really want a Log-Governor!

The context again is Carlyle’s complaint about decorative public officials with no real personal authority—in this case the British “Governor” who pretends to govern for the monarch a country that in fact is rapidly becoming independent. Your modern politicians are in exactly the same position, as they pretend to govern a country in fact governed by bureaucrats. Hence their resemblance to “Lumber-logs.”

LA replies:

Mr. Moldbug is continuing on a theme he discussed here.

Joseph writes from Canada:

You wrote: “Who could possibly care?”

With permission, Canadians care. We just voted ourselves a Conservative government majority. We like our politicians colourless and busying themselves with possibly not wrecking our country too much. We like our government leaving us alone. We are a nice people! And, as we have shown, we buck the trend. Unfortunately we have also a considerable contingent of the parasitic class among ourselves. But in the end even these are mainly nice…. well meaning, deluded, but nice people.

However, Americans, you usually know diddly-squad about us, but nevertheless look down your long noses on us. Let me point out to you, nicely of course, that we have managed quite nicely lately, much better then you big-mouthed ones to the South.

Now show us if you can also get yourselves a conservative majority elected, that would be just lovely….

Joseph, a nice, pink, boring, 6’-6” Canadian

LA replies:

Touché. I am glad that my weak words have struck but thus much show of fire from one of our esteemed neighbors to the north.

Seriously, my intention was not to attack Canada or dismiss the importance of political events in Canada, and I apologize for appearing to do so. I was giving my personal reaction to Canadian politicians, who, whenever I see them on TV, strike me as so excessively bland and eager not to offend that it’s almost comical. It’s as though they were scared of actually appearing to be alive.

May 3

LA writes:

I discuss the important Canadian election here. I am stirred by the thought, awakened in me by the AP article, that PM Harper may actually be intending to overturn the Trudeau legacy, though that may be an overstatement of his plans.

Paul T. writes from Canada:

Canadian politicians are for the most part “dull” in the sense that insurance executives, actuaries, postmasters and accountants are said to be dull. American politicians—comparatively speaking—are “exciting” in the way that rock stars and reality-TV celebs are exciting (JFK, Clinton, Palin, Gingrich, Gary Hart, Gary Condit, Marion Barry, or for that matter Martin Luther King). If Canadian politicians bring to mind Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street, they rarely sink to the level of Al Capp’s Dogpatch; nor, to be fair, do they ever rise to the level of George Washington or even of Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt. (The only glamorous prime minister we ever had, Pierre Trudeau, was a Castro-hugging disaster). Our evangelical MPs, if they’re around long enough (Preston Manning, Stockwell Day), tend to win the grudging respect even of our liberals. No Canadian PM has ever been assassinated, and even our homegrown terrorists have killed relatively few people, concentrating for the most part on sabotage and property damage. So there’s a case to be made for what you term “lifelessness.”

Joseph replies to LA:

No offence taken (how could I as one of your “nice” Northern neighbours? Hahaha.) Yes we are a bland people up here in the Great White North, but we enjoy our blandness. Like we enjoy our beer.

We here in Canada have one more Commandmand: #11.) Be nice sayeth the Lord….

I like your site and have been a daily reader for several years now. Keep up the great work you are doing …

With nice and polite greetings.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 02, 2011 09:17 PM | Send

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