Fasten your seatbelts, friends. We’re about to have more piles of budget unloaded onto us.
And of course along with it we’ll get the usual earnest description of how good it will all be. And some of it may be good for us. And some it definitely will not be.
The question is, how do we tell the good piles from the bad piles? Well hey, that’s not too difficult. We just use the Hypocrisy Test.
The Hypocrisy Test is quite simple but unfortunately it requires a modicum of memory. We have to remember that the Government presenting the budget has not only already run up an historic deficit but has also busily cut and chopped away at everything from women’s rights to foreign aid, scientific research, access to information, and even Parliament itself. It has demonstrated more interest in military hardware than in health care, more concern for long term imprisonment than for daycare or early childhood education. The list goes on and on so we should be able to remember enough of it to apply the test.
Every time the Minister of Finance eulogizes his budgetary items simply think of the past actions and see if you detect hypocrisy.
Of course you will. It’s always present regardless of which Party is presenting the eulogy. But let’s be fair. There’s always plenty of it pouring out of the mouths of the Loyal Opposition. And why not? It’s a good Canadian tradition. Even away back in the Mulroney era, when the Tory hypocrisy crew were just hitting their stride, I found it difficult to suppress my admiration for the Art of Hypocrisy itself.
Let’s hear it for Hypocrisy!
[….] “Hypocrisy” is a word that’s worth looking up just to refresh the old memory. Let’s see now — ah, yes — “The simulation of virtue”.
Well, shucks, nothing to gloom about there. We Canadians have an enchanting record in the simulation of virtue. Just consider the controversial condoms. At one time it was illegal to sell them at all because contraception was illegal. We got around that by selling them “for prophylactic use only”. It said so, right on the box. And of course, since it said so right on the box, a generation of Canadians used them for prophylactic use only, never in their wildest dreams thinking they might be preventing conception.
We forget that hypocrisy has ancient roots. The word itself is non-partisan. It passed into English from Old French, which in turn inherited it from ecclesiastical Latin (I like the ecclesiastical touch), which in turn received it from the Greek. To the ancient Greeks it meant, “the acting of a part”.
You see? Why get up tight when those who try to lead us and/or bleed us seem to be hypocritical. We should be applauding! They are acting their parts superbly. It’s theatre on a grand scale.
One of our great thespian achievements as Canadians was the period during the first half of the century when our missionaries went into the outermost parts of the world and taught family planning in the name of the Lord while at home, in the name of the King, we put people into the slammer for doing the same.
My regret is that we don’t react with more enthusiasm to these great performances. What a dull audience we are. Consider the Vatican’s recent pronouncement condemning ‘in vitro fertilization’. With family life a cornerstone of the faith and with ‘in vitro fertilization’ being one of those rare occasions when science is truly aiding nature it’s a marvellous stroke to lump ‘in vitro fertilization’ in with abortion and surrogate wombs. We should not be inhibited in rising to our feet and cheering such a virtuoso performance. For one thing, it reminds us that Canadian actors don’t monopolize the stage.
Our people are good, though. In retrospect one of the finest moments was when Brian Mulroney faced John Turner in TV debate and said, in response to Turner’s claim he had no choice but to make certain patronage appointments, “Sir, you could have said ‘no’.” We thought it was a straight line at the time but events have shown us that as hypocrisy it was a consummate performance.
“Bravo,” I say. Let’s hear it for Brian and the Pope and the [others]. Let’s hear it for all of us. Cheers, laughter, and applause.
If only we could then turn the lights out and go home. ♣
The Harper crew are piling the stuff higher and deeper than ever before, but let’s remember that the Tories didn’t invent hypocrisy, they’re just perfecting it. We should show some respect.
♣ Let’s hear it for Hypocrisy
From Down Paradox Lane
Lindsay This week, March 17, 1987
Copyright © Munroe Scott