ABCwatch

Tim Blair

Ombudsgod

New Criterion

 

 

Thursday, May 20, 2004
 
PARTICIPATORY MANIPULATION

There's no delusion like an old delusion.

On this morning's Life Matters that most innocent of the communards, Julie McCrossin simply swallows the line, hook and sinker of the latest advocate of by-passing representative democracy in favour of direct government by the people.

The other big push in that direction, citizen-inititaed referendums, was not so well-received in the commune. Perhaps because it came from the lunar right.

The lunar left is another matter. In this case the advocate is not some social isolate in the bush, but a Canadian Professor.

Bear in mind that in these post-modern times you can be a "Professor of Social Justice", based on your life-long commitment to feminism and social activism. That's the self-description of McCrossin's Canadian guest (you'll have to wait a few hours for details).

Her idea to take the techniques of deliberative polling beyond consultation into actual decision-making and program delivery. I wonder why that hasn't surprised me.

Her motivation is the same as the lunar right's. She thinks her (welfare-statist) agenda is popular with the people and suppressed by the corrupt political system. She thinks she can preserve programs that are up for the chop and open up new ones.

According to the British Columbia model, if we take our Professor as seriously as wide-eyed Julie McCrossin, random selection guarantees that it won't be just the usual interest groups and the familiar crazies who end up in charge of our world.

The trouble is, it's only those who agree to take part who take part. That is, the usual suspects.

It would be so easy to wipe the smile of McCrossin's face.

Just base the first excercise in Manipulative Democracy on my agenda. The result would make Howard and Latham look like the squishiest liberals you could imagine. The results would be restrictive on immigration, tough on drugs, strong on personal responsibility in matters of drugs and sexuality and fatal to most of the NGO pensioners our representatives are afraid to kill off.

I'm starting to like the idea.