A tyrant‘s greatest power comes not from the authority he wields or the fear he instills in his people. It comes from the passivity of his victims. Believe it or not, Stephen Harper’s despotism might have been terminated long ago if this country’s high-minded, high-principled, ever-so-reasonable defenders had the courage and the will to do what was necessary.
Instead, the minds of opposition politicians and public activists are addled by “The Fog of Populism,” a debilitating disorder that makes them define democracy as election fetishism, and makes them treat a morally righteous speech or protest as an end in itself, not a means to an end. “Once more unto the speech, dear friends; once more!” is the battle cry of these earnest failures.
All this suits Harper just fine because if Canada’s defenders spend all their time and energy in futile speeches and protests he can ignore them at his leisure. After all, he has turned Parliament into a rubber-stamp Reichstag and rendered rational policy-making obsolete. Political protest between elections, therefore, amounts to so much impotent rage.
Constitutional protest—ah, that’s another matter. This could bring Harper down because the Constitution is above politics and cannot be ignored, yet few Canadians know this option even exists. Our society is so brainwashed into worshipping elections and disparaging appointed political offices, that if someone tries to discuss this option, he is mocked and the subject is dismissed as outdated and undemocratic.
How could a constitutional act be outdated and undemocratic?! Politics (government) serves the Constitution, and this relationship never changes. When a government does violence to the country and its people, the Constitution is supposed to be our protection. To claim otherwise would be irrational, yet I came up against this cognitive infirmity in July when I approached the group Leadnow about spearheading a nationwide petition to demand that Governor General David Johnston exercise his authority to dimiss the Harper government for the sake of the welfare of Canada and Canadians. Here is part of the response I got:
Since Mr. Harper holds elected office it is extremely unlikely that the governor general would be likely to do this. Although we live in a monarchy in theory, in practice we live in a democracy where elections determine who holds office.
This answer, which may be taken as the standard Canadian view, betrays not only profound ignorance of Canada’s political system of government, but also the psychological passivity that sustains Harper’s tyranny.