Stephen Harper is a primitive. At a time, when the founding Christian visions have all moved on towards a more complex idea of God and faith, Harper clings to a 19th century evangelical version of Christianity much like Microsoft clings to its out dated operating system.
This doesn’t mean the Microsoft vision of the world is not immensely powerful but it’s primitive compared to alternative operating systems. (Ever notice that Apple is virtually virus free and Microsoft is inundated?) Primitive forms of thought will always remain immensely powerful because they carry the weight of custom and history. There’s something comforting in the thought that belief trumps reason. Reason is such a slippery, difficult little bastard always changing, never certain of conclusions whereas belief is wonderfully consistent. Belief’s only problem is that to be maintained in the face of observation and conclusions which diverge requires force. Hence the Stephen Harper belief in the centrality of police, the military, jails, long prison sentences, and requires stripping science of dissenting research and government of dissenting services. Scientist Frederick Kibenge in P.E.I. is the latest victim.
Reason tells us there is something amiss when 21st century adolescents have never experienced a year which was not warmer than the last year. Belief tells us that God is Good. Reason tells us that God loves diversity, complexity, redundancy and life in multitudinous forms because that is what we observe everywhere around us. Conclusion: this multitudinous world is the kind of world God desires for why would you create something disheartening to your sensibilities? Belief tells us that God’s goodness can be found in a single book. What the book says is Good. What it does not is not.
The struggle between ‘belief’ and ‘reason’ is as old as humanity. Until the recent separation of church and state in a few western nations, the rigidity of belief based societies inevitably marched populations towards the tectonic cracks of revolutions and counter persecutions. It wasn’t until the separation of church and state that civil society finally became possible and the rule of theocracy and aristocracy gradually declined in favour of democracy. Nonetheless, belief based populations remain a powerful force within all democratic societies. In Canada, they now govern.
Mr. Harper is doing his best to roll the clock back in Canada to this more primitive time . He has been relentlessly efficient at suppressing all the fundamental supports of the old civil, secular Canadian state, simplifying the concept of citizen into taxpayer, reducing the power of individual citizens to fund elections, suppressing voter turnout, and arresting the production of science and public services contrary to his belief based world view, while diverting an ever larger proportion of society’s surplus to the military, jails and security forces of all types.
Primitive has never meant stupid, but it has meant shackles.