Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Assault on Reason

Yesterday I wrote a post on the important role education plays in the development of critical thinking skills, skills that are crucial for anyone who aspires to being something more than a puppet of government and corporate propaganda. Unfortunately, as I noted, current education reforms under consideration in Ontario will undermine the building of those skills.

Last evening I read an excellent article by Allan Gregg, essentially the speech he gave at the opening of Carleton University’s new School of Public Affairs.

Using Orwell's 1984 as his framework, Gregg offers a disturbing analysis of how the Harper government is in fact enacting the very practices that Orwell warned about in his novel. For example, Ignorance is Strength, a well-known oxymoronic slogan from the novel, seems to be one of the chief strategies at work in the Harper formulation of public policy; the elimination of the long-form census, the muzzling of scientists, the dismantling of research stations and the substantial reduction of workforce at the Library and Archives of Canada are but four very disturbing examples.

I cannot recommend his piece strongly enough. Although somewhat lengthy, it is well-worth the read for anyone who recognizes the vital role that an informed and reflective citizenry plays in a healthy democracy.

And ours is without question a democracy whose health is under threat; in my home province of Ontario, for example, young Tim Hudak begins the process of trying to rebrand himself, a rebooting whose success without doubt will be dependent on the voters' collective amnesia and short attention spans. Federally, of course, the Harper regime seems intent on giving corporate profits supremacy over sound environmental protection, just one of the many challenges posed by a government contemptuous of its citizens.


  1. Hi Lorne. Thanks for the link. Gregg's depiction is thorough and chilling. I've sent the article to several friends and relatives. This truly needs to be circulated as widely as possible.

  2. I'm glad you found it useful. I've also sent it to several friends, and posted it on my Twitter and Facebook accounts as well.

  3. It's a superb piece, Lorne. Anyone who thinks 1984 is fiction hasn't been paying attention.

  4. I'm glad you liked it, Owen, and I suspect that not paying attention is exactly what our reactionary politicians are counting on.