"We can't stop breathing…"

Matt Blackett asks a very interesting question on the Spacing Wire blog:

“I was struck by one of the stats provided: by 2026, up to 4,000 deaths each year in Toronto will be premature due our poor air quality. This made me wonder — if our drinking water was helping contribute to 4,000 premature death each year wouldn’t everyone would in this city be in a panic?”

Of course. Fer chrissakes, the city’s media (if not the citizens) whipped themselves into a frenzy over SARS  (which killed fewer than 50) and the West Nile virus (which killed fewer than a dozen).


This dead-on post from Tim at Peace, Order and Good Government, Eh? raises a particularly ugly political tactic that’s gained prominence in recent years, especially south of our border: the claim that “decisive action” equals great leadership, regardless of how that decisive action turns out. As Jon Stewart once put it, if a guy drives a car straight into a ditch without even a thought of braking or turning the wheel, why does the fact that he did it so decisively make him the most qualified to drive it out of the ditch?

Dressing it up as the battle of “moral clarity” vs. “endless equivocation”, as the Tory fundraiser referenced in the article did, is the lipstick on the pig. The message here is that it’s better to avoid public discussion (which could lead to dissent) and just quietly accept the opinion of your betters. I doubt anyone would argue that absolutism is speedier than democracy, but I have a hard time believing it’s better for the average citizen.

[tags]matt blackett, spacing, toronto smog, sars, pogge, moral clarity, endless equivocation[/tags]

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