You, yourself and you
Selfishness -- it's become a theme lacing through all kinds of political commentary of late. In The Globe this morning, columnist Jeffrey Simpson wonders whether we're too self-interested to do anything about the environment, while Rick Salutin wonders whether Michael Ignatieff is too self-absorbed to be a national leader.
The whole debate over Tim Horton's versus the UN has been cast as a feud over Canadians' self-interest too; do we care more about our reputation (UN) or our wallets/appetites (Tim Horton's)? In the Ottawa Citizen, Susan Riley rather dismally predicts that the Liberals are going to have to embrace the politics of voter self-interest if they want to take on the Conservatives.
Meanwhile, a new book by Brian Crowley, titled Fearful Symmetry, laments how we've become a nation of takers, largely because of demographics and Quebec separatism.
Could it be that we're starting to get at what's really turning people off politics and, more broadly, federal policy debates? Is there anything interesting or redeeming about a conversation that's a tug-of-war between self-interests? It's not just that politicians are self-absorbed -- it's that they assume you are too. The ascending art of political marketing (insert self-promotional plug for own article on this subject, thus proving point) is all framed around the reductionist view of citizens as consumers.
I choose to see this emerging theme as an optimistic sign -- the first step in solving a problem is admitting it exists.