It seems a current assumption these days that the figure of the tyrant represents the most dangerous peril to the survival of democratic government. American President Donald Trump is often thus displayed, though with far more fever than fact. In Russia we place Putin in the same guise. In Canada, the tyrant role is often ascribed to ex-prime minister Stephen Harper, again with far more passion than evidence. In any event I do not agree with the whole thesis. I think that another figure is far more dangerous than the tyrannical, notably the figure of the fool. The tyrant may be sinister, but he is at least by his own light rational. The fool is neither. In other words, I think we’re safer under the rule of a demon than under the rule of a jackass.
Only very rarely, thank goodness, do the same two qualities – tyrant and jackass — occur in the same person. Yet it can happen. In fact in Alberta it’s becoming ever more evident that it has happened. I refer, of course, to our current minister of education, David Eggen– a charming man with a warm smile, which he must preserve by practising it every morning before a mirror. It hurts me deeply to express such a horrid opinion of anybody, yet there are these disconcerting facts:
— Within a year of his appointment as minister he had begin referring to the elected school trustees of the province as “my school boards,” and he spoke of giving “instructions” to “my school boards.” Up to then, the general view was that these boards were responsible to the people who elected them, not in any sense whatever to the minister of education. The mind of the tyrant, as can be seen, was already at work.
— From the time he took office, the minister has been promising the most sweeping changes ever made in what’s taught and how in the schools of Alberta. This is ostensibly being done by an enormous committee of several hundred people, hard at work for nearly a year. Who they are, the minister determinedly refuses to disclose. Think of that. These people are fervidly planning to radically change what and how our children are being taught and the minister keeps their identity a deep secret. The attitude is that the parents don’t need to know. Why the secrecy? We aren’t allowed to know that either.
— To force disclosure of these names, an application was made under the Access to Information Act. The minister dodged the move by declaring he would reveal names within 60 days When the 60 days were up, he simply scoffed and continued to conceal them. So much for the government’s integrity. It was such oh-so-clever manipulations that drove the Tories from office, but it took more than 40 years to do it. The NDP are managing to do it within a single term. And in this we see the other side of the ministerial character– the jackass side. How could keeping these names secret possibly be worth imperilling the integrity of the government? It makes no sense whatever.
This article continues at [Ted Byfield Blog] Some of the awful things that happen when a tyrant is also a jackass