Friday, November 08, 2013

Justin Trudeau...Too Smart For Twitter?

So, Justin raised 25 large at that unplugged event last night.  He also fielded questions.  One was:

Q. Which country’s government does the “future prime minister” most admire?

A.  You know,  there’s a level of of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say ‘we need to go green  fastest…we need to start investing in solar.’ I mean there is a flexibility that I know Stephen Harper must dream about of having a dictatorship that he can do everything he wanted that I find quite interesting.

But if I were to reach out and say which…which kind of administration I most admire, I think there’s something to be said right here in Canada for the way our territories are run. Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon are done without political parties around consensus. And are much more like a municipal government. And I think there’s a lot to be said for people pulling together to try and solve issues rather than to score points off of each other. And I think we need a little more of that.

A fairly coherent argument can be pulled from this 1) China, being a dictatorship, can move quickly to tackle issues of national importance, like growing their economy or becoming a leader in green tech.  And there is nothing remotely controversial about such views.  People on both left and right have expressed admiration for this aspect of the Chinese state.  But then 2) While the ability to move the state along faster to good ends would be "quite interesting", someone like Stephen Harper dreams of having such powers, and would only use them for Evil.  Again, nothing controversial.  While the temptation is there, checks and balances are needed, etc. etc.

 That's the first paragraph.  Paragraph two is lovey talk about building consensus, which according to Justin is what we really should have more of,  and yada yada.  I find it uninteresting, so I'll ignore it.

In any case, paragraph one is what has sent the twittersphere into a rage this morning.  The eye rolling is particular unfortunate in the case of  Dan Gardner:
Because Dan is constantly lamenting the state of political discourse in the country, and  then when he sees something that strives to be a little better than moronic, he shits.

Because after all, the argument we're talking about is pitched at about the couple-beers-in-a-college-pub after-poli sci-class level.  I got drunk and argued the limits of democracy thing many times, back in the day..  But apparently, even that kind of argument is too hard for twitter.  Again, Dan's response is representative in its weird two-sideness.  On the one hand, he says Justin is being dumb because he is allowing the dumb people who watch Sun News to cry commie!, on the other hand, its dumb because its positively Friedmanesque:
...and Dan's disagrees (strongly!!) with Friedman on such issues.

But wait!  A Justin Trudeau answer at a ladies night event makes Friedman momentarily relevant to Canadian politics. Just the kind of thing Deep Dan has been crying for from politicians.  And then he sees it, and retreats into the kind of  glib one-liners that Twitter encourages.  (It apparently makes people dumb the same way powerpoint does.)  Not that he's the only offender.  @acoyne has spent the morning cracking what I'm sure he thinks are very clever jokes rather than actually talk some policy talk when given the opportunity by a Canadian politician.  But, as far as I'm concerned, the punditocracy cannot ask for intelligence from their politicians if they are only going to turn around and, en masse, play silly bugger when they hear some.


Steve Bloom said...

Although to point to the Chinese example without mentioning that no amount of central planning is going to avoid the growth-pollution dilemma upon the horns of which they currently find themselves is to avoid the main point. Arguably the suitable lesson for (not just by any means) Canada is that a too-fast economic expansion without carefully considering potential nasty side effects can get you into deep trouble, but notice that JT didn't go there.

Re the observation that politics in what amount to small towns can be run just like politics in small towns, well there you go. It's an observation highly reminiscent of, and just as useless as, nostalgic bloviations about New England town halls.

So it would seem that those asking for a heapin' helpin' of boeuf Trudeau can continue to pine.

Rural said...

" Paragraph two is lovey talk about building consensus, which according to Justin is what we really should have more of, and yada yada. I find it uninteresting, so I'll ignore it."

To dismiss the way the Nunavut government works and seeking consensus within government in such an off hand manner is in my view very short sighted. That Justin is aware of and should promote such a system that actually works and is operational in Canada says much for the man. Such will never work in Federal politics but finding consensus is how parliament SHOULD work!

bigcitylib said...

Fair enough. Though, being from T.O., the whole idea of a municipal gov. being a preferred model doesn't impress me much. At least not these days.

Rene said...

As for dumb people who read Sun News crying "commie" over Trudeau's remarks, from the comments section of Sun Media one


This should produce some entertaining attack ads.....

ch said...

The two points go together in Justin's statement. He ends the point on China's quick response & flexibility with a implicit criticism of Harper's style of "my way or you're with the molesters" and moves right into the idea that he (Justin) prefers a collaborative, all working together government.

1. China's dictatorship can be quick
2. we need to work together more effectively to get this upside that China has without the dictatorship.

I don't think it's fair to separate these two points.

bigcitylib said...

CH, That too is a fair point. It's also of a piece with the way JT's argument is typically made in green circles. China has certain advantages over us; we have to find a way to negate them without sacrificing our core values. What astounds me is how unfamiliar guys like Dan Gardner appear to be with this line of argument.

ch said...

I can't tell if Gardner & others are unfamiliar with these arguments or are lazy and like the superficial attack style "reporting"/commenting. I don't know any of them personally.

wilson said...

Human Rights groups are not amused:

Sheng held a news conference in Toronto on Saturday to denounce the controversial comments Trudeau made during a fundraiser Thursday.
"We do want Mr. Trudeau to have a public apology, and also we want him to schedule a time to meet with us," said Sheng Xue, who moved to Canada shortly after the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989...

"If he really means what he said "¦ seemingly he must be one of the Chinese versions of useful idiot," said Kyung Lee, chairman of the Council for Human Rights in North Korea. "I hope he simply misspoke."

RobH said...

Twitter is just as smart as people have ever been, imo... but wait a minute. Has JT never heard of the extreme environmental abuses that the Chinese people protest? From what I've heard China's authoritarian government is actually a huge driver of trampling local environmental concerns. Their priorities are growth and the national power it brings. In fact, it's a lot like Soviet Russia and East Germany where the disregard of the authoritarian control for the environment was spectacular.

So never mind how smart Twitter is really it's Justin that I'm not seeing it from here. People have for a long time thought simple dictatorships would be great. The problem with that is it's 2013 and it's really easy to know better.

bigcitylib said...

Everyone knows about China's eviro problems. One of the reasons they're trying to get out in front with green tech.

Rob said...

Admittedly, it's been said the US spends ~ $130 per ton of CO2 cut to China's which I don't recall a number for but is much closer to zero. (when the expected cost of one ton is said to be up to $40 a hundred years or so from now) And I believe also less in the way of horrible ideas pandering to power blocks like ethanol. I think the #1 thing that bugs me about Harper is that he's been an advocate of ethanol when he's supposed to be the smart guy in the room on global warming from my perspective.

That all probably has most to do with who has more money to waste though.