Friday, May 14, 2010

Maclean's weights in on The Armageddon Factor


But McDonald is out to fit data to conclusions, not the other way around. She calls Harper’s tendency to end speeches with “God bless Canada” an “aberration,” and explicitly contrasts such gaudy godliness with the styles of Pierre Trudeau and Lester Pearson. Really? Trudeau’s 1982 Constitution Act recognizes “the supremacy of God” in its first line. When the Maple Leaf flag first flew in 1965, Pearson said the day would be remembered “if our nation, by God’s grace, endures a thousand years.” Which nation? “A land of decent God-fearing people,” Pearson said, before concluding, “God bless Canada!”

People who believe in God and vote their beliefs often work hard. That makes them a potent ingredient in any political coalition anywhere. They win some and lose some. Always have, always will. These days they win more than they used to. They still lose a lot. A keen eye for the real weight of things will come in handy, if someone ever tells their story.

Paul Wells also says:

First, it’s irresponsible to write a book about a phenomenon that systematically overstates the extent of that phenomenon. All the more so if you adopt a constant tone of near-panic.


Which leads us to the second, bigger problem: McDonald nowhere specifies which religious attitudes, or which secular policies derived from religious attitudes, she finds unacceptable. Bill Blaikie ran for the NDP leadership on a platform explicitly derived from the social gospel; is that OK? McDonald quotes Scarborough Liberal MP John McKay saying he finds the Harper gang scary. Wow. Really? Why? What are the specific differences between John McKay’s okay Christian nationalism and Dave Quist’s scary terrifying Christian nationalism? ‘Cause it was kind of hard to tell the difference during the Commons vote on abortion in international development assistance.