[McCullough] Justin Trudeau's appallingly dishonest speech to NYU

[McCullough] Justin Trudeau’s appallingly dishonest speech to NYU

Opinion
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[Toronto Sun/Washington Post] As is common among sheltered men of extreme privilege, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attempts to share relatable thoughts on modern life, his words tend to expose a speaker who has no actual familiarity with social trends but has clearly been briefed to their existence. The commencement speech he delivered Wednesday at New York University is a classic study of an obliviously cloistered poseur trying desperately to feign compliance with current fashions. A belabored reference to Pokemon Go was the least of it.

VIDEO: [CBC] Justin Trudeau’s full commencement speech to NYU graduates


Trudeau – or whatever team of speechwriters and handlers who do the heavy thinking on his behalf – seems broadly aware that North America is mired in a state of intense sociopolitical polarization, and that amid all this shouting and anger, it is the role of great minds to reassert the case for virtues of free speech and intellectual diversity.

Such was the tone Trudeau’s NYU speech correspondingly struck, with tender protestations to “let yourself be vulnerable to another point of view” accompanied by route denunciations of accompanying sins. One must not “cocoon ourselves in an ideological, social or intellectual bubble,” he implored, or “engage only with people with whom we already agree,” but instead “fight our tribal mind-set” and the dreaded “identity politics.”

To be sure, these are good sentiments. Unfortunately, there is no evidence whatsoever that Trudeau takes them seriously in the context where his opinions most matter: his performance as Canada’s ruler.

In his political capacity, a consistent hallmark of Trudeau’s partisan rhetoric has been the portrayal of absolutely all dissent toward his party, administration and agenda as frivolous and darkly motivated. His 2014 memoir was striking in how deeply incurious it seemed about conservative philosophy, defining the motives of his opponents with one-dimensional slanders about “dividing Canadians” and seeking “power for its own sake.” More recently, he declared before a crowd of partisan supporters that the agenda of the Conservative Party could be summarized in its entirety as “the politics of fear and division.”

“If anything,” he added, “they’ve been emboldened by successful campaigns elsewhere in the world to divide people against one another,” an allusion to global populism that’s hardly brimming with intellectual charity.

There’s almost nothing about Trudeau’s political career, in fact, that suggests he’s ever had even slightest interest in “discovering that someone you vehemently disagree with might have a point,” as he extolled NYU’s grads to do.

This article continues at [Toronto Sun] OPINION: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s speech at NYU under scrutiny

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